I have supplied this following blogpost as a service to the Internet community at large.
Many of you are attempting to have substantive discussions about matters of public interest using social media. Bravo! You are participating as a member of a free republic.
As you know, however, not all arguments are created equal. Whether you’ve got a straw man, ad hominem, begging the question, argumentum ad lapidem, or a No True Scotsman argument, there are a bunch of ways to cheat, delay, bullshit, and get nowhere.
One of my least favorite is the online tendency to weakly refute a detailed argument with a link to some digital media that is partisan, poorly sourced, shoddy, and misleading at best. BUT, it looks like the other person has a point, since they’ve just tried to declare themselves the winner because they have a link with a preview graphic and a meta-description.
It looks official, when placed next to an actual argument. It looks authoritative. It’s usually a substitute for (non-existent) evidence, a piece of writing that fails to definitely prove anything, much less the central thesis of what the poster has just asserted. But you won’t have time to point this out, what with all the online football spiking and declaration of early victory.
When you become fatigued of this online tactic, please, with my compliments, use this link – replete with topical-looking featured image, a well-designed URL, and a thoughtful meta-description – to indicate that this is a particularly weak move on the part of the dissenter. It’ll look great on a variety of social networks, and then you too can declare victory and move on to some other, more fruitful intellectual activity.
With kindest regards, and best of luck in your search for enlightenment and social progress,