Sunday, January 04, 2009

That's disappointing.

So today I got into an argument on the internet. I laid out precisely what was wrong with the post that bothered me, as cleanly and neatly as possible. I was perhaps a bit sharp. The original poster certainly thought so. She answered me fiercely, and her post included a link to her personal blog. Worried I'd gone too far too soon based on the tone of her response--but unwilling to cede any ground based on the content her response--I took a step back, a deep breath and restated my position in a slightly more easy to understand way.

Then I glanced at the personal blog. Like most of us, she had a twitter widget. A multi-tweet widget, and the most recent tweet expressed happiness that someone got "really angry" (which was untrue, I'd been angry but not enough to break out any of the dark metaphors I'm so fond of in my rants) over something she wrote, and giddy expectation of the hit increase over the fight.

And suddenly all the fight was deflated from me.

Anyone who reads me knows I love an argument. I love when two people who really stand behind what they believe get into it. I love the intellectual part of the discussion, the careful sifting of your opponent's opinion for weak spots and the distillation of your own point of view into its basic essence. I love strengthening my arguments and sharpening my mind. I love trying to come up with the most clever word to leave on. I love getting angry and arguing with someone who's just as passionate as me about what she believes.

Despite what it may seem, I really don't like getting angry for anger and attention's sake and I especially don't like dealing with those who do. I love getting angry for channeling it into something productive. I love anger as a purifier, as inspiration for cutting phrases and complex metaphors.

I want to interact with people with guts and honesty or least some creativity and energy no matter what side they're on. I want to fight someone who knows the rules of the duel, who even if they aren't invested beyond playing Devil's Advocate puts a little heart into the fight. It gives me energy and between the two sides we can make something really worth reading if we're both in top shape.

But here I've encountered someone who was anticipating the attention of a fight, just as she was saying in the comments that she didn't want a Blogwar. Knowing about that disconnect... it takes the fun out of a fight. If the other guy isn't really as angry as you are, and isn't primarily concerned with getting as clear and pure a point across as possible... It's just not worth fighting over anymore.

And all that lovely rage turns to sadness in the face of insincerity, and I'm listless where I should be inspired.

It's a little like finding out a friend was only pretending to like you.

Better that I would have lost on the mental battleground, because then I would have either a new friend gained by an apology or the seed of vengeance planted in my heart and all the fire that grew from it. Instead I've got a dull feeling at the bottom of my stomach.

I miss my trolls.


  1. O snap out of it. I think Germany's made you more melancholy or something.

    I'm not disagreeing with you that there's a certain passion in good debate and sharing of ideas and points of view. I will, however, disagree with you that the poster you speak of was EVER a viable source and expectation of such a debate.

    She's not even Ragnell Lite. She's someone with a job to do promoting a website and of course she's going to the be thrilled that someone with actual passion seemed to be engaging in her wishwashy, trying to grab ratings bullshit.

    "Don't judge if you haven't read it" What the fuck? Like discernment is both a word she's never used or a quality she's never experienced in her life in order to prevent unnecessary stress?

    I thought you weren't going to pull your punches anymore?

    And missing your trolls? Ok, is this supposed to be a mocking of another's passive-aggressive style? Cause I don't think trolls have ever given you passionate debate, at least I haven't heard you call those idiots, trolls - just idiots. Kalinara might know better, of course.

  2. Oww. *rubs cheek* For the record, I didn't pull my punch--but I put down the sharp object before I swung. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

  3. Next time don't put down the sharp object. Maybe if certain people get deflated, their bosses will recognize that real women aren't interchangeable either. You can't substitute Sarah Palin for Hilary Clinton and you can't substitute a 'Don't Open My Doors For me' "feminist" for someone with a real interest in social justice and good examples of.

  4. Well, technically she *was* a troll - and in two senses. First she was trying to provoke a flamewar by saying something provocative w/o really caring about the content - that's the good oldfashioned Usenet definition of a Troll. And then she was pretending to be doing so in good faith, with a breathless disingenuousness betrayed only by her own stupidity (when *will* these kids figure out that twitter-tweeting can make or break your alibi?) - which is your modern Concern Troll, arguing in bad faith and insincerity while feigning to be only looking for honest exchange of ideas.

    Usually you don't get them combined into one bonus package of debate FAIL - Concern Trolls usually care deeply about the point they're dishonestly defending, and Classic Trolls by definition don't give a damn - but that's not much of a distinction for whoever this was to be proud of.

  5. She's not even Ragnell Lite. She's someone with a job to do promoting a website and of course she's going to the be thrilled that someone with actual passion seemed to be engaging in her wishwashy, trying to grab ratings bullshit.


    Is this Newsarama's new "token fangirl" we're talking about? If so, the choice seems even poorer than it already did. Smug, intellectually-dishonest twerps out to be "outrageous" are a dime-a-dozen - can't throw a pencil on any campus without hitting one - so why would adding one to the masthead be a good move for them? (And "twit" has gained a new 21st century resonance as archetypal insult for an empty-headed lightweight, thanks to the internets.)

  6. Oh Ragnell, you need to catch your breath and come back swinging, my dear.

  7. IDK, my general impression has been that "Oh, goody, I have angered someone and will be getting hits!" is vaguely equivalent to, "I don't care I don't care look at me not caring as I reply to every post to say how much I don't care!"

    Still hella annoying.