I try (and sometimes fail) to not be a troll when getting into Facebook arguments. If I decide to engage someone with a differing opinion, I try to give a thoughtful and reasoned argument defending my opinion. Inevitably, I do not get the same in return.
“That’s just my opinion.”
If you get into a Facebook argument, you will absolutely hear this thrown out there. What it is, is a statement saying, “regardless of how obviously it may seem that I’m wrong, I can’t possibly be wrong if its just my opinion.” It’s the equivalent of a little kid being like “your superpower can’t beat me, because I have the superpower to get any superpower including the one to beat yours.”
Unfortunately, we have the phrase “everyone’s entitled to an opinion,” which is while is technically true, does seem to be over extended and taken as “all opinions have equal weight and merit” which is absolutely not true. If you have no evidence, or data to back up your opinion, and you are given evidence and data on the opposing opinion, yours is inferior (at least until some time at which you can provide some substance).
The sideways argument/crossing streams.
I call the it sideways arguing, when you’re having a discussion about A, and instead of A your discussion partner, or argument opponent, or whatever you want to call them, keeps straying off topic but thinking it’s still valid. We’ll take the classic debate of “Should pizza have pineapple on it or not?” One person argues that the sweet contrasts well with the other more savory flavors on a pizza, and the other states that pineapple doesn’t have the proper texture for a pizza topping. As the debate wages on, one side sees they’re ill-equipped to continue, or to win, and says “well, I just think pepperoni is the best topping.”
What the fuck does that mean? What does that have to do with this argument?
In the confusion of this totally sideways argument, the person who said it, thinks they’ve won the argument, or at least gained new ground, because they’ve baffled their opponent, when really it’s like you’re having a civilized discussion, and they whipped their dick out, you just don’t know what is going on anymore.
Too stupid to lose.
I know, that in this I sound like a condescending douche (and at times, I certainly can be) but hear me out on this one. Often times when engaging in a Facebook argument, you’ll pummel someone over the head with information, and reasoned arguments, but you’re not factoring in whether or not they’re intelligent enough to understand that to any third party reading your conversation, you have one handily.
The absolute stupidest argument that I ever got into, was when I saw a (former) Facebook friend post “Megan Fox is a slut!” and I assume there were some emojis, but it’s been at least five years so I don’t remember.
My response, because as many of you may know, I hate the word slut in most common usage, and this was definitely and offender, was to ask “why is she a slut?” The response I got was baffling, and should have been my cue to stop the discussion in its tracks, but I didn’t.
“Because she winks like a pornstar.”
It was, and still is, such a stupid argument, that my brain hurts thinking about it. Of course, I tried to use logic to back out of it and get to a better place in the argument. I asked “what do pornstars wink like? Does she breath like a porn star? Does she eat like a porn star? I think the only thing that matters is whether or not she has sex on camera, as to her comparison to a porn star.” None of that worked, because for some reason there was no connection, no light behind the eyes, saying “hey this is a dumb argument” on the other side. I let this particular argument go back and forth for hours before eventually my wife told me to unfollow the post, so I wouldn’t see any further arguments.
Because I engage in Facebook arguments.
Ultimately, it is ALWAYS my fault, that I lose an argument, or that I get frustrated in the argument, because ultimately, I decided to engage in the argument. After years of doing this, I have not learned that Facebook arguments aren’t ‘Debate Club’ and we’re not awarded points for well made arguments, and in the end there is no sportsman like shaking of hands. In the end, someone stops responding.
I wish I could say, that while I continue to engage, at least it’s a new argument partner every time, but even that isn’t true. I let myself engage with people whom have shown no desire to have an honest or thoughtful discussion or argument, and for some dumb reason I always think “well this is too obvious for me to lose,” and yet I always lose, because I even engaged in the first place.
I think I have a compulsion, because not checking the arguments, not responding, all comes with it a deep stomach ache, which is then only worsened when responses do come. Hopefully, by writing this, I will allow myself to stop engaging in these arguments, but I think I know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
As a last thought, I should mention, while I do sometimes engage in arguments that others would consider to be trivial, I do usually see a moral obligation to engage and defend a moral standpoint. Even the Megan Fox example, to me was important. And no, I haven’t really engaged in the pineapple pizza argument, because I do not see the moral necessity.