Arguing On the Internet : Or, How to Act Like a Child

I remember my first major research paper, having to write it at high school age. I remember reading the paper requirements for a bibliography, and being outraged that I needed to cite five sources. Now, as a young adult, I can appreciate why I was required to cite my sources, and make sure that they were credible. The reason for this appreciation is the dinosauric sized load of bullshit people post/blog/state on the internet, which is arguably the greatest source of information humankind has access to. When someone bows out of an argument without conceding that they need to do more research, or calling names, or even neglecting a challenge to their statements, it completely undermines learning and progress. If you don’t understand what I am discussing, I provided a few quick examples :

A : ‘XYZ is bad for you.’
B : ‘I’m not so sure about that. What are your sources?’
A : ‘One article that supports XYZ.’
B : ‘But that article is funded by XYZ. Do you have others?’
A : ‘WHAT?! What I’m saying is TRUTH! And I’ll stand by my unfounded claims to the bitter end! I refuse to argue with someone over the internet, and want to spend my energy submitting more unfounded claims!’
B : ‘lolwut?’
A : Ragequit.

The above example is quitting while you’re ahead. It’s like seeing a cow before it’s butchered and thinking, ‘Hey. Magic makes beef, that there is a happy cow!’ But if you stuck around for a couple more minutes, you would be sadly mistaken. So, they quit before you can be taught, learn, or research.

A : ‘The political leader is the source of all our problems.’
B : ‘I’m not so sure about that. Some of our current problems are caused by past administrations and political decisions. It’s called ‘history’ in case you’re interested.’
A : ‘You are a stupid hippy. I am going to delete all of your comments because your ignorance is stinking up my forum, retard.’

This is a classic example of a sister flavor of willful ignorance. By calling names, labeling someone, one immediately dismissing their opinion because it is not their own. Also, I’ve found that more often than not, folks who are namecalling in this regard are frequently describing themselves. It’s quite interesting when witnessed in the wild.

The whole point of my writing this is to help encourage you to check, double check and view many sources before regurgitating an opinion online. What’s more is my request that if you find out you’re not in the right, be humble enough to admit that you need to do more research. It’s perfectly fine; that’s called ‘learning’ in case you were interested. Finally, if you argue like this on the internet, and you are an adult, you are officially less inclined to learn about your topic of interest than a high school student.


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