Thursday, May 24, 2007

Doggerel #88: "You're All Ganging Up on Me!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

When a woo comes to a skeptical forum or blog with a lot of posters, they can become quite bogged down with questions, explanations, alternate hypotheses, and so forth. We skeptics can be very opinionated people. Being intimidated is understandable.

That's why it's very important to maintain composure. Woos often fail in this regard, and will flail at straw men, recite propaganda that's already been countered, and just generally not deal with the issue itself.

So, here are some tips for anyone who's been directed here for using this line: Calm down, take the time to read what the skeptics have said, and carefully deal with each point made as it relates to the issue. If you're short on time, say so, and come back when you do have time. Not before, unless you're just briefly reminding people you're still there, and still working on a reply. Too often, we've met trolls who say they don't have the time, or have better things to do, and yet continue posting heated, contentless replies that don't demonstrate any thought. Maintaining your focus on the issue at hand and your composure will often do wonders, especially if you can focus on one particular aspect at a time. Flailing at unrealistic Hollywood stereotypes of skeptics will only earn you further ire, so make sure you understand what position your opposition holds, rather than what you've been told what they believe.

This advice applies not just to skeptical forums, but just about anywhere for anyone. Note that there are some occasional circumstances where an outburst is quite appropriate, and rudeness will serve you better to get a point across. That shouldn't be the first resort, though.


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Anonymous said...

<3 Kill Bill

Infophile said...

Wait a second, why would they be complaining about this? Isn't it widely accepted that the efficacy of a group of skeptics is inversely proportional to the number of skeptics in the group?

Or wait, was that ninjas? Or are they the same thing?

Why can't I stop talking in questions?