Yesterday I made a post about Bill C-304 which is being pushed through Parliament by the Conservatives at the moment. I quoted this article and was full of righteous indignation and flamed the Conservatives for pushing through legislation supported by white supremacist groups. I got called out on my writing by Anonymous, rightly so I think, because although I was on the right side I wrote sloppily and did not adhere to the standards of conduct I normally aspire to. It is easy to be right half of the time; just shout loudly that everything sucks and call one side of any debate nasty names and inevitably you will score some hits. The hard part is trying to be right *and* interesting because proper research almost always ends up with an article that is both long and inconclusive. The truth is complicated.
This, more than anything, is the difficulty with the Internet. When I write posts that I feel I have researched thoroughly and which seem written very precisely I rarely get any responses. There usually isn't much to argue about! When I get all riled up and flame on though I tend to get people calling me on my BS and forcing me to either strike back or eat my words. I am pleased to note that nearly every time I get criticized it is justified; apparently my audience is full of people with high standards. Like most people when I write something I want responses; silence leads me to think I am utterly boring. That fact tends to reward people that make inflammatory posts which is why you find that the most popular writers are not ones that present all the facts in an unbiased fashion but ones who regularly flame on.
Obviously this is a major reason that trolls exist. When fourteen year old boys post the most reasonable things they can think of they get ignored but when they troll people they get all kinds of attention; nothing is worse than being utterly ignored so people are trained to troll. This is not to say that we should all feel obligated to comment on every post with "Yeah, so right!" because that doesn't really help anything either. Having a forum where everyone agrees loudly with one another makes it hard to notice dissenting voices.
One note though: If you do post here I would take it as a personal favour if you would do so under some kind of pseudonym. It needn't have any connection to your real name but I do like to keep mental track of regular posters to try to understand them and the things they believe. It helps me understand who reads what I write and how they think about it and learning about how my writing affects the world and what people think about it is a big motivator for me.