When I’m discussing something hard, especially over the internet, I try to be careful about:
- Searching for and explicitly talking about tradeoffs, even when one option seems like a clear overall win to me.
- Trying to keep the ratio of positive to normative statements very high.
I don’t think these points are either necessary or sufficient for intellectually honest discussion, but I think they help. And when other people aren’t doing these things, I find it harder (in the sense of more cognitively effortful) to learn from them.
With respect to the first point, I don’t think it’s very helpful, if it all, to emphasize tradeoffs that “seem reasonable”, but that the person presenting the idea doesn’t actually think are in play.
I imagine this post would be better with examples, but I won’t include any for now. My plan is to write some blog posts soon about object-level stuff and try to follow my own advice.