Public discussions on the Internet

I generally try to avoid public discussions. There are some reasons (partly emotional), but there is one thing in public discussions that puts me off and makes me uncomfortable. In general, the point of a discussion should be, funny enough, to make a point, ideally in such a way that you both agree on some conclusion. In the best-effort case, which is the best you can hope for in most situations, at least the audience shall have the chance to understand the topic, its complexity and come to a conclusion (which may be “I am not qualified”, “Not enough data”, “X is the right way to do”).

However, in most public discussions this contradicts the goals of the participating parties. On the Internet, nobody knows you are a cat the audience is virtually infinite and this is something that makes discussions harder as they devolve into virtual dominance competitions, because the parties at some point (the bigger the audience, the sooner) decide that losing would mean actually taking reputation damage and losing face. No matter how often you say “This is not about dominance”, the results seem to be the same.

I fear, this is an inherent problem. Though, there are spaces where these effects are not observable, and in general, they are characterized with

  • limited number of benevolent participants
  • a more or less strict intolerance towards any kind of superiority attitudes

Is this the final solution of the shitstorm question? I don’t know.

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