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Kyle MacDonald: Why you'll never win an argument online

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12.07.2018

If you've ever spent any time on social media, you'll know that irresistible pull to jump into an argument with a complete stranger.

"Don't read the comments," is commonly accepted wisdom. Yet if you do brave them on any controversial article - race, vaccines, or the current hot topic of "free speech" - you'll see the digital equivalent of a shouting match, with generally two camps that degrade into yelling personal insults at each other.

Yet still we persevere, arguing our point, putting our case forward. And it seems the most logical thing to simply argue the facts, right? Put forward your case and use logic, hyperlinks and accepted research to convince the other person of your point of view.

Not only does this not work, surprisingly, it actually makes things worse. It's called the "backfire effect" and numerous studies have shown that when you try........

© New Zealand Herald