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Avoiding time wasters

There are many that make a lot of noise to engage in a lot of discussion, but essentially waste our time.

Many on social media like to invite a lot of people into discussions, seemingly to help them make decisions. However, the discussions effectively go nowhere and they repeatedly ask the same or similar questions over and over. Given that the result is their inaction through lack of decision-making, it seems that they weren't really interested in actually making progress. How can we avoid such time wasters? The simple answer is to avoid social media, but that may mean dumping what may provide some with legitimate opportunities for decent discussions.

So, what is really going on that creates the inaction?

Firstly, such people often invite/tag a seeming hodge-podge of people to the discussion, typically after very little effort on their own part. The latter should be the first red flag, because anyone really interested in a topic will do proper research before roping in others and wasting their time. It is lazy and disrespectful.

Secondly, the invitees are too varied and many are not really qualified to provide deep discussion in the topic. Doing it that way makes one wonder whether they really want a resolution. After all, those wanting to bury climate change discussion will invite experts yet rope in an incompetent denier or two to bury discussion in irrelevancies.

Thirdly, the questions asked will be too superficial, or include some only marginally relevant to the topic. That will ensure that there will be too many meandering sub-threads and so will not converge on meaningful conclusions. Some questions may even be phrased to be controversial, as if the poster wants reactive comments rather than reasoned arguments. Really just an invitation to trolls.

All these devices ensure that any discussions are mostly vague, and any meaningful comments are so surrounded by shallow platitudes and offhand remarks that they are too difficult to find. The poster is obviously not really interested in resolving what they purportedly started the discussion about. A pattern can be seen if they cycle through a few of the same topics over time. They are then just wanting attention rather than having any interest in learning.

A person really interested in learning or understanding will:

  1. a.Do their preliminary research
  2. b.Ask a few meaningful questions that inquire into directly related aspects of the topic
  3. c.Ensure discussions keep on track with the topic and tend towards resolution
  4. d.Round off discussion with conclusions to which they have come.

Those will indicate at each stage whether they are serious about the topic or just trolling for attention. For those wanting to partake in meaningful discussions, I hope these points help you keep away from wasting so much of your time in trumped up pseudo-discussions only meant to bolster an insecure person's ego.

In those cases where the poster has no intention of misleading, but is actually trying to get some answers, yet shows such a vague understanding of logical information processing, it suggests that they are likely to have difficulty getting their heads around any deeper information supplied, leading to more confusion than enlightenment. That will shift engagement to a more basic level, which may not be where one intended to go.

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