I am certain all are familiar with the popular definition of insanity.In case you are not, the Urban Dictionary defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I have discovered that this definition is quite applicable to debating subject matter such as politics, race, or religion in a Facebook group. To my knowledge no one has ever changed the mind of another as the result of debating them on Facebook. As stated, to my knowledge. Should anyone have evidence to the contrary they are invited to comment below.
I am reasonably new to the Facebook group debate. I entered into the fray with my eyes wide shut. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I am a reasonable man and believe I have a reasonable point of view. I am willing to listen to, and consider, opposing points of view. That willingness does not, in and of itself mean I am willing to change my mind. I have since discovered that this is the wrong approach. Reasonableness and objectivity are qualities that are shunned by most Facebook Debaters. Additionally, I have discovered there is a set of unwritten rules that one must be aware of to be able to debate like a champ in the groups. As stated, these rules are unwritten (until now) so when one enters the arena unarmed without the awareness of the rules, they are immediately at a disadvantage. As a public service, I have assembled a few of the more important rules with a brief explanation and the possible consequences of not following said rule.
- Rule #1 – Name Calling is indicated when one is handily losing the debate and has no other recourse but to call their opponent a name. This will immediately derail the debate causing the winning side to flounder and lose sight of their original objective. The winning side will then feel compelled to defend their good name and/or give a reason why are not whatever the name caller implied they are. For example, I was recently called an ass by my opponent. I questioned the use of the term and was upgraded to an asshat. I have no idea what an asshat is so I left the debate. I guess they won.
- Rule #2 – Use misdirection. Logic and commonsense have no place in a Facebook Debate. The thought of debating using the tried and true point-counterpoint method is not considered as proper in Facebook. One must make their point using lies, misdirection, and obfuscation. Recently it was stated in Facebook that Alton Sterling was killed for selling CD’s and the big bad policemen should be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. The misdirect used here is the attempt to inflame the audience by having them believe that a person was shot and killed for something as inconsequential as selling bootleg CDs. I will not rehash the Alton Sterling case here. Suffice it to say that the point of the misdirection is to take attention away from the facts and truth and instead garner support using inflammatory statements. Misdirection is an important weapon to keep in your arsenal.
- Rule #3 – Use of Memes and Edited Video. When one comes into the fight fully unarmed with certain essentials, such as a vocabulary and the ability to string several words together into a sentence then it is best to allow another to do their talking for them. The meme is an excellent tool as it is a true example of the old saw that a picture is worth a 1000 words. The 1000 words are not enough, so the mem writer will add a few more words, super-imposed over the picture to make a statement. Frequently the statement has nothing to do with the subject but I think all understands by this point that truth and fact are something ignored. Additionally, the use of edited video that cuts the truth from the subject matter are also a valuable and often used tool to make ones point.
- Rule #4 – Personal Attacks. Once the debater realized they are being overcome with a groundswell of truth and facts they must report the final strategy, the personal attack. Nothing is sacred and nothing is left alone when it comes to the personal attack. The debater will use all means necessary to discover any information about the other person, the other’s person’s family, or the other person’s dog that will show to the world that the other person is truly not worth their salt and are, above all else, an asshat.
There you have it, the rules of the debate. If you go in unarmed, you have no one to blame but yourself. Of course, one could stand on principle, calmly and rationally point out the facts with the hope the other side will see their point of view and change their mind. Once they realize the futility of this, they can make their final point and calmly walk away. But what fun would that be?
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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