Well, damn! Little late today, my friends, and I’m sorry about that–thought I uploaded this earlier yesterday, but it looks like I didn’t! Ah, well, least I’m only a day off XD
For the third Manosphere Monday here…well, Tuesday, I’ll do the same thing I did last time: Offer a piece of advice that applies not just to the Manosphere but life in general. Once again, I’ll excuse the seemingly misleading title of this entry by noting it’s relevant to what I talk about in reference to the Manosphere.
In general, try to avoid commenting on the blogs of people you disagree with—though not necessarily those with whom you sometimes disagree. There’s a difference, and I’ll get to that later.
It may seem pessimistic, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, for the most part, people rarely blog (or express their opinions publically anywhere, really) for the purposes of engendering constructive debate and participating in an open marketplace of ideas. They mostly just want to hear their own voices, attract other yes-men to validate them, or just puff themselves up. Obviously, this means most bloggers will react to dissent—even mild, well-reasoned dissent—less than positively.
Thus, if you disagree with some other blogger you see on the internet, most of the time you’re better off not leaving a comment, IMO. It’s usually a pointless exercise—you won’t convince them of anything, and they’ll just end up banning you. If you absolutely most discuss something they’ve posted, do it on your own blog, if you have one. Make your own post about what they wrote and why you think it’s wrong. You can link it to their post if you have a faint hope of sparking some real discussion, or, if you don’t want any unfriendly attention, use services like donotlink or something like that to link to their work without giving them pingbacks.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and God bless ‘em. Folks who actually can tolerate dissent are some of my favorite. Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex is certainly one such fella. I’d like to think I’m also of that type, though, not being inclined to puff myself up, I’ll allow my readers to make that choice. Still, it’s also a good idea to be wary. Scott’s definitely a cool, well-intentioned fella, but not all bloggers are, even those who nominally allow dissent on their blogs. A lot of times, bloggers will “allow” people who disagree with them to have their say, but they won’t engage their opponents in good faith. They’ll just make fun of you or blow you off. Still, again, Slate Star Codex isn’t like that, and I endeavor to not be like that—though, as my rules state, I will end up banning or mocking commenters who prove themselves to be relentlessly annoying.
I guess that’s a little too much pessimism. For something more positive, here’s a way to detect whether the proprietor of a blog will really tolerate dissent as opposed to just paying lip service to it. First, see if they’ve posted any entries that you do agree with. This is also a good idea because if you disagree with someone on everything—literally EVERYTHING—you probably won’t have any constructive engagements with them, with absolutely no common ground. If they do, you can try leaving a friendly comment to see how they react. If they’re automatically suspicious of outsiders, respect their desire for privacy/a closely knit community and withdraw. If they seem to accept you, explore a little more. Read some of their other entries, and see if there are any other outsiders around. If there are, see how they’re treated. If anybody who disagrees with anything is promptly booted, that’s a sign you’re better off not spending any more time at that blog. If you see some constructive debate between the blog owner and his opponents, however, you may just have found one of those rare keepers.
And, of course, if someone’s just a plain looney there’s no point engaging with them at all anyways. Just stay away from the crazies. XD The same applies to miserable people, BTW, and you can use the criteria I describe in this post to see whether or not a blog is miserable and ought to be avoided.
Perhaps this advice sounds pessimistic, coming from someone who’s talked about the free market of ideas before. Still, we live in an imperfect world, and IMO it’s best to avoid trouble for oneself than make a stand for “dissent” or “constructive debate” and get burned for it. At least here, though, you won’t have to worry about that. If you disagree, feel free to disregard my advice and tell me why! Of course, if you’re nasty about it. you’ll wish you listened to me, haha.