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Google Launches User-Driven Debate Site 68

Tyndmyr writes "In conjunction with the previously covered Knol system, Google has recently released Knol Debates, where users can vote for and discuss various topics. First up, presidential debates, representing topics from any party, and with some commentary being given by the libertarian Cato Institute. Unfortunately, patent law and technology questions are still rather poorly represented. Oddly enough, Knol Debates doesn't even appear to be in beta. The system makes use of Google Moderator to select questions."
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Google Launches User-Driven Debate Site

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  • Or is this just a separate site for comments? :p
  • To what end? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you are interested in debates with a meaning, check out the metagovernment []. Sure, their software is not finished yet, but the point is they don't just let you argue, they help you build consensus and then they do something with that consensus: make it law.
    • Re:To what end? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by erikina ( 1112587 ) <> on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:15AM (#25509589) Homepage
      Please tell me that it's not just wikimedia and a domain. I hate to say it, but the wiki format isn't good for everything. (Like wiki talk pages or personal pages) And while I'm ranting, I hate wiki-markup -- it's completely retarded in comparison to HTML.
      • Re:To what end? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gbutler69 ( 910166 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:36AM (#25509711) Homepage
        I beg to disagree with respect to Wiki markup. I find it highly intuitive. It is, for the most part, a natural extension of how people type things in plain text documents. For example (Bulleted List): * First Bullet Point * Second Bullet and point * Third Bullet Point Bold *text*, Italic/Emphasize _text_, Underlined __Text__ I find this highly convenient and wish this type of markup was supported in Slashdot for example. It's much more intuitive, fast, and cognitively consistent. But, as you can see, Slashdot doesn't support it, so what I typed looks like crap and I have to remember obscure tags instead or use HTML tags. Blech!
        • As opposed to



          Seriously? And every wiki package seems to change the formatting.

          Wiki formatting is lame, sorry. XML and SGML based formatting is so much nicer.
        • I agree that Wiki markup is intuitive, but try formatting a large table, for example.

          I'd personally like a wiki that would support automated entries, e.g., configuration management. I dreamt once that the wiki I was putting together at work could derive configurations and also cause configuration changes.

          Then I woke up.

  • Here we go again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Saturday October 25, 2008 @10:28AM (#25509341) Homepage
    In further news, Google would rather Knol didn't suffer the ignominious fate of Google Answers []. Not everything Google does is a hit.
    • So not everything apple does is also a hit. The companies that have track records of hits keep trying different approaches until something awesome comes out.

      Google, Apple and a few others are looking for a perfect product and lots of things fail along the way. Not every idea is workable on a massive scale.

      • Oh, I know. It's just in comparison to the massive publicity Knol got.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        This time around it appears like the googlites now feel threatened by, oh no, slashdot. So it just seems to be a tightly controlled sites, where a bunch of 'stink' tanks, get to put forward their own for profit views, promote themselves and at the same time try to give that whole 'knol' marketing B$ an air of legitimacy.

        The whole site seems terribly stifled and completely lacks the open cook pot of slashdot, where thousands of ideas and opinions boil to the surface upon a continuous basis, all without th

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Google would rather Knol didn't suffer the ignominious fate of Google Answers []. Not everything Google does is a hit."

      Google answers was a bit of a cash grab, you'd get better responses for money. No one really wants to pay a bunch of google guys money for answers when they can use google themselves and save money.

      • Yeah, Knol works on selling ads.

        And massive copyright violation. More than a few Wikipedia editors are getting a little peeved at (a) people blatantly taking Wikipedia articles and reposting them in violation of the GFDL (b) Google's refusal to do anything about this massive blatant copyright violation. IT'S NOT HARD TO OBEY ON THE WEB, GUYS.

    • Re:Here we go again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fëanáro ( 130986 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:57AM (#25509801)

      Google Answers was tremendously useful thought IMO.
      I never understood why they closed it.

      It was far better than comparable services are even now (yahoo answers, expertSexChange)

      • by ribuck ( 943217 )
        Fifty of the former Google Answers Researchers now operate Uclue [], which is a paid Q&A/Research service that operates much as Google Answers used to.
        • looks good, thanks!

          "market prices" on the answers I saw seem quite higher than the old google answers thought.

          • by ribuck ( 943217 )
            The "market prices" are certainly higher, and the minimum price at is $10 compared with $2 at Google Answers.

            The problem with $2 questions is that they are not quite cheap enough to satisfy the "free" crowd, who are best served by something like Yahoo Answers, yet $2 doesn't cover the extra costs of organizing and running a paid research service even before paying the researchers anything.
      • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        Expert Sexchange is pretty good, simply for the security they have on not showing you the answers: "Gee whiz, we hope nobody scrolls down!"

        • by TCiecka ( 108224 )

          I think this only happens when you access their content from a crawled search result. At least, that's what happens from the links Google serves you.

  • by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @10:39AM (#25509399) Homepage
    Another way to argue with strangers over the internet...
    • by Kugrian ( 886993 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @10:50AM (#25509453) Homepage

      You don't need it. You're wrong.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Without wanting to sound too cynical (I'm using Occam's razor here), this is (rather obviously) just another way for Google to profile you. Unless someone can offer a simpler explanation for an advertising company trying to engage you this way.

      Having said that, I'll check it out. Playing the part of devil's advocate, of course ;-)

      • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:05AM (#25509537)
        Or you know, Google just is like most of us and are tired of people just voting for a candidate based on the hype machine which is the media. Tired of people only going to vote for Obama because he is black and not Bush and tired of people voting for McCain because hes white and not Bush. Tired of the fact that most of the people who vote have no clue what the issues are, tired that the fate of entire industries are being determined with this election with no clue on what either candidate supports (for example, neither McCain nor Obama claim to support or deny software patents that are killing the US computer industry).

        Sure, Google might be profiling you, but I think it is mostly that they are sick and tired of people voting with no clue who they are voting for.
        • but I think it is mostly that they are sick and tired of people voting with no clue who they are voting for.

          There's a simpler explanation: more revenue from ad views.

          They're a public company. They are obligated to make money. Making people vote based on an informed thought process--how exactly does that make Google money? Not all are going to vote for the candidate that helps Google. Meanwhile, the site is going to take time (i.e. money) to build and operate.

          You can't really chalk it up as a branding or awareness thing either: the Google brand is strong and everybody knows it. And it's definitely not "the co

          • by Alsee ( 515537 )

            Making people vote based on an informed thought process--how exactly does that make Google money?

            a mismanaged economy in global depression is bad for profits?
            bad tech policy and bad internet policy is bad for tech&internet sector profits?
            global hatred for America and American companies is bad for US based company profits?

            global thermonuclear war is bad for profits?


        • Not necessarily.
          I think Google will remain neutral, but they will probably add some realtime election maps:
          (hint: only Google people working on that)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erikina ( 1112587 )
        Try again. By definition Occam's razor cuts against these conspiracies.
    • by digitalaudiorock ( 1130835 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:03AM (#25509529)
      You're confusing it with Google's soon to be released Trol Debates ©
  • Look... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @10:53AM (#25509465)
    This is only going to fuel the fire of stupidity in the USA. Just read their slogan

    Knol Debates: Listening to opinions, debating the facts

    That isn't exactly how a debate should be run. It should be listening to facts and debating about opinions unfortunately, there lacks a good source to get facts, and even the presidential debates are more or less set up to keep us more in the dark.

    Ideally, there should be a debate where individual citizens can stand up without pre-screened questions and ask the candidates anything pertaining to the election, but today with the news nothing more than glorified hype, that isn't going to happen.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Wow, that's a nice post. It's nice to see people who actually pay attention to what's going on.
    • Debating the facts (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd say that especially when it comes to economics and climate, interpretations of the data are basically opinions. I don't think we are going to end up with a single fact repository for these issues.

      On the presidential debates, I agree 100%. They are all about management. Especially when they are this close to the end game, nobody wants to risk ruining the sale with a real debate. Even without pre-screened questions, the candidates seem perfectly capable of answering around the questions or answering some

    • I just wish the debate moderators would do less to get the candidates talking to each other and more to actually make them answer the questions.
    • That isn't exactly how a debate should be run. It should be listening to facts and debating about opinions unfortunately, there lacks a good source to get facts, and even the presidential debates are more or less set up to keep us more in the dark.

      I hope that Google will require sources to be cited.

  • xkcd (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward


  • Advert: A knol about a private army in Greece: Its history from private detective agency to being sponsored by the Greek government

    Religious Verse: A knol of the dogma of Islam: "Allah is great, Allah says he is great, therefore Allah is great! Nobody debates Allah!" Nuff said

    Actual Debate: 2008 Presidential Election Policy Debate: Long-winded in writing! That is a policy debate for you!

    • So leme get it right. If Allah isn't great, Allah doesn't say he is great. If Allah is great, we have no clue about what Allah is saying. Affirming the consequent is a bitch... :)
  • Uh Oh. Google is now a competitor for Slashdot? What is M$oft is cooking up? They have a tendency to get into almost anything Google is up to these days.
  • A service like this already exists - The major differences seem to be that it's a not-for-profit, and by the looks of the google site, a lot better...
  • The American Enterprise Inst. is a right-wing business think-tank. The Cato Inst. is self-described as a libertarian think-tank.

    Where are organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America, or the anarchist-syndicalist IWW? If you're going to have spokespeople for the extreme right, why not for the actual *left* - and please, do *not* give me the abysmally ignorant, brainwashed US argument that confuses the wimps, er, liberals, with the real left, and socialists. Doing so only demonstrates to those

  • and this is news? it happened a while ago already
  • This is a dead parrot.
    No its not.
    Yes, it is.
    No, its not. ....

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351