Online debates

I’m sick and tired of online debates. I used to do them. I used to spend a lot of time trying to convince people of certain matter or trying to trigger them to become angry and explain certain things to me.

It’s not been so long since I’ve come to understanding that online debates are no more than a waste of time. For me, online debates always had trolling, misinformation, and intense deviation from the main subject. It’s needless to say that it is very rare for an online debate to end well or actually help some parties.

Real debates are moderated. The debaters actually agree on the context of the debate, agree on the major concepts and meanings on the subject of discussion, and they agree on definitions mostly. A debate will be moderated by a third party, supposedly neutral, and the moderator will handle the stream and direction of the debate.

That is very important. Often in online debates, parties end up somewhere far from the original subject of the debate. Most of the times, people find themselves arguing about definitions instead of the original subject. There are many trolls as well who only enjoy angering people or spend their time by wasting others’.

Real debates have dialogue. Every party will have a say and every party will be asked to behave with a good manner and intention to actually educate others while, at the same time, challenge others. Online debates are too much focused on challenging part or the illusion of winning the argument.

In a real debate, the parties involved in the argument are clear but in an online debate, everybody can hop in and throw a comment or get involved with no prior coordination. That makes the debate take/waste much more time.

A real debate has a point. There is a goal to reach in every debate but when it’s online, often on social networks, the goal is simply to show the other person is a loser. A real debate consists of educated people on a specific matter, while in online debates, people with any level of understanding on the subject just writes a comment and hits enter.

Online debates seem like a competition to convince people that some party is right or the others are wrong. The good feeling of so-called owning people makes people do whatever they can to win the fight. I’ve seen people spend hours to research a matter, while they’ve already made up their mind, to win an argument. It is good to get educated on a subject but I don’t think that’s a healthy way to do it.

Online debates are waste of time. They are no good for anything but for trolls to spend time and satisfy their need to be seen. I try to avoid them, and I try to simply not get involved with them as much as I can. I also have been blocking and avoiding interaction with people who I see as trolls so I don’t unintentionally entrap myself in a meaningless conversation with them.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.