Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Posts

The below represents everything I have learnt from spectating and engaging in online discussions.


1) Have some funny insults tucked up your sleeve


In an ideal world the quality of an argument in a debate would depend only on the quality of one's points. However, as we all know, on an internet forum this fundamental backbone gets snapped in half and given to Fido to chew on.


In truth: the quality of your argument is directly proportional to the quality of your insults. You would be amazed at how well slinging a few insults at the opponent works. I have won many arguments this way over the years. For some reason which I haven't been able to fathom yet, people equate humour with intelligence. Onlookers will be magically fooled into thinking you must be a genius if you compare your opponent's mother to a beached whale.


2) Google is your friend.


Google is like the big brother you ran to as a kid when you were getting picked on by the schoolyard bully. When your chips are down, and you feel impending humiliation is your unescapable destiny, all is not lost, for I have seen many arguments turned around by simply flooding the opponent with a deluge of text pasted straight out of the first website google hits.


The key to this approach is to post more information than an average human can read in two years. Your opponent will attempt to wade through this data but will inevitably give up after the first three paragraphs. The opponent will then reply with no proper reference to your previous post, which you respond to with "What? Didn't you read my last post?"


3) Dish out a few latin phrases


Piso was the undisputed master at this. I remember when I first encountered him on Seeping: "Ad hominem folks, and he also went straight for a strawman but only after a couple of Argumentum ad Logicam's and an ipse dixit. Doesn't he realise that it's merely a Cum Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc? Apart from knowing an ad hominem was attacking the person rather than the argument I admit now that I had no idea what he was talking about. That is the beauty of this approach. Most ordinary people will chuck their hands up in the air and wave the white flag, having been baffled into defeat. Other people will get so pissed off with having to look up each new latin phrase used against them that they are reduced to a quivering wreck, thus vulnerable to a second strike.


4) Change what you're arguing about half way through


I've so gone so far beyond the point of not finding this funny anymore that I'm actually in danger of going full circle and finding it funny again. What's crazy about this, is that it almost always works. The spectators don't notice since they're just reading the funny insults, and because you're flooding your opponent with so much irrelevant information he's unlikely to notice either.


Some people are more subtle than others, they change the debate from the inital argument only very slightly, but just enough so they are in a stronger position. Always keep an eye out for this happening. It's like having the rug pulled out from under your feet and landing flat on your arse.


5) Repeat yourself a few dozen times


An ideal online argument should be modelled on a puffer fish. What you need to do is inflate your side of the argument beyond recognition so it appears more scary than it actualy is. Really, all you might be saying is "No, I think Bush should be president", but by adopting the puffer fish strategy you will transform this simple statement into an unreadable ten page essay.


Also referred to as repitition or "padding", this approach has had many stuanch supporter over the years. It's not surprising they also happen to be the people who normally win, too.


6) Be arrogant and condescending


The first five steps act as a sophisticated shield, each representing a separate layer of defense. Occasionally you will be pitted against a foe who forgoes the established debating rules outlined above and actually desires a real discussion. This is where step six comes in.


By carefully combining arrogance with condescension you will hopefully annoy your opponent enough to diverge him away from the unimportant argument and towards tossing around some more of those humorous insults. You don't want to overdo it, that way you'll get banned halfway thrugh and everyone will miss out on your unique perspectives. Fortunately, only a very faint overtone of arrogance is required to get your opponent all riled up hence minimising the risk that you get banned.


Engage your mind:



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest imported_Tesseract

Nice of you to inform us on your first post on the techniques you'll be using around here. May i suggest that 2,4 and 6 wont be in your best ineterest?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, in conjunction with 6, you want to always claim your opponent isn't actually saying anything,

despite the contrary, as well as claiming your opponent puts words in your mouth.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Sparoism

I think you and your superior debate skills will be a welcome addition to this board....I tip my hat to you, Baniel.


No irony.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



How to Win an Argument

August 31st, 2005 by Steve Pavlina This is a follow-up to the recent Dealing With Difficult Relatives post. That original post sets the context for this article, so if you haven’t read the original article, you should definitely do that first. Otherwise, you won’t likely understand the context for this post. If you expect this will be an article about how to out-debate your co-workers, you’re coming at it from the wrong context. Read the original post first.


How do you handle the situation where the other person continually sucks you into an argument that you never seem to be able to win?


In a typical argument, each person tries to prove themselves right and the other person wrong. Of course, we all know what happens in the end — each person only ends up more entrenched in their views, regardless of who seems to deliver the most dominant argument.


An argument cannot be won with resistance. You will only strengthen the other person’s resolve. At best you will both leave in a state of stubbornness, but little communication will have actually occurred.


The way to “win� an argument is to aim for a goal other than being right. The other person will be prepared to defend against someone who is trying to prove themselves right. Trying to prove yourself right and the other person wrong is like making a frontal assault on an entrenched enemy position. You’ll need overwhelming force to win, and your victory will come at great cost, if you can even pull it off. Plus you’ll leave your relationship wounded in the end.


So instead of trying to be right, I’ve found that the best way to win an argument is to go for an entirely different goal. This has worked for me every time I’ve applied it, and I’ve used it dozens of times.


If you aren’t trying to win the argument, then what is your goal? I suggest you set the goal of attempting to raise the other person’s awareness while maintaining your own sense of inner peace. By this I mean that you focus on helping the other person become more aware of the full extent of their behavior and how it affects you and others, but without taking ownership of anything the other person says.


This means you keep your focus on the other person and their behavior. Whenever s/he tries to pigeonhole you into a negative role, you simply side-step their comments and then redirect their own energy back upon them. In a way it’s like verbal martial arts. Never defend against any of their comments. Simply redirect the comments back to the person.


In other words, you don’t attack — ever. You merely deflect the other person’s attacks back to them, over and over. You become like a mirror. So the more the other person tries to attack you, the more they weaken themselves. People can’t punch themselves in the face for too long.


If someone were to try to attack me in an argument, I would just say things like, “You seem to be fairly upset about this. Why do you think that is?� or “So you’re saying you’d like to feel free to disregard my requests if you don’t agree with them. Is that correct?� or “Is this how you’d like to continue to feel about this situation?� or “Do you feel your behavior towards me is honorable and respectful?�


Stay focused on the other person and their feelings, not your own. But don’t take ownership of anything they say. Simply allow it to pass through you like a knife through water and come out the other side. And metaphorically speaking, keep asking the person about the knife they’re holding and how they feel about it.


Usually the other person will start by answering all my questions with the words, “Because you…� My goal is to help guide the other person to focus on their own feelings, and I know I’m making progress when their answers begin taking the form of “Because I…� I help them to take ownership of their feelings.


Remember that if someone offers you a gift, and you decline to accept it, the other person still owns that gift. The same is true of insults and verbal attacks. In order for there to be any sting to the attack, you must accept it. Simply decline the “gift� and the other person won’t be able to land a single blow no matter how hard they try. Be like air or water — if they try to attack you, they merely wear themselves out.


This takes practice, but it works extremely well. The key is to put yourself into a state of compassion and empathy and keep reminding yourself that the negativity isn’t about you — it’s an internal issue the other person is dealing with. So whatever the other person says, you simply reflect it back to them. This will have the effect of raising the other person’s awareness. Many times people can’t handle that, so they’ll either blow up emotionally or give up. Either way, it helps put an end to the previous destructive relationship and paves the way for something better to emerge.


A technique I use to keep myself focused on raising the other person’s awareness is that I form a mental image of that person’s “higher self.� I imagine the best possible form of that person — their soul if you will — standing in the room with us like an apparition. Then I put myself in a state where I feel like I’m channeling the thoughts of that higher self, and I allow the higher self to speak through me and to ask all the questions. This is amazingly effective — in fact, it works so well that I wonder if I am indeed channeling some kind of higher self. I’ve learned to simply trust the words that pop into my mind and speak them, even if they don’t seem like the right thing to say from a logical standpoint. Invariably the questions and observations do help guide the other person to be more in tune with their own highest and best self. They begin seeing their behavior and the relationship in a whole new light, and that’s what often leads to some sort of emotional breakdown. Tears are common.


There are two ways this type of conversation ends — 1) the other person can’t handle facing the situation and basically runs away, or 2) the other person has some kind of emotional catharsis which makes it possible to heal the relationship. Most of the time the outcome is #2 if the relationship bond is fairly strong, and #1 if the relationship bond is weak. I find that typically this takes 2-3 hours of conversation to reach the point of #2. If you hit #1, that’s OK too. Just keep using the same strategy on each encounter, and you’ll eventually hit #2 — either that or you’ll permanently scare the person away from trying to argue with you.


Now if you don’t have this kind of time, then you may want to use a short-cut approach to simply delay the confrontation, or the relationship may be so loose that it’s not worth the effort to raise the other person’s awareness. In that case you can simply deflect the arguments with humor, or you can ignore them altogether.


It does take practice and patience to use this type of approach, and it hinges upon your ability to keep yourself in a high state of awareness, focusing on unconditional love and compassion for the other person. I don’t think of it as having a thick skin but rather as having reflective skin or even no skin. You have to put yourself in a state where you are unattackable. This will frustrate the other person to no end, but that’s the point — to let the other person burn off all their negative energy by swinging at air. And as they grow tired, their own shields will begin to collapse. But instead of attacking at that point, you empathize and connect with them and strive to reconnect them with their truest and best self.


For me this has become an ingrained way of communicating. Whenever I get attacked by someone wanting to provoke an argument, I simply see it as a cry for help. The other person is disconnected from their true self, and my role (time permitting) is to help reconnect them. I can’t do that if I step into the ring with them. But I can let them swing at air and exhaust themselves until they’re ready to face the parts of themselves that are causing them this pain, and then they can begin to reconnect and to heal.


If you try this approach, and you can’t seem to keep yourself in a higher state of awareness without being dragged into negativity by the other person, then you’ve got a different situation at hand, one which cannot be solved at the same level of thinking in which this post is written. I’ll write another post on how to handle that situation soon.



Dealing With Difficult Relatives

August 29th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina With regards to the post on Dealing With Difficult People, several commenters asked follow-up questions on how to deal with difficult relatives, such as an overbearing parent or in-law. The original post was written in terms of dealing with difficult people with whom you have a professional relationship, such as your boss or a co-worker. But if the problem person is a relative and your relationship is personal instead of professional, that’s a whole different beast.


Define and verbalize your boundaries


You set the boundaries in your relationships. If those boundaries are crossed and the other person can’t seem to take the hint, you have to assert yourself to restore balance. If you have relatives who fail to respect your boundaries and behave as if the purpose of your relationship is for you to bend over backwards to satisfy all of their needs, you certainly aren’t alone. I’m talking about boundaries that you consider to be bottom lines that should not be crossed, ones that make you feel violated when they are. For example, if you value your privacy and a relative insists on frequent unannounced drop-in visits, that may be a bottom line for you. Or if your mother-in-law, Endora, keeps turning you into barnyard animals without your consent, you might feel it’s time to put a stop to it, especially if you begin craving grass while in human form.


The first thing to realize is that it’s perfectly OK to satisfy your own needs. A relationship that makes you feel violated isn’t healthy.


Correcting problematic relationships in a physical, external world sense is fairly straightforward. You must clearly define the boundaries you’re comfortable with, let the other person know what those boundaries are, and then enforce them. There isn’t much more to it than that. If your boundaries are reasonable, and the person is either unwilling or incapable of complying with them, you’re done — in most situations it would be foolish to continue such a relationship. It will only erode your self-respect.


If you’ve been going years without clearly verbalizing and enforcing your boundaries like a mature adult (i.e. you’ve been letting the other person treat you like a child for too long), most likely the other person won’t take you seriously at first. They may even react with a bit of shock (usually feigned) at the mere suggestion that you dare attempt to put restrictions on their behavior. Just let that person have their reaction, but stand your ground anyway.


Enforce your boundaries


There are many ways to enforce your boundaries. Here’s an approach I happen to like. Let the other person know that for the next 30 days, you intend to strictly enforce the boundaries you’ve described. And if that person violates your boundaries even once during those 30 days, you then begin a 30-day communications blackout. For 30 days you simply have no contact with the other person. No drop-in visits, no phone calls, no emails, nothing — unless it’s absolutely mandatory. After the 30-day fasting period, you can restart the original 30-day boundary-enforcement trial and repeat the process. Of course you should let the other person know you’re doing this — be totally transparent about what you’re doing. Also, let the other person know that you’re resorting to this process because they’ve left you no choice.


If the other person attempts to make contact with you at all during the 30-day blackout, the 30 days resets to day 1. If this happens more than a couple times and you reach the point where you’re pretty clear the other person has no intention of respecting your boundaries whatsoever, regardless of your attempts to enforce them, then you’re done. The relationship is dead, at least in its current form. If the other person can’t even respect your boundaries for 30 days, then what kind of future do you have together? It means that your boundaries will be trampled for as long as you allow the relationship to continue to exist in its current form.


This might sound a bit harsh, but keep in mind that before you reach this point, you’ve already expressed your needs clearly to the other person, and you were trampled. You owe it to yourself to take a step back and see if you really wish to continue this relationship at all. The 30-day blackout period is a time for both of you to re-evaluate your relationship from a distance. It’s also a massive pattern interrupt that let’s the other person know with certainty that they’ve crossed an uncrossable line, and enough is enough.


Disarm the primary weapon of guilt


If the other person attempts to use guilt as a tool of manipulation (which is extremely common), that’s fairly easy to overcome. Whenever you perceive the other person attempting to manipulate your emotions by making you feel guilty, bring the whole matter to conscious awareness by asking, “You’re not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?� The other person will probably deny it, but soon the pattern will re-emerge. Keep interrupting the pattern of falling into a state of guilt by bringing attention to the other person’s emotionally manipulative tactics. Simply keep asking questions like, “Why do you feel it necessary to attempt to use guilt as a tool of manipulation?� or “You must really find this upsetting if you feel it necessary to try to make me feel guilty to get what you want? Can we try a more mature way of discussing this perhaps?�


You don’t need to beat the person up about it, but put a stop to the weapon of guilt once and for all. If you refuse to enter the emotional state of guilt, it will allow you to be more compassionate in seeing that the other person is probably using guilt because they feel powerless. And if you can address that powerlessness, you have the opportunity to transform the relationship for good.


Who does the enforcing?


If the problem relative is an in-law (or equivalent if you’re not married), then the person most closely related to them is the one who must do the enforcing (i.e. your significant other). This is especially important in a marriage. You and your spouse must put each other first above all other relatives. If one of your spouse’s relatives is violating your boundaries, then your spouse must bring it to their attention and do the enforcing.


Problems of this nature are especially common in relationships between 20-somethings because you’re often in a transitional phase with how you identify your primary family. For example, if you’re living with someone, you may be getting closer to them while still thinking of your family as the one you were born into. But when you’re married with a couple kids, you’re likely to think of your primary family as your spouse and children. So for many people the 20s represent a period of shifting identities, a time when problems with other relatives can spike because they interfere with your romantic relationship, and your partner will bring it to your attention.


It’s not uncommon to be living with someone and building a close romantic relationship while gradually discovering the other person is still married to his/her “Mommy� (or equivalent). When you see this pattern occurring where you don’t have the leverage to enforce boundaries on your spouse’s relative, and your partner seems spineless about having a confrontation, then you have to enforce these boundaries with YOUR PARTNER by holding him/her directly responsible for the behavior of his/her relative. This has the benefit of pushing your partner to grow up (albeit sometimes kicking and screaming) and learning to put your needs first and “Mommy’s� needs second. Some people just need a good kick to get themselves out of childhood and into adulthood, especially during their 20s. In the long run, your partner will likely be grateful to you for his/her new spine.


If all else fails, run!


If the above solution fails, just up and move to another city. Many people swear their marriages have been saved by this solution.










did i win yet?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Valid points are nothing around here if not backed with flawless grammar and punctuation.


We don't argue to win. You can't beat that.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

this could start and stop with a number 1. like this

1.scroll fast, dont really read, then go check your myspace.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Register for a 12ozProphet forum account or sign in to comment

You need to be a forum member in order to comment. Forum accounts are separate from shop accounts.

Create an account

Register to become a 12ozProphet forum member.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this