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annikastheory wrote

A couple more thoughts I had. Its hard to know how upvotes play into all this. I would certainly perceive there to be more engagement in things that are more highly upvoted but that may not be the case. I suppose it depends on what function upvoting has to the voter. The "dunking" and meme posts tend to get highly upvoted whereas news or more serious conversations may not.

I think for myself I see many people who, primarily, focus themselves on these "dunkings" as a fun thing to do, but who's conversations hardly go beyond this fun into more serious conversations

The other thing is sometimes the primary way we engage in a conversation is listening. Or on the internet reading. So maybe an idea is foreign to me so I just read the conversations, rather than respond. or maybe I lack self-confidence or fear conflict so I hope others engage where I am not brave enough to. Then outside of that I just post memes or something.

Final thought: There seems to be an underlying assumption in your initial question that "more thought provoking, less discussed topics" are of greater value than "arguing against common banal positions". I don't really agree with that assumption largely for the reasons stated in my first comment.

Perhaps that relates to the "online irony culture" you referenced though. Certainly people can use irony and memes to mask super shitty beliefs but I don't think that's usually the case here, at least as far as I can tell.


Gwen_Isilith OP wrote

It is true I value "thought provoking" conversations more, they interest me more but also they seem to me more scarce. I do understand the value others get from dunking and other types of conversations, especially in relation to your previous comment, but it seems to me much easier to find this dunking then to find more serious conversation. Perhaps that is my own failing though. Though it may also relate to the voting and other forms of "viralization" as you point out.

Your comment on listening is definitely insightful, the internet makes it difficult to know if one is being heard outside of direct engagement. And the fear of being wrong definitely holds one back from engagement. The idea of letting oneself be wrong has definitely inspired me to try and engage more in discourse.