Why I refuse to debate in person

1. Debate in person requires reliance on memory while debate in text uses direct quotations.

2. In text, there is no pressure to respond within a given amount of time; one has as much or as little time as one needs to make a clear, well-supported response where any misunderstanding would be the fault of the listener, not the speaker.

3. In person, points have to be addressed serially which can easily cause relevance issues as one tries to raise other points while an initial point is being discussed. Text debates allow full, point-by-point responses where discussions on multiple points can happen at the same time and the separation between these points made clear. Long explanations also do not need to be cut off in the middle for further explanations — the explanation can be read in full, and then clarified.

4. There is no intimidating presence, making it impossible to shout someone down or otherwise bully them into silence. Even if multiple people gang up on a single person, that single person can respond to the multiple people in one post rather than having to shift between multiple related conversations with different people possibly asking wildly different questions.

5. Factual citations can be included in text for further research.
5a. On the Internet, this research can be done easily.

6. The lack of time constraints in text helps to prevent the use of rhetorical tricks, as one can step back and look at the argument again, or even go to someone else for a second perspective if they feel that the argument is ‘off’ (that is, it seems to make sense but has the echoes of an argument that in fact does not at all, or it seems to make sense but does not seem to make any valuable or relevant point, if any at all).

7. No one will complain about how loud you’re typing in a text debate, unless you’re at a library with really old keyboards.

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11 Responses to Why I refuse to debate in person

  1. Or maybe, Setar, because you’re a cowardly little shit who’s only good at oh so bravely badgering people you disagree with in 10 on 1 pile-ons in comments sections of blogs where you know most people support you. Bet you aren’t much one on one, intellectually or as a person.

    • lordsetar says:

      Ad hominem, move to strike as non-responsive.

      Though I will readily admit that I am not as good in “real life” as I am on the Internet. This is what we call being socially awkward, which is different than using “socially awkward” as a cover for sexual harassment. Not like that’s relevant to the, y’know, argument.

      And yet you’re all over Ophelia’s thread trying to defend the Stasi claims…

      • You’re not much good on the internet, either. Utterly pissantish and really “brave” when you’re part of a crowd. Doesn’t exactly speak well of you.

        Instead of going around behaving like some virtual world equivalent of a Red Guard and calling that “rationalist”, might I suggest you work on your education and general character? It might do you some good.

  2. Dan L. says:

    Actually, I think Setar has provided a lot of pretty clear reasons why debating on the internet is superior. Your response is apparently to whine about how people on some website or other disagree with you. Poor baby. I gotta say, though, that sort of kvetching doesn’t do much for the macho image you seem to be trying to project. I mean, you did throw “cowardly” in there, and sort of insinuated a “well I’ll kick your ass if I ever meet you in person” but considering how butthurt you are that someone, somewhere disagrees with you that stuff just comes across as posturing. I think i feel sorry for you more than anything else.

  3. The sad thing is, you probably really think the pissant has been wronged in some way. Go back and look at how he treats people when he has an “audience” for it. A one-on-one message saying how little his crap is appreciated is not out of line.

    • Suirauqa says:

      …you probably really think the pissant has been wronged in some way…

      I am curious(er?) – whether this blogger has or has not been ‘wronged’, how does that take away from his cogent arguments for having an online debate? Could you, perhaps, address his points without taking recourse to foolish ad hominems?

      • There were no cogent arguments made by Setar previously, and there are definitely no deep points in this phase of the argument. Move on, drama-loving Pharyngulites.

      • Suirauqa says:

        Your obstinate emphasis on ‘previously’ is… strange. Can you not simply comment on what the blogger wrote in this post? Your finding drama where none exists is amusing; you must be a modern generation Shakespeare, at least in your mind.

  4. Pingback: Stalkers vs. Stasi | The Atheist Conspiracy

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  6. Hi Setar! Nice blog post. I agree with your points. Debate is so much better when your interlocutors have exactly the same level ground as you and cannot use their old meatspace tactics from middle school to intimidate, shout you down and deny what they have previously said when it is all laid out in black-and-white and they have to take turns.

    Hello Iamcuriousblue; you have my curiosity. Someone using that same ‘nym on twitter today was trying to argue like a meatspace bully, flinging insults and wildly unlikely accusations about without citation or evidence (and backpedalling whenever called out); changing definitions and denying that particular words meant particular things and then blocking their interlocutors when repeatedly asked for either a link to something they had stated as fact or a retraction.

    Do you think that Setar is wrong, and that meatspace interactions or other real-time interactions like Twitter are a better way of arguing? If so, perhaps you could address whichever of his points you disagree with rather than making off-topic random accusations like your Twitter namesake.

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