1: Stay on target (topic) and do not stray too far from it.
Not always easy, especially on a stoner forum, but if you intend to contribute in a meaningfull manner to a debate, this rule is the most important.
2: Never ever say anything you cannot back up with credible sources.
Many fall into the pitfall of inventing their own facts or credit literally incredible sources. Such ploys are often, and in a debate with me who do check sources, revealed. If you do not want to get caught doing a fast one, then don't do a fast one. In short; do your research.
3: Avoid logical fallacies.
They are easily exposed, and will when so done, make you look bad. The more common fallacies are:
Ad hominem: Personal attacks
Strawman: Assigning the opposition positions they do not hold
Non-Sequitur: The premises do not lead to the conclution
Post-hoc ergo propter hoc: Confusing correlation with causation
And there are many more.
4: Make very damn sure your spelling and grammar is mostly correct.
Nobody listens to anyone who cannot spell right. And yes, that applies to us not-english as first-language speakers as well on this english speaking (well, writing) forum. If your english writing skills are not up to scratch, do not expect anyone to read what you write.
And for all that is good, learn to use the Return key. Big blocks of text are never read.
5: Keep it as short as possible.
This is where I fail continously. I try, but I find it a challenge as I try to nuance things rather than go black-and-white. But as a general rule, anything above 3-4 paragraphs generally won't be read. Sad, but true.
6: Avoid "fishism"
That is taking a debaters post, fragment it into multiple quotes, and then respond to each in turn. It just fragments a debate into multiple red herrings. Stick to at most two major points that you quote and want to debate, not the usual fishism ploy of multiple, even dozens of quotes.
Any more tips to make a good argument? I'm sure I have glanced over a few considering how long it took me to write this in my beer and bong condition
7. Look away By aaronman
If someone posts a logical rebuke that can't be refuted, just look away and continue scrolling down. Pray it is lost amidst the ramblings.
(personal edit, looking away is often a good thing. One cannot debate every point that comes up in a post. Especially if those points come up during the "shotgun" approach of argumenting. An approach creationists are very fond of)
Edited by Zylark, 15 August 2008 - 05:33 AM.