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Old 30th December 2005, 12:51 AM   #1
McCragge
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The etiquette of debate?

I have lurked a long time on these wonderful forums (and managed to get in a few posts here and there) What I love most is that damn near everyone here is intelligent and helpful. So, not knowing were else to go I thought I would turn once again to you guys for some help and insight (plus I hope this is in the right forum...I believe my question will have to do with social issues)

I run my own forum (it is a miniature wargaming forum but has a huge off topic section where we discuss everything from religon to politics) but the problem is I am in a debating war with smug, self-righteous, grandly pompous and dismissive type person.

How does one debate such a person without lowering themselves to their level? Are there certain land mines I should look out for or loaded type response that are best avoided?

McCragge
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Old 30th December 2005, 01:05 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
I am in a debating war with smug, self-righteous, grandly pompous and dismissive type person.

How does one debate such a person without lowering themselves to their level?
You don't. I just retaught myself this lesson in my last post.
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Old 30th December 2005, 01:46 AM   #3
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Usually it's almost impossible to debate, (rather than the common meaning of argue), a person whose only weapons are ad hominems and suchlike nonsense. You can use all the tools of logic you like but, as it's likely they simply won't understand what you're saying their response will continue to be along the lines of: "You're an idiot!"

You could start with this web page if you'd like some tips on constructing a logical argument.
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Old 30th December 2005, 03:44 AM   #4
McCragge
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Thank you guys for the quick replies. They were very helpful and the website resources were excellent. Especially looking up all the different fallacies. That is invaluable. But this was nothing less then I expected from everyone here.

All right, back to lurking mode

McCragge
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Old 30th December 2005, 06:52 AM   #5
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I'll add one more thing which I have relearned here but which I don't always apply.

Shorter replies are nearly always better. For this type of poster, they are most definitely better.

Search on PixyMisa (don't know if he/she is still around) and see how devastating his/her "No" after quoting a long and rambling rant.
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Old 30th December 2005, 08:01 AM   #6
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I've always found that humor is the best approach. By parodying their position and indicating that you find them amusing, you can take the wind out of their sails quite effeciently. Subtle (and sometimes unsubtle) sarcasm will demonstrate that you are not going to get down in the mud with them because they are not worthy of getting dirty for. ("And the pig likes it", as the old joke goes.)
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Old 30th December 2005, 08:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
I run my own forum (it is a miniature wargaming forum)
From you nick, can I assume it's Warhammer 40k related?

I play the game myself, Imperial Guard. But I prefer Necromunda.
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Old 30th December 2005, 08:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
Thank you guys for the quick replies. They were very helpful and the website resources were excellent. Especially looking up all the different fallacies. That is invaluable. But this was nothing less then I expected from everyone here.

All right, back to lurking mode

McCragge
Welcome to the forum, McCragge and absolutely no need to return to "lurking mode." Intellectual thinkers are in abundance here, but we also have our share of "idiots stuck in a rut."

You'll find that most people here, including many who hold opinions opposite your own, are very cordial and accomodating. The honest exchange of ideas and opinions here has always enlightened me and I never feel bad "losing an argument" because I always walk away with an insight I didn't have before.

Regarding your hawkish nemesis, there is no convincing the most vehement of these types - I've even suggested a little empathy by trying to put their children, or brothers & sisters, or cousins, or parents into the combat mix, but it does little to deter them. Some people can't see past their own nose, but they rarely need to since they are usually wrapped in the flag or are too busy waving a crucifix in front of themselves.
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Old 30th December 2005, 08:11 AM   #9
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Hey. McCragge! I wish I would've figured it out earlier, but you run the Eastern Fringe, don't you? That's cool, it's the best Necromunda forum out there! My nick there is the same as here!

And as Mephisto said, please stay.

Last edited by Ryokan; 30th December 2005 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 30th December 2005, 01:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
Hey. McCragge! I wish I would've figured it out earlier, but you run the Eastern Fringe, don't you? That's cool, it's the best Necromunda forum out there! My nick there is the same as here!
Cool, more Necromunda players. I can't find anyone around here who still plays. Gonna hafta join that forum sometime soon.
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Old 30th December 2005, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
Thank you guys for the quick replies. They were very helpful and the website resources were excellent. Especially looking up all the different fallacies. That is invaluable. But this was nothing less then I expected from everyone here.

All right, back to lurking mode

McCragge
Now that you can identify the fallacies, point them out in your responses.
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Old 30th December 2005, 09:57 PM   #12
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I would say, if you despair of having a decent discussion with this person, argue to the audience, as it were... you can't convince your opponent, but you can educate people that are listening. With that in mind it's upon you to be the more reasonable one, the one that doesn't resort to irrelevancy, red herrings, or ad hominems.
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Old 31st December 2005, 03:36 AM   #13
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Red face

Wow!

Thanks again everyone.

Quote:
Hey. McCragge! I wish I would've figured it out earlier, but you run the Eastern Fringe, don't you? That's cool, it's the best Necromunda forum out there! My nick there is the same as here!
Wow I didn't know I was that popular. Yes that is correct I do run the Eastern Fringe...but I am not sure if it is appropriate to post links or not advertising another forum...(Oh and my nick is based off a character in a short story I wrote. His full name is John McCragge...so, just to let you know I didn't mispell Macragge)

Ok back to the topic. Again, man the people here are so helpful. I am truly amazed. And the fallacies list I have looked up has turned out to be invaluable. So much so that it turns out his post are full of them.

I did change tactics with the guy and rather then getting self rightoues myself (sometimes hard to do in a heated discussion) I tried to think of how I would say this to an 11 or 12 year old. So I tried to set a tone of patient teaching...I guess. In any case it seemed to throw him off balance.

There are a few questions though, just to make sure I understand correctly.

Now he has made this statement: "You’re a liar Person A. I challenge you to post any such 'false claims'"

So, since he is making the claim that Person A is a liar...isn't the burdon of proof on the him since he made the claim? And if so, why is that? Is it always the person who makes the claim their burdon to provide proof? Are there exceptions to this?

Also, he stats the following: (paraphrased) Person B has a history of dubious posts, therefore this post is also dubious.

Is this indeed an Ad Hominem?

Now, if I can just make sure to avoid the red herrings I should be ok.

Again thanks everyone and great to see a few of my board members coming here. I am surprised they aren't in the Off Topic Section on my site as we have similiar conversations there as you do here.

McCragge
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Old 31st December 2005, 05:57 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
Again thanks everyone and great to see a few of my board members coming here. I am surprised they aren't in the Off Topic Section on my site as we have similiar conversations there as you do here.

McCragge
I'm on the Eastern Fringe forums to discuss Necromunda. If I want intelligent discussion, I go here
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Old 31st December 2005, 06:13 AM   #15
McCragge
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
I'm on the Eastern Fringe forums to discuss Necromunda. If I want intelligent discussion, I go here
Ohhh....that hurts when you say that LOL. Actually I don't blame you, this place is a mecca of intelligent discussion and the reason I lurk more then I post. Figure I would learn more reading then writing.

McCragge
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Old 31st December 2005, 08:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
Ohhh....that hurts when you say that LOL. Actually I don't blame you, this place is a mecca of intelligent discussion and the reason I lurk more then I post. Figure I would learn more reading then writing.

McCragge
Well don't go, McCragge - we can always use another "leftist" around here. Besides, you can't learn how to swim by reading about it on dry land.

Jump in and make some claims, you'll learn who the idiots are, and who the snide bastards are in no time, but you'll also learn that many of the conservatives (and libertarians) here are the nicest people who are very approachable and cordial. It is the best way to learn the rhetorical "rules of engagement" to better confuse and confound your hawkish friend.

Hope to see more of your posts in the future.
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Old 31st December 2005, 03:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by McCragge View Post
Now he has made this statement: "You’re a liar Person A. I challenge you to post any such 'false claims'"

So, since he is making the claim that Person A is a liar...isn't the burdon of proof on the him since he made the claim? And if so, why is that? Is it always the person who makes the claim their burdon to provide proof? Are there exceptions to this?

Also, he stats the following: (paraphrased) Person B has a history of dubious posts, therefore this post is also dubious.

Is this indeed an Ad Hominem?

Now, if I can just make sure to avoid the red herrings I should be ok.

Again thanks everyone and great to see a few of my board members coming here. I am surprised they aren't in the Off Topic Section on my site as we have similiar conversations there as you do here.

McCragge
I would probably say something like, "Unless you care to demonstrate where I have stated anything untrue, I'll just take that to mean that you personally don't believe me."

If he points to a dubious posting history of "person B"... that is borderline. If "person B" has a history of being unreliable on a particular topic, then it's fair to point that out for a relevant topic. Or if person B has a demonstrable history of deliberate untruths... same thing. If he just means "I disagree with person B a lot, therefore he's full of BS here." then that's an ad-hominem.
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