Months ago, four strong, intelligent, beautiful lady pioneers of debating and I founded an online debate club. We created a Facebook group specifically designed for young ladies such as ourselves to engage in stirring debates about whatever struck our fancy. By enouraging research, arguments, not being aggressive, or being easily offended, we were sure we would see ourselves flowering into mighty goddesses of civil arguments just in time for the 2016 political campaign.
In a lot of ways, I do see this happening. In a lot of other ways, I am witnessing how to properly lose an argument over the internet. Even when I feel members are articulating their point of view well, using founded research and even smiley faces to indicate lightheartedness, there will always be a storm out, and a lot of prime (and classic) internet fighting.
Tonight, I witnessed first hand a storm out on a thread which I felt had been civil and well thought out. My friend Bri and I debriefed afterwards.
Bri: I feel like I missed something.
Me: Me too. It went from a back and forth to a I CANT EVEN TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW. But without caps.
Bri: I'm surprised she didn't throw in a "AND YOUR MOM'S COOKING SUCKS" and kick a puppy on her way out. (I've never stormed out of anywhere before so I don't really know how it works).
Me: No I think that's standard protocol. There's probably a handbook. At the very least a wikihow.
But then I did my research. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN: there is no wikihow on how to properly storm out of an internet debate. I was too lazy to look further, but I assume there is also no wikihow on how to lose an internet debate, but I am pairing the two together and presenting (ba-ba-ba-BAAAAAAAAAAA (that is supposed to be, like, the end of the 21st Century Fox opening, not a sheep, just to let you know))
HOW TO LOSE AN INTERNET ARGUMENT.
1. Ensure you base your point of view entirely on a delicate balance between logical fallicies and personal anecdotes.
Research is for noobs. Don't allow anyone to tell you otherwise. You know your argument because once upon a time it happened to your sister's mother-in law's aunt, and no one can take that away from you. You don't need references nor should you ever consider looking for them. People who use research only do so because they know they are wrong. That is why they can't just explain their argument using their own words. They are dependent on other people. Dependency equals weakness, and the weak shall fall.
2. Abandon grammar.
Think of every writing rule and tool you have learned in your lifetime and punch them in the face. Capitalization Doesn't Have To Be Just For Proper Nouns Or Sentence Beginnings. lower case should also be embraced, especially for proper nouns. Use ellipses... When it doesn't necessarily... Make sense to have...them. Exclamation points too!!!!!!!!!!! Abandun speling. ur in a debate. their is no tim four spell chek.
3. Do not recognize other points being made.
People are going to come back at you with counter points. Ignore them. Acknowledging the thoughts of others is a symptom of a seasoned debater, and we're here to lose spectacularly. Don't ever change your point of view, or your purpose. If someone asks you to consider something that wasn't in your initial point, rebuke it with a non-sequitor that was.
4. Keep it simple OR overwhelm yourself.
Hand in hand with failing to recognize other points, is keeping your argument as simplistic as possible (i.e. Only offering "yes" "no" and "because it is that way" as an explanation). Who can argue with a one word answer?
Alternatively, consider including every thing you can possibly think of in one argument. Is the topic the death penalty? Perfect, people who are murderers drink water, and water is a liquid, and liquid that is solid can be used as a weapon, and TVs could also be used as a weapon, so protect the children and ban homework for heavens sake! Confusing your opponent, and yourself, is key.
5. Make it personal.
Don't ever allow a debate to be emotionless. Fling insults and wield name calling at any opportunity. It's common knowledge that every argument is lost as soon as someone name calls. Don't be afraid to be that person. Conversely, make sure that everything that is being said is being perceived as a personal insult to you. I don't care if the statement is "your mother is a kind woman," you can easily retort with, "oh, is that to suggest that my grandmother isn't?!" Boom. Crushed it.
6. Have a dramatic exit.
The exit is a key component to every internet debate storm out. Tell everyone you are speechless. That you cannot even fathom who raised them, or how on earth they sleep at night. This may just sound like more insults, but it is so much more intricate than that. Here is your time to show that it is by your own choosing that you are leaving this debate. You are disgusted by the behaviour and ethics of those around you, and that is what is motivating your departure. It is not that you have lost or been proven wrong, but rather that they are not even worth engaging anymore. Make this clear.
There you have it, folks. Good luck out there! I believe in you all.