As a heads’ up, new posting day is Sunday. This one’s late. 🙂
After having a fight with people who shall not be named, I decided to write down these rules for myself and for anyone who decides to fight with me. They’re organized in order of difficulty. However, they’re all important. Avoid breaking any of these rules. (I’m using ‘her’ and ‘she’ in place of him/her/she/he because most people I fight with are of the female sex. Replace as fit.)
- Use correct grammar and spelling at all times. Run your responses through a spellchecker. Make sure you use apostrophes in the right place. USE PERIODS AND COMMAS AND CAPITALIZATION.
- Use gentle language when critiquing an idea. Avoid at all costs the words stupid, dumb, disgusting (or any words related to those words). BE NICE. ASSUME THIS IS THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE, he is sensitive to criticism, AND YOU WANT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO STAY LOVING.
- Don’t swear. It lowers your vocabulary level, makes your arguments appear invalid, and in general is the go-to method for people who no longer have a proper argument.
- If your opponent is swearing, you clearly have no one to talk to. BOW OUT. Swearing is the mark of someone at the end of her rope.
- If your opponent is using bad grammar, rewrite everything she says using proper orthography. Remove all allusions to the respect, the education, the intelligence, or the origins of either of you. Use your revised edition of your opponent’s argument to argue against.
- Do not address your opponent’s level of respect. This is a last ditch effort used only by people who have no longer have any good argument to make.
- If someone addresses your level of respect, BOW OUT immediately. You’re not going to get anywhere with this person. Say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Clearly we’re not getting anywhere, so I’m going to go find something else to do.”
- If you address someone else’s level of respect, APOLOGIZE and BOW OUT immediately. You’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
- Do not address your opponent’s intelligence. This is against the rule of logic — ad hominem — attacking your opponent, not her argument. This rule, along with addressing level of respect, education, and origin, is not only rude, it’s getting into the realm of mudslinging. You want to come out of any argument CLEAN AND SHINY.
- Don’t address a person’s education. It lowers your moral high ground. You know who invented and built the world’s first successful airplane? The Wright brothers. You know how much education they had? High school level. Orville even dropped out in his junior year. If sitting at a desk or table with someone lecturing you made you smart, there would be no high school dropouts, because everyone would realize what a good thing they have and would want to keep it.
- Avoid speculating on anyone’s origins. No matter who you think your opponent’s father is, KEEP HIM OUT OF IT. Same goes with your opponent’s mother. The only role they have in this argument is the fact that they created your opponent. And, as you are probably in a country where your parents’ jobs and vocations have no bearing on your own job and vocation, this argument is null and void. I’m sure there’s a brain surgeon somewhere whose mother was a crack addict.
- If someone does not understand a point you were trying to make, RESTATE IT. Telling someone to reread something you wrote is like telling her to use the same hint over and over in Charades. It’s like running a buggy program again and expecting the bug to fix itself. It doesn’t work. IF IT DIDN’T WORK THE FIRST TIME, FIX IT!
- If this is a written argument, write a persuasive essay from your opponent’s point of view. Remove all allusions to respect, education, intelligence, or origins. If your opponent has not yet provided examples for one of his arguments, do it for her. If you find your opponent doesn’t have an argument, bow out.
If you break any of these rules, give your opponent ten points. Apologize. Bow out. Revel in the lack of stress.
Do you have any other rules for an argument? If so, leave them in the comments for me.