Seth’s Blog: How to lose an argument online

  1. Have an argument. Once you start an argument, not a discussion, you’ve already lost. Think about it: have you ever changed your mind because someone online started yelling at you? They might get you to shut up, but it’s unlikely they’ve actually changed your opinion.
  2. Forget the pitfalls of Godwin’s law. Any time you mention Hitler or even Communist China or Bill O’Reilly, you’ve lost.
  3. Use faulty analogies. If someone is trying to make a point about, say, health care, try to make an analogy to something conceptually unrelated, like the space shuttle program, and you’ve lost.
  4. Question motives. The best way to get someone annoyed and then have them ignore you is to bypass any thoughtful discussion of facts and instead question what’s in it for the person on the other end. Make assumptions about their motivations and lose their respect.
  5. Act anonymously. What are the chances that heckled comments from the bleachers will have an impact?
  6. Threaten to take action in another venue. Insist that this will come back to haunt the other person. Guarantee you will spread the word or stop purchasing.
  7. Bring up the slippery slope. Actually, the slope isn’t that slippery. People don’t end up marrying dogs, becoming cannibals or harvesting organs because of changes in organization, technology or law.
  8. Go to the edges. This is a variant of the slippery slope, in which you bring up extremes at either end of whatever spectrum is being discussed.

So, what works?

Earn a reputation. Have a conversation. Ask questions. Describe possible outcomes of a point of view. Make connections. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Align objectives then describe a better outcome. Show up. Smile.

BETT 2010 – SCHOLASTIC LIMITED

Our latest releases include…

Class PET – The easy-to-use online assessment solution for primary schools that helps you get to grips with Assessing Pupils’ Progress.

Story Stage – Story Stage provides an engaging multi-user puppet show environment that is designed to encourage the development of speaking and listening skills, collaboration and creative literacy skills.

Percy Parker – Percy Parker’s Flying Bathtub is perfect for any school whether they’re learning in the classroom, in need of a quick memorable class assembly or putting on a full-blown school production: this fantastic resource will support them all the way.

We Are Writers – How every child can be a writer, published in your schools very own book.

Child Education PLUS – Scholastic magazines for teachers and early years professionals are available in print and online. Visit www.scholastic.co.uk/magazines for more information.

We will be hosting a Class PET launch party on Friday 15th at 2pm on our stand (G40), please email lhorner@scholastic.co.uk if you plan on stopping by.

Posterous does seem incredibly simple to use!!!