22 Words

Analysis of a typical Facebook debate

Jan 25, 2011 By Abraham 103



(via Shakesville, College Humor)

Also of interest: How to incessantly check Facebook at work without getting in trouble

103 Comments

  1. Tracey says:

    Yep, very true. My fav is a guy I work with and he posts one word and gets 16 responses to things like this…”cheese.”

  2. Crystal says:

    This is hilarious! I’ve entered into many of these crappy FB debates, only to regret it later when my adrenaline is flowing and I realize most of the world is composed of idiots.

      1. Just Saying says:

        In the words of Andy Borowitz: “If you add up all the time you waste on FaceBook, just think of all the TV you could be watching!”

    1. Keith says:

      Crystal,

      I feel your pain. I am in the same boat. the only problem is those idiots are made up of my younger brother, my older brother and my dad. I don’t know where I got my brain cells, my mother is no rocket scientist either (she just doesn’t know how to use a computer).

  3. Erik says:

    *Uncontrollable laughter*

    Now that the laughter has subsided…

    …sadly, I’ve been on both sides of the dreaded “Facebook debate” thread: starting a (regrettable) debate and chiming in my ‘two cents’ on a friends debate. What an incredible waste of time and energy. Gee whiz!

    Both are extremely ugly, especially when the dust settles and you see the end result, and show the true character of some folks on Facebook.

    Overall, I’ve tried my best to avoid the “Facebook debate” thread in the event I might, sadly once again, put my foot back in my mouth.

    1. lindy says:

      omg,all of the above are prob going to be on here too! i so badly want to be an embaressment,troublemaker or lazy activist but i suspect im really a bait-taker!!(which is embarrassing!1)i plan to come back as a bro in my next life!!!

    2. Andrea says:

      “Both are extremely ugly, especially when the dust settles and you see the end result, and show the true character of some folks on Facebook.”

      I like that result though… That way I can tell who I actually want to be friends with. ;)

  4. Erik says:

    A little dose from “The Thoughtful One”, J.C. Ryle, regarding petty Facebook debates (hard to believe Ryle wrote these words over 100 years ago…still relevant):

    “With whom is the Christian soldier meant to fight? Not with other
    Christians. Wretched indeed is that man’s idea of religion who
    fancies that it consists in perpetual controversy! He who is never
    satisfied unless he is engaged in some strife between church and
    church, chapel and chapel, sect and sect, faction and faction,
    party and party, knows nothing yet as he ought to know… But as a
    general rule, the cause of sin is never so much helped as when
    Christians waste their strength in quarreling with one another and
    spend their time in petty squabbles.” ~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

  5. Josh C says:

    This post is wrong. It is the most wrong post ever. I can link at least 5 pages that completely invalidate this post.

    1. Consarnit says:

      “It is better to open one’s mouth and be thought a fool, than to close it and remove all doubt” oh, wait…

  6. Michael Wright says:

    I have nothing to offer in the way of logic or reasoning to support my claim or argument and will therefore resort to ad hominem and name-calling, you fascist pig.

  7. Michael says:

    The problem with this image is that it implies debate is bad.
    Facebook is the perfect media out-let for topical discussions and debate. Indeed, the demographic concerned may not appreciate the topic of discussion, but this did not demonise trolls, it demonised the OP.

    Debate is healthy, and constructive. It is intrinsically good. Whether or not people are capable of it is another matter.

    1. Cody says:

      I worry about the same thing Michael.. its like the saying “and internet debate is like competing in the special olympics.. even if you win you’re still retarded” it may be a little funny but it implies that we shouldn’t debate because some people don’t know how.

      1. Duncan says:

        That’s a good point, except for one tiny detail: it’s usually written “even if you win your still retarded”, with the “your” showing the person’s high level of education and wit.

    2. Princess Mom says:

      Debate is healthy and constructive, but not in the format that Facebook allows. Facebook, by it’s very nature, encourages sound bite arguments and ad hominem attacks, because those posts are the ones that will be read. Thoughtful discourse using logical arguments will, at best, go unread (“tl;dr but I’m responding to what I think you were going to say”) and, at worst, be completely misinterpreted because of the lack of body language subtext. If you want to have healthy academic discourse, I suggest you close Facebook and find some real people to discuss things with.

      1. Joe Bait says:

        You’re wrong. you’re the most wrong person ever. I have an uncontrollable urge to tell you that even though I feel myself getting pulled into something we will both later regret.

      2. Mark says:

        It’s a sad reality but we live in a society characterized by short attention spans. If the only way to engage an audience is with convincing arguments that are succinct, efficient, and to the point; then Facebook is the near-perfect venue. Aptitude aside, practice makes for a better debater.

      3. Duncan says:

        So, Princess Mom, where *is* a proper place for debate? What format *does* allow healthy and constructive debate? Fox News? The comments section of a blog?

        Why do you equate debate with “healthy academic discourse”? Why do you think that “real people” will discuss things any better than they do online? The people on Facebook are real people too, and I have not noticed that they debate any worse than “real people” do. But that’s because real people debate so badly.

        I’m completely serious about this. For decades, every place I’ve been where a disagreement broke out and someone tried to debate (whether I participated or not), there’ve been people who claimed that this wasn’t the right place for it. (I always think of the scene in Love and Death where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have just married and are in the wedding bed; he puts his hand on her breast and she says, “Please … not here!”) It happens even when a space has specifically been labeled a site for debate and discussion. So one cliche that got left out of the sample above is “Hey, this isn’t the place for a debate. Everybody’s too stupid here.”

        Thoughtful discourse and logical arguments go unread and misinterpreted everywhere. “Body language subtext” doesn’t help, either; people misunderstand each other in face-to-face conversation all the time. I’ve often suspected that the reason why a lot of people get upset in written debate (which existed long before there was Facebook or the Internet) is that they’re used to getting their way by being cute or sexy or threatening, and they think that *that* is how debate works. So when they’re thrown back on their words and ideas, they are stuck. I’d say that written debate is valuable just for that reason: to leave personalities out of it, and concentrate on issues, information, and arguments. But most people hate doing it.

        1. JustMyWords says:

          Seriously, for debate, try a site like TwoSides.co – it’s fairly new still, but it’s very well set up to encourage *rational* debate.

    3. David A. Wilson says:

      very true michael. i think the person who created this was not making a statement about the value of debate/discussion. they appear to inspect the motives we all have when we debate.

          1. Consarnit says:

            I agree with the original reply but don’t have anything constructive to add. I still would like some attention though, and I’d like to be seen commenting something around the smart people that I agree with… that way, people will think that I’m a smart person too…

  8. The Omniscient Observer says:

    Where is ‘Clueless’? Cuz from what I’ve seen…that sucker is friends with every one!

  9. Bruce says:

    That is freeking beautiful, seen it plenty and dove in it a few… Hey Michael at post 20… Lighten up Francis….

    1. Cody says:

      I think you sort of illustrated Michael’s point.. He spoke very logically.. I don’t think saying “lighten up” addresses his point at all.. I hope you all continue to debate if not just for the exchange of ideas..

  10. Rusty says:

    Godwin’s law is a joke. What most people don’t get is that Nazi’s were fascists but not all fascists were Nazi’s. Italy, Spain, Chile all had fascists regimes. True I no longer call the GOP “Nazi’s” but calling them fascists is a more than accurate description.

    1. Har says:

      Never mind that the Nazis were left-wing. All that “argument” needs now is someone throwing out the race card when they can’t refute something they’re arguing about…that goes out a lot these days.

  11. Danielle says:

    I LOVE THIS!! Need to add “The Silent Steamer likes this” as there is always one person who will “like” the post just to get updates and then inbox you their two cents!!

  12. Russ says:

    Excellent!!! All FB users should read this. :-) . The “profiler” that put it together is spot on and a master of their craft – God bless him/her/them.

  13. wg says:

    Pretty good but (let’s be honest) the insults usually come from the original angry, misguided dude/chick.

  14. wdw says:

    Personally, I find it fun to post something provocative, and then back off and let everyone else waste their time with it, making no more comments.

  15. Thegayangrylazyactivistthoughtfulone. says:

    I have e-books with links to gay activist pseudo-religious and scientific pages. I’ve never read them but thought mentioning it might make me feel better about my screwed up life.

  16. PHILIP says:

    Thank you all for the uplifting commentaries. A missing character we may imagine being called “The Preacher” (also the subtitle to the Old Testament Book “Ecclesiastes”).

    While ditantly related to “The Thoughtful One,” our Preacher might have commented as follows:

    See the roles that others play…
    Then see your own and hit the cosmic pause button.

    Great insight regarding these matters arose in the mid 1990′s with James Redfield’s book, “The Celestine Prophecy.” In the form of an adventure story one can learn deep spiritual lessons (Kubler-Ross of “On Death and Dying” fame) gave it a rave review. It has come to be known as “The DaVinci Code” of the 90′s.

    Again to all who participate: thanks, and blessings…

  17. SloYerRoll says:

    haha ‘the bro’
    they forgot ‘the troll’.. i’m going tp make a ridiculous comment that is likely to enrage everyone. wait for the bashing to start then delete my post ;)

  18. Jane says:

    I like the classic end to every argument on my fb page:
    “This is my page and I’ll say what I want, and if you don’t like it, get off my page.”

  19. Julie says:

    This graphic was originally posted on CollegeHumor.com last year, wasn’t it? Is this your original work?

  20. Frisn says:

    The more comments we post, the faster all the embarrassment will recede into the shadow of all the ever more prolific embarrassment.

  21. Agkcrbs says:

    Analysis of a typical comment section

    Fastkid1
    I will summarize, agree with, or pun on what the article or page just said.

    Secondfastest
    I also want to summarize or agree.

    Sensitivefunnybone1
    Like most other pages or articles I read, I found this unnaturally funny. Please endure my wild laughter.

    Sniper1
    I glanced over the content in question and will repeat the most outrageous sentence in it, then use it to insult a political representative I dislike.

    Goldenconsumer
    I was immune to the bias of this page or article, and have added its claims to my fluid worldview.

    Oldbeforemytime1
    I will agree by relating the content to my life experience.

    Jokester
    Comments are excuses for me to hone my wit. I will tell a possibly crude joke about somebody or something in the content.

    Yesman1
    Rather than summarizing the page or article, I will repeat what somebody before me just said, as if it were my idea.

    Spammer599
    I have actually been programmed to deposit dangerous links on trafficked comment venues.

    Giddygirl
    I naturally agree with the majority opinion. I will communicate my agreement in emotionally exaggerated or slangy ways.

    Cynic1
    Right or wrong, you people are idiots.

    Yesman2
    I agree wholeheartedly with somebody before me.

    Holierthanthou
    I will forcefully rebut any incivility I perceived in previous comments.

    Cynic1
    @Holierthanthou I have the time and energy to take your rebuttal personally and begin a long verbal duel.

    Holierthanthou
    @Cynic1 So do I.

    Yesman3
    I have a greater variety of things to repeat as if they were my own.

    Cynic2
    I disagree with the content to the extent that I will call it a “waste of time”, although I will continue wasting my time on other pages.

    Underliterate
    I didn’t fully understand the page or article.

    Yesman4
    To express my appreciation of the content, even if I add nothing of substance, makes me feel socially validated.

    (repeat x 50)

  22. Sam says:

    I do not debate. It is useless as I have already attained supreme wisdom, and know all that human kind can comprehend. You ever wonder who they based ask Jeeves off. Wonder no more commoners, you have been graced by the presence of a god. Now fall to your knees in worship

  23. D X says:

    Debate is an important and healthy activity. Many times when I was younger I learned something interesting and important by participating in some throwaway internet discussion.

    It might be a waste of time, but there are much worse ways of wasting your time.

    If the quality of your FB discussions is low, then perhaps you need smarter friends.

  24. Tj says:

    Hmmm, I guess this makes me “The Exposer of All Types of Debaters, Especially The Trouble Creators Who Did The Best Job Hiding Their Trouble, …The Thoughtful One”? ;p

  25. Eric says:

    Everyones a comedian/enne these days. That’s what makes FB fun. Its a big classroom with 6 no 700M hands going up all saying Mememememe! Shine On!

  26. Gregory B. Helfrich says:

    Just a word of wonder. In AA they say there is no glum lot. Highlife is what they put on a beer. It is all a state of mind and how one goes day by day is the act of not falling into the misery. I might talk glum sometimes, but it may be all true about the recession and unemployment. But truthfully one can be broke and still live the high life. Lets not read minds and be miserable, write what you mean

  27. mike says:

    I think 22 words is the troublemaker and we have all taken the bait and become the characters by commenting.classic fb bs.

  28. Valerie says:

    How about the Lazy Chime In who admits to having not read any of the linked articles, but comments on them anyway?

  29. Stephanie says:

    My debates, admittedly, occasionally do look like this. I, however, have the added character of the overzealous friend who doesn’t really know what anyone is talking about, but wants to tell the “haterz” to “Back the F off, LMAO” and finish their paragraph of nonsense with a “Love ya sis”

  30. Leeanne says:

    People like to argue even if you just post an innocuous opinion or grumble like ‘I need a holiday’. I really don’t need to be told to ‘book one’, I’m not retarded

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