A WISE man once said that it is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt, writes GRAHAM CARTER.

Or, in the case of some people on social media: to remove all doubt, simply put your hands on the keyboard and type.

Over the last few days I have been delving into what comedian Dave Gorman likes to call “the bottom half of the internet”. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

It all started with Swindon Pride, which my wife and I attended for the first time the other weekend, having somehow missed the previous nine.

It was fun. There was lots of colour, some interesting stalls, music to listen to, food and drink, and we bumped into ‘People’s Poet’ Tony Hillier, who was, he said, “collecting words” for a poem.

“Look around and tell me what you see,” he said.

So we did. And it was amazing.

Everywhere we looked, people seemed happy. Some of them were even smiling. Others were openly laughing. In short: the atmosphere was great.

Later that evening the subject came up on Facebook, where those of our friends who had also gone along agreed it was a lovely, uplifting event.

Then I made the mistake of straying outside our circle of friends to read other comments, and found one lady who had “avoided it like the plague” because it was “immoral” and “unacceptable”.

So I pointed out that as nobody had died, or been abused, or exploited, or, indeed, harmed in any way that I could see, then “immoral” and “unacceptable” were a bit strong.

In fact, the opinion in our house (after attending the event) was so different to hers (after not attending it), that we decided we had had enough of biting our lips in the face of intolerance, and would make a point of correcting people from now on, whenever they gave wrong information, or their attitude was unreasonable.

I began by correcting the person, on another topic, who said we should stop taking immigrants from ‘Somalia, Pakistan and various other African countries’!

But while this makes you feel better at first, it soon begins to drag you down.

Pretty soon you feel the strain of arguing at their (often illogical) level, and realise that while some of us have a god-given ability to question, and like to apply some reason to situations, we are not all the same.

Argue with unreasonable people and you will end up feeling as miserable as they are, which is pretty miserable considering their main pleasure in life seems to involve instantly judging everyone who comes on their radar, determined to see the worst in everybody, and hating them for it.

So I am resisting the urge to correct wrong people, and have decided, instead, to tell right people just how right they are.

So help me, God.

Then I sat down to write this and realised I couldn’t remember who said that quote about opening your mouth, so Googled it. Another mistake.

According to the internet, you can take your pick from Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Johnson, Confucius, William Shakespeare or Grasshopper, the bald-headed hero of the Kung Fu TV series.

I eventually found a credible website that offered real evidence and attributed it, with some authority, to somebody called Maurice Switzer, in 1907.

It’s not that everybody else on the internet got it wrong that bothers me. It’s not even how sure they were of being right, despite being so wrong.

Our greatest concern should be those who simply don’t care whether they have any hard facts to back up their poisonous views or not.