Issuepedia:Arguing/respect the room

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Most online groups/communities have some kind of consensus about the nature of reality. Before posting on any given topic, you should at least attempt to get some idea of what the consensus-reality is on that topic.

If you intend to disagree with that consensus, then you should:

  • Be aware that this is what you are doing, phrase your argument as disagreement rather than flat or implied contradiction (a naked assertion), and explain why you disagree.
  • Expect criticism.
  • Prepare to defend your position rationally (i.e. with reasoning from evidence) if the criticism does not change your mind.

You should also be aware when an argument or claim you are making might be upsetting in view of that consensus (e.g. by punching down on disempowered groups, or violating some other core value the group holds). While it's possible to make mistakes when reading the room, digging in is not an appropriate reaction to the realization that you have unintentionally ruffled the group's feathers. Instead, try to figure out why your position differs from the group consensus: is there evidence you are aware of which the group is not, or perhaps vice versa?

Even in rooms that are dominated by groupthink rather than reasoning, there's going to be a lot of feeling attached to certain issues, and making light of those feelings is not going to win anyone over.


Alexandria wrote:

[...] if you go into a space where people have a common understanding, and you post an article from a news website that disagrees with that common understanding, of course people are going to take that in a weird way, because it looks like you're going to try and stir up shit. Most people here have gained an understanding of communism and anarchism indirectly from people writing about the academia that they've been reading. i.e. to people here their beliefs are more strongly sourced than a random news source that's written by someone with a vested interest in presenting that different worldview as fact

So instead in the future if you phrased it differently, like for example:

Hey, this article seems to say X, but I gather that's not what people here believe, so would it be ok to ask if you explain why Y is the case?

that's going to be received a whole lot better, because rather than deliberately ignoring the difference in view and just being contradictory, you're directly addressing it and asking politely for that contradiction to be resolved

It's also outright giving people the option to say no, [although] most people won't do that since they're friendly