Push-polling

Several months back, before I stopped clicking on links to Upworthy as a matter of principle, I recall myself being annoyed by the pushy, moralistic ‘survey questions’ inflicted on the viewer as a precondition of viewing the video or whatever viral bit of internet flotsam the site was hawking that day. Purely out of contempt towards the crudely manipulative way the site attempted to push the user towards a moment of wallowing in the self-evident virtue of his or her transcendentally magnanimous opinions, I’d click the ‘wrong’ answer. I don’t believe for a moment anyone ever tabulated the results; the exercise was pure push-polling wrapped in sanctimony so oleaginous it all but left a greasy film behind on the monitor. Thus, I’m pleased to see a far better writer than myself have a go a this vile phenomenon. Theodore Dalrymple:

Some questions are asked in a spirit of inquiry, to obtain answers, but others are asked to intimidate or badger or coerce agreement with a point of view and establish the irreproachable virtue of the persons who ask them.

Rest of the article, here. Definitely worth the ten minutes or whatever it take to read it.

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