Trolling for what, I don't know

I wanted to start a separate thread on trolling. Not so much trolling, but recognizing one’s own trollishness. I hadn’t heard the “if 5 people say you are ass” thing before (see Introduction thread from Hayder) but I know the sentiment. I once literally cleared a room at a party because someone brought up how I constantly challenge a mutual friend on facebook, and I went on a short rant about it. I think it’s him who is trolling everyone with his conspiracy theories but I realized no one really cares, they just want people to play nice.

But, that’s just being fun at a party or not. Forums can be a great place to vent your anger and also to attempt to engage someone who is a polar opposite of yourself and keep the conversation going despite the nastiest insults and questioning of each other’s intelligence. You can’t do that with neighbors in public.

The tension is, we are talking about things that matter. Actual lives are at stake and the “fabric of society”. So we need our posse, our in-group that supports us and provides us with fuel to keep up the fight, but if we aren’t being challenged with outside information, that diminishes the value of having a group at all. What has made this more complicated is it has become increasingly mainstream to call out bad behavior, so instead of 5 people calling you an ass, you have millions. Both sides of these debates can’t be right, but it also can’t be right that millions of people are simply assholes bent on destroying democracy.

I have more to say, but I’ll let the conversation begin. If it does.

Talking about trolling makes me wonder if I’m the one who doesn’t get it and am being irrational.

If someone here agrees with me and someone doesn’t, I naturally take the debate to the one who disagrees with me and use the one who agrees with me as confirmation I’m right. But what if we’re both wrong?

I swear that I understand logical fallacies and am reasonable and skeptical to the degree I assume is best. But what if I’m wrong and how can I find out?

Unfortunately the ‘opposition’ feels exactly the same way I do, so we go round and round with no progress.

I think the internet actually delivers on this one. The website name is is the best site I’ve found.

Player, Sherlock, Mike, Xian and any other people like that all think they’re thinking critically. They can back each other just as easily as you, Tim, CC, Tee, Lois and others can support me in some ways.

I’m not really doubting that we’re in the right here. But since the other side is just as certain of their rightness, there’s not going to be any compromise or enlightenment.

If the members of the other side went to some critical thinking courses listed in your link, I honestly doubt they’d change at all. They are too adept at believing conflicting ideas and rationalizing things to see how terrible their reasoning is.

Not everybody agrees with you on things that matter. So what?

Isnt it good to have your beliefs challenged and your arguments reevaluated?? If you are honestly a truthseeker this should be welcomed.

Isnt it good to have your beliefs challenged and your arguments reevaluated??
Yes, I said that.

People who can’t communicate clearly and who can’t develop reasonable arguments and who are a-holes in the presentation of their beliefs, do not set the occasion for me to re-examine my beliefs. At most, they prompt me to put down their irresponsible, irrational, poorly constructed assertions.

I have had, in the past, VERY challenging attempts, on my part, to express and defend my stance on subjects against very effective communicators and very effective debaters. I’m talking about someone whose “conservative” stance on the subject was diametrically opposed to mine. Now that was a challenge to me to re-evaluate how I looked at the issue. But persons of those qualities seem to be few and far between.

People who can’t support their assertions with evidence or shy away from their convictions when challenged are not to be taken seriously from that point moving forward.

At face value, that seems like a reasonable rule for you to go by, but in light of all that you have shown thru your posts, in general, I imagine you would very likely screw it up.

For example, I think you might pick out some phrase or non-contextual point and claim that as an example of someone being unable to support their assertions. And I imagine that you would very likely assume that you know what someone’s “convictions” are and then erroneously interpret some other poorly relevant portion of what they subsequently said as being them “shying away from their convictions.”

"If one person calls you an ass, pay no attention to him. But if five people call you an ass, go out and buy yourself a saddle."

— Yiddish proverb (or Chinese proverb, or Shakespeare or John Wayne or…or…or)

Variations on the saying have been around forever. It’s a favorite of mine, and within reason, I really do try to apply it.

I also try to check for my own cognitive bias. I realize that the ability to do this is limited by it’s very fact, but I want to believe it’s better than not thinking to check.

I have changed my mind on a few issues over the last couple of years, and had to admit I was wrong. I think some people never do that.


It might be fun to come up with further variations on the saying, e.g., “If 3 ppl call you an Uber, you have overstayed your welcome.”