Debating in private

This is a repost of the original from my previous blog at

It is no news that the online debate climate is polarised, aggressive and more focused on getting your point across at the least possible characters, than actually engaging in a healthy debate.

Many topics benefit from being discussed in the open, and there are still arenas for open civilised discussions. For most online media today though, the boat has sailed and has long disappeared off the horizon.

When you are about to enter a discussion, consider whether you, the person you are entering into the discussion with and the topic at hand benefits in any way from having the discussion in the open. Even if the answer should come back “Yes”, I would urge you to consider taking the debate private first before moving it to an open forum.

The thing is, when you conduct the discussion in private, without a thousand eyes watching, analyzing, considering every word you type, every punctuation, the focus of the debate and how you enter into it changes dramatically. You’re also free from the reduction of your communication into simple, single dimensional measurements such as likes and retweets.

Suddenly you are writing for the sake of debating, for trying to get your point across in a way that can be understood.

From my experience it is also so much easier to be considered under the best possible intentions, rather than the opposite – which is usually the case with most online communication. You are likewise more open and understanding towards the views of your opponent, which is a huge benefit for everyone.

Next time you’re about to enter into a discussion, consider moving it to a private channel. I am sure you will be positively surprised about the outcome.