Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top 5 Things You Should Never Discuss Online

5. Gun Control

This is mostly an issue for Americans and there is a certain amount of politics involved, but even those who live in countries with very strict gun control, or no gun control (and little concern about it) are sure to weigh in on this controversial topic. It is, of course, all the more controversial for Americans because it goes to the very core of the nation – the constitution and the right (or not) to bear arms. We have already had at least one incident of comment war over this topic.

4. The Holocaust

The Holocaust is ALWAYS a fire starter. It never happened. It happened but the numbers are inflated. It happened but why is it so important. The Holocaust is about the Jews. The Holocaust is about all the targeted populations of the Nazis. The Holocaust didn’t get the job done. One reason this topic is so toxic is enough people are around who were eyewitnesses to make a strong case one way, but enough people are around who must rely on second hand information to be subject to influence by deniers. Either way, almost NOTHING elicits the strong feelings that the Holocaust does, and if one makes the mistake of saying one doesn’t care either way, well, god help you.

3. Politics

Of all the topics on this list, politics is the one that seems to have shown the most recent increase in rancor (though not on Listverse – item 6 takes the cake there). In the US we have the Republicans and Democrats, and in many other countries (such as the UK and most of the Commonwealth there is a similar variation of partisan political parties. For the diehard political pundit, his party is his team. It’s his family. It’s a mountain he’s ready to die on. I’ve seen people get physically sick upon learning “their” candidate had lost an election. The saddest part of this polarization is the gridlock it creates in governments. After all, the politicians know about the splits and they’ll pull out all the stops to add to their camp so they can stay in office.

2. Origins of Man

Evolution or Creation? The books that have been written on this subject for either position could probably fill a modest library. Each side has reams of data and boatloads of facts to back up its position and each side roundly thinks the other side’s data and facts are so much excrement. The worst part is, again, no middle ground. If one tries to adopt a position that incorporates both sides, each side will rip him or her to shreds. When the origins of man come up, the gloves come off.

1. Religion

More people have died in the name of God, whatever name that may be, than pretty much all other causes combined. Christian. Muslim. Buddhist. Atheist. Scientologist. No matter the stripe, a surefire way to get EVERYONE mad is to disparage another’s religion or lack thereof. It’s simple, really. Religion or, spirituality if you will, is probably the most intensely personal part of anyone’s being and that includes those who reject religion and spirituality altogether. Also, religion is a family affair. When someone feels his religion is under attack, that attack immediately becomes personal and familial. One push leads to a counter push and the atomic explosion goes off. To make matters worse, some religions have as an integral part a command to proselytize. Also, some people, not from a sense of command, but of desire, will want to proselytize. When that happens, your intensely personal experience collides with another person’s intensely personal experience and the result is a perfect storm of firestorm.
So, there it is. The ten topics you cannot discuss online (without serious drama following shortly thereafter). A word for the wise: it might pay to discuss the reasons behind this inability to discuss certain topics without a war, rather than discussing the merits of the items mentioned specifically. Let’s keep this more civil than the last list that mentioned one of the topics here.


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