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Do you think there's room on here for diametrically opposing opinions?

(135 Posts)
Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:14:41

When I first joined (oh yes indeedy, those halcyon days) there seemed to be a wider spread of opinions. And a greater respect for others.

Now it feels sometimes that there is an area of thinking that is deemed ok (in terms of parenting or social or political view), and it gets more and more narrowly defined as posters reinforce each other's views. Then there are extreme personalities who are seen as trolls for disagreeing with this established 'range of normality'. And possibly there are a lot of voices who just don't bother to comment because of the strength of the agreeing posters.

There have been times when someone will post a dissenting opinion and all of a sudden a huge group emerges from gawd-knows where seemingly relieved that their own sense of 'normality' is being raised.

I wonder whether respect for others is diminishing. I am certainly probably guilty of this, of posting an opposing position because the status quo seems to have swung too far away from my sense of 'normality' and 'correctness'. I'm certain I had more respect in the early days.

Of course it might just be me, I might be making no sense, or I may just be in a twonkish mood .. but anyhoo .. shall I post this?

Porpoise Wed 26-Sep-07 14:27:36

<short pause while ponders how to agree that disagreement is good>

Absolutely agree with you Twig - in a kind of diametrically opposed way.

But I guess there is a kind of herd mentality on the internet as much as there is in RL.

It increasingly difficult to disagree with people on here. Perhaps it's all moving so fast that people don't take time to think, 'Actually, that IS a good point - I hadn't though of it that way.'?

Porpoise Wed 26-Sep-07 14:28:44

And actually, the best advice I've ever got on here was from people disagreeing with me!

WideWebWitch Wed 26-Sep-07 14:30:56

I think there should be room but I also think increasingly there is less respect for differeing points of view.

I love the threads where people have a good long debate without it degenerating into a slanging match and threads here have changed my view on various things over the years. But my opinion has only been changed when someone has argued coherently and intelligently - it's never been swayed by the baying mob and I do think there's far too much "HOW very dare you think that?????" going on sometimes.

prufrock Wed 26-Sep-07 14:31:47

I think as well that it was easier to disagree with people when you do actually know and respect them. I remeber once telling www that yes, she was actually being unreasonable. And because she respected my opinion (well at least I hope she does) she listened rather than just saying that I didn't know what I was talking about and I should just phuck off. Which is kind of how some AIBU threads go nowadays.

prufrock Wed 26-Sep-07 14:32:10

ooh spooky www.

mytwopenceworth Wed 26-Sep-07 14:33:24

There should be, but more and more on here, there is the mass beating of anyone who does not follow the approved party line. That is sad, because it was the diversity and the debate that kept me here, it is sad to see that disappear.

And I'm sure that a lot of people only go with the flow so they don't get abuse, but actually hold totally different rl opinions from the ones they show on here - to fit in??

Blu Wed 26-Sep-07 14:36:48

The baying mob is the worst thing, and the biggest enemy of reasoned debate, I thnk.

Because instead of engaging with the OP people stick up for each other...often about the OP who is discussed in the third person as if they are no longer part of the discussion, and it's just lines of people saying 'I agree with so and so because she's my friend' or peope who join in not to debate or answer the OP at all, but to 'defend' their friend. Hence slanging match or massacre...and reason or interetsing discussion goes out of the window.

So, I don't think it is the presence or otherwise of differing views but the dynamics of how they are addressed.

Pruners Wed 26-Sep-07 14:37:08

Message withdrawn

pagwatch Wed 26-Sep-07 14:39:39

I also think that there are some general shifts going on anyway ( although longer term than just recent months and years).
There seems to be a perception now that to constantly repeat your arguement obsessively is indicative of 'being strong' rather than incapeable of accepting anothers pov. It is as if the concession of any point in the other persons arguement means loss of face.

And I think things get heated because people also see apologizing as a weakness. I was brought up ( cue sepia tones and hovis loaf music) I was taught that it was the admirable thing to do, to apologise if you have offended or upset.
I as a consequence do apologise quite freely but have only had Prince Harry apologies -if any at all.

Ahhh - we Victorians were not all wrong!

Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:39:58

I think I miss the reasoned debate ... rather a lot really

but I also dislike the fact that I can virtually guess what a number of people are going to write before they write it

mimi03 Wed 26-Sep-07 14:40:26

im increasingly wondering whether to bother with mn anymore....maybe its just the threads i end up on but i feel a real sense of snobbery and nastiness. obviously not from all but sometimes i think people come on here to prove they are better or superior to others, rather than for a chat or debate. although some threads are very helpful....maybe its just me...

Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:40:51

"Ahhh - we Victorians were not all wrong! " LOL

Anna8888 Wed 26-Sep-07 14:41:38

Surely you can guess what people are going to write before they write it just because you know them well after reading their posts for so long?

Anyway, I always disagree with you, Twig grin

ladymuck Wed 26-Sep-07 14:42:44

I think that there is an increased speed to the debates too. If you take the time to write something and think about it then by the time you've hit post the whole thread has moved on.

I occasionally have an image of certain posters having henchmen, so that not only do you have one person disagreeing with you but you're immeidtely shouted down by the others before the sane people can even get to the thread.

Anyone else remember when Active convos (then limited to 25 threads) covered the previous day?

There are also so many taboo topics these days. It is not even a matter of having a debate which is wide enough to include differences of opinion, but it is getting harder to ask for advice too. I have an issue at present regarding ds2 settling at his new school, and I'm fairly sure that there are some posters on here who could help me, but I have a sinking feeling that as soon as I post the problem I'm going to be slated as being either racist, sexist, elitist or all of the above, rather than the worried mum of a 4yo.

And it used to be easy to spot the regulars (who could also hold down a full-time job), but I dread to think how many posts a day it would take to be seen as a regular these days.

Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:43:06

s'funny that 'cos I don't always disagree with you Anna smile

UnquietDad Wed 26-Sep-07 14:44:59

There are times when I have felt like putting on my Monty Python hat and saying "that's not an argument, that's just contradiction."

The problem with online disagreements, I think, is that you get a lot of "fisking." This sounds rude but isn't. It's basically when someone takes someone else's argument - constructed thus: Point A-Point B-Point C-Conclusion D - bit by bit and "refutes" it thus:

Point A
[disagrees! Makes Point X]

Point B
[disagrees! Makes Point Y]

Point C
[disagrees! Makes Point Z]

Conclusion D
[disagrees! Arrives at Conclusion Q]

Two problems: they lose the overall, cumulative thrust of what the previous poster has said, and they have only responded to (not necessarily refuted) each point in turn.

You get it more on fora which allow "quoting" of other posters than you do on here.

Pruners Wed 26-Sep-07 14:45:05

Message withdrawn

ImBarryScott Wed 26-Sep-07 14:46:07

I feel similarly LadyMuck. I'm a newbi and wanted to start a thread on a particular subject. Did a quick archive search and found this was A Sensitive Topic Indeed for MNers. So I possibly missed out on getting some good advice because a couldn't be fagged with the ten tongue-lashings I'd no doubt receive for every bit of help.

WideWebWitch Wed 26-Sep-07 14:46:10

Ah Ladymuck, that's sad though because that should be what mumsnet is FOR. Post, go on.

Prufrock, I do respect your opinion, absolutely. And you're right and we agree about that respect thing!

Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:47:55

agree that that is sad

most of our problems in parenting just aren't always whiter than white problems but cross many places we would prefer not to be. And if a parenting board is no longer the place to discuss this because of the slating, then where the hell is?

Twiglett Wed 26-Sep-07 14:49:15

I only (just about) got away with a thread about smacking my 3 year old because I've been here so long I think .. and I was well-aware of that, and also eternally grateful .. because you know what, I bloody well needed help and support and someone to tell me it would be ok

madamez Wed 26-Sep-07 14:49:31

I think a possible problem is that some people can't take being disagreed with, and immediately begin to shriek and howl for threads to be locked or deleted because pointing out their errors, stupidites etc is somehow 'abusive'.
There's also a hell of a lot of herd mentality and complete inability to think for oneself (but then that;s the same everywhere). Porbably the biggest and worst modern problem is this idea that just because you have strong feelings (and are prepared to shriek and howl and wave all kinds of victim cards) that you must be right. It;s possible to feel things intensely, or to have had a traumatic experience, and stil be an utter fuckwit.

Pruners Wed 26-Sep-07 14:50:03

Message withdrawn

Sunshinemummy Wed 26-Sep-07 14:50:30

I must admit I'm loath to post on certain threads because they are so vitriolic. I'd rather keep to recipes, books and chat.

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