How to Discuss Politics Online

I have taken more interest in politics of late. Many problems result from avoiding certain topics, politics in particular which are tied in to sexual behavior and religious concerns. I encourage more of you to discuss politics. Not only does it raise your awareness but can help form relationships build on solid foundations.

I encourage more of you to discuss politics. It be a way to raise your awareness and help form relationships built on solid foundations. When done in an honest and civil manner it is a way to relieve not increase stress.

To that end here is something a friend I made by being political on Facebook posted.

Some quick tips since everyone seems to be getting stressed about Facebook political discussions for making them less stressful:

  1. Avoid using the first or second person in political discussions to keep from accidentally phrasing things in ways that could be conceived as a personal attack. This also keeps anecdotes, which are generally not useful, out of the discussion.
  2. Ignore personal attacks/rhetoric and just assume the person using them is new to politics and imitating someone they heard on TV. Don’t take them personally and let them roll off. Don’t return fire.
  3. Leave some room to rethink your position as it could potentially be wrong.
  4. Focus on the citation of evidence, as it’s pretty hard for that type of thing to be heated.
  5. If you feel enraged over an issue, it’s not the right time to discuss it. That might be a good time to go to a public protest, make some art or another similarly productive outlet for anger about it, but not always the best time to engage friends and family on the issue.
  6. If you see someone’s post and feel a flash of anger, maybe it’s not a good idea to reply on the basis of that anger. Sometimes you can just let them be wrong for now and come back and educate them when you’re in a more consiliatory mood.
  7. If you set a good example in terms of your rhetoric and intellectual fairness, generally speaking people joining in your discussions will copy it. This will allow you to gain influence. It won’t give you the rush of “pwning” someone, but it will allow you to actually change people’s minds.
  8. If someone appears to be a relentless troll who will go from zero to personal in comment one always no matter how you respond, don’t dignify the behavior with a response. If someone accuses you of something crazy over your views, bystanders are going to see that for what it is, especially if you don’t respond. That doesn’t mean they got the “last laugh.” Readers of the thread will see that as a desperate move that signifies having lost the argument.

Great list.

The internet is a tool whose use can be good or bad. In conversations the loss of reading body language and being emboldened by anonymity and/or distance can be detrimental to discussion in ways that we are still adjusting to as human beings. However there are benefits such as the ability to research and provide sources, have a record of what has been said and the ability to come back longer running conversation.

In some situations I would think somebody understood me to find out it would just going along. In others someone I be talking to would express that they were consumed and emotionally distressed by the conversation while it was just one of the few things I was passively participating in.

Skype and other video conversations address many of this issues and still provide the positives of being online. I advise you begin doing this on certain topics with people who you consider worthy friends.

There is always the alternative…


Thank you for reading. This is part of the Internetiquette series
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2 responses to “How to Discuss Politics Online

  1. Pingback: Really Wonka | Rant A. Tonne·

  2. Pingback: Faith in IQ & The IQ of the Faithful | Mind Matters | Rant A. Tonne·

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