Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint about rewiring things and punching people, I'm on a weekly gaming podcast called The Crate & Crowbar, I wrote these two short stories in the Machine of Death collections, and I used to write articles like these for PC Gamer. I'm now prototyping two new games, Heat Signature and one about grappling hooks.
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I don’t argue on the internet anymore, but I have some ideas on how to do it without defeating yourself and also human decency.
Update: This post now has a sort of sequel, suggesting ways to contribute to an argument without being an asshole.
Diffractionman: Wow, really enjoying these Kitchen Videos (or whatever you'd like to call them) and this is a particularly great one.
I wonder if our experiences is also, along with determining what data we have, affecting how we see other data. We assign different weights to the same statements. And can't seem to understand why someone else doesn't assign the same weight. I've often wondered why I feel differently about situations to most other people, maybe it's just different experiences.
ghosttie: I don't think the people who would benefit most from adjusting their attitude toward arguments are people who are much into self-examination.
I think people in general are more interested in defending their beliefs than in challenging them. A lot of the time people believe things because they were raised to believe them and that's not something you can argue with.
Anonymous: Nice video I totally agree. I always find I grow and learn more about myself and the world by talking to people I disagree with.
Jason L: Well, you're right. I should try to find out what different life experiences result in positions abhorrent enough to be worth fighting.
100% result: They were raised by bigots or solipsist fundamentalists.
That was quick. Now what?
ninecome: I'd really love to read the article you mention - the one about written statements and subjects' perception of truth. I tried to search for it based on your description but wasn't able to find it. Do you happen to know where you saw it?
Nonomu198: Tom, what nice people arguing were you talking about?
Pod: Date your posts! I don't know how old this is!
Did you know that this page comes up as the top result for "solipsist fundamentalists"? Not that I found it via here (I wanted to look it up and it was what I thought it was -- the "you don't exist if I can't see you/you're all figments of my mind" thing).
I love arguing on the internet. Millions of people are wrong and just need correcting.
How do I stop doing this? How do you stop yourself from doing that? What happens if someone says something terrible like "All blacks should be shot?" or "Spelunky sucks"? Do you not want to say "you're wrong, here's why: " ?
re: Statements on paper -- I guess this is how Derren Brown does all of his tricks? ;)
Tom Francis: The date's in the URL.
Jason L: For the record I was referring to fundamentalists who are solipsist (via inevitable retreats into nihilist denial of the existence of any objective truth), not solipsists who are fundamentalist about it :) The latter are uninteresting nonhumans; 'I refute it thus'.
It gets a lot easier to not want to write SIWOTI dissertations for people when you turn it around and think about how much you care about what trufax some random prick tells you online. Now multiply that by Asshole (because they're mouthbreathing trolls in the first place) and those are your odds of making any difference. You can 'stand' with someone who's being hurt by them, but that's emotionally homeopathic tea and requires a maximum of one sentence. 999/1000 if you have mod power give 'em some banhammer lovin' and if you don't they're not your problem.
Cpt.Average: I tend to just state my opinion/experience with as little emotion as possible then leave the forum/whatever and never visit it again. Even then, I only bother to post on subjects I feel very strongly about or feel I have experience that is valuable to the arguement.
PS You reminded me of this video:
Tom Francis: Haha. Yeah, that's an elegant way to put it.
Infinite Lives » “Allow Natural Death” post-mortem (AKA “thanks”): [...] order—by promising me the work I’m doing is good. A games critic named Tom Francis made a video that I think I perhaps didn’t agree with at first, only because it threatened to mitigate my [...]
Not Being An Asshole In An Argument, by Tom Francis: [...] I don’t argue on the internet anymore. The short version is: it usually gets hostile, and that drives everyone further away from changing their minds. [...]
norbandosahat: you done good from the looks of it.
Dean: Thank you sir. You have changed the way I argue, on the Internet and otherwise, forever.
It's pretty simple realization. As good as calling the other guy an idiot may feel (in the moment), what does it actually accomplish? There's so much more to be accomplished simply from civil conversation.
ThisGuy!: In my experience, your observations are spot on.
I too don't argue anymore and find qualifiers are very important to not ending up in stupid internet arguments.
URLs get turned into links automatically. You can use <i>HTML</i> but not [b]forum[/b] code. If your comment doesn't show up, e-mail me - the spam filter's just detained it for questioning.