Why tolerance and respect should always be used when commenting

tolerance and respect

It seems that almost every day I hear references to more tolerance and respect is needed on social media. I know it is usually celebrities and influencers who people are interested in, and who the press want to report about, but actually this affects everyone online.

There is so much intolerance and disrespect, it is depressing. It is making the social online world a horrible place to visit, full of vitriol, slander, back-stabbing, misreporting, sensationalism and so much more. Who really would want to put up with this sort of thing?

This is my tiny attempt to improve commenting so it becomes a much more enjoyable process. A mere squeak in the darkness. But unless the concept of tolerance and respect is highlighted, and people become more aware, then nothing will happen to improve things.

Consider this infographic which explains things visually and simply:

Why tolerance and respect should always be used when commenting

And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

Let's be kinder towards each other

How much nicer it would be if the online social world was a more considerate, kind and well-disciplined place. If only people thought about what they posted, were more aware of how others perceived their posts, or thought about others rather than themselves.

But we live in self-centred, time-poor, people-blind social environment. Negativity and hate abounds and trolls run riot unchecked. You have to live in a very small bubble to escape anything untrue, unpleasant or indecent online nowadays.

But surely people would prefer to read kind, truthful and positive social updates? It's less stressful to absorb friendly, accommodating and realistic media which educates, entertains and inspires, rather than being bombarded with stuff you are never sure about.

Are you really that important?

The trouble is, there are some people who think what they believe in is the ultimate. The be all and end all of human thought. It doesn't matter if it's religion, politics, social preferences or whatever. They are the only authority on the subject.

It's a shame there are these stuck-in-the-mud personalities who need to vent what they think to the world. And with their lack of tolerance and respect for others' points of view, how interesting are they? Sometimes you'd like to ask them to change the record (an old reference to vinyl).

Social media and blog comment boxes aren't really the correct place to set up stall to promote your beliefs. OK, here's a free and wide-reaching environment to have your say, but really – how many people are listening? Don't you think you're just being annoying rather than useful?

What makes you an authority on everything?

Being bloody-minded and inward-looking results in a very dull person in a social atmosphere. It's like the person in the corner at parties who, in a very loud voice, has to pronounce his opinions and totally disregards anybody else's. How big is his crowd of fans?

Nobody has the authority to be right all the time. Life isn't like mathematics, where there's only one answer. How truly boring it would be if this was true! We live in a world of infinite possibilities, which makes everything so much more compelling and engaging.

And there's no need to prove whether you're right all the time. It's not a competition. You're not going to look a fool if you concede to other people's wisdom now and again. In fact giving in graciously shows your humanity, which actually places you in a much better light.

You're not going to agree all the time

Intolerance is not being able to disagree politely. It is necessary to show tolerance and respect during an argument, to prevent it disintegrating into a free-for-all. Slanging-matches on social media are seldom appreciated, even though some might them amusing.

Channeling your differences in opinion into a constructive and engaging discussion is a much better use of time and energy. OK, it may be difficult for you to give way to certain concepts and subjects, but remember to use language which isn't dismissive or undermining.

Just because you may be irritated by, what you deem is, the stupidity of the other person's argument, doesn't mean you have the authority to put them down. If you can obtain facts and figures to hand, you have the necessary arsenal to back up your side of the debate.

Give others space to have their say

Listening is a lost art, especially nowadays. Standing back, watching and waiting, allowing others to finish what they want to say, is an anathema for some people. Especially those who do not have tolerance and respect in the forefront of their lives.

Rather than wading in, interrupting loudly, and being generally obnoxious, why not properly concentrate on what the other person is saying. This is a chance to fully understand their point of view, where they are coming from, the reason why they think the way they do.

Treat this as an opportunity to learn something new. You may still not agree with it, but at least you have increased your knowledge base. And the time taken out will enable you to order your own thoughts, and search for a valid reason for your argument in relation to theirs.

People are allowed to think their way

The world is a very diverse place. You cannot deny or escape from this. So rather than building high walls to block every cultural society outside, why not venture forth to learn about it as much about them as you can. Try not to get irritated or irked by what you see or hear, as acceptance will help with how you are able to interpret it.

People everywhere have been brought up differently from you. They will not want to diverge from their way of life. Also everybody is entitled to have their own opinions, as much as you have. Perhaps it is important to welcome these differences, and gradually learn to live with them.

It is necessary to realise conflicting beliefs, values and ideas can co-exist. But only if people are willing to have tolerance and respect for each other. Bite your tongue to stop showing disapproval and start asking questions to clarify what you find difficult to understand.

Try seeing it from both sides

Having the ability to stand back and view the situation as how everybody sees it is a valuable and useful tool. As is also having the capacity to weigh up the pros and cons, the good from the bad, the ridiculous from the sublime, old fashioned from radical thinking.

Again, you may not agree with all of it. But try using tolerance and respect to compartmentalise, catalogue and reference everybody's thoughts and aspirations into more manageable chunks. Once you've managed to make some sense out of the disorder, things will become much clearer.

The main reason why people have an aversion to other people's way of life is because of fear and ignorance. Embracing it and learning more will soon eradicate this. Use your time effectively by focusing on educational discussion rather than bombarding them with abuse and hatred.

Being one sided means you miss out

Hiding away behind your intolerance and disrespect for others who you think are not the same as you, means missing out on making new friends. You never know, those you attack might be really lovely and welcoming, in spite of what you say about them.

The social media environment has a clue in its name: sociability. Learn to engage rather than enrage. Have conversations rather than fling insults. Be helpful rather than a hindrance. Focus on being kind rather than horrible. Listen rather than lurch out with vitriol.

And create new social relationships on the web rather than alienate people. Your sad, lonely world behind your pseudonym could be transformed if you allowed yourself to be more transparent and open. Open your arms to more possibilities rather than rejecting anything new or unknown.

How much tolerance and respect do you have?

How do you communicate on the web? What tolerance and respect do you have for other online users? Do you get excessively annoyed by what people say and wish you could change everything? This could be about nasty individuals or your views on particular groups.

None of us are perfect. Thank goodness! But having tolerance and respect for others will certainly allow you to go a long way towards being acceptably kind and useful on social media and on blogs. The more people we can convert to this way of thinking, the better.

Let me know what you think about this subject in the comment box below. We would love to hear from you.

Alice Elliott
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