nasty commenters. There you'll find the occasional bad apple (sometimes more), and people who look at the comments for a bit more besides how fanatical you are for causing trouble. Either way, this is a quick “guide” I decided to write up on how to avoid starting unnecessary conflict, how to avoid it in your writing, and how to deal with these zealous rage monsters.
1. Address others as you would your boss.
When commenting, you should try to address the community with respect, as you would your boss. Harmless, slightly controversial comments can turn into hives for devout and intense flame wars you never even wanted. When making a comment for post, make it clear that you're not just trying to piss people off by explaining your position and avoiding derogatory words and stereotypes. The more composed your message is, the less people will have to fight about. Through my own experience, I’ve found that it’s hard for people to talk trash about you if you give then no reason to, especially if you come across as more calm and well minded then they are. When they fight back, guns blazing, you’ll probably get some sympathy from everyone else, and they’ll help you fend him or her off.
2. Ask yourself how a crowd of 1,000 would respond.
Another good one I’ve picked up more recently is ask yourself how a crowd of 1000 people would respond to everything you say, on the internet. Would they cheer in rejoice, or mob up and kill you? Take me as an example. I always address you as “you all”, and “everyone”, even though I know not many people will probably ever see this. That’s me thinking on a large scale, and subconsciously preparing for anyone who might come across, and what they will think about my posts.
3. Read the whole message first.
This one seems like a no brainer, but a lot of people skip over it. You should always read a whole post or comment first before commenting yourself. You may misunderstand if you read the first two sentences and accidentally start an unwanted conflict for no good reason. By extension, you should try to understand a topic wholly before you claim to understand it. One of the most ANNOYING things is when someone claim to understand what’s going on, when in fact their source was clearly just overhearing a conversation happening behind them at work, or in this case, the first couple of sentences in the comment section. Speculation does not equal fact. If you’re going to go out, saying you know something, make sure you actually know it, and aren’t just pretending.
4. Avoid repeat slander.
It's petty enough to misinform an audience once, but doing it over and over again is just rude. In fact, it's discourteous and uncivil. Especially when posting content, it shows not only a lack of creativity, but a lack of care for the audience. Much like some people, who apparently thinks it's ok to not only post controversial content on a regular basis, but they only ever really cover five different topics, each just as offensive as the last. It shows a lack of composure and responsibility for the audience. Only in situations when you’re repeatedly under fire would you need to repeat yourself so frequently, but some fans worship people like this and take their words as a sacred text. If you need to, much like I did with the Quick History of Broadcasting article, lay out all of the facts in a post or two, that way when you need to repeat yourself, you can just point to it for all of the information that your followers need to understand you. I’ll no doubt be pointing to this article a lot when I launch my reaction series, Cam Reacts, in a week if I talk about censorship, PC culture, or otherwise.
5. Avoid snap judgment.
This is a step that's very easy to skip over, because it's a reflex that happens so fast. Snap judgment is when you decide how you feel about a situation before you fully understand it. This is similar to step #3; however this takes it one step further. Instead of simply learning about something, you have decided that you know enough to make snap judgements about it, even though you really don’t know the whole picture. When it comes to commenting or posting, you should try to present the other side of an argument as a reasonable option, or state that you understand the other points, but you don't have to agree with them. It’s confusing to grasp at first. Even though you understand what someone’s is trying to convey, you may actually not know, and the presenter may be trying to convey something else entirely.
6. Think about how the opposing party feels.
This sounds like grade school advice, and it is, but that doesn't mean it's still not practical in the real world. If you're writing something that you think would make others feel bad, you should first think about why they think that they're opinion is the correct one before proceeding. By extension, you should look to see why some think that you're wrong. This can help you find potential oversights in your logic. Maybe Maya’s shoes, in fact, don’t actually look that bad, now that you taken a second look, so why complain about them?
7. Look for dis-confirmations.
Trying to find reasons as to why others could be thinking the way they are is crucial to understanding. Once again, this point is similar to #5, but taking it further. Instead of just thinking about reasons the opposing party could be right, and why they think you could be wrong, try to think of reasons as to why that is. Is it because they have different theological or political views? Maybe they just don't understand why someone could interpret a situation differently than they did. Try to explain your opinion, and give some well thought out reasons as to why you could potentially be right.
So in short, before you comment, especially when an unwanted conflict could potentially occur, you should first: Try to understand the opposing opinion first, and then interpret as to why it's different. Then you should respond, being calm, explaining your opinion, and treating the potential readers with respect. Before you post, you should: analyze ALL the information, and address your readers with respect, and thoroughly explain why you thought that way. At the very least, you should avoid slamming others ideals, and at the minimum, respect them for what they are. Before you respond: Take the others opinion with a grain of salt, and answer responsibly and respectfully to others.
Hey everyone thanks for reading! I know it's pretty much impossible to avoid all conflict, but at a minimum, can't we at least try to be nice? We’re all people here, so why can't we all just get along? I don't have any additional resources this time, but still look forward to hearing what you have to say. Any other tips you can think of? Once again, thanks for reading, and I’ll hopefully see you again in today’s issue of Levengood Today.
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