How To Deal With Controversial Opinions

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deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,724
0
My experience on forums is vast, so I'll share a little of what I have learned.
Suppose someone posts something controversial, possibly with the intent to provoke.
You have a few choices:
1. Respond with outrage.

2. Ignore it.

3. Respond with a short, reasoned answer.
There may be others, but these are your big choices. Rage, ignore or dismiss. I tend to favor the latter: a short statement of why you think it is wrong, and then move on.
The reason for this is that it does not give any more credence to their view than is warranted. All views must be considered; if they are not relevant, they can be discard. Ignoring them makes them look accepted, and rage seems to validate them, so those two options are not optimal.
However, a quick one-liner or link to the effect of "I disagree because x" followed by no further drama relegates the opinion to where it belongs. It is a minority opinion; it deserves consideration, but no spotlight for being a minority opinion alone.
This way, you do not use the momentum of the forum against itself, nor do you take it lying down. You dismiss, and move on, or at least give a contrary view in the debate. This transfers the focus from the minority nature of the opinion to factual, logical and historical matters.
Food for thought...

 

jefff

Preferred Member
May 28, 2015
1,917
0
Chicago
Presentation is everything, at least in meet space. Most people, when confronted with a vigorous opposing view respond...vigorously. Victory through volume. If you can get people to settle down you can sometimes achieve an understanding.
On this here internet, people can hunt out information that backs up their preconceived notions without ever having to accept the possibility of another point of view.
On the other hand....some folks are just assholes..

 

prairiedruid

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2015
1,676
3
On the other hand....some folks are just assholes..
Although I wish it were different sometimes looking back, yep I was the asshole. But in the heat of the moment it's easy to get carried away on your particular soapbox without giving the other side a fair evaluation. Luckily on this forum I have found the discussions lively and sometimes it has reshaped my thinking other times we agree to disagree, and rarely it was just some other asshole. :wink:

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,886
63
H.L.Mencken, editor and critic, used to answer his more looney correspondence, as well as correspondence with which he simply disagreed, with a four-word response: You may be right. Because he was an ardent writer and could deliver diatribes in a heartbeat, anyone who knew anything about him knew he was being sardonic, but he didn't give any cause to engage in debate.

 

brian64

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2011
5,124
19
I seem to be more often troubled by non-controversial opinions. But don't mind me...I have special problems.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,724
0
I seem to be more often troubled by non-controversial opinions.
Groupthink is to be feared, and sometimes the non-controversial opinions are merely that: collective denial.

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
0
1. Respond with outrage.
What the $&$# is your problem!! Don't you have anything better to do with your time!! What a stupid thread!!! :evil:
2. Ignore it.
Yep
3. Respond with a short, reasoned answer.
Interesting ... I'll keep that assessment in mind while responding to future threads.

 

perdurabo

Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
2,773
10
Hey Ijust got controversial on the FDA thread. Let's see if we can get some practice in. Whose got the guts to try me? :wink:

 

tinsel

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2015
531
0
#2
Which is why I didn't respond to your comments about Star Trek in my "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot" thread. :D

 
Dec 1, 2015
110
0
Chicago, Illinois
I'm option number 3 if I know enough about the topic to counter the original argument. Otherwise, I either ignore it, or if it seems extremely far fetched, I'd ask them, in one way or another, to show evidence for their claim.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,874
66
It really depends on whether I want to get all covered in mud or not. I also take into consideration whether I really want to argue with someone that I otherwise enjoy talking to. I mean, no one is going to convince me what I already know of my own world view. For example... "the economy sucks, the guberment, blah blah blah..." but, then when I look around I see new businesses being built, signs looking for employees, and more people shopping in general. Or, in response to the dying art of pipesmoking, I see at least four cars every morning with pipe smokers, B&M's with people waiting to be rung up, and someone buys the one dadgum pipe that I was saving up just one more week to buy...

I can't convince someone who has been brainwashed in politics and TV or whatever other medium of brainwashery that the way they see the world is wrong. And, just tossing back and forth words and links and opinions isn't going to do anything positive for the world. If your head is stuck in a dying ember of the dry socket that you think this world is, I can't help you with a post. And, I wonder why that person would want to drag everyone else into the hole of despair with them. But, it's what you make of it.
But, all that said, some days, I'm all, "sure, I'll play this game," and dive right into the mud and manure and start swinging. Ha ha, sometimes you just need to swap a few punches covered in filth. I may be old enough to know better, but... ha ha, sometimes it's just fun.

 

jmill208

Preferred Member
Dec 8, 2013
805
1
Maryland USA
I can't convince someone who has been brainwashed in politics and TV or whatever other medium of brainwashery that the way they see the world is wrong. And, just tossing back and forth words and links and opinions isn't going to do anything positive for the world. If your head is stuck in a dying ember of the dry socket that you think this world is, I can't help you with a post. And, I wonder why that person would want to drag everyone else into the hole of despair with them. But, it's what you make of it.
But, all that said, some days, I'm all, "sure, I'll play this game," and dive right into the mud and manure and start swinging. Ha ha, sometimes you just need to swap a few punches covered in filth. I may be old enough to know better, but... ha ha, sometimes it's just fun.
This basically sums it up. If you're really out to change the world, is the PM forum really your pulpit?
This forum is entertainment, camaraderie and a place to share our common interests. Face it - we all have bullshit, we're all assholes, we all have our opinions, (and you know what they say about opinions) it just depends on when and where you want to show off your assholery...
Opt for #2 in most cases. Unless of course...

 

markthelad

Preferred Member
Mar 18, 2014
585
0
#1 - So far, I have not indulged.

#2 - Usually

#3 - If I did this, I was probably pissed and actually wanted to do #1.

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

Pick your battles.

Good post Death!

 

jefff

Preferred Member
May 28, 2015
1,917
0
Chicago
For me it comes down to one thing. Life is too short to hang out with people I don't like.
Unless of course I am being paid.

 

iamn8

Preferred Member
Sep 8, 2014
4,253
0
Moody, AL
I deal with controversial opinions by not having them. I totally mainstream baby and if you have a problem with it, you can suck it ;)

 

robwoodall

Senior Member
Apr 29, 2015
423
0
Were I as smart as I sometimes think I am, I would always, always, always pick #2. Just ignore it.
When I let myself get mad, I feel like I've already lost and sometimes even lose sleep over it. I'm pretty sure "the other guy" gets a kick out of my response and feels like he won.
Sometimes I do try #3, even though I know better. I may just be particularly bad at persuasion, but I don't think I've ever known anyone to change an opinion when presented with facts. When facts are defined as excessive materialism and measurable evidence is seen as a conspiracy, when social justice is seen as a bad thing and rude becomes the new definition of honest, there's no common platform from which to debate.