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Old 02-22-2013, 07:20 PM
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StudentofLife StudentofLife is offline
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Default An excellent article


I've been doing some reading and thought you might find this article of use. I've snipped some key parts (key for me) and put them here, as well as a link to the entire article.

This was written by Edward Martin III, and is found at his website Welcome To The Petting Zoo.

When “always”, “never”, “everyone”, “no one”, or other such sweeping statements appear in a discussion, it is usually a sign that the usefulness of discourse has stopped, at least for now.
Too much effort is spent refuting that which shouldn’t even be coming up in the first place. Plus, it distracts from the real issue being discussed when all sorts of useful energy is spent saying “No, not everybody think’s you’re a taco.” It’s perfectly fine saying “A lot of people seem to think I’m a taco.” and still get the point across without forcing the discussion into the Theory Of Blinders.
If there is a charitable interpretation, it should be used. In other words, use an interpretation that most directly leads to the desired outcome.
The biggest hurdle here is ego. The more you have invested in the state of conflict, the less likely you are to accept an interpretation that denigrates that energy expenditure. Keep the goal of the discussion in mind and consider interpretations of events that lead more readily to that goal. Of course, it helps to agree upon a desired outcome, first. That can be an adventure in itself, but can also lead very quickly to the end of the trouble, too.
Sometimes a person chooses the wrong words. This is forgivable, especially if they try to find the right ones once they realize the error. The usefulness of a discussion is directly proportional to the allowance of this margin of error.
Especially in the heat of the moment, a person can use words that were unintended or that were not useful, helpful, or kind. As long as you focus on the goal of the discussion, then recovery from such accidents is fairly painless.
If any one person in a discussion hasn’t spoken in more than five minutes, chances are, it’s not a discussion anymore.
Unless you’ve accepted payment to give a lecture, stop giving a lecture. It is perfectly acceptable to stop talking when you realize this and say “I didn’t mean to hog the floor. Sorry about that.” It is also perfectly acceptable to accept this as sufficient apology and move on. This is easier to enforce when you both need a mechanical device to speak. Then, you just start with one device and set a timer on it.

The entire article link

There definitely seems to be an art to navigating online discussions with grace and tact. I wish I'd gone to college and studied debate and logic, and whatever other techniques would serve me well. But I thought this article at least made some good points.

Last edited by StudentofLife; 02-22-2013 at 07:25 PM. Reason: funky quotes
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