The content on this blog is my personal opinion and does not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the US Navy in any way.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tactics and Compromises, part 2

Wasn't planning on writing something like this, but I recently had another interesting Facebook debate. (I think most of my posts have come from Facebook issues by now. I really need to go back to the blogs I read one of these weeks.)

Anyway, the reason this is listed as "part 2" is because said debate touched on the issue I raised here, namely: what do do when someone starts lying in a debate. Really, I should have known much better than to divide the choices into two specific options... given that I just pointed out a falsehood without actually calling my opponent a liar, I'd say it's quite clear that there's some gray area in there.

This is also why I sometimes like Internet debates more than real-life ones. I have as much time as I need on the Internet to line up my facts and think about how best to phrase a reply. Sometimes that turns into paralysis as I try to find the perfect way to put something, but overall it tends to go better.

Anyway, before I get too wrapped up in patting myself on the back, I should probably point out (to myself and everyone else)... I don't actually like using this gray area.

Why? Well, because I wouldn't be too surprised if my opponent's reply accused me of calling him a liar. For that matter, I'd probably agree with him, because I did, albeit indirectly.

Something like the "non-confrontational" idea I came up with in the linked post isn't just a matter of what I think; it depends a lot on what my opponents think of me. And when I'm calling out someone for lying, even if I'm trying to soften the blow by being indirect, I am being at least a little confrontational. Certainly less so, to my mind, than the rather more direct "you're a liar/idiot/whatever", but there's a little bit there. I'm not going to blame my opponent for picking up on that, even if I'd rather have him acknowledge and focus on my efforts to avoid emphasizing it. Probably that's why I came up with the binary selection in my earlier post... there may be gray areas I can aim for that will serve both purposes, but they're not always going to work.

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