General Question

Pachy's avatar

Are there just too many opinions out there?

Asked by Pachy (13144 points ) January 31st, 2013

… I don’t mean on Fluther – that’s what we’re here for, to share opinions, advice, etc. – I mean in the world as a whole.

NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu recently said this: “Everyone with a Wi-Fi is an opinion maker these days … used to be there were two, three, maybe four different opinions for a single item of news; now there are millions, maybe billions of opinions on every puny news item … “

Do you agree or disagree there are just too many damned opinions out there … and so many based on too little knowledge and too much misinformation?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course (especially on Fluther!), but with so many opposing ones to consider, is it any wonder there’s so much gridlock in Congress and elsewhere?

I’ve thought about this a lot and would love to hear your, er, opinion.

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23 Answers

janbb's avatar

Too many wrong ones – and then there’s mine!

zenvelo's avatar

Yes. Not so much that they are expressed, as that they are all considered equal.

That’s part of the downside of the internet. Everyone has a soap box, but one can’t evaluate if the person has any expertise or is just blowing smoke. And one cannot evaluate if the speaker is stating something based on facts or some fiction they made up or heard from someone with a mental health problem. It muddies the general debate on a number of topics, because it can’t be discriminated.

The news broadcasts do this all the time. They ask for facts and opinions from by standers, but don’t use any judgment for the quality of the statement.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Personally, I think in this information age that people are self-educating but finding reliable news sources with accurate facts is sketchy.

gailcalled's avatar

The ones that make me crazy start out as the ultimate authority and then end with a qualitifier;

Viz;

Possibly
I can’t remember the details
It was a long time ago
I am not a doctor
I am not a lawyer
I am not a psychologist
I am not an expert
I am only guessing
Not that I am certain.
Sorry, I didn’t mean that.

HolographicUniverse's avatar

Yes
But this is only good or bad as it relates to a certain issue. For instance the news is never a reliable source for extrapolating factual information, there are always discrepancies, misinformation and propaganda involved therefore the different opinions stem from the disparity with the original item.
Whereas in politics too many different opinions can never perpetuate a single goal (though remember that many different opinions still stem from those same party ideals)
Bottom line is that opinions that have no substantive basis should never be acknowledged, every serious matter needs to be handled from a factual standpoint rather than opinions that are rarely objective… And in that case there is nothing wrong with alot of different opinions, so long as they do not pertain to a significant topic.
P.s. I hope that answered your question :-)

flutherother's avatar

Yes, they should be rationed. No one should be allowed more than two.

picante's avatar

The Information Age has an evil twin, the Misinformation Age. Our always-connected population, 24-hours news cycles, commentators disguised as journalists, Twitter feeds, Googlemania and other Internet-inflicted wounds too numerous to mention have created a world where only the astute can discern fact from opinion. I suppose it’s the “other side of the coin,” for there is no denying the benefits of knowledge at your fingertips, as librarians and encyclopedia salesmen have known forever. It’s figuring out what is opinion and what is knowledge that is the difficult task.

I’m thankful for the qualifiers that @gailcalled lists – at least they’re disclaimers. But I’m no expert, and I can’t possibly be expected to remember the details ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

@picante: Why then not start with the disclaimer?

redhen4's avatar

Yes.

I love the internet and being able to get information and opinions on all matter of things, including product reviews.

But so much information is cause from BRAIN OVERLOAD. And how can you possibly remember all that you take in?

tinyfaery's avatar

Of course. Too many people equals too many opinions.

Shippy's avatar

Opinions are good. They form the springboard of my own theories!!

Pachy's avatar

Then @Shippy, you must have a lot of spring.

marinelife's avatar

I think the problem is that the internet is a big leveler so that all opinions are perceived as equal. So that an expert on a subject is fighting for head space with any whack job who has two cents to put in.

tups's avatar

Yes. There’s millions of contradictory opinions. The world is paradoxal and so is everyone’s opinions.
There’s also too many opinions lacking any knowledge of the particular subject and that’s a problem. There’s also too many unwavering opinions where people deny to open their minds and look at things from different perspectives.

But that’s just my opinion.

Bellatrix's avatar

Although @gailcalled I would rather people include such statements than leave the reader wondering why the person commenting is qualified (or not) to give such advice/information. At least the audience can make a more informed judgement call about the value of the information/advice.

Carinaponcho's avatar

I don’t think there are any wrong opinions. However, many are misinformed. I don’t think there can ever be too many opinions. New opinions and ideas are the springboard for progress and change.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Too many and then some.

josie's avatar

No problem with too many opinions. The problem is the inability to discriminate between valid opinions and invalid opinions.

RandomGirl's avatar

I have news for you: there aren’t that many opinions.

Society tends to split into even camps. Back in the day, there were only a few public campaigners for each camp, arguing among themselves. The general public got to decide which position to take up. Of course, each person had a slightly different take on it, but all we knew back then was to choose the lesser of two (or three or four) evils.

Now, we have the ability to express and campaign for our particularly unique position. We seem to think our position – and our particular way of expressing our opinion – is the only acceptable one. Now that we have the means to argue for our case at any moment of the day, from the comfort of our homes, perfectly anonymously – now we’re at war with the world.

The Internet: Now you can argue vehemently even with the people you agree with!

Believe me – I don’t think the Republican Party is perfect. I just think it’s the best option. I know we have quacks, too. But I’m trying to work toward a common goal. I do wish we would stop fighting amongst ourselves, and everyone else stop arguing amongst themselves. Maybe then the two (or three) sides could argue with each other so someone could just win already and we could move on with life.

Sorry about the rant, but it’s relevant…

mattbrowne's avatar

Too many choices can indeed lead to gridlocks. Barry Schwartz calls this the paradox of choice. The good thing about opinions is that we don’t always have to choose and we shouldn’t force ourselves to do so. If we have to choose, then it’s best to use the satisficing approach. Consider a few choices and then select one that best meets our own criteria. The opposite perfectionist approach is called maximizing and it decreases our well-being.

LostInParadise's avatar

I think that we Jews are to blame. It is said that whenever you bring two of us together you get three opinions.

Seriously though, for any type medium, whether it is a book, movie, television show or blog, almost all of it is junk. You have to be discriminating in your choices. There are some good opinion sources out there, but they are scarce.

graynett's avatar

I disagree with all you say! I’ll fight to the death {well maybe not} your right to say it
If I know you and know in your heart your not truly evil, white black, racist, bigoted, rich poor or stupid

gailcalled's avatar

(My strong opinion is that you’re does not mean your.)

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