Aug 04 2016

Don’t Strawman Me

It happens all the time, in virtually every conversation. You are making whatever point you have, be it something mundane, or something major, and, somehow, you realize you are arguing something you didn’t even say, or, better off, didn’t mean. Someone has changed the subject on you, via some method or another, and by the end of it the whole conversation has devolved into a damned mess.

This happens all the time with me, and I’m absolutely sick of it.

I like discussion. I like conversation. I like casual, informal debate on a subject. These things are fun, and you can learn quite a bit just by hearing varying opinions on a subject. The thing is, these conversations can grow rather odd. That’s fine, I like when conversations evolve and shift, sometimes, but in many cases, as the above wikipedia article states, things can get intentionally deviated into the end result of you arguing a point you never made, and that’s where I draw a line with the conversation.


A prime example happened today. I explained on my personal page that I don’t care for the Olympics, and that I see it as a waste of resources, but we are going to hear about it nonstop for the next 2 weeks. Inevitably, I got a reply of “well I don’t like the things you like so get over it” (I’m summarizing but that was the basic point). Now, here’s the thing – the subjects I like, gaming, anime, space, etc, are not at all something you see every moment you turn around. Even with gaming, you still have to go out of your way to be surrounded by the subject… but with things like the upcoming Olympics, you can’t escape it. It will be all over TV, an element of all kinds of advertising, merchandising, and most importantly will be a major discussion subject with many people – and I don’t care.

Somehow, though, me not caring about that is the same as me actively attacking you liking it, which it isn’t and in no way could it be taken as such unless someone wants to explicitly take it that way, and thus, make the subject about my dislike somehow affecting them, rather than the original point that I think the event is a waste, and that it annoys me there is so much focus on it. I made no claim for or against someone liking it, but only gave my opinion which apparently has to match everyone else ideas, or I’m somehow the bad person, right?

I have dozens of examples of this over the past year, but I’ll end the subject here, as I think the above proves my point well enough.

It’s stupid. Focus on what someone says, and make sure to pay attention and read between the lines to understand their exact meaning. Don’t argue something someone didn’t say, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand.

Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you wind up being blocked.

Oh, and I just wanted to go on record again by saying YouTube comments suck.

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1 comment

  1. Something far worse than getting strawmanned (?) is when someone combines it with comment hijacking, I remember 2 idiots once replied to something I tweeted and started an argument with each other that lasted seemingly forever without removing me from the conversation (I was curious at first but got tired of it really fast).

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