home Editorial Editorial – Is The Internet Killing The Art of Debating?

Editorial – Is The Internet Killing The Art of Debating?

It’s too easy to pick a fight online. Pick any YouTube video you like and scroll down to the comments and you’ll most likely be met by a stream of arguments and abuse, going back and forth between two, three maybe even five different profiles, each beginning the conversation with what they think is an articulate, polite and well written response to another individual before quickly ( and I mean within two or three comments) hurtling abuse about the others parents, sister, cousin, their own mental capacity and anything else you can begin to imagine. Unfortunately, however, upon reading back on such comments, you learn little to nothing about the opinions of either side of the fight, you just learn which one knows the most expletives.

  Obviously, it’s important to be aware of trolling culture in the online community (which you could define as when one commentator says something for the sole purpose of starting a fight) but even when this is not the case, it’s alarming to see how little the two sides try, or even want, to understand the other’s views. I’ve never seen anyone say “You know what, you’ve got a point” or “Okay, I admit, I may have been wrong about some aspects” or anything along these lines because neither side ever truly listen.

  So why does no one try to understand? Is it because they are so set in their ways that they see any other view as idiotic? Is it because it takes too much effort? Or is it just because some people don’t want to? While our generation may consider themselves the most forward thinking and open minded is it really if they are not willing to take part in any debates on the subjects they think matter most? Past generations have taken the time to sit with the opposition and explain their views and would be willing to take part in a constructive conversation, why not us?

 Online, it’s easy to step away from a conversation if you feel you’re getting annoyed, or you feel like you can’t get your views through to someone else, and while this is better than hurtling abuse across the globe in seconds, it unfortunately just leaves you in a much weaker position. Without a proper resolution, both sides leave even more determined that their side is correct, and with even less consideration on opposing opinions. With social media also in play, it means that individuals who partake in such debates feel the need to separate between loser and winner, with neither side ever admitting to a loss, and both sides willing to do anything in order to save face in front of their friends (who can sit back and watch such conversations take place with popcorn out, knowing it has the potential to turn heated in an instant).