February 7th, 2008
If there was ever a phrase which should be banned from all discourse it is “missing the point”. Missing the point means making an irrelevant conclusion. It’s similar to a non-sequitur with emphasis on the conclusion rather than the evidence. Instead of saying a conclusion is wrong because the evidence is irrelevant (non sequitur – does not follow), “missing the point” directly attacks the conclusion as irrelevant and therefore wrong.
Many Internet discussions have no point and therefore none to miss. Good discussions have many points and that’s why most comment systems are threaded – so different points can be clearly discussed! Don’t tell me I’m missing the point because I introduce a new spin on things. Instead, be a genius and fork the thread. If you disagree then say so, but how could you disagree if I was truly missing the point? If you rebut irrelevance with anything other than an explanation of why something is irrelevant then your clever rebuttal is non-sequitur since the chain of logic is broken. This is what downmods are for. Use them. “You’re missing the point”, is just a red flag that means irrelevant, obvious, or arrogant statements follow.
Which brings me to arrogance. By claiming that I am missing the point you have implied that there is some “one true” point that I have missed. How is that even possible? Does each cause have one and only one effect, and vice versa? It’s nearly the definition of simple-mindedness. Like thought police you seek to limit the scope of discussion to protect the logical purity of your narrow, self-idolizing views though mindlessly repeated idioms. It’s doubleplus ungood for real discussion.
Think I’m missing the point or full of shit? Consider that Google claims over three times the number of hits for missing the point then for the overused phrases full of shit and full of crap combined. Please stop polluting discussions with this trash.