Polarization, Fanboys and the Non-Middle Ground

One of the advantages that blogging holds over other forms of media is the often unfiltered voice it allows. From bloggers themselves, to those that comment afterward, the best blog posts – much like the best interviews – allow for some stimulating and thought-provoking discourse around a topic.

It’s always been one of the key reasons that blogs have enjoyed the kind of popularity that they do, since authors – at least the good ones – will allow all sides of an “argument” to be heard, while maintaining a level of respect between the debaters.

Or at least, it used to be.

Sadly, many discussions now seem to dissolve into he said, she said kindergarten posturing, as opposed to reasoned discussion. Add to that the “the person you’re talking about is above reproach” (as shown by the image below), and it makes you wonder what happened to agreeing to disagree.

Tunnel vision mindsets

(FYI, Mark – in answer to your question, I took 6 days to reply as I was doing what I get paid to do for my clients, and spending time with my wife and son. I put that first over everything).

There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing. There’s nothing wrong with defending your friends. I’d say both are qualities that should/need to be encouraged more, to ensure healthy debate is allowed and everyone’s voice is heard.

When you start saying someone should apologize for stating their viewpoint, though, or that someone is above reproach, there’s something messed up (as long as the original viewpoint isn’t inciting hate or similar). It takes away the very thing most Internet users celebrate – freedom of opinion and the ability to see all points of view respectfully, whether you agree with them or not.

Instead of questions being asked or viewpoints being shared, you’d be left with people afraid to speak because, clearly, only the opinions of the few and those above reproach are valuable.

Sorry, but I don’t buy that.

Do that, and you might as well start letting the infographics win (hat tip to Marc Girolimetti for that quip). And just ask Jon Aston what he thinks of infographics to see whether that’s a good thing or not.

Mind you, a lot of this could probably be avoided if bloggers did a better job of looking after all of their blog’s community, and not just the adoring ones…

Note: For the context of the conversation the image represents, click here

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