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Taking out the garbage


So I started this blog out of frustration at the level of discourse that dominates the political and social dialogue in these United States. Maybe I’m just adding to it and making the pile of poop bigger by writing a blog to vent. Some people who commented seemed to think so. I am willing to admit they might be right but I’m not done blogging yet!

I wish people who have a problem with what they read (including myself) would stick to specifics and being constructive with criticism. The Journal World comments section is pretty typical. Any article about abortion will invariably be followed by the same old back and forth assertions that the extreme positions on both sides of the issue take for hundreds upon hundreds of posts with almost no real debate or dialogue. I understand that this new ability to share one’s opinions with the world is somewhat cathartic, and I’m not condemning anyone who takes the opportunity to follow up on their intellectual purging sessions with some real open minded soul searching when and if statements they make are countered with legitimate arguments.

I am condemning the people who post basically the same messages day after day without any pause or genuine reflection upon arguments made against them. I am calling out the morons (oh yes you are!) who congratulate themselves on how brutal their comeback is or in silencing people with intimidation or just sheer persistence. And I am unabashedly hating on people who post hate speech in the form of blanket statements:

conservatives are women hating, gay bashing know nothing blah blah blah… liberals are baby hating, godless sexual deviants blah blah blah

It’s astonishing to me that full grown adults (many of whom are at a job that they are supposed to be focusing on) are spending a significant portion of their days drumming up internet drama! Are you one of those people?

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both have a recommend button in their comments sections, and the NYT also has editor’s picks that get highlighted. I like these functions because they do seem to make it easier to prune away the nonsense a bit. However for the most part they seem to do little in the way of improving the quality or the veracity of the content, instead functioning as consensus builders.

A lot of people have taken the view that comments sections and anonymity in general are a negative. I disagree. I don’t want to give up on following up articles by reading the comments sections. Many times I have found opinions that would never see the light of day if they had to be filtered through an editor are contained in the comments. I like the democratic function of comments and I credit the equalization that the internet offers us all with some developments that I consider to be positives for the ‘little guy’. What to do? How can someone like me who likes copious amounts of divergent information but also prefers to ‘cut to the chase’ make the most of internet time?

What have you done that has worked for you?


devobrun 8 years ago

So, serious, you want effective discussion regarding emotional issues. You site abortion as an example. Yep, it doesn't get more emotional than taking a baby's life.......or giving the mother the choice.

Here's some of my opinions on the subject that might find a consensus:

An abortion should never be perfunctory and without thought and feelings. It is a decision that is never easy or good. It is surgery. Women get pregnant and face the decision to give birth. But it isn't like the removal of a cyst. It should involve counseling and a clear decision that won't be impossible to live with the rest of the mother's life. Mom needs help with this one.

Next problem is if the baby is alive or not when aborted. What is life? Uh oh, here come the myriad of viewpoints on what life is.

If you can't clearly determine the definition of life, then how can you have an unemotional, thoughtful discussion of it or its taking? Life isn't energy. Energy is the ability to do work, and work is the dot product of a force vector and a displacement vector. Force, displacement, vector, etc can be defined in a rigorous mathematical sense.

Life cannot. Therefore decisions about it are ill-defined and often lead to emotional assertions.

Nope, sorry, seriouscat, it turns out that bad definitions and emotions and wild assertions go hand-in-hand. Therefore you'll never see rational discussions on these blogs without the trolls, drunks, and religious fervor (in all its glory). People are entitled to their opinion. People believe on the basis of faith, marketing, friendships, leaders, TV shows.........and on and on.

Most of these people couldn't derive an intellectual argument if they tried. Sad.

You'll just have to wade through the carp like the rest of us.

devobrun 8 years ago

g_rock, are you sure?

If I work my way into a blogger after a few months by causing a little doubt. If that doubt causes the blogger to Google some information about the doubt. If that blogger does eventually come around to a different opinion.

Then what, g?

You don't hear from them anymore.

You don't know that you changed a heart. You don't know that you made a difference.

Even if the blogger doesn't acknowledge a change of heart, that blogger might go online again and address other issues. Never returning to the original area of change. Embarrassed to reveal that he was wrong, the blogger is nevertheless changed.

Or maybe this is horse squeeze.

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