Is Constructive Online Discussion Possible?

This week in ECMP was interesting to say the least, the class focussed majorly on a discussion about a fellow students post, now I will admit I did not read the post until the discussion happened so I was a tad bit confused as to what was going on, after reading the post by the student, I was interested in what he was saying and he made some valid points as well as the people who were criticizing his post.

However I feel like the discussion in person worked out and was way more constructive when talking face to face, because after reading the comments, and seeing certain words people were using, I just feel as though it is tough to get across a point while being behind a keyboard, people misread texts, blogs, post, tweets, the list goes on and can cause quite a stir up. I personally believe that it would require a certain level of maturity in order to have a “online discussion”, and since we are all in university I think it is possible, however I still believe that peoples words and comments will be misread and could be taken the wrong way. There also is always going to be that one person who flat out disagrees with everything your saying and you will have to be able to deal with that and take that as constructive, if not then I don’t believe an online discussion is possible.

It all comes down to how old the people are who are involved in the discussion, if I was to ask a group of high schoolers to try and have an online discussion without someones feelings getting hurt it would be near impossible. You have to know your group of students to see if online discussion is a possibility, because most of the time there will always be that one or two or three or how many ever, that will become defensive with no matter what is being said. You also might get somebody who is personally out there to just tick people off in an online discussion, someone who will just poke and poke and aggravate people to the point that it starts an even bigger argument, so you as a teacher have to be aware of these types of people if you are thinking about having an online discussion.

Now is it possible to change someones mind in a online discussion, in my opinion absolutely…..not!!! No matter how hard you try to change someones mind in a online discussion, people will always have their opinions and beliefs and will come as close to agreeing with you on some points, but it will not be enough to change that persons mind. The reason, in my opinion is because people are stubborn when they go online, they become what I like to call “keyboard heroes”, I personally believe it is more constructive and easier to try and change someones mind in person, because you can see their emotions and how they are reacting to what you are saying, and this could help more than hiding behind a keyboard and stating your opinions and people commenting and reacting off there emotions to online post and discussions.

I am sure for those who read this will agree with me and some won’t and thats totally fine and you can read this post over and over, but guess what its not gonna change and if it does thats great, but I will guarantee this, if I was to have this discussion in person you would be able to see my emotions and how I explain things, but just by reading this you can’t really tell, so comment and let me know if I changed your mind.


2 thoughts on “Is Constructive Online Discussion Possible?

  1. This post intrigued me especially after last week’s class. I do think that there are a lot of factors that make an online discussion or debate possible. The topic is definitely the first thing that will dictate how the discussion goes; the more controversial the more likeliness people will get defensive. You mention age, but I think it is important to discuss maturity as well. I have had discussioj switch my 50 year old uncles that felt less insightful or mature than conversations I have had online through Twitter or Facebook. I really like that you also ,emotion how some people are out there just to troll and make people upset because those people are definitely another main reason why online discussions don’t work.


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I do agree with you, Zach, about people being stubborn when they go online. Perhaps, this stubbornness is reinforced by the algorism and cookies Google or Facebook use to select ‘suited’ posts or search results people get. Just like Alec mentioned, we tend to stay in our own bubbles. I do agree with Alex about the maturity of individuals over the age, and perhaps I would add the social skills of people too. Knowing that there is a real person behind the screen and have a sign of respect for that person. That being said, the online discussion can be fruitful and genuine in right circumstances.


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