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4,420 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A post by @WMDistraction

Okay, so I know I tend to focus on myself a lot, but who else do I know better than myself? It would be cool to use other ENFPs, but I can't literally get inside their heads, even if it feels like I am sometimes! Anyway, onto the post.
There's a great aggregate link site you may have heard of called Reddit. You up-vote or down-vote links, which pushes them toward the front page, or puts them forever into oblivion. It's a great idea, and normally works well, except a lot of areas have a "hivemind" of sorts that tends to jump on the bandwagon and rarely thinks for itself. As an ENFP, and as you fellow ENFPs can relate, this is intolerable.

r/atheism, as it's commonly referred to (since all subreddits start with ""), suffers particularly from this sort of hivemind mentality. I lashed out at it when I had the opportunity in a self.atheism post (no link, just discussion with an opening post) to call r/atheism out on its sometimes vicious treatment of "outsider opinions," using their misconception of the Dark Ages as an example. They believe that it marks the decline of all things intellectual due to Christianity; in reality, we just don't know shit about it because, really, who wants to study new vernacular and developing languages when you could study the life of Julius Caesar? All I got were like-minded posts bashing me for being "ignorant," even though I supported my opinion with other opinions of professionals, with a ton of downvotes (-40+ and counting).

Do I care about Karma (the up/down vote system total)? To an extent. As some of you may relate, a little affirmation can be quite a confidence booster, however small. The big thing here for me, though, is the mob mentality. In no other subreddit does the hivemind come out more than in r/atheism. They are aware of it, but they just perpetuate the image by making fun of the naysayers, calling them ignorant, and lofting themselves comfortably in their "holier-than-thou" (ironically) thrones. I find it highly ironic that a community that's fairly anti-religious has dogmatic attitudes toward perceptions of reality.

There is another site called Major League Gaming (MLG - Link is to Thought Provoking Discussion [TPD]; collectively known as MLG TPD). As the forum name suggests, Thought Provoking Discussion is meant for, well... thought provoking discussion. Major threads (topics) include: religion, US politics, legalization of marijuana, depression, general news, and just discussion between members.

When I first joined MLG in 2005, I learned a lot; I mean a lot. I was a right-wing conservative Christian who believed in an objective morality and divine dominion; I am now a left-wing liberal libertarian (almost the opposite of a "Teabagger") atheist who thinks morality is as dubious as anything. This is partly due to the "regular" members of the forum and mostly to do with the links and information I could access from the forum. I learned that, mayhaps, I was misinformed or ignorant of many things. To do this, I realized that I was ignorant, possibly misinformed, of quite a great number of things. Hopefully, the things-I-think-I-know to things-I'm-misinformed-on ratio is much lower now than in previous years.

However, this too has developed some problems. The newer members now believe that they have all the right answers and refuse to properly respond to well-thought-out, coherent arguments, and instead recapitulate the same argument they've used since their first post in the thread until the other user gives up, and then declares "victory"--however empty that victory may actually be.

It can easily be seen when the "regulars" (regs) all agree on a seemingly polarizing issue; morality is a recent example. Now, this may not seem awfully surprising until you realize that there are quite a few well-known rivalries between regs on many topics. For everyone in the regular community to unanimously agree on anything is absurd and (used to) instantly absolve any topic from being taken seriously anymore. After all, if all dynamics of nearly every school of philosophy on almost any subject agree on one seemingly polarizing issue (It seems like I'm exaggerating. You're almost right.), what's there left to debate? Apparently, "we just don't get it and are close-minded." Ugh, what a ruined sport!

I love debating. It's a form of recreation to me, as long as it's carried on respectfully and the other person is open-minded. I'm not going to lie and say that I "love being wrong;" I doubt anyone truly loves being wrong. However, I do like it when my misconceptions are corrected and I gain knowledge from the debate--the main objective anytime I engage anyone in a meaningful discussion. Winning is only secondary to learning and more people need to figure that out. This hivemind mentality that's been infecting the Internet lately is not only annoying but extremely dangerous and detrimental to learning.
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