Why posting on forums is a (mostly) futile activity

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 22, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    Most of us are grown adults, set in our ways (good or bad), and unwilling to change. Logic or truth has nothing to do with it...it's just human nature.

    A typology of OPs in this forum:
    1. An interesting neutral article, linked, with or without comments
    2. An article that buttresses the poster's particular point of view, with an implicit taunt to the other side to respond
    3. Expressions of certain emotions for or against certain groups or issues
    4. Polls on topics with invitations for responders to vote on unscientifically (simply due to the way the question is posed)

    Usually none of these achieve what is truly a dialogue, i.e. one that exchanges facts and arguments to change others' minds. Most of the time people just entrench deeper, throwing insults and epithets about their opponents' intelligence, morals, or looks, while ignoring valid points on the other side. Or, if the topic at hand is universally accepted as odious (e.g. DADT), either it's chorus of boos, or it's to use it to bash opponents.

    This mirrors real life quite well. The US Senate as a deliberative body is a myth--the votes are all usually done ahead of time in the Senators' minds, and "debate" is just for show, playing with rules such as filibustering. It's common to "debate" with an empty Senate. Any compromise is not done because opinions are changed, but for political bargaining.

    NietzscheRuinous. -- The surest way of ruining a youth is to teach him to respect those who think as he does more highly than those who think differently from him.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:34 AM GMT
    People that seek to win over hearts and minds probably know they're preaching to the choir and are only heard by the converted but hope that if they repeat themselves often enough what they say will become conventional wisdom and universal truth.
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:49 AM GMT
    "Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
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    Jan 23, 2011 2:48 PM GMT
    I don't post facts or opinions anymore. I would be preaching to my own choir and just causing others to sling the hate. I just ask questions to see what people can provide for me to read so I can formulate an opinion. Then keep the opinion to myself.

    Nobody on these forums is asking for my opinion specifically so there is no need for it.

    However I find it ironic when I did make a post about this a month or so ago about controlling the hate in posts, many responses I read were from chronic posters who claim they don't spew hate when they post, only to do so in their next post.

    Admitting you find it okay to put someone down for their posts is not the best way to make your point. It is just going to make me ignore your point of view in the future.

    I also don't try to post falsehoods, in case someone wanted to take me out of context.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Jan 23, 2011 3:06 PM GMT
    I don't necessarily post in a forum to change anyone's mind. I post so that others know that there are a variety of opinions out there on any one subject -- and that different opinions are okay.
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    Jan 23, 2011 4:47 PM GMT
    Different opinions are ok, as long as they are supported by facts.
    Again, before we agree there's a forest, you have to look at the individual trees first.
    To argue that one particular set of policies is wrong simply because it was implemented by the "opposite" camp, and then to come back and claim that you're going to implement correctly the same policies, is intellectually dishonest at best, and morally dubious when taken in its worse sense.

    E.g.
    Weiner"My good friend, the new chairman, Mr. Upton, started his remarks with a long litany of things in the new bill. They're gonna have coverage for preexisting conditions. They're gonna have help for the donut hole. They're gonna have making sure there are incentives to small businesses to offer insurance. You know what they call that, my colleagues? They call that the bill they're repealing. It sounds very strange, but they want to repeal the bill but they still want to give it a big hug and embrace it as if they support the things."
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    Jan 23, 2011 5:16 PM GMT
    UpperCdn saidIt is pointless to make a post because spoilers will always insist on going off-topic and making partisan swipes. There is no ability or desire to really learn anything, and others actively prevent you from trying to engage in discussion to get informed; specifically, webster666 and rnch.


    I'm really pissed this mornng because I started a thread last night hoping for rational feedback on GOP potentials, and those two immediately started weighing in with trash talk.

    Musclemed (a conservative) willingly engaged with good will and intent (even though we are clearly political opposites)

    Apparently though certain people here cannot bear the thought of a real left-winger (member of the socialist NDP) having a good faith conversation with poeople of other viewpoints. and just want to shout them down.




    Your contention is completely unfair. Perhaps it's your limited interaction with some of us, or not being as marinated in the partisan environment of US media, but while Webster and rnch may have been the offenders in this case, the right-leaning guys are just as, if not more, guilty of relentless ad hominem attacks, plastering the forum with dubious "news" articles, and generally posting misinformation and outright lies.

    Perhaps it's different in Canada, but in the US there's no real attempt by the vast majority of conservatives - both on here and in the media - do not debate in good faith, and believe compromise is leftists giving in to their (conservative's) position.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:29 PM GMT
    UpperCdn saidIt is pointless to make a post because spoilers will always insist on going off-topic and making partisan swipes. There is no ability or desire to really learn anything, and others actively prevent you from trying to engage in discussion to get informed; specifically, webster666 and rnch.


    I'm really pissed this mornng because I started a thread last night hoping for rational feedback on GOP potentials, and those two immediately started weighing in with trash talk.

    Musclemed (a conservative) willingly engaged with good will and intent (even though we are clearly political opposites)

    Apparently though certain people here cannot bear the thought of a real left-winger (member of the socialist NDP) having a good faith conversation with poeople of other viewpoints. and just want to shout them down.


    Frankly, your thread is pretty insulting to those of us who are---broadly speaking---"liberal". Though I don't like to be [boxed]. Your obsession with starting threads in which you admonish people "liberals" for their bad behavior makes one want to push you off your self-created and hypocritical pedestal. This is the internet: you don't control it. You don't get to set the agenda. You don't get to make the conversation linear, rather the community makes a nonlinear conversation.

    This is the internet. The standard of debate is not high, because

    (i) people take little time to think before posting.
    (ii) people do not read or write long posts. Three paragraphs is the absolute maximum. The level of thought that can be placed into a three paragraph essay is absolutely miniscule. Many thoughts can barely be contained in 100 page books!
    (iii) people approach the internet looking to reinforce their own opinions, not to change them. In my experience very few people are intellectually rigorous enough to change their thoughts under any circumstance.
    (iv) debate is anonymous --- look at all the headless/pictureless people mouthing off --- and depersonalized. Social mores do not seem to apply.

    Additionally, I don't think it's helpful that RealJock's forum software is *primitive*. There's no subthreading/ratings etc like EVERY OTHER FORUM OUT THERE. It positively encourages confusion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:35 PM GMT
    Oh great...a forum thread about "Why posting on forums is a (mostly) futile activity."
    Futility has reached new highs. icon_lol.gif
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidOh great...a forum thread about "Why posting on forums is a (mostly) futile activity."
    Futility has reached new highs. icon_lol.gif


    I love this blog, actually: http://futility.typepad.com/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:38 PM GMT
    Hey, I've definitely changed my mind several times after reading posts. I thought I my abs were too big, but in reality it's my small chest that's the problem. I'm so much more enlightened now in my workouts. icon_lol.gif

    Being anonymous should actually be an advantage. Half the time I read posts before the pics load on my ipod--no more credence towards those who're good looking, just what they post should matter.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 said
    Being anonymous should actually be an advantage. Half the time I read posts before the pics load on my ipod--no more credence towards those who're good looking, just what they post should matter.


    I don't think it actually is. It might be fine for you, but you seem a pretty logical character. For many people, the anonymity merely allows depersonalized identity to permit behavior they wouldn't contemplate in interacting with a real human. This may be liberating for a while --- identity games should not be the province merely of those who read Foucault --- but I think by and large it merely lowers the standard of writing/speech/debate/noise.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:43 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    paulflexes saidOh great...a forum thread about "Why posting on forums is a (mostly) futile activity."
    Futility has reached new highs. icon_lol.gif


    I love this blog, actually: http://futility.typepad.com/


    He's right down the street from me in Littlestown! icon_eek.gif
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Jan 23, 2011 6:48 PM GMT
    UpperCdn saidIt is pointless to make a post because spoilers will always insist on going off-topic and making partisan swipes. There is no ability or desire to really learn anything, and others actively prevent you from trying to engage in discussion to get informed; specifically, webster666 and rnch.


    I'm really pissed this mornng because I started a thread last night hoping for rational feedback on GOP potentials, and those two immediately started weighing in with trash talk.

    Musclemed (a conservative) willingly engaged with good will and intent (even though we are clearly political opposites)

    Apparently though certain people here cannot bear the thought of a real left-winger (member of the socialist NDP) having a good faith conversation with people of other viewpoints. and just want to shout them down.




    Not to hijack. Since I am mentioned. I would say my politics are more conservative than my West Hollywood neighbors, or my NYC relatives.

    I would however describe myself as more a libertarian.

    I take topics as they come. But for the most part its my contention that when government is least involved we prosper the most.
    As everyone is, I am biased by my own life experiences.


    The name calling and personal shots is a turnoff, and I would say fairly rampant within the left /gay circles. For some is a colloquial way of speech, for others it goes to there inner personality.

    That is why I appreciate the ignore button.

    However I would say the majority of my friends are liberal , and we have conversations without name calling. So its possible.
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    Jan 23, 2011 6:52 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    UpperCdn saidIt is pointless to make a post because spoilers will always insist on going off-topic and making partisan swipes. There is no ability or desire to really learn anything, and others actively prevent you from trying to engage in discussion to get informed; specifically, webster666 and rnch.


    I'm really pissed this mornng because I started a thread last night hoping for rational feedback on GOP potentials, and those two immediately started weighing in with trash talk.

    Musclemed (a conservative) willingly engaged with good will and intent (even though we are clearly political opposites)

    Apparently though certain people here cannot bear the thought of a real left-winger (member of the socialist NDP) having a good faith conversation with poeople of other viewpoints. and just want to shout them down.




    Your contention is completely unfair. Perhaps it's your limited interaction with some of us, or not being as marinated in the partisan environment of US media, but while Webster and rnch may have been the offenders in this case, the right-leaning guys are just as, if not more, guilty of relentless ad hominem attacks, plastering the forum with dubious "news" articles, and generally posting misinformation and outright lies.

    Perhaps it's different in Canada, but in the US there's no real attempt by the vast majority of conservatives - both on here and in the media - do not debate in good faith, and believe compromise is leftists giving in to their (conservative's) position.



    Indeed.
    And Upper's hateful and extreme personal attacks on Webster and mch in the thread he started make him a hypocrite for complaining about "trash talk".
    You cannot post trash and then whine about others who post trash without being a huge hypocrite.