Jan 2, 2011

Q&A: Why do debates on internet message boards almost always end up this way?

Posted in Social Media Experts on 02/Jan/2011

Question by HollyMarie: Why do debates on internet message boards almost always end up this way?
Why is it that when having a discussion about something on a message board, there always seems to be at least one person who is completely unable to have an intelligent discourse. This person will continue to insist they are right about something, no matter how obvious the mounting evidence is against their point of view. They do not care about the truth or about learning at all. They only appear about their "online reputation" and fighting to the death to be "right."

They re-check the message board at least once every hour. They respond to long, thought out contributions by quoting small bits of it and taking them out of context. They will do this over and over until the other person just gives up and leaves. They will then declare themselves correct.

I know there are hard-headed people in any kind of communication. But it seems to me that this happens SO MUCH more on internet message boards than in real life conversation or even a real time chat online.

Why do you think this is?

I think maybe it's because the constant record of every word someone says can be too easily used to twist around their meaning. What do you think?

Best answer:

Answer by zorro_rojo
Hello. Believe me, I feel your pain. This kind of people drives me nuts as well.
I think this happens with certain kinds of people:

1.- People who have an agenda (usually religious or political), usually accompanied with incorrigible opinions.
2.- People who think with their emotions rather than their brain (they can't deal with logic at all).
3.- People who can't stand being wrong, ever, because their self-esteem depends on being right always.

I know what it's like to live with a person that fits #3 exactly. Your best bet to avoid conflict with people like this is to not fall for their "bait", i.e. usually they will go around boldly stating highly questionable things without any solid proof, it is best to just reply with "I do not want to argue about it", problem solved, it doesn't mean you accept or believe in what they said it simply says you don't want to discuss it. These people can easily verbally abuse you if you tell them the real deal, a lot of times they just want to be able to immerse themselves into a world of fantasy where everything is perfect. Telling them the truth pulls them out of their fantasy world and onto reality, and that is sure to make them mad. Even when you're correct and/or trying to teach them something useful. Also, in my experience most people don't really care about correct knowledge. Most seem only interested in highly questionable "facts" that cater to their emotions and feelings, regardless of anything else.

As for why it happens so much more online, I think the answer is easy: People like this are very annoying to talk with, so I guess they end up being lonely and thus, spending a lot of time online.

Well, I hope my little rant helps you a bit in your quest for understanding, lol. Don't really care if other people vote me down for this, I just felt I needed to say it...

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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