Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Controversial Topic!

A friend, Andrew Cannon, posted in his FB status update:  "Controversial Topic!" 

Nothing else, just those two words with an exclamation point, but no actual reference to a controversial topic. 

All the comments that followed are hilarious if you've participated in many chat forums or online controversial threads, which often include inflammatory comments, fiery rebuttals, hasty generalizations, etc., among some heartfelt and objective comments.  I am pasting the entire post below.  I didn't get all the references because I'm not often on chat threads, but Rob knew them all and was laughing the whole time he read them.  I've bolded the ones that made me laugh out loud :

Andrew Cannon:  Controversial Topic!
Eliason: I disagree, and I can't believe you would take that point of view.
Jones: I'm sorry, but have you considered this?
Timothy Provenzano: Fiery rebuttal!
Andrew Cannon: Some feelings of hurt at his friends' responses, coupled with a feigned indifference.
John Chapman: Nonsensical statement involving plankton.*
Andy Wilson: What you're saying sounds just like the Nazis.... or Communists... or some other controversial group! Goodwin's Rule!!!!
Elizabeth Grace Cannon Romeril: Hasty generalization, and completely missing the point of the issue, while using examples that don't apply to prove a point that is beside the point.
Andy Wilson: Typical rhetoric coming from someone of your ideology! Ad hominem attack!!!
Andrew Cannon: Setting up a straw man. Knocking him down.
Rebecca Wilson Jones: Now, now. Everyone be nice. Because I'm right and you all know it.
Theresa Merrill: I can see that I, as the [sole] voice of reason, must intervene soon...
Jennifer Hoskisson: BlErG! Bringing Religion into this to simultaneously clobber you over the head with my righteousity and make you feel guilty for attacking my beliefs!
Andrew Cannon: ur dum
John Chapman: Suggestion that this entire argument is causing a vacuum.
Cara Jenkins: non sequitur then sulky withdrawal
Rachel Harris: Inflammatory statement!!!!
Jonathan Cannon: I think I missed something. What we're we talking about?**
Lee Van Duzer: Troll thread then post for the sake of posting.
Lillian Kaye Brough: emoticon
Andrew Cannon: First! Edit: Crap. I so wasn't first.
Kimberly Cropper Wilson: Obvious scathing attack thinly veiled as a curious inquiry.
Rebecca Wilson Jones: Final statement and then silently deleting you as friend and hoping you don't notice.

I thought it was pretty funny how this mock argument pretty much nailed a lot of the negative types of comments that are posted when there are controversial topics.

Now, that said, I see a lot of people really make good, thoughtful comments as well on controversial posts, and think there's a lot to be said for discussing things rationally and sharing our opinions, even though it's hard because they're touchy topics.  It's some of the trolling*** and flame war**** comments that used to surprise me.  People can be really brutal over the internet sometimes.  When they start flaming or are trolling, I don't bite (I don't engage with them), and I no longer think they're credible voices to the discussion. 

*The random comment about plankton was my favorite!  But it really happens!  People throw in random things to shake things up a bit or lessen tension, or just to be random.  (Or maybe they are just random people!)
**I think Jonathan may have been the only person who thought he stepped into a real argument but couldn't figure out what we were arguing about.  = )
***Trolling, for the very few of you that may not know, is making comments specifically to incite reactions, not to contribute meaningfully to a discussion.
****Flaming, again if you might not know, is being incendiary just to be incendiary.  "ur dum" is a VERY mild form of flaming as I understand it.

The trick is not getting defensive or taking comments too personally when we discuss controversial items,  and also weeding out the incendiary ones from the thought-out points, and feeling like we learn more when we come away from it, even though most of us probably won't see eye to eye since we're already invested in our position on the matter at hand.  Keep a thick skin and focus on being objective, IMHO. = )


Anonymous said...

That was hilarious and so appropriate.

Andrew C. said...

I have to throw in that Jonathan almost certainly knew exactly what was going on, but he's a bit like my great-grandfather on my mom's side. When company was staying late, he'd turn to his wife and with a straight face say, "Dear, if we'd go to bed, these nice people could go home."

If the guests laughed, he'd laugh, too. If they didn't, well, they might never know he was joking.

Kimbooly said...

Hahahaha! So,Jonathan, the joke's on me. It makes his comment all the more appropriate for the thread. : )

I love your great-grandfather, too. Pretty smart way to get the guests to go home.