We have all seen it. Scrolling through Facebook and someone has posted a status stating their opinion on something. Ten minutes later it has 53 comments and is quickly turning into the dramatic event of the day. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you decide to read the conversation, and by the time you reach the end, you are angry and want to tell them that they are all wrong, and that their fighting is stupid. Or perhaps you want to weigh in on the subject and put your opinion into the conversation as well.
Think about what you are about to do. Anger is a passionate emotion and a strong motivator in decision making. However, jumping right into the fray isn't always the smartest thing to do. Growing up, I had a habit of jumping into online arguments without thinking, and would always leave the situation even more riled up than I was when I began. My mother would always tell me to "Just scroll past it" and walk away from the situation. She said in the long run it would be better for my sanity and emotional well-being that I not get involved.
One day I decided to listen to her.
Instead of getting involved in an argument I saw, I thought about why I was going to get involved, and realized that there was no point in getting involved. There is never a clear winner in those situations, and everyone will claim that they are right until the bitter end. Standing outside of the conversation and watching, I saw what I think most people see when they look at a thread like that. Somehow, when we partake in an argument, we lose the ability to behave like functioning adults, and retreat into childlike behavior (seriously, I just saw a bunch of people fighting in a group about something that is worth a dollar). We act like we are a bunch of Kindergarteners fighting over who gets to use the red crayon. But I think even 5 year olds have more class than some of the things I have read people post.
The problem is the growing ability that we all have to hide behind our computers. Nowadays, it seems easier to say something mean and "get away with it". My management professor said once that we lose 60% of communication cues when we take away face to face contact. We can't see how the other person will react, so we don't think about what they may be feeling as much. Therefore, when we get into online arguments, we let our emotions blind us and post before we think.
Overall, I don't think that magically we all will stop jumping into arguments online. I still find myself getting involved from time to time. But I more frequently hear my mother's words and decide to keep scrolling. It isn't worth the headache to me.