Debating with people over the internet (53)

1 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 03:39 ID:BWLHPhkt This thread was merged from the former /net/ board. You can view the archive here.

Is there any point?

2 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 06:00 ID:Kkoxwps7

it can be mildly amusing if the person you're debating with actually takes it seriously.

3 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 06:05 ID:uMy3Wwbi

>>1 NO U!

4 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 08:08 ID:m9z/hIE/

>>2 I disagree.

5 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 19:04 ID:6dSgoDrX

>>3 is right

6 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-04 20:38 ID:ODyrykek

>>5 knows nothing

7 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-05 21:03 ID:6dSgoDrX

>>6 likes penis

8 Name: MODD!5JrU4QOlH6 2006-02-05 22:40 ID:QQcOx042

This isn't /dqn/. 3-8 = banned

9 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-06 04:07 ID:R34iJqsX


Only to amuse yourself.

10 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-06 19:21 ID:ODyrykek

To get serious, it depends on what you are trying to get out of it. What do you hope for when you begin to debate with someone?

11 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-07 01:46 ID:BWLHPhkt

>>10 I agree with John McCarthy's saying "Don't defend your views; test them." Ideally, either I or my opponent(s) will be convinced, but even if that doesn't happen we will both likely be more enlightened as a result.

In my experience most internet debates seem to fail for a few reasons:

  1. Fallacies are used and go unchallenged.
  2. Facts are given without source, or assumptions are made with personal experience as their only justification. These are then argued about fruitlessly.
  3. The participants tire of it.

With fallacies, the one I see most often by far is ad hominem. An anonymous discussion is definitely better in this regard, but is not immune to it. The bandwagon fallacy and argument from authority also often seem to me to be used.

When the participants get tired of arguing, often it's because they're writing massive back-and-forth letters (e.g. Person A makes 5 points, Person B refutes 3 of those points and adds a point of his own, Person A refutes all the refutations at once...), or there's name-calling and other nonsense going on (see fallacies). Often, it seems to me that people really are not ready to change their opinions, and would rather dismiss the other person's argument than seriously consider it.

I'm obviously guilty of #2 right now, but these are just my thoughts. Anyone else have any to share?

12 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-07 13:15 ID:7PttsIq/

Very, very few debates, on the internet or off, result in either party being convinced of anything. If you feel strongly enough about something to publically debate it, you're not going to have your mind changed that easily. It does happen, but only rarely.

Thus, if you realize this, the real reasons for a debate can be:

  1. Convince onlookers, who are not as set in their views as either party in the debate.
  2. Sharpen your own arguments and wits - If you're going to hold an opinion, it should hold up to attack from someone who disagrees with you. Only discussing issues with those who agree with you makes you weak and unable to defend your viewpoints against those who actually oppose them. Your opponent will weed out your own weak arguments and fallacies for you.
  3. Related to 2, debating a subject will make your own thoughts clearer to yourself, and you will gain greater understanding of your own opinions.
  4. Arguing for fun. Pick a standpoint that you don't actually care all that much about, and get in an argument with someone else (who either does or does not care about the opposing view). This is a good mental workout, and will teach you many things about arguing matters you do care about. It will also teach you not to be too emotionally attached to your own views, which will only play against you in a real debate.

The internet has very little to do with it, except for providing ample opportunity for debate. The internet also has a more aggressive tone, due partly to people not being physically present and thus not holding back as much out of politness or fear. This is merely a small difference in culture, and doesn't affect the larger issues involved in a good debate.

13 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-07 16:14 ID:Heaven

I don't expect anyone to be convinced on the spot, but sometimes when thinking about the subject shortly afterwards, I or people I've discussed with will change their views.

Your "real reasons for debate" are also good, though.

14 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-08 00:23 ID:Heaven

>>11 >>12
Thanks for the copipe. saves

15 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-09 21:33 ID:Heaven


16 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-16 03:30 ID:kIZ22Kh/


The main reason for me would be "personal therapy". If someone says something I strongly disagree with then I have to respond or I'll feel like I've betrayed my values.

The key is that I won't come back to that thread afterwards because I'm not interested in getting into a flame war. Just vent and move on.

17 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-16 13:46 ID:Heaven


You know, that's the exact reason people are so easy to troll.

18 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-17 02:49 ID:BWLHPhkt

That's a little bit sad.

19 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-17 05:19 ID:7NNrFpOG

My post was going to be similar to >>11/>>12's.

One point >>12 sort of missed (dunno, since I only skimmed for the general idea) would be to find out why the person you're debating against thinks that way and what kind of reasons they have for it. Oftentimes, after debating, I've been convinced that both sides are probably right, depending on how you look at it.

Sort of relating to >>12's points 2 and 3.

20 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-21 06:07 ID:9kwWujIJ

I do number 4 quite often. It's nice, but it sometimes confuses people I know.

21 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-21 06:36 ID:Heaven

I do >>20 too. People never know if I really hold a view I'm arguing or if I'm playing a devil's advocate or something.

I think a lot of this thread relates not only to the internet though, but would apply to talk radio. I know how >>16 feels listening to the radio and hearing fallacy after fallacy. I've never actually bothered to call as I figure a) they wouldn't let me on because I'm not a raving lunatic, b) if i was on the host would talk over me or cut me off, and c) driving while talking on a cell phone is not really a good idea. I haven't even emailed one of the hosts either. I'm sure that some intern reads and responds to most of them. Even if my email was read by the host they are either really as moronic and extermist as they are on the radio and thus could not be pursuaded or they are just playing up for the audience because it gets listeners.

22 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-21 14:55 ID:BWLHPhkt

That's hardly analogous; the talk show host is an entertainer who makes money doing that sort of thing. By the way, it's the latter, "just playing up for the audience." They are probably stubborn in reality, but so are many people.

23 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-21 20:57 ID:Heaven

How is it not analogous? On the internet you do not know if someone seriously holds the views or not or is just trolling or whatever. Can you really say that none of them are really that ignorant and have been hired by some exec that knows people want to hear it rather than someone acting like how the audience wants?
I did go off an a tangent though... and I really don't give a shit if you agree with my analogy or not either.

I probably should have framed the analogy better, but I was refering more to the many 'prove this is wrong and I'll pay you' type arguments rather than normal debates over the internet wherein they control the 'debate' the same way talkradio does.

This posts sucks. You can help 4-ch by not posting when you should be taking a nap.

24 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-22 02:07 ID:Heaven

"This posts sucks" is an instant classic.

25 Name: 404 - Name Not Found 2006-02-23 12:24 ID:7PttsIq/

> Required for debate. Whoever does not know how to put his thoughts on ice should not engage in the heat of argument.

26 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-03-01 00:31 ID:WKbVzEY2

Lololol like debyting wiv paipol over de phahn is stupid, haha yes, like


27 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-04-10 01:25 ID:RZ0aXOsn

It depens on. Sometimes you can see the thing you're talking about from another point and learn something new and some other you make discussions like this:

  • Final Fantasy rules!
  • No, it sucks!
  • Fuck you!
  • Fuck you who don't know about good games?

and so on

28 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-04-11 04:11 ID:9jdgsEra

the internet is boring

29 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-04-11 04:12 ID:9jdgsEra


30 Name: 500 - Name Gateway Error : 2006-04-11 15:57 ID:F4Tu8vL5

It's seems that most debats on the internet tend to spiral down to nothing more than mudslinging contests after the first two or three posts. At which point, I stick by the old adage: "Fighting on the internet is like the special olypics. You might win, but you still look retarded."

31 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-04-12 23:25 ID:uemD+ecI

Debates are debates whether it's in the internet or not. Anonymity just lets people express their opinion more freely. And you don't have to respond immediately (except on IM and IRC) giving you more time to look up info.

32 Name: !3GqYIJ3Obs : 2006-06-11 18:24 ID:Heaven

I disagree completely.

33 Name: Kaz : 2006-09-23 13:53 ID:HpwBoanX

In Internet debate, when all else fails, use excessive sarcasm.

"Wow, this thread is SOOO interesting. It's totally NOT a waste of time and bandwidth." (I don't actually mean that, just an example)

With enough unprovoked sarcasm, you can win any debate, or at least piss off your opponent enough to end it with you looking like the winner.

This actually works well in real life, too. Maybe even better, if your opponent is the sensitive type.

34 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-24 18:16 ID:FWftgWMB

And this is why anonymity is good. Because when you're an anon, you can just say "whatever".

35 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-26 01:41 ID:Heaven

Haven't been around long, have you?

In practice, that just doesn't happen. Take a look at world4ch's /newpol/ as a sad testimony to reality.

36 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-26 09:11 ID:tx9AjaSo

Well, but at least in can happen, when the person talking is experienced enough with this kind of board.

37 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-27 20:54 ID:oeviBZ4f

>>34 When you're Anon, you're Anon all the way, from your first SAGE'd thread to your last poasting day


38 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-29 10:25 ID:Heaven

Yes, but... the same applies if you have a nick or name as well.

Anonymity and that indefinite quality we call maturity seem unrelated to me.

39 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-09-30 13:31 ID:Heaven

If I have a nick/trip/whatever, I tend to defend my "internet identity", I am less likeley to admit that I was wrong, even if it's absoluteley clear. When I post on anon boards, I'm much more relaxed about what I post, and more open to other opinions.

40 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-02 22:01 ID:YKRakGSA

This is where you have to turn to Zen for a few of your answers.

If you get the last word in an argument out of spitefulness and people with marginally less stubbornness and more common sense go off thinking you're an idiot, are you an idiot?

41 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-03 00:36 ID:Heaven

I disagree. Idiots are idiots, and people hate to lose. Once again, I point to world4ch's /newpol/. If you have some sensitivity to English, you'll notice individuals dragging the same threads on for hundreds of posts. Maybe you really are more relaxed about what you post (all the more power to you), but based on what I'm seeing you seem to be the minority. :(

I think the whole anonymity thing is based on wishful thinking. The only real benefit I see of 2ch-style boards is that they dispense with forced registration.

42 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-03 00:37 ID:Heaven

Oh, and stupid signatures. I hate those too. And avatars.

43 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-03 01:22 ID:Heaven


What's an intelligent signature? Does it have to pass a Turing Test?

Seriously though, do you have anything positive to say? You seem to hate many things. Perhaps you should explain yourself, or it's no more profound than saying "I like cheese".

44 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-03 14:10 ID:Heaven

I'm not >>42, but in my opinion, every signature is stupid, they just take up a lot of space and make reading forums harder. (Extreme example: , and this doesn't even use animated gif's).

Avatars do have some use in forums with registration, though, since they make identifying single users with just a glance easier.

>Seriously though, do you have anything positive to say? You seem to hate many things. Perhaps you should explain yourself, or it's no more profound than saying "I like cheese".


Sincere troll, or attempt to prove that >>33 is correct?

45 Name: 404 - Name Not Found : 2006-10-03 16:34 ID:Heaven

Not a troll, I just find it annoying when people throw out opinions without substantiating their reasons. Like, I dislike strawberries, but I'll explain the reason that I dislike them is because I think having quaint dislikes is a good substitute for actual personality.

From my own perspective, perhaps it can be really annoying to some people to see how foolish other people can look when they stick overly elaborate and useless quizilla test results (that try to dichotomize every single personality in the world into linear anime archetypes). Goodness knows I used to find it slightly disturbing - but I've managed to make peace with the fact that if everyone really knew better, the world would be a much less interesting place. It's nice to know that other people are upholding the conventions of silliness and perhaps they feel better about it - why deny them their pleasure? I have my guilty little superiority complex in return.

46 Name: 42 : 2006-10-05 00:33 ID:Heaven

Alright, I'll elaborate a bit.

a) I don't like avatars or signatures because they're distracting, usually asinine, and make reading a board harder. What exactly do they add? Furthermore, being on dialup, it makes those kinds of boards take a couple of minutes to load, as opposed to ~10s for a board like this one. That's at least ten times longer.

Some vbulletin boards fix this by disabling signatures. Avatars are livable, provided they're small and not trying to catch my attention with animation.

b) I don't like forced registration because I don't like needing to go through the fill in form/log in to junk email/read email/click link/login cycle. There's been a number of times that I wanted to contribute to a thread, but this inconvenience stopped me.

Some boards fix this by allowing guest posting. GJ.

But 2ch-style boards never have either of these problems.

47 Name: 408 - Name Request Timeout : 2021-03-25 10:07 ID:EKLJJU7Q

Scrappy-Doo fucked your mom

48 Name: 409 - Name Conflict : 2021-03-27 16:02 ID:SjSJlQBC

vc: sepeing

49 Name: 408 - Name Request Timeout : 2021-03-27 21:13 ID:AZK0bMzz

vc: rewed

50 Name: 409 - Name Conflict : 2021-03-28 00:17 ID:tfiKppqq

you sound like a crybaby faggot that can't get over some fluff and can't take 10 seconds to register somewhere. how do you manage to keep yourself alive.

51 Name: 405 - Name Not Allowed : 2021-03-28 09:29 ID:Heaven

0/10 bait post, get outta here

52 Name: 422 - Unprocessable Name : 2021-03-28 15:49 ID:n94xqoQA

Attempting to bait an anon from nearly 15 years ago is pretty audacious, actually.

53 Name: 415 - Unsupported Name Type : 2021-03-28 23:33 ID:H1mI1yTT

it was not bait

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