This conversation feels like a breath of air in a stale room. I think what happens on twitter–the point-scoring snarkiness, the implict plea for an RT in some quip, the GOTCHA (all of which I must admit, uncomfortably, I’ve done at one time or another) — these things are symptoms of a larger disease: the fear of being wrong. Somewhere along the line (perhaps when medals started being handed out at pre-school “soccer” games, to all & sundry, just for showing up) we’ve formed the idea that to be last to the punch instead of first, or to be mistaken, or to have to correct an assumption is terrifying, shameful and so people go to great lengths to avoid any possibility of incorrectness, including punishing those who might, by example, offer a different possibility. ..Look at Congress for a prime & inert example: paralyzed of making a misstep, all that can be done is name-calling. We encourage conformity rather than capaciousness and those who step out of bounds are smacked down. I wish I could say that academics were immune to this sort of attitude but I fear I would be…mistaken.