a reply to: Fallingdown
Although we have had some contention, I appreciate your honesty.
#1) I think that the issue with research is that you have to be cynical about sources. There is such a thing as 'opinion echo chamber' where there is
so much volume based upon "he said, she said..." that it looks genuine, but isn't necessarily. The language for this type of thing tends to be
emotionally charged and although any deeply held belief is emotive, it is a red flag if there is an emotional appeal involved. I mean, think of the
#2) Credibility is relative to the side you are arguing for/with. There is no real metric of absolute credibility. I think this falls in line with
#3) Honesty is very useful. The thing is that we all fall for our confirmation biases and so we honestly believe what we honestly believe.
#4) I'd also say that presentation, or at least the 'tone of the prose', is important. As I said, appeals to emotion are a red flag on top of the
things you mentioned.
The other side of that is that if you say something mundane or normal, you won't get the online reaction. If you say something stupid, outrageous,
untrue or inflammatory, every man & dog will 'have at you'. If you combine all of them in one post, you've hit the online PR jackpot.
To a large extent, this appeal to the lowest is heavily used already by some, and is particularly prevalent on Twitter. Generally, when I detect it I
assume that the poster is lacking in points #1 to #3.
#5) We all do it. It's hardly our dirty little secret. If we were #3 we could stop from defending our opinions and reinforcing our less #2 positions.
But that's hard to do and you'll disappear off the online radar amidst the integration of noise.
I think that the best idea is to be prepared to debate with an attitude that you will allow someone else to win and it's no big deal (I know, 'cause I
been wrong a few times). If you can't take the part of devils advocate, there is no debate and all there actually is, is an echo chamber.