Recently, I’ve come to notice a growing number of debates on various “hot topics” that go quickly from introducing ideas, opinions, and facts to simple name calling and mudslinging. I wanted there to be a place where these debates about the things that affect us that could be held in a way where no involved parties would resort to such degrading tactics. After all, if there’s no communication other that offensive language, what message are we sending each other? Hate? Animosity? A general lack of respect for the opinions and ideas others? With these things in mind, I created http://thingsthataffectus.tumblr.com/.
It’s here that I decided that if minds were to be changed, things would need to be laid out in a specific way. The problem I encountered however was that not everyone was willing to abide by the simple guidelines of retaining respectful tones with each other. Another problem was my hope that people not in the mindset would “simmer down” and be able to hold on to a civilized conversation if their first reaction was to respond with offensive language and name calling. The lesson learned: don’t engage in a respectful conversation if the person you’re conversing with has already shown you a lack of respect. There were some who disagreed with my views and I was able to speak with civilly, however so the project wasn’t a complete wreck.
Overall, I wouldn’t count my blog as a total success or failure. My patience was tested in ways I haven’t experienced before, and in all honesty, I’m not sure I have the energy to be nice to all the people I don’t see eye to eye with. Perhaps with a better layout and a team of moderators to keep everything in line, Things That Affect Us could be a useful resource for those wishing to debate the topics they feel strongly about and develop the skills that they need to retain their decorum and still present persuasive arguments. If I had to start over, I would try to have a bigger community involved than just myself to bring more topics, viewpoints, and ideas to the table, as well as ignore those that would rather start fires than follow the rules.
In all, I may try to continue the blog beyond my class, but between jobs, schooling, and a simple short tolerence for what a single person can endure, it may be a while before any real progress is made.