Saturday, November 26, 2011

Communication 101

To me, successful disagreement is probably the most important part of any group sticking together. I will most certainly not agree with everyone (probably because they are wrong LOL) and everyone will not agree with me ( )...

I find it very upsetting that most people are not taught how to disagree without a big fuss.

Basic rules to disagree without hurt feelings:

1. No insults. You aren't a moron for disagreeing with me. I guess. In your crazy little world, things just work differently, and I have to accept that. Even if I think you might be stupid, foolish, misinformed, psychotic, or lying, the truth is that I might also be wrong. So it's safer to just say "I disagree because I believe/thought/heard/read a study...." instead of "Maybe you should go back to school, you moron!" (I used that one to a teacher. I think I got kicked out of that class...)

2. No flaming. Please don't actually go light someone's house on fire.

3. Proof is always good. "That's not true" is not nearly as convincing as posting studies, articles, science blogs, etc that prove your point. They might be wrong too, but at least you are wrong in good company. And you are much more likely to convince someone you are right if you have something in writing to back you up. People will believe ANYTHING if it is in print, because printing is still rather magical to our primate brains. Especially if there are numbers in it, too. We don't care what the stats really mean, we just want big pretty numbers interspersed with big words so we know you didn't just make this shit up.

4. Don't disagree with yourself. If you are inconsistent, we're all going to notice. Consistency makes you sound honest, if a bit stubborn. You might still be wrong, but at least you aren't just baiting us. Listing something as a rule and breaking it yourself just makes you look like a jack ass. And agreeing (or disagreeing) with every post ever written just makes you look like a drunk idiot.

5. Know the difference between fact and opinion. It is great to post your opinion. Just don't act like this makes it a fact. Knowing the difference between a study, a theory, and an anecdote is pretty nice too. Also, the difference between witnessing something, hearing it second hand, and urban legend will help you sound like you know what is actually going on. In addition, correlation does not equal causation. Just because a majority of people who are in car accidents will have been shown to have eaten carrots in the week before the accident doesn't mean carrots cause car accidents.

6. I statements. Cheesy, yet highly effective! "You must not have paid attention in third grade!" sounds much more insulting than "I remember learning that...". It also helps you keep #5 straight. "I have tried... and had the result..." is a much more accurate response than "everyone feels better when they...".

7. Don't rehash. If you have already stated your opinion (and a fine opinion it was! We all respected it and enjoyed the way you expressed it!), you really don't need to repost your opinion every time anyone responds, agreeing or disagreeing with you. If you are going to post again, bring along more evidence to support your opinion so you don't sound like a broken record: "I found copy and paste! I am SO gonna win this argument!!"

With these simple rules, everyone can disagree without upsetting others and with their dignity intact.

2 comments:

jdmimic said...

As a commentor on a different blog said in response to a comment there, "that is entirely too reasoned and rational of an opinion to be expressed on the internet."

Abifae said...

ROFL! I'm sorry to have ruined your interwebz!