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The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb, by Sean Blanda, Medium

The Other Side Is Not Dumb Medium


We should all enter every issue with the very real possibility that we might be wrong this time.

Stashed in: Your argument is invalid., Echo Chambers!, Logical Fallacies, Medium, Reference, Cognitive Bias

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In psychology, the idea that everyone is like us is called the “false-consensus bias.”

This bias often manifests itself when we see TV ratings (“Who the hell are all these people that watch NCIS?”) or in politics (“Everyone I know is for stricter gun control! Who are these backwards rubes that disagree?!”) or polls (“Who are these people voting for Ben Carson?”).

Online it means we can be blindsided by the opinions of our friends or, more broadly, America. Over time, this morphs into a subconscious belief that we and our friends are the sane ones and that there’s a crazy “Other Side” that must be laughed at — an Other Side that just doesn’t “get it,” and is clearly not as intelligent as “us.” But this holier-than-thou social media behavior is counterproductive, it’s self-aggrandizement at the cost of actual nuanced discourse and if we want to consider online discourse productive, we need to move past this.

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