Rules of Engagement

I get in a lot of discussions, arguments, debates and the occasional verbal donnybrook, especially online. Because I’m opinionated, I come from a family of arguers, and, well…the internet is full of people who like to rumble. A friend of mine linked to this flowchart of discussion guidelines which I like a whole hell of a lot, so assume these are the rules for getting into discussions and arguments with me, both online and in person.

Our Discussion

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7 thoughts on “Rules of Engagement

  1. congratulations you have just ruled out pretty much all arguments/discussions you could have on the internet.

    Unless you have discovered some bastion of sanity and reason on the net that I have yet to encounter.

  2. Well, this should save me a lot of time and energy!

  3. Can you envision anything changing your mind about this chart? 😉

    I can understand the reasons someone would make this chart and the reasons you find it appealing. But I think it leaves out a lot of really valuable discourse. If two people can approach each other with respect, why must a “discussion” mean that each person is trying to convince the other of something? Can we not simply try to ask each other questions in order to try and better understand one another?

    I know the chart is at least partly tongue-in-cheek (at least I hope it is), so I’ll just point out the fact that it doesn’t seem to make any promises that the chart-wielder will follow these same courtesies. (E.g., “Thank you for requesting to have a discussion with me about this topic. Before we begin, I must examine my own biases and unwillingness to change by taking a little self-test.”)

  4. Steve, when I ask people questions about things like politics, religion, life, the universe, etc, I’m trying to better understand them, but I’m also looking to see if my mind can be changed in some way. In fact, I’d say that understanding involves having one’s mind changed in some way. Maybe that’s not true for you, but it is for me.

    And I assumed it went without saying that the chart applied to everyone in the discussion, the chart-wielder and anyone else.

  5. OK, I understand, and my faith in and affection for you as a person outweigh any shortcomings in the chart. I just see the overall tone of the chart as confrontational and belittling (which you aren’t).

  6. Thanks, Steve. I didn’t interpret it as overly confrontational and I didn’t see it as belitting. I certainly didn’t mean it that way when I posted it.

  7. Omg, just looking at a flowchart makes me break out in hives!

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