I remember when the news broke about former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning. Back in the old days of 2006, I didn’t have any internet access at home. I didn’t have satellite television, either, so I nipped over to my neighbour’s to take charge of her remote control and flick through the news channels, soaking up as much information as I could get.

When I did get online here and there in the olden days of the noughties, I’d read a lot about Russia. I became mildly obsessed with the crisis with Georgia in 2008, and when I found articles I thought were interesting I’d research the journalists who wrote them so I could get in touch – not to scream at them, not to tell them they were idiots or government mouthpieces, but to politely ask if they could explain things to me that I didn’t understand. And they were generally always helpful and took time to respond.

Now, most of us have constant access to social media, and oh boy, what a different experience a spy poisoning scandal has been this time around. As the news emerged about Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, being poisoned by a nerve agent, so did instant theories on social media, as though we were all living in a James Bond film.

In so many ways it’s an awful forum for in-depth analysis of Russian geo-politics - although perhaps I’m being a little too generous to label it analysis; it falls far more comfortably into the tinfoil hat conspiracy theory camp.

What’s most dismaying is when it becomes a peculiar political football within the Scottish independence movement. For the most hardened nationalists on social media, it seems any enemy of Westminster must be their friend. Everything becomes so binary. People pick sides first, identifying their enemies and friends - only then do they seek out evidence to back up their view, no matter how selective or badly sourced it is.

I pine after those old days when I used to trawl the internet looking for people who knew more than me. What’s so wrong about admitting that you don’t possess enough knowledge to take a considered view on something? Why is it so unpopular to refuse to take sides when you can’t be sure what’s going on?

The response online to Nicola Sturgeon’s position on the Russian issue really exemplified this problem. Sturgeon is a key figure in the independence movement and it’s unusual to see any backlash towards her on social media from the 'indy camp'. But it happened this week over, of all things, Russia.

The SNP has lined up behind Prime Minister Theresa May’s response – so far, the UK has expelled a number of Russian diplomats – and has thus planted its flag firmly in the west during this episode of international crisis.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate questions to ask about taking that position. Some think Sturgeon should have taken an approach similar to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s and sought more evidence of Russian responsibility before settling on a strong view. The hesitancy of many citizens is understandable after the incredible damage done to public trust after the Iraq war, and I have great sympathy with those who want to ask more questions.

But many are not interested in questions. One anonymous account, which describes itself as pro-independence, replied to Sturgeon with this: “Sad that you believe this tosh. There is no evidence. US/UK et al losing in #Syria this is excuse needed for full invasion!”

That’s quite an incredible assertion, and I’m getting a little tired of social media foghorns trying to defend spamming the internet with these claims as some kind of moral victory for the little people, standing up against the big bad experts, journalists and politicians.

Countering bad information with even worse information or conjecture is not the route to a healthy change. If we are truly sick of feeling like pawns in an international game of politics then we should be trying to clean it up, not use social media as a novel new way to get involved in a dirty game.

Ask yourself: how much do you really know about some of the issues you idly fire out opinions on? Is your contribution a help or a hindrance amongst all the noise?

What are you adding to the debate if you react to a foreign policy position with paranoia-fuelled theories rather than a coherent, intellectual argument?

Citizens have a responsibility, and if we really take that seriously, perhaps we should use our voices to simply ask questions a little more.