- When I ask a question, answer it. Don’t change the subject. Don’t fling yet more unsupported accusations. Don’t behave as if your position is self-evident to everyone who has a brain. It’s not.
- Cite your sources. When I was a kid, Sub Spike taught me not to take people’s claims at face value. If you refuse to provide links, I’m going to assume you can’t back up your assertions.
- No personal attacks. My biggest pet peeve is when people insinuate that I lack intelligence. I graduated summa cum laude with highest honors from a top 50 university. And by the way, I was a science major. I didn’t choose a course of study in which verbal virtuosity is valued over hard facts.
- Don’t take your personal issues out on me. If somebody has hurt you at some point in your life, I’m sorry. Still, it’s not my job to be your therapist or your personal punching bag.
Now let’s explore how LM – the individual featured in my previous post – violated my rules:
- I confronted LM and asked her to back up her assertion that the Tea Party is Racist/Sexist/Homophobic. She returned with a smart ass question that implied that I didn’t know what I was talking about. This violates the first three of my four rules. She didn’t answer my question, didn’t cite her sources, and attacked my intelligence through insinuation. I should’ve terminated the discussion here, but I simply couldn’t resist continuing. What can I say? I’m not a perfect human being.
- I then tried to inject some facts about the Tea Party movement into the discussion. I should’ve provided some links, true, but I was writing in the heat of the moment. If LM were interested in having a good faith discussion, she could’ve asked for my sources, and I would’ve gladly provided them. Instead, she continues to call Tea Partiers nutjobs and states that I support the violation of her “bodily integrity.” Whatever, LM. I personally think the right to shoot one’s “almighty gun” will do more for the preservation of a woman’s bodily integrity than either legal gay marriage or unrestricted legal abortion. The right to kill my unborn children for my own convenience certainly won’t help me if a rapist should come looming towards me in a dark alley. A gun might.
But anyway, I’m rambling. Suffice it to say that LM violated my fourth rule by ranting at me instead of genuinely responding to what I said. Thus, at this point, I decided it was time to bow out. I’ve been in internet debates often enough to tell the difference between an open-minded individual and a hardcore partisan. I can have a fruitful discussion with the former; a productive debate is impossible with the latter.
- Unfortunately, LM came back with her whopper about the supposed intelligence deficit among conservatives. Because, as I said, that is my biggest pet peeve, I once again couldn’t stop myself from going back for another round. In response, I asked her to provide her sources. She refused to do so, thereby violating rule number two as well as rule number three. I was completely done at that point. She did demand later that I try to “convince” her that the Tea Party is not racist or sexist. I told her again that I didn’t believe she was ready to listen. Because really, what do you suppose would’ve happened if I had produced pro-right statements written by “brown” and/or gay Tea Partiers? Do you honestly think that would’ve persuaded her? I for one highly doubt it.
Failure to follow my rules for debate will ultimately result in termination of the discussion. I don’t have the time or the energy to waste on screeching harpies who refuse to argue in good faith.