I recently stumbled upon a quirky subreddit called /r/AmItheAsshole. From the description in the sidebar:
A catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong in an argument that’s been bothering you. Tell us about any non-violent conflict you have experienced; give us both sides of the story, and find out if you’re right, or you’re the asshole.
How it works is you describe a morally ambiguous situation involving yourself and another party as objectively as possible. Then, people vote on whether you were the asshole, they were the asshole, everyone sucks, or no one does (or not enough information provided). After 18 hours, the votes are tallied and official judgement rendered.
No one’s perfect. Sometimes you’re right, but sometimes you’re not. Sometimes, you’re the asshole. We begin life solipsistically, completely unaware that consciousness might exist outside of our own. Then, we realize that other people exist, but they are wrong and we are right. Eventually (or hopefully), we emotionally mature enough to understand the potential validity of other people’s perspectives.
However, even the most self aware people have emotional blind spots. It is difficult, bordering on impossible, to remain completely objective when the self is involved in a highly charged situation. That is when you need a third party to help you check that blind spot, preferably friends you trust to be objective and honest. Sycophants and frenemies need not apply.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have such friends though. Enter /r/AmItheAsshole. Whenever you’re in (or about to be in) a situation where your asshole status is in doubt, you can get a gut check. The responses are surprisingly even keel and well-moderated. And while your friends probably share your social norms, AItA features a much broader (albeit still Western-centric) range of right and wrong.
Whether it’s your friends or more than 1.2 million strangers on reddit, don’t forget to ask if you’re the asshole from time to time. Unless you’re me. I’m never the asshole.
Update: /r/dataisbeautiful has a much more negative view of AmItheAsshole.