Obi wan Liberali recently asked others if he was considered liberal. Apparently some of his liberal friends thought he was not liberal enough because he is not inflammatory. The discussion that followed in the comments got me thinking about different sites that I have visited and my perceptions. I try to follow sites across the spectrum of political thinking. In doing so I have found some sites (liberal and conservative) where I cannot bring myself to follow closely. In my case, most of the ones I avoid are liberal. I suspect that a reasonable liberal, such as Obi wan, would find that there are more conservative sites he cannot bring himself to follow closely (I am not suggesting that he does, or should, read across the spectrum – only guessing about what I would find if I were liberal like him). That got me thinking that public discourse could be measured along two axis – liberal/conservative and reasonable/unreasonable.
I believe that reasonable discussants find it easy to read other reasonable discussants across the spectrum and less than reasonable discussants who match up with them ideologically. I also believe that unreasonable discussants provide fuel to other unreasonable discussants who are ideologically opposed to them. In other words it is probably fairly easy to follow those in adjacent quadrants, but unreasonable contributors tend to drive away reasonable contributors who are ideologically opposed to them. (Reasonable contributors probably bore unreasonable contributors who are ideologically opposed to them.)
It’s time for another grid:
I have tried to depict who would be alienated by a person who fell at various positions on the grid. For each dot, those on the other side of the line matching the color of the dot would be alienated (according to my theory).
By way of experiment, I am cross posting this at One Utah to see how the discussion differs since that site attracts a very different set of commentors.