24 votes

How to Have a Civil Conversation

Tildes is still in the process of being built and there's been much discussion on what kinds of content and posts we'd like to see here. Users have also been outspoken about the content and posts that they think should be discouraged. With this in mind, I thought it might be interesting for us to have a conversation about how to engage in a civil conversation with someone with whom you disagree, and what kinds of behaviors make a discussion worthwhile.

Here are a few links to get us started.

So what do you think? How should we communicate with each other in order to really make Tildes a great place to engage with one another? Do you have any conversation tricks or rules that have been successful in your own lives? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

36 comments

  1. [13]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    High school debate club played a huge part in my learning how to argue a point without getting overly emotional or flustered when challenged (not that I’m perfect at either as some issues do still...

    High school debate club played a huge part in my learning how to argue a point without getting overly emotional or flustered when challenged (not that I’m perfect at either as some issues do still get under my skin). Regularly playing devil’s advocate to practice empathizing with and understanding those I disagree with also helped me a lot too, IMO.

    Edit: And another thing I just thought of; Don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel a debate/argument/discussion is getting too personal, you can feel yourself getting angry or feel the other person is simply not getting your point. You can always come back later once you have cooled down... or not at all. There is no shame in walking away before you say something you might regret.

    But TBH, other than in a few cases, I think the users so far on ~ have handled themselves admirably over all. There have been a lot of highly contentious issues already being debated and other than the few banned users, nobody else has really crossed the line. It gives me hope that this place can work and the highly polarized groups fighting tooth and nail elsewhere on the internet (and in real life) can maybe be brought together to hash out their differences under the right setting.

    And I genuinely do believe that without reestablishing productive dialogue between all these disparate groups and disarming the seemingly escalating tensions between them, we are in for a rough ride.

    p.s. thanks for the links, I will definitely be giving them all a read/watch.

    13 votes
    1. [7]
      BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      I am very weary of telling people to practice having civil conversations by playing devil's advocate, especially in this setting. The main reason is trust. We have to be able to trust that people...

      I am very weary of telling people to practice having civil conversations by playing devil's advocate, especially in this setting. The main reason is trust. We have to be able to trust that people engaging in discussion are being genuine in their beliefs, and playing devil's advocate, by the very term, is being disingenuous about what you actually believe. It is good to try to figure out how someone who disagrees with you could think that way. Crucial, actually. But you don't have to play devil's advocate to do that. In most cases, just practicing listening is enough (and better anyway).

      14 votes
      1. [5]
        mkida
        Link Parent
        Why is it important that people only present ideas they sincerely hold? Aside from them potentially arguing it poorly because it's not something they've thought about as much, I don't see any...

        Why is it important that people only present ideas they sincerely hold? Aside from them potentially arguing it poorly because it's not something they've thought about as much, I don't see any downside for which the ideal remedy shouldn't be other people reacting to it better rather than the person not doing it.

        Besides not seeing problems, playing devil's advocate has been very helpful to me. There have been a number of times where I've argued for something I don't believe at all because nobody else would (which I imagine will be common here), and eventually after enough times, it's become sincere as I've learned more about the issue and realized the arguments I ended up making were better than the ones I originally had.

        7 votes
        1. [4]
          BuckeyeSundae
          Link Parent
          It isn't. Playing "devil's advocate" though is when someone presents some idea as though they hold it. It's this pretense that undermines good faith debate, not the presentation of an idea they do...

          Why is it important that people only present ideas they sincerely hold?

          It isn't. Playing "devil's advocate" though is when someone presents some idea as though they hold it. It's this pretense that undermines good faith debate, not the presentation of an idea they do not themselves agree with.

          There are a lot of circumstances where presenting ideas you don't agree with is really good for a discussion. For instance, you have to be able to demonstrate that you understand someone else's ideas in a way that they themselves see as fair. That requires you to present ideas you don't sincerely hold. Similarly, you can attempt to address a fair criticism of your view before anyone else has presented it. That's a really good debate tactic, actually, especially when your presentation of that alternative view is fair.

          5 votes
          1. [3]
            mkida
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I think I agree with what you're getting at, but I guess I'm not really seeing the difference. I mean, going off my understanding of the term, your second paragraph is exactly what playing devil's...

            I think I agree with what you're getting at, but I guess I'm not really seeing the difference.

            I mean, going off my understanding of the term, your second paragraph is exactly what playing devil's advocate is. Per wiki:

            In common parlance, the term devil's advocate describes someone who, given a certain point of view, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with (or simply an alternative position from the accepted norm), for the sake of debate or to explore the thought further. Despite being ancient, this idiomatic expression is one of the most popular present-day English idioms used to express the concept of arguing against something without actually being committed to the contrary view.

            Are you suggesting it'd be better if anyone doing so made it clear that that's what they're doing, ie adding some kind of disclaimer? Not sure I agree with that.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              BuckeyeSundae
              Link Parent
              Ah, then our difference is in the definition! How frequently that happens. I actually presented two distinct tactics in that second paragraph. The first is a general principle of good-faith debate...

              Ah, then our difference is in the definition! How frequently that happens.

              I actually presented two distinct tactics in that second paragraph. The first is a general principle of good-faith debate that ideally everyone should be doing before they criticize anything. The second is a rhetorical tactic known as prolepsis. I do not think playing devil's advocate is either tactic, but is instead is about presenting criticisms or questions of someone ELSE'S argument as if those criticisms/questions are your own.

              6 votes
              1. mkida
                Link Parent
                Hah, yeah. I figured we might be getting into semantics. And I may as well say it here, I think I'm pretty much in agreement with your post below re assumptions, and we're just having the same...

                Hah, yeah. I figured we might be getting into semantics. And I may as well say it here, I think I'm pretty much in agreement with your post below re assumptions, and we're just having the same sort of issue. Being as precise as possible with language should be another tip for this thread.

                4 votes
      2. cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Oh for sure, I didn’t mean to imply people should play devil’s advocate here (unless they are very, very clear they are doing so first) as it can cause a lot of issues. However practicing seeing...

        Oh for sure, I didn’t mean to imply people should play devil’s advocate here (unless they are very, very clear they are doing so first) as it can cause a lot of issues. However practicing seeing the other side’s rationale and attempting to empathize with them first before constructing your own arguments in favour of your position is an incredibly valuable skill, IMO.

        3 votes
    2. [5]
      UrsulaMajor
      Link Parent
      to be honest, as I mentioned in this comment, I have a really hard time walking away: personally, I've been feeling the urge to hit "disable inbox replies" a lot lately, which I don't think bodes...

      And another thing I just thought of; Don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel a debate/argument/discussion is getting too personal, you can feel yourself getting angry or feel the other person is simply not getting your point. You can always come back later once you have cooled down... or not at all. There is no shame in walking away before you say something you might regret.

      to be honest, as I mentioned in this comment, I have a really hard time walking away:

      If nobody is enjoying the discussion on either an emotional or intellectual level, the discussion should probably stop. I personally struggle with this a lot; I rely very heavily on the "disable inbox replies" and "block user" button on reddit because I have trouble stopping a discussion even after I've recognized that I'm getting nothing out of it.

      personally, I've been feeling the urge to hit "disable inbox replies" a lot lately, which I don't think bodes well for my involvement on this site. I mentioned here, that I fear coming off as a "coming across as a negative, antagonistic person", and I'm starting to feel like I'm probably already seen as one. I don't think I've really enjoyed any of the discussions I've had here, yet, because I feel like a lot of them have kindof turned into thinly veiled flame wars that I can't get away from.

      I wonder if we could implement a "take a break" button that temporarily caches notifications for 1 hour and displays them after the break is over

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        This has definitely been talked about (by @buckeyesundae IIRC)... some sort of “unsubscribe” for your own comments and posts so you don’t get notified of replies to them anymore. But allowing it...

        This has definitely been talked about (by @buckeyesundae IIRC)... some sort of “unsubscribe” for your own comments and posts so you don’t get notified of replies to them anymore. But allowing it to be set it to a timer might also be a neat idea. It might help deescalate a lot of potential conflicts on the site.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          UrsulaMajor
          Link Parent
          I don't think a permanent unsubscribe is really what I'm asking for; it encourages people to do "drive by" arguments where they don't want to see criticism but still want to give their piece....

          I don't think a permanent unsubscribe is really what I'm asking for; it encourages people to do "drive by" arguments where they don't want to see criticism but still want to give their piece.

          which is why my suggestion, the "take a break" button, would still give you all those notifications... just on a significant delay, so that you can cool it for a bit.

          8 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Hmmm... that’s a very good point about potentially promoting drive-by arguments... and adds further weight to your timeout idea. I will definitely bring this up next time the “unsubscribe” feature...

            Hmmm... that’s a very good point about potentially promoting drive-by arguments... and adds further weight to your timeout idea. I will definitely bring this up next time the “unsubscribe” feature gets discussed.

            5 votes
        2. BuckeyeSundae
          Link Parent
          Yes, I've mentioned something like this before, but I've been more concerned with the lack of tools to hide content than how long the content is hidden. A timed "break" feature can make a good...

          Yes, I've mentioned something like this before, but I've been more concerned with the lack of tools to hide content than how long the content is hidden. A timed "break" feature can make a good deal of sense (though I would be inclined to want people to define their own set amount of time, up to a full day).

          2 votes
  2. [3]
    mkida
    Link
    One thing I find very important that is touched on in a couple of those links is to never make assumptions. No matter how strongly you think some sentence correlates with other particular ideas,...

    One thing I find very important that is touched on in a couple of those links is to never make assumptions. No matter how strongly you think some sentence correlates with other particular ideas, ideologies, behaviors, whatever, don't continue the conversation as if it's a given. If you feel these potential links are so pertinent, ask the person about it or at least make clear that you're going off on a tangent rather than writing out an essay about how wrong you find those things, ignoring the things they actually said and implying you've just made a better point that invalidates theirs.
    Simply put - don't put words in people's mouths. Don't strawman.

    One other thing I think a lot will probably disagree with is that background, identity, etc., is usually barely more than irrelevant beyond the relationship building level. They make conversations more interesting for sure, but they don't add weight to your position. It mostly serves to demean it or alienate other parties.
    "Speaking as an X person..." is something I wish I'd never see in a conversation where people are trying to come to some truth. Or at least, I wish it'd never get any response but "oh, I didn't know that about that person, cool... anyway." This doesn't seem to be realistic yet, so I prefer to argue and take arguments as if every statement comes from some disembodied voice.

    11 votes
    1. BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      Eh, I think assumptions are a natural part of any and all discussion, but I'd be careful about what I mean when I say "assumptions." Assumptions are the implied material that connect reasons to a...

      Eh, I think assumptions are a natural part of any and all discussion, but I'd be careful about what I mean when I say "assumptions." Assumptions are the implied material that connect reasons to a conclusion. You know something is an assumption when a reason cannot lead to a conclusion without the implied bit. You have to make sure those assumptions are valid sometimes, but basically no one can do entirely without any assumptions whatsoever. To engage in a persuasive effort is to assume that the people you're talking to are open to being persuaded. Maybe that is a faulty assumption, but there is no blame to be had in your assuming the best intentions of people.

      Now that isn't the same as "make sure you're reading people as accurately as possible." It's a general principle of good-faith debate to present someone else's argument in a way that they themselves can agree is fair. This should be happening in ideal circumstances before any criticism is made. You cannot criticize something you do not accurately understand--a point I rather wish people on Twitter understood a great deal more than they seem to.

      5 votes
    2. Ark
      Link Parent
      I've been in a few discussions where people have tried to shutdown my argument by saying things like "you wouldn't understand as you've never experienced it", however this does not really apply...

      I've been in a few discussions where people have tried to shutdown my argument by saying things like "you wouldn't understand as you've never experienced it", however this does not really apply when you create a logical argument as logic is removing all emotions from your opinions, and experiencing something creates emotions, not understanding. I think it is fair to say that both parties, those who experienced it and those who didn't, can still understand what it is going on and the motives behind certain actions. This is essentially what the whole study of History is built upon; trying to understand why people did things, what was going through their head at the time etc.

      3 votes
  3. [14]
    Ark
    (edited )
    Link
    My go to rule is to never repeat myself. By this I mean once I have explained my view to somebody and they have countered it or do not understand, I’ll always try and find a different way of...

    My go to rule is to never repeat myself. By this I mean once I have explained my view to somebody and they have countered it or do not understand, I’ll always try and find a different way of explaining my opinion. Firstly this increases the chance of the other person understanding my viewpoint, but also leads to ideas being created.

    If I keep saying the same point over and over to both myself and other people, I am essentially drawing a circle around myself which is clearly a rather close minded way of thinking. If I come up with other ways to explain my opinion, I not only will exercise the logical part of my brain but also come up with new ideas of which I never thought of before. An interesting conversation to me is not just one that has two people expressing their opinions, but one that develops new ideas and allows people to further develop and change their currently held opinions by logical thinking.

    EDIT: I like to call this kind of conversation the "Rabbit Hole", where one conversation topic can lead to other, even if opposing views are had at each stage of the discussion. An example of one I had with my friend recently would be: What is the perfect government? Does this depend on having a perfect society? How do you define a perfect society? Would every human have to be perfect? Is a perfect human defined by their emotions or their intellect? Will we ever evolve to become the perfect human? Would it never happen as evolution is never perfect? I'm sure there were a few other topics discussed in-between but you get the general idea, in the space of an hour we had covered some really interesting topics stemming from a single question.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Mechangel
      Link Parent
      This is a great point. I've made the mistake of doubling down in conversations before when I've been really fired up about something and it has never ended well for me. It's also frustrating to be...

      My go to rule is to never repeat myself. By this I mean once I have explained my view to somebody and they have countered it or do not understand, I’ll always try and find a different way of explaining my opinion.

      This is a great point. I've made the mistake of doubling down in conversations before when I've been really fired up about something and it has never ended well for me. It's also frustrating to be on the other end of the discussion when someone is doing this because you don't feel as though you're being listened to.

      7 votes
      1. Ark
        Link Parent
        I have done exactly the same thing and always try and force myself to come up with a different way of explaining things simply because everyone thinks differently, especially when it comes to...

        I have done exactly the same thing and always try and force myself to come up with a different way of explaining things simply because everyone thinks differently, especially when it comes to understanding opinions. It applies to everything though, I remember when teaching a bunch of my friends how to solve the Rubik's Cube I had to come up with a very specific teaching method for each person as they all understood how the cube worked but in different ways. That was a good experience as it really showed me just how differently our brains understood problems, even with the simplest of objects like a basic twisting puzzle.

        3 votes
    2. [9]
      ContemplativePanda
      Link Parent
      Thanks for this, I need to work on not repeating the same things over and over. Sometimes you get so caught up you don't realize you're going in circles.

      Thanks for this, I need to work on not repeating the same things over and over. Sometimes you get so caught up you don't realize you're going in circles.

      4 votes
      1. [8]
        Ark
        Link Parent
        Don't worry I still need to remind myself all the time not to do so. I think the main reason why people go round in circles is when emotions start to overshadow logical thinking and essentially...

        Don't worry I still need to remind myself all the time not to do so. I think the main reason why people go round in circles is when emotions start to overshadow logical thinking and essentially put up a barrier around the person that prohibits any further thinking. Unless you are a robot, arguing without letting any emotions come into play is impossible, it's controlling those emotions and letting the logic take precedence is what leads to developing points and not repeating the same argument over and over.

        4 votes
        1. [7]
          ContemplativePanda
          Link Parent
          Of course, and I found that when I get too far into an argument we are normally very off track discussing some very "fine print" things like a phrase or an assumption or something else. And, it...

          Of course, and I found that when I get too far into an argument we are normally very off track discussing some very "fine print" things like a phrase or an assumption or something else. And, it isn't really pertinent to the original debate at all - and yet there we are. Haha.

          4 votes
          1. [6]
            Ark
            Link Parent
            My friend and I always fall in the trap of discussing the definition of words instead of actually discussing ideas. We realise after about half an hour that we have simply googled different...

            My friend and I always fall in the trap of discussing the definition of words instead of actually discussing ideas. We realise after about half an hour that we have simply googled different definitions, laugh about it for a few minutes and then try and restart the conversation.

            4 votes
            1. [5]
              BuckeyeSundae
              Link Parent
              Yeah, it can be really easy to get bogged down in definition clarification, but it's also pretty important to know that you're talking about the same thing. I find that in a lot of cases people...

              Yeah, it can be really easy to get bogged down in definition clarification, but it's also pretty important to know that you're talking about the same thing. I find that in a lot of cases people are too unwilling to let the person they're trying to understand have a definition for a word that fits within the context of that other person's argument, even if as the reader/reviewer, you normally might understand the term in a different way (such as the term "Liberal," for instance). Edit: Because that sentence is a mess (vagueness does that) let me try again. Dorothy is prone to trying to use Dorothy's own definition of a word when trying to understand Delilah's argument, despite Delilah presenting her own, distinct understanding of that word and how it fits into her argument.

              In an online context, there's a lot of pressure to try to add something distinct to the discussion, which tends to hone discussions down to the minutiae that @ContemplativePanda is talking about. I try not to miss the forests for the trees when going down the rabbit hole, but we're all human.

              4 votes
              1. [4]
                Ark
                Link Parent
                Coming to an agreement on a definition is always hard as each person wants to warp the definition slightly to fit their argument more, which makes sense but also grinds the conversation to a halt...

                Coming to an agreement on a definition is always hard as each person wants to warp the definition slightly to fit their argument more, which makes sense but also grinds the conversation to a halt sometimes I agree.

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  BuckeyeSundae
                  Link Parent
                  My approach on this question is simple. If it's your argument, it's your definition. If I am to question or critique your argument, I must use your definition to make any sense at all.

                  My approach on this question is simple. If it's your argument, it's your definition. If I am to question or critique your argument, I must use your definition to make any sense at all.

                  3 votes
                  1. ContemplativePanda
                    Link Parent
                    The problem I find with this is no one wants to abide by that. I'm willing to "give" them the definition and argue within that "realm" in order to make points. Then, I like to try to revisit my...

                    The problem I find with this is no one wants to abide by that. I'm willing to "give" them the definition and argue within that "realm" in order to make points. Then, I like to try to revisit my definition and explain myself but am sometimes not met with the same respect or willing to hear me out when I try to propose my why I see this definition as this way. Semantics are a tricky thing, and feel very important to a conversation because it is really the basis of the rest of the argument.

                    1 vote
    3. [2]
      BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      I think I see where you're coming from (and this doesn't really directly relate to your point, aside from how you framed the first sentence), but want to say out the gate I think it's super...

      I think I see where you're coming from (and this doesn't really directly relate to your point, aside from how you framed the first sentence), but want to say out the gate I think it's super helpful most of the time to repeat yourself. People mess up! People aren't perfect readers or listeners, and it's kind of a tough ask to expect people to be perfect readers or listeners. The wisdom in what you say just after framing things as "never repeating yourself" makes total sense to me, though I'm so loathe to repeat myself anyway that I'm likely to reframe how I've said something just to show that I haven't simply copy-pasted the original.

      Your point of refocusing how to present something is especially important when it comes to analogies. Good analogies are worth their weight in gold. If you find one that works for a particular person, remember it! Someone else might come along that analogy will also do wonders for. Analogies are great tools for reifying your argument for people. Without analogies people tend to argue in ways that are like people being asked to have salad all day, but good analogies make those salads into hamburgers. Present the hamburger. More people will eat it.

      3 votes
      1. Ark
        Link Parent
        Yeah I think I should of made it a bit less intense, I more meant if somebody is clearly struggling to understand my point even after I've repeated it a few times, then clearly my explanation is...

        Yeah I think I should of made it a bit less intense, I more meant if somebody is clearly struggling to understand my point even after I've repeated it a few times, then clearly my explanation is simply not sitting right with them which is perfectly fine. Finding out how somebody's brain interprets information is half the fun of a conversation, the more different someone is the more interesting the conversation.

        I do love me a good analogy. It's the perfect bridge between abstract ideas and the real world.

        3 votes
  4. [2]
    BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    As you showed with your links, there are a LOT of things people can do to promote good conversation. You might also add Michael Sandel's TED talk on the lost art of Democratic Debate, as it...

    As you showed with your links, there are a LOT of things people can do to promote good conversation. You might also add Michael Sandel's TED talk on the lost art of Democratic Debate, as it touches on a couple key traits to emulate when having high level debate about tough moral topics.

    As Jay Heinrichs points out in that article you linked, it's easy to have the general idea down when you already have a background in rhetoric (for instance, I definitely do. I coached mock trial, organized for a political campaign, and I'm a classicist nerd, which means I've interacted with and/or close-read a bunch of speeches in Latin--relatedly, facefuck and buttfuck you, Cicero and your ancestor's giant nose too). It can be hard to communicate lessons from that training to a lay audience if you're not thinking about it, but I think Heinrichs usually does a stellar job. Though I really don't like his falling into the "both sides" mode of framing discussion, there are almost always more than two sides. Sometimes more than two sides within the same two-people-discussion. But I still keep around Thank You For Arguing for its accessible approach to communicating persuasion.

    If I had to distill everything into two major points, it'd be these:

    • Ask what is important to the person's view who you're trying to convince of something, then speak to that. You cannot convince what you don't understand. If you're going to try to persuade someone to feel differently than how they currently feel, you simply must know what's important to them. You can't speak to that without asking and listening.
    • Try to be genuinely open to someone else's attempt to persuade you. No one likes talking to a brick wall. If you don't seem able to change your mind about something, people are going to notice and that is going to frame discussion going forward. You don't have to know what could persuade you to feel differently, but you do have to enter discussion with a genuine openness to the idea that you could either be wrong (there is a reason you will keep seeing me rebuff people talking about things that are "100% certain") or that someone else could bring forward a point you hadn't thought about before.

    Everything else feels like it's mostly window-dressing to get to these two main points. I will typically speak in the future tense (because it will have been the best tense). I will typically focus on value priorities that drive points of view. I will typically look for personal experiences that have influenced views (because they impact our views all the time, whether we recognize that or not). But none of those conversational tricks are fundamental to good discussion. They're good practices, but you can still have good discussions without them. I don't think you can have good discussions if you're not asking what's important to the person you're speaking to or if you're not willing or able to listen to the answer.

    7 votes
    1. Mechangel
      Link Parent
      Thank you for your very well-thought out comment and for the link to Sandel's TED Talk. I hadn't seen that one before but I'm going to bookmark it because I know that future me will want to be...

      Thank you for your very well-thought out comment and for the link to Sandel's TED Talk. I hadn't seen that one before but I'm going to bookmark it because I know that future me will want to be reminded of a couple of points he made. I was especially interested in the Aristotelian idea of needing to define the essential nature of the purpose of something before you can begin to decide what justice means in relation to it.

      I also thought you made a great point about knowing what is important to someone and why before trying to engage with them regarding a contentious topic on which you disagree. I'm sure most of us have been in conversations in which the other party says something upsetting, and we think, "How could he/she think that?" but what comes out of our mouths is, "Are you out of your mind?" or maybe we do simply say, "How could you think that!?" but we do it aggressively because at that point we're ready for a fight. Calmly asking someone, "Can you explain why you feel that way?" or "Tell me more about what's important to you," ensures that the discussion keeps moving in a way that's productive instead of instantly turning hostile and breaking down.

      3 votes
  5. [2]
    starchturrets
    Link
    If you make a fuck-up, apologize. If you've made a comment in blind rage, don't just run away and delete it.

    If you make a fuck-up, apologize. If you've made a comment in blind rage, don't just run away and delete it.

    6 votes
    1. Ark
      Link Parent
      Apologising for screwing up is vital I think if you want to get better at arguing or just keeping a discussion going. By realising you messed up your logic with a particular argument, you are...

      Apologising for screwing up is vital I think if you want to get better at arguing or just keeping a discussion going. By realising you messed up your logic with a particular argument, you are essentially training your brain to spend more time thinking about your argument and the underlying logic before blindly throwing out an opinion without any real evidence to support it.

      Another thing I practice is upon understanding somebody else's opinion that I may not have fully understood before, I make sure they know that I fully understand as this invokes a positive response and actually encourages them to share more. People, including myself, get frustrated when others don't understand where they are coming from so to hear that someone understands their point is good as they then know their point is being considered and analysed and not just heard.

      3 votes
  6. ContemplativePanda
    Link
    Wow you posted a lot of great links. I will definitely read/watch those when I get a chance - thanks! To throw in my 2 cents, I feel like there are a couple of things everyone should work on....

    Wow you posted a lot of great links. I will definitely read/watch those when I get a chance - thanks!

    To throw in my 2 cents, I feel like there are a couple of things everyone should work on. Attacking the argument and not the person is one of my biggest ones. Too often we feel that attacking the person is a better course of action than the argument, which doesn't help anyone or any discussion.

    I also think that entering into all conversations with a good faith willingness to hear the other person(s) out is really important. You don't have to agree if they don't convince you (though you should be willing to try and see their point) but you can disagree respectfully and still get something out of it.

    Lastly, perspective and exercising your ability to see both sides of an argument and the other persons perspective goes a long way in helping understand argument holistically. I often try to play devils advocate or tackle the "hard"/"other" perspective as an exercise in argument and perspective, and it's a very challenging thing to do. But, it is very rewarding to do so and understand both sides.

    4 votes
  7. Neverland
    Link
    I have been working on myself in this regard for a while. One rule I made up after defusing some potential flame wars is: Never attribute a response to malice before making sure it is not a...

    I have been working on myself in this regard for a while. One rule I made up after defusing some potential flame wars is:

    Never attribute a response to malice before making sure it is not a product of misunderstanding.

    3 votes