Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I think the response you get can be much affected by how you phrase your discussion attempts. No one likes to be told that they are doing it wrong, and we here in another country knows how to do it right. The same seems true here when someone from the US writes on, for example, their approach to integration, and how it is superiour to ours. It makes people defensive even if they would readily agree that their own system lacks much. I think it helps a lot, especially in the beginning before people "know your name", to start in a softer way. For example:

"I have noticed that people on this forum feel that the current healthcare system of the US does not work very well. Let me describe the system we have in my country. Our system is also not perfect, it has advatages and it has problems, but maybe knowing about its workings can be useful for those of you that want to think about how your system should be changed." I haven't tried this on blogs, but in some e-mail conversations and some live conversations. It seems to work pretty well if your goal is to have a discussion.

I know nothing about what you wrote so I am not judging it. But I know that I have read a couple of diaries by Europeans that were quite, um confrontational is not the quite right word, but something like that. Diaries that when I read them I feel on the one hand "yes, I agree with you, the author." But also "the way you write, the way you express yourself, I know already what the reaction will be in the comments. You are not sparking fruitful discussion here, people will get defensive."

I find it a bit annoying in general how touchy people can be. How quick they are to assume the worst intentions of others. How unwilling they are to read that which pisses off a second time, with a more charitable approach, and then try to shape a non-confrontational response for fruitful debate. But maybe their intentions and goals are different than mine? But I am also willing to assume that this will be the case and I attempt, as much as I can bear, to take into account this tendency to defensivness and preempt it as much as I can. It only works when I am in a good mood...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 03:56:39 PM EST
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