Watching what's going on on Twitter right now and having been on these forums for a long time defensiveness seems to be the key piece that underlies all disagreements.
Whether it's politics, religion, ethics, gender, etc. people seem to fall to vitriol and anger, no matter the side they represent, as a way to defend who they are and what they believe. Whether it's 'I'm being ignored, not represented, or misrepresented' or 'they believe something different from me and are in effect saying I'm wrong' or any other form of it defensiveness seems to be at the crux of this internet drama, at least from what I can tell.
So what do you all suggest could be done to lessen these defensive responses?
Here's my take. As a therapist who works with other therapist, my skills, decisions, and therapeutic relationships I foster are open to questioning. Because as good as I might think I am I can still make mistakes (hard to believe right?) and my colleagues keep me honest. When they do, it at first would hurt my feelings and pride. I felt they were telling me I was no good. But the fact is is that they wanted me to live up to my potential and thought that maybe I was considering a factor that was limiting that. They would ask me about these things because they wanted to help me.
On twitter, forums, wherever I believe that the majority of people, regardless of a side of an issue they take, mean no real harm. They don't hate people. They just want to be represented fairly and have their views respected. There are exceptions (like the people who threaten and harass others) but they prove the rule.
But defensiveness spoils good intentions. I think that when we all need to consider the intentions of others, try to assume the best, and if we are confused ask in a polite, respectful manner for verification. Assuming the worst and guessing at intentions never leads to anything if value. Intent will be lost as will the meaning of messages.
So that's my take. What about the rest of you?