What maxims do you have for forum debate?

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
Sapporo's picture
What maxims do you have for forum debate?

Some I try to bear in mine (some of which may typically covered by forum rules):

-try to give your position as succinctly as possible (elaboration can be given later if necessary).
-try to limit responses to no more than four per topic (this based on some recent research that determined that if your opponent is not persuaded by your arguments within four posts, you are unlikely to do so with further replies).
-try not to attack someone for a fault they cannot help.

(I'm certain I have some more, which I'll post if they come to me - I don't actually have them written in stone).

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Aposteriori unum's picture
Make sure you understand your

Make sure you understand your opponent's position completely before responding. (Too often will people talk past each other and think their opponents are intentionally being disingenuous and/or obtuse.)

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Don't be deceitful or

Don't be deceitful or disingenuous.
Be open if you have an agenda.
Do not take wild tangents/strew red herrings/straw man
Answer questions with explanations and references where applicable

chimp3's picture
I am a very undisciplined

I am a very undisciplined philosopher/ debater. I try to grasp the core of the argument and reply as sardonically as possible. I am not a cynic but I studied Judo. Some times you just have to drag it down to the mat. Get the fancy footwork over with quick! Sometimes I like to lead with a few probing questions, then go to the mat. I also try to be nice, sometimes I cuss!

Sky Pilot's picture
If you don't want to read

If you don't want to read opinions that differ from yours then tell people how they should respond with approved thoughts.

Dave Matson's picture
-- try to focus (and stay

-- try to focus (and stay focused!) on a limited subject that can be reasonably covered. Avoid an endless spread into assorted alleyways that stray from the topic at hand. (I once had a long discussion with a guy who never got out of the alleyways! He never addressed my primary point!)
-- I think there's nothing wrong with 6 responses if there is good development.
-- don't send your opponent to an off-site source; the debate is between the two of you, and if you don't know your basic stuff then you have no business debating! Suggest websites as interesting reading, or as examples of where some body of experts stand, not as part of your argument. (Knowing where the consensus of experts agree is important, but a debate is about ideas, not about citing authorities. Authorities might be cited to established well-accepted facts tangent to the topic at hand.)
-- address the major points of your opponent if they are relevant. Don't pick and choose; do all of them within the limited scope of the topic. Or, admit that you don't have an answer at the present time.
-- Have a part of the forum that supports 4 or 5 debates which remain visible for the duration. Add a new debate only if one has terminated. You can't have a nice continuity if titles drop off into deep muck because 10 more subjects were created overnight!
-- Allow time for a bit of research between volleys.

Well, those are a few ideas.

algebe's picture
Have fun. Don't invest too

Have fun. Don't invest too much of your ego in an argument. Keep a sense of humor. Theist opponents will never admit their religion is wrong. The most you can hope for is to plant seeds of doubt.

LogicFTW's picture
Lots of good stuff here in

Lots of good stuff here in these postings that I will try to keep in mind.

I like in the OP:

After 4 postings you are unlikely to have any further success in changing a person's mind, so just stop.

Sapporo's picture
An article covering that

An article covering that research in case people are interested (there's a graph at some point):

(direct link to the research paper - a pdf file: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1602.01103v1.pdf

Sheldon's picture
I'd add...

I'd add...

1) Enjoy myself, it's no fun if it's no fun.
2) Check your facts, then check them again, then double check them etc etc...
3) (I often get this wrong but..) Read post through more than once before responding.
4) Don't feel repetition is pointless, (I see your point about not persuading someone) but re-examining my position helps me scrutinise it's validity (see 2).
5) Be careful not to make assertions unless you can demonstrate objective evidence for them, or can cite others who have demonstrated objective evidence.

Always remember, the natural world and universe exist, you're not under any obligation to evidence that this is all there is, if someone is claiming there is more then let them demonstrate proper evidence for their claim.

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.