The idea that the US Government conducted illegal eavesdropping/wiretapping operations against US Citizens was a "contrarian anecdote" in 2003.
This blog post condescendingly claims that HN readers are not sophisticated enough to balance out the sources that are input to their rational decision making process.
In reality, contrarian opinions sometimes turn out to be correct, and mainstream opinions sometimes turn out to be wrong. Often, the benefit of a contrarian opinion is that it causes people to ask more questions, which is rarely a bad thing.
People are sheeplike enough without having to be encouraged to follow the herd!
I suggest everyone find a few contrarian theories and imagine what it would be like if you rearranged your life as if you expected them to be totally true. Most people are unwilling to go that far, and yes, in that way contrarian stories can weaken rational processes.
As the saying goes: they laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Einstein.
And they laughed at Bozo the Clown.