Be inquisitive

Question everything. Nothing is true until proven true.


Be open-minded

Be able to entertain different viewpoints and perspectives even if you don’t believe them or are convinced by them. You often learn the most from people you disagree with the most.


Be assertive

Have the conviction to defend your viewpoints.


Be humble

Have the humility to change our viewpoints when someone has made a better point.


Be transparent

When analyzing a claim, evaluate and publicize what the audience needs to know to evaluate the information, including any assumptions that link the evidence to the claim.



Confront the issue, not the person

Address the issue you’re debating. Don’t make arguments personal by bringing people into it.


Restate your target’s position

Attempt to re-express your target’s position clearly, vividly, and fairly to ensure you’ve fully understood the target’s position before countering it.


List points of agreement

You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).


Ask clarifying questions

Always ask why if you don’t understand something or don’t see how the evidence proves the point a user is trying to make. It’s his or her responsibility to prove. Don’t be afraid to ask for better evidence.


Admit when you are wrong

It’s okay to be wrong. Openly acknowledge when you are. Seek to understand rather than to be right, and don’t be a know-it-all. People will appreciate you for it.


Keep your identity out of it

The reason conversations become hard is because it becomes an attack on the ego. Keep your identity out of the conversation.


Use constructive criticism when replying

No one likes to be shamed. Your criticism should be constructed in a way that makes the target want to respond.


Be clear and concise

Brevity is always appreciated. Strive towards keeping responses short and to the point.


Think for yourself

It’s easy to bandwagon off other thoughts but that’s not going to get us to the best answer. Instead, reason your way through the argument independently.