Why do we debate over the internet so much?

Erttheking

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You know, after seeing countless after countless arguments over the internet, particularly on this website, I just have to ask...why do we bother? This isn't me whining that we're all wasting our time, this is me trying to understand a phenomenon. I myself find myself constantly being dragged back into just about every debate that can be had, and I honestly can't explain why. Think about it. Nine out of ten these debates go nowhere, repeat the same arguments that everyone has already heard, don't change anyone's mind, and if its a particularly bad day get someone in trouble with the mods. Yet everyone, myself included, keeps coming back to them. Why do we do that? I just don't get it. Are we that stubborn as a species?
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Apr 10, 2020
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It's easy to have an opinion on anything and it's easy to argument when you have all the time in the world to write a witty, all-inclusive response. It's easy to achieve a sense of scholarly catharsis by writing papers and dissertation on whatever you want. It's easy to speak your mind when there's no risk of repercussion, it's easy to go places you don't usually go because you're anonymous.

TL;DR - it's too easy.
 

Kolby Jack

Come at me scrublord, I'm ripped
Apr 29, 2011
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As Johnny above me said, it's anonymous. That helps a lot. It's also extremely accessible. What other way can I put out a message for the world to see and get dozens of responses from a plethora of people proposing their own points of view?
 

Elfgore

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Because everybody thinks they are always right and the other guy is wrong. Add anonymity to that and an extended period of time to respond, availability to research, and the ability to construct arguments not in the heat of the moment almost any person can do it.

So pretty much what Johnny said, "it's to easy."
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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I bother less these days.

I used to dive headlong into the fray at any and every opportunity, but now I just can't be bothered.

Nowadays, in order to get me involved, someone has to say something stupid enough to make me want to correct them, but smart enough that I don't just dismiss them as stupid and move on. That or ask a question to which I feel I have an adequate answer or sufficiently interesting viewpoint.
 

Ice Car

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Jan 30, 2011
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For fun maybe? I kinda just enjoy arguing with people since I can't really do that well in real life. I can actually spend time thinking out what to say but I usually end up editing my posts millions of times anyway. :/

I kinda avoid political discussions and the like and generally stay out of shit that I know I'm clueless about.
 

Flutterguy

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Jun 26, 2011
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We can share a reflection of our thoughts in hope someone will improve it, disprove it or enjoy it. Also learn pieces of other people's thoughts and how they verbally present themselves. Pretty much an easy or lazy way to do a multitude of things learning/expressing/improving/being social and others I can't place into word atm.

Anyways. I enjoy it. Sometimes.
 

IceForce

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Apr 4, 2020
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Basically, because of this:



Furthermore, I get quite irritated at people using dishonest tactics to debate on this forum (strawmanning, ignoring points, etc), so I often find myself calling people out on things like these.
 

GabeZhul

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Mar 8, 2012
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Anonymity. Just think about it; would you stop and start arguing a hobo on the street shouting about stupid and inflammatory bullshit? No, you would probably walk away and completely disregard him.

On the internet, on the other hand, you would probably enter into a "discussion" with the very same hobo given the chance, simply because you don't actually know who he is, you are more confident because he doesn't know who you are, and because of the other passers by don't look down on you either thanks to the aforementioned details.

Internet anonymity takes away the social pressure, and therefore you are more inclined to enter into a discussion even about the most inane things, and once you are in and invested you stay around and so the argument continues.
 

ClockworkPenguin

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GabeZhul said:
Anonymity. Just think about it; would you stop and start arguing a hobo on the street shouting about stupid and inflammatory bullshit? No, you would probably walk away and completely disregard him.

On the internet, on the other hand, you would probably enter into a "discussion" with the very same hobo given the chance, simply because you don't actually know who he is, you are more confident because he doesn't know who you are, and because of the other passers by don't look down on you either thanks to the aforementioned details.

Internet anonymity takes away the social pressure, and therefore you are more inclined to enter into a discussion even about the most inane things, and once you are in and invested you stay around and so the argument continues.
Actually, I have got into arguments with doom preaching bible thumpers on the street in the past.

I just like arguing. I'm kind of a dick.
 

Thaluikhain

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Apr 4, 2020
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I disagree that 9 times out of 10 it goes nowhere. Certainly, the signal to noise ratio in any argument isn't great, but usually some of the people involved will know what they are talking about.

And then, a lot of people get involved to stick up for people being attacked, not persuade attackers to stop.
 

The_Echo

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Mar 18, 2009
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It's a much cleaner alternative to getting buttflustered in public and making a scene.

Also we generally don't surround ourselves with people we'd argue with offline.

Online, however, it's an open forum where everyone can speak their mind and yes, people will disagree.
 

Arnoxthe1

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Dec 25, 2010
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Yeah, as Zhukov said, I don't debate on the internet as much as I used to anymore. I'm just getting really tired of it in general. Haters gonna hate, as they say.

It may be rather easy to get into an argument with someone on the internet, but as you use it more, you find out that it's even easier to just ignore it and move on to something else more deserving of your time.
 

Ubiquitous Duck

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Jan 16, 2014
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I personally steer well clear of it and tend to avoid the threads that will obviously lead to 100s of posts.

I see no point in getting lost in the clutter and, as you say, there isn't really an outcome to debating it - just people throwing ideas around and getting angry at each other.

I like debating stuff in person, but I really don't see any enjoyment in doing it on forums and so don't tend to take part in it.

And the repetition, as you say, is just frustrating to continuously read. Hearing the same stuff for years and seeing no progression is just demoralising. Arguing is often a frivolous pursuit, as people tend to just say what they think and keep it that way. Whenever we debated in class at school, people just ended up frustrated - I don't think we changed the world like young people hope to... I don't think we could even change each others minds on the matter. I think in person you have more of a chance though and I wonder if real discussions happen for many people on those threads or if they just use it as an outlet for their view and then leave.

I like talking with people, not just finding somewhere to put my thoughts in writing.
 

Tallim

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Mar 16, 2010
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ClockworkPenguin said:
GabeZhul said:
Anonymity. Just think about it; would you stop and start arguing a hobo on the street shouting about stupid and inflammatory bullshit? No, you would probably walk away and completely disregard him.

On the internet, on the other hand, you would probably enter into a "discussion" with the very same hobo given the chance, simply because you don't actually know who he is, you are more confident because he doesn't know who you are, and because of the other passers by don't look down on you either thanks to the aforementioned details.

Internet anonymity takes away the social pressure, and therefore you are more inclined to enter into a discussion even about the most inane things, and once you are in and invested you stay around and so the argument continues.
Actually, I have got into arguments with doom preaching bible thumpers on the street in the past.

I just like arguing. I'm kind of a dick.
Oh but those folk are so fun to argue with it practically counts as a sport these days!
 

chikusho

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Jun 14, 2011
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Because writing down your opinion not only defines it, but it makes it real.
You can't give an answer without posing a question, and arguing for your position helps to develop your position from a vague feeling into a real belief. Also, if your argument doesn't hold up you you are able to draw new conclusions and form a new opinion.
 

Alterego-X

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Nov 22, 2009
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Easy to find people who share your basic interests and informations, yet disagree about some critical details.

In real life, most people around me are COMPLETELY out of touch with my perspective, that there is not much room for debate. I live in Hungary, but I don't pay much attention to local politics, media/celebrities, and similar trends.

On the Internet, I can always find someone to talk about whether Kickstarter should be more of a donation system or an accountable transaction, or about whether the Anime industry has been in decline in the past years due to otaku pandering.