Or: How to rant without inciting a flamewar

For the record, I am kind-of liberal

(Comrade M says: 'kind-of liberal'?! You're a bloody pinko just like me!
Mir says: Yeah but I would have voted for John McCain if he had been nominated.
Comrade M: So? You can't vote, you're 16.
Mir: Oops.)

But I've taken it up as my duty to damn well make sure the center isn't crushed. Also, I suppose this node would be a subset of Earn Your Bullshit, but I feel that what I'm about to say should stand as a separate writeup. So here we go...

Those among us who took are are currently taking English (or your own native language, whatever) classes or a public speaking course should have, at some point in their education, been taught how to write a persuasive essay/speech/etc. So when I log on to see something along the lines of:

Blah blah blah is a term used by tree-hugging pot-smoking commie-hippies/republican-slave-to-the-man when they whine/moan/bitch about (insert social problem or government organization here). I hate these commie/facist bastards and wish they were all burned/tortured/deported/hung for insulting Jerry Falwell/Tony Blair

my faith in the public education system dips a little lower. (And if you did this and are currently or were previously enrolled in a private/parochial school, then I will make a mental note to avoid your Alma Mater when getting my far-future children a top-notch education)

People, you should know better. When writing a persuasive essay/speech/node, you should:

  • always do some research into what you are ranting about. If you want to go off and argue about the "evils of the Green Party", at least read the Green Party Platform and educate yourself on what they stand for so you don't end up sounding like an ignorant fool.
  • You should never, ever make blanket statements, as this will damage your credibility beyond repair and make you sound much less wise than you (probably) are.
  • Keep in mind that writeups in a debate/rant node that consist solely of a quote from a writer, philosopher, musician, politician, etc. are the ANTINODE! In other words, don't ever do that! If you are going to quote someone then frame it with your own statements (Copy-and-Paste writeups will die!, ok?)

Ok, you've posted your masterpiece and now someone has posted a reply to your writeup. (Yes, I know sumbit does not mean reply, but do realize this is often what happens in opinion nodes.) First things first: do *NOT* immediately answer back! This is very bad, as your first reaction will often be rage and anything you have to say immediately will more than likely result in a good old-fashoned flamewar. Instead, follow this three-part mantra for debating on E2:

Smile. Relax. Attack.

Close your eyes, count to 10. Relax.

Ok, now read through what the other person said. Read carefully, take your time. Now think about what thy said. Even if they disagree with you, you may find they have some things to say that point out flaws in your argument (and we all make mistakes...except Pseudo Intellectual, but he's a Perl script and thus doesn't count ^-^ ). As you read, take note of the points they make. Then break out your text editor and craft a reply around your counter-statements to their key points, carefully sculpting your words to make the best counter-counter-argument you can without forcing us bystanders to have to break out the asbestos armor. Then, and only then, maye you press sumbit.

With luck, you'll earn the support of your peers, the respect of your opponents, and maybe even a C! or, even neater, a spot on the Page of Cool *hurray!*, so remmember kids:

Be Cool

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