We’ve all been in a situation where you’ve read posts from people that are totally out in left field. They seem to put a twig on their head and enjoy trying to convince people they are a tree. You know those people. They are the ones that feel “compelled” to post on everybody else’s posts. I’ve been noticing they all use the same techniques. To easily spot these types of posters, I’ve outlined some of the techniques they like to use to “win an internet argument,” in case you want to try at home.
Technique 1: Hotel California
Keep checking out but don’t actually leave. Even though you “say” you’re not posting anymore and ending the argument, keep coming back for that ONE LAST POST.
Good Night, Gracie
Technique 2: Riposte Post
Use words like “Amused,” “Droll,” and “Pathetic” in your responses. Pretend like you’re a wealthy Bond villain and all other posters are beneath you.
Technique 3: First Amendment Reinterpretation Argument
If someone disagrees with you, ask them if they’ve ever heard of the FIRST AMENDMENT and remind them we live in the U.S. of A. and you’re allowed to say whatever you want. The mere fact that they disagree and dare to post their dissent is PROOF positive they are really just trying to squash your freedom of speech.
Technique 4: The Passive Aggressive Apology Technique
If you want to look like the bigger person, just apologize. You don’t actually have to “MEAN it” or admit you did anything wrong. Just use “sorry” somewhere in your post and if the other person doesn’t accept it, it’s their problem. Because it’s a really bad person that won’t let something go after you typed the word sorry.
Technique 5: The Innocent Question Technique
This is Classic Passive Aggressive, with a touch of “I was just asking a question” – as to make people think your opponent is a suppressor of different ideas and critical thinking.
Technique 6: The Backtrack Technique
If you realize you posted something wrong, quickly use your edit button OR tell them that they are just misinterpreting what you meant. Make them think you are so above them that they are taking the literal meaning and not the figurative one that you meant. The fact that you didn’t mean it that way is really irrelevant.
Technique 7: Wingman Technique
Get one of your friends to agree with your way-off post, and if you don’t have any friends, just create another online identity and agree with yourself. No one will ever know.
Technique 8: Incredible Credentials Technique
Who’s going to know if you’re really not an astronaut, lawyer, doctor, or PhD? Just tell people you are. The only thing that could potentially hinder you is your overall lack of knowledge of any of the subject matter.
Technique 9: Tunnel Vision Technique
So you’ve been attacked and proven wrong on all your points… Stay focused. Don’t let little things like evidence and facts get in your way, keep attacking back. Point out grammatical errors if necessary. Who ever posts last WINS.
Technique 10: Hitler Technique
This is your last ditch effort. When all else fails, compare your opponent to Hitler. He was a really bad guy, so comparing opponents to Hitler will vis-a-vis make them look like really bad people. Don’t let the fact that Godwin’s law (short version: you automatically lose your debate if you do this) distract you. Eyes on the prize, posters! Eyes on the prize!
If you don’t actually want to partake in these techniques but simply wish to combat posters like these, you must remember you are dealing with a person who has essentially placed a twig on their head and expects you to believe they are a tree. Armored in that level of “confidence,” almost anything you say will be construed by them as evidence that their tree disguise is working, so you will have to be very specific and to the point in addressing exactly what they’re doing and why it’s not fooling anyone.
Subtlety and sarcasm are great tools, but there is no way in hell they will get through to this type of poster. Unless you’re just toying with them for your own amusement, then the best way to put an end to it is just to be direct.
Your only other option is to sigh heavily, walk away from your computer, and go eat a ham sandwich.