Alright, there’s a style of ‘debate’ that’s been making the rounds in a few places, and it’s really pissing me off. This style of debate holds that as long as you don’t actually admit to error, you’re still right, and still in the running. I am pitting the really annoying people who, when how the can reconcile position X with position Y and the like, ignore the question, or drop a pithy one-liner, or state that they don’t have to answer the question.
Yes, you motherfuckers, you do. If we’re clever enough to read the words on the page and stop our drool from shorting out our keyboards, we’re just bright enough to notice that if you’ve been asked the exact same question four or five times and you’ve never actually answered it, something’s up with your position. Moreover, we’ve also noticed that you lack the intellectual fortitude to say, “You know, I don’t really know how that would work. Let me think about that and get back to you.” or “Yes, I realize that conceding this weakens my overall point, but I believe that this and that and the other make sufficent counter-examples.” You’re not scoring points with anyone, and you’re being about as annoying as physically possible over the Internet.
So, if you’re debating someone, and you’re asked a direct question, don’t try to be cute or funny or sarcastic. At least for one single, solitary sentence in your reply, just answer the question, with no rhetorical tricks or smilies or crap. Please. The hampsters will love you for it.
Also, people who answer a question with a question without including an answer suck, as well.