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How Not to Read and Criticize a Post

I wrote a post on FDL recently.  It didn’t receive many comments but the ones it did receive were quite “instructive” shall we say.

The topic was timely – but there were several issues around the topic. 

Issue A, Issue B, Issue C, and Issue D.

Next, a research paper was quoted.  The research paper used data from a notable and supposedly trustworthy (?)government agency that is intimately involved with the topic. 

But the research paper happened to be hosted on the site of a certain non-profit organization NP.

And finally, I did make mention of all four Issues in my post. Including Issue D.

Here’s what happened.

I was criticized for using the study because NP (a “garbage” organization in their terms) was in any way involved with it.  Never mind that the data being used was directly quoted as being from the “trusted” government agency.

I was told that the issue I was discussing – which I had identified as Issue C in the title of my post – was completely incorrect and that I should not have been discussing it because the REAL issue was Issue D and I therefore could not even discuss Issue C because Issue D was the only appropriate discussion to be had of the whole thing.  Never mind that I actually HAD addressed Issue D in the final paragraph of my post.  And of course, if I had wanted to write a post about Issue D, I could have – but several other excellent writers on FDL already had done so.

I believe these kinds of comments/criticisms are what keep a lot of people lurking in the background.  The people here at FDL seem to do this a lot – when someone tries to write a post about something that doesn’t fit whatever the ‘established’ narrative is supposed to be – rather than thoughtful engagement, they are attacked in ways that immediately shut down the discussion.  The comments reveal that the commenter actually didn’t bother to even read the entire post.  Or that they cherry-pick stuff to then dismiss the entire rest of the content.

This has happened to me more than once – and I have seen it happen to others as well.  I used to enjoy coming here and participating in the threads.  I used to post far more frequently.  I don’t anymore because of the hostile environment. 

So you can write me off as a whiner.  You can comment that I’m just a baby and my feelings got hurt or whatever and I should just take myself off and shut up.  I probably will anyway.  Just remember that each time you do that to someone, you don’t know how many other silent lurkers also leave.  It’s no way to build a community – and it’s no way to get people to join together to work on the bigger problems we have in this country.

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