The Fine Art Of Trolling

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by spookz, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. spookz Banned Banned

    Messages:
    6,390
    The object of this post is to bring together a definitive document to cover the phenomena of the Usenet Troll. To many a troll is nothing more than an annoying method of defeating the killfile whereas to the heavily killfiled, trolling can be a virtual Godsend. What I want this document to focus on is how to create entertaining trolls. I have drawn on the expertise of the writer's of some of Usenet's finest and best remembered trolls. Trolls are for fun. The object of recreational trolling is to sit back and laugh at all those gullible idiots that will believe *anything*.

    What is a troll? The WWW gives this as a definition:

    troll v.,n. To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies"; which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling";, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don't fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. The following extract is from a broader expansion of the defining comments given above:

    In Usenet usage, a "troll" is not a grumpy monster that lives beneath a bridge accosting passers-by, but rather a provocative posting to a newsgroup intended to produce a large volume of frivolous responses. The content of a "troll" posting generally falls into several areas. It may consist of an apparently foolish contradiction of common knowledge, a deliberately offensive insult to the readers of a newsgroup, or a broad request for trivial follow-up postings. There are three reasons why people troll newsgroups:

    People post such messages to get attention, to disrupt newsgroups, and simply to make trouble. Career trollers tend for the latter two whilst the former is the mark of the clueless newbie and should be ignored. A troll is no different to any other Usenet posting. That needs to be stressed. Any article that you decide to write should be written with a view to it actually being read by large numbers of people. Simply X-posting to large numbers of irrelevant newsgroups is not creative trolling - it is just spam and should be avoided. The experienced troller spends time carefully choosing the right subject and delivering it to the right newsgroup. With trolls, delivery is just as important as the subject.

    Start the troll in a reasonable and erudite manner. You have to engage your readers' interest and draw them in. Never give too much away at the start - although a brief abstract with hints of what's to come can work wonders. Construct your troll in a manner to make it readable. Use short paragraphs and lots of white space. Keep line length below eighty characters. Use a liberal amount of emphasis and even the occasional illustration. A good rule of thumb is that as your troll becomes more and more ludicrous put extra effort into the presentation--this keeps the mug punter confused. Let confusion and chaos be your goal!

    Make your subject a relevant one. Posting "Star Trek Sucks" into hk.forsale is not going to work very well and is liable to utterly destroy your hard earned reputation as a troller overnight. You do not have to make the subject clear. Trolls are aimed at two audiences, the respondees and the lurkers. The best trolls reveal their true subject only to the lurkers. In every sense those who reply to your troll are your tools. So choose a theme for your troll and stick to it. Outwardly you need to appear sincere, but at the same time you have to tell your *real* audience that this is blatant flamebait. Your skill is shown in the easy way that you manipulate large areas of the Usenet community into making public fools of themselves.

    Choice of newsgroup is as important as the subject, tone and structure of the troll. You want to appeal to each group you X-post into to ensure responses from each group. A well delivered troll will anticipate what those responses will be and thus ensure that contradictions will arise amongst the different groups that you are setting up.

    Bad Troll:
    Posting "USA Sucks" to alt.nuke.the.USA, alt.usa-sucks, aus.flame.usa

    This is totally on-topic and obvious. A truly useless troll.

    Average Troll:
    Posting "God Doesn't Exist" to all the alt.religion newsgroups

    Here you are being too obvious. People recognise this sort of trouble making and have usually learned not to respond to it. However, if your troll is well written you can actually entrap a lot of newbies. This, if executed correctly, can be exploited to cause great offence to those more experienced troll avoiders on the groups you are attacking. Go for it!

    Good Troll:
    Posting an article that appears relevant to every group but with no connection between those groups other than the fact that you've just trolled them. The best trolls go out to an average of around eight or nine newsgroups. This will stop them from becoming spam as it's not quite enough to be a real problem. However, to get by on so few groups you have to include a couple of popular ones in the list.

    When posting to say seven groups you should try to break down your theme into seven areas - each of which will be of specific interest to just one of those groups. You then write an eight paragraph troll with a paragraph for each group and a spare one for yourself with which to lob in a gratuitous insult to everyone who was dumb enough to read your troll.

    It is a matter of choice whether you choose newsgroups before or after writing the troll. Some experts claim that newsgroup selection is the key to successful trolling and should be done first, others will write general trolls and then apply the standard Perl script that trollers use for Automatic Random Newsgroup Selection.

    Remember that you have two audiences. The people who are going to get the maximum enjoyment out of your post are other trollers. You need to keep in contact with them through both your troll itself and the way you direct its effect. It is trollers that you are trying to entertain so be creative - trollers don't just want a laugh from you they want to see good trolls so that they can also learn how to improve their own in the never ending search for the perfect troll. The other audience is of course the little people in those newsgroups that your are attacking. Get to know them. Every newsgroup has its smartarse who will expose your troll if given half a chance. Research your targets and learn what their arguments are. Then avoid those argu- ments like the plague. Drag them off-topic - the further off-topic the better. Remember, you are trying to waste their time. Never take sides - remember that your goal is not to win an argument, rather it is to provoke a futile one that runs forever.

    If, for example you were attacking Fast Food then you should also X-post to Healthy Eating groups, Environmental Protection Groups, Animal Rights Groups etc....You want to try to ensure that you have the broadest possible range of opinions as this is the easiest way to sow confusion. The more confusion the less the likelihood of your troll being exposed for what it is. It can also be shown that the inclusion of just one totally off-topic newsgroup can have dramatic effects. The list above is taken from a genuine troll which also included an Artificial Intelligence group, the result of which was to draw Computer Guru Professor Marvin Minsky into a flamewar concerning Ronald McDonald's exploitation of the disabled - an all-time classic piece of trolling - written by a practising veggie.

    "Even if this is true..."

    That represents the perfect response to any troll. The mark of a gullible lunatic that will almost certainly believe anything you tell her (women always make the best trollees as they have a logical reasoning capacity of zilch). A total group embarrassment. Award yourself a Troll Gold Star every time you get one!

    Other good responses include, but are not limited to...

    "Although this is on-topic..."
    "I disagree..."
    "Yes, but..."
    "Can you provide a source for this..."

    Try not to follow-up to your own troll. The troll itself quickly becomes forgotten in the chaos and if you just sit back you can avoid being blamed for causing it. Remember, if you do follow up you are talking to an idiot. Treat them with the ill-respect they deserve. You should also learn to recognise follow-ups from your fellow trollers. Sometimes an average troll can be elevated into majestic proportions when several trollers spontaneously join forces via the medium of the follow up troll. Ignore cries of wasted bandwidth! This is pure drivel that will always be posted by the anti-troll lobby. These jerks fail to understand that trolls are the best way to drive people off the internet thus making available multi-mbs for the rest of us to download our porn.

    A good example of troll success is the famous "Oh How I Envy American Students" troll. This troll was written by an English brick-layer posing as an american student. He correctly posted it to all the college news- groups and then left american students to do all the work spreading it. His troll ran for over a year, it is known to have generated in excess of 3,500 responses (an average of 1 response every 160 minutes for a whole year) and the greatest coup of all was when an innocent american student lost not only her internet account but was also expelled from high school for abuse of the computer systems. Somehow she had managed to get the blame for causing the troll. (trollfaq@altairiv.demon.co.uk)

     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2003
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  3. spookz Banned Banned

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    How To Post Like A Bastard

    1. Always refer to your opponent by his/her first name. Your messages will seem warm and friendly, despite the rabid ferocity of their content. After a few exchanges, begin to use a corruption of your opponent's name - begin with "William", then change to "Billy", then change to something like "Billy-Boy". Women especially hate having their names shortened, so make sure that "Mrs. Elizabeth C. Osbourne-Smythe PhD, QC" is always addressed as "Lizzy".

    2. . Criticising your opponents spelling or grammar will make you look pedantic. Far better to deliberately misread a message, then follow-up with an utterly incongruous statement.

    3. Selective editing is a good way to avoid engaging with your opponent's better arguments. Simply delete that intelligent, pointed question which ends paragraph three and reply instead to the weaker arguments beneath. Should your opponent post something like "I'm sorry but you're talking crap", snip everything but the first two words then graciously accept his apology.

    4. Once the argument is in full swing, thank all those people who have e-mailed you privately with their messages of support. Claim that you are too busy to reply to each of them personally at the moment, but promise to continue policing Usenet on their behalf.

    5. Boasting about how long you've been subscribed to the newsgroup is not advised. Far better to make obscure references to Usenet when only thirteen people knew it existed. Fondly recall a similar flame-war which took place in 1989 between "Big Al" and "Phyllis from Kent".

    top

    6. Always refer to yourself in the plural, as though you are speaking on behalf of the whole newsgroup: "all we are trying to say is..." sounds much more pompous than "all I am trying to say is...". When other people join in the thread, the rules are simple: if they side with you, follow-up immediately and enthusiastically, congratulating them on their courage; if they side with your opponent, ignore the tossers.

    7. Pre-empt all replies. Tell your opponent that you know exactly how he or she is going to respond to your message because you've seen it all before. List all potential counter-arguments to your position and invite your opponent to choose one.

    8. Never apologise for anything, ever.

    9. Think the argument isn't going your way? Simply post one long, highly antagonistic message in which you completely misrepresent everything your opponent has said in the last three weeks. End by martyrishly declaring that the argument has dragged on for too long and that you have no choice but to kill-file your opponent. Ignore any further messages.

    10. Won the argument? Congratulations - but remember to be utterly unbearable in victory. Make generous excuses for your opponent's behaviour ("I know you primary school technicians can be under a lot of stress", "the menopause can be a very difficult time", etc), but retain a calm tone of superiority ("the important thing is to learn from your mistakes"). State that you hope your opponent stays around and reassure him/her that other subscribers are sure to forget all about this sorry business in a couple of years. (Steven Jones)
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2003
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  5. spookz Banned Banned

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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    If only the average troll was this intelligent. Oh well.
     
  8. filibuster I only call names in bed Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
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    But what about your time?
     
  9. SG-N Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,051
    That's really interesting... Some of the WEP posters already knew it, no?
     
  10. outlandish smoki'n....... Registered Senior Member

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  11. spookz Banned Banned

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    Thirty - Eight Ways to Win an Argument

    1. Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow your own propositions remain, the easier they are to defend.

    2. Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his argument. Example: Person A says, "You do not understand the mysteries of Kant's philosophy. Person B replies, "Of, if it's mysteries you're talking about, I'll have nothing to do with them.

    3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.

    4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent until the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitous route you conceal your goal until you have reached all the admissions necessary to reach your goal.

    5. Use your opponent's beliefs against him. If your opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage. Example, if the opponent is a member of an organization or a religious sect to which you do not belong, you may employ the declared opinions of this group against the opponent.

    6. Confuse the issue by changing your opponent's words or what he or she seeks to prove. Example: Call something by a different name: "good repute" instead of "honor," "virtue" instead of "virginity," "red-blooded" instead of vertebrates.

    7. State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions. By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the proponent's admissions.

    8. Make your opponent angry. An angry person is less capable of using judgment or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.

    9. Use your opponent's answers to your question to reach different or even opposite conclusions.

    10. If you opponent answers all your questions negatively and refuses to grant you any points, ask him or her to concede the opposite of your premises. This may confuse the opponent as to which point you actually seek him to concede.

    11. If the opponent grants you the truth of some of your premises, refrain from asking him or her to agree to your conclusion. Later, introduce your conclusions as a settled and admitted fact. Your opponent and others in attendance may come to believe that your conclusion was admitted.

    12. If the argument turns upon general ideas with no particular names, you must use language or a metaphor that is favorable to your proposition. Example: What an impartial person would call "public worship" or a "system of religion" is described by an adherent as "piety" or "godliness" and by an opponent as "bigotry" or "superstition." In other words, inset what you intend to prove into the definition of the idea

    13. To make your opponent accept a proposition , you must give him an opposite, counter-proposition as well. If the contrast is glaring, the opponent will accept your proposition to avoid being paradoxical. Example: If you want him to admit that a boy must to everything that his father tells him to do, ask him, "whether in all things we must obey or disobey our parents." Or , if a thing is said to occur "often" you are to understand few or many times, the opponent will say "many." It is as though you were to put graynext to black and call it white; or gray next to white and call it black.

    14. Try to bluff your opponent. If he or she has answered several of your question without the answers turning out in favor of your conclusion, advance your conclusion triumphantly, even if it does not follow. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the technique may succeed.

    15. If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent's acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.

    16. When your opponent puts forth a proposition, find it inconsistent with his or her other statements, beliefs, actions or lack of action. Example: Should your opponent defend suicide, you may at once exclaim, "Why don't you hang yourself?" Should the opponent maintain that his city is an unpleasant place to live, you may say, "Why don't you leave on the first plane?"

    17. If your opponent presses you with a counter-proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction. Try to find a second meaning or an ambiguous sense for your opponent's idea.

    18. If your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat, you must not allow him to carry it to its conclusion. Interrupt the dispute, break it off altogether, or lead the opponent to a different subject.

    19. Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his argument, and you have nothing to say, try to make the argument less specific. Example: If you are asked why a particular hypothesis cannot be accepted, you may speak of the fallibility of human knowledge, and give various illustrations of it.

    20. If your opponent has admitted to all or most of your premises, do not ask him or her directly to accept your conclusion. Rather, draw the conclusion yourself as if it too had been admitted.

    21. When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial and you see the falsehood, you can refute it by setting forth its superficial character. When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial and you see the falsehood, you can refute it by setting forth its superficial character. But it is better to meet the opponent with acounter-argument that is just as superficial, and so dispose of him. For it is with victory that you are concerned, not with truth. Example: If the opponent appeals to prejudice, emotion or attacks you personally, return the attack in the same manner.

    22. If your opponent asks you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it begs the question.

    23. Contradiction and contention irritate a person into exaggerating their statements. By contradicting your opponent you may drive him into extending the statement beyond its natural limit. When you then contradict the exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had refuted the original statement. Contrarily, if your opponent tries to extend your own statement further than your intended, redefine your statement's limits and say, "That is what I said, no more."

    24. State a false syllogism. Your opponent makes a proposition, and by false inference and distortion of his ideas you force from the proposition other propositions that are not intended and that appear absurd. It then appears that opponent's proposition gave rise to these inconsistencies, and so appears to be indirectly refuted.

    25. If your opponent is making a generalization, find an instance to the contrary. Only one valid contradiction is needed to overthrow the opponent's proposition. Example: "All ruminants are horned," is a generalization that may be upset by the single instance of the camel.

    26. A brilliant move is to turn the tables and use your opponent's arguments against himself. Example: Your opponent declares, so and so is a child, you must make an allowance for him." You retort, "Just because he is a child, I must correct him; otherwise he will persist in his bad habits.

    27. Should your opponent suprise you by becoming particularly angry at an argument, you must urge it with all the more zeal. No only will this make your opponent angry, but it will appear that you have put your finger on the weak side of his case, and your opponent is more open to attack on this point than you expected.

    28. When the audience consists of individuals (or a person) who is not an expert on a subject, you make an invalid objection to your opponent who seems to be defeated in the eyes of the audience. This strategy is particularly effective if your objection makes your opponent look ridiculous or if the audience laughs. If your opponent must make a long, winded and complicated explanation to correct you, the audience will not be disposed to listen to him.

    29. If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a diversion--that is, you can suddenly begin to talk of something else, as though it had a bearing on the matter in dispute. This may be done without presumption of the diversion has some general bearing on the matter.

    30. Make an appeal to authority rather than reason. If your opponent respects an authority or an expert, quote that authority to further your case. If needed, quote what the authority said in some other sense or circumstance. Authorities that your opponent fails to understand are those which he generally admires the most. You may also, should it be necessary, not only twist your authorities, but actually falsify them, or quote something that you have entirely invented yourself.

    31. If you know that you have no reply to the arguments that your opponent advances, you by a find stroke of irony declare yourself to be an incompetent judge. Example: What you say passes my poor powers of comprehension; it may well be all very true, but I can't understand it, and I refrain from any expression of opinion on it." In this way you insinuate to the audience, with whom you are in good repute, that what your opponent says is nonsense. This technique may be used only when you are quite sure that the audience thinks much better of you than your opponent.

    32. A quick way of getting rid of an opponent's assertion, or of throwing suspicion on it, is by putting it into some odious category. Example: You can say, "That is fascism" or "Atheism" or "Superstition." In making an objection of this kind you take for granted 1)That the assertion or question is identical with, or at least contained in, the category cited; and 2)The system referred to has been entirely refuted.

    33. You admit your opponent's premises but deny the conclusion. Example: "That's all very well in theory, but it won't work in practice."

    34. When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer, or evades it with a counter question, or tries to change the subject, it is sure sign you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without intending to do so. You have, as it were, reduced your opponent to silence. You must, therefore, urge the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness that you have hit upon really lies.

    35. Instead of working on an opponent's intellect or the rigor of his arguments, work on his motive. If you success in making your opponent's opinion, should it prove true, seem distinctly prejudicial to his own interest, he will drop it immediately. Example: A clergyman is defending some philosophical dogma. You show him that his proposition contradicts a fundamental doctrine of his church. He will abandon the argument.

    36. You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere bombast. If your opponent is weak or does not wish to appear as if he has no idea what your are talking about, you can easily impose upon him some argument that sounds very deep or learned, or that sounds indisputable.

    37. Should your opponent be in the right but, luckily for you, choose a faulty proof, you can easily refute it and then claim that you have refuted the whole position. This is the way in which bad advocates lose good cases. If no accurate proof occurs to your opponent, you have won the day.

    38. Become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand. In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. This is a very popular technique, because it takes so little skill to put it into effect.


    The Essays of Schopenhauer : Book VII : The Art of Controversy (Classic Reprint Series)
     
  12. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,076
    Well, you have mastered quite a few of those, if I must say so myself.

    Particularly,

    1-5

    15-17

    28-29

    38.

    Well done.
     
  13. spookz Banned Banned

    Messages:
    6,390
    why thanks. you would do well to note the points outlined here as.......

    this gem is, is beyond description. you cannibalize yourself boy
     
  14. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,076
    After carefully looking over his entire body, the hed has concluded that he has all his body parts.

    And again, you really think the hed did not know what the fuck he was saying when he was speaking with that prejudiced trailer trash bitch? Nah maggot, your persistence and insistence on using the "mirage" statement as a banner is simply due to the fact that you are fucked up by it. hed as seen by you and your kind is a set of rules set for a specific aim( shall I sing it brother?); as seen by the rest, fully dependent on level of interaction.

    By the way, I forgot to give you credit for 27 & 32
     
  15. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,996
    Spookz sez:
    Dear Spookz

    U r a nerd.

    Sincerely,

    Blue.
     
  16. outlandish smoki'n....... Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,033
    blue,.....I thought you were a guy?
     
  17. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,996
  18. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,072
    Your definitions for tolls is BS.
    A troll is one thing and one thing only.
    A person with specific intentions to disrupt a site to the point of ruin.
     
  19. spookz Banned Banned

    Messages:
    6,390
    ?so vat
     
  20. lixluke Refined Reinvention Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,072
  21. outlandish smoki'n....... Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,033
    glad to see a thread moving along with effortlessness of a well oiled machine......
     
  22. oscar confusoid Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    315
  23. Don Hakman Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    619
    Reads like the primer of every right wing shock jock from Michael Savage to Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter.




    THE RIGHT WING BIBLE by don


    Genesis:

    In the beginning they let there be a right wingnut on radio.
    The anger and emotional sentiments made for rapt listeners and 'bite me' hate speech was upon the face of the earth.

    Exodus:

    Kick them out, shut them up, make fun of them.

    Rushticles 69:2

    Reacting with near irrational anger verily did slay anyone with the slightest bit of confusion.
    Machine gun questions and before they can answer, fire a new question and put words in their mouth while accusing them of not answering the question. If asked a question of yourself pose a new question or in last resort scream "this is my show" and hang up on them.

    R idicule
    U surp
    S lander
    H arangue

    L ibel
    I nsinuate
    M isinterpret
    B adger
    A lienate
    U nderhanded
    G awk
    H ound


    1. Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow your own propositions remain, the easier they are to defend.

    2. Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his argument. Example: Person A says, "You do not understand the mysteries of Kant's philosophy. Person B replies, "Of, if it's mysteries you're talking about, I'll have nothing to do with them.

    3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than what was asserted.

    4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent until the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitous route you conceal your goal until you have reached all the admissions necessary to reach your goal.

    5. Use your opponent's beliefs against him. If your opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage. Example, if the opponent is a member of an organization or a religious sect to which you do not belong, you may employ the declared opinions of this group against the opponent.

    6. Confuse the issue by changing your opponent's words or what he or she seeks to prove. Example: Call something by a different name: "good repute" instead of "honor," "virtue" instead of "virginity," "red-blooded" instead of vertebrates.

    7. State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions. By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the proponent's admissions.

    8. Make your opponent angry. An angry person is less capable of using judgment or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.

    9. Use your opponent's answers to your question to reach different or even opposite conclusions.

    10. If you opponent answers all your questions negatively and refuses to grant you any points, ask him or her to concede the opposite of your premises. This may confuse the opponent as to which point you actually seek him to concede.

    11. If the opponent grants you the truth of some of your premises, refrain from asking him or her to agree to your conclusion. Later, introduce your conclusions as a settled and admitted fact. Your opponent and others in attendance may come to believe that your conclusion was admitted.

    12. If the argument turns upon general ideas with no particular names, you must use language or a metaphor that is favorable to your proposition. Example: What an impartial person would call "public worship" or a "system of religion" is described by an adherent as "piety" or "godliness" and by an opponent as "bigotry" or "superstition." In other words, inset what you intend to prove into the definition of the idea

    13. To make your opponent accept a proposition , you must give him an opposite, counter-proposition as well. If the contrast is glaring, the opponent will accept your proposition to avoid being paradoxical. Example: If you want him to admit that a boy must to everything that his father tells him to do, ask him, "whether in all things we must obey or disobey our parents." Or , if a thing is said to occur "often" you are to understand few or many times, the opponent will say "many." It is as though you were to put graynext to black and call it white; or gray next to white and call it black.

    14. Try to bluff your opponent. If he or she has answered several of your question without the answers turning out in favor of your conclusion, advance your conclusion triumphantly, even if it does not follow. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the technique may succeed.

    15. If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent's acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject an obviously true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your side for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition, as in #14, maintain that your original proposition is proved by what your opponent accepted. For this an extreme degree of impudence is required, but experience shows cases of it succeeding.

    16. When your opponent puts forth a proposition, find it inconsistent with his or her other statements, beliefs, actions or lack of action. Example: Should your opponent defend suicide, you may at once exclaim, "Why don't you hang yourself?" Should the opponent maintain that his city is an unpleasant place to live, you may say, "Why don't you leave on the first plane?"

    17. If your opponent presses you with a counter-proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction. Try to find a second meaning or an ambiguous sense for your opponent's idea.

    18. If your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat, you must not allow him to carry it to its conclusion. Interrupt the dispute, break it off altogether, or lead the opponent to a different subject.

    19. Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his argument, and you have nothing to say, try to make the argument less specific. Example: If you are asked why a particular hypothesis cannot be accepted, you may speak of the fallibility of human knowledge, and give various illustrations of it.

    20. If your opponent has admitted to all or most of your premises, do not ask him or her directly to accept your conclusion. Rather, draw the conclusion yourself as if it too had been admitted.

    21. When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial and you see the falsehood, you can refute it by setting forth its superficial character. But it is better to meet the opponent with acounter-argument that is just as superficial, and so dispose of him. For it is with victory that you are concerned, not with truth. Example: If the opponent appeals to prejudice, emotion or attacks you personally, return the attack in the same manner.

    22. If your opponent asks you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it begs the question.

    23. Contradiction and contention irritate a person into exaggerating their statements. By contradicting your opponent you may drive him into extending the statement beyond its natural limit. When you then contradict the exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had refuted the original statement. Contrarily, if your opponent tries to extend your own statement further than your intended, redefine your statement's limits and say, "That is what I said, no more."

    24. State a false syllogism. Your opponent makes a proposition, and by false inference and distortion of his ideas you force from the proposition other propositions that are not intended and that appear absurd. It then appears that opponent's proposition gave rise to these inconsistencies, and so appears to be indirectly refuted.

    25. If your opponent is making a generalization, find an instance to the contrary. Only one valid contradiction is needed to overthrow the opponent's proposition. Example: "All ruminants are horned," is a generalization that may be upset by the single instance of the camel.

    26. A brilliant move is to turn the tables and use your opponent's arguments against himself. Example: Your opponent declares, so and so is a child, you must make an allowance for him." You retort, "Just because he is a child, I must correct him; otherwise he will persist in his bad habits.

    27. Should your opponent suprise you by becoming particularly angry at an argument, you must urge it with all the more zeal. No only will this make your opponent angry, but it will appear that you have put your finger on the weak side of his case, and your opponent is more open to attack on this point than you expected.

    28. When the audience consists of individuals (or a person) who is not an expert on a subject, you make an invalid objection to your opponent who seems to be defeated in the eyes of the audience. This strategy is particularly effective if your objection makes your opponent look ridiculous or if the audience laughs. If your opponent must make a long, winded and complicated explanation to correct you, the audience will not be disposed to listen to him.

    29. If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a diversion--that is, you can suddenly begin to talk of something else, as though it had a bearing on the matter in dispute. This may be done without presumption of the diversion has some general bearing on the matter.

    30. Make an appeal to authority rather than reason. If your opponent respects an authority or an expert, quote that authority to further your case. If needed, quote what the authority said in some other sense or circumstance. Authorities that your opponent fails to understand are those which he generally admires the most. You may also, should it be necessary, not only twist your authorities, but actually falsify them, or quote something that you have entirely invented yourself.

    31. If you know that you have no reply to the arguments that your opponent advances, you by a find stroke of irony declare yourself to be an incompetent judge. Example: What you say passes my poor powers of comprehension; it may well be all very true, but I can't understand it, and I refrain from any expression of opinion on it." In this way you insinuate to the audience, with whom you are in good repute, that what your opponent says is nonsense. This technique may be used only when you are quite sure that the audience thinks much better of you than your opponent.

    32. A quick way of getting rid of an opponent's assertion, or of throwing suspicion on it, is by putting it into some odious category. Example: You can say, "That is fascism" or "Atheism" or "Superstition." In making an objection of this kind you take for granted 1)That the assertion or question is identical with, or at least contained in, the category cited; and 2)The system referred to has been entirely refuted.

    33. You admit your opponent's premises but deny the conclusion. Example: "That's all very well in theory, but it won't work in practice."

    34. When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer, or evades it with a counter question, or tries to change the subject, it is sure sign you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without intending to do so. You have, as it were, reduced your opponent to silence. You must, therefore, urge the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness that you have hit upon really lies.

    35. Instead of working on an opponent's intellect or the rigor of his arguments, work on his motive. If you success in making your opponent's opinion, should it prove true, seem distinctly prejudicial to his own interest, he will drop it immediately. Example: A clergyman is defending some philosophical dogma. You show him that his proposition contradicts a fundamental doctrine of his church. He will abandon the argument.

    36. You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere bombast. If your opponent is weak or does not wish to appear as if he has no idea what your are talking about, you can easily impose upon him some argument that sounds very deep or learned, or that sounds indisputable.

    37. Should your opponent be in the right but, luckily for you, choose a faulty proof, you can easily refute it and then claim that you have refuted the whole position. This is the way in which bad advocates lose good cases. If no accurate proof occurs to your opponent, you have won the day.

    38. Become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand. In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. This is a very popular technique, because it takes so little skill to put it into effect.


    With God and Patriotism on your side you can get the masses to sacrifice their only born son.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2004

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