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  • October 19, 2017, 08:24:42 AM

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Author Topic: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?  (Read 2422 times)

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Asharah

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get That Way?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2017, 12:23:32 PM »
I remember a post where the OP had brought hot dogs & beans to a church potluck. She had the beans in a casserole with the hot dogs lined up on top. Someone else at the potluck took it upon themselves to chop up the hotdogs and mix them in with the beans. This annoyed the OP because her daughter was at a picky stage and would have eaten the hotdogs and beans separately but wouldn't eat the hotdogs cut up and mixed with the beans. Oh the arguing! People declaring she was catering to her daughter too much.  ::)  People arguing over whether the person who chopped up the hotdogs was out of line or not. The best one was a poster who declared in the South you DO NOT EVER mess with another woman's cooking unless you want to be exiled from polite society. I thought it was hilarious that people had to start a fight over hotdogs of all things.
Asharah

Oh Joy

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get That Way?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2017, 12:52:11 PM »
I think some topics get heated because you can't engage in the activity without complying with the questioned norm.  It's relatively easy to attend a function and avoid talking to someone/eating something/discussing a certain topic without causing a disruption.  But it's not really optional to attend and not remove shoes/tip/pay taxes.  The latter "all in or all out" issues can make it more difficult to accommodate personal preferences, which can increase the sensitivity because the stakes are higher.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 05:08:59 AM »
It is interesting, isn't it? There are some threads that are obviously going to be controversial, right from the first post (the recent one about the sister who bought the family beach house, then wanted her siblings to pay money to stay at the house as part of their annual family vacation comes to mind).

Then there are others that start off pretty harmless, then a few pages in, just explode!

I also think that certain topics will attract strong opinions - eg kids, pets, breastfeeding, reclining seats on a plane, etc. 

Another Sarah

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get That Way?
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 06:31:44 AM »
I think also that some people read a person's opinion as somehow demeaning toward their own differing opinion. Some people ascribe emotion or negative motive to a difference of opinion, and assume that an opinion different from theirs is some sort of personal attack. And then some posters actively attack other posters, which never helps anything.
This

The short answer is that people can (and will) argue about anything, given half a chance and that some people can start a fight in a phonebox.

The longer answer is that this board has a lot of very opinionated people and while, for the most part, people can manage to agree to disagree, there are topics that make people absolutely dig in and say their opinion is the One True Opinion and None Shall Pass. I think possibly the most memorable (read:  :o inducing) one was the debate on the subject of washing up which had been chugging along reasonably amicably for about four pages (no, I can't remember what we managed to find to talk about for four pages, I just remember that we were still on-topic!) when someone posted a One True Opinion about how any washing up practice that wasn't X was unsanitary and disgusting. Two pages later and the topic was mod-locked and at least one person put on E-hell timeout! (I wasn't put on timeout, but did decide to wander off from E-hell for a time if things were going to get that heated over washing up of all things!)
and this.

I think most of the contentious posts I've read have started out amicable and then either:

A) a poster makes a One True Opinion statement that is seen as critical of/demeaning to the other side (using the hint/direct conversation as an example: "I always hint X Y and Z because I would never DREAM of being so rude and overbearing and demanding as to force my request upon others and insist they respond") which prompts outrage, arguments and at least one snarky comment from the other side ("Well I would never DREAM of being so ridiculous as to XYZ because I'm not a manipulative person) which then drags the
rest of the first side into the argument and it just implodes.

B) a poster makes a comment that is intended objectively but provokes an emotional response (taking the shoe example: "In my family it was always seen as more hygienic to take off your shoes" "Are you saying I'm unhygienic because I don't?") and then some of the more argumentative/strongly minded posters run with it and then same thing happens.

Topic that get contentious are always either about something sensitive - like what constitutes good hygiene because no one wants to be made to feel bad for doing something that is completely normal to them, or they're about the way people think - like how to communicate effectively because it's very hard to shift your inbuilt mindset, even if it turns out that what you're doing is different to the way most people do it

Those things are very personal to people, so insisting that one way or the other is right or wrong is going to make the other people feel horrible. So they react defensively and it escalates. And it's not so much the topic of shoes or hinting as it is the suggestion of dirtiness/paranoid and over-exacting or being overbearing/manipulative.

And then of course you just get some posters who are spoiling for a fight.

miranova

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 12:26:28 PM »
Honestly a lot of times on this board we are all discussing things amicably and then someone comes along and mocks previous poster's opinions and greatly exaggerates them.  Something like this. 

Topic:  Is X rude?
poster a:  no, I don't think so
poster b:  I think it's a little rude, I wouldn't do it
poster c:  depends on the situation but it can be if X or Y happens
poster d:  Wow, I can't imagine being so outraged and offended over this!  Anyone who finds this rude has too much time on their hands/is too sensitive/needs perspective etc.
posters a, b, and c: huh?
And then a perfectly reasonable discussion goes down the drain.

AustenFan

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 07:52:54 PM »
I also think that because the core of this forum is posters who have been here for years and remember things about each other that it can be frustrating when someone posts about the same thing over and over again with the same results.

When OP posts a frequent threads with the exact same issue the answers become posters asking why they aren't taking steps to address the problem, are ignoring advice, etc., and it can get a little heated. Especially when the OP starts justifying it with things that are germane to the discussion and should have been included in the first place, or just repeatedly justifying themselves and seeking validation 

andi

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2017, 08:26:03 PM »
 Just going to add my two cents here. I think it's also because everything is typed in. It's very hard to read tone or a facial expression and know whether somebody is saying something in a lighthearted way but the words just may come across a bit harsh

Emmy

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get That Way?
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 08:52:56 AM »
I read the word "awfulizing" here recently, and I think that's one of the things that lead to thread going off the rails. Horrible motives are assigned according to actions, and suddenly people are:

- pushing their evil pineapple-pizza-agenda on others, rather than simply trying to share something they enjoy
- valuing carpet over friendships, rather than living according to a different cultural norm than others
- intrusive busybodies who should mind their own business, rather than people who are friendly even with strangers
- unforgivably rude for making an assumption about someone's [fill in the blank with... whatever], rather than making an innocent mistake based on the evidence they had

It puts posters on the defensive, having to explain all the special circumstances to a ridiculous degree to 'prove' that their differences do not make them a horrible person.

I agree with this.  People putting a negative spin on somebody else's motives makes a debate, even about an innocuous subject become contentious.  I've experienced this myself, when people ascribe negative motives or intentions to me when I was asking a question or describing a situation and have to fight the temptation to be snarky right back.

Also taking things personally that weren't meant to be that way.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2017, 05:44:53 PM »
Just going to add my two cents here. I think it's also because everything is typed in. It's very hard to read tone or a facial expression and know whether somebody is saying something in a lighthearted way but the words just may come across a bit harsh

I was just about to say this.  Sometimes, a poster will say something that makes their stand on the topic sound so adamant, but might later admit that they came across too strongly.  But in the meantime, someone else has reacted badly, and has also thrown down the gauntlet.  And then, it's all over.
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Venus193

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get That Way?
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2017, 09:19:17 AM »

I think things can get heated if there's no black and white/right or wrong answer.

Also can get heated if one group are sticklers to etiquette "rules" and another group are more "there are exceptions to every rule."

This.

There are a number of things that are done a certain way due to its popularity, such as restaurants putting cheese on burgers by default.  Someone chided me for being irritated at having to request that they leave it off.

There are also people who insist that etiquette itself changes because of societal changes and it does, but some of the changes aren't to everyone's liking and people who object to certain things that are currently commonplace are often ragged on for that.





Peppergirl

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Re: Have You Ever Wondered Why Seemingly Innocuous Topics Get So Heated?
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2017, 04:03:19 PM »
Just going to add my two cents here. I think it's also because everything is typed in. It's very hard to read tone or a facial expression and know whether somebody is saying something in a lighthearted way but the words just may come across a bit harsh

I was just about to say this.  Sometimes, a poster will say something that makes their stand on the topic sound so adamant, but might later admit that they came across too strongly.  But in the meantime, someone else has reacted badly, and has also thrown down the gauntlet.  And then, it's all over.

These, so much. Tone is often difficult to convey on message boards.

Example: There's a poster here who is typically very strident in her posts. Not to say I don't enjoy them, but they are generally pretty direct.  I was very surprised when, on a latter thread, she described herself as being conflict-averse IRL. 

It was eye opening to me. I now sometimes take a step back before replying, especially on a thread where people have started to snipe and become ridiculous.  Heck, I've gone back and read some of my own posts from years ago and have cringed.   ;D