Whether these are rules for formal debating or not, here is a list of rules you should consider when debating (arguing) on a topic, whether in person or on the web.
Rules of debating different subjects:
1. Know the terminology of the subject you wish to debate. People using the terminology are not looking down their noses at you, they are debating using common words for that subject. A debate amongst theologians will often contain the words apology and apologist. They are not seeking you to show remorse, they are wanting you to defend the position you have stated. If you don’t the terms, you start arguing about what you thought the terms meant, not what they really mean and look foolish;
2. Don’t debate something you have no knowledge of. If you are not a soldier and have no background in the military, don’t start spouting off on how soldiers would react in certain situations. To do so makes you look foolish;
3. Make your arguments and defenses based on fact. “I feel” “I believe” and “I think” have no business in debate. If you use these terms it means you have no factual defense of your point of view and look – you guessed it, foolish;
4. Don’t evolve your stance as your position is shown to be invalid. To do so only demonstrates that your position was undefendable and you cannot admit you were wrong or unprepared. It also demonstrates that you are not able to clearly communicate your thoughts. If you choose to keep changing your position you look foolish; and
5. If you are losing the debate, don’t get snide and start pointing your finger at the person defeating you to draw attention away from yourself. To do so is childish and an adult who acts childish…a fool.
Finally, if you have followed the rules above and are still handed your butt on a platter, accept defeat graciously. A worthy opponent will respect you for your honesty.