A rare Internet discussion where both sides prove their point

One of my most favorite and most unproductive things to do is argue on the Internet with people, and I know it’s so, but it feels productive in the sense that I better understand why I feel the way I do. Occasionally, I much later change my mind when I recall some argument without first remembering which side of it I was on.

One of the worst ever to get involved in is abortion because it is not the sort of thing that will resolve in common understanding. I used to wear a T-shirt I made that said ‘LEGALIZE ABORTION’ because that was the joke. It would be like a shirt that said, ‘BAN MARIJUANA’. Back then, both already were common policy and said nothing more than STATUS QUO.

But recently, I engaged with someone on Twitter on the subject of reproductive autonomy and made many mistakes but (of course) don’t feel that I was wrong.

The major mistake I made was not recognizing how the person I talked to had latched on to an age that was not rationally important to what I was saying but definitely was viscerally: 10-year-olds should have access to long-lasting contraceptives. Really, I meant anyone with internal reproductive systems should be able to have access to it as soon as they begin puberty and are at risk of becoming pregnant. But the person I talked to fixated on the example age, and I should have given them an off-ramp so their automatic emotional defenses could lower.

The second mistake was to allow any snideness or attack to creep in to what I said. To have a productive discussion with anyone, you can’t call into question their motives, even if their motives have changed throughout the conversation.

Beyond that, what follows won’t be decisive or much use to anyone else, and I’m sure many have had it before, but I was surprised by how quickly someone went from believing that unborn lives were preeminent to finding reasons to prefer everything else.

Continue reading “A rare Internet discussion where both sides prove their point”

Advertisements

It’s a good idea to put your name to (some of) what you say

The other day, oaoa.com made the switchover to a public comment system based, primarily, on the social media giant Facebook.

For the most part, I’m happy with it. As a practical matter, there have been less comments by volume, but the sound-to-noise ratio of what’s come in has been considerably higher; as people adjust to New Things, hopefully that will continue.

The shift represents the end of an era for the website, and may be part of the ongoing trend to “publicify” the Internet, largely because of social media.

Continue reading “It’s a good idea to put your name to (some of) what you say”

A short time spent channeling Yogi Berra

I was talking to someone the other day about the Odessa American’s online discussion forum. You may not have been aware the OA had any forums, and that’s what we were talking about.

“I don’t know why they aren’t more popular,” she said. “The forums are just as easy to find as the photos and blogs, and people use those fairly regularly.” “I don’t know either,” I said, “but I bet if more people starting using the forum, it would be more popular.” And I felt quite proud of my insight until I heard the echo of Yogi Berra in my head.

Continue reading “A short time spent channeling Yogi Berra”