A Guide To Arguing On The Internet

TLDR; Don’t. But if you must…

John Bullock

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Photo by Alex Green

I’ve done more arguing on the internet than I care to admit. And, while I’m happy to say my days of losing hours to Twitter threads, subreddits, and various comment sections are behind me, that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten those experiences.

What those experiences taught me was that, ultimately, arguing online is futile, wasteful… and addictive. I truly believe it is bad for us as a society, and that we’d all be better if we stepped away from social media when we feel the urge to spark up a row. That being said, going cold turkey isn’t easy, and most medical professionals when dealing with real addictions will advise gradually weaning yourself off of the substance (when that’s an option) rather than just stopping all at once.

With that in mind, I’ve put together this little guide to arguing on the Internet. This is not a guide to help you win your argument over whether Top Gun: Maverick was good, or whether wearing a Hello Kitty shirt is cultural appropriation. This guide is designed to help you cut down the time you spend arguing by helping you identify arguments that are a complete waste of time.

Camps, Factions, and Tribalism

One of the biggest blights on society that the internet has unleashed (in my opinion) is the coalescing of endless factions and the groupthink that comes with them. Some people participate in this without realising they are doing it, others openly admit that no answer can ever be “right” if it comes out of the “wrong” mouth.

There are examples of this everywhere. It could be democrats who spent five years attacking the idea of Trump’s wall, only to twist themselves in knots trying to defend Biden closing the gaps in that same wall. It could be right-wingers endlessly lamenting cancel culture only to celebrate the sacking of James Gunn for some offensive jokes over a decade ago.

These people are almost laughably one-dimensional caricatures of their tribespeople. Don’t waste your time on them.

“Trolls” and “Bots”

“Troll” and “bot” has become less of a label and more of a generic insult in recent years. The problem, however, is that the people who would wield…

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John Bullock

Freelance content writer with an eclectic employment history and an interest in game development. Find links to things at https://linktr.ee/johnbullock