Can Online Discussions Always Be Positive?

I noticed a thread today on Geeks that is talking about how discussions always end up turning negative in some way. This got me to thinking about conversations I have all over the web – on Geeks, over at Lockergnome, here in my blog, and even on sites like Twitter. It seems no matter what you’re trying to talk about, someone is going to be negative in some way. The people in this particular thread are right – it truly is annoying.

I’m not talking about differing opinions. Those are great, and I welcome them. Hopefully, you like hearing them as well. Having different viewpoints on things allows us to stretch our minds in directions they may not have otherwise gone. It can make us look at things in a whole new way, from a completely different perspective.

The negativity I’m referring to is exactly as it sounds – negativity, for no reason other than to be rude/demeaning. You’ll be having a conversation that’s going along nicely, and some person pops their nose in and starts going off on a tangent about something that may or may not relate to your discussion. They may even be completely rude about it, or directly “attack” someone involved in the thread/post. I really hate that. What’s the point of it? Why must Internet trolls even exist? Can’t we just like shoot them out of a cannon or something?

Seriously, though, why does it seem so difficult these days to have a completely intelligent conversation with others without the fear of someone taking it down a road it should never go? What are your thoughts? Are you seeing more and more of this lately, and how do you get past it to continue your discussion? What else are you reading and/or participating in online that has your mind stretching?

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