A Helpful Hint in Encouraging Dialogue

I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but apparently this is a hard one, so here it goes. If you want to encourage dialogue and keep a conversation going, my tip for you is…don’t be an ass. Seriously, people don’t like to be insulted and talked down to. Try to pretend you’re actually talking to a human being, because you are. Talk to said human in a way that you’d appreciate. Basically, don’t assume they’re stupid. Don’t define simple words, or call them uneducated, or refer to yourself in intellectually superior tones because you clearly know more about the subject, because…well, you think you do, just because you don’t agree with their argument. And don’t straight up insult them. Here’s a thought for you: the people of the internet aren’t here for your entertainment anymore than your friends and family are.

Just today, one person refused to refer to atheists as atheists and instead used the word “fools.” Yet they seemed to assume their post would be met with honest dialogue instead of hostility. If you offer hostility, you’ll receive it back. And another person thought that defining “hyperbole” would make me go away because they didn’t like my argument. I hate to break it to you, but I did graduate highschool. Almost a decade ago. I don’t need the grade 10 english lesson. If you don’t like my argument, then offer a counter-argument, otherwise you just make yourself look bad.

I’ve also had someone call me uneducated because I…shocker…asked a question when an unclear claim was made. Apparently one must master ever subject and come to the exact same conclusions on everything or they must be uneducated. And another blogger decided to try and insult my intelligence because he didn’t like being told that “tranny” is discriminatory. Apparently it must be PC because it’s just a short form of “transgender.” Um…no. Not okay.

I’m tired of this disrespect, so new policy: if you come to my blog and decide to insult me and my partner, don’t bother, your comment will just be deleted. Your comment will be for naught. Feel free to let us know if you think your comment was unfairly deleted, but we do actually read them, so we know what you’ve said. If you just want to insult us, you have your own blogs, or you can make one, and you can insult us there. We want to encourage honest discussion here, and we want an environment open to anyone. The disrespectful behavior directed towards us offers neither, and makes it difficult for others to have open conversations. So, in the future, let’s keep things civil.

14 responses to “A Helpful Hint in Encouraging Dialogue

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  • Michael Coen

    Well said, and the same goes for atheists. I’m part of an atheist community on Google+ where I’ve seen fellow humanists acting, well, less than humane. Insults serve no purpose other than to perpetuate childish squabbling – it’s not conducive to honest and meaningful discussion.


  • Christine Goodnough

    It is a question of respect, not only when it comes to commenting, discussing, &/or disagreeing. The way we treat others, if we consider their needs, comfort, etc, shows we respect them. Even the way we appear before others speaks of respect of lack of it. Sadly, I see a lot of folks who don’t seem to respect themselves in this regard.

    Thanks for visiting & following my blog, by the way.


  • NovaSaber

    “Don’t define simple words”
    Unless, of course, people are misusing the word that you’re defining.


    • hessianwithteeth

      True, but I don’t find that to be a major issue. If the word has different meanings for the layman than, say, for the scientist or philosopher, then definitions are necessary. But I find many people define words as a way to say “you’re stupid.”


  • Glen Goddard

    Keep asking questions! How else can we learn?


  • caelesti

    Reblogged this on The Lefthander's Path and commented:
    Fortunately, most commenters on my blog behave themselves, but this a good reminder for us all!


  • caelesti

    A big problem is that people just aren’t used to talking to people who disagree with them about the big taboo “don’t talk about it” topics: sex, politics & religion. Because we are so afraid of offending people who disagree, we never learn to have discuss these issues civilly. I just delete comments that outright are hostile and pointless. If someone has constructive criticism, or agrees with me respectfully, then we can have a dialogue. I feel as if many people have ceded the internet to the trolls.


  • flighty101

    I appreciate you so much for writing this. Not many people realize how offensive they can be. As a Christian, I know that the goal is to exemplify love and support. Not discrimination. Encouraging dialogue should always be welcomed with open arms, and it’s sad that not many are willing to be openminded.


  • johnspenn

    Many people these days are such poor thinkers. Instead of engaging the ideas presented by people they disagree with, and discussing the merits of their postion, when they are challenged they feel threatened and lash out at the person. It makes it tough to have meaningful conversation.


  • saraharnetty

    Good on you for standing up for yourself. Sorry you had to face such insults.


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