I’ve seen so much arguing online that I think I can safely say I am somewhat of an expert on the subject. I never knew so many people enjoyed arguing to the point that they have made it an “art” form. It doesn’t take much to start an argument and have one or several people join in for the sport of it. Almost any comment will arouse emotions, especially if there are people who have the propensity to turn the slightest phrase or opinion into a nasty debate that deteriorates to a personal attack which includes name calling, threats, and vulgar insults.
You may ask, what kinds of things might turn a perfectly peaceful discussion forum into an “uncivil war?” Well, here are a few examples:
American Idol discussion: “David Cook should win, he is a better singer than David Archuleta!” A simple opinion that has incited many verbal riots on the American Idol Discussion board.
Politics: Almost any comment that shows partiality for one party over the other will generate a group attack by members of the opposite party. The most controversial topic I have seen is Sarah Palin. Just ask in any political forum, what makes her qualified to be Vice President or God forbid President, and I guarantee you will be verbally assaulted in no time.
Religion: Many people love to use religion as a good excuse to monitor the discussions, comments, opinions, behaviors of others in a public forum. They are self-appointed monitors, preaching from the pulpit of their computers, and condemning people in the name of peace. Everyone is labeled a “pot-stirrer” for not behaving according to this person’s moral and ethical code. They are called out and admonished, directly or indirectly, for causing disruptions to the conversations and fighting. Ironically, much more often than not, these people wind up causing the most friction and unrest with their pontificating, than the offenders they accuse. And, if you pay attention, you will find that they are hypocrites who do the very things they find so offensive about others.
The Dr. Phil Housewives: This will apply to any television show with participants and contestants, like American idol. People relate or identify or like a particular person and then, if anyone says anything negative about them, they take affront to it as though it is a personal attack. Even if you choose your words wisely and phrase it in such a way as to make it sound like constructive criticism or a polite observation, you are going to get blasted by that person’s fan club. There is no generally accepted policy that we are all entitled to our own opinions and that opinions are neither right nor wrong, but just are. So if opinions vary, as they normally do in life, there will be heated discussions that invariably will blow up in your face. If you think you can express your thoughts in a public forum without incident, you are very much mistaken.
Of course these arguments are petty and stupid, but they often get personal. Once that happens, there is “bad blood” between the parties involved and those who take sides. A history develops between them so that future verbal altercations are inevitable. Some people come to these forums angry and looking for a place to lash out. The internet is a safe place to show your ugly side because you are protected. No one can see you and you can use a fake name to hide your identity. Then you can take all the pot shots you want without repercussions.
I don’t know about you, but I have enough drama in my own life without looking for it online. I go to these forums to have intelligent conversations with people who share my interests and for a few laughs. I’ve gotten some insight and learned a lot, but I do not enjoy the fighting. And, in case you think you can reason with those who do enjoy the fighting, save your breath. They are not interested in keeping the peace.