“Fight me.” (how fighting is way more fun than learning)

Here is a funny, “spot-on” illustration of a key challenge we face in trying to have productive national dialogue.

It’s honestly pretty humorous in how precisely it captures the problem.

Background: one of our current test projects is to help a local community better understand residents’ conflicting views on an issue. One of the steps is to participate in an online survey. We solicit participation in the survey by reaching out through online discussion groups.

In this particular case, rather than participate in the survey, someone proposed that instead we just fight about it on Reddit. “Fight me,” they wrote.

(of course 🙂

We then explained that our premise is that one might learn better about an issue if, while one is studying it, one is not also distracted by having to fight with someone over it (at least for that moment).

Here is the humorous part:

  • Proposal to fight about it: up-voted to 24 by the Reddit community.
  • Proposal to better understand the issue: down-voted below zero.

Now, people will say, “Well, that’s Reddit.”

… Okay.

(Postscript: the survey actually turned out to be a big success, this redditor’s reaction notwithstanding. Indeed, even surfacing and better understanding this “We’d rather fight” sentiment itself was a success.)

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Thoughts from across the aisle...

“I mean, friends sit around their own kitchen table, and husbands and wives don’t agree with each other on every issue, but they don’t call each other names and throw things at each other. I think we need to do more of that, because the more you get to know somebody, at least while you can respect their differences, you’re not going to demonize them.”

— Cong. Steve Scalise (R-LA) shot with 3 others in 2017 by politically angry activist

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