Thursday, October 10, 2013

Staying Classy in Internet Debates

Sorry if another blogger has already covered this, but I had an idea and I decided it was about time to actually write a post that doesn't involve a review. In advance, my keyboard is sorta messed up, so I apologize for any mistakes.

Once upon a time, I was twelve. And being twelve, I had a desire to prove my intelligence. Apparently, in my still-developing brain, intelligence equaled being able to hold your own in an internet debate. There were an abundance of these on Facebook and sites like it. Now, I didn't go looking for them or starting them on purpose, but I never backed down from one. To be honest, I still don't back down from a debate.

But, in the past three years, I've figured out how to control my hothead temper online. I actually enjoy debates, now. So here are a few tips I've picked up while debating.

  1. Always stay calm.
If you can't stay calm in an internet debate, you don't need to be in one. I'm not talking about exclamation marks!!!!! AND ALL CAPS. Though, you should try to keep those to a minimum too. But I'm talking about when you physically feel as if you are about to faint from anger, and are shaking so hard that you can barely type right. Until you can physically control yourself to not get too involved in the debates, you need to stay far, far away from them.

     2. Always show respect for the other person's opinion.

I know, I know. This is a harder one. It can be hard to respect a person's opinion when you think or absolutely know you are right. But if there's one thing I've learned the best in three years of debating off and on with anyone and everyone, it's that people have the right to their opinions. And respecting their right for their opinion is the only way to have a good, clean debate.

     3. Be the bigger person.

People aren't always nice. Especially older people to teens during debates. If anything, they like to call you out on everything you might do wrong or say wrong, thus causing you to feel belittled and childish. When I was twelve, this was the biggest thing that angered me. I would attack with a fierce need to defend myself. But I learned that's not the way to do it. Instead of attacking, be sugary sweet. Nothing makes your opponent angrier than being nice to them while they attack your character, your age, even your family (Whether they know them personally or not).

     4. Dig Deeper (This mostly applies to being cyber-bullied)

If someone is saying hurtful things about you, or to you, the urge to fight back is immensely strong. But don't. Chances are, they're hurting even more than you, and they're looking to hurt you so they can prove something to themselves. I've been bullied by more than a few people on a few different occasions, and I only just figured it out recently. I'm a very discerning person, so if you're not, it may not work for you like it did for me. But, on the last time I was "bullied" by someone, instead of attacking them, I laughed at them. I made them feel little. Which was not really the right approach, by the way. But I said something. Something about them hurting too much so they came to take their pain out on me. They denied it. Viciously. But I kept on. Refused to give into them. I asked why they thought attacking me would help their pain. Asked them a few other things about why they would be cruel to someone just because they're hurting. They kept denying it. They said I was stupid. Told me to shut up. The last thing I said before telling myself that if they continued attacking me I would never open that conversation again, was that if they needed to talk to about anything, I was open to listen.

And you know what, they admitted it. And they said they were sorry. And I forgave them. People do strange things when they're in pain. While I may not agree with their approach to "handle" their pain, I wasn't going to condemn them for it.

     5. Use proper grammar and spelling.

If there's anything an opponent wants most, it's a debater that can't spell. A sure sign that you're winning the debate is when your opponent starts correcting your spelling and grammar. Some will even nag on your age. But there's nothing you can do about the last one.

     6. Last thing, if you start feeling uncomfortable in a debate, leave.

Don't feel obligated to stay just so you can "prove your point." They won't ever forget your points. They'll remember what you said. If you start feeling like you don't need to be in that debate any longer, you leave it. Trust your instincts.

And with that, I finish this post. Thanks for reading!


  1. Great post, Katelyn! I have always been very argumentative and love debating, but internet debates never really were a good use of time for me. I usually just get cussed out or banned from whatever site the debate is on. (Wikipedia, etc.) But, great points!

    1. Same, to be honest. I was mostly told to "go back to elementary school."

  2. I'm so guilty about getting into internet debates. More so when I was younger, though it still happens on occasion. I 100% agree with your tips though! They're also great things to keep in mind when in a face to face debate.

    1. I'm pretty sure it's a stage every person goes through when they first join the internet. Some of us just never grow out of it, I suppose.

  3. I rarely get into debates anymore. But if I do, it usually has to do with someone demeaning God in some form or other. :)

    1. Exactly. I really only debate when people openly attack Christians or something of the like.