Friday, 17 June 2016

How to change minds online


A doctoral student summarises the conclusions of reddit readers discussing the best way to change minds online:

  1. Respond to the initial statement sooner rather than later.
  2. Respond in groups. (“You're more persuasive to the person you're arguing with if other people are arguing your side too.”)
  3. Have a few back-and-forth exchanges with your opponent, but never go past three or four.
  4. Link to outside evidence.
  5. Don't quote the person you're arguing with. (“They'll usually interpret that as ‘nit-picking with their wording,’ and thus what you say is unlikely to sway their opinion.”)
  6. Don't act too intense -- that scares people off.
  7. Write a longer response if you're actually trying to change someone's opinion.
  8. Last but not least, try to base your arguments around points that your opponent didn't initially address.

To which I’d add, don’t respond to anything with the words Trump, Bilderberger, Muslim, immigration, refugee or “illegal.”

There are a few caveats, of course. “For one thing, 70% of the people this study looked at were unpersuadable.” Most of whom appear regularly in my comments section.

[Hat tip Gus Van Horn]


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