To block or not to block?

On New Years Day Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre tweeted this:

I’ve been saying we need to listen to our opponents and detractors. Does this contradict what I’m saying? I agree with what Kon is saying here. I don’t think I block people just because they disagree with me on something. I am friends with quite a few people who come from more conservative (and also more liberal) perspectives, who are happy to have a decent conversation.

I’m less keen to label people as trolls, because it’s pretty subjective who gets labelled as a troll. (One person’s troll could be another person’s advocate.) Also, not everyone agrees about what a troll is.

But sometimes I get messages like this:

From my experience, when someone is this angry it isn’t helpful trying to talk, especially in disembodied online space. Not to mention that I just don’t should put up with getting streams of abuse thoughout the day! I ended up blocking this person just after I received this message. There are a couple of other people who I’ve also blocked after receiving similar messages.

In these cases I don’t think I’ve entirely given up on the people I’ve blocked. I still see a couple of them around the traps. I choose to keep channels open face to face. I think there’s a greater possibility of at some stage coming to an understanding if each other’s perspectives through face to face interaction than online.

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