October 9, 2013

On Commenting in the Blogosphere

Thoughts here:
Yes, some people behave as though being too toxic to interact with means they “win”.

A thought or few have lodged in my brain to keep me sane online (to the extent that I am):

1. I am not obliged to have the last word. Getting (or foregoing) the last word does not mean I’m right and it doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

2. For certain discussions: If an onlooker buys into my interlocutor’s “argument”, anything I say will not change their mind.

3. Some things are not worth the time to talk about.

4. I like to talk with people who have something to offer me, whether or not we agree, whether or not I persuade, am persuaded, or neither. If they have nothing to offer me, why am I talking with them?

And if my counterparty doesn’t view me similarly—it’s highly unlikely that they are Richard Feynman, posting anonymously from Beyond—, why are they talking with me?

5. Unfortunately, my belief in suasion by reason has declined since I went online. Some people in effect demand to be manipulated. (Nor am I necessarily always immune.)
I quit smoking a long time ago. Before taking the last and hopefully final plunge, I knew I'd have to quit eventually but wasn't ready. I'm developing a similar attitude toward comenting online.

That attitude is probably suboptimal. What I should do is develop a thick(er) skin about ignoring people with whom engagement doesn't advance my understanding.

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