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From my experience debating online, I've found that debating is a bit like playing poker.

The first rule in playing poker and debating is that you have to control your emotions. In debating, if you can have a "poker face", you'll get much farther in debating. But if you lose your cool, you lose the debate. Also, if you have a royal flush in your hand, you don't just get all excited and put everything on the table. You have to have a completely nuetral face, or even a worried face, then draw people into the game and slowly up the ante. Then as people are into the debate, then you can show your hand.

Also, you have to watch out for other people bluffing. They might make some pretty strong statements. But, if you challenge them, it might just turn out to be a bluff. You can call their bluff by asking, "OK, please support your statement." But, before you do that, it's wise to make sure that your hand is strong enough in case he's not bluffing.

And when you do win a hand, you don't keep on reminding people of it. And when you lose a hand, you don't keep on worrying about it. Each debate is a new debate. You can't rely on your past successes and you can't worry about past loses.

And the final thing is, just like poker, when the debate is over, you slap your opponents on the back and say, "Good game, how about let's go for a drink?" Debates should not turn personal and be a place to attack each other. It should just be a time to see who has better cards and who can play the logic game.

Posted: 2004-02-25 07:07:17

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