I've noticed that some members are engaging in "Hydra" style debating tactics in several topics.
Basically, this entails posting a wall of text, which contains multiple unrelated assertions about a general topic and challenging the next poster to refute the post. The only problem is the post cannot be refuted practically due to the broad scale of assertions being made.
Should an unwary forum goer choose to reply to the topic, the person using this tactic will then employ the same tactic in the next post. The result is like fighting the many headed Hydra of Greek Mythology. If you refute one false assertion, then nine more grow up to take it's place. It's kind of like stacking the deck in you favor against another member when your argument is weaker or less verifiable.
The tactic is made worse when those using it will often "leap frog" from their current "hydra post" to previous assertions that haven't yet been refuted.
The whole point of the tactic seems to be to sideline a discussion until the other person gives up, becomes sidetracked, becomes frustrated, or flubs with a weaker argument or source that can be easily refuted for some sort of easy victory.
Let me give you an example from a recent post I've read in the World News section. This is just a small section of a much larger text wall of assertions members were asked to refute:
"Santorum was, and is, a strong supporter of the neoconservative “War on Terror.” He proposed sanctions for Syria. In 2005, Santorum sponsored a bill aimed at overthrowing the government of Iran, called the Iran Freedom and Support Act. As part of his opposition to Iran, Santorum recommended that America fight for “a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel and a strong Iraq.” These positions are unconstitutional and are not in the best interests of our national security. "
There are actually five different subjects being presented in just these five sentences. You'll have to imagine what the entire post looks like.
1. "Santorum was, and is, a strong supporter of the neoconservative “War on Terror.”
2. He proposed sanctions for Syria.
3. In 2005, Santorum sponsored a bill aimed at overthrowing the government of Iran, called the Iran Freedom and Support Act.
4. As part of his opposition to Iran, Santorum recommended that America fight for “a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel and a strong Iraq.”
5. These positions are unconstitutional and are not in the best interests of our national security.
It would take a well cited post or an essay to refute each assertion being made. That is simply impossible considering the text post limit and the scope of this message board. You can imagine how long it would take to find every source and citation needed to refute a wall of assertions. As I said before, a person is often challenged to refute the entire content of such posts, while often times being called biased or close minded for not doing so. A person cannot refute these sort of hydra assertions, because there is just too much in the post to discuss in any one reply. If the follow up post is similar in nature, then you might as well not participate in a discussion at all. We all know that multi-part posts are not practical or allowed, and you'd probably go crazy trying to refute these sort of topics anyway.
It can also be a very formidable tactic for people who wish to troll a message board or push an agenda.
Do you think we could get a forum rule that requires a member to choose a specific assertion they want discussed and prevent hydra-tactics that often lead to topics being side tracked or disrupted?