5-Minute Crafts
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How to Debate on the Internet and Not Insult Anyone

Each person has an opportunity to speak their personal opinion on any matter on the internet. That’s the reason why various discussions and debates are a frequent thing online. Sometimes we not only want to prove we are right but also convince our opponents of it.

5-Minute Crafts explains how to hold debates on the internet and not insult anyone.

Positive side of online debates

Online debates often come to a dead-end and turn into mutual insults however the concept of internet debates itself is positive.

  • A debate can sometimes bring useful and productive results. If it’s controlled and goes quietly, the discussion will have more chance for a constructive finale than an ordinary online fight.
  • Oftentimes, online debates are watched by many other users. No matter what the topic of this debate is, the chances are other people will join it too. And though not every user will take part in the discussion, still, they will come to their own conclusions sooner or later.
  • Disagreements tend to appear in any group or community, the internet is no exception. Disagreement doesn’t mean something bad, on the contrary, our life would be boring if everyone always agreed with each other.

What scientists think about it

Researchers at the University of Washington have been examining the topic of online discussions recently. Their goal was to study, in detail, the disagreements arising on the internet. The study involved about 260 people.

The researchers interviewed people with polar views about what is happening in the world. They were asked questions about what social networks they used and whether they have ever had discussions on the internet. Then the respondents discussed who and what topics they argued with and about, as well as what arguments were given by them.

The results of the survey showed that if the discussion heats up, users prefer to continue the debate in private messages. It means people tend to resolve emerging disagreements in private when it comes to online debates.

How to have debates correctly

Before jumping into an internet discussion, determine the goal you are pursuing. If you simply want to prove you are right, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do so because your opponent has the same intentions. A debate focused on an efficient ending can be much more successful.

There are methods that can help you argue on the internet correctly. These simple solutions can help you look more honorable in any debate and will make your opponent relate to your opinion with a lot more respect.

  • Talk about something you know. You can gain valuable knowledge in a debate on an unfamiliar topic, but in this case, your opponent is unlikely to regard you as a full-fledged participant in the discussion. In addition, the chances that you will be able to make good arguments will be reduced.
  • Don’t stoop to name-calling. We often express our anger when we feel vulnerable. If you want your opponent to treat what you are saying seriously, don’t try to insult them. By doing this, you’ll only show your weakness. Only rely on facts in any argument, not on your skill to say something insulting.
  • Identify agreements. Finding common points is a good way to show your opponent that you respect them even if you don’t agree with them about everything. Don’t treat your opponent as your foe. Show your kind intentions and your opponent will start treating your arguments with more attention.
  • Don’t reply too quickly. Even if the words said by your opponent irritate you, don’t rush to write an angry reply or comment. It’s better that you distract yourself from the debate for a few minutes and then come back with fresh arguments.
  • Dig deeper. If someone disagrees with you about something, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are wrong. Try to look at the situation from a new angle, putting yourself in the shoes of your opponent.
  • Know when to stop. Always look through the history of the discussion over again to see whether you have started to repeat yourself. If you are simply trying to rephrase the same thought over and over again, then your opponent is unlikely to take your messages seriously. Try to get out of the argument before your failure is obvious to everyone.
  • Carefully state the disagreement. If you lost the argument, then, most likely, you have received new knowledge. If you won it, you got a new supporter of your point of view. If the dispute has reached a dead end, which is the most frequent end to any discussion, then it makes sense to briefly summarize it. Explain to your opponent that your opinions will never coincide because you see the world from different angles.
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