What is this place?
This website is a place for people who want to move past shady thinking and test their ideas in a
court of people who don't all share the same biases. Our goal is to
optimize for light, not heat; this is a group effort, and all commentators are asked to do their part.
The weekly Culture War threads host the most controversial topics and are the most visible aspect of The Motte. However, many other topics are appropriate here. We encourage people to post anything related to science, politics, or philosophy; if in doubt, post!
Check out The Vault for an archive of old quality posts. You are encouraged to crosspost these elsewhere.
Why are you called The Motte?
A motte is a stone keep on a raised earthwork common in early medieval fortifications. More pertinently,
it's an element in a rhetorical move called a "Motte-and-Bailey",
originally identified by
philosopher Nicholas Shackel. It describes the tendency in discourse for people to move from a controversial
but high value claim to a defensible but less exciting one upon any resistance to the former. He likens
this to the medieval fortification, where a desirable land (the bailey) is abandoned when in danger for
the more easily defended motte. In Shackel's words, "The Motte represents the defensible but undesired
propositions to which one retreats when hard pressed."
On The Motte, always attempt to remain inside your defensible territory, even if you are not being pressed.
New post guidelines
If you're posting something that isn't related to the culture war, we encourage you to post a thread for it.
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such as blogs or news articles; if we're unsure of the value of your post, we might remove it until you add a
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Culture war posts go in the culture war thread; all links must either include a submission statement or significant commentary. Bare links without those will be removed.
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Jump in the discussion.
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Not to be too much us vs them but reading some of the comments on that thread...
If you imagine a total opposite of Julius Branson, you get these sort of posters. Instead of making ten alts to continue the war effort, they buckle under the pressure of ten downvotes. But what they lack in tenacity they make up for with narcissism. So unlike Branson they engage in a cold war in their own minds, not having any tenacity or alts to rely on, until they can post some narcissistic masochistic historical revision about what 'happened' and why things are now worse since their 'status' was not respected. I've never read a more pathetic diatribe of self centered nonsense.
For the record I'd take a Julius Branson and five of his alts over any one of these whiners. Absolutely pathetic.
Meta-debate. I disagree that The Motte is anything like what OP is portraying, but that's just a difference of opinion. No need to morally shame them for disagreeing and thinking we're Voat... the sphinx is the least interesting part of a debate even when what he says is true.
The Motte is just a parlour game we all play. Barring the astronomical chance that someone here is a future revolutionary a la Lenin who reshapes the world according to theories they read here, The Motte provides zero external benefit and therefore people have zero duty to engage. There's no point if they're not having fun debates.
My hope is that this chance is not so astronomical. Seems like generally social media platforms get dozens to hundreds of times as many views as they do comments. Given the high level of discourse here and the thousands of comments per week, I expect there are at least tens of thousands of views per week with people with at least a bit more potential to change the world than the average.
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