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How to Have Better Arguments Online

Author 512932
Message Al Hirschfield
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The troubled times we live in, and the rise of social media, have created an age of endless conflict. Rather than fearing or avoiding disagreement, we need to learn to do it well.

In 2010, Time magazine made Mark Zuckerberg its person of the year. It described Facebook’s mission as being to “tame the howling mob and turn the lonely, antisocial world of random chance into a friendly world”. During the first decade of mass internet use, this was a popular theory: the more that people were able to communicate with others, the more friendly and understanding they would become, the result being a more peaceable and harmonious world.

In 2021, that vision seems painfully naive. Howling online mobs clash day and night, and some of them commit real-world violence. The internet is connecting people, but it isn’t necessarily creating fellow feeling.

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A rapidly aging boy from NJ, with a somewhat radical political bent, and stubbornly persistent anger issues...

The above photo is not of me but of an Indian holy man named Sathya Sai Baba. He is pictured here (in a photo taken in the (more...)
 

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