How to Lose Credibility Online (pt. 5)

Decide that anyone who disagrees with you, in any way, must be an idiot.

The intent: A purer conviction of beliefs.

The reality: Okay, if you can’t see why this is problematic, then there’s not much we can do. But, this happens all the time, and usually in regard to the lower-end “thinkers” involved in religious/anti-religious arguments. Here is where you get your sixteen-year-old atheist and your barely-internet-aware theist hashing it out in the comments section of a youtube video about cats. It’s embarrassing enough BEFORE  they start handing out idiot trophies –on one end to Aquinas, Augustine, O’Connor, every religious scientist ever, Tolkien, Chesterton, and Lewis, and on the other side to Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Lucretius, and Stephen Hawking.
The fact is, we are small creatures on this planet, and the likelihood any of us will discover the fullness of truth in an infinite universe is fairly low. There are many different methodologies to use in the pursuit of truth, and guess what? You may not agree with all of them. In fact, you may be convinced that some are dead wrong. But, does that make the promoters idiots? Maybe, but maybe not. A better question is, could you even tell the difference?
Most people today have no critical reading skills at all, and cannot A.) meet a writer on his or her own terms and follow the writer’s paradigm in order to discuss the ideas posited in a rational way, or B.) even find a central argument at all.

And, let’s be honest, none of the internet evangelists/anti-evangelists has ever read any of the authors they are attacking (and probably few of those they promote). After all, reading is… hard. Meh, off to post 400,000 memes to “prove” how superior I am to the world!  Oh, and “like” some pages! That’s a surefire way to make me intelligent. Looks at meh brillantish brainzes, biotches.

Pure. Unadulterated. Outrage.


How to Lose Credibility Online (pt. 4)

Try fear tactics. Be sure to claim or insinuate that anyone who disagrees with you is contributing to some horrible dystopia. “If you don’t vote for my candidate, The Hunger Games will come true in ten minutes!”
The intent: To show how serious you are. It’s okay to exaggerate if it’s for a good cause. Besides, you KNOW your opposition is evil. Your opposition probably would start any and all evil if given the opportunity, right?
The reality: You sound like Chicken Little.


How to Lose Credibility Online (pt. 3)

Avoid punctuation. Cluster your ideas into massive run-on sentences. Include caps, if possible. End with multiple exclamation points.
The intent: Probably this is meant to signify …intensity? To increase the speed of typing? Actually, I don’t know.
The reality: It’s easy to be misunderstood online. Let’s not make it any easier. When you write in all caps and ignore basic sentence formation, I have only one interpretation. In my mind, your comment is to be read as a hysterical meltdown, complete with sobs of impotent rage. I mentally add, “Leave Brittney alone!” between phrases.


How to Lose Credibility Online: 2

Begin every argument by insulting the person/people with whom you’re fighting.

The intent: I can see that this would have two purposes: 1) to persuade people to support your idea by hinting that anyone who would believe otherwise is stupid, or 2) to flaunt your intellectual superiority over others, because you most definitely have the correct viewpoint.

The reality: You come across as the most insufferably arrogant, immature twit on the internet. How many things in life are definitively right or wrong? (I’m not necessarily referring to moral matters here.) What makes you think that you are entirely in the right? More importantly, you’ve offended audience members that you might otherwise have swayed. Children fight by calling each other names. When teenagers and adults do it, who wants to listen to what they have to say?

– Circuit B