A Failure of Willpower

If I have linked you here in a discussion, hi, maybe you are someone rational and thoughtful with whom I am having a disagreement. Given the level of discourse on much of the internet, I must assume until proven otherwise that you are willfully misunderstanding me in order to spew hatred at The Enemy. Feel free to re-read whatever it is that you are disagreeing with to see if you can get the point, since I am not going to argue about the point that you seem to think I have made.

I keep resolving not to argue with mischaracterizations of my arguments. You know the process: someone takes something superficially similar to what you said, attributes it to you, then attacks you for “saying” it. See also “strawman.” You think that clarifying what you said will help. Occasionally it does, but usually the attacker is unable or unwilling to grasp distinctions or perhaps wanders off after calling you Hitler a few times, only to be replaced by someone a few posts later who did not read the clarification or has a slightly different way of misunderstanding you. Basically, you cannot have a discussion in good faith with someone who has decided to hate you, especially if they have decided it would be a loss of face to realize that they hate you for things you never said or did.

I keep failing to uphold this resolution. There are sites I cannot visit because the trolls are too good. I get drawn into arguments. Some of those people are not even trolls; they really seem to believe that I believe some nonsensical version of my beliefs. Maybe that is a defensive rationalization: “there can be no reasonable objection to my beliefs, so my opponent is obviously a crank.” It feels like a misunderstanding you can correct, but that is like trying to get a picture on a radio by sending really good television signals.

I can usually restrain myself after the first round. I say, “x“; someone responds, “x’ is wrong, y“; I explain that I said x, not x’, which is different because of a, b, and c; he responds, “y!!!“; I realize this probably is not going anywhere. Usually. I have mostly lost the felt need to reply to simple contradiction or obviously false/idiotic statements. Mostly. I have also learned that I do not share the population mean for obviousness.

: Zubon

9 thoughts on “A Failure of Willpower

  1. Ravious

    I think your failure as a blogger, and therefore a human, is that you failed to consider “z”… The game could obviously not run without “z” and since you wrote in a way which required your reader to have some standing knowledge of the topic there can be no logical explanation for your failed attempt to portray “x.” ;-)

    But, of course, that doesn’t mean I disagree about “x.”

  2. Openedge1

    I would like to break this down further…

    “Me”

    “All about Me”

    “Me, myself and I”

    Wait darn it…this post is NOT about Me.

    /stomps off

  3. Chris F

    I have been on the receiving end of that blogging, commenting, forum-ing and even in chat channels.

    I like moderation. Been getting better at the “self” prefix that should always be attached to that word.

    Oh yah – u suk carebare!!

  4. Convert

    This reminds me of the World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, and Planetside forums. All of which I read. I retired the forums and replaced them with blogs, where (generally) the posts and opinions are backed with “a, b, c” and the level of competency is almost always higher.

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