Opinions versus Knowledge

I came across the post from radio Scotland this morning about how would you like a safe consumption room in your neighbourhood. I then read some of the comments.

This made me think. When I was young and first involved in politics, you had to go along to meetings to get involved. You were perfectly able to view your opinion, but this would be debated by the room. There may or may not have been a conclusion. If it was an important subject that would be put to National Council or a Conference for debate and voting, the branch or constituency would invite knowledgeable people along to have an in-depth debate before mandating delegates. By knowledgeable, I mean someone who has work experience or has studied the subject. Admittedly this did not educate the public at large but it meant members were more knowledgeable on the topic when discussing with family and friends.

Recently on facebook I have noticed some people have been having issues with their mental health. The reason often seems to be stuff they have read on social media. It seems to me that Twitter is the worst offender. Posts and comments are shorter and more brutal. I also notice people feel the need to comment with something offensive that has nothing to do with the original post. It seems to me that some of these comments are equivalent to those who throw things at people, or property and then run away.

Don’t get me wrong, social media has its good side. It connects people who otherwise may not see someone all day. There are many good discussions. Groups where people can ask for help and receive it. My favourite group is a UK quilting one where I have sought much help and companionship over the past few years. It is a group where we share knowledge and ask opinions. In this case the opinions are on artistic preference and never cause a ramie.

I think many people could do with asking themselves, do I really know anything about this topic? Or am I just taking a standpoint for the sake of it. You have your phone in your hand. It has a search engine. Use it to find out some facts before offering your opinion. An alternative would be to start a constructive discussion through the commenting. A wee debate.