Good and bad conversation and heated comments

Good and bad conversation and heated comments

What Mark Shea says about the kind of email he gets and the kind of conversations that goes on in blog comment boxes is absolutely true. You should see the emails I get. At least my comboxes require a bit of work to register for posting so it weeds out the worst commenters. Still I think the following is true and even I fall into the trap of letting heated emotion drive out reasoned discourse on occasion. (You should also see the stuff Melanie tells me not to post.)

I’m simply saying that it really is the case, particularly on the Internet, that there is a kind of anti-Darwinian principle at work here in cyberspace. The more polite and normal you are (as most Evangelicals and Catholics are), the less likely you are to write a perfect stranger and rat-a-tat-tat him full of rapid-fire ignorant pronouncements about his religions beliefs, giving no pause for breath or reply. Normal people don’t act this way. Consequently, Shea’s Corollary to Gresham’s Law defines that “Bad conversation drives out good”. That is, over time, cyberspace tends to give widest leeway to shrill buffoons who dominate the conversation that normal people simply don’t have time or energy to argue with.

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