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FaerieFate

How to hold a respectful disagreement

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FaerieFate

As many members may have noticed, discussion as of late have gotten heated. Before I start of this thread, I want to inform you all that being passionate about a topic is great. That passion for your ideas is what can strive you to enact change and hold debates that may sway the minds of your opponents. However, as a moderator, sometimes Passiontown can turn into Reportville real fast. So I want to have a nice and friendly guide on HOW you can hold your passionate debate in a way that respects your the other side and will not result in admods having twenty more reports to deal with.

 

Quick Links to the thread

 

Note: This thread will remain locked, so if you wish to discuss this thread you may PM me with any concerns. These are not rules or a form of TOS. Breaking any of this is not in itself a cause for a warn. However, this is a useful guide to avoid warnings when holding heated disagreements within PPS.

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FaerieFate

7 ways to argue

Please visit this thread if you wish to be part of the discussion on this topic.

 

This website outlines the 7 common types of disagreements and ranks them from the best to the worst ways to argue, and I thought it would be of benefit to list them here and point out why this would be a good or bad way to argue, particularly on AVEN. (Green marks good and Red marks bad). I'll be using a debate on banning assault rifles as my examples on each type of argument.

 

Refuting the Central Point

This is a good way to argue. As the title of this points out, it refutes the central argument that the opposing side is making.

 

Example: "If we were to ban assault rifles, the law abiding citizens would give up their assault rifles, but the law breakers would not. This would make the citizens unsafe."

 

Refutation

This is another good way to argue. It is similar to refuting the central point, but instead refutes their argument rather than the central point. In short, it finds an issue with their argument, quotes it, and points out why that's problematic.

 

Example: "If we are saying that we shouldn't have a law because others will break it, then we should also legalize drugs."

 

Counterargument

This is again a good way to argue. Again, this is obvious based on the title. A counterargument contradicts the argument then backs it up with supporting evidence.

 

Example: "Stricter gun laws does not reduce crime. Chicago has strict gun laws, and that city has one of the highest crime rates in the nation."

 

Contradiction

This is neither a good nor bad way to argue. It's simply neutral, though it will not further you argument. As the title states, it simply contradicts the argument with little to no supporting evidence to the argument.

 

Example: "Chicago is not a good example as to whether or not stricter gun laws will reduce crime."

 

Responding to Tone

Now this is a bad way to argue. It does not further the argument, and it makes the argument start to get heated. This is particularly bad online as you're assuming tone when tone is hard to read in written word (also why sarcasm doesn't work online).

 

Example: "I can't take you seriously when you use such a flippant tone!"

 

Ad Hominem

This is another bad way to argue. As stated above, this is attacking the arguer rather than the argument. This is a fast way to get warnings on AVEN as this generally leads to insults.

 

Example: "You SJWs are always so sensitive, you can't handle an argument!"

 

Name Calling

Obviously, this is a bad way to argue, and will always get you warned on AVEN. What this is is pretty self explanatory.

 

Example: "You're being an asshat."

 

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FaerieFate

Consider the other side

 A lot of discussions in PPS escalate when the other side is shut out completely. I know it SEEMS logical to think, "I quoted and replied to their argument, therefore I read it. Isn't that enough?" It's not enough. Reading vs understanding is like hearing vs listening. You can hear an argument and come up with a rebuttal, but that doesn't always mean you've listened to their concerns. This usually comes up because people will read a post looking for room to rebuttal rather than reading a post to understand where they are coming from.

 

Some steps I'd advise using to see things from the other's eyes.

  1. Read the argument in full.
    1. Don't try to come up with a reply in this step.
    2. Try to understand their argument while you're reading it.
  2. Take a few seconds to process the argument.
    1. What point are they trying to make?
    2. What facts do they use to back it up?
    3. Are there any personal experiences?
  3. Feel free to ask them questions
    1. Can you reword your argument? I don't understand.
    2. Why do you feel this way?
    3. This is what I'm understanding from your argument, is this correct?

 

Once you understand the argument, then be sure to include that in your argument. Phrases like, "I understand that you're against trans in bathrooms because you're a mother and are concerned for your children's safety. I would feel the same way." Before your rebuttal can go a long way. It makes them feel listened to, so they'll be more receptive of your response. After that you should add their side into your reasoning like, "However, what if your kids were trans? Then you'd have the concern of them being attacked because they are using the bathroom they don't identify as." If you appeal to their argument, they'll be more likely to see your side.

 

I understand that a logical and factual argument is the "best argument" because you can't fight the facts. However, we're human. We're emotional people, and we're not trained debaters. A lot of our arguments come from an emotional background, and people like to feel listened to. If you just LISTEN to the other side they'll not only respond better, but they'll like you and respect you more. If you don't listen, we're likely to get arguments that devolve into baseless assumptions that gather reports.

 

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FaerieFate

How to respectfully be offended.

 

The saying goes, "If someone tells you they are offended, you don't have the right to tell them they're wrong." And that is entirely true. You have zero right to tell someone what you said can't offend them. However, you (as the offended party) have have zero right to assume their intentions.

 

If someone uses the word "retard" in a derogatory manner, you are allowed to be offended, but you aren't allowed to assume they are ableist. Rather than say something like, "You're ableist" try wording your response with more tact. Something along the lines of "That post can be construed as ableist" or "That post can be offensive to mentally disabled people" come off as far less antagonistic, doesn't attack the user, and shows them what is done wrong without making them defensive. Basically, it'll make them more open to the criticism and be more likely to change that behavior in the future.

 

Feeling offended by a post is not inherently a bad thing, but if dealt with incorrectly it can devolve an argument into a slew of attacks that results in all parties involved better in trouble. If necessary, you may also report the member and let admods decide if action needs to be taken. As the PPS mod, I do try to inform members properly if their posts can come across as offensive, and for the most part I get positive results.

 

If you are offended and cannot remain calm, then step out, take a day or two to collect your thoughts, and come back later. Emotionally charged posts only results in more warnings because not only are you more likely to say something you'll regret, but any disagreement with your emotionally charged post will come off as a personal attack which will only cause you to get more defensive.

 

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FaerieFate

A disagreement is not an insult

A few months ago, this would go without saying. However, members seem to be more bothered by a simple disagreement (No finger pointing). Just because someone doesn't agree that the #MeToo campaign made huge strides to eliminate sexual assault in Hollywood doesn't mean that they are sexist. Just because someone agrees that the #MeToo campaign made huge strides to eliminate sexual assault in Hollywood doesn't mean they are calling you sexist for disagreeing with them. No one is hiding veiled insults to skirt the rules, and if they say that your post can come off as sexist it doesn't mean that they are calling YOU sexist.

 

If you believe someone is implying an insult, then say, "Hey, it really sounds like you're calling me sexist. I really take offense to this post." Then elaborate WHY you feel that way. This is PPS, not HotBox. We should be able to have a civil debate and disagreement without things getting heated. We should be able to talk about if we feel someone is implying an insult because, believe it or not, not everyone is trying to insult you. Even if you have an unpopular opinion. If you can't handle a disagreement without feeling insulted, then you probably shouldn't be in PPS anyways. We have plenty of other boards where there aren't any disagreements where you can enjoy yourselves.

 

Now, this goes both ways. If someone consistently feels insulted when you disagree with them, leave them alone. Don't go to other threads that have a similar topic just to continue your discussion. If a thread is locked because of a disagreement, don't move the conversation elsewhere. No conversation needs to be had when one party feels attacked, so if one party states that they feel attacked and you can't seem to talk it out, leave them alone. To continue would only be considered bullying, flaming, and/or harassment. A moderator should NOT have to message you advising you to leave them be. If they say, "I feel attacked." Apologize. If they seem receptive of your apology, THEN you can explain yourself. If they don't seem receptive of your apology, then just ignore that member and let admods deal with it, because they will notice.

 

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FaerieFate

When to report

A lot of members like to believe that admods will be more likely to warn one side than the other. Using this as part of your argument is not a valid argument. It's hardly an accurate statement. Yes, some political views can be perceived as bigoted, but this stands for both sides. So, if you see something that you perceive as a break in the TOS, you may report it (though be aware that a disagreement is not an insult). If you think that admods are not doing about an issue, then perhaps they haven't noticed the issue. We're human, and a lot of boards only have one mod in charge of it. So it's likely some things will be missed. Don't call a member out on breaking the TOS, it'll just get you in trouble as well. Report the post. That way if they are breaking TOS admods can deal with it. If you want some type of communication on a report in PPS (such as the fact that admods are looking into it) then you may also PM me. I try to get reports done in 3-5 days. In the mean time, be patient.

 

Do not take matters into your own hands. Once you report a post, ignore it. Don't say that you reported someone. Don't tell them that they broke TOS. Don't engage in the reported content. I've seen many members get in trouble because they'll report a post and then engage in the content they reported. It escalates situations and causes them to break TOS. Once it's reported, it's safe to say that it's out of your hands. Also, don't assume if admods warned someone or not. There's literally no way to tell if admods warned a member for certain content without the member opening up about their warn, and most members aren't open about their warns. Just know that admods did what they thought was best.

 

Remember, just because a member was warned doesn't necessarily mean that their behavior will change. So if they continue the same behavior, don't assume "admods are doing nothing about it". Chances are I'm facepalming at the fact that a member is continuing a behavior I JUST spoke to them about. Just report it again, don't engage, and trust that admods will move on to the next step. 

 

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Disagreements across multiple threads.

I've had to talk to a few members about this recently. If a thread is locked due to a heated disagreement, it is NOT okay to move that heated disagreement to another thread. If someone has an opinion you disagree with, it is NOT okay to go into another thread they are on to defend your point, and it is NOT okay to go into another thread and talk about the disagreement or tag them to continue the disagreement there. If you have a heated disagreement it is NOT okay to post vague insults about them in their status, and it is NOT okay to post anything related to the disagreement in their status unprompted. It's pretty obvious when these things are done. If you can't have a civil disagreement, then put that user on your ignore list and ignore them. No one is forcing you to engage and forcing yourself will only get you in trouble.

 

If you are having a debate in a thread you ARE allowed to quote or link their post in another thread if it is related to the debate. I say recent because opinions can change, so it's not generally fair to hold them to their stance from five years ago.

 

If you have to refrain from one disagreement because it's too heated, it's fair to say you should step back from all related discussions for the day. If a mod asks you to step back and cool down, you CAN ask them to explain what they mean and why they say that. You should also listen to that mod, as these messages are generally made as advice to keep you out of further trouble. 

 

If a mod makes a green post in a thread, that is similar to a nudge. You should take care to read them and abide by them. If you don't understand or have complaints, it is best to PM the mod for clarification. If you prefer the conversation be made public, you may as them if it can be discussed in Site Comments. This is to keep the thread from going off track with your TOS debate. If you completely ignore a green or red post and continue the behavior that breaks TOS than you will be warned (as the green post was your nudge).

 

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How you should and shouldn't react to a warn, nudge, or greenie.

So a mod has had to step in in some way after a heated disagreement. Tensions are still high, and it's obvious that the mod is informing you that your actions were against TOS (whether directly or indirectly). You need to know what are the proper steps on responding to this, both to make the lives of the admods easier and to keep yourself out of further trouble.

 

Greenie:

Do - Read the green (or red if it's an admin) post. If it is something you're guilty of, you're allowed to apologize, but not required to. Drop whatever heated debate that was being had immediately. If you're unsure of what prompted the greenie, ask in the thread or PM the admod that posted it asking what they mean. Read the first post in the thread or find the last topic that was discussed because the heated argument and respond to that.

 

Don't - Do not engage in the argument any further. Don't say, "He started it!" Don't say, "But they were doing it too!" Don't say, "I wasn't doing that!" Don't assume that the admod was ONLY talking to you or that they were trying to attack you. If you were the only one breaking rules, the mod would send you a nudge. Greenies are generally for situations where more than one person needs to be reminded of the TOS. Someone else breaking TOS is not an excuse for you to break TOS. As said earlier, if you find someone else breaking TOS, do not engage! Report them.

 

Nudge:

Do - If you agree with the nudge, you can apologize for your actions, but again it's not necessary. If you don't understand the nudge, you can ask for clarification. If you don't agree with it, you can try to make your case (a mod can appeal a nudge on their own if you make you're case). If the nudge was because of a heated argument you had then take a step away from AVEN for a while and try to calm down.

 

Don't - Don't use the fact that someone else broke TOS as an excuse to break TOS yourself. It's a nudge, so it's not a big deal. Don't make a big deal out of it. Don't use that as an excuse to then attack the admod sending the nudge. Don't report the nudge (unless the admod breaks TOS when sending your nudge which is unlikely). Don't make multiple heated threads about bias and being attacked because of the nudge. A nudge it basically giving the benefit of the doubt. It's quite confusing to me when I nudge you because, "Maybe it was misunderstood." or "Maybe they didn't know better." Only to have the member go to Site Comments and start heated debates that cause that nudge to turn into a warn.

 

Warn:

Do - Obviously click the button that accepts the warn so that you can post. Accepting the warn doesn't mean that you can't appeal the warn. It just means you saw it. If you believe you've been wrongly warned, appeal the warn. Ask an ex-admod (or perhaps a current admod or Training Team) if they'll help you write an appeal. If you don't understand why you were warned, you may PM the admod that sent it and ask for clarification so that you can appeal. If there's something you need to appeal a warn (like a post that was hidden) you can ask for that as well. You can only discuss a warn in Site Comments AFTER you've lost an appeal.

 

Don't - First and foremost, DON'T post about your warn before appealing it. Only person you should discuss it with is an admod or someone helping you write the appeal. If you post about it in Site Comments, your appeal is void. If you lose an appeal, don't use that as an excuse to attack admods or the person you suspect reported you. Don't justify your actions because, "This person did worse!" Don't assume admods are being biased because you have an unpopular opinion (Liberals are just as likely to get warns and conservatives if they break the rules. I'd know, I've sent some). Admods cannot discuss warnings or nudges of other members, so it's impossible to respond to your complaints of bias when we can't tell you that yes, we DID warn the other guy. All we can really say is, "Hey, make sure you report posts of people breaking TOS because we might miss it." Which is more of a non-answer, I know. I, personally, feel helpless when I need to say this, but it's all I can say!

 

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FaerieFate

Beware of the Fallacies (Part 1)

Fallacies are what usually causes the most reports, from my experience. It is also the fastest way to get people to ignore your argument. You will find that if you hold flawed reasoning, your argument will be more likely to be ignored. So, I have comprised a list of the most common fallacies so that you may learn to recognize and avoid them in your future debates. For more information, you may refer to this link.

 

Ad HominemThis means "to the man" and applies to when you're attacking the person rather than the argument. These type of attacks don't contribute anything to the debate, and cause the opposing side to get defensive, which can quickly escalate a debate into outright attacks.

 

"Hillary is a dumb broad, so I don't care what she has to say about Trump."

 

Affirming the ConsequentThis is a difficult fallacy to understand and spot, but it can be described as confusing the general category with the subcategory. Basically all of the facts are correct, but the conclusion is incorrect. I'll start with a simple example.

 

Ducks are birds

Ducks swim in water

Chickens are birds

Chickens must swim in water.

 

As you can see, in this example is assumes that because ducks can swim in water that all birds can swim in water. This fallacy is used a lot in PPS political discussions, and can be particularly insulting because the fallacy makes that all categories of a subgroup apply to that of the larger grou. Here's a good example of what I've seen a lot in PPS.

 

Obama wants nationalized healthcare

The Nazis had nationalized healthcare

Nationalized healthcare will make us Nazis!


Note: Obama did not want Nationalized Healthcare. This was just a good example I liked to show the fallacy.

 

Argument from Authority- This is the opposite of Ad Hominem shown above. It basically deems an argument correct simply because of who is stating the argument and ignores human error or the fact that no one can know everything. In the following example you can see that people will use an example of an authority figure in one area to validate their argument in an unrelated area. This causes heated discussions because it completely overlooks any facts that could be provided.

 

The pope says global warming is real. He must be right, he's the pope!

 

Argument from Ignorance or Non-Testable Hypothesis- This fallacy basically means, "It hasn't been proven false, therefore it must be true!" Many religions are based on this fallacy, though because it's based on faith I'd really not recommend that you bring this up at a religious debate. But otherwise, this fallacy causes heated argument because neither side can provide burden of proof.

 

Dinosaur poop tasted like blueberries. You can't prove me wrong, so it must be true!

 

Bandwagon- This is based on popular democracy. Basically stating because MOST people believe it to be true then it must be true. This can cause debates to get more heated because it creates an "us against them" situation.

 

You should totally eat tidepods. Everyone else is doing it!

 

Begging the Question or Circular Argument- Repeating your argument over and over again without providing any proof. This causes heated arguments because it shuts out the opposing side in the debate without even listening to it.

 

I can’t believe people eat dog. That’s just plain gross. Why? Because it’s a dog, of course. How could someone eat a dog?

 

Dogmatism- This is the inability to even listen to the other's argument. This is another one I see in PPS political discussions a lot, because this fallacy assumes you're objective and everyone that disagrees with you is "biased". This is often what causes a lot of debates to turn into arguments of who is biased.

 

You are biased because you disagree with me, and I am objective.

 

Either/Or or Black/White, False Dilemma, or Excluded Middle FallacyThis fallacy basically paints the debate as two extremes and causes the user to assume that if you don't agree with them they're automatically on the other extreme. I see this a lot in gun debates.

 

If you want gun control, you want to take away all of our guns!

 

It often leads to the Affirming the Consequent fallacy stated above because both are used to assume that the opposition is in favor of the extreme opposite.

 

You want free healthcare


You want communism

You're a Nazi!

 

Emotional AppealsThis is any attempt to sway an argument with emotions rather than logic, and it's often used in "scare tactics". This causes assumptions on what will happen based on emotionally charged cases. Bringing emotions into an argument is always a bad idea, honestly. Note: This is not a fallacy if the argument is whether or not bad things will occur. 

 

There must be objective rights and wrongs in the universe.  If not, how can you possibly say that torturing babies for fun could ever be right?

 

Fallacy of Exclusion- This fallacy assumes that a behavior is unique to one group when several groups exhibit that behavior. Using this fallacy can attack members of the group you're speaking of.

 

An illegal alien is drunk driving and they hit someone with their car killing them. Then someone says, "THIS HAS TO STOP! HOW CAN WE ALLOW ILLEGAL ALIENS INTO OUR COUNTRY?" Which assumes illegal aliens are the only drunk drivers on the road.

 

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FaerieFate

Beware of the fallacies (Part 2)

Faulty Analogy- This fallacy argues the legitimacy of a point by comparing ti to another, and therefore assumes people of the former point also agree with the latter, which is insulting.

 

Meat is murder.

 

Hasty Generalization, Misunderstanding Statistics or Non-Representative SampleThis mistakes smaller incidences as a larger trend, and is often used to describe a group of people in a way that is insulting.

 

You see a woman is bad at driving and think that all women are bad at driving when in fact women get into less accidents than men.

 

Moral EquivalencyAssuming that two moral issues hold the same weight. This fallacy is used to isolate groups of people by assuming their views are equivalent to more harmful moral issues.

 

Eating meat is the same as murder.

 

Non Sequitur- This translates into "this does not follow", meaning the conclusion doesn't fit the premise. It really shuts down a good debate because it links two unrelated things.

 

If you loved me, you'd buy me this car.

 

Post Hoc or Faulty Causality, or Correlation vs. CausationThis fallacy basically is used to say, "After this, therefore because of this." It's often used to justify racism and oppose gun laws. It often justifies prejudice against certain groups. If you see someone use this fallacy, it will help to point out other factors that could be the causation.

 

Most of the people in prison are people of color. Therefore people of color are more likely to break the law.


You could point out

 
The stereotype of black people being more violent is what causes more arrests of black people.

 

Red HerringChanging the subject mid debate. This causes confusion and gets threads off topic.

 

Discussing evolutionary theory, but then you start talking about, "What really is a theory?"

 

Semantics or Equivocation (also, Splitting Hairs, Playing With Words, or Using Legalisms)- Your argument is based more on a technicality of the wording. Which means your'e not engaging in the argument, but on the technicality.

 

Jim Leher: You had no sexual relationship with this young woman? 


President Clinton: There is not a sexual relationship. That is accurate.” January 21, 1998

 

Slippery Slope- One change will inevitably lead to another. This is used to argue against gay marriage and often dips into Moral Equivalency. Do not engage in anyone that makes this argument. It's a stupid argument.

 

If we allow gay marriage, we'll have to allow marriage to animals and pedophilia marriage!

 

Straw Man- One side of the argument is presented as so extreme no one would agree with it. This also dips into the Moral Equivalency. Also, it's a stupid argument to make as well.

 

Hitler supported gun control, you know.

 

Weasel Words or Glittering Generality- Using words so broadly defined that they are generally meaningless. This again devolves into splitting hairs because you argue the meaning of the word rather than continue the argument. Technically using these words aren't a fallacy, but using them moves an argument nowhere and entices an emotional response.

 

words like "terrorist", "communist", "pro choice", and "pro life"

 

Failing Occam's Razor- This is the assumption that the simplest of any given hypothesis is the correct one. It completely leaves out any room for discussion and removes any logic from a debate.

 

You don't study for a test.

You fail the test.

You say the teacher dislikes you or is making the tests too hard.

 

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