I sometimes get annoyed by Internet discussions: people who think that the whole world revolves around their opinion, or who think that they’re so witty when they point out what was probably already on all of the readers’ minds, to begin with. It’s not all comments that I dislike, though. When people share their stories and are vulnerable, I tend to value those comments.
Nowadays, I usually read Internet discussions rather than participating in them. Granted, I miss out on learning when I do not participate, when I do not ask questions or make points and see how people answer them. At the same time, some discussions are just fruitless. I was one time on a progressive political site, and I was talking about Pat Buchanan’s writings that criticize the decline of the American middle class. A commenter was belittling me and did not believe that Pat Buchanan had such a concern or compassion for those struggling to get by. That’s when I was thinking: You know, Pat Buchanan’s column is online. One can buy his books on Amazon or check them out of the library. Why, then, should I waste time trying to convince this jerk, when his mind is already made up? If he’s interested, he can consult the resources that are out there.
Of course, people may be annoyed with me, too. And there’s the question: Is my problem with Internet discussions, or is my problem that I simply don’t like people? I’m not asking this as a way to search my heart, as if I will believe that I am a bad person if I arrive at the latter conclusion. I just wonder. The thing is, though, as I said, I do value reading people’s stories.