Conversion vs. Conversation

Scumbag Socrates - Knows all the answers, only asks questionsThere was an interesting Lifehacker article recently that dealt with rhetoric in online discourse. It’s worth a read since I learned quite a bit. The Socratic method of asking questions really only works as a teaching method, and only if it’s with someone you’re not argrily arguing with online.

Anyway, I hear a lot of talk about trolls “converting” people. Let me explain to you something about conversion:

It doesn’t fucking happen.

There’s a phrase that goes “you’re preaching to the choir.” What that means is that you’re basically talking to people who already agree with you for the most part, and any conversation you have or article you read is going to affirm your view or give you a new perspective on it. You’re reading and discussing to learn or affirm. For example, people who read this blog probably already have some idea of what trolling is and what kinds of politically-incorrect hijinks and fun may happen.

On the flip side, what usually happens when you end up in a discussion with someone who already has their mind set on something? They’re seeking to push their opinion on you, and with the mindset of “conversion,” you on them. We’ve all done this, don’t fucking lie to yourself.

But it’s a mistake to go in and think you can change this person’s brain, and it gets little to nothing done. The only people who are paying attention are the lurkers, the idiot you’re arguing with isn’t the person you need to be concerned with, it’s the people who are reading this discussion who don’t have a set idea or opinion. There’s a guesstimation out there that about 80-90% of a community is made up of lurkers.

Plus, if your goal is to “convert” someone, who’s to say that they aren’t just agreeing with you to get out of the argument, yet they still hold onto their opinion? Who’s to say that they aren’t just feeble-minded and won’t just adopt the next most convincing-looking opinion out there?

So use the tips in that Lifehacker article, and be assertive. No questions, no pussing out, no name-calling. If they start calling names, you’ve won, like Schopenhauer wrote in The Art of Being Right. Go out there and be a tactful trolling prick, and take the high ground.

Arthur Schopenhauer – The Art of Being Right

So there was this old fuck named Arthur Schopenhauer. Apparently he was a ladies man, because he was a dick. Being a dick is half of being a troll, because trolls are reported to have dicks that make up at least half of their body mass.

He called it as he saw it when it came to women. This quote is not extracted from his essay “On Women,” but it sums up his thoughts:

Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies.

And then he took it a step further and penned a treatise named The Art of Being Right, which is a good starter text for any would-be troll who doesn’t want to dive balls deep into the Ancient Greeks. lol

In The Art of Being Right, Schopenhauer takes his knowledge of logical fallacy and other argumentative trolling tomfoolery and distills it into well-meted practical applications. Yes, you don’t have to be perfectly logical to make an argument, a simple piece of information, look like it’s worth more than gold. You could almost argue that it’s a satire and he’s picking apart the way other people make the most ridiculous arguments stand up in the face of truth.

While it may be “weak” to some to argue in this “dishonest” manner, it’s trolling. Ninja might as well be called weak for not fighting out in the open like the samurai with their bushido code of honor or whatever, but who gives a fuck, both of them get people dead. However it is the nature of the ninja to infiltrate and deceive. If you are too feeble to tell bullshit from truth, then you shouldn’t be arguing in the first place.

In the future, we will be discussing troll ethics.