Discussing politics on Facebook is usually done for one of two reasons:
1. You see this is an opportunity to have a honest, civil discourse. Of course, you don’t know any better.
2. You know better, but you want to be an internet troll.
Whatever your reasons, here’s how your Facebook “discussion” is likely to go down.
Your “Political” Status Update: Usually a misguided/misinformed and potentially controversial viewpoint that really isn’t.
1. Bait Taken.
This comment will take your status update as sincere and thus launch into a multi-part comment attack that oven veers off into side-topics that have nothing to do with your original comment.
2. Pray Away.
Oh, the Evangelicals will come. They will “pray away” your heathen beliefs, all under the guise of protecting you from the devil.
3. Obligatory Hipsterism.
It might be someone you barely know, but whether or not you like it, a hipster will undoubtedly make some ironic self-serving comment that draws attention to their pseudointellectual views.
4. Armchair Philosophizing.
Someone with a BA in Philosophy will perform due diligence on Kant and
write a well-written but ultimately irrelevant paragraph about how your status does not pass the Categorical Imperative test.
5. Logical Fallacy of Your Choice.
Slippery Slope, Strawman and Appeals to Emotion and Appeal to Authority tend to be popular.
6. Total Absurdity.
A picture of a cat wearing a watermelon hat. Insert your favorite meme. Must not have anything to do with said political topic to qualify.
7. Racist or Homophobic Remark.
Pretty much guaranteed if you have stupid friends or you live in the South.
8. Personal Attack.
Often coming from left ﬁeld, the commentator chooses this moment to bring any and/or all personal grievances they have against you in order to delegitimize your point of view.
9. Wikipedia Summary.
Often a non-opinion, the comment will summarize information everybody pretty much already knows.
10. Let’s All Be Friends.
Popular iterations include, “Let’s all pray for their families,” and “If people just really communicated, we’d have world peace,” etc.
11. An Actual Opinion.
Though rare, occasionally you will have a comment that expresses a real opinion, in favor of your status or not, that is well-argued, expertly expressed and uses research to back up claims.
Conclusion: Facebook is not the ideal medium for civil discourse. Let’s all be friends!