Social media are not good for argument. They are rife with gross logical fallacies. Often there exist a lot of bad manners and poor netiquette.
Social media are great for raising issues, sharing data and opinions. Thus, so that you do not trade in gross logical errors in your day-to-day social media excursions, strive to follow The Many Commandments of Social Media Argumentation:
· Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the claim. (Argumentum ad Hominem)
· Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)
· Thou shall not dismiss an argument as absurd without proving it is absurd. (Argumentum ad Lapidem)
· Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization)
· Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true.(Begging the question)
· Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)
· Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)
· Thou shall not argue because of ignorance that a claim must be true or false. (Argumentum ad Ignorantiam)
· Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal)
· Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Argumentum Non sequitur)
· Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true.(Argumentum ad Populum)
· Thou shall not repeat an argument over and over to make it true or false. (Argumentum ad Nauseam)
· They shall not remain silent as to presume a claim is true or false. (Argumentum e Eilentio)
· Thou shall not appeal to moderation to argue a claim. (Argumentum ad Temperantiam)
· Thou shall not appeal to the people to validate the veracity of a claim. (Argumentum ad Populum)
· Thou shall never threaten consequence to support a claim. (Argumentum ad Baculum)
- Various Sources
Of course this list is not exhaustive. There are many other logical fallacies. This list is those most violated in social media.
It is important to follow these Commandments in all interactions. However, in precious proximate conversations, there is only one all-mighty Commandment: Listen. Empathy is Power!