Back in October I wrote a post https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2021/10/12/we-just-disagree/. In this post I toyed with some ground rules as to how you should interact with someone who doesn’t share your opinion on a topic. I questioned whether or not we should really engage anymore, as nothing is seen as polite discussion- everything is a battle…

This blog brought about some lively debate, but the thing that stuck out the most to me was the thought that if you don’t engage with someone, are you actually in agreement?

Does not arguing, or staying silent imply agreement with a point/subject/topic?

So let’s keep that bold point in our heads for a moment.

As coincidences happen, I wrote a post last Friday about some words that UW feels are problematic. I had many clever responses as to what UW can do with the list…so thanks for that.

I am not really a stats checker on the daily. However, whenever I write something that can be considered controversial, I do like to look at the numbers. In the case of Friday, I had more views than normal. But, I had less “likes” and less comments…

So, as I put my analyst hat on…

Why more views but less engagement?

Were people silent because they agreed? Or were they silent because they disagreed? Or is censorship just not a topic to have an opinion on?

Was this something that people did not want to go “on the record” with an opinion, or look as if they are agreeing with me?

Or were people unwilling to disagree with me on a topic I am clearly passionate about and opinionated on?

Were people mad that I took on those to the left of center? Were people afraid to agree with something that said the progressive agenda might have some issues?

Were people mad that I took on those to the right of center? Were people afraid to agree with something that said the extreme right wing might have some issues?

OK- I segued a lot here…I don’t even remember my original topic…

What was it…

hmmm…

free speech, social discourse, opinions, herd mentality…

In the face of a disagreement, do you stay silent because you agree, or do you just not want to engage?

If you don’t engage, is the implication that you agree?

Discuss:

98 thoughts on “Implied Consent

  1. In the days in which we live it depends on the subject. If the comments are racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, or ugly towards any other specific group, I believe staying silent is implied agreement. I would call the person out and then leave or ask the person to leave if it were in my house. If it’s about politics or the dreaded topic of pandemic restrictions, for example, I’d keep quiet and make a mental note not to see too much of that person for awhile.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I was thinking about personal, face to face interactions rather than blog posts. I try hard not to inflame in comments … usually! 😏 But I am surprised by the comment you, Lesley, and others have made here about not being able to see your commenters’ WP sites. If they’re bloggers you should be able to.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Every once in a while I’ll post something that gets lots of views, but fewer than normal comments. I don’t know if it’s because readers disagree with me or if they’re too busy to comment. My point is I don’t assume that lack of commentary about anything I say or do has much to do with me– and that it has more to do with other people’s priorities. I abide by: make no assumptions + take nothing personally, two of the Four Agreements.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It wasn’t really personal, just more of an observation. I’d scheduled to write about my October post back in October. I just thought it was odd coincidence that I wrote that post on Friday. It made me dig deeper. I don’t think you imply consent if you don’t say something, but I thought it was interesting to toss about

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I read this yesterday thinking, I need to “google” what are the 4 agreements again…I know I read about them several years ago, but I’ve not made them an intentional part of my life…so this morning, that was one of the first things I did. Printed them off. Boy would (will) they save me a lot of wasted mental energy. Wanted you (Ally Bean) to know your comment here, planted a seed that already produced some good fruit. Thank you! DM

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t think staying silent means disagreeing or agreeing. I think it just depends. And sometimes it’s the topic. . I also don’t think likes mean much. Mainly because it depends on the device I am using when I respond. Sometimes if I reply on my phone it won’t let me answer and often times I can’t click like. It won’t work. Whatever WP is doing it’s now extremely difficult to use these days. I can write a response and it won’t send, or if I click like it won’t stay. My iPad works a bit better maybe because it’s brand new. But, sometimes WP just isn’t user friendly.
    I usually respond to a blog if I passionately agree or disagree on a subject. If it’s a topic I’m not particularly interested in Or don’t feel one way or the other I tend not to respond. And, if I am not feeling well I don’t go on WP at all. And sometimes I just don’t feel like getting into an argument. So I don’t respond. But mostly if I don’t respond it’s because I didn’t read the post or was too busy to go on WP. Sometimes I simply have nothing to say. I don’t think WP data is always accurate. I’ve written some great responses to posts on WP and they get lost somehow. Maybe WO thinks I’m too controversial. Who knows.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. What I don’t like is I can’t click on a commenter to see their profile. Before I approve a comment I sometimes like to see who said it, because I can’t always tell a spammy comment

        Liked by 3 people

      2. LA I too am frustrated that I can’t click on someone to follow them or read their postings. What’s that about??And I can’t always respond to some comments. So I don’t think you get a true representation of your WP data.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hot topics that have an edge of controversy are well read but less commented on, I find. My “feminism is a myth post” had few comments. People read, I can see this, but to engage in something which may or may not induce a lengthy debate sometimes makes people lurk.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are probably overthinking it, because for every person there is probably a different motivation for responding or not. If they don’t respond, you can’t know what they are thinking. On a personal level, I can make a statement to my husband (about dinner, what I think about something, anything). If he doesn’t respond, I assume he agrees. Big mistake. Usually I find out later that he didn’t agree at all, had different plans, etc. We will hit the 50 year mark in our marriage this year. You’d think I would anticipate this, but it usually still surprises me. I’m working on it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. True. However, in my case, if I write about a topic such as “feminism is a myth” which results in eyeballs and maybe likes but few public comments, imagine my surprise when I receive private emails discussing the topic away from the blog.

        The person in that cases divulged he isn’t comfortable airing his opinion on the public forum but he’d like to share his views with the author of the topic (me) in private. I have experienced this several times.

        So I can say in some cases, and knowing some of my regulars in my tribe, I can make a fairly accurate assumption as to why they do not want to comment publically.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Your bold point is precisely what my children argue. I encourage them to drop a subject because neither side moves!!! How I would love to encourage healthy discussion -but they are so stubborn.

    It comes down to fear, vulnerability, and acceptance. You’ve brushed your fingers against that with your questions and observations.

    We, none of us, wish pain or embarrassment. We want to be loved. If we engage about a subject we might be turned away.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you need to be careful about what your purpose is whenever you speak in response to controversial issues. Are you agreeing with/supporting the speaker? If you’re in disagreement, is it because of something the original speaker left out of the conversation or is it a fundamental difference of viewpoint? If I think the original speaker might change their mind, I might speak up. But if it’s a difference that cannot be changed, as in religious or moral distinctions, I probably won’t. There’s many a family dinner with my in-laws where I bite my tongue because they are Catholic and I am not. It’s not that I agree, but I know I won’t/can’t change minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I did not read your Friday post but I have now and AGREE (damn I forget to “like” your post). On to today’s post, I would say there are a couple of factors in play. Some didn’t like your post for the reasons stated – fear of reprisal (trolls and online bullying are real), some well, don’t agree but won’t make the effort to debate. The art of debate is long dead in the age of social media. On to my favorite topic, the politicians, the news media, social media all are fostering us vs them approach – it sells better than sex. I was visiting my sister last year and she made a politically charged hateful comment, I made no comment. She said “Oh you’re one of those!” I replied no, I am not going to dignify your hate with my comment because I know you cannot debate the subject intelligently.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a post in the pipeline, I think next week, that’s kinda sorta about politically charged hateful comments…I really don’t know if people know what they’re saying sometimes

      Like

      1. Looking forward to it – you really need to watch the stats on that post. I’ve read some of the most hateful comments from both sides of the equation. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, they are not entitled to be right or harmful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree!! We all need to learn social skills again. Why is it okay to write “let’s round up the X-Opinion and shoot them,” when a person with that opinion may be bagging your groceries and sincerely telling you to have a nice day?

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I slept in this morning and my brain isn’t functioning well yet, but Lesley makes a lot of good points, especially since we’re using WP! I suppose I just assume (!) that some of my regular readers may simply not want to engage when/if I write something not my usual and that’s okay. Like the penis post, I knew some would stay away… whether it’s disagreement/discomfort/disinterest or something else

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, there’s always room for more why isn’t there! Likely that’s part of the answer as well. Some just can’t or won’t go down that path.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe you got more views without comments than normal because people are either still deciding where they stand, or because they were judging you personally based on your post, or because they are afraid to speak up for fear of being judged or cancelled, especially if they have their own blog. I think today people are willing to assume way too much about an author based on one sentence or one article, or even one word. The left’s Cancel culture has damaged our so-called democracy more than anything the right has ever done.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So… LA…I linked through to read your Oct post, must have missed it…and in the main, I agree with your observations. But considering you used the word opinion more often than I get likes on one of my poor poem offerings, I kindly suggest you may have helped your argument buy prefacing opinion with “informed,” substituting with “justified believe,” and even taken to risk.. the horti torti and highfalutin, if morally freighted…”intellectual virtues.”

    “Opinion” may be the real feel but the deal of discourse on social media is to fright wig and dumb down. That’s were the money be.

    To one of your questions of the day. A look, and then a look away, with out like or comment, is neither assent or a thumbs down.

    But more important….”Will pitchers and catchers report?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To the most important thing…I foresee lots of baseball love on the 14th…. But point taken to the rest…what is an opinion anyway? Something someone else spoon-feeds you, or a conclusion that you come to? To my question of the day…I don’t think not saying anything implies either for or against. I did think it interesting that some thought it did…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. For me it is a case by case decision. I like exchanging ideas and discovering why someone holds a different opinion, but if initial contact indicates the other person is more into winning the conversation than exchanging ideas, I let them ramble and say something like, I hear where you are coming from but let’s talk about something else.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. To answer your original question, I don’t think staying silent implies agreement. I stand with you on censorship and banning. It’s gotten so out of hand. Also, WordPress often unlikes my likes on comments.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I guess we all use the platform in different ways. I ‘like’ most posts I read, even if I disagree because I’m typically ‘liking’ that the writer took the time – and sometimes had the guts – to share their opinion. Occasionally I’ll read a post that doesn’t get a like – and those will be posts that I find deplorable.

    As to implied consent. Well, I’ve already established that a like doesn’t mean I like what was said. But I also don’t care if the author wants to take it that way, as I see it it would just make them wrong on a second front (the first being the content of their writing 😅).

    We don’t always have to voice our dissenting opinions, particularly if the matter is incosequential, and particularly if the opinion is voiced in good faith.

    Like you, the hill I’ll die on is freedom of speech. The posts I’m most likely to encounter that don’t get a like from me are, interestingly, not even ones that tell people they can’t say something but that they must say something. Like “authors must go out of their way to be representative”. No they don’t, they have to write what they want and everyone else can write what they want and the audience can choose what they want to read. Nearly slipped into a rant the end there, sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rant away. I’m like you…I like a post to show support of the community. I only comment when I think I can add to the discussion, which isn’t often, because most of the posts are solid as they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. If I disagree, I usually stay silent on WP platforms, unless I know I’m safe, and the author is a reasonable person, I can as subtle as the next guy. In life, I do much the same. Additionally, if I’m not spouting off about my opinions I might learn something. You never know, but this I know for sure, I’m not changing anyone’s mind with my salient thoughts. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting. Here’s why: Deb wrote a post today about the “unhoused.” Though I agree with everything she said and feel for their plight, I did not comment because I hate the term “unhoused.” Kind of along the lines of the UW post you referenced here (I don’t see how “unhoused” is any different, or less offensive than, “homeless”). But I did not comment because I didn’t want Deb to think in any way at all that I didn’t like her post or didn’t agree with her.

    Not sure if that helps you at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally get that. When I replied to her I went with the British term rough sleeper. I don’t like these alternate names…say it and be done with it. Let’s get offended by the things that are truly offensive

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think silence always means agreement. However, in a lot of negative issues it may be confused for that.
    For instance, someone I’m having a conversation with is being verbally abusive to certain groups, I’d speak up because being silent at that moment may be confused for agreement.
    In some other cases, silence is not agreement.
    Silence may also mean that the person doesn’t know much/hasn’t made up their minds about said topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. ~Mark Twain Sometimes it just isn’t worth the time to argue/disagree with someone. The fool is more interested in throwing out opinions as facts rather than expanding their mind with different points of view. The fool is preoccupied with belittling others’ viewpoints and insisting everyone think the same way. If we get sucked into arguments of ignorance or manipulation, we’ll eventually start to behave foolishly ourselves. A good reason to stay silent on some discourses. The other position to take is, in our world of incivility, those who dare to disagree with the elite opinions of the day run the risk of becoming targets….sometimes to the point of having their lives ruined.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Not at all. In the last couple of years I have discovered discussion is dead and disagreement is a declaration of war -(not always and not you) but I seldom venture forth with disagreement.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I would say the person would probably assume you are in agreement if you don’t respond even if you don’t agree with them.
    If I am with people I don’t know well I rarely add to the discussion especially if I don’t agree with them. Anymore there is more arguing than discussing and I’m just tired of all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I do not think silence = agreement. Though, I do think it is up to us to qualify that in social discourse, by stating our truth, and declaring agreement or disagreement. If we don’t, as, to me, this is one of the things you are pointing to, silence may be taken as agreement, and if there is not genuine agreement, well, that’s just not helpful for the social relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Among the reasons why I may look and not comment/like on anyone’s posts:

    1. I’ve looked at the post on my phone and it’s a swine for allowing me to like or comment. Unless I feel strongly, or get the time to check in again, that’s how it stays.
    2. It’s a subject I feel strongly about, but have decided to refrain from debating it as I’m in danger of ending up deeply upset and at risk of tipping back into depression.
    3. I can’t add anything meaningful to the discussion.
    4. It’s covering old/similar ground on which I’ve previously expressed my opinion.
    5. I’m late to the post and other responders have already expressed my view.
    6. I don’t know enough about the subject to make a valid contribution.
    7. I’m not sure what I think or how I feel, so rather than say something unthought through or which has the potential to cause unintended offence, I remain silent.
    8. I believe the subject isn’t really open to debate, so I’d be wasting my time and energy if I attempted to do so.

    I could click like in some or all of these circumstances, but rarely click like on posts only on comments. Not sure why…

    I also don’t take silence to equal agreement. More often I see it as a desire not to argue, to avoid upset, or simply as a sign of good manners.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. If I’m silent, it’s usually because I don’t agree. But if we’re blogging, then it could be for any reason. Sometimes, it’s a time issue. I don’t have time to flesh out clear, written thoughts.

    Over Christmas (you know I always have a story), I was with my husband’s family, who is Black and very middle class, like old-school middle-class. Anywho, his aunt and uncle were describing how horrible unions were and they had examples. I come from a working class family, and my grandfather literally used to go to southern towns and help workers create unions. Point is…I was VERY silent because I disagreed, and I just didn’t even feel like getting into a discussion where I had to defend my point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I struggle with this one, because I don’t like conflict. (I was raised with far too much of it.) But I have found that when I remain silent when someone says something I disagree with, people just assume I agree. I don’t like that, but I also have no wish to argue with the person who is speaking. I really appreciate the friends I have with whom I can honestly say simply, “I disagree” (that is so much nicer than “You’re wrong!”) or I can say, “Well, that’s one way of looking at it,” or “thanks for sharing your opinion.” That doesn’t start an argument, but it does signal that I think a bit differently. In the end, whether or not I speak up depends mostly on how tolerant and open-minded the person I’m talking to happens to be!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I always find that when I write something controversial, the stats go up, but fewer people engage with post. And particularly with some topics, I find that people subtweet and write their own posts, ignoring and dismissing any counter arguments raised (the most frustrating example was when I did a post on trigger warnings, which I spent months researching, but of course none of the critical responses engaged with a single one of the academic and scientific sources I cited). I really don’t think it’s implied agreement or consent- I just think it’s cowardice. If I’m wrong, prove it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think the title plus the tag line of my original blog says it all, at least as far as blogging is concerned. This implies that I don’t care is a commenter agrees or not, though I will give any arguments they may want to pose in comments some consideration. I don’t always comment, but usually at least like, if I agree on your posts, though I for sure comment if I don’t. hbsuefred.wordpress.com

    In person it’s a whole other can of worms from my perspective. If I know the party with whom I disagree will not try to get me embroiled in an ongoing argument, both of us generally feel comfortable enough with each other to just say so and move on. In those relationships I generally give other party a bit of an attaboy and vice versa. If, however, I don’t know or like or respect or even care about the other person, I don’t usually grace them in conversation with my opinion one way or another. There have been a few occasions where I just went ahead and went for broke because whatever thought they may have expressed was just too far-fetched or too vile to let slide.

    For example, when my idiot ex-husband has expressed his stupid religion’s maxim that couples who are not “sealed in marriage” will not be joined up in the afterlife my response has always been to ask him how he knows, if he knows anyone who has told him or anyone else if that happens there or if they’ve even been there. Yeah, religious discord pisses me off even more than political discord. I’ve also had to set his family straight a time or two about religious persecution and stereotypes. So, again yeah, I guess I’m glad that connection is now severed.

    Liked by 1 person

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