A review of Kialo

Kialo is a website for having debates.

You can browse "theses" to discuss and click. On each "thesis", you can see claims, Pros and Cons, which you can give "thanks" to, using a small heart emoticon, and which you can vote on according to "impact".

I admire their apparent intention to make tools enabling people to discuss ideas and to learn from each other.

But the good part ends here. Let me get to the bad part. I have not even linked to the website, due to the bad part being really bad.

The bad part

  • You can't participate in debates.
    • In order to add claims about a thesis, you have to either be a "Writer", or to "mark [a claim] for review"  for an "Editor" to check.
      • Believe it or not, but in order to "mark for review" you still have to be a Writer.
      • Limited expression. You can only point out the following issues with a claim:
        • Unsupported, though there is no place on the site for adding references to support your claim
        • Not a claim
        • Unclear
        • Vulgar/Abusive
        • Duplicate claim
        • Unrelated
        • Not sincere
    • You can not comment. In order to comment, you also have to be a Writer.
    • You can create a claim. But it's only "Suggested", and only Admins can see it, which can decide to accept it.
  • There is oppressive JavaScript on the site, taking control over your browser, and giving it to the website owners. There's no better example of what Richard Stallman keeps blabbering about
    • This has several symptoms:
      • Your browser's right-click menu is replaced. This is common on many sites, but bad, regardless.
      • You can not Copy. That is correct, they have disabled your clipboard, and replaced it with THEIR OWN CLIPBOARD, which only works on their site.
        • This makes commenting about content on the site very inconvenient (outside of the site).
      • You can not select on the site. Dragging your cursor across text does nothing at best, and something you don't want at worst.
      • Even scrolling on the site stutters.
I urge you not to use this nor similar websites. Nor others which interfere with your basic browser features through Javascript. They are:

  • patronizing, because they don't trust you as a human being, and hide features away from you
  • kafkaesque, because you have to go through the klunky interface to do what you want, and you realize you can't do anything in the end
  • orwellian, because they surveil everything, and have complete control over what they show each person (well, technically, all websites do, but this one tracks you via an account, to make sure)
Compare with Wikipedia:
  • you can use it without having to execute closed-source Javascript
  • they just let random people edit stuff on the site
  • but SOMEHOW, it is the go-to encyclopedia and one of the most trafficked websites on the web.
To me, Kialo looks more like a breakthrough in making Admin-approved spoon-fed "debates" appear more like fair debates, than a place where you can actually debate.

I claim that a better sorting algorithm for debates is 4chan's primitive "latest comment". This means people speaking more often get the spotlight, rather than the majority opinion. And that is how you find real claims, from people who dedicate time to what they speak, instead of mainstream beliefs only backed by a click.

Oh well. At least we can vote with <OUR_DEAR_LEADER>'s claim.

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