A few random idioms around my approach to online discussion/debate:
1. I'm not trying to change your mind, I'm trying to help explain mine.
2. Insults and attacks distract everyone from the real topic.
3. No matter the topic, its someone's religion.
4. Questions are more interesting than answers.
5. The conversation lasts forever — so think before you post.
...not a complete list, but def. a few things I try to keep in mind before "debating" anyone on anything online.
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Kevin also talks in more depth about many of the these things around twice a month via his drip campaign and has a day job as CTO of Veritonic. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).