Dr. Doom—the economist and playboy NYU professor Nouriel Roubini—called our publisher an "anti-Semite with a Nazi mind" via a series of insane Facebook messages early this morning. That's fine. But we thought it might be a good time to recap some of the rules of Internet arguing, yeah? After all, this type of behavior is quite beneath a college professor, particularly one who is interviewed by Barron's , profiled in the New York Times Magazine , and predicting financial doom on Charlie Rose. Roubini, here's how to win an argument on the Internet—or at least not look like a total fool!
- The Palin technique: answer the question you wished you'd gotten. Actually, a lot of these rules are the same as the ones for political arguments. Barely-exaggerated example: Saturday Night Live's personal Palin, Tina Fey.
- Never defend yourself. Always attack first! (That's what Denton does.)
- Pull the "Bitter" card: a catch-all dismissal that works every time. Someone made a rude comment about you? They're just bitter, jealous. Bitter and jealous.
- The old no-fail adage, "Don't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the gallon," as Silicon Alley Insider reminded Roubini. Or buys bandwith by the pound or whatever.
- Related: Don't storm off the Internet in a huff. Also: "How to Handle Interview Requests on the Internet."
- Late night posts (Roubini's screeds began at 2:01 a.m.): bad idea. Drunk blogging: same.
- "Turn someone’s generality into an absolute. For example, if someone makes a general statement that Americans celebrate Christmas, point out that some people are Jewish and so anyone who thinks that ALL Americans celebrate Christmas is stupid. (Bonus points for accusing the person of being anti-Semitic.)" —From Scott Adams, Dilbert creator.
- Images count more than words. Or! A clever cartoon or video clip can be utterly devastating in the way that text is not. Like this video, which we've re-named "How to Shut Down an Internet Argument."