How Two World-wide-web Nemeses Became Close friends

Each and every installment of “The Friendship Documents” capabilities a discussion in between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or a lot more buddies, checking out the history and significance of their romantic relationship.

This week she talks with two former on line adversaries who turned buddies. They fulfilled arguing in the comment area of a Facebook discussion board focused to endorsing science, wherever just about every believed the other was misguided. When they begun chatting privately, and sooner or later met up in human being, they observed more popular ground than they predicted. They focus on how they’ve shifted every other’s thinking and how they’ve developed a friendship primarily based on discussion and—sometimes—agreeing to disagree.

The Good friends:

Colleen Diessner, 40, a stormwater-administration worker who life in Seattle
Drey Pavlov, 39, a medical professional who lives in Seattle

This job interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Julie Beck: Notify me how you to start with encountered each other.

Drey Pavlov: I utilised to be extremely energetic on several online community forums. I received into Reddit, Facebook. If you know that XKCD comic in which there’s the male on the laptop or computer and his wife is saying, “Honey, appear to mattress,” and he says, “But somebody’s improper on the internet”—that was me.

Individuals think naturally incorrect points, and I couldn’t recognize why. I was viewing a lot of poor science and a ton of bullshit pretending to be science, and I was combating from that.

By the time Colleen and I interacted in a science Fb group, I was on the downslope of my keyboard-warrior phase and was commencing to truly feel quite jaded. She achieved me when I experienced great arguments but a poor frame of mind. At first, I imagine she believed I was just an asshole. I was very blunt. Not derogatory or anything at all, but I would say, “No, you do not fully grasp this concept appropriately.” She commenced interacting with me and expressing, “I think you’re wrong about this.”

Colleen Diessner: As a response to the proliferation of misinformation coming out of the 2016 election, I sincerely assumed I could aid by supplying far more data. But in that individual discussion board wherever we met, the politics received out. I didn’t truly feel like I was indicating anything controversial at all, but they were being earning truly disgusting responses. It’s develop into quite harmful, so we the two disengaged.

I’ve been a vaccine advocate for quite a few many years. Then there was a measles outbreak in southern Washington. I joined a group of people who have been making an attempt to distribute science-primarily based details about vaccine safety. That subject blew up in the discussion board.

Colleen Diessner
Courtesy of Colleen Diessner

Beck: What have been your impressions of each individual other when you were interacting in the

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