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janbb's avatar

Is Fluther a microcosm of society?

Asked by janbb (44136 points ) December 18th, 2012

All the really important discussions seem to be disintegrating into name calling and conflict. They start with polarization and pig-headedness. Do people just enjoy fighting or are the two sides of every question so far apart? How will we ever move forward as a society if we can’t talk civilly to each other? (It is kind of fun to read but also very disheartening.)

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20 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m not sure which are the “really important discussions” in your opinion, but I don’t believe Fluther is representative of society. We would have to get a good study to determine how we stacked up against mainstream society.

It’s merely my opinion, but I think we’re better educated, and since we have Internet access, we’re possibly better off than many.

The conflict evident in many of the questions lately, I think, is just a passing thing. I hope so anyway.

Coloma's avatar

I think the holidays are bringing up peoples irritability lately, my little psych speculation, coupled with some very passionate discussions amongst very intelligent and passionate people. Sparks are bound to fly on occasion. This too shall pass, and yes, I do think fluther is an interesting microcosm of the teeming masses. 88,000 members is a pretty decent little cross section of world views.

janbb's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I guess I’m referencing the questions on gun control, mental health, etc.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Hot topics, and I guess, not being a thin skinned and hypersensitive type I don’t take some fiery exchanges as necessarily being bad or wrong. Brainstorming can have it’s combustible moments, doesn’t really bother me. I find it stimulating. :-)

janbb's avatar

@Coloma That’s fine but it doesn’t seem that anyone rethinks their positions or comes to new understandings. And I include myself.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Well…I can certainly own a week or so, of uncharacteristic snarkiness on my behalf as well. Okay, you have planted the seeds of groundedness back into my little flowerpot. :-P

ucme's avatar

Not in my world, this place is truly unique in many ways, not all good.
That’s okay, because it’s only a logout away & peace is restored.

marinelife's avatar

For the most part, it is a narrow slice. People here tend not to be uneducated.

janbb's avatar

@marinelife Which makes it even scarier that we have such non-productive discourse.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think of it like that, sometimes. It helps me interact with ‘the people’ more, I guess – my circles are very specific. Sometimes, I need to leave them to see how the world responds to whatever. Fluther is my world. I realize the world is probably worse than this but there it is. And by world I don’t mean world, I mean the U.S.

DominicX's avatar

San Francisco Bay Area society, maybe.

Sunny2's avatar

Not at all. Many people are much too busy to be here. Many others have no access to computers. Do we have homeless people, farmers, miners, foresters, fishermen, etc? My opinion is that we are all people who have time on their hands, for whatever reason. Most of us have some kind of problem or situation that contributes to having that time available. We’re a good community, but not at all a microcosm of society in general.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fluther is much like the greater parts of US society; people are aligned according to the 4 ‘P’s, P ride, P leasure, P opularity, and P ower. People will support or align themselves with things because it is popular, not because it is correct. They knee-jerk believe things because of emotion (and a faith is NOT an emotion before you even get started on that track). Pride will not allow many to see beyond what they believe because who wants to be wrong? If you don’t bend, it shows you have some might, you are not being led by anyone so you are your own person, no one wants to be a lackey of anyone else, or told what to do. Usually when someone is losing the debate because they can’t come up with enough ammo to support their gunfire, they digress to catcalls, insults, disrespect and the likes. In short, it is all a byproduct of iniquity, but so be it, there are many who disagree with that.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not even close. The majority of people on Fluther are smart and actually care about important things.

The majority of people in society just want to know the latest sports score and what’s on TV tonight.

Bellatrix's avatar

Even with the occasional falls from grace, I wish the world was more like Fluther. For the most part the people here are intelligent, accepting and thoughtful. All of us may succumb to biting back when someone says something we consider to be ignorant or uninformed and just their unsubstantiated opinion. In that way, Fluther is representative of real life. Other than that though no.

I wouldn’t want Fluther to be more vanilla than it is. If everyone was being perfectly nice and the passions were never raised, the pride and ego never showed up, this would be a damned boring place. I am glad for the outliers amongst us. Even if sometimes I read what they write and think “you are off your rocker”. At least it adds some spice to the discussion. I might (or might not) agree with them but even those accused of trolling add some a bit of zest. They get people talking and arguing. A bit like your mad uncle around the Christmas table.

I do wish we could be more tolerant of new people. There seems to be a propensity for calling people trolls. Usually these people are just being mischievous and I don’t think they do any harm. I’m not talking about people like our visitor who shall not be named who likes to repeatedly post the same thing over and over again. He is a pest and messes up the site for the users. However, members who say post multiple questions in one post – if members are answering – why do we get so tied up a knot about this? So, I wish we could ‘live and let live’ a bit more but otherwise, I like that we disagree and I would hate a site where we are all so similar that it’s just like hearing yourself speak. Sometimes, just like the mad uncle at the Christmas table or the brother who finally reacts to his silliness, we all need a bit of a time out.

janbb's avatar

@Bellatrix “Sometimes, just like the mad uncle at the Christmas table or the brother who finally reacts to his silliness, we all need a bit of a time out.”

Is that why Fluther was down today? It was giving us a time-out?

Bellatrix's avatar

Quite possibly :-)

wundayatta's avatar

It’s not like the overall US society. It’s much more liberal; much more sensible. There are a few people who disagree with the general consensus, but they tend to do so fairly politely. I think we learn something from them, but the goal is not to change anyone’s mind. It’s to write and to hone our arguments.

I think you want people to be polite and to learn from each other, but that is not many other people’s need. In fact, without mods, we’d probably tear into each other so much more. Which might be fun for some, but probably not for you.

So I think it’s an issue of style and preferences that makes you wonder about this.

janbb's avatar

Maybe. I actually enjoy a good donnybrook here too for the drama but sometimes we seem to go into overdrive.

Paradox25's avatar

In some ways it is, but in most ways it is not. I guess that we all really do grow up in drastically different enviroments, but even then there will always be similarities that we can identify with. I’ll admit that I’m drastically different from the friends and people that I associate with, and maybe that is why I tend to use sites like this, to get a break from them.

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