Why debate online, answered

Got a few insightful responses from this post! Here are the themes I saw in those responses:

  • It’s not about convincing the other person. It’s about convincing all the silent people in the audience.
    • “You’re not trying to convince the other person, that is a hopeless pursuit, it’s all a performance on a stage; you’re trying to convince the neutral people reading that what you’re saying is technically correct.”
    • “It is important to not leave the online battleground to certain parties, in particular when extreme voices are the loudest. You may not convince them, but /others/ can see that there is another view. It’s about bystanders, in particular ones that would blindly follow anyone.”
  • Growth comes from practice.
    • “[I do it] for my own benefit, to sharpen my argument against the whetstone of another’s.”
    • “I sharpen my argumentation online not to convince those randoms that might be bots, but rather to find myself making compelling points with ease in person.”
  • It’s a fun way to spend some time if you don’t take it too seriously.
    • “It’s done in good spirits. I like to see people’s unconscious biases and delusional claims in their arguments. And, also, try to see after how many posts – do they go into personal and racist attacks.”
  • There’s always hope that maybe you’ll be the one to get through to them.
    • “Hope dies last and there is (potentially unreasonable) hope that you may be the one that finally gets across the message or some understanding.
    • “There is a huge gap between good and bad explanations and a passionate person explaining vs a non-passionate one.”

Some people said they get sucked in and it’s almost irresistible, and others said they plan for it and set aside time in their day to prioritize it.

All fair points! Thanks for the responses folks.

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