I've found myself in numerous debates over the past, what, 13 years as a member of HF. What I have found is that those who have earned my respect are the ones who know how to hold their end of the arguments. Usually we'd both agree to disagree in those cases, and that's cool.
Sadly, a lot of people aren't that good at debating. They simply aren't ready to debate. They'd say something, and when they are met by an opposing view, they just don't have a very good argument to counter the opposition. Sometimes they even go as far as to block you the moment you say something they don't like, even if you've been perfectly respectful. They just can't take it.
Also, the ability to be able to admit your faults is a very good thing in my opinion. I recently did just that when I was participating in a particular discussion. I said something that was out of line, and I realized I was out of line, and therefore I apologized. It's not like I did a complete 180° in terms of how I felt about the particular situation, but There was something about how I was perceiving the situation, and the way I was coming across, that needed to be rectified. And I was a man enough to recognize it, and admit it. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do the same in a debate, and this is how a debate turns ugly.
I've come across so many people who would oppose my view on something, but wouldn't have a very good argument to counter it. They'd then resort to stupid things like repeating themselves without making any progress in a discussion, name-calling, blocking the opposition in the midst of a debate, throwing a temper tantrum aimlessly during a debate........well, you get the idea.
And yes, this is the way it is on the Internet. But it's also the way it is outside the Internet. Even before the age of the Internet, this kind of thing was observed all the time. I suppose it's part of being human, but I believe we as humans are more gracious than we've allowed ourselves to become. We are more intelligent than we've been conditioned to become. We are more sensible than we've allowed ourselves to become.
And lastly, we are more humane than we've been conditioned to become.
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