How to Argue On Facebook

Many people need to know how to have a respectful conversation to preserve peace on Facebook and in their own lives:

(a) If you are going to disagree with someone on Facebook, begin by affirming something they say. Make it clear you see value in their views. You can say something like “I agree with you on this and that, because I see how it could indeed lead to such and such.” 

When you do that, the person will immediately realize you care about what they said and that you are not there to lecture. It will also make the conversation less hostile and more productive. You can then move ahead and say, “I however disagree with you because of so and so.”

(b) Don’t tell people to stop talking about a subject you consider trivial! It’s rude to say something like “Why are we talking about Beyoncé when she doesn’t pay our bills?” Who are you to tell people what to talk about on their free time? And why do you think your idea of what’s important should become the template for everyone else? It will seem as if you are asserting power over other people, trying to control how they talk.

(c) It shows a lack of manners to rush over to people’s page when you are not on their friend’s list to attack. Visit to affirm! You don’t know them. You don’t know the history of their views. By showing up to preach without knowledge of the histories of their views, it makes you appear arrogant, a know-it-all: not a sophisticated debater. This impolite print of your aggressiveness will always remain on the Internet.

(d) Be aware of the usage of certain words such as “most,” “many,” “some,” and “few.” Use “most” when you are knowledgeable of the statistics. Otherwise, “some” is a good choice. To say, “Most Americans hate foreigners,” makes you sound not so knowledgeable. How can you prove that? It’s best to say “Some” or “Many Americans” hate foreigners.

If, however, a behavior is widespread, in your opinion, you can amplify your position by saying something like, “Americans hate foreigners.” You can defend that position by referring to the culture of politics and voting that put war hawks in office, and how drones have been destabilizing foreign lands.

However, persons can always challenge you on this; but there is room to defend your point. If you, however, say “Most Americans,” your opponent can ask you to provide the statistics. When you leave it as “Americans,” you have room to maneuver.

(e) Never ever attack people’s personality because you don’t like their views. Don’t become psychologist and psychiatrist! Remain a debater! If someone says, “Jamaicans are the worst people in the Caribbean,” you shouldn’t reply saying, “You are stupid.” Character attacks are not arguments.

Instead, move ahead and state why the argument is flawed, or why Jamaicans are not the worst people in the Caribbean. If you can’t argue any of that, use your brilliant skills and respectfully force your opponent to prove their point.

Indeed, when you do character attacks, many of your friends might press the LIKE button in your defense. It doesn’t mean your argument is sound; it just means they lack the skills to realize you have violated the rules of good debate. A good reader will quietly say, “Oh, there goes a bunch of misinformed nodding heads to misinformation.”

(d) When a black person holds a position you don’t think is “liberal,” don’t say, “But what if they did that to black people”? That doesn’t make you sound smart. That line of argument is clichéd. It presupposes that black folks shouldn’t have certain views because they were once enslaved and should remain eternally grateful that white people freed them.

White persons love to use this line when talking about gender and sexuality. And they fail to realize they are basically declaring their power over black people, by reminding blacks of white powers that enslaved and freed.

Based on that power articulation, they have expectations of what black viewpoints must automatically resemble. Indeed, people of color do it too when referring to persons such as Clarence Thomas or black conservatives. But it seems they are unaware that this statement is creating a mandate for how all blacks must think and speak.

If you discern some black persons are homophobic for instance, don’t rush to remind them that they need to be grateful for not being slaves. That position is not going to change their views. An argument should be about bringing fresh ideas to the table–ideas your opponent hadn’t heard before.

(f) Don’t pop up on people’s page only when you want to disagree.

(g) Don’t argue to win! Argue to share or else you will never feel like a true winner!

(h) Don’t hesitate to use the delete and block button to keep a healthy Facebook life.

You might however realize I do not follow these rules sometimes; but that is when I am referring to public figures. When talking to Facebook friends, I try to abide by these rules.

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