- Name-calling (pinhead, jerk, bozo, idiot, moron, stupid, etc.)
- Attacks on character.
- Intentional distortion of opponent’s/opponents’ views and argument.
- Humor directed at the person of the opponent so as to cause shame or embarrassment.
- Monopolizing the discussion.
- Sloppy argumentation; attempts at obfuscation in order to win the argument.
- Return abuse with abuse.
- Respect for the other no matter how much you disagree (Don’t call him fool. Comment that his argument is unwise). Address him/her respectfully.
- No derogatory references to the person’s character, in fact, no references to the person’s character.
- Carefully lay out the opposing party’s position, as you heard it, so that you are sure that you have it right. Ask questions for clarification.
- Humor pertinent to the topic, but not to the embarrassment of the interlocutor. Self-effacement is proper as long as it is not intended to manipulate.
- Giving the other person an opportunity to express his views and ask questions.
- Carefully laying out one’s argument in a clear and coherent way.
- Return respect for abuse.
A public dialogue should be well structured so as to help minimize abuses.
At a later time we will discuss one on one or small group conversations
Michael G. Tavella
July 22, 2019