Speak for yourself, please

Small rant.

I find it really cheesy and weak when someone feels the need to pump up their post by saying that “most dopers feel” “the majority of dopers feel” “this community agrees” or whatever version of that you like.

A) How the fuck do you know? Are you carrying on private email exchanges with a thousand or so other Dopers? 500? 100? 3? If you ARE privately polling 1,000 dopers or more, then you can say this. If not, you are making it up.

B) Therefore, this is a transparent attempt to bolster your argument by assuming a bunch of people agree with you, then stating, without any evidence to back it up, that a bunch of people agree with you

C) The Dopers themselves are perfectly capable of agreeing or disagreeing…that’s what we do here.

D) Have the courage of your own convictions, for gods’ sake. If you believe in what you’re saying, just say it. The agreement of large numbers of other dopers does not validate your opinion. History is littered with really bad ideas supported by large numbers of people. There may be strength in numbers, but that doesn’t mean there’s truth or righteousness.

E) Since there will almost certainly continue to be many instances of this, I’d just like to say that you are never speaking for me. Ever. Even if I completely agree with you. I speak for myself, thanks anyway.

F) And finally, it is my opinion that this is a subtle form of bullying that I find particularly distasteful. Somebody puts up a post, 2 or 3 bold Dopers come along and give their 2 cents, claiming that most Dopers agree, implying or even flatly declaring that this agreement makes it the “Right” position, and all other positions are only held bv morons and assholes, and basically terrorize some of our less bold and confident Dopers into shutting up, because they have been informed that all good Dopers everywhere agree that…blah blah blah.

Matters of fact are backed up by cites.
Matters of opinion are singular and personal. When stating yours, please remember that. (Unless you work for Gallup)


PS: For those of you who may seize upon this as an opportunity to rag me about my self-righteousness, I remind you ahead of time that you are missing the point. I don’t have a problem in the world with anybody being self-righteous, believing they are right, and saying so. What I have a problem with is people who don’t ** really ** believe they ** are ** right, so they try to make themselves appear so by claiming that most other Dopers agree with them, when they cannot possibly know this. Two entirely different things
PPSS: Of course, this is MY opinion only. :smiley:

I have it on good authority that most Dopers think this is a pathetic rant.

Speak for yourself, Coldfire. :slight_smile:

It is true that saying “most Dopers think you’re a shithead” is weak. Adolescent, even. If most Dopers think someone’s a shithead, we may draw this conclusion ourselves when they post for five pages telling that person he or she is a shithead. The extra fun of that is that we actually get to read real live arguments against the position of the alleged shithead, apart from “you’re unpopular.”

Stoid I agree with your rant. I was recently introduced to the SDMD and find the community to be entertaining and informative. While I don’t always agree with what I read; I find my understanding of the many sides of an issue are magnified by the opinions, insights and knowledge of the people of the SDMB.

I heartily agree with the statement quoted below.

I have sensed that subtle form of bullying while reading the board and lurking. I mentioned to the friend who introduced me to the SDMB this morning that I am hesistant to post because I know I am not a skilled debater. Whenever I start to post, I remember reading a number of posts which I perceived as bullying and I get this queasy feeling someone is going to reply and say “Who TF asked you?”

Getting bolder about posting,

P.S. I re-read to make sure I stated all my opinions as opinions and not as facts and that I did not speak for anyone else! :smiley:

The Lorax spoke for the trees, and the bears and the birds.

If the Lorax can do it, why can’t I?

And you call yourself a father?

Clearly, you mean the Brown Bar-ba-loots and the Swomee-Swans.

Not to mention the Humming-Fish.

Welcome, Abby!!

And thank you for chiming in to support my little rant. While it’s nice to know I wasn’t imagining things, it’s unfortunate to learnt that what I thought may be happening actually is.

Just for the record, the majority of people around here are ok. Some of them get a little too fond of being shitty to each other sometimes, but overall it’s a good crowd.

Generally speaking, these are bright, well-ediucated people who will insist upon you backing up any assertions you make with cites. But that doesn’t mean that they have any special line on the truth when it comes to matters of opinion. Don’t let anyone bully you out of yours. it’s just a message board, not the High Council of Righteousness.

And of course, anyone who says "Most people around here think… " is full of shit.

stoid :cool:

I don’t disagree with your basic premise, Stoid. (This may mean my blood sugar level is fluctuating wildly, but never mind that.) But…it seems to me that part of having the courage of your own convictions is ignoring ridiculous claims and stupid statements and making the point you want to make. This is true even if a majority of dopers woulddisagree.

And I know that the vast majority of posters agree with me on this. :smiley:

umm… errr… maybe, if I could figure it out. Maybe MY blood sugar is fluctuating wildly… hmmm…
I have now read your statement about 6 times. It seems to me that you are backing me up completely. I think. Maybe. Are you? :confused:

Conversely, sometimes you DO know that a significant number of people on the Boards agree with you.

What is one to do then?

There are SOME issues one can safely assume most dopers to be in general agreement on, even if that only means a 70% majority or so.

Here’s a few things that come to mind:

Intolerant fundamentalists trying to convert people forcefully suck

Jack Chick is a moron

Trolling is bad and spamming is evil

Cecil is a good authority on a variety of issues

There is nothing wrong with being gay

Depression should be treated

Tim McVeigh was not a nice guy

etc. etc. etc.

— G. Raven

Feel really good that others agree with you. But unless they vote for you as spokesmodel, let them speak for themselves. What is the point of doing otherwise?

And what is a “significant number”? 10? 30? Assuming you KNOW that for a fact (and without the private email, any such knowledge is suspect anyway) that hardly constitutes “most” of the people on the board, now does it.

It is a near certainty, statistically speaking, that some proportion of the board will agree with you. So what? As I said at the start, vast hordes of people agreeing with you doesn’t make you right or your opinion more valid.


And the above is a statement that is ripe for disagreement. Not in the sentiment expressed, but in the definition of trolling. I’ve seen lots of people accused of trolling * simply for expressing an unpopular or shocking opinion* . Which is, in a way, a perfect demonstration of what is wrong with concerning oneself with what “everybody” thinks, and whether “most” people agree or disagree with you.

I agree that there are lots of things about which large numbers of us may agree. My problem is with any one of us deciding what those are or ought to be, and announcing, as though he or she were any kind of authority, what that general consensus is. It is almost certinaly true that a huge percentage of us agree that Tim Mc Veigh was a bad man. So? Do I need to say: “I think tim McVeigh was Satan’s hatechild, and most Dopers agree with me!” No, I dont’. Because it’s not my place to speak for others, only for myself. It does not make me smarter, or better, or more anything, to claim that most Dopers agree with me. It’s just lame.


[Hijack] Thank you for the welcome Stoid. [/Hijack]

And I still agree with Stoid after reading MysterEcks comments. True, courage to have and live your convictions is important in the face of opposition or dissenting opinion. However, sometimes an issue that might provide valid insights to ‘unpopular’ or minority positions may not get posted for fear of the aforementioned bullying because it may have been a particularly tough issue for the poster to begin with, or involve convictions the poster holds sacred. Just my two cents! :slight_smile:


I have noticed in my short time here that there are only 2 types of Dopers - those that agree with Stoid…and those that don’t.

And I know that everyone agrees with that.


Geez, Stoid and I don’t get along but even I don’t think she’s a shithead. Some people just aren’t nice.


I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a good-natured joke or a slap. Hmmm…


Stoid said:

Just mostly. I’m saying that, in terms of declarations that a particular position is held by a majority of posters, one has to have the courage of his/her convictions to ignore this…even on the off-chance it’s true. Maybe the practice you describe in your OP is an attempt at bullying rather than just a dumb way of overstating support, but I fail to see why it would work on an internet messageboard.

AbbySthrnAccent said:

I’m not sure we’re talking about the same things here. An unpopular opinion is not going to be more unpopular because somebody on the other side claims to speak for the Silent Majority; conversely, it isn’t going to piss fewer people off because nobody’s bothered to trot that out.

I’ll grant you that some opinions may cause all sorts of yelling and screaming, and that knowing this may discourage certain people from posting certain things. But then there are people who won’t give opinions if anyone at all is going to disagree, even mildly–I know people like that in real life, and I’m sure there are some here. And I’m afraid my sympathy level is just about zero. If you mean it, post it and let the chips fall where they may. If an idea has merit, it’ll survive all the howling.

That’s why I’m something of an admirer of Stoid’s. I usually disagree with her, and I often find what she says ridiculous, but I appreciate that she doesn’t try to cloak her opinions in some obscuring cloud of “fairness”–too many on all sides do that. What you see is what you get, period–I find that refreshing, if frequently maddening.

(Yes, Stoid, it’s a compliment–take it as such and move on.)

Sometimes it’s a completely insignificant point. However, if someone is saying “Most people believe THIS, so it must be right,” or somesuch, then yeah, there’s not much point in it other than ego stroking.

Well, if you’re talking about an issue in a single thread, if you see that most of the people agree with you, it would be wholly appropriate to say “Most of the people here agree”. For example, of the posters who haved voiced a clear opinion one way or the other (as opposed to the posters who have made a joke about the OP or made references to Dr. Seuss), most have agreed with the premise.

Ah, yes… but again, the question becomes: if we are all here reading the thread, what is the point in announcing the general agreement? Is it not self-evident?

It seems to me that any way you slice it, saying who agrees is cheesy and weak and boils down to an attempt to prop up one’s argument. Most of the posters here (particularly in GD and the Pit) are much stronger than that. Or pretend to be. :smiley:

Now, as for YOU,** MysterEcks **

Are you nuts? A big, fat acknowledgment of one of my favorite things about ** myself ** right here for every one to see, and I have to move on? No, I insist on basking for a moment, I so rarely get the opportunity…

Ah, Mysterecks, you have just become one of my heros. There is nothing quite so satisfying as being appreciated for what one truly is and does.

Frankly, I am completely baffled by the habit around here of people trying to be “fair”, or waffling around, “agreeing to disagree”- poppycock! What’s the point of joining in the argument if you don’t believe you’re right, eh? And certainly, rarely is it possible that all sides are right…so why pretend? And I don’t…and I get a whole lotta shit for it. But occasionally someone “gets” it, as you just have, and it makes all the rest of the crap worth wading through.

Thank you. Very much.

Okay, basking over now.