More posts from HBI...yes, they are awesome, but this doesn't stop me from disagreeing with them sometimes.

Yes, this one was from HBI, but it also applies to a lot of other situations. The long and short of it was that somebody, let's call this person A, was picking apart a response from somebody else, let's call this person B. Now, I have no problem with picking apart somebody's arguments. I do it a lot. I do, however, have a problem with insulting somebody in lieu of responding to their actual points. That's not really behaviour worthy of a heartless bitch, that's behaviour worthy of the assholes they're supposed to be attacking. Even more sickening was the fact that A refused to take B's reasons as stated and instead decided that ad hominem was a valid, educated debate tactic. Generally it's better to take people's motives at face value and work out their personality from there, even though - gasp! - it might involve changing your preconceived opinions about their character, rather than invent motives for them.

As far as I can make out, the argument was about online journals, and one of the points made by A was that online journals are inherently egotistical and the people who use them are attention-seekers. I think I've already looked at this a bit, but what does it matter? A theme's a theme, after all, and it never gets old.

I personally keep this blog, not because I'm utterly desperate for attention, but because I want my views to be heard and archived. If X is on the Internet, my response to X has an equal right to be there, regardless of whether it's read or not. One of the arguments made by B for having an online journal, even if nobody reads it, is that it stops you from going batshit insane in real life. A's response was, as far as I can make out (it's hard to read due to all the sheer vitriol and cattiness in the responses causing a mental blank), something to do with B being an internet tough guy (here's a link to the wonderful Encyclopedia Dramatica, now go edumacate yourself) and also something to do with not being allowed to have a journal if you need it not to go crazy.

And here's my take on the whole thing.

If you need a journal not to go crazy, keep a journal. Sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes people are angry and they need to share that anger with other people, not just contain it in a book. Enter the online journal. Nobody's forcing you to read it, and it doesn't take up that much space relative to any other (presumably worthier) journal or blog you could start up.

Don't push people. Even internet tough guys, physically and mentally weak as they may be in real life, have a limit, and when they snap, they will snap hard. I am not physically strong and I am also pretty highly strung, and I have attempted to kill people when pissed off. An acquaintance of mine, who isn't exactly Mr. Universe, has real anger problems which I don't. Therefore, if someone says they need a journal to keep themselves from snapping and they also need to post it on the internet to keep themselves from snapping, I advise you, as someone who has been in the same position, to let them alone because they probably do need it.

Finally, if someone disagrees with you maturely and you react very childishly, as A reacted to B, you automatically lose the argument and all respect the readers may have had for you.

The end.