there seems to be a mindset (even among fellow vegans and activists) that believes we can’t be critical thinkers without picking apart statements under the assumption that our opponent is stupid. that because the writer didn’t say everything that needed to be said, there must be gaps in their logic.
while it’s totally possible that there is a fallacy at play, rubbing that in isn’t how you make friends and influence people. as people who, by our own estimation, know better, we do ourselves such a disservice when we patronize and assume the worst of others. (i think internet culture lends to this, it teaches us to sound smart rather than how to convey information socially, in a way that allows others to be receptive to it)
instead of ‘you must not know about x,y,z so what you said is inherently flawed’, ask their opinion on x,y,z. if you disagree with something, ask why they think that way genuinely, and keep asking until one of you realizes that you might be a little less right than you thought previously.
this gives them time to research if they don’t know without the implication that they’re stupid/ignorant for not already reading that particular study or article or statistic. if they do know, they are more likely to say ‘good point, I didn’t think to mention it and I’ll talk about that next!’ because you won’t have established yourself as a threat to their self-image.
‘gotcha’ culture is toxic, and part of the reason social activism and veganism gets a bad wrap. tumblr and reddit are especially guilty of this, we tend to think criticizing for the sake of criticizing makes us more intelligent, that fully agreeing with something makes you a follower. in reality, it ostracizes and divides people. it breaks us up into factions, even among other vegans/social activists who agree on most subjects
(revolutions are often undermined because of nit-picking leading to disorganization and estrangement among revolutionists, making them weaker, not stronger.)
that isn’t to say we’re entirely at fault for how we’re perceived (our oppressors help with it immensely), or that we can’t disagree with our fellows, but if we go into a conversation assuming that someone is an idiot, we put people on the defensive. defensiveness just isn’t conducive to an open mind - they literally ‘close off’. people don’t want to agree with someone who has already demonstrated through tone/language that we think they are intellectually inferior.
it isn’t constructive. it doesn’t inspire people to learn. if our goal isn’t to teach but to argue, we will rarely help people the way we want to.
if a post doesn’t say what you want it to say, make your own post that says it, or add to it by saying ‘yes! and to expand on this, here’s x,y,z!’.
we cannot be all things at once, at least not alone. let’s all do better together.