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The trend of spending more time online and less time interacting with other people in person --- is this trend having a negative effect on society?


There's a lot to unpack there, but there's two especially big parts that stick out to me.  One is that the data, at best, goes back to 1990, and there often isn't too crazy a divergence until about 2015, long after humanity had gone online.  It seems more likely that other events in their respective countries are causing these trends.  This is something we might be able to corroborate if data went back farther.  Second, being more liberal or conservative or even having a gap between the two isn't necessarily a net negative, so I wouldn't say that even if all other assumptions were correct there would be any particular downsides.

As for more minor issues, most of these graphs still show people in general as leaning liberal.  The US and Germany had males trend slightly towards a more centrist stance compared to women, while the UK had a sharp liberal upturn in both listed genders, just less pronounced in men.  South Korea is the only one that was wildly divergent or conservative in nature.

Paul's "boringly obvious" explanation seems to pull a conclusion out of nowhere and with no supporting data whatsoever.  In fact, I'd even say it goes against common expectations.  People hanging out primarily with their own gender has always been the norm, and if anything is probably only changing away from that recently.  I'm also not sure that the concepts of conservatism and liberalism are particularly gendered?  Like, at multiple points on these graphs, the women are more conservative than the men, which seems weird if they're ever meant to "make the boys more liberal".


Definitions are too tricky here.

For example, does the term "conservative" mean "racial and religious prejudice"? Does wanting people fired from their jobs for being Jewish, kicked out of their homes for being gay, prevented from educational success due to being in an interracial marriage, and so on constitute "conservative beliefs"? Is thinking that free speech, freedom of assembly, gun rights, and so on should involve restrictions or even outright bans so that the "wrong types of peoples don't have freedom" a key part of "being a conservative"? What about advocating for Holocaust denial? A flat Earth? That LGBT people are organizing conspiracies to "groom children"? That vaccines against the coronavirus are actually dangerously sickening? And so on?

I'm not making accusations here. I'm genuinely asking. Because it seriously matters. What is "a conservative person"? Is that different during various contrasting times in various contrasting places?

An activist-leaning libertarian in New York City who spends his life at firearm ranges with his African-American gun club? A transgender Scottish actress campaigning against higher taxes in Glasgow? And an Austrian neo-Nazi influenced businessman living in Berlin who sells lederhosen? These three humans will call themselves "conservatives" but are so unlike each other that they might as well be literal aliens from different planets.


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Communicating entirely through text is not enough to communicate fully things like vocal tone, inflections and other non-linguistic verbal communication. Also, things like facial expression and body language are lost too.

Written language alone can't really communicate as well as direct interaction can, it's much more limited.

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