Anonymous said: You can sometimes be argumentative online, occasionally even offending people. Are you like this in person as well? What do you think about the fact that people may see you this way? Is there a softer side of you beneath this hardened shell?

HA! I was asking/waiting for this. 

… I am and I am not? Twitter is kind of a machine made to make people come across as curt dicks, it seems to me, and I frequently discuss complex things without remembering that. Mea culpa.

Online discussion in general tends to leave all parties involved handicapped, you can’t hear voice inflection, see facial responses, etc. There’s a lot of things that I say online because I’m not aware of the ‘feel of the room,’ and I suspect a lot of things I say get taken the wrong way due to this problem as well.  

That said, I’m more than capable of putting my foot in my mouth in person. I can get so caught up in trying to get a point across that I don’t realize that the person is slowly rising to a rolling boil. That’s what usually happens online, too. As a general rule, I only like to offend people on purpose, and only for some kind of point. The appeal of running around going “WHERE IS YOUR GOD/SACRED COW NOW” or some such thing wore off a long time ago. 

I mean, I was the kid in grade school who cried all the time, so I don’t actually enjoy making people upset, you know? (Unless I think they are horrible people, then I revel in it, but my list of Horrible People is pretty darn small.) 

So, yeah.

I do love debate though, and it runs in the family; all of our family dinners turn into everyone shouting at each other so we can be heard over everyone else debating. Which is fun for me, I like to consider all positions, even terrible ones, but a lot of people online tend to hold a majority of their opinions so close to their hearts that it’s impossible to critique one without harming the other. I like to “attack the idea, not the person,” but situations like that make it impossible. That combined with a tendency for interpersonal/intellectual myopia doesn’t always make for the best discussion.

I’d like to be able to take an “oh, poor me” response to this, but, that’s just the way things are, and I see no virtue to being the fly in the ointment in this sort of situation.  So, I’m working on being more sensitive to it.  Which mostly results in my just not debating online, which I find sad, but it’s preferable to the alternative of hurting people I like. 

So, long story short, I can be a dick, but try not to be, and it’s rarely on purpose. Any hardened emotional shell I have is one developed from years of feeling like my emotional reactions were several notches higher than everyone else’s. (SO MANY FEELS) Which goes over really well if you are a male in our society. :D 

  1. stevensanders posted this