Linda Holmes took on a controversial topic, herself, in her blog at this week. She dared to name the ten most dangerous topics you could ever, but should never, discuss on the Internet.

“Tempers will flare. Nothing good will come of it,” she warns.

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Home schooling
  2. Bikes versus cars versus pedestrians
  3. Chiropractors
  4. Declawing cats
  5. Music piracy/copying/sharing/theft/freedom
  6. Breastfeeding
  7. Coldplay
  8. Twitter
  9. The ending of The Sopranos
  10. Macs and PCs

… All of which goes to show that it dosn’t pay to have strong opinions about stuff that doesn’t really matter.

3 Responses to Ten toxic online topics

  1. Evolving Squid
    Mar 13, 2009

    Some of those things really do need to be talked about though.

    Home Schooling has a number of benefits and detriments, and getting that information out in the open is a good thing.

    Similarly, the issues surrounding copyright etc. need to be discussed. However, in this case, they need to be discussed to one’s government… kvetching on the internet achieves little.

    Chiropractic is, for the most part, quackery. Like home schooling, the quackery parts need to be exposed and that information given wide distribution. Ditto for homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, faith healing and a long list of other imaginary “alternative” medicine. These alternative treatments can be downright dangerous. People need to know that and understand it.

    I don’t think it’s possible to have a reasoned discussion about breastfeeding on the internet simply because breasts are involved. Breasts + internet never leads anywhere that polite society wants to go. Sure, I’m happy to go where breasts go, but that’s much more lurid, and that’s how the internet works.

    The rest of those are just silly. One one side, there’s people like me who like to deliberately torque up the fanbois and zealots. On the other side are, well, fanbois and zealots who rise to the bait. Vitriol – the most common flavour of the internet – ensues.

  2. Maggie James
    Mar 13, 2009

    To be fair, Linda’s intent, in listing the topics and describing the potential hazards, was to educate people who would rather not get into fanboi/human confrontations about how to avoid them…

  3. Evolving Squid
    Mar 14, 2009

    I’ve often wondered though, if one of the great benefits of the internet IS the fanboi/human confrontation forum that it provides. As I see it, this offers two awesome benefits:

    1. It allows everyone to know who and where the raving nutters are. In the past, lunacy was easily hidden. Wackos skulked around in their parents basements, or under rocks. They had their opinions, but couldn’t voice them. That just made them frustrated – it didn’t make them go away. This is especially true of racists, etc. The internet allows everyone to see who and where these people are, making them easier to avoid, while allowing them to vent and thereby reducing the likelihood that they’ll really explode and seriously hurt people.

    2. It allows human confrontation in a way that is much less likely to hurt anyone. Oh sure, feelings may be lightly bruised, but at the end of the day you can always Alt-F4 and forget about it. In the past people could come to blows over bollocks like “Macintoshes suck”. In any case, I am a big believer in the idea that stupidity MUST be confronted. If stupidity is not confronted, it festers and you get into the situation from the previous paragraph.

    Confrontation and being an ass aren’t the same thing, mind you. I don’t, for example, agree with this blog’s stance on internet freedom (if that isn’t obvious by now). But having made contrary comments hasn’t spawned any idiocy. When the idiots come, and they will through the magic of Google, they’ll be shouted down no matter which side of the issue they’re on.

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