Charlie Jane Anders has learned a lot from the internet, and its trolls.
People can tell if you’re saying shit just to get a rise out of them. The best opinion writing comes straight from the gut, hopefully filtered through a fair bit of reflection or offline debate beforehand. Also, we’ve never labeled our opinions as opinions, because we assume you’re smart enough to know that “Tron Legacy sucked” is an opinion and not a statement of fact. And if you disagree — which many people do — then you can tell us, and we’ll listen.
A rant ought to be the start of a conversation, not the end of one, and I live to see people tearing my ideas to shreds.
At the same time, I’ve definitely written things I regretted afterwards.
So there are no trivial debates. And there’s never a good time to be timid, or to hold back for fear of being wrong. There’s no such thing as over-analyzing things — see Moff’s Law for more on that — and there’s no such thing as being too political or asking too many questions.
I would add two other lessons I’ve learned. I found out the first insight via the internet, and that it has helped me deal with the ugliness and Moff’s Law – motivated reasoning. I should write a review of Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
Finally, and as a consequence of the above, empathy is still key.