How to escape the catch 22 of the internet filter bubble keeps me from posting, a lot more than is cool to admit. There’s so many flawed arguments, overly-dismissed concepts, and miserable pedants out there to correct; so is creating more noise really the answer?
Evidence shows that evidence doesn’t really sway us. (We don’t often use them to make our opinions in the first place.)
Click-bait can only work so well to trick people, it can’t make them stay. (And it doesn’t build your brand.)
Brave new experiments run the risk of looking dry and dull compared to the fury of true political clashes; whilst the screams drown out any genuine insight in the chaos of any inflamed comment section.
The No More Mediation Experiment
Back when I had more time and lots of lessons to learn, I would spend hours, days, weeks discussing inane political theory with some of the worst the internet had to offer. A leery remark underneath a female YouTuber’s video? A deliberately inflammatory comment about stupid sluts or thugs? The unspeakable degradation of a Return of Kings article about racial hierarchy? Nothing was beneath me, not even clear and definite hostile enemy territory.
I named my side blog “No More Mediation” after my attempts at peaceful discussion were persistently derailed, kept track of fallacies like playing cards, deliberately antagonised with my persistence, and dug my ugly little heels in. If people were going to insist on being stupid on the internet, might as well be damn-well involved.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t a hugely rewarding experiment. You can pour hours of debate in, reams of exquisitely-sourced bookmarked and curated content, and enlightened rational attitudes towards people who hate you, and you still won’t always win. By some measures, I never won. Times when small points came over to my side and conversations ended in “agree to disagree” joined my trophy board, or even the occasions when I managed to out-frustrate particularly foul and persistent bigots into giving up.
Looking back, the energy sizzling throughout my baby’s first “debates” is just exhausting.
Eventually, you burn yourself out. You fight so many times that you know what is coming. You fight enough times to know that the outcome doesn’t really matter, because it is so small scale.
What matters now then, now it’s not about winning?