So I've embarked on a new mission for my "office day job," which consists of browsing blogs for worthwhile posts to comment on, contribute to, etc, in an attempt to increase traffic to our web site. This can prove to provide hours, and i really mean hours, of entertainment, perusing blogs and reading people's entries, with comments following often times being the best part of the entire read.
Now, with the nature of what I'm searching for, naturally I'm going to run into quite a few heated discussions. Number one rule of table etiquette, do not discuss politics or religion at the dinner table, as you never know who you are going to offend. Of course, online, this goes straight out the window. "Netiqutte" as it has become known, would basically seem to consist of adequate spelling, reasonable grammar, and proper punctuation. Anything else, is a no-holds-bar. It truly astounds me how some people adopt this tough guy persona online, funniest is when physical threats enter the heated arguments. "don't make me attempt to climb through my computer screen and punch your virtual face!"
All this aside, I was reading a blog today on "Gitmo," and the alleged cases of torture that happened there. Anyone is entitled to their opinion, and should be able to defend it accordingly. When you're discussing a subject as sensitive and controversial as this, you're naturally going to stoke the fire's flames. Dialogue is healthy, it brings about a deeper understanding of the subject matter, and it allows you to critically consider a situation before drawing your own conclusions on it. Research, dialogue, and debate are all very healthy in fostering better understanding. But where is the line drawn? On so many Internet blogs now, people resort to personal character attacks in an attempt to validate their own arguments. All I can imagine is a toddler running around on the playground, taunting "neener neener" with tongue sticking out at children on the other side of the playground. "I'm right because YOU'RE stupid" seems to be the closing statement of so many of comments on blogs. When all else fails, attack the individual's political orientation, or spirituality. "oh yeah? you liberal's always use un-credible news sources and believe the biggest fairytales," vs. the "you conservatives always skirt around the issues I'm trying to raise and blatantly ignore any questions i pose."
I wholeheartedly support constructive dialogue and debate. But when it resorts to personal attacks and "neeener neeeener" my opinion is the best because I said so - well then that's just fruitless. If you have nothing nice or at least reasonably educational to say, then please, keep your keyboard to yourself.