May 22nd, 2006


How To Snark for fun and profit.

After reading yet another car-wreck of a message board argument, I was inspired to share a few tips that were ground into my hide by years of online squabbling. I'm hoping a glitch in the time/space continuum will enable younger versions of myself to read and absorb these points:

1. Nobody wants to read more than a handful of sentences from you about anything. Post sparingly. Mess'board readers see your posts as dim-sum items, not the cherry filling in a pie-eating contest, and will skip anything you say after your third paragraph.

2. The first time you repeat yourself, the argument is over. Once your opponent demonstrates that s/he's unable or unwilling to understand your points, they lose. Posting further is only Master Debater-y.

3. Lose your temper and you lose your audience. Put another way: everyone wants to side with Bugs; no one wants to side with Daffy.

4. Dated or foreign phrases make you look like a snot. Leave being dated and foreign to supermodels, and leave your might I remind you's and au contraire's at home.

5. Far from lightening the mood, smiley-faced emoticons make your opponents want to punch you.

6. Credentials schmedentials. No one cares where you were schooled, who you know, or what you've done for a living. Just state your case.

7. Don't complain that your opponent has turned the argument into an argument. It takes two to tango! I wish this went without saying, but jeez-louise, the whining I've seen...

More could be said (*ahem*), but in internet-time I've already overstayed my welcome by about a hundred words. I'll leave you with Conan's sage advice: "What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!"