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05:14 pm: Rules for reasonable debate

Here are the basic rules for reasonable conversation on hot button issues.

* Address the person you are talking to, not the bystanders. If you’re playing to the crowd, you’re doing it wrong.

* Address people by the name that they choose, rather than the mocking one that you made up. Name calling doesn’t convince anyone of anything – other than the fact that you have the emotional maturity of a 2nd grader.

* Don’t use code (loaded terms with lots of extra meaning), and don’t assume that the other person is using code. You probably use different codes and words than people with different opinions – so it’s critical to spell out exactly what you mean.

* Any sufficiently large group of people is going to include jackasses. The fact that a group contains jackasses is neither necessary nor sufficient to condemn that group. Therefore, your discovery of yet another idiot on the opposing team does not count as a point for your side.

* If there are topics on which you will never, under any circumstances, change your mind – it’s probably a waste of time to talk about them with people who disagree with you. At the very least, it’s polite to mention when you hit one of these.

* Argue your own points – leave it to the other person to argue theirs. It saves time and they almost always do a better job with their points than you would.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.



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