Jump to content
  • Sky
  • Blueberry
  • Slate
  • Blackcurrant
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Emerald
  • Chocolate
  • Charcoal
Maggie Mae

The Other Side is Not Dumb

Recommended Posts

Wine time!
Maggie Mae

I found this interesting article that has some advice and a little admonishment. What do you think? It's sort of about how we create echo chambers on the internet. 

https://medium.com/@SeanBlanda/the-other-side-is-not-dumb-2670c1294063#.grnpbjmem

Edited by OnceUponATime
adding tags

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sparkles

Thought provoking article. I was actually talking about this issue with a friend of mine, how we're so willing to accept certain things as fact without doing our own research and to give a knee-jerk dismissal to opposing views for no other reason than because they because ARE opposing views. As difficult as it often is, I've been making an extra effort to be more fair minded even though 99% of the time my opinions don't change. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NachosFlandersStyle

Love it. I've done some organizing/ political work and after talking politics with a whole lot of different people I'm getting to be a lot more conscious of this. People will surprise you-- they believe things for all sorts of reasons, and they don't always fit into the left-right categories we like to think of. And when you're face to face with someone who believes something that "nobody can seriously believe," it's a lot harder to scoff than when you're on the other side of a computer screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Satisfied
church_of_dog

One confounding factor I find in real life, one-on-one conversations in particular, is that people often don't state their opinion as an opinion, they state it more or less as a fact, even if upon inspection they would recognize it as an opinion.

I have one friend in particular who does this, and he's not generally open to hearing dissent unless I have a whole and complete argument to present in opposition.  In other words, he feels free to state his opinions, but then isn't open to hearing other opinions, although he's open to hearing a factual rebuttal.  This is a dysfunctional dynamic, I'm well aware.  But what really gets me is that I have a very hard time finding a polite/acceptable way to respond when he says something with which I disagree, or more often, when he jumps to a conclusion that I agree might be possible but which I think it's very premature to jump to given what information we currently have.   Our in-person conversational style is such that it's hard to just say nothing, and if I just say "yeah" or "mm-hmm" I feel it conveys that I agree even if I don't.  In writing/emails, I often just say "aha" or "ok" which is my attempt to just acknowledge "I hear you" but in person that comes across as really passive-aggressively disagreeing.  I need to get better at saying things like "that's an interesting opinion" or "I have a different perspective" or something bland like that.

When we are in the company of other people, other people treat us as a couple (we are exes who still spend a lot of time together) and I have the additional dynamic of feeling like his comments "represent me" -- kinda like I have some obligation to tell him when he's not making sense, in the same way I would be the one to tell him if he had spinach in his teeth... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ShepherdontheRock

OMG,  @Maggie Mae. I had no idea you were one of THOSE people.

In all fairness, this is actually what I was getting at in my complaint about Bernie supporters.

I think part of the problem is confirmation bias- you see how many people love to interpret whatever a Jslave does as a sign they'll break free? Yeah. 

Plus, we're more likely to read news sources that are biased the way we like (I mean when's the last time I listened to FOX?Even though every so often they do get something right?) it's even extended so that the cookies Facebook used to gather information about us mean we're more likely to see stuff that favors our biases in our feeds.

Thus why it irritates me when people (especially radical right and left) get SO offended when you disagree with them. And of course, they won't even listen to a well formed argument and start with the gish galloping, derailing, and escape hatches. And saying things that, beyond being not right, are not even wrong. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mama Mia
2 hours ago, NachosFlandersStyle said:

Love it. I've done some organizing/ political work and after talking politics with a whole lot of different people I'm getting to be a lot more conscious of this. People will surprise you-- they believe things for all sorts of reasons, and they don't always fit into the left-right categories we like to think of. And when you're face to face with someone who believes something that "nobody can seriously believe," it's a lot harder to scoff than when you're on the other side of a computer screen.

When people don't fit into neat little left-right boxes its harder, for me, to be dismissive of ALL their opinions, since I'm bound to agree with some of them ;-) 

I know a few people who, I think, fall very neatly into a particular ideological camp, on every single issue, and have since before the Internet was even a thing --But the vast majority are a mix of " left" and " right" views. Sometimes a really surprising jumble. One thing I've noticed is that if they are very passionate about one issue - that their other views will start drifting to the ideology aligned with that issue. I assume because they start out reading the forums and postings focused on that issue, and then naturally come across the opinions / posts on other issues. It  definitely doesn't seem to matter if their general leaning was  left or right,  or what the initial cause  was. 

I wonder if there was that kind of drift pre- social media? 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mama Mia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2xx1xy1JD

A big YES to the article - with a caveat that yes, sometimes people really can be ignorant.

I'd love some debates to have entrance requirements.  You aren't allowed to share your opinion unless you can show that you have read and understood the opinion of your opponent.  In some cases, I'd like to make both side do mandatory readings first.  [I think, for example, that about 99.9% of toxic Israeli/Palestinian debate online could be eliminated if there was a rule that you first had to read Benny Morris' "1948" and answer a quiz to confirm.]

I realize, though, that I'm just a cranky INTJ, and that I can't force other people to be smart and debate well.

I absolutely HATE it when people link bullshit, share it with everyone they know, and refuse to gracefully acknowledge that they were wrong when I point out that the Onion isn't a real news site, or that the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was actually making fun of racism/homophobia and not promoting it, or that they've just quoted a hate site, or that they've forwarded a rumor that has no basis in fact at all and has been debunked by snopes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mama Mia

So true 2xx1xy1jd. In my dream world the relevant snopes article is automatically attached to every single social media rumor posting. If no snopes related post comes up in the auto screen - great! Nothing added. If it does turn out to have a snopes report - people can read that commentary along with whatever crazy ass gossip you are sharing with the world. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrsaztx

It's difficult when people automatically dismiss you as crazy and lump you in with the opposite fringe group if you don't wholeheartedly agree with them. I'm presently in a discussion on Facebook where someone posted "breaking news: 74 people killed when the national guard is sent to confiscate their military-style assault rifles and other guns!" And about 9-10 paragraphs before you get to "this group was lead by Paul revere, who is still at large" I commented that revolution-era muskets are just a hair different than modern assault rifles and that saying its "breaking news" is to serve to get people riled up and to make light of mass shootings is in poor taste and doesn't help their cause. I immediately got told to go buy a vibrator and relax and that of course "all you anti gun liberal retards are the same". It's interesting because I have guns, I'm required to use guns at work, I have no problem with safe gun ownership at all, but because I pointed out their metaphor was flawed, I'm a liberal harpy that doesn't have sex enough. These are the same people who talk about being "southern gentlemen". Classy, classy stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nervous
Tim-Tom Biblethumper
36 minutes ago, Mama Mia said:

So true 2xx1xy1jd. In my dream world the relevant snopes article is automatically attached to every single social media rumor posting. If no snopes related post comes up in the auto screen - great! Nothing added. If it does turn out to have a snopes report - people can read that commentary along with whatever crazy ass gossip you are sharing with the world. 

Wouldn't work with my crazy-ass cousin, he just says that snopes lies and is run by a bunch of criminals.  :crazy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrsaztx

Holy mansplaining, batman: update! I pointed out to a guy in this argument that he had misread what I had written, that I was, in fact correct. His response? "You're right, I did misread it. That's something you may want to consider." WHAT!? Are you seriously somehow blaming ME for you misreading and misunderstanding what I wrote? I pointed out every single one of their negative comments that were about my actual arguments were a result of them misreading them or flat making up stuff I didn't say, and I get blamed for it. Simply amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
herpderp
4 hours ago, ShepherdontheRock said:

OMG,  @Maggie Mae. I had no idea you were one of THOSE people.

In all fairness, this is actually what I was getting at in my complaint about Bernie supporters.

I think part of the problem is confirmation bias- you see how many people love to interpret whatever a Jslave does as a sign they'll break free? Yeah. 

Plus, we're more likely to read news sources that are biased the way we like (I mean when's the last time I listened to FOX?Even though every so often they do get something right?) it's even extended so that the cookies Facebook used to gather information about us mean we're more likely to see stuff that favors our biases in our feeds.

Thus why it irritates me when people (especially radical right and left) get SO offended when you disagree with them. And of course, they won't even listen to a well formed argument and start with the gish galloping, derailing, and escape hatches. And saying things that, beyond being not right, are not even wrong. 

Lol @Bernie supporters. Now I actually like Bernie, but his stans who make up my super-liberal college social circle are quite hypocritical. So somebody posted an article by a reporter who agrees with pretty much all of Bernie's political positions, but thinks he wouldn't be a good president because of his personality. Apparently the reporter found him impatient, unfriendly, and angry. Cue all the posts about how the presidency isn't a personality contest, this is actually good because it shows how passionate he is, someone who doesn't cave to establishment standards of behavior is exactly what we need, etc., etc. Note that all of the above are verbatim what Trump supporters say, and that I see these same Bernie supporters railing about the dangers of Trump's un-presidential personality almost daily! I hate Trump, but the irony is too much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
salex
1 hour ago, Tim-Tom Biblethumper said:

Wouldn't work with my crazy-ass cousin, he just says that snopes lies and is run by a bunch of criminals.  :crazy:

Same with my inlaws and literally everyone on my fakebook...  But, I can and do search out obvious bullshit on fakebook. One person blocked me over it, andother  thanks me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pianokeeper
1 hour ago, Mrsaztx said:

Holy mansplaining, batman: update! I pointed out to a guy in this argument that he had misread what I had written, that I was, in fact correct. His response? "You're right, I did misread it. That's something you may want to consider." WHAT!? Are you seriously somehow blaming ME for you misreading and misunderstanding what I wrote? I pointed out every single one of their negative comments that were about my actual arguments were a result of them misreading them or flat making up stuff I didn't say, and I get blamed for it. Simply amazing.

Oh. good.  This ranks right up there with the time a guy told me I was "too reliant on facts."

At that point it's time to push chair back, exhale, and excuse myself from the internet argument circle for a while, because..... damn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrsaztx

@Pianokeeper when I said "perhaps you should consider that you were wrong before verbally attacking someone in such a vicious and disgusting manner, for something you agree with, as it turns out. Do you feel like a big man now?" his response was "this conversation has gone completely off topic!" And he left the conversation. Unfortunately I had to bow out because every response was  something vulgar or misquoting what I said and then claiming I edited it after, despite the posts not saying "edited". Whatever. There's no reasoning with idiots, regardless of what "side" they're on. Stupid is stupid, no matter which color tie it's wearing.

Edited by Mrsaztx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lawlifelgbt

I can see the merits of this argument about the other side in most aspects. However, I have a giant blind spot about respect for the other side when the issues are human rights: like the right to a family, or the right to bodily autonomy. Like, anti-LBGTQ activists genuinely want to keep me from being able to look after my own wife in emergencies (and we have both been dealing with health issues recently, so this is really relevant), or even let me die or go into debt because in their world she couldn't insure me as her spouse. I can't get any insurance otherwise- I'd just be priced out. And the worst anti-gay people want to label, segregate, torture, or even kill me. I can't get to respect in that case.

I feel similarly about extreme anti-abortion people. Like, you can't make a dead person donate organs without consent but you could make a living person give up their whole body for 9 months without wanting to? Gives pregnant people less rights than corpses!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wine time!
Maggie Mae
3 hours ago, lawlifelgbt said:

However, I have a giant blind spot about respect for the other side when the issues are human rights: like the right to a family, or the right to bodily autonomy. Like, anti-LBGTQ activists genuinely want to keep me from being able to look after my own wife in emergencies (and we have both been dealing with health issues recently, so this is really relevant), or even let me die or go into debt because in their world she couldn't insure me as her spouse. I can't get any insurance otherwise- I'd just be priced out. And the worst anti-gay people want to label, segregate, torture, or even kill me. I can't get to respect in that case.

I feel similarly about extreme anti-abortion people. Like, you can't make a dead person donate organs without consent but you could make a living person give up their whole body for 9 months without wanting to? Gives pregnant people less rights than corpses!

1

That's not what the article was talking about. 

Quote

When someone communicates that they are not “on our side” our first reaction is to run away or dismiss them as stupid. To be sure, there are hateful, racist, people not worthy of the small amount of electricity it takes just one of your synapses to fire. I’m instead referencing those who actually believe in an opposing viewpoint of a complicated issue, and do so for genuine, considered reasons. Or at least, for reasons just as good as yours.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vex

Great article. I try so, so hard to never state my opinions as fact and to be open to other people's ideas and see things from their perspective. It's not always an easy thing to do when someone has views that are diametrically opposed to your own.
I do love talking to people who have wildly different ideas to my own as long as they don't push them on me, though. I have a couple of very conservative Christian friends with whom I have very interesting discussions where we both present our views without stating them as fact. One of them made me aware that I was reading all my news from liberal sources and I realised he was totally right, so I make an effort now to seek out more neutral sources. I'm very grateful to him for that.

Echo chambers are a massive thing on the internet and I try to avoid any community where dissenting opinions aren't tolerated.

It really is frustrating when you come across someone who states opinion as fact. Fundies do it a lot, like how they 'know' they're right and they 'know' their version of Christianity is the one real one. I wish they'd read this article and take it on board.

Edited by Vex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
meda
14 hours ago, 2xx1xy1JD said:

A big YES to the article - with a caveat that yes, sometimes people really can be ignorant.

I'd love some debates to have entrance requirements.  You aren't allowed to share your opinion unless you can show that you have read and understood the opinion of your opponent.  In some cases, I'd like to make both side do mandatory readings first.  [I think, for example, that about 99.9% of toxic Israeli/Palestinian debate online could be eliminated if there was a rule that you first had to read Benny Morris' "1948" and answer a quiz to confirm.]

I realize, though, that I'm just a cranky INTJ, and that I can't force other people to be smart and debate well.

I absolutely HATE it when people link bullshit, share it with everyone they know, and refuse to gracefully acknowledge that they were wrong when I point out that the Onion isn't a real news site, or that the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was actually making fun of racism/homophobia and not promoting it, or that they've just quoted a hate site, or that they've forwarded a rumor that has no basis in fact at all and has been debunked by snopes.

I agree with the overall premise of the article, but the bolded to me is where people run into trouble. I know as a "fact" that the stated intent of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was to make fun of racism. I acknowledge that, but I still think the cartoon was offensive because I am not a fan of satire that uses dead toddlers to make it's point. I am perfectly capable ofseeing and understand the intent or reason behind an act or decision and still find the act or decision offensive. 

If we start from a place where because we disagree with someone's opinion about a thing we assume that they don't understand the "why" of a thing, that is just as dismissive of other s as someone basing their opinion off of their own self affirming set of biases rather than facts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2xx1xy1JD
2 hours ago, meda said:

I agree with the overall premise of the article, but the bolded to me is where people run into trouble. I know as a "fact" that the stated intent of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon was to make fun of racism. I acknowledge that, but I still think the cartoon was offensive because I am not a fan of satire that uses dead toddlers to make it's point. I am perfectly capable ofseeing and understand the intent or reason behind an act or decision and still find the act or decision offensive. 

If we start from a place where because we disagree with someone's opinion about a thing we assume that they don't understand the "why" of a thing, that is just as dismissive of other s as someone basing their opinion off of their own self affirming set of biases rather than facts.

Hey, I hadn't seen you in a while!

I have no problem with people that understand, but still don't like, Charlie Hebdo humor.  I also think it's possible to say, "I know that it's a satire, but I'm concerned that it's getting more exposure around the world these days and plenty of people don't know that it's satire and may take it seriously."

I do have a problem with the fact that several news outlets, who should have known better, reported that Charlie Hebdo was actually suggesting that a dead toddler would have grown up to sexually assault women - see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/13/a-new-charlie-hebdo-cartoon-portrays-dead-3-year-old-refugee-aylan-kurdi-as-a-sexual-attacker-in-germany/

That Washington Post article doesn't even mention the possibility that it was satire until the very last paragraph.  I saw similar versions of the story in other papers, and I had people I know saying, "even Charlie Hebdo is joking that the toddler would have grown up to be like those men in Cologne".  They got the story wrong, period.

17 hours ago, Mama Mia said:

So true 2xx1xy1jd. In my dream world the relevant snopes article is automatically attached to every single social media rumor posting. If no snopes related post comes up in the auto screen - great! Nothing added. If it does turn out to have a snopes report - people can read that commentary along with whatever crazy ass gossip you are sharing with the world. 

If I had any technical coding skills, I'd build a program that automatically checks everything that comes up in a Google search and flags what is reliable, and what isn't.  I can imagine some simple steps that could be automated:  snopes check, check of whether website is real, check against list of common sources of hate or dubious info, check of images to see if it's photoshopped or obviously from a different source, check of words and phrases that tend to signal hate monger or conspiracy theorist, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mrsaztx

The problem with what I am henceforth calling an "ignorant bullshit filter" is that it's alarmingly common for the "respected" news sites to jump on a sensational story in order to get clicks and not be 7 minutes behind their competitors. Consequently you have ignorant bullshit on reputable sites that, a week later, may or may not hide a "oh... That wasn't true" article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NachosFlandersStyle
7 hours ago, meda said:

 

If we start from a place where because we disagree with someone's opinion about a thing we assume that they don't understand the "why" of a thing, that is just as dismissive of other s as someone basing their opinion off of their own self affirming set of biases rather than facts.

I think that's exactly what the author is saying, though. Both sides can fully understand what's going on and still come to different conclusions, not because one of them is stupid, but because most-if-not-all political disagreements are about values and priorities rather than about whose facts are right. But to get to that point, of course,  you need to agree on some facts to start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Boogalou

I thought this article was really interesting, thanks for sharing.  

I think it's a good idea when you do read something that you disagree with, is to read it to really understand the position someone is coming from (like the author said) and not just reading for the lols, or for snark, or to dissect it and disagree with it.  I think it's always good to understand something first and then do those other things, if you want to.

I will say though, this internet is making this a bigger problem.  Google and social media knows what you are looking at so when you go searching for something else, it throws the same things back at you.  So the internet, which is supposed to be this big democratic, world wide thing that brings all sorts of different viewpoints together becomes a big echo chamber.  I think it's good for everyone to actively seek out and read information that they disagree with, at least on occasion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.