Most disagreements that occur online can hardly be considered a debate as they quickly progress to name calling, quick stabs on the opponent’s intellect, and opponent’s insisting that the other has lost and doesn’t know it yet. When these things happen as they often do there are a few things to consider before you proceed with the discussion that may help.
- Have you thought about where your opponent is coming from?
- Have you considered that your opponent is simply self-gratifying on being a TROLL?
- Have you actually answered real questions asked?
- Are your/their questions simply rhetorical and slightly sarcastic?
- What is the point of the discussion?
- Was it to anyone’s good that the discussion was public?
- Have you considered the outcome of the discussion?
- If you are wrong about facts are you willing to admit it?
- Are you arguing for the sake of argument or from a place of passion?
- Do you love your opponent?
I ask these questions because more often than not we do more harm than good when we engage in thoughtless internet banter and as a result we lose friends and respect for others. It takes a person with charisma and thoughtful communication skills to have a fruitful debate and though it takes practice, patience, and much long suffering, it is very important to develop such skills in order to have civil discussion that actually leads to good being done.
There are many types of debate styles; attackers, inquisitors, fact finders, mud slingers, trolls, finger pointers, thought provokers, etc. I personally take on the inquisitor role as I want to understand both sides of a topic being represented. It is very important to me to be informed and to think critically about the topic before I come to any conclusion. It is also a slightly passive way to speak in that by asking a question you can get more answers without offending.
What I have found to be the best solution is to respect the opponent and speak as if you are trying to learn where they are coming from as well as communicate as if you are teaching a simple subject in which every small detail needs an explanation. The process takes a lot of work and can be exhausting yet those conversations seem to be the most fruitful.
On the other hand, when an opponent is barking at you and telling you how stupid you are and that you have lost and they are better than you, it is best to not feed the TROLL and bow out of the conversation.
Remember, you don’t need to have the last word and you don’t need to win. In reality TROLLS never win as their conversations are usually public and though they feel they have a victory, a majority of spectators will see otherwise that their disrespectful argumentative tone was simply immature and unreasonable.
If you are like me and love to share your opinions and find yourself talking to opposing views you don’t need to worry you just need to slow down and consider how to love them, be heard, and listen. Victory is not the goal, love is.