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janbb's avatar

Does anyone ever say "Yes, you're right. I hadn't thought of it that way" on Fluther?

Asked by janbb (51204points) December 10th, 2016

We are a relatively civilized but often combative group and generally smarter than the average bear. Yet consistently most questions – of almost whatever sort – seem to devolve into two people insulting each other. (The only exception seems to be dating question where we usually universally agree the answer is “Move on.”) I just wonder if we ever change each other’s minds and if we can’t, what hope is there for the country?

Asked only half tongue in cheek (which isn’t easy to do!)

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32 Answers

ucme's avatar

You’re right, It happens, but it’s as rare as hen’s teeth.
I have one explanation that says these combative souls have gotten themselves so entrenched in the mire of a Q&A forum, acutely aware of their “chums” witnessing every comment made by them & about them that they get all bent outta shape & lose perspective.
That & the possibility of just being plain argumentative in general.

longgone's avatar

So you’re saying we should try to be more agreeable? Yes, you’re right. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Coloma's avatar

I know I have apologized for misunderstanding something and while I may not have used those exact words I do say ” I agree” quite often. I have also been on the recieving end of my, sometimes, no nonsense approach to something being misconstrued as being too harsh. Recently another member did pm me and say similar words, ” I understand where your coming from.”

janbb's avatar

@longgone I’m not trying to direct anyone – just making an observation. I do think it would be interesting if anyone ever changed their minds or acknowledged being swayed but I’m not trying to orchestrate it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have changed my mind over some issues.

janbb's avatar

I have too but I’ll admit it’s rare.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think most of the contention comes in when people misunderstand. Also, it seems like the first person to answer sets the tone for all of the answers to follow. If the first response is snarky and rude, so are all the responses that follow, and then the thread implodes with everybody screaming and nobody listening.

longgone's avatar

For me it depends on who’s offering that different perspective. When someone whose opinion I value disagrees with me, I can feel my mind shifting around in an attempt to reconcile my perspective with theirs. That happens quite regularly. Fluther has made me get rid of some old convictions I didn’t even know I had.

Dutchess_III's avatar

GA. Me too.
BUT I still hold on to some of my convictions, as unpopular as they may be. I just don’t mention them any more.

Jaxk's avatar

Dislodging a deeply held belief is not easy and takes a long time.

Cruiser's avatar

I can count the times I have done this on both hands….twice.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser Yes, you’re right. : D

Stinley's avatar

I had a pm from someone saying that what i had said made them change their mind about it and another one saying that they had taken my advice and everything was fine.

I have thought differently about things after reading what other people have said but generally I haven’t had any prior knowledge or opinion on the subject. Not sure that I have changed my mind though once it is made up. That is quite a sobering thought. I shall think on this. GQ

janbb's avatar

I will say that my thoughts on one issue – circumcision – have been changed through reading discussions here over the years. Having grown up comfortable with it as a religious and American practice, I am now open to the idea of people opposing it and see the reasons why.

marinelife's avatar

My mind has been changed by Fluther answers (not that I would admit it publicly in the threads).~

All we can hope to do is give people something to think about that perhaps will make a little chink in their point of view.

janbb's avatar

@marinelife It is the acknowledgement that I would like to see occasionally. And admit to myself for that matter (if I were ever wrong.)

Berserker's avatar

I don’t know, all I know is that the only time Chuck Norris was wrong is when he thought he wasn’t right about something.


Cruiser's avatar


Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t know that anything said here has ‘changed my mind’, but I’ve certainly been given access to different perspectives and that’s informed whatever opinion I have. Questions here are often US-centric and so I may not have strong opinions on the issue being discussed.

I agree with @Jaxk that deep rooted beliefs will take more than a Fluther conversation to dislodge. I also think some people get bent out of shape when they post a question wanting a particular response and don’t get it. Posting a question doesn’t give anyone the right to have their opinion confirmed or guarantee they will receive the answer they want or like.

Mimishu1995's avatar

You don’t know how many times a day I say that.

But maybe that’s just me who is too accepting.

Zaku's avatar

This is an interesting question.

I think your question and the observation it asks aren’t just about lack of civility or closed-mindedness, but arise naturally from the general habits of thought that seem to especially permeate Internet discussions, but also much other modern Western culture (I think it stems from the duality in Judeo-Christian/Muslim polarized thinking). That is, we have very strong habits of thinking in patterns that are A versus B, even when (as is the case for most subjects) that model is grossly insufficient to model the truth. And yet often there is an underlying unconsidered assumption at one or many points that there is a true answer that involves either one argument or some conception of its opposite to be true. As many other people have also been thinking that way, we can find lots of agreement and evidence from other writers on the almost any subject.

It stands out to me especially in the frequent questions that are framed in ways that are not how I think about the subject at all. Yet often built into the question are the expected two counterpoints.

When two people both accept the premise that there is more or less one axis of the question, they’re unlikely to ever agree, because they don’t see that the truth isn’t really on the axis, and are looking at the topic from different perspectives. It’s like two people looking at two different optical illusions of the same situation. They’re both right from their own perspective, and much more could be said about it, but agreement could only be reached by abandoning one or more assumptions that are reducing a complex situation into different one-dimensional projections.

flutherother's avatar

I often think ‘yes you’re right I hadn’t thought of it that way’ and that is one of the reasons I am on Fluther, to hear other opinions and points of view that help develop my own. I don’t often say it but I may have once or twice.

Seek's avatar

I wonder if there’s anyone here that remembers LadyAlathia of Vulcan from the Answerbag days.

I’d be completely unrecognizable.

Berserker's avatar

I remember her. She was awesome.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Part of the dearth of confessions to a change of heart is due to the medium. The Internet is still very new, and human beings have been communicating face-to-face for tens of thousands of years. What we are experiencing is sea change. It’s one thing to sit across a table from another person and speak about a matter than it is to sit in front of a screen insulted from the Other’s Humanity. We simply don’t see the human through our computer. It takes great and constant concentration to remember these are breathing beings we’re interacting with. Compassion is difficult to show when we’re staring at a computer screen.

I honestly don’t remember if I’ve ever been swayed by something I read on here. It’s possible, but I truly don’t remember.

The dating questions are a good example. Most of the ones we get here are about relationships in distress. It’s quite simple for us in our living rooms or studies or workplaces to type in a knee-jerk fashion about the questioner being better off without the louse. But let’s think about that for a minute. This is a loving individual who has come to us for some type of communication. They may genuinely want a solution. They may only want to be heard. Whatever their reason for being here, we should remember they have a stake in the relationship they’re sharing with us. They have a real interest in their situation. It’s not a video game for them.

When we react off the cuff, we potentially do them harm. Real harm. Perhaps losing the louse is not what’s best. Perhaps they need couples therapy instead. But we – from our insulated rooms – pronounce our sentence. We will never know the results. Not truly know.

The Internet – and Fluther – has the potential to connect people in ways that were unimaginable even 50 years ago. It will require a type of emotional maturity from each one of us that few of us evince.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have changed my mind/opinion after reading a few things here. @johnpowell made some comments about homelessness that woke me up. I recall @Judy saying a discussion about gay rights with someone here (I think it was @tinyfaery) changed her mind as well.
I’m sure there are more.
In its own small way, this site really does help make the world a better place.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Certainly helped me change my mind about boycotting the vote; as repugnant as it was, I decided to hold my nose, take a barf bag, and fill out a ballot.

augustlan's avatar

Maybe only once has a specific discussion changed my mind (I hope I acknowledged it at the time), but over time my thinking has definitely been influenced by being here. I’m grateful for it.

canidmajor's avatar

I have re-thought things sometimes, and appreciated that other perspectives were brought to my attention. unfortunately, the revelations come with a certain amount of introspection, usually away from the keyboard. i rarely remember to come back and acknowledge, I am distracted by newer discussions. sorry

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve said it and jellies have said it to me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I second Auggie. It’s after many discussions, many countering view points that I start going “Hmmmm.”

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