In a recent thread about whether or not endangered species should be protected, we had a back and forth going between a few of us on whether species should even be protected, and if so, why – due to moral reasons, or simply practical ones.
Regardless, it eventually became known that one of us was not arguing a point they actually held. senoy, who up to that point was arguing that there was no inherent “right” or “wrong” when it came to destroying nature, said this:
Please note that I’m not accusing senoy or anyone else of trolling in this thread. Trolling, as senoy pointed out in the thread, involves making an argument you do not agree with specifically to provoke an emotional response, and I am frankly not interested in whether his motivations were about provoking an emotional response or simply creating a more interesting debate. For what it’s worth, since senoy “outed” himself with little ado, if he IS a troll, he’s not a very good one
What I do want to discus is, if you are arguing a position that you do not hold, should you not say so, at least out of common courtesy if nothing else? I enjoyed the debate, but I was invested in it precisely because I believed that the person on the other side of the discussion did hold their stated beliefs, and I wanted to understand why, and at the same time explain my own reasoning. Finding out that senoy actually agreed the whole time makes me feel like I was wasting my time debating him, as I didn’t actually learn what leads people on the other side of this issue to believe what they do. All I learned was what senoy thinks they believe.
At the very least, I think that if you’re going to play devil’s advocate, you should say so.