Rules of Engagement


In order for human progress to happen, we need free speech, healthy debate, and a "best-ideas-win" culture. Today, the conditions for progress exist but with infinite information flow and zero accountability (past, present, and future), I find the "healthy" in healthy debate eroding. So, here are 10 voluntary constraints we can apply for healthier (more rational) debate and discussion:

1. You can not lie - For each claim/accusation, you must state facts, identify specific actors, and offer an attainable solution. In order for progress to happen we need attainable solutions based on founded evidence.

2. You can not blend time - Progress happens by solving current problems and creating current alternatives. Facts with evidence remain but the circumstances of 50-2000 years ago hold little to no weight in addressing the realities of today.

3. You can not theorize - Solutions come from identifying currently attainable courses of action in reality. Not from theorizing about ideal states of mind sometime in the future.

4. You can not reference personal experience or belief systems - Your experience is a singular, unique take in a span of millions with various degrees of outcome. Progress comes from acknowledging facts from multiple sources, identifying patterns, and proscribing remedies.

5. You can not pivot topics - Each issue must be addressed until an understanding of agreement or difference is reached. Understanding and progress are synonymous.

6. You can not ignore reality - Problems will always exist. Progress can only happen by addressing problems honestly and solving them given the best information available at the time.

7. You can not reference generalizations/memes/groups - You must identify specific individuals as supportive or problematic. Not groups.

8. You can not virtue signal - Your personal life is not the purpose of discussion.

9. You can not defame people - Misrepresenting someones beliefs/words/actions for personal gain is counter-productive and makes you an asshole.

10. You can not hit, mock, instigate, or assault people - If you wish to fight, so be it. Just recognize it is not in the name of progress.

*** If you break any of these rules you are knowingly acting against the common goal of progress and your discussion becomes void.

Ultimately, progress does not happen by default. It takes smart people working very hard for extended periods of time to make progress happen. Hopefully these constraints can help sideline the noise and increase rational decision making through healthy debate and discussion.