As someone who has been having conversations on a range of social issues for a while now, I’ve come to learn that comments sections aren’t really the best place for productive discussion. For two years, I spent every second of my free time in YouTube comments sections, arguing with whomever about whatever. The actual video itself could have been about watering plants or massaging cats, but you would’ve still seen me there, arguing with a complete stranger about the wage gap or how many genders there are. I was absolutely obsessed with engaging with every single differing opinion out there, and I tried my hardest to convince them that no matter what, they were wrong and I was right.
But I never convinced anyone. I never said anything that caused someone to rethink their views or have a sudden revelation. In fact, it was foolish of me to believe that anything productive would come out of comments section debates.
While I don’t necessarily completely regret my two years spent having comments section arguments, it has taught me that oftentimes, nothing is resolved. Nine times out of ten, I walked away emotionally and mentally exhausted, without actually convincing anyone of anything. I had a fit, they had a fit, and then the cycle would continue, only ending when one of us realized how pointless it was, or just gave up. At least from my experience, nothing productive has ever come from these debates.
Don’t get me wrong; in no way am I suggesting that discourse is inherently bad or worthless. In fact, the opposite is true, and I’ve grown and learnt a lot from having conversations with other people. It’s just that we shouldn’t expect valuable discussion to come out of comment sections specifically. Often, they’re run by trolls and the whole thing is a giant contest to see who can ‘win’ an argument or ‘own’ the opponent. It’s a meaningless game that relies on provoking an emotional response out of the ‘triggered SJW’ or the ‘liberal snowflake’, rather than actually having a respectful, healthy and productive conversation.
I’ve since learned to save my time and energy by making educational and informative content for everyone. Rather than waste a good argument in a comments section, never again to see the light of day, I instead write a post or an article that can be read and received by many, and that’ll still be accessible for years to come.
Since I’ve started to avoid comments sections, my mental health has greatly improved, and I’m generally a much happier person. I’m no longer wasting away hours, getting all heated and angry, with some stranger on the internet who’ll mean nothing to me in not even a week’s time. The conversations that I do engage with are constructive and worthwhile, and have really helped to reshape how I view the world and my own place in it. None of this could have been possible if I was still ranting away in a comments section of a YouTube video on how to assemble a desk from IKEA.
So the next time that you think about engaging with a comments section troll, remember that none of this will really matter in the long run. You’re much better off starting up a blog or a social media page where you’ll actually be able to make accessible and informative content that’ll be shared and viewed worldwide. Now that’s something you won’t get from arguing in comments sections.