Off The Wall: Confronting Not Favoring Detractors

Mike – Why do you spend so much time answering people who are disrespectful or downright belligerent? You have 5 million people here who seem to respect you a great deal. Seems like they’re more deserving of your attention…

Katie Duckworth

Hi Katie

First of all, I can’t agree that the people I respond to have done anything to “deserve my attention.” Doing so would require me to put a value on my attention that feels a bit douchey. Secondly, I think the questions I’ve chosen to answer over the years represent a pretty good cross-section, but you’re right – historically, I’ve favored the detractors, and the reason why is simple – I don’t know how to argue with people who agree with me.

To be clear, my primary purpose here is not to argue. But I do try to be persuasive. With mikeroweWORKS, I try to persuade people that a strong work ethic combined with a useful skill is still a recipe for prosperity. With Returning the Favor, I try to persuade people that basic kindness is a completely non-partisan condition. And in both cases, I try to persuade people to separate their ideas and their politics from their identities.

I read an excellent article over the weekend about something called The Intellectual Dark Web. This quote really hit home, and answers your question better than I’m doing right now.

“There is no direct route into the Intellectual Dark Web. But the quickest path is to demonstrate that you aren’t afraid to confront your own tribe.”

I don’t know if agreeing with this makes me a member of the IDW, but if I am, I look forward to arguing about it!


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