How to Win an Argument Online

Two Methods:Making a Good ArgumentHandling Internet Arguments

Online arguments often quickly descend into digital shouting matches which rarely bring new light to a discussion topic. It is can be quite difficult to determine who “wins” an argument online. Often there is little incentive or requirement for somebody to admit they were wrong, or to acknowledge the value of another perspective. If you find yourself in an argument online, try to remain calm and use clear and well-reasoned points that are backed up by evidence.

Method 1
Making a Good Argument

  1. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 1
    Be articulate. When you are trying to make an argument in any context, it’s important that you express yourself as clearly and articulately as possible. If you are vague, you will sound unconvincing, and you are even less likely to win someone around in an online argument than you would be otherwise. If you are writing on a forum, or a comments section, aim for concise prose rather than big blocks of text.
    • If you write large chunks of text, it is unlikely that your interlocutors will go through and read it all.
    • Try to say a lot with few words for a powerful and digestible argument.
    • Writing with poor grammar and spelling will not help people take your argument seriously.
  2. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 2
    Use evidence. As well as expressing yourself clearly and concisely, your argument will benefit from well-sourced and appropriate evidence. Link to evidence from reputable sources to back-up your claims, and try to rise above trading blogger opinions by linking to scientific and academic research. Make sure the evidence is relevant and accurately supports your argument.
    • Telling somebody to look up the evidence for themselves does not help your argument.[1]
    • Link to it directly and explain why it is a valuable source.
  3. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 3
    Challenge assumptions. Psychological research has shown that people with fixed ideas and opinions are generally unlikely to consider alternative perspectives, or to critically analyse how they came to their own viewpoint. This research has suggested that an effective way to make an argument can be to challenge such fixed assumptions by asking how they work in practice.
    • Those who are asked to explain themselves are more likely to soften their views and become more open to different perspectives.
    • Being able to explain the process by which you came to your opinion can further strengthen your argument.[2]
  4. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 4
    Don’t be too defensive. If you find yourself becoming very defensive about your position, your argument is likely to lose nuance as you retreat and become more entrenched. Always try to keep an open mind and be curious. Interrogate your own thinking and challenge yourself. If you have done this, you will be better able to acknowledge potential problems in your argument and demonstrate how you have come to understand them.[3]

Method 2
Handling Internet Arguments

  1. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 5
    Be polite. Online arguments often don’t take long to turn ugly. The apparent anonymity of the web can prompt people to write things that they would never say to somebody in the flesh. Try to avoid getting involved by staying polite and civil. Don’t rise to personal abuse. Any possibility of a reasoned argument swiftly disappears once people start writing personal abuse about people they have never met.
    • Some research has suggested that people tend to respond more to one negative remark than a series of positive ones.
    • Don’t get sucked into this kind of argument. It’s one that nobody wins.[4]
  2. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 6
    Don’t feed the trolls. If you get involved in an argument online, you should pay attention to the person you are arguing with. If there is little real discussion, and the person is just making contrary statements, there may just be trolling the website looking to irritate people. Don’t waste your time with it, there is little chance of a positive outcome.[5]
    • It might be easier said than done, by the best way to deal with trolls is just to ignore them.
    • If you show that you can be drawn into an argument, you may receive more unwanted attention from trolls.[6]
  3. Image titled Win an Argument Online Step 7
    Know when it’s time to leave. Even if you are not being trolled, internet arguments can often be fairly pointless exercises where nobody is prepared to interrogate their own positions or open their minds to other ideas. If you find the argument isn’t going anywhere, you shouldn’t feel like stepping away constitutes a defeat.
    • Online arguments might be “won” by the person with the most time to spend replying to comments.
    • Don’t feel obliged to reply to everything to try and outlast your opposition.
    • It’s not often that somebody in an online argument will admit defeat, so don’t worry about it.[7]


  • You may enjoy arguing with someone because you are anonymous to that person. But on websites such as Facebook and Twitter, your real identity does exists. So be careful not to embarrass yourself.

Article Info

Categories: Managing Arguments