Thursday, January 2, 2014

In my Humble Opinion

After we were married my husband admitted that he initially thought that I was opinionated and it was intimidating to him.  I laughed it off for a while, me... opinionated?! Hah. Well, he was right. I have very strong opinions and I like sharing them. I have this habit of getting involved in debates because it's entertaining to me. I like having intelligent discussions, especially when I don't agree with what the other person thinks. It isn't about being right or even contention. I feel energized when I am having an intelligent exchange of ideas and I love when I can keep up.

Now, Facebook presents a huge problem for me. People are ALWAYS giving their opinion on something. It's fodder for debate junkies like me. After many unsuccessful attempts to stay out of debates with people online, I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty much hopeless.

I have also discovered that there are people in these online debates (on Facebook or other news or entertainment websites) that take away from the enjoyable experience of sharing opinions. Now, this may be my opinionated side coming out, but there are a few groups of people I've noticed that wheedle their way in and ruin (or at least attempt to ruin) a good debate.

The keep-your-mouth-shut's:

These people attempt to kill a debate by arguing that "if you don't like something you should look away or ignore the issue." These type of people should just move into the book 1984, where a differing opinion is discouraged, and even punished.

This doesn't work for me. I am grateful to live in a country where I am allowed to speak my mind, even if I'm wrong. If there is one thing that I support to the death it is that everyone has the right to choose. That includes what they think and what they say. I may not like it and I may not agree with it, but that doesn't give me the right to tell you that you aren't allowed to express your opinion.

The kill-joys, also known as the guilt-trippers

 These type of debaters drive me INSANE. They jump into debates with comments such as "My neighbor's, cousin's friend was squished by a meteor the other day. You should just be grateful for what you have instead of wasting your time talking about this." There are also the "do you know how many cops/firefighters/soldiers died.... why should we care about this."

Guilt-tripping is a low blow and bad form. It's the easy way out of a debate and it's also a little mean. I mean, how can someone disagree that whatever tragedy is slapped in their face isn't sad or more important to someone? Bad things happen every day to very good people. It's nothing to make light of and it certainly should never be used to guilt people out of a perfectly legitimate discussion.

The mud-slingers

Nothing ruins a good discussion better than someone who doesn't know anything intelligent about the topic so they start insulting everyone involved. These peeps are often referred to as trolls with good reason. They lurk in the ether waiting for the chance to taunt for pure entertainment sake. Not only are they typically extremely mean and hurtful, they distract from the actual debate and that's annoying.

I should point out that while I do agree with everyone having the right to express their opinion, I don't necessarily enjoy or support certain ways people choose to portray that opinion. There are ways to express your opinion without insulting someone's family all the way back to Adam.

I enjoy a good debate and I am more than willing to conceded a point or even my entire position, if I find that the other person has an intelligent case. It's a great way to learn more about topics and look at things from a different perspective, it's also fun to sound intelligent. It isn't fun or entertaining trying to navigate a debate while dodging lobs of guilt, mud and keep-it-to-yourselves, so play fair!

Do you enjoy debating online? What type of comments drive you crazy?

No comments:

Post a Comment