How to foster stupidity
I do not believe in undue respect. I don't expect you to respect me just because I exist; I don't expect you to respect me because I write about really cool stuff which is totally interesting and awesome. I don't want that kind of false respect from anyone. It's insulting.
If I won a LAN party tournament with a pink-unicorn case mod, then you can respect me. Or if I came up with some insightful ideas that you were able to apply to save you or your company fifty billion dollars (like that would ever happen), then you can respect me. But that doesn't mean you should. I'm not going to lie awake at night wondering about how many people respect me.
If I come up with some terrible idea that you know for some reason is terrible, then I'd want you, like my hero House, to disrepect me by telling me that my idea is terrible, and to explain why it's terrible so that I can learn from my mistake. Pretending that my idea is just misinformed or "good but not best" or something like that is a waste of time. I did something you know is stupid, so I don't deserve your respect.
If you told me that my bad idea was good but could be better, then I have every reason to believe that my idea was good, because you said it was. When a similar situation arises, I might use my bad idea again.
If you don't explicitly tell someone his idea is bad, he might think that it's good, and then either apply the bad idea or spread the bad idea around unchecked. Then everyone has the same bad idea and you end up with something like XML (oh snap!).
Some places of discussion subscribe to the idea of unmoderated open discussion and others stray more toward forcing everyone to be nice and friendly with one an other. Obviously I have a problem with the latter type. Forums, channels and whatnot that prevent you from telling me that my bad ideas are, in fact, bad tend to foster users who consistently come up with bad ideas and can't be steered in the right direction for fear of breaking the rules and being kicked out.
There is a difference in simply not respecting an idea and simply being mean. I don't condone running rampant doing nothing other than calling people names. I'm suggesting more of a systematic and logical disproval of bad ideas, which leave absolutely no room for an interpretation that the idea has any merit. At worst, you will offend people who have vested too much emotion into their ideas — which I would argue is their own fault for overpersonalizing their ideas. At best, you'll spur a debate which may or may not end in your side winning.
Heavily moderated discussions tend to only show the side the moderator finds least offensive. Breaking down an argument and disproving it is seen as offensive by some people. The result is bad ideas proliferate. But I guess no one is offended so it's OK, right? Fie I say! Environments like that don't deserve to be frequented. Let them dry up so the stifling moderators can rule over all of the stupidity they have sewn, wallowing in a sea of false respect and nice meaningless words.
I would always prefer harsh honesty to undue respect. The consequences of the alternative are just awful.
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