how to disagree

I don’t know how I happened across this website from 2008 but the opening sentence says so much about how much the web has changed since then:

The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.

The author — Paul Graham — then outlines what he describes as a disagreement hierarchy:

  1. Name-calling
  2. Ad Hominem
  3. Responding to Tone
  4. Contradiction
  5. Counterargument
  6. Refutation
  7. Refuting the Central Point


Paul’s list is such a simple and useful way of thinking about not only the claims we make, but how we listen to others making claims.

Creative commons image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Doctors_Disagree

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