Debate on teh intertubes
November 9th, 2007 by teragram

Have you ever had one of those conversations where you’re doing your level best to be polite, articulate, sensitive and winsome only to be told that you’re condescending, insulting and annoying? If so, it was probably on the Internet. Adding little smilies and self-deprecating jokes will only get you so far. Eventually, unless you’re on a different ‘net than I am, your “opponent” will completely misconstrue all of your carefully worded arguments and take them as a personal affront.

Is there any way to break out of this cycle? When I want to say “actually, you are the one who is being condescending”, is it time to let the thread die? If I walk away now, will all my hard work come to naught? Is naught the very best I could possibly hope for anyway? Perhaps the lesson here is never to get involved at all.

Sadly, I don’t have any answers to these questions. But, as C said, writing them down is probably more constructive than responding to the thread that gave rise to them. It’s going to be hard, vast audience, to resist that thread. I offered to leave several times, and was repeatedly asked to stay. The things they are saying are crying out for a response. They need a sense-injection! But, alas, they cannot recognise sense in me. I am a Christian and therefore necessarily preaching, rude, aggressive, insulting and condescending. But not wrong, no, no, they would never say I was wrong.


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