I enjoy book clubs. If you've never been a part of one, you owe it to yourself to try it out. Not only will you be pulled out of your comfort zone in terms of what you read, but it forces you to think a bit more critically and thoroughly about what you're reading because you'll have to verbalize an opinion about the plot, characters, symbolism, tie-ins with previous books, etc. Even if you don't end up liking the book, the discussion around the book is time well spent.

However, it takes many hours to read a book. And there are more great books in this world than I have time to read, even if I spent all day every day for the rest of my life reading. I don't love letting someone else put books on my list when I'm not even going to get through my own carefully curated selections.

I've limited myself to one book club, even though there are others I would join if I had infinite time. However, it's the discussion with friends over a beer that is the good stuff. The book is just a vehicle.

So what if we skipped the hours needed to read the book, and just had the discussion on topics that are meaningful, with friends, with beers?

Enter Discussion Club!

I don't know exactly what this ends up looking like, but to start here's what I'm thinking:

  • I imagine a book club-style discussion for an hour or so, led by one moderator. Right now it will be online, but maybe someday we'll be able to get together over beers. Or maybe it just stays online for those that aren't in town.
  • The job of the moderator is to set the discussion topic(s), keep the discussion on-topic, and allow everyone to talk and express their opinion.
  • We'll then rotate through who plays moderator, similar to how book clubs rotate through who gets to pick the next book.
  • Then, in true agile software fashion, we'll see what went well, what didn't, and make needed changes for the next round.

As far as the topic goes, I'd like to dig a bit deeper than the latest sports drama, unless that drama has a deeper meaning. I'd also like to say away from pure politics. Anything of actual importance is inherently political in some way, and that's perfectly fine and in fact welcome. Issues that have a political component are great, but not politics as the issue. I think we all know the distinction, and perhaps it evolves over time.

Therefore the people in this group are obviously chosen with purpose. If I've invited you to the group, it means I know you know how to have a civil conversation, value your opinion, and recognize that you like to think deeply about issues with an open mind, but with your unique point of view. I also have picked people that are largely in agreement on the political spectrum just to take that possible problem off the table from the start. Disagreement is fine and welcome, diversity of thought is good, disrespect is not! I have friends, whom I enjoy, but that would not be able to be in this discussion group, I think we all do. I'm trying to balance diversity and argument.

So, what do you say? Interested?