December 12, 2007

5 Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Comics Advocate

Recently, there's been a lot of brouhaha over...well, it seems like you can't surf the comics blogosphere more than five minutes without some controversy arising. In fact, it seems like any discussion degenerates into name calling, trolling and flame baiting, and just plain rude behavior.

Reminds me of some of my adventures in St. much so that I am here to provide some insight. Normally, this kind of training would cost some money, but for you, the reader, I am providing these insights free of charge. (Besides which, what kind of blogger would I be if I did not provide actual content). So consider these my five rules for becoming a better advocate for comics.

Normally, I start my trainings with an interesting video, and here's a clip that, I think, will help teach you the difference between an argument and a rant:

Now that we've established what an argument is, we can move to the five basic rules:

  1. Always argue facts, not feelings - If you are discussing hot button issues, it helps to have some idea of what you are talking about. When discussing an issue, it is always easier to come from a rational, more fact-based perspective, which is much harder to argue.
  2. Never get personal - When it comes to opinions, it is easier to substitute a title or insult than go for a rationale. After all, on the Internet, we're not facing each other, but a blank screen. If someone got in your face and accused you of, say, owning Jim Nabors records, would you flame back....or slowly walk away? It should be about the argument, not your character.
  3. Study your opposition - This is where it gets kind of cool, where you learn how to deflate any counterpoints by knowing what your opposition will say before they say it. But Gordon, you may ask, isn't that rather too much for discussion on the Internet? Not at all, especially since you can find most attack tactics right here.
  4. Stay focused - after all, if you don't stay focused, Mike Sterling will be able to raise enough funds to allow Communists to smuggle puppies. This is where you would remind me that this is about comics, not about Mike Sterling. He's a big guy, and can defend himself. You can see this in blogs that, well, lump a certain category of comics fans in a specific category. You know where and who they are.
  5. Finally, always act in a way that attracts allies - The main difference between two people in a knock-down, drag-out fight and one person ranting at another? When both people fight, nobody wins. When one person rants, the other naturally acquires allies...because they're taking the moral high ground.
Admittedly, I've adopted a semi-patronizing tone in the above note, but it's to make a point. The blogosphere is big enough to encompass every kind of belief, from the most insipid to the most inspired. Disagreements are bound to happen. But it doesn't mean that we, as bloggers, comics fans, and human beings, decide to let our worst impulses run rampant.

Thanks for allowing me to share, and I return you to your regular blog enjoyment.

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