Blogmanship
May 20, 2011 6:57 AM   Subscribe

According to recent studies, arguing on the internet is now the second most popular leisure activity in the world, just below shopping and just above sex. But how many of those who spend half their lives debating God versus Atheism or Climate Change on a message board or blog really know how to win those arguments? Now, for the first time, anonymous internet guru Noseybonk reveals the ploys, tactics and strategems of Blogmanship: the art of winning arguments on the internet without really knowing what you are talking about. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
posted by shakespeherian (67 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
who cares? i want to know how to win sex
posted by pyramid termite at 6:58 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


The only way to win sex is not to play. Trust me.

As for internet arguments, I always thought "YEAH!?!? Well...YO MOMMA!" was the winning strategy.
posted by spicynuts at 7:00 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to recent studies, arguing on the internet is now the second most popular leisure activity in the world

No it's not.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:00 AM on May 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


No it's not

Yes it is, you horrible blowfish-fondling funk-dribbler.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:03 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok Arsenio just ended the thread. Close er up.
posted by spicynuts at 7:03 AM on May 20, 2011


Yes it is.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2011


Metafilter: Winning arguments on the internet without really knowing what you are talking about.
posted by j03 at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wondered when somebody was going to say that.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:05 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


No it's not.

This is abuse. You want thread 12 A, next door.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:05 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am perfectly happy to treat non-involvement in unresolvable arguments as a personal victory condition.
posted by mhoye at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes it is.

That's not an argument! You're just being contradictory!
posted by schmod at 7:14 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


See also Schopenhauer The Art of Always Being Right
posted by shothotbot at 7:14 AM on May 20, 2011


You know who else used to win arguments on the itnernet? Hitler!
posted by mmrtnt at 7:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


ALL CAPS. I WIN. END OF ARGUMENT.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:29 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well that's clearly wrong. It is Hilter who wins arguments on the itnernet.
posted by furiousthought at 7:29 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Real Life Comics' take reminds me of my time at the old MacNN lounge. A few months into the Iraq war, I gave up and let them "win."
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:29 AM on May 20, 2011


"Just" above sex? Some long-suffering spouses may disagree...
posted by Skeptic at 7:32 AM on May 20, 2011


So from these stats, we can infer that people who argue about sex on the internet are faking it.
posted by warbaby at 7:36 AM on May 20, 2011


In the beginning, there were many personal pages comprising nothing much more than a dump of people's favorites from their browser. Then came Jorn and his imitators who organized the links by date of posting and added some minimal comment to explain the links - the blog was born. Finally, came a brilliant social networking pioneer who let the group do the posting of links to the blog, and in his most brilliant move, let us argue over them - the phenom called Metafilter was born.
posted by caddis at 7:36 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to argue about shopping for sex online.
posted by Phantomx at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2011


In the hierarchy of achievements, "winning" an argument on the internet ranks somewhere just above putting something in the recycling bin that will wind up in a landfill anyway. Marge Simpson put it best: "Aim low, kids. Aim so low that no one will even care if you succeed."
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The internet doesn't even exist you fools!
posted by srboisvert at 7:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Countering British understatement is surprisingly easy: simply take it at face value."
excellent series, thanks.
posted by idiopath at 7:49 AM on May 20, 2011


Mississippi Federal tax dollars received vs tax dollars paid is $2.02. Your whole state is a freeloader David Smith of Escondido.

The only Escondido I am aware of is in CA.
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Damned tabbed browsing; wrong thread!
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on May 20, 2011


Oh, I thought you were trying to win the thread by engaging in some brilliant Non-sequiturship.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:56 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wondered when somebody was going to say that.
posted by warbaby at 7:57 AM on May 20, 2011


Non-sequiturship is so basic. In an advanced environment like MeFi a victory by links is the way to go.
posted by idiopath at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2011


Enters stage left to leave flabbergastingly incisive comment
Eyes gorgeous profile at the bar


Wha...?
posted by infini at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2011


Obligatory XKCD Link
posted by roboton666 at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are people who dare argue with Noseybonk?
posted by tomcooke at 8:14 AM on May 20, 2011


"Blogwomanship
...
C) hurtfeelingship – The I just don’t see why it has to get so nasty gambit is simply not available to the male blogman. "
This is untrue if you are on MeFi and the subject relates to God or Apple.
posted by idiopath at 8:18 AM on May 20, 2011


who cares? i want to know how to win sex

You have to buy a raffle ticket, just like everyone else.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:19 AM on May 20, 2011


I guess I don’t understand these nuances.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2011


Interesting game. The only winning move is to be too stupid to understand when you have lost.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has anyone every won an argument online? I'm serious. At least when you're in person you can whip out a grumpy " well then maybe you shouldn't be talking about something you know nothing about" and then fold your arms and make everyone else at the table uncomfortable but has anyone ever gone " you're right! I had no idea! You've made reconsider my life and values up to this point!" ?

It's not like people don't change their minds or come around to other points of view, but has it ever happened within the limited and narrow context of a flame war? Doesn't it take a lot of things to happen first?
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: "You have to buy a raffle ticket, just like everyone else."

You know, if I had started where you did on this issue, I would have reached the same decision. And some brilliant men have arrived at the same conclusion!

But you are wrong. It is a race, and the winner is the first who finishes.
posted by idiopath at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I win every argument on the Internet, Whelk!*

*see comment above
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2011


Not this one!
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 AM on May 20, 2011


I win again!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:34 AM on May 20, 2011


It is not whether you win or lose. It is whether you can one-up the opponent in doing so. TFA has some excellent hints for making your opponent look the fool while losing the argument.
posted by idiopath at 8:35 AM on May 20, 2011


*for making your opponent look the fool while you lose the argument that is

FTFM
posted by idiopath at 8:36 AM on May 20, 2011


Step 2: Leave the thread after declaring victory. kthxbi!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:36 AM on May 20, 2011


You have to buy a raffle ticket, just like everyone else.

And before you ask, it costs $20.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:37 AM on May 20, 2011


ALL CAPS. I WIN. END OF ARGUMENT.

My hair is a bird. Your argument is invalid.

Don't make me put on my robe and wizard hat.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on May 20, 2011


Sadly, there is and has only ever been one way to "win" arguments on the internet, and that's to keep arguing until the other side gives up.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:50 AM on May 20, 2011


mstokes650: Sadly, there is and has only ever been one way to "win" arguments on the internet, and that's to keep arguing until the other side gives up.

Why the scare quotes around "win"?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:55 AM on May 20, 2011


And before you ask, it costs $20.

Surely it's cheaper in rural areas?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:01 AM on May 20, 2011


Jody Tresidder: "Why the scare quotes around "win"?"

As the article mentions, in real life one can exhibit the better argument and have some hope that your rival will concede. On the Internet this never happens, so "winning" takes on a new meaning. When words radically change in meaning in a short period of time, scare quotes are appropriate.
posted by idiopath at 9:05 AM on May 20, 2011


It is a race, and the winner is the first who finishes.

In my book of rules, it means you're not invited back again ;p
posted by infini at 9:23 AM on May 20, 2011


What I really want to know is how to de-smug people to whom these tactics just come naturally.
posted by lucidium at 9:28 AM on May 20, 2011


lucidium: "What I really want to know is how to de-smug people to whom these tactics just come naturally"

No need. One can simply relish the smug glory of being better than they are.
posted by idiopath at 9:30 AM on May 20, 2011


Step 2: Leave the thread after declaring victory. kthxbi!

As we learned from our leaders, one just needs to arbitrarily declare victory and go out on a high crest of support, except you don't actually leave you just kinda stick around, stirring shit and starting fights until everyone's sick of you but no one can figure out how to make you leave.
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are we still talking about this?
posted by monospace at 9:34 AM on May 20, 2011


Has anyone every won an argument online? I'm serious.

What counts as winning? As far as I'm concerned, I almost never argue online (or offline), if argue=fight. When I do, I generally realize (sometimes after the fact), that I behaved badly. And I make amends.

I certainly argue if argue=debate. And if winning means the other party says something like, "I never thought about it that way. I guess you're right," then I've won on numerous occasions. Even more often, I'VE been the one who has said that. Does that mean I lost? I think of it as "I learned." For me, a win is when I clarify my thinking or help someone else clarify theirs.

My tips for "winning" are in my profile.
posted by grumblebee at 9:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


winning arguments on the internet without really knowing what you are talking about.

Agree loudly with the majority. Be rewarded with foodpellets. Repeat.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. Machiavelli reborn as a blogger. I can turn the internet off now, as this is the pinnacle. ty
posted by scunning at 10:19 AM on May 20, 2011


Is "Noseybonk" a nom de plume of the ghost of Stephen Potter? I hope so 'cause this is really biting his style, like, pretty damn hard.
posted by hegemone at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2011


I used to do this a lot. It was never about winning in the sense of making the other guy change his mind. That's completely futile, particularly in a religious context. I was just trying to point out where the thinking was lazy or self-serving, so that other people wouldn't buy it. Sometimes I would succeed... this one even seemed to change the tone of the whole site for a while. But my Mum died of cancer a couple of days after that discussion, and it started to seem like a waste of time. I recently locked myself out of that account, because the arguing had become a bit of a raging addiction. (The raging addiction to the internet in general is ongoing, obviously.)
posted by fivebells at 11:02 AM on May 20, 2011


Generally, I can't be bothered to comment. However, I think many here can benefit from this particularly thoughtful quote, "A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
posted by aurelius at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2011


Ah, but you would say that, wouldn't you?
posted by fivebells at 11:27 AM on May 20, 2011


I understand your point, friend. However, your comment is quite clearly a category mistake.
posted by aurelius at 11:43 AM on May 20, 2011


Ah, aurelius, I'm so glad you brought that up. It's a common misconception which leads to a lot of confusion and disorder in this kind of discussion.

If you apprehend Grothendieck's oeuvre as it pertains to category theory and read Potter's discussion on rhetoric, a re-reading of the links in the OP will open a new world to you, and we will be able to have a very fruitful discussion. Until then, all I can tell you is that the categories I'm basing my reasoning on are well-founded, but I know just how it must look to you. I used to make that mistake all the time. Quite embarrassing to look back on.
posted by fivebells at 12:18 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


"internet above sex," you say?

(*shrugs half-indifferently; swings hammer at 'IN CASE OF IRRETRACTABLE LOSS OF ALL FAITH IN HUMANITY, BREAK GLASS' label.. alarms and sprinklers go off)
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:27 PM on May 20, 2011


In Soviet Russia, teh internets win Hitler.
posted by porpoise at 1:09 PM on May 20, 2011


I disagree.

How did I do?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:08 PM on May 20, 2011


The only reason arguing on the internet wins over sex is one can do it longer without chaffing.
posted by Mitheral at 1:21 AM on May 21, 2011


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