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Why I try not to argue online

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by MarcG, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    I just read this great article that's definitely worth 2 minutes reading:

    http://paulgraham.com/vb.html

    Some relevant paragraphs are quoted below:

    "When I ask myself what I've found life is too short for, the word that pops into my head is "bullsh!t." I realize that answer is somewhat tautological. It's almost the definition of bullsh!t that it's the stuff that life is too short for. And yet bullsh!t does have a distinctive character. There's something fake about it. It's the junk food of experience.

    [...]

    An example that will be familiar to a lot of people is arguing online. When someone contradicts you, they're in a sense attacking you. Sometimes pretty overtly. Your instinct when attacked is to defend yourself. But like a lot of instincts, this one wasn't designed for the world we now live in. Counterintuitive as it feels, it's better most of the time not to defend yourself. Otherwise these people are literally taking your life."
     
    • Like x 4
  2. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    Thanks for sharing, MarcG. That was very well-written and a good reminder of what's important in life. And what's not...
     
  3. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    The reason I don't argue is because the people you are arguing with aren't going to change their mind/opinion so what's the point.

    If I ever say anything eg political which I know people will disagree with, I never return to that conversation/thread. There's no point.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    You got it. Give your opinion and then move on.
     
  5. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    I do a lot of commenting on news articles about Tesla, EV's in general, and SpaceX. I often get into arguments with other commenters. For the most part I am not specifically arguing with that person but refuting misinformation for the casual reader. To try and actually change someone's opinion and mind about what they are posting is usually futile. However, the random person reading what is being posted should be left with real facts and not nonsense. I only do this because I have a lot of free time on my hands with the job that I do. The commenting keeps my mind occupied.
     
  6. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    The point is rarely to convince your opponent of the rightness of your argument. You are correct that it likely won't change their mind.

    However, it may sway the opinions of other people who are reading a thread and undecided on an issue. For some, it is a chance to win glory and lulz. For others it is intellectual exercise.
     
  7. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    That article was stupid, and so are all of you!

    Just kidding, of course.

    And here's a relevant xkcd:

    duty_calls.png
     
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  8. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Agreed.
     
  9. Kbra

    Kbra Member

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    So what do you guy and gals think about a Trump 2016?
    .
    .
    .
    Bye :tongue:
     
  10. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    What you both said makes sense. Giving ones opinion not for those you are arguing with but for those reading it, for those whose goal is to learn and you are providing information for them, the neutral observer, to counter any misinformation.
     
  11. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    I often find my self (well, sometimes) stopping and re-thinking the use of my time by remembering:

    "A wise man once told me: Don't argue with a fool, because from a distance people can't tell who's who"
     
  12. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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  13. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    • Funny x 1
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Saved me the trouble, thanks.

    The xkcd cartoon has saved me from wasting more time than I do.
     
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Zero FX Stealthfighter

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    That picture is too good, it just reminds you of how such a little mark you make while trying to change the mind of soneone through a screen.
     
  16. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

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    Windows or Mac? What is Linux?

    :D
     
  17. AndreN

    AndreN Member

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    My favorite part about correcting someone's provably false statements online is when my comment containing verified facts (with source listed) gets thumbed down by people. I can almost hear them saying "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
     
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  18. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    For me it is an opportunity to save other readers from faulty information, assumptions and groupthink. But, it is also about carefully considering other people's alternative viewpoints and information and being forced to clarify and verify my own thoughts, opinions, and factual research. It keeps me from having lazy opinions. I learn.

    Sometimes the discussion and debate actually changes my opinion.
     
  19. NOLA_Mike

    NOLA_Mike Active Member

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    How to win every argument: (Source unknown to me but too funny to pass up)

    I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:

    Drink liquor

    Suppose you are at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover you have STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a WEALTH of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

    Make things up

    Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that YOU are underpaid, and you'll be damned if you're going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say instead: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."

    NOTE: Always make up exact figures

    If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?" Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, "You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom."

    Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases.

    Memorize this list:

    Let me put it this way
    In terms of
    Vis-à-vis
    Per se
    As it were
    Qua
    So to speak

    You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.", "e.g.", and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you don't."

    Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money."

    You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-à-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Q.E.D."

    Only a fool would challenge that statement.

    Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks

    You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:

    You're begging the question.
    You're being defensive.
    Don't compare apples to oranges.
    What are your parameters?

    This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.

    Here's how to use your comebacks:

    You say : As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...
    Your opponent says : Lincoln died in 1865.
    You say : You're begging the question.

    You say : Liberians, like most Asians...
    Your opponent says : Liberia is in Africa.
    You say : You're being defensive.

    Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler

    This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say, "That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say," or "You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."

    So that's it. You now know how to out-argue anybody. Do not try to pull any of this on people who generally carry weapons.
     
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