Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blogocombat and Confident Self Expression

Blogocombat is a general term that I coined many years ago (Google the word and see hundreds of pages of posts from me on this topic).

I use the broad term "blogocombat" to refer to all types of online discussion, debate, argument, confrontation, challenge, wrangling, hog tied and heckleding, rhetorical conflict, and text vs. text communications of a heated, intense, and multiple opinion nature.

The word "blogocombat" does not necessarily mean that there is anger, hurt feelings, revenge, harmful intent, desire to humiliate, raging jealousy, sadistic hostility, or hate-mongering conflict going on. Blogocombat, as I use the term, can embrace the whole spectrum of what people do, online, using a computer or mobile device, when presenting viewpoints, facts, and principles that are non-homogenous, diverse, and incongruent.

There can be great harmony in an enthusiastic discussion involving smart, educated, experienced professionals. The very essence of scientific method, so highly esteemed by those who value rational thought processes and reasonable behavior, is to test different hypotheses, consider new ideas, and remain open to perceptions and data that are not self-derived.

Oh, but it goes downhill fast when people are uncomfortable with dissent or experiences that seem alien to their own.

To insist that a discussion never be argumentative, never make one participant appear to be not in synch ideologically with another participant, is unrealistic and unprofitable for seeking answers to complex and fundamental questions. While there are polite, mild, and friendly ways to disagree, we must never agree to never disagree.

Listening to a group of people who completely agree with each other is boring. Have you ever tried it? You feel like it's a mutual admiration society and the voices seem to blend and blur into each other, then the whole discussion seems contrived, infomercially bland, unexciting, too artificially harmonious to be a real conversation by real people.

Moving in lockstep with a group, a mentor, a work superior, or any organization, is a guaranteed way to become bland, fuzzy, uncreative, non-innovative, prepared only for what is proscribed in some well-intended but limited training session, lesson program, or political manifesto.

So the anxiously anticipated dissertation on the Hot Blogocombat Techniques for Summer 2011 is clearly revolving around this major theme: your right to express your views and to request clarification when accused.

Express your views. Engage in discussions with others who may have opposing, contradictory, or somewhat non-analogous views. Expect some polite disagreement. Don't be overly sensitive when someone shares some information that you did not know about nor expect to find tossed into the mix. Don't see a discussion as some silly game with winners and losers.

Discussions are not contests to see who can overpower who. Conversations are about sharing and learning and discovering. We talk and listen to each other because we want to help others and gain more wisdom for ourselves.

Only an insecure, controlling personality would want every discussion, conversation, debate, argument, and communication to go his way all the time, make him feel big and important, and result in converting everybody  to his way of thinking.

You should feel happy to express yourself, even when you know that your audience is opposed to what you believe. Even when you know your idea will not be popular, will draw dismissive remarks, and may cause some people to dislike you as a person, still, you must be confident and cheerful in presenting your thoughts.

The most cowardly form of trolling is to simply silence the opponent, command him to STFU, howl hysterically about being at a disadvantage, and beg a moderator to restrict a person's utterances and use of links to online information that the troll cannot refute or dismiss. "Shut up", the troll implies when coming up with a list of vague grievances and strict new rules to prevent any further disruption of the troll's tirades and rants.

I have recently had to deal with malicious internet trolls on some client blogs.

These musings are a direct result of having solved some nasty troll issues. These remarks are simplified statements of some base realities to keep in mind when you find yourself surrounded by vicious flamers, rabid detractors, and frenzied haters in the online realm.

Don't let a troll prevent you from saying whatever you deem appropriate to say, even if it means quoting relevant material you researched and prepared, thus making the troll look sloppy, disorganized, or stupid. If you're a dedicated over-achiever, the mediocres will resent your extra work, prolific gusto, and conscientious attention to detail.

Communicate according to your own standards and the perceived context and needs in the situation. You don't have to listen to lectures on how your zeal for excellence is upsetting the applecart and making lazies look bad. You keep building your expertise and growing in your understanding of advanced issues, no matter who is comfortable with it, pays you for it, or pats your head because of it.

Another recent development in trolling is the Reverse Troll, of which I have spoken in some recent podcasts.

The latest tactics of Reverse Trolls include drawing a person into an argument, then backing off suddenly, and acting like the other person is the one who started it. From that point, the troll will consider the discussion over, he won the argument, and now it's time to move on to other things. The pathetically disguised and  unmet need underlying this strategy is obvious. The wish to dominate is so strong, and the fulfillment of this desire seems so increasingly unobtainable, the troll must arbitrarily declare the debate to be over.

If you attempt to correct a factual error concerning your actions or intentions, you are gleefully branded a troublemaker, and the troll will comb his hair, smiling into the pool of narcissism that was so recently rippled and disturbed.

You can only respond by politely but firmly advancing a proper presentation of your views and let it rest. To spend too much time in a debate makes it a time drain. I will not say "and an emotional drain", for I have already taught you that you can not allow yourself to feel anything when you read online text or submit online text.

All blogocombat is only text vs. text. There is no need to humanize it. You are not obligated to feel insulted, upset, happy, satisfied, elated, or disappointed when you engage in online conversations. You see some text. You respond with some more text. And so it goes, on and on, until you stop. Then you move on to some other activity.

If you keep all these things in mind, I think you'll be successful in your discussions with people on the internet.

Best wishes to all, and may the best man or woman, er... not "win"... but convince others of at least a little bit of what they communicate to them! LOL

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