T Nation

Civility in Debating

We’ve all been guilty of being uncivil on the PWI forum, but lately it seems as if things have gotten particularly bad. There’s no point in naming names - we, collectively, have a problem.

Here are some “debate” tactics that prove nothing and contribute to bad feeling:

ad hominem: yelling, insults, etc. The key culprit lately.
reductio ad Hitlerum: comparing someone to Hitler for espousing a particular view.
argument by outrage: sort of self explanatory, but basically involves attempting to show how “wrong” an idea is because of how morally repugnant it is, which usually involves tying the idea into something Hitler believed. See above.
tu quoque: Generally, another form of ad hominem. There are valid and invalid forms of it. Read this:

The key to debating is to a) remain calm, b) have an idea, and c) support it with some sort of philosophical or evidentiary argumentation.

That is all.

Edit: Many of us here simply like to be offended and outraged. May I gently suggest that if this is the case, we please do it somewhere else?

If they can’t take the heat, they can get the fuck out.

This has been going on as long I have been a member of the board. And, like someone else said in another thread, things heat up around election time.

Plus, this area just brings out the stupid in some people.

You can all go fuck yourselves. Liberal, hick, racist, elitist pricks.

Well, crap, I’ve just been discussing FDR as he ties to fascism and socialism.

I must admit I sometimes try to word things just to get reactions out of people.

I however think that when you result to ultimately hurling insults, you weaken your own argument and punish yourself. Not to mention looking foolish.

I have to be civil all day, every day in real life. I don’t have the patients to be civil here. If you post something stupid, expect to get nailed.

I would rather have people educate themselves on topics they post about, than request they quite calling me names.

Pussy.

TB,

While I admire the sentiment, it is just not possible. Maybe on Salon or Slate, not here.

ARL

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
TB,

While I admire the sentiment, it is just not possible. Maybe on Salon or Slate, not here.

ARL[/quote]

I agree. Way too much estrogen here.

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
TB,

While I admire the sentiment, it is just not possible. Maybe on Salon or Slate, not here.

ARL

I agree. Way too much estrogen here. [/quote]

X2

There’s way too many batshit crazy people here.

[quote]Christine wrote:
There’s way too many batshit crazy liberals here.[/quote]

yep.

[quote]pat wrote:
If they can’t take the heat, they can get the fuck out.[/quote]

Oh, we can take the heat. I’m just tired of THIS type of mentality here

[quote]dhickey wrote:
I have to be civil all day, every day in real life. I don’t have the patients to be civil here. If you post something stupid, expect to get nailed.
[/quote]

PATIENTS? I didn’t know you were a doctor.

NAILED!

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
pat wrote:
If they can’t take the heat, they can get the fuck out.

Oh, we can take the heat. I’m just tired of THIS type of mentality here

[/quote]

There is much more of THIS mentality running unfettered in this forum than what you are tired of:

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
dhickey wrote:
I have to be civil all day, every day in real life. I don’t have the patients to be civil here. If you post something stupid, expect to get nailed.

PATIENTS? I didn’t know you were a doctor.

NAILED!
[/quote]

Dude, if you are going to be my spell checker you are going to be extremely busy. It would do you some good to read through my posts though. Maybe some common cents will rub off. Did you catch that last one?

Common cents sounds like socialism to me. Burn the witch!

[quote]ninearms wrote:
Common cents sounds like socialism to me. Burn the witch![/quote]

She turned me into a newt.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
We’ve all been guilty of being uncivil on the PWI forum, but lately it seems as if things have gotten particularly bad. There’s no point in naming names - we, collectively, have a problem.

Here are some “debate” tactics that prove nothing and contribute to bad feeling:

ad hominem: yelling, insults, etc. The key culprit lately.
reductio ad Hitlerum: comparing someone to Hitler for espousing a particular view.
argument by outrage: sort of self explanatory, but basically involves attempting to show how “wrong” an idea is because of how morally repugnant it is, which usually involves tying the idea into something Hitler believed. See above.
tu quoque: Generally, another form of ad hominem. There are valid and invalid forms of it. Read this:

The key to debating is to a) remain calm, b) have an idea, and c) support it with some sort of philosophical or evidentiary argumentation.

That is all.

Edit: Many of us here simply like to be offended and outraged. May I gently suggest that if this is the case, we please do it somewhere else?
[/quote]

I agree with you, but some of the most frequent posters on here are some of the guiltiest. And, I may be wrong, but I think you’ve committed more than the occasional ad hominem (Lixy).

I agree with OP. Problem is, if you get rid of the people who just rant here regularly about “liberals” and “conservatives” and spew hate at anyone who opposes their beliefs, you get rid of 70%+ of the posts on this board.

The most regular posters seem to be the ones that have little constructive to say, but shout the loudest and longest. Don’t think it’ll change unless T-Nation suddenly has an interest in making sure the politics forum actually has an intelligent discussion rather than a bunch of chest-thumping. Doubt that’s anytime soon.