Do you discuss topics that you are not informed about?

Whilst reading the thread on whether the SDMB is relevant still or not (was it ever? :confused:) Guanoladmade the point that the board should be recognised as somewhere that is a repository of factual accuracy and informed opinion. I agree with this whole-heartedly, I’ve been both educated by the Dope and challenged intellectually in a way that few online haunts have done.

One question I have though - I know that I tend to stay out of discussions where I either don’t know a great deal on the topic at hand, or my opinion isn’t particularly solid (i.e. I can see both sides of the argument and don’t feel compelled to argue one way or the other). Reading some threads it seems that there are a significant number of people who don’t do the same thing, as someone else will come into a thread and correct errors/misfacts or some people will just demonstrate they’re not terribly informed in general but want to argue anyway.

How do rank and file dopers, not necessarily the GD vanguard, feel about this? Do you post in threads where you don’t really have anything substantial to say, or do you just not bother?

As many of you already know . . . shallowness of knowledge has never prevented me from voicing my opinion.

How can you learn about something if you are not willing to talk about it? The best school is still a person at each end of a log talking.

I have learned the most interesting things talking with people that I had never known anything or much about. If I was not willing to talk with them I would still be in ignorance about the issues. I would have never found out what a french jewess thought and felt living as a catholic in Nazi occupied France. I would have never found out how to make matzoh brei from the grandmother of a friend from school. I would have never learned how to play 5 card draw so I could shark my way into candy money at family reunions. I would never have crammed 3 years worth of spanish into 1 year of school if I hadn’t been put into a classroom with a teacher that spoke spanish and a set of textbooks [I already spoke french, and they needed a second language class for me.]

If you don’t participate in threads in the dope, how are you to learn things? If you have a question you ask it and someone answers and a discussion starts. You can learn the most interesting things in threads on here!

Discussion doesn’t necessarily have to include assertion, therefore, I’m happy enough to discuss anything I find interesting, in the hope that I might learn something.

You can read threads with interest without necessarily butting in, can’t you?

I can’t. If it’s interesting, then I will have questions, comments or points of order to raise.

I figure I don’t need to have an opinion about everything. And I certainly don’t have a strong opinion on things I’m not well informed about.

I don’t know how many times this has happened:
Other person: Hey, how about that crazy xyz?
Me: I don’t know much about it, I’ve only read a few things here and there.
Other person: (proceeds to reveal that they know much less about it than I do but still have a strong opinion)
Me: (internal eyeroll)