How to Argue On the Internet

I was scrolling through Facebook today and one of my friends posted an article about how the families of Sandy Hook victims were suing the company that made the gun. Below that, I see 74 comments. After reading about 5 of them I knew I was in no going to make through the rest without killing somebody. So here’s how to properly argue on the Internet

  1. Read the full postJust because the title and first half says one thing, doesn’t mean that end says the same thing. More often than not, most editorials and opinion sections start off with a negative light but then the last paragraph looks more positively. Or the entire article is one opinion, and the conclusion sentence completely contradicts it.
  2. Look at both sides. So you just read a negative article. Find at least two that are positive. Just because one side has strong evidence does not mean that the other side doesn’t have even stronger. And since your first impression had a bias, you’ll need a few more references to counteract that bias
  3. Get your facts straight. Before ever forming opinion, make sure your facts are right. Heck, even go so far as to source them. If you’re going to argue, might as well go at it like a research paper. If you cite your sources, no one can argue that you’re making anything up. Plus you’ll automatically be more credible and essentially kick ass.
  4. Set your opinion. After all of your research, form your opinion. This is essentially the thesis of your argument. Write it down. Memorize it. Don’t be afraid to change it.
  5. Stick to the topic. Don’t get away from the main subject. Don’t go outside of what you prepared for. And seriously, it’s just dumb.
  6. If you don’t know, you don’t know, and say you don’t know. (Or just do a quick Google search)
  7. NEVER ATTACK THE PERSON. Just don’t do it. Keep the personal out. Focus on the subject. It looks weak and terrible if you do it.
  8. Keep an open mind. You never know, they might have some good points too.
  9. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Nothing degrades your argument more than a misspelling or lack of punctuation. I suggest opening a Word document to help you out but there are online sources too.
  10. When in doubt, stay out. Nobody needs a smart ass who doesn’t care getting into a conversation. Only get involved if someone is misinformed or someone is being racist/sexist/etc. Never try to start an argument if you can help it. If anything, do your best to discuss the topic but not argue about it. Also, if someone is fishing for an argument, I give you full permission to write a 5 paragraph research paper into the comment section to shut them down.

Remember your Internet etiquette and if you can’t handle it, stay off the Internet

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One Comment

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  1. People are really bad at #8.

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