FanPost

Politeness, Humility and an Open Mind

"So let’s stay polite, humble and open minded about other people point of view"

Far be it from me to dictate what this site is supposed to be. I didn't create it and I don't contribute much to it. But I do enjoy being a part of this community because the way I see it, this is a community dedicated to a better understanding of hockey with a focus on the Montreal Canadiens. It is a community that seeks to foster intelligent discussion about the game while celebrating all things Habs.

There are a lot of places one can go to celebrate all things Habs, but not many that cherish the intelligent discussion we have here.

The reason I bring this up, and I'll clarify by stating that this is solely my opinion, is that over the last year this site has grown incredibly. Not only have there been huge increases in membership and pageviews, but also major expansion in the numbers of contributing writers and articles. I would have to guess that a large factor in the popularity and resulting growth of this site is that it presents a more intellectual approach to hockey, something that is attractive to many fans who want a deeper understanding of things and have not found such elsewhere.

Recently, I have been viewing more and more comment threads which devolve into pointless argument. Too many times these arguments feature one side presenting stats and data while the other side is, well... not presenting anything of the sort.

One key to intelligent discussion is to immediately throw out the garbage mentality that all opinions are equal. If you have an opinion, you are certainly entitled to it. But here, on this site, if you voice your opinion you are expected to back it up. If you cannot back it up, it will be shot down and considered invalid. I'm not making a rule here, I am stating my observation.

For people who are not used to anyone challenging their opinions, this kind of response will come across as rude. One might even feel ganged up against. As one commenter said, "let’s stay polite, humble and open minded about other people point of view". This was said after more than a dozen comments of his were shot down for his presenting an opinion without backing it up with any useful facts and even flatly refusing to acknowledge facts that were presented to him in counter-argument.

Had he been able to present something of a credible argument, I have little doubt that while he may not have won everyone over (we all maintain some biases, let's be honest), he would have at least been met with rational counter-arguments and a good discourse could have ensued. Instead, he was beaten about the head with the stick of knowledge and probably logged off frustrated and unwilling to return.

Good.

If we want to continue to be an intelligent community, it's important to understand that politeness does not mean giving credence to the opinions of fools. Humilty does not mean lying down in the gutters of ignorant chatter. Open-minded does not mean brushing aside good arguments to make room on the table for bad ones.

It's also important to understand the value of argument. No one has ever learned anything of importance by agreeing with people. You have to challenge the things you hear and be open to others challenging you. This requires a great deal of thinking. But, if you are able to present your argument rationally and with evidence, even if you are met with resistence or proven wrong, you are sure to find a great deal of politeness, humilty and open-mindedness.

If you are unable to provide a rational, evidence-based argument, Andrew will likely take on the form of a pitbull and tear you to shreds.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Fanpost content is created by members of the community and is not published by the authors, editors, or manager of Eyes on the Prize.

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