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Do you play Devil's Advocate?

 
TessaSchlesinger
Posts: 155
Message
on 01/06/2013

So here's the thing. Every now and then, I'm immersed in a conversation and, out of the blue, someone will say to me that they are "just playing devil's advocate." It has happened to me four times in the past ten days. It upsets me. Oh, yes, and by now, you're getting that i'm super sensitive. Sorry. (Read Elaine Aron's work on Highly Sensitive Person.)

So here's the thing.

To play devil's advocate means that one is pretending to have a viewpoint that one doesn't really hold. I guess the reason that it upsets me is I hate argument but feel obliged, for the sake of good manners, to explain how I arrived at my conclusion. I expect, at that point, for the topic to be closed and for the conversation to stop. It doesn't. By the time I have to explain three times, I lose it. It's too much of my time and energy. So I'm, quite often, inclined to get rude. 

That said, lately, I'm making a marked effort to try and find better ways of responding.

So, here's my question. If you're the type of person who, not infrequently, plays devil's advocate, what is your motivation and how would someone like me be able to stop the discussion without being rude?

Digby_Adams
Posts: 698
Message
on 01/06/2013

I think it depends upon the type of conversations you tend to have. I don't gravitate towards controversial topics in my life. No one seems to play devil's advocate when you're discussing what color to paint the kitchen or how to plan Easter brunch.

Mira
Posts: 487
Message
on 01/06/2013

I think some people are poised to win an argument at all costs -- in my opinion, that's what makes them play devil's advocate. Say they might happen to agree with you; but no, they have to win -- so they argue for the sake of arguing. I like it so much when I have conversations where a question gets to stay suspended after one of the participants asks it, so I can understand your frustration because I, too, am analytical and feel I want to think things through, and yet I don't like to argue for the sake of arguing.


I Zazzle as Mira_2012
TessaSchlesinger
Posts: 155
Message
on 01/06/2013

Digby Adams, that's correct. I am fascinated by ethics and tend to be a deep thinker. Those are the things I speak about. 

Mira, that's more or less my conclusion. I also don't like to argue. I'm analytical and if I can see concise reasoning for why my conclusion was inaccurate, I will change it. However, some people will take the opposite site continually. It's why I have become so rude. I just don't have time for people who a) love to argue b) have a compulsion to win...

CADoerr
Posts: 67
Message
on 01/06/2013

I always play the devil's advocate as it helps to point out weak spots.


English is my second language. If you spot a typo or something grammatically incorrect, please private message me with the correction.
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

Astutely put Digby. Well said. I gravitate towards positive discussions, negative ones are just draining and motivation killers. I have better things to do than argue with someone whose just trying to be right- most of the time, unless it affects me personally in some drastic way I'll just tell them they are right and really make them believe I do- not to play devils advocate but because if they want to be right why not give them what they are after so they'll shut up :) ?

What helps me realize just how silly it is to get upset at other opinions is that I imagine that likely 90% of the people online are there to stir something up, or to vent, or , or , or... I let them vent in comments, then I delete them like useless post it is for us, but for them they got to vent (this is how I keep my wits about me when negative comments come in, I imagine/visualize that I'm helping them by just letting them vent there- they vented, it wasn't about me, even if they say it was, and I deleted their comment.

They will likely come back and see it never hit the page and realize they were being rude, or they may not realize anything and try again, at that point I just delete it and laugh out loud. The trick tess is not to run from the problem but to face it head on with a more intelligent reaction- a purposeful and positive one- focus on positive.

I've written posts in THIS forum that were pure reactions from Chef Keem (and he was the one who was right for slapping me around). I felt that double alpha male pressure when he posted, I swore he hated me for some reason and was out to get me, but in retrospection I was the damaged one... In the end it makes me think when I post now- I realize if anything emotionally impacts me that is NOT the time to reply. Reply by writing out what I'd say but DON'T publish it, just write it and go watch something funny (big bang theory always cracks me up!)... Perhaps your not taking that break to gather yourself before you respond and THAT comes off as rude not what it is which is really emotional triggering that throws rationality out the window.

On comments (my articles) I don't waste any time in that mode- if someone has something to say I will listen, I will even strip off their tone or my perception of their tone, and try to get to the root of what they are trying to say or what their motivation in the conversation is- if it's just being small, brittle, asinine  talking to read their own words or to instigate to make themselves feel bigger, then I can quickly defuse it by 1. delete the comment- it has no place here 2. Don't respond at all- let the others hash it out until it gets ugly, rather way before it gets ugly- first sign of bs I delete their comment.

In life we can't control everything- especially the retail market (public). Writers are among some of the most opinionated people out there that comment and realizing that I don't know this person, they are being rude, and I won't tolerate it I just end the discussion (thank god chef ended at least one of mine- me and Ryan got into a ridiculous sparring match here too- I felt horrible about it, I know I hurt his feelings but I also knew if I said anything right then even though I'd calmed down, if he wasn't calm it wouldn't have penetrated... We're both mature adults but you never lose the ability to become immature and stupid if you let yourself! I respect Ryan a great deal, the guy has some mad skills and is very helpful here- has great articles and a kindle empire- But he commented in a negative fashion in an ad I wrote in the market place in the forum- He negated what I was trying to do and brought up things that truly had no place in THAT post- anywhere else it wouldn't have bothered me. 

My point is that it's not THEM you need to change- you can't!

You have to change how YOU react, how you react emotionally (to yourself), and what you will allow yourself to indulge in. I refuse to allow myself the indulgence of replying if a post makes me feel angry- it's not worth it, this is actually a pretty recent realization based on, well me and Ryan's exchange. Ryan if your listening I am truly sorry for instigating that tiff a bit ago, I hope you can forgive me. 

-in comments if I can give the commenter a chance to save  face fine, if they refuse and go back to kindergarten tactics then I just moderate out of the problem. If it's in a place I can't moderate i.e. a forum post- I just do the only thing you can really do- shut up myself! It may seem that just because they keep going when you leave and you think you have to defend your honor- the reality is the person who ducks out of a discussion that's becoming ridiculous or mean spirited, unproductive, is the one people think good for you- the mean spiritness gets old and draining so people tend to eventually leave and try not to remember anything they saw...

If there is one thing I've learned and developed a bit (working on it) here it's realizing that my actions affect others regardless of my personal perception of what I meant- so if I say something and it offends, I try to back track- in our forum this works well, but in forums like the HP one, well walking away is the ONLY real solution- will people continue the battle to disparage you?

Of course- but realize people who are professional, optimistic in nature, and efficient with their time won't even waste their time reading any of it- give professionals more credit Tess, if the commenter can't back down they aren't professionals and that only leaves one thing to do- stop the madness by not contributing further to their game. Each word you say when they trigger you is a bullet in their gun- why give them the ammo to hurt you?

Those that continue to fuel the "napalm" situation (napalm burns hotter when you try to throw water on it) by trying to douse it out with water reasoning (opinionated statements or fighting) you're just going to make it worse and give THEM more of YOUR power. Many do it because they are bored and feeling low about themselves or their life is in turmoil and they think it's ok to vent on your article!

They want to see you get upset and lash out- sad but true- when you do YOU SCREW YOURSELF. If you ignore the posts, don't respond, don't feel a need to- your liberated- but if you're worried about other peoples opinions to the point where it makes you feel helpless and angry, you should re-evaluate why their opinions affect you so much- I  mean it's not like you know them, or that they have any true power to make you look bad- unless you give them the ammo they need to do it!

Often it's us that make us look bad by reactions alone!

My Mother always used to tell me: "Son they don't realize what they are doing or saying, perhaps they are part of your learning: "tolerance."

-Jerrico


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

This video should sum it all up- treat your comments like this guy treats all those cars...

http://vimeo.com/36673515


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
chefkeem
Admin
Posts: 3394
Message
on 01/06/2013

Don't get mad at me, Jerrico, but I've deleted your quoting the previous posters. It's not really necessary, creates duplicate content and takes up a lot of space.


Achim "Chef Keem" Thiemermann is the co-founder of a pretty cool new platform called...um...er...oh, yeah - Wizzley.com.
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

No prob chef, I'm always up for efficiency especially in the sites potential traffic :)

 


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
Guest
on 01/06/2013

Choose your topics carefully!  Some people just have this need to be right.  I won't get into conversations about topics like politics, religion, abortion, etc. because no one really agrees--do they?  I won't waste my time.  I will either change the subject or walk away.

But if you have a family recipe or a gardening tip to share, I'm all ears.

TessaSchlesinger
Posts: 155
Message
on 01/06/2013

Here's the thing. Firstly, it's none of anyone else's business what I think and I truly do not want to spend time talking to someone explaining what I think. When I do answer, it is out of graciousness and politeness, not because I want to talk or discuss something. If I'm wrong, or they're wrong, so be it. I would rather go read a book, dance, go to the beach, or do what i enjoy than spend time explaining my reasoning. That I do is simply because I was taught it was the courteous thing to do, not because I'm interested in prolonging a conversation. So what if I'm weak in my reasoning? 

frugalrvers
Posts: 325
Message
on 01/06/2013

Welp, I'm going to jump in here because I was one of those who commented on an article by the poster of this topic, and began my comment with "devil's advocate."

Many of you know me here - my personality, usually positive energy, etc. I feel I have a lot of friends here. I've never commented on someone's article to cause harm - EVER. So, let's use me as example, shall we? This appears like a part 2 of the "negative comments" post, which I spoke on, so I'll add to what I said there.

I like to talk, interact and discuss issues of all types, whether I am for or against. I don't have a lot of time to leave comments in my hectic life, but I try to make time to interact with my peers. To date, it has never been a problem. In the future, I will select the articles and my words more carefully, guaranteed. This has left a terribly sour taste in my mouth. I thought we were a community on Wizzley, not adversaries.

Here is how I see it (and it IS open to discussion, because my world is a democracy):

Articles with captivating/controversial titles draw readers in, on both sides of the fence. If I do an article that says "ABORTION IS 100% MURDER" - to think the only visitors drawn to that title will be anti-abortion is inaccurate. It is waving a huge neon sign to get everyone's attention. It is no different than walking down the street with no clothes on, then getting angry that people are staring at you.

So my suggestion is:

If you don't want to deal with comments or have opposing views posted on your article, turn comments off completely or hold for moderation and delete. If they are that upsetting, upsetting enough to spend all of this time and energy discussing in a forum, why have them on? Or...put a disclaimer text box on your articles stating "viewpoints different than mine will not be posted."

Some posts in this thread refer to an opposing viewpoint as always needing to win, stir things up, cause controversy. I can't speak for every oppositional post ever made in the online world, but in my case - the article was about never dating again, the title was an attention grabber, and my "oppositional, negative" viewpoint was about how love can sneak up on you, be rewarding and how negative energy can send the wrong message and block a potential fulfilling love from happening. Such a controversial demon I am. By my second post, yes...I felt the reply was rude, and I excused myself from further commenting, regretting ever posting a comment in the first place.

I understand I am apparently only 25% of the "devil's advocates" mentioned in the opening of this thread - maybe some people are truly malicious - but I can only ask that my comment be removed from that article to get back to my peaceful, HAPPY existence. Life is too short - my goodness, I was trying to have intelligent discussion with another fellow human being. This just really upset me - more than any negative comment on my own article ever, ever could.

If I don't like something, I do my best to avoid it and not set myself up for it to happen. If this is truly such a painful experience, then that is my advice - delete comments before posting or shut off.

I will close with saying it isn't a one size fits all. If I did research and a great review on a product I KNOW is quality and someone said 'you're promoting a piece of junk" I would absolutely think twice before allowing it, because my readers trust my review. But on opinion pieces or attention grabbing, black and white pieces - to label an oppositional view as some negative creep, with nothing better to do than troll and cause trouble - well, I don't think people who don't agree with you fit in one little negative box like that.

And by all means, don't use the duel module.

Chefkeem and Wizzley admin, my apologies in advance. Delete me, slap me, whatever you want...but I'm waiting for the next post to say "Robin said this" - It's been a hard year for me, and I'm disappointed in letting myself get sucked into such negativity and nonsense.

 

 


In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
frugalrvers
Posts: 325
Message
on 01/06/2013

I meant to add (yes, there's more) that SOMETIMES people use the term "devil's advocate" as a politeness. The alternative would be "I completely disagree with you, there are more sides to this story." Would that be preferred?

Ugh. I'm usually so proud of myself for just ignoring/avoiding these types of threads. So disappointed in myself for even putting energy/time into it.


In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
frugalrvers
Posts: 325
Message
on 01/06/2013

Ok, now I'm confused - Wizzley admin, help please?

I was nuzzling up with my love and best friend, beating myself up for even allowing myself to get yanked into this thread, when I decided to open my mind, revisit my comments (and hers) and try to see where I went wrong.

But it is all missing except my original post! The what I perceived as rude first reply, then my 2nd comment that was stated to be my final comment, then her 2nd reply.

I know I asked to have myself eradicated from any footprint on that article...did you do it already? Or did the article poster delete the "what I perceived as rude" replies. What's there now is, absolutely, not what was there a few days ago. I was certainly not welcomed to post my view, then ignored...not at all how it played out.


In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

FrugalRVers- I read your post with baited breath but I just had to pop in and say... I absolutely loved a few things you said:

"I thought we were a community on Wizzley not adversaries"- we absolutely are but sometimes there are people who don't realize what they are doing, saying, or even the perception they bring. for example, Tess. I  went to her article, read it, was actually impressed by it to some extent, and left my comment. I left a well thought out comment with both sides displayed not just my opinion- but that what I'm saying happened to me, and it may be an anomoly (that michelles green eyes being brought out by purple and hidden by green)... I was polite and articulate- but she deleted my comment stating "I'm here to make money so your comment may block people from purchasing from my page" (paraphrased). What did she actually do?

She lost money.

I was seconds from purchasing about 100.00 worth of products from amazon, I cleared my cookies and went to her page, I saw the email envelope icon and well, I right clicked to open in a new tab, I delayed purchasing to read my email. 

After reading what she said I decided NOT to purchase anything, at least not through her ad. the bottom line is I felt why should I put income in someone's pocket who doesn't respect my opinion but demands I respect hers?

There is more to my reasoning which I explained to her, I don't know if she'll listen with an open mind but I hope so. I hate to see people shoot themselves in the foot in the name of personal justice or ego.

the other you said was: "viewpoints different than mine will not be posted."

ok off to finish reading :)


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

*sigh* oh boy. Frugal I'm sorry it had such an impact on you- trust me, I can relate (unrelated situations). It took me most of last year to learn what Tess is about to embark on and likely won't hear us until a bunch of potholes in the road break an axle forcing her to rethink her strategy. She deleted 2 of my posts I think, I remember that dating article I can't recall if I actually commented or if I thought "what's the point?". But I don't think it's still there. I think what I wrote was astute and helpful but I guess that's just my opinion now.

I don't think, to be clear, that Tess is trying to be devious, rude, or oh let's just say it, opinionated. I think she's scratching at the wall to get this thing right, to make sense of internet marketing, writing, and overall dealing with the garbage of this business- the trolls. That said I want you to know Tess that what your doing is hurting people's feelings, I see FrugalRv'rs as one of the most optimistic and patient people in here and she cracked like an egg over your actions. Just think about it. Nobody is against you or thinks your a horrible person but your starting to shape opinions around you in a community I think you love and that is not good.

Personally, I've been where you are, I did the things your doing, and I paid dearly for it. You may just want to turn all your comments off- I think based on how sensitive you are about anything that's not in line with your opinion is grounds for comments becoming more of a liability to you than helping you. You forget we syndicate our own, but when someone throws rocks at us we don't want to help you. I pulled all my links I just gave you, I don't want to send my friends and followers on various platforms to your article only to get what I got- deleted for trying to have an intelligent conversation- as RVers said so eloquently.

At the risk of myself becoming a victim in this situation I will now back off (if I can LOL) and just read from here out. I'm a bit nervous to even open your email reply- I'm having such a lovely day so far... But I ain't mad atcha none the less, just hope you hear us, we're here to help not hinder, to boost not push into the ground, to offer advice and especially to help boost your work- if you let us. Rude doesn't begin to state how you talked to RV, I'm sorry, You keep crossing the line it seems. I just hope people are as patient as I've become.

Jerrico


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
frugalrvers
Posts: 325
Message
on 01/06/2013

Thanks for commenting, Jerrico -

I've said before, when self-analyzing, I always think in imagery (helps me when I fall out of balance, like I did tonight)...so I'll pass it on to you:

  • Love is the oxygen I take in with each breath when swimming across a lake - keeps me alive/thriving
  • Drama is the strong current that does all it can to lure me from the surface
  • Negativity is the anchor tied to my ankle, trying its best to pull me under

I consider myself "dunked" tonight, but am coming up to the surface once more...getting back on course. No worries, I'll dry off...

Take care,

Robin

 


In 2009 we sold everything and hit the road! Follow us on our blog at Cheap RV Living
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

Click. Delete. Buahahaha. Selective deletion (keeping only the good stuff) is usually very obvious and reinforces the authors trickery- or attempt to control the stream beyond just deleting negative comments. Just move on, remove the fan so you don't see any more posts and hope she's bubbly everywhere else you can't avoid contact. :) I really feel like she kicked a kitten there... I've kicked my share of kittens in my day (not really just a figure of speech) and still feel bad about how I made people feel. 

 

frugalrvers: 01/06/2013 - 07:56 PM

... Or did the article poster delete the "what I perceived as rude" replies. What's there now is, absolutely, not what was there a few days ago. I was certainly not welcomed to post my view, then ignored...not at all how it played out.

 


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
Jerrico_Usher
Posts: 1210
Message
on 01/06/2013

Like Oh eM Gee! I love it! I'm so printing that chit out to keep me balanced, that's just bloody brilliant chap! I cracked up at the dunking part- it really does feel that way, like you get pulled under suddenly (before you can catch a breath even) you feel like your drowning in chaos and confusion but somehow, your body is always boyant enough to resurface and when you hit the surface you breathe in the biggest most powerful breath you can muster your lungs to suck out of the atmosphere!

For me that feels like this: (ironically I'm in my parents RV there)

LMAO! (that's actually me 10 years ago)


Jerrico Usher - The Grass May Be Greener On The Other Side But I Installed A Mirror Over There! :-) - Join Our Wizzler Chat Room created by the people for the people to the people
nightowl
Admin
Posts: 519
Message
on 01/06/2013

@Robin, the Wizzley team doesn't moderate comments. Except maybe in cases where the original author neglects to delete obvious drive-by spammers (you know, the type that says "visit my page xyz for cheap generic blue pills").

frugalrvers: 01/06/2013 - 07:56 PM

Ok, now I'm confused - Wizzley admin, help please?

...

@Tess:
The Wizzley community is here to help and support, not to harass and troll. Offering up comments on individual articles is our way of demonstrating this to our fellow writers. I'm sure everyone could think of other uses for their time, so if you are not interested in receiving comments, by all means please turn them off.

@Everyone
This is also a friendly reminder to everyone that we don't tolerate personal attacks on the forums. If you are genuinely interested in asking for opinions then please have the courtesy to accept them as such. Or don't ask. No finger-pointing, name-calling, flaming, harassing, or otherwise ruining anyone's day. If you're agitated, my best advice would be to sleep on it before posting.


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