Given that man is a social animal, he will encounter ideas in conflict with his own. For example, one guy might like Pepsi while another person might perfer Coke. There are a couple of ways how the clash of ideas between the two will turn out:

  1. One side will concede that the other side is more appealing and will change sides. – It’s rare but it does happen sometimes.
  2. Both sides will concede that some of the points the opposite side are valid, but they will not change sides. In other words, they’ll agree to disagree – This is a more likely outcome than the first.
  3. They will come to a compromise. – This usually happens when a third option is viable. For example, if a guy in a group wants steak for dinner while another guy in the group wants pizza, the argument can be resolved by going to a restaurant that serves both steak and pizza.

Now what I just wrote above is what happens when civilized people are arguing. When dealing with pricks in the Internet (or pricks in general), there is another possible outcome:


This is, of course, the main reason why people say arguing in the Internet is stupid.

The traditional approach to such trolls is to just ignore them. That would work in normal situations, but if you’re faced with a closed-minded individual threatening to affect your life e.g you’re sure that you’ll go through a world of pain if the group goes with his ideas, you will have to get creative.

Personally, I always use one certain approach when logic fails to convince the troll:

Memetics, baby!

By treating arguments as memes, one will realize that instead of trying to attack your opponent’s meme directly with your own, it makes more sense to make your meme more appealing to the other members of the society so that they would accept it. The point here is that you do not need to convince your opponent that he is wrong — the mere fact that everybody believes he is wrong makes things moot.

One thing to note about this approach is that numbers mean nothing when memes collide. Your opponent may have convinced a thousand people that he is right, but unless those people are really influential with regards to the issue you can still “win” even if you have just 5 directly influential people indoctrinated with your meme.

Another thing to note is that the meme approach isn’t as simple and easy as it looks, and it can backfire especially if you’re not really familiar with your target audience. If you’re not confident about using this approach, I would suggest that you try to find other alternatives instead.

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