Things you can't stand about online debate

This hasn’t happened to me recently but when it did, I found it tiresome and boring. This was brought up in another thread. Yes, I am too lazy to look for it now. Anyway, I can’t stand it when people make Hitler analogies directed at specific people. Yes, Hitler was cretinous and evil. But come on people, do you really think that becuase someone disagrees with you that they are that bad? (that is rhetorical) I really hated it when George Bush told the American public that Saddam Hussein was like Hitler. It could have been true, but from that moment on all I could think of was that he had his propaganda machine rolling. That is the only real reason to use Hitler now in my opinion. Comparing his atrocities to something mind boggling inane (such as telling someone that you don’t like them, and having the come back being, well Hitler didn’t like that either; Hitler was also a vegetarian, etc) decimates my intellectual opinion of said person.

Anyway, is there something about online debate that you guys can’t stand either?


PS. This was not meant as a flame. It is not directed at anyone in particular. If it pertains to you, I have not read the thread, and grow up.

Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter

There is a “I hate Hitler and Nazi comparisons” thread being fought out in The Pit as I type…

Yer pal,

Thanks Satan, I won’t go look at it. Who doesn’t hate Hitler and Nazis? DUH! Let me rephrase that. What rational person doesn’t hate Hitler and Nazis.

Anyway, before this gets taken onto a tangent I don’t want it to necessarily go on, I am asking others about what they despise about certain forms of online debate.


Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter

The fact that NO ONE changes their mind, no matter how compelling the other sides arguements might be. The best you can hope for is for one person to rephrase their position to counter the other side’s counter-arguements.

That and debates about best/worst. That sort of arguement is purely subjective, so debating is more like masterbating.

Masturbation is enjoyable.

I got ensnarled in an online debate with some Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it reminded me of the futile debates that I’ve seen over the years (since the 70’s) on BBS’s and other online systems.

If you’d like to read an article that was inspired by the debate, click here.

It’s not a complete overview of stupid online arguments (and it does tend to concentrate on the tactics used by Jehovah’s Witnesses), but it does introduce a concept that I have never seen documented elsewhere: something I call antiprocess.

I invented the world back in the days before the net became public. I was in the “Religion and Ethics” section on the GEnie system, and I needed a word to describe a certain kind of pig-headed behavior.


I wrote, “I invented the world back in the days…” I meant to type “word”, not “world”.

Hey, I’ve got an ego, but not that big.

I sure wish this message board software allowed us to edit previous posts. :frowning:

What do I hate about online debating? The same thing I hate about real time, face to face debating. I really can’t stand it when a debater uses cheesy argument tricks instead of actually debating the issue.

I guess the worst specific online debater’s maneuver (to me) is to attack the poster’s grammar and spelling, instead of what they actually post. I see way to much of that online (not just here), and I think it’s a sign of a weak argument.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

yeah, grammer attackers suck! but the worst is when people misquote you! it’s very easy to copy/paste what i actually said, so do it.

All this science, I don’t understand. It’s just my job 5 days a week-- Rocketman

First, let me preface by saying tat I do believe people can be swayed by debates, but except in the most rare cases those people will not be the participants. Generally, people who take part in the discussion alreadyt have strongly formed opinions (rational or not) which are likely only to be reinforced by the emotional investment required to engage in a “spirited” forum such as this. that is not necessarily the case with those “watching” the debate, howeever, which is why political consultants have jobs.

Now, as for my own personal pet peeve. It disgusts me when people mistake lack of courtesy for passionate advocacy. If you believe strongly in your argument, fine. excellent, I applaud your resolve. If you cannot communicate that passion without spewing invective randomly about the room {thread, whatever} then I lose respet for you as an individual and for your position by extension. (Irrational? perhaps, but “four out of five assholes agree” is not a compelling argument IMO. However, if all you’re trying to do is show off and demonstrate some type of rhetorical dominance. Well, you failed.

my new peeve is when someone uses a gross exaggeration of your belief against you. check any thread for details.

All this science, I don’t understand. It’s just my job 5 days a week-- Rocketman

I know what you mean, but I will say that I have changed my position in a few of the debates that I’ve participated in. But it depends on the skill of the other participant. If all they can do is repeat the same arguments over and over, with no real flair, or understanding, then I tend to keep my stance.

I most often tend to get irritated when the “oposing” side will totally ignore a point that someone has made. They’ll just zero in on a gramatic mistake, or go back to the same argument again.

“Love thine enemies…it really pisses them off.”

Regardless of whether minds are changed or anything constructive comes of a debate, I enjoy at least being face tto face so you can read a person better. And, in my experiences, it is easier to end on a good note with someone if you can see them and both people realize a decent (well, semi-decent in some cases) human being is just stating their beliefs.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

And now that I look at it, my sig line does seem kinda funny based on who started this thread going.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

I’ve actually changed my opinion about several things due to online debates.

It’s happened a few times in “why does this work like that” type debates, where the person I was arguing against had a compelling argument and solid math and/or physics to back it up. I ended up saying, “yep, you’re right”.

OTOH, I’ve never seen anybody change their opinion in a debate about religion or politics :slight_smile:

peas on earth

Mullinator, your sig line made me laugh. I hope at least you’re clean down there. :wink: heheeh

Wait a second, Hitler and the Nazi’s acted just like that. Hey! I think I should take offense. It looks like you act just like Hitler. :wink:

And in case you can’t tell, I was being totally facetious.


Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter

Hmmmm…“SqrlCub” and “Hitler” both have two syllables…

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

This is a nice topic, btw.

My peeve is that in real life, I am extremely sarcastic and find it sometimes very difficult to choose words that convey the right tone in an online debate. Trying to type cynicism often turns into a horrible looking paste on someone else’s response.

In real life and online I hate and usually avoid long winded speakers/typists. I’ve found that one or two well worded sentences are more effective than twelve paragraphs.

Hmmmm…“SqrlCub” and “Hitler” both have two syllables

how do you pronounce ‘sqrlcub’?

All this science, I don’t understand. It’s just my job 5 days a week-- Rocketman

Skwuh-ruhl Kub is how I pronounce SqrlCub. Since I took out the vowels in “squirrel” I suppose that you guys may see it as “Skirl”.

Thanks, Sealemon when I read that it took me back to how absurd some of the analogies became once the dreaded “H or N” word got involved.

Melanie: cynicism is very difficult to portray in text. It is possible but you really have to have a knack for it. Oftentimes, as you stated, it just looks like contrariness.


Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter