It's okay to defer having an opinion.


Like many former argumentarians, my awareness of the world begins as a teenage and 20-something boy on the internet. I would drop monologues on gender, sexuality, economics, politics, and other hot topics anywhere that would have me. Some of my opinions were right, or at least had the appearance of rightness. I rode highs of recognition over negative feedback.

I had revelations about sexuality and gender in my 20s thanks to some very confusing furry art. This is a story best saved for another time. But it’s enough to say I realized my perceived circle of competence tried to grow far beyond its contents.

Now I believe in the value of not forming an opinion until I’ve done the work to have one. This applies to the internet, and especially social media. It may feel good to fire a missile at my missive, but you accomplish nothing. You make yourself angry, and I pile another mute on the list.

Social media is a place to share ideas and have an interesting conversation. If you want to have an argument there, you’re wasting your time.

If the first thing I see from you is disagreement, I am going to mute you. This is nothing personal. You have likely not done the work required to have an opinion on my opinion. You can’t assume you have the full picture of my understanding from what you see in a medium where details are neccisarily omitted. We’ll spend more time saying “did you mean…” and “do you know…” than discussing. And that’s if you have practice with non-violent communication. Over a decade of social media experience tells me no amount of short messages will help.

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