Thumper's Rule - Knowing When And How To Avoid An Online Argument

The Web is filled with great, constructive online dialogs. But sometimes, netizens argue just to argue. Here are a few tips and tricks I have collected over the years to avoid engaging in an argument that could get you banned from a community...or worse.

1) Learn Thumper’s Rule

In case you have never seen the movie “Bambi”, you need to learn this one little piece of sage advice from the bunny rabbit named Thumper. Thumper’s father taught him (and his mother reminded him) that “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Sometimes it’s just a good idea to walk away from the argument, especially before it gets personal.

2) Don’t argue just to argue

Community managers can spot them a mile away. Trolls who like to just stir the pot and start arguments. If you’re there just to argue, then go someplace else. If you’re there to contribute and enjoy the company of other people, great. But don’t be a troll. No one likes  a troll.

3) Know your position and why you’re defending it

Do you really believe in the argument you’re making or are you just attacking the person who is disagreeing with you. As humans, we sometimes let our distaste for someone else cloud our judgement as to whether they are making a valid argument.

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4) Think about the community

Is your argument about gun control really beneficial to a community focused on helping solve technology-related issues? Sure, frequent contributors to a site often get to know each other personally, but do you really need to bring off-topic arguments to a forum where they aren’t of benefit to the community?

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