For the purposes of this article I will be using Tumblr drama to mean roughly “publicly calling out some entity’s ethical transgression (and ensuing discussions)”.
Starting with the obvious: not all Tumblr drama is created equal. In determining whether a particular contribution to the Tumblrdramasphere is positive or negative, I am concerned primarily with three classes of affected people and two classes of effects.
The first class of affected people is you (“the speaker”). What will the consequences of speaking be? How will speaking make you feel, and how would different possible responses (including hate speech and harassment) make you feel? You may or may not have the most at stake, but in either case you are a human being and how you feel matters. Consider doing a back-of-the-envelope expected personal utility calculation. (But if you do, throw it away immediately. It’s not accurate.)
Also consider how speaking will change you. Acts become habits.
The second class of affected people is the person you are calling out or criticizing (“the victim”). What feelings will you be invoking in the victim? What responses are they likely to make? (This part is why you don’t tell people to kill themselves.)
Also consider how you are trying to change the victim. Are you proposing solutions? Will those solutions work? In what way is your reaction different from hitting a disobedient dog with a newspaper? If you know this person in real life, would hitting them with a newspaper help?
The third class of affected people is your audience. Will your audience get anything out of reading your post? How are they likely to feel? How likely are people to pile on, and in what numbers?
Also consider how you are trying to change your audience. What modes of discourse are you normalizing and modeling for your peers? What are the broader ethical principles underlying your critique? Whatever your argument, at some point it will be employed against an innocent person, are you okay with that?
I won’t tell you how to weigh these factors, but they deserve your consideration.
The Only Source Of Morality In The Universe delights in answering your real or hypothetical ethical dilemmas. Direct inquiries to email@example.com.