Monday, January 30, 2012

How to (NOT) Win a Discussion (RERUN)

Miku's song.

Sometimes I think the internet is 90% porn, 9% useless discussions and 1% something useful. I have no problems with the porn or the useful part. But the discussions the anonymity internet provides are borderline retarded. Sometimes. A few times they are quite intelligent and interesting. 

But most of times the people participating act like children in the park discussing whose father is more badass. The arguments usually go as 'my father is the best because he is my father' to 'your father is stupid because you are stupid'. Internet is full of those kinds of discussions. 

See, acting like a twelve year old, being offensive to anyone who does not agree with you, is not the best way to win an argument. People tends to be even more defensive about their point of views, even if they are wrong, if the other side start being offensive. Not only it becomes personal, it also makes the side being offensive looking like childish and ignorant. All the valid points are lost in the moment someone decide that being a dick is the way to go. 

People sometimes act like they are really twelve or younger, acting like dad refused to buy the chocolate milk they like and crying in the floor calling dad an idiot and how they hate him because he refused to buy it. Sometimes it can go really stupid. 

Take this Liara's doll, for example. You are not forced to buy, even look at her. Bioware are not changing her in-game because of the statue. Yet fans acted like they own the character and Bioware needs their permission to decide how they use the character they created. Liara's character is owned by Bioware, not the fans. They have the right to do what they want without the need of the permission by every single Liara's fan. 

The figure was made by a Japanese company to sell mostly in Japan, to Japanese fans. In the west, she is supposed to make happy people who are both fans of Mass Effect and the anime style. As I said before, Liara become a virtual idol, where the fans believes they have some kind of control over her. 

Back to the point in question, calling the opposite side in a discussion 'idiots, brain dead or (insert racial/sexist slur here)' does not make the point more valid. Using calm logic, showing your points and supporting it with evidence does. 

But maybe I am being the naive one here and the internet is really composed of twelve years old in its majority. If those guys and girls are the future, it will be not zombies, robots or aliens who will doom mankind. It will be the internet.

PS: There is a Cracked article who explain that discussions are not made as an attempt to reach common ground, but to secure superiority over the opposing side. Very interesting, try to find it, since I wasn't able to. And as I discussed before with Byronic Man, an internet friend, 'winning' a discussion it should not be not about 'destroying' the opposition, but to come with an agreement with him based in mutual understanding.

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