I really can't stand the random "have you tried the bean dip?" in the middle of a debate because its so blantantly OBVIOUS and smacks of superiority. Why do you get to determine that this conversation needs to stop? In real life, no one would randomly say "Have you tried the bean dip" unless there was.... bean dip. What started out as a suggestion and a TACTIC has become this trite response that personally, I just roll my eyes at and ignore. In real life, you would gently steer conversation based on what is actually at hand. The above scenario with the dogs was perfect. You nuetralize the situation without coming across as condescending.
I don't take it as a way to get the conversation to stop, completely. Just as a reminder to breathe and that it's just a topic of discussion, not a life or death matter.
Because it's what we call a "polite fiction." It's a way of redirecting without being confrontational.
I can understand redirecting in real life. But on a thread the topic is what the topic is.
In cases where things become heated, the direct approach would really work the best because it is clear and it doesn't have a vibe of "stop talking about that."
Using it in real life is fine. Heated debate is not appropriate for a party or other casual gathering. And using it to deflect someone who is keeping after you about one particular topic is another good use.
But, these are discussion boards and they are organized according to topic. So, it doens't make sense to say in effect, stop talking about that, talk about something esle. Better to say, this is getting a little heated, maybe we should all step back a bit.
Plus, if one doesn't want to be part of the debate, they don't have to be; if one doesn't like the discussion, they don't have to read it. If one would like to participate but is uncomfortable with the tone of the discussion, they could include that in their post.
The great advantage we have in this being an online endeavor is that we are not in the same room with everyone and can instantly do something else.
The great disadvantage is that not being able to read body language or hear a tone of voice leads to misunderstandings.
Clarity really is more important than trying to be cute. In real life, that is not the case. You can walk up to someone and say something like the bean dip line to defuse things and instantly see if your line has done its job or made it worse. On the forum it is not so instantaneous.
Frankly, I could do without this particular line on the boards.