Issuepedia:Arguing

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Revision as of 01:30, 10 September 2010 by Woozle (talk | contribs) (major revamp, inspired by trying to copy it to LessWrong)

About

Unlike other reference projects, Issuepedia welcomes personal opinion.

However, opinions without good arguments behind them will probably be shredded or at least questioned. Attempts to undermine other debaters by use of logical fallacies and other rhetorical deceptions will be called out.

Guidelines

things to do

When arguing against another person's statements:

  • DO address the substance of the argument you are disputing.
  • DO be clear about what you're trying to say.
  • DO take a position (rather than just attacking the positions of others).
  • DO offer arguments:
    • for why the other debater's statements are unlikely to be true.
    • to support what you think is correct.
  • DO respond to every point you wish to oppose.
    • Failure to respond to a point does not make it untrue.
    • If a point remains unanswered, it is reasonable to consider it true.
  • DO draw attention to any unanswered points.
    • Others may assume or erroneously believe that unanswered points have actually been defeated.

things to avoid

It generally does not strengthen your position if you:

This is relevant, but I can't get the thumbnail to render properly. Statements higher on this hierarchy generally trump lower ones.

using sources

When disputing the accuracy of a source, or of an argument based upon a fact stated in a source:

  • DON'T simply claim that the source is unreliable.
  • DON'T simply claim that the fact is wrong.
  • DO identify better sources.
  • DO offer correct information.
  • DO summarize the content of any referenced material if it is not obvious, rather than expecting others to read it and understand its applicability to the discussion. (No required reading.)
    • If you can't defend your own point within the context of the current discussion, then perhaps you don't understand what you're arguing -- or perhaps you don't understand what you're arguing against, and are hoping that something somewhere in the required reading will suffice as a rebuttal.
    • In-context quotes are acceptable, but summaries are better -- especially if written to be specific about the matter under discussion.