Tell Me I’m Wrong
I have a secret to tell you. Okay. You probably didn’t know this, and I feel really uncomfortable saying it, and please don’t judge me, but…
I’m not always right.
…wait, you did realize that? Because I’m only 20? And I come from a very specific background? And haven’t experienced much in the world? Well dang, I just assumed everyone thought I was right and agreed with me.
But actually, guys, I know you disagree with some of the things I say. I purposefully take strong stances in these blogs and try to argue out my opinions logically in the hopes that someone will disagree. I mean, I also hope that I deconstruct the way you view certain topics, and perhaps see the world from my perspective for a bit, but just as I hope you are listening to my opinion, I desperately want to hear yours. I feel the internet sometimes tends to stifle discourse rather than encourage it, so with this blog, I’m hoping to transform at least Geekitout (the whole of the internet seems a bit daunting) into a place where you can tell me I’m wrong, and hopefully open up a dialogue with it. And since I am Mr. List-Maker, here are a few key things that I believe will make this a better space for discussion.
Just because we disagree doesn’t mean I think you hate me. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I have opinions. You have opinions. I share my opinions with the web, and perhaps you don’t agree with one of them. Know what you should do? TELL ME. Leave me a comment with your side of the story logically stated. I don’t think you’re calling me an idiot, I don’t think you think I’m a terrible person for seeing the world differently, I think you are simply trying to bring new evidence to light that may affect my own views. And you want to know a secret…?
We don’t have to agree. I see comments on my blog as a discussion, not a war. Sometimes I change my mind when you tell me things. Sometimes I only change part of my mind. Sometimes I have a counterargument to whatever you have to say that might change your mind and make my own statement stronger. And sometimes, we may just agree to disagree. Unless you actually tell me what you have to say, no growth can happen on either end.
Don’t let the trolls destroy discourse. The internet has already decided to shame discussion. When I brought up the fact that I wanted people to disagree on my blog, one of my friends instantly shouted IMMA WIN THE INTERNET FIGHT. Surprisingly enough, this whole idea of ‘internet fighting’ is actually a meme already. For some reason, discussion on the internet has become an all or nothing event, a ‘you will agree with me, or you’re a complete idiot’. I find this amusing because in my opinion, virtual discussion can actually be one of the most efficient ways of sharing opinions and knowledge. You have all your statements and your partner’s statements recorded so that you can both search them and quote them, you can instantly link to most things you refer to/your partner can google it, and there is very little intonation conveyed across text. In fact, the number one thing I like about the internet is the fact that you can remove yourself from the discussion at any time. Like seriously, someone being a troll? Click that beautiful x in the corner, you have no obligation to continue to engage them.
Now, all of my previous statements are coming from an emotionless argument style, one I tend to favor but isn’t necessarily everyone’ s preference. I prefer my discussions to be emotionless and logical. I think emotion leads to strong rhetoric for convincing others, but not necessarily strong arguments. This is not to say that experience and emotion can’t be used as evidence in a discussion, and can’t be used to fuel the passion behind a discussion, but rather that once you entwine yourself and take attacks against your statements as an attack against your person, suddenly you are defensive rather than receptive. You suddenly feel the need to prove why you are right, rather than stating the facts and allowing the other person to decide if you are right, as well as failing to listen to the other person’s statements. If you are arguing a point, I believe that you believe in it, and shouting at me or crying will not convince me that you are any more serious (although I understand that sometimes those are accidental and uncontrollable reactions).
Most Importantly: You don’t have to defend yourself to me if you don’t want to. So please, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m right. Tell me I’m a little wrong, but only because of thus and such. Change my mind, it’s probably one of my favorite experiences. Feel free to state your opinion and leave, and ignore me if I try to engage. I really want to hear what you have to say, I’d love to discuss if you’re interested, but if nothing else leave a comment and run. The best part is on the other side, I’m free to disengage if I’m exhausted as well. But if I never get to hear your opinion, I’ll never have new perspectives. Unfortunately I cannot experience/read/learn everything at once, so I rely on other people to share. Please don’t leave me here musing aloud when I’m obviously completely missing a side to the argument. I need you to help me, and I’m not too proud to beg.
Finally, thank you for all the support! This entry isn’t meant to shaft all those who write loving notes to me, who support my writing, who agree with me. You guys are what keep me going, that makes me feel like my opinion actually matters and is being heard. I love you, and I love when you tell me that you like my writing (who wouldn’t?). This is instead asking for more (when am I not in these blogs). I want both the support and the dissent, because that’s what changes me as a person, and forces me to question life rather than simply exist in it.
Internet cookies to the first person to ironically comment with disagreement on this blog post