On the Limitations of Communication on the Internet

2 min readMay 9, 2022

The internet creates an interesting situation in regard to communication. We generally feel like we are brought to an advantage, both as the individual and as the group, when we are able to use social media and the internet to hyper experience communication compared to the past.

But there are also many limitations and intrinsic problems that arise. In another sense dialogue on the internet is very “2-d”.

Often subtleties are missed because of the lack of expression beyond text.

Furthermore pseudonymity obscures many things, among them intention and sincerity level. Often we can even see as observers from outside a conversation that one or both parties has misunderstood the other. We can often see also that one or both parties clearly has no intention of coming to truth or understanding, but rather has their own political agenda.

Conversations are often built and bred from conflict since those that are most passionate make sure they are heard. Sadly those that are most ignorant are often also the most passionate.

There are also opposing archetypes of people, quiet observers, that read and lurk communication threads, but choose not to participate. At least some of these players are going to be knowledgeable, but often a significant portion of “listeners” ARE in fact more knowledgeable.

Sometimes they aren’t more knowledgeable but rather they are at least sincere in the quest for truth.

I have a lot to say about this but my basic point and conclusion here is that if you want to effectively communicate in such a hostile and ignorant environment, you simple have to write to the lurking audience.

The lurking audience is the influential audience, because their peers and friends listen to them. They feel the writers do not know they are there, so they feel they get the genuine sentiments of those that are openly in conflict.

They read sincerely, consider both sides, and they bounce their own opinions off others who are also sincere.

This protects us also from the ignorant troll. The player that will never address the content of our argument. They clearly have their own agenda. They never read the material they are arguing versus, and they easily admit the truth of this.

The disingenuous loud mouth troll cannot handle the thought or implication that the general public is watching them get reasoned and rationalized to piece.

Walk their argument in a circle, and then speak to the general public, and ask the troll “what do you think of people reading what you are writing”.

The troll cannot help responding always. They will always take the bait, always.

Hero: “If you haven’t read the literature, why are you arguing against it?”

Troll: “I don’t need to read it, to know that its wrong”

Hero: “So you are saying you have an opinion on something you know nothing about?”

Troll: “Whatever, your opinion doesn’t make sense either.”

Hero: “Do you know that other people are reading this?”

Toll disappears.