What do you think about people who disagree with you in the comment section for your answers?

It is part of both my privilege and my personality that I don’t often get comments that are anything more than polite disagreement. I make a point of avoiding answers or comments that would expose me to anything worse; and my privilege means that I rarely get dragged into anything worse.

There are topics around Quora that could expose me to age-old hatreds in the Balkans. But I’m not here to yell at or be yelled at by Turks, for instance. I’m here to share knowledge and learn from them. And it’s been great!

That privilege and personality combo means I dislike comment blocking (I’ve just vented about it), and am shocked at comment deletion. So, when I saw Jae Alexis Lee’s at the top of the answers stack, I braced myself…

… and once again, found myself nodding along with her at each point. If I was in her position, I’d be likely doing the same. I think my repertoire would be closer to Stan Hanks’, but then again, Stan Hanks has the same kinds of privilege I do, so I don’t know.

Polite disagreement is awesome. It is a learning opportunity, and I welcome it. There are several Quorans who don’t let me get away with facile statements (top of my list are Dimitra Triantafyllidou and Clarissa Lohr), and I am grateful to them that they don’t. I don’t edit my answer to reflect it, unless there are outright errors of fact; but I want people reading my answers to read the comments.

I’ve had one or two users get more in my face over the year; I’ve almost always ignored them, like Stan Hanks does (“feel free to have the last word, it should be obvious which of the two of us is nuts”). But there was one user I debated with. The guy got pretty unhinged (Dimitra, that was the guy you said would get a lawsuit in real life), but I wasn’t prepared to let him go, since he was posting on topics of my core scholarly competence. I was slightly peeved, but I remained quite polite, and I insisted in pointing out where I disagreed.

And it was remarkably civil outside of those comment threads. I think the guy appreciated the attention. In any case, he was only here for a week.

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