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Paul Graham’s Ladder of Disagreement  

In March, Paul Graham wrote a great essay entitled How to Disagree. I loved the article because it is all about how the web is turning into a conversation (which is why we built CreateDebate). Shortly thereafter, I transformed Graham’s underlying thesis into a graphic to help illustrate his point. The original graphic (similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) can be found here.

After reading the comments spurred by my illustration (on this blog and elsewhere), I decided it was time to revisit this graphic. In particular, this comment by Danielle Vyas caught my eye:

I arrived here via Stumble Upon and read the comments. I think that the chart would be more understandable if presented as a ladder instead of a pyramid. A lot of people relying on the visual representation with this post as one reader mentions without “reading”.

Paul Graham’s Ladder of Disagreement

Paul Graham's Ladder of Disagreement at Create Debate CreateDebate

I think she hit the nail on the head. Rather than illustrating the frequency of disagreements, this graphic illustrates the ascending quality of disagreements on the Internet. What do you think?

As always, if you found this analysis then you might enjoy using CreateDebate. We built our site from scratch and our community is growing quickly. Check it out!

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4 responses

Written by Loudacris

April 25th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Random Musings

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4 Responses to 'Paul Graham’s Ladder of Disagreement'

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  1. Assclown… love it! :D


    25 Apr 08 at 5:11 pm

  2. I believe that your pyramid depiction provides a much better visual analogy for the idea than the ladder.

    Yes, the pyramid shows the frequency correctly, but it also gives rise to the notion that refutation is the pinnacle of argument while name-calling is the most base of arguments.

    Further, the ladder gives the false impression that in order to “reach” the better forms of argument you must begin with the lower forms. While each of us may begin with name-calling as children, we don’t progress upwards through the other stages as maturity sets in.

    If you did want to make the ladder analogy apply, then perhaps you should show a ladder which descends into a sewer … one would begin at the top in the fresh clean air and with each step downwards you would be closer to the filth.

    Nice graphics though, ass-hat! :)


    25 Apr 08 at 5:57 pm

  3. [...] [...]

  4. [...] the create debate blog stopped by to leave a link to another depiction of the same information.  I am rather partial to the pyramid, but you might like the ladder, too. This entry was written [...]

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