Arguing on the Internet

I’m not much of an arguer in real life. I generally just accept what people say and if I disagree I just let them believe what they want to believe.

My internet persona is another beast altogether.

I can’t really pinpoint the reason behind that. All I know is if I see someone making a claim on the internet that doesn’t make sense or is just plain wrong, I cannot help but to commence correcting them.

The problem is that real-life arguments are much more fulfilling.

Here’s the phases of your typical ‘net argument.

Someone makes a false, illogical, or just plain stupid claim

Here’s a few examples of these type of claims:

“The ATI X1800XL is the best video card”

(Best in what way? Everything is best if you narrow the set of circumstances enough.)

“A Mac is the best choice for web development”

“Microsoft sucks.”

“Lost will be awesome for sweeps”

Naturally, being my compulsive, internet-arguing self, I reply in the negative to such claims. What comes next varies depends upon the savy of the person making the claim, whether or not they truly believe such a thing, or if they’re just a troll, but typically the next step is…

Defend false claim with anecdotal evidence or a point that sounds like it backs them up but really doesn’t

I hate to see this because some people truly don’t see the problem with it. If I can’t make them understand the battle is lost. (You never really win at internet arguing anyway)

“My brother just got an X1800XL and it’s SUPER FAST”

“My friend developed his l33t hacker website on his mom’s Mac and it was really easy.”

Notice the extensive use of friends and family to back them up. Like I care what they have to say.

“Windows crashed my PC and I lost all off the WoW hacks I’ve downloaded”

(One product on one PC in one particular set of circumstances does not a sucky company make.)

“Sweeps week helps them determine advertising revenues”

(Sure it does. Of course that doesn’t prove that Lost will rise from it’s recent suckiness for redemption during sweeps week. I’m sure the writers will try to put their most enthralling plot elements forward during sweeps. But then again, if they were able to produce awesome shows on demand why would they let the previous episodes of this season be so bad? While I realize “bad” is subjective, the audience as a whole has been disappointed.

This type of argument can be very frustrating. The person making the claim many times doesn’t see the subtle difference between their defense statement being correct and at the same time not proving their original point because the two points are so similar.)

I’ll try to point out to them the error in their ways by replying with a detailed response. This inevitably leads to…

Unfullfilling

This is where the discussion goes awry. There’s several ways your internet opponent can completly take all joy out of your life at this point.

“That’s just your opinion.”

Uh-huh

“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying!”

No you’re not. Stop trying to get on my boat of superiority.

“I like choclate chip cookies.”

Either realizing they have been beaten, or forgetting what they were talking about, many people choose to just pretend nobody ever said anything about anything.

“Let’s agree to disagree”

Let’s not, loser.

“See this benchmark shows that the X1800XL is fastest! I WIN! HAHAHAHAH!!! I got to go, later.”

Not only does the defense point not prove their point, they don’t stick around to hear what you have to say and go on forever believing they won the argument. Makes me so sad.