On flagging in disagreement, and alternative takes

There has been a recent increase in members calling out other members for “misconstruing” or “taking out of context” things said by other members.

The thing is, this is how online discourse works. For example, while there are many articles discussing the recent US presidential debates, there are also several talking about specific phrases, exchanges, or the like explictly, outside of the overall context of what was said.

In our most recent BBS example, a poster made a comment in reverence to a past US president, saying that if lifetime appointments were a thing, this president would be their nominee. Another poster countered that they believed that no nominee, no matter how great, should have a lifetime appointment as president of the USA.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this exchange, other than that the initial poster appears to have believed this to be a deliberate misconstruing of their attempt at reverence, and the poster decided to not only call out the member replying publicly for it, but also decided to flag the post directly.

Don’t do this. Except in clear cases where a poster has chosen to maliciously misrepresent a statement, these flags aren’t going to be agreed with by moderators, and posts calling out respondants for “getting it wrong” are almost certainly going to be considered offtopic by others and flagged as well. This is because the BBS is lucky to have users with a wide array of viewpoints. Folks are going to interpret what is said differently than you intended. The solution here is either to ignore the reply, or to respond with more clarity. Saying instead that another poster is wrong for disagreeing with an opinion or worse, expecting moderators to remove counter opinions in this fashion is, from my perspective, asking for the right to speak unchallenged, and that’s not how forums work.

People are going to be wrong on the internet. People are going to disagree with you. The solution isn’t to ask the moderators to remove their takes.



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