Please, Educate Yourself

14/10/2018

This might come off as a rant, and I sure hope it does, because while I don’t often contribute to online discussions on forums or social media, when I do it makes my head hurt. For your sake, and (most importantly) those you are addressing, please: educate yourself. And of equal importance, learn that you may not always be correct, and to accept that if there is a wider truth, arguing against it is futile. Fact cares little for your petty vendettas and blatant ignorance, and neither do I. It does make for some nice comedy on a Sunday evening though.

In a bout of boredom, I did decide to respond to someone’s rather incoherent rambling on a Facebook post by our very own ABC. The comment had nothing to do with the video itself, but rather an accusation against the ABC regarding the filtering of comments. They claimed that the ABC had been cutting away comments from a ‘right wing’ perspective, using the “Most Relevant” option on Facebook to promote ‘left wing’ ideas only. The “Most Relevant” option is not something the page owner’s control, but is based off algorithms that show the comments with the most reactions and replies. Hence, contrary to his claim, this man’s comment was second on the list when I viewed the video; hardly an indication that the ABC was actively filtering people who supposedly disagree with them. All he had to do was change it from “Most Relevant” to “All Comments” and everything would be visible.

Somehow, he took my rational explanation of this algorithm and turned it into an attack on the ‘left wing’ ABC, asking if I were referring to the ‘Al Gore rhythms’. Did I miss Al Gore’s musical debut? I don’t see the connection between that and Facebook, and certainly not to the Australian broadcaster. When I didn’t reply, he proceeded to goad me, saying he didn’t think I had a retort to his superior wit of using four or more question marks at once, as if we needed assistance in figuring out what was and was not a question. Initially, I didn’t intend on replying, but I wanted to see how far down the hole this guy would go so I went along with it. I mentioned Guthrie and Milne, a couple of cases of ‘right wing’ influence (I had to use his terminology for him to understand) within the ABC, and called him out on his own lack of substance. A biased ABC? How? Tell me how you feel misrepresented, which topics and which staff had so twisted your opinion.

I finished with an uncouth statement asking that he learn something before discussing it with such confidence. Apparently my single use of profanity immediately ‘exposed’ me as ‘left wing’. Nothing I said took sides; in fact, what I had stated could be seen as a legitimate attack on the faltering independence of the ABC. But alas, the bulk of my comment eluded him, and he proceeded to tell me how I had not supplied evidence of any ‘right wing’ influence in the ABC. (It is worth noting that, after I had criticised his sentence structure and grammar, this reply was at least well formulated – kudos to you random internet dweller).

I gave him the courtesy of a final reply, explaining (as I have here previously) my thoughts on the ‘left’ and ‘right’ labels, and reiterated that my previous comment was indeed evidence enough. If he does not accept it as such, then he apparently does not understand his own question. It baffles me how little, no matter what political inclinations people may have, the vast majority who openly discuss nuanced topics actually understand them. If you are going to comment on the ABC or any other issue, then please:

Educate yourself. Or accept the ridicule that comes with your idiocy – both outcomes are fun.

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