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Curmudgeon
I was reading this (extensively edited) exchange in another thread:
QUOTE(entspeak @ Jun 13 2010, 07:29 PM) *
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 13 2010, 06:30 PM) *
Let's just agree to disagree.
Uh... haha. No. We already agree to disagree... or there wouldn't be a debate. If you want to stop debating... sure, that's your prerogative. But if you make a point I disagree with, I will challenge it. It's kind of why the site exists.
There was something in this exchange that just did not sit right in my mind…

I did some research, and quickly learned that the rules for formal debates seem to be too extensive to be summarized in a single website. Basically though, there seems to be agreement that a debate is a formal argument in which facts are presented to support arguments in an attempt to find the truth.

To "agree to disagree" seems to fall more in line with the definitions I found when I did a search to define quibble
QUOTE
SYNONYMS: quibble, carp1, cavil, niggle, nitpick, pettifog

These verbs mean to raise petty or frivolous objections or complaints: quibbling about minor details; a critic who constantly carped; caviling about the price of coffee; an editor who niggled about commas; tried to stop nitpicking all the time; pettifogging about trivialities.

Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.
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entspeak
Being one of the parties mentioned, I don't quite understand what you're trying to say here.
Curmudgeon
Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.

I thought the above was a clear challenge. I got a PM:
QUOTE
I liked your thread here, but it doesn't have a question to debate.

In a formal debate, you either support the proposed resolution with facts and arguments, or you oppose the resolution with facts and arguments..

There are any number of websites out there that provide Parliamentary rules for debate, International rules for debate, etc.

The "argument" that "we already agree to disagree" sounds to me more like the partisanship that currently exists in the U.S. Senate. Is what you really want to accomplish, simply to have endless "arguments" in which everyone has agreed that no common ground can be found?

e.g. There is an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which could conceivably destroy the planet's food chain. Can we work to find ideas that might resolve this; or are we going to try to place the blame on one of this century's only two Presidents despite the generally accepted fact that neither of them was running British petroleum or working as an administrator on the Deepwater Horizon?

What do you want from this debate site?

Do you want to explore ideas, grow, perhaps allow your mind to change. If so, why?

Do you want to state, and restate "IMO, you are very disagreeable." If so, why?

This was posted as a rebuttal to feedback I have been hearing that the quality of the debate on the site is slipping. Select a side to the resolution, pro or con. Defend your position, but don't be adamant. Keep your mind open. Express why you are on this site, and what your vision of the site entails... Help me to understand what you hope to contribute, and draw from the dialog. Grow!
moif
QUOTE
What do you want from this debate site?

Do you want to explore ideas, grow, perhaps allow your mind to change. If so, why?
I'd like to be challenged by well thought out counter arguments that test my position and make me reconsider my understanding of a topic.

I'm not interested in being told who I am or what other people think of me.

Its always a pleasure to debate with people who can entertain and alternative point of view without flying to conclusions or who understand that a person may play devils advocate without having bought a first class ticket to Hell.
entspeak
QUOTE(Curmudgeon @ Jun 14 2010, 01:29 PM) *
Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.

I thought the above was a clear challenge.

Oh, I thought it was, at best, a comment - at worst, a slight. To say, "Resolved:" doesn't really sound like a challenge to me, it sounds like, well... something more resolute - a tad, ironic, I think, no?

QUOTE
In a formal debate, you either support the proposed resolution with facts and arguments, or you oppose the resolution with facts and arguments..

There are any number of websites out there that provide Parliamentary rules for debate, International rules for debate, etc.


Okay, I get all this.

QUOTE
The "argument" that "we already agree to disagree" sounds to me more like the partisanship that currently exists in the U.S. Senate. Is what you really want to accomplish, simply to have endless "arguments" in which everyone has agreed that no common ground can be found?


No. And that isn't what that statement should sound like if taken in context of what was occurring in the thread with the person to which I made the statement. That person was taking a position that they didn't care, but, with regard to the issue of the ban, that, ultimately, if the airlines didn't do it themselves, the government should - an affirmative answer to the question for debate. My position was that the shouldn't and explained why it was unnecessary for it to do so... rather than refute that, the person simply said... with regard to government involvement... let's just agree to disagree. And I'm thinking, "Umm... that was the question for debate... you don't want to address the question for debate, you simply want to 'agree to disagree'... without really dealing with it? Just going to take a position and not support it?" And I know I wasn't the only person informing her that she wasn't really dealing with the question for debate - others were pointing that out as well.

So, excuse me, but, if you're claiming that my remark was an example of how the quality of debate has been slipping, I also have to chuckle at the irony of that.

Granted, the statement was a play on the use of the well known phrase, "let's agree to disagree"... but, I like to do that - it's fun; and, the take on the phrase works: at the outset - if you enter into a debate and take a position contrary to that of another... you are both their voluntarily; you are both taking a position - both saying - at the outset I disagree with you and you disagree with me. If you didn't agree to disagree, as it were, you wouldn't be in the debate, taking contrary positions in the first place. And I didn't simply leave it at that single statement. I said, if you make a statement I don't agree with, I will challenge it.

I am certainly open to be wrong and have conceded points in debates, many times, in fact. I have learned quite a bit and been corrected quite a bit on this site over the years.

But, simply saying, 'here's my unsupported position with regard to the actual question for debate and it's contrary to yours... let's just agree to disagree.' How is that considered keeping one's "mind open"? That isn't even debate.

I do try to work toward a resolution, toward the truth - not always as concisely - and certainly not as eloquently - as I'd like, but I do. That's why I'm here.
vsrenard
Do you want to explore ideas, grow, perhaps allow your mind to change. If so, why?

Yes. Some ten or so years ago now, I realized that I, like most of my friends, family and co-workers, live in an intellectual bubble. By that I mean that the people I associate with most often, live within a set of parameters that most of the rest of the country, and world, do no live in. I was born to a middle-class family where education up to at least a master's degree (preferably and MD, PhD, or JD) was expected. I grew up traveling the country and the world. Military service is not known in my family or friends' lives. Poverty meant we might be nutritionally deficient but would not starve, we might never wear cool clothes but we would always be clean, our shelter may have had insects and occasionally mice, but we rarely had to worry about stray bullets in our neighborhoods.

As I said, most of my family, friends and people I know at work are similar (I live and work in an affluent area near San Francisco). I come here because I want to hear views outside of my bubble. Educated views from people who might make me think about an issue from a different angle. After a decade of venturing outside "my world," I find I am more often than not better informed than my family and friends who take the leftist view automatically without much question.

Do you want to state, and restate "IMO, you are very disagreeable." If so, why?

Sometimes. tongue.gif I mean honestly, some people on here can be very disagreeable, at least in the way they debate. Most times I just try to ignore and move on (the "collection of oil in the Gulf" thread, anyone?) but others times the moving of goal posts or just iteration of proven untruths gets annoying.

ETA: The threads I am least likely to participate on involve ones that focus on case law. I don't have much skill, background or interest in this area.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(entspeak)
But, simply saying, 'here's my unsupported position with regard to the actual question for debate and it's contrary to yours... let's just agree to disagree.'

Who said that, entspeak, the 'here's my unsupported position' part? Is that why you didn't use full quotation marks?

When I said "let's just agree to disagree," it meant that I was no longer interested in arguing with you in that thread. It was an effort to be polite and move on to something else. You obviously did not want to consider that airlines need to consider the health needs of their passengers up there with fears of terrorism, so you dismissed that line of reasoning out of hand. Apparently "terrorism" is in a category all its own and separated from anything else to your mind, but not to mine. You dismissed the reference to passengers with active tuberculosis being prohibited from flying. You ignored my comparison to the fact that smoking had to be prohibited on-flight, that it was a fight for years on behalf of people with respiratory ailments. In short, I got tired of it.

I have seen pages and pages of references and documentation, and in return I have seen the arguments picked at from people who had a problem with the way it was presented. I didn't see documentation of sources from you, either, in the thread in question . Since it was established at the outset that "nobody wins" these debates, we do have the freedom to drop in and/or drop out of a thread when we choose, and sometimes but not always a remaining poster thumps his chest at having "vanquished" the person, but it sometimes means the end of the thread as well. So I leave to the forum the necessity of finding someone who will take up my side of the argument. My energy is limited, and I choose to spend it elsewhere. If you have a problem with "let's agree to disagree" as a way to extricate myself from knocking heads with you, it's your problem.

EDIT: added "just"
Raptavio
Point of information: "Resolved: (assertion)" is often the way a formal debate is framed, with people taking the "pro" and "con" sides. It's actually in the spirit of formal debate to phrase a topic.

This topic seems silly. People are here to debate, yes, but nobody here is obliged to debate with anyone else. There are debaters here I make a point to ignore on the "never teach a pig to sing" rule (as mentioned in my sig). There are topics I gloss over, and other topics that I choose to move on from when I tire of them.

Why on God's green earth should any of us get bent out of shape about people choosing to end their participation in a debate, or not join at all?
vsrenard
QUOTE(Raptavio @ Jun 14 2010, 07:57 PM) *
This topic seems silly. People are here to debate, yes, but nobody here is obliged to debate with anyone else. There are debaters here I make a point to ignore on the "never teach a pig to sing" rule (as mentioned in my sig). There are topics I gloss over, and other topics that I choose to move on from when I tire of them.


It doesn't seem silly to learn what people are expecting from this site. It's certainly not uniform.
Dingo
This is a debate site, Is your mind open when you come here?

It would be disingenuous to say I don't have some biases when I arrive, who doesn't? The question is are you interested to hear different sides of a question. Yes. I subscribe to the view that if you have an opinion then one way one knows one holds it honestly is to invite the strongest objections to that opinion. In that sense my opponent becomes my ally in maintaining my integrity.

However arguments can become very tiring very quickly if one keeps getting diversions, avoidances, misrepresentations and ad hominems in place of serious arguments. For instance, if you say 'A' and your opposition argues in response to your 'B' position, having to continually correct misrepresentations rather than advance your argument gets tiring real fast and if this continues then it's best to break off the discussion.
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akaCG
QUOTE(Dingo @ Jun 15 2010, 12:41 AM) *
...
... arguments can become very tiring very quickly if one keeps getting diversions, avoidances, misrepresentations and ad hominems in place of serious arguments. ...
...


Priceless.
CruisingRam
I have been moved by arguments here and outside of cyber space to change my position through logical argument. I think the biggest change in my political ideology has been on the illegal immigration issue. I used to be very Pat-Buchanan on this issue, along the lines of a secure border is better for national security. I have completely changed my argument on that through a couple of life experiences coupled with sound arguments by folks like Turnea. Not to mention actually educating myself on the law itself a bit, and how non-serious a "crime" it represents, and then, of course, if you are in business with anybody in Arizona, you tend to soften your stance on illegals, and understand they are generally the most victimized population on this issue. And my thinking started to change by researching on the debate information presented here.

Quite frankly- my mind was not "open" at all on the issue, but rather, forced open by honest debate. thumbsup.gif

I was forced to consider that some of my positions, quite frankly, were racist.

So, in my own experience, my own political ideology was "resolved" by serious debate.
entspeak
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 14 2010, 10:29 PM) *
Who said that, entspeak, the 'here's my unsupported position' part? Is that why you didn't use full quotation marks?


Well noticed... yes, that is exactly why I didn't use full quotation marks, because that's, obviously, not a direct quote.

As for the rest of your post, I have no constructive response that could possibly be considered relevant to this thread.

QUOTE(Raptavio)
Point of information: "Resolved: (assertion)" is often the way a formal debate is framed, with people taking the "pro" and "con" sides. It's actually in the spirit of formal debate to phrase a topic.


hmmm.gif I did not know that smile.gif. Now, I understand why Curmudgeon thought that statement was a "clear challenge" - that certainly diminishes the irony in the post thumbsup.gif

QUOTE
Why on God's green earth should any of us get bent out of shape about people choosing to end their participation in a debate, or not join at all?


Well, personally, I have no problem with people choosing to end their participation in a debate... I believe I mentioned that in the thread in question.
Maybe Maybe Not
I haven't reviewd the thread that prompted this one, so I don't know whose ox I'm going to gore ...

Depending on context and phrasing, I think "agreeing to disagree" statements can be objectionable.

What I find objectionable is the implication. Rather than clearly stating, "I cannot refute your arguments and therefore must accept your conclusions," or "I choose no longer to participate in this discussion because of a lack of interest or time," agreeing to disagree can sometimes be taken to imply that the issue in dispute has no correct answer (i.e., no factually and logically supportable answer), so it's all just a matter of opinion - mine just as valid as yours. I believe there are contexts where this is true. But I also believe there are contexts where a correct (or at least a more sound) answer DOES exist. And I think debate/discussion/argument is intended to arrive at that answer.

Seems to me that "agreeing to disagree" is sometimes the last refuge of those who cannot provide any factual or logical response to an opposing viewpoint.
Julian

QUOTE
Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.


Seconded

<aside> This side of the pond it's a more common preamble to start a debate proposition with "This House believes..." rather than "Resolved:". It took me a while to cotton on - one learns something new every day
Nighthunter
QUOTE(Curmudgeon @ Jun 14 2010, 12:08 PM) *
I was reading this (extensively edited) exchange in another thread:
QUOTE(entspeak @ Jun 13 2010, 07:29 PM) *
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Jun 13 2010, 06:30 PM) *
Let's just agree to disagree.
Uh... haha. No. We already agree to disagree... or there wouldn't be a debate. If you want to stop debating... sure, that's your prerogative. But if you make a point I disagree with, I will challenge it. It's kind of why the site exists.
There was something in this exchange that just did not sit right in my mind…

I did some research, and quickly learned that the rules for formal debates seem to be too extensive to be summarized in a single website. Basically though, there seems to be agreement that a debate is a formal argument in which facts are presented to support arguments in an attempt to find the truth.

To "agree to disagree" seems to fall more in line with the definitions I found when I did a search to define quibble
QUOTE
SYNONYMS: quibble, carp1, cavil, niggle, nitpick, pettifog

These verbs mean to raise petty or frivolous objections or complaints: quibbling about minor details; a critic who constantly carped; caviling about the price of coffee; an editor who niggled about commas; tried to stop nitpicking all the time; pettifogging about trivialities.

Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.


Curmudgeon,

Resolved: This is a debate site, Is your mind open when you come here?

Beyond bringing ideas together, to me debate also implies fighting with words. Root metaphors here are War and individual Combat. When I fight for a dearly held conviction, I momentarily switch from 'openness' to vigorously, reasonably and even disingeniously DEFENDING a position. So I am not always openminded, although I'm willing to be convinced by strong arguments. Everybody has biases, I believe this is how normal minds work, and the best debaters are acutely aware of the ones they hold themselves. Finally, a person who is completely openminded, all of the time, is an idiot, in the medical sense.


...agree to disgree...

Many folks who choose to insert this phrase into debate, do so emotionally, having reached a point of wariness, debate fatigue and are effectively calling for a Time Out. In the exchange you quoted, member entspeak 'gives no quarter' and shows his intention to press on with 'disagreeing' at will. He's using (mental/emotional) exhaustion in an opponent to win, break'em down. (In the metaphorical sense, I'm sure entspeak is a perfectly nice individual!!)


Resolved: This is a debate site, not the United States Senate. We should be able to keep our minds open, listen to the arguments being made; and if possible, refute them with facts. If the facts support one side more than the other; we should be allowed to act like a juror, listen to the facts and the evidence and change our minds.


MAYBE we should, debate rule sets abound, but then again I might disagree and propose alternative rules. Whatever debate should be like, there's 'fight' in it, meaning elements from deep within our (prehistoric?) minds well up, like aggression, selfcenteredness, and deceptiveness. A great debate mixes intellectual brilliance with crazy superstitions with mob lynchings. It's fun. Glory equals winning a debate because you are evidently right. And being forced to acknowlegde error, learning new truths, may transform you, make actually leave you a better person. (Moderator's mustn't forget to ban any lynching mobs though!)



Nighthunter
Raptavio
My general rule of thumb (and I'm the first to admit I do not always live by this) is that positions must fit the facts. When facts change, that means positions must change. Take SB1070. As originally written, it was an unconstitutional abomination. As enacted, as Blackstone pointed out, it is much less offensive due to the far narrower scope and extra language protecting Constitutional rights. Although I still have some misgivings about the law, I had to change my position in light of the new facts showing the bill's scope had been greatly narrowed.

I think that principles are not easily debated or changed because they are based on moral, religious or philosophical precepts, not objective facts. This is why debates over issues like abortion are fruitless because they boil down to personal morality -- and thus for many people on either side, the other side is not only wrong but deeply immoral. This also is true for debates over, say, gay marriage.

I think part of our responsibility as people aspiring to engage in constructive debate is to accept and incorporate new facts into our argumentation, rather than cherry-picking facts that support our arguments and blindly ignoring ones that don't. This does not mean that we should blindly accept any assertion of fact as valid, even if linked (akaCG, for example, recently made the claim that Obama was the #1 recipient of campaign contributions from BP, a claim that, upon further examination, doesn't bear out), but if they are in fact borne out and they conflict with our positions, well, then we need to change our positions.

In furtherance of that, I'm currently conspiring with turnea to begin a topic on something which has been touched in a few threads and which I myself have contributed to adding heat rather than light to the discussion, that being our mutual belief that one of the most significant differences between liberalism and conservatism in the modern era is that the latter is largely focused on the defense of privilege and the former is opposed to the same. And part of my responsibility, in part to atone for adding noise rather than signal to the debate, is to do the opposite this time around.

But that will come soon as turnea and I have time to put together our thoughts on the matter, and for me to make clear the distinction (and there is a significant one) between defending privilege and supporting prejudice or bigotry. I bring it up here not to jump-start that debate but to just give an example of what I think makes debate good and what makes it bad.

Generally I try to focus my time on those debates where the participants acknowledge facts which refute their arguments and either adjust their arguments accordingly or find reasons why those facts are mitigated by other facts. I tend to ignore debates and debaters (and thankfully there are few here) who cannot do that. I also try to live by that standard (and sometimes fail, but don't we all?), and I recommend everyone else do the same.

I also try to remember Wertz. The one time he PMed me it was to thank me for slapping him down for being overhostile to another poster, as well as to congratulate me for a great argument. He was so thoughtful and courteous, and had the humility to do that -- and as I've since learned, had a habit of doing that when other posters 'slapped him down' for valid reasons. That's a very high bar -- no wonder Wertz is so fondly remembered by all who knew him on this forum. God knows I couldn't live by that standard.

Anyway, stream of consciousness here. Apologies if it was a little rambly.
entspeak
QUOTE(Nighthunter @ Jun 16 2010, 05:34 AM) *
...agree to disgree...

Many folks who choose to insert this phrase into debate, do so emotionally, having reached a point of wariness, debate fatigue and are effectively calling for a Time Out.


Well, it's not really the same as calling a Time Out... which implies that there is eventually a Time Back In. No, many people insert this phrase at the end of a post, after they've attempted earlier in the post to rebut some points and possibly bring up new ones... this is more akin to simply trying to get the last word. It is walking out the door as you continue to argue and then smiling as you slam the door before anyone can respond... rinse, repeat. And I don't think calling someone out on that is low class. And I think we have to be careful not to confuse passion in debate with hostility in debate.

QUOTE
In the exchange you quoted, member entspeak 'gives no quarter' and shows his intention to press on with 'disagreeing' at will. He's using (mental/emotional) exhaustion in an opponent to win, break'em down. (In the metaphorical sense, I'm sure entspeak is a perfectly nice individual!!)


Well, technically, I gave no quarter to someone who was continuing to debate and showed my intent to press on with challenging those points. It had nothing to do with that individual personally. If that person continued to make points I disagreed with, I would continue to challenge them... challenge the points. It's not simply about pressing on with disagreeing, that wasn't and isn't the aim; and, I've posted enough concessions on this site to indicate that I am certainly willing to agree with a convincing argument that rebuts my assertions.
cicero
Raptavio
QUOTE
In furtherance of that, I'm currently conspiring with turnea to begin a topic on something which has been touched in a few threads and which I myself have contributed to adding heat rather than light to the discussion, that being our mutual belief that one of the most significant differences between liberalism and conservatism in the modern era is that the latter is largely focused on the defense of privilege and the former is opposed to the same. And part of my responsibility, in part to atone for adding noise rather than signal to the debate, is to do the opposite this time around.

But that will come soon as turnea and I have time to put together our thoughts on the matter, and for me to make clear the distinction (and there is a significant one) between defending privilege and supporting prejudice or bigotry. I bring it up here not to jump-start that debate but to just give an example of what I think makes debate good and what makes it bad.


This is one topic I want to debate. There is a vast difference between modern liberalism and conservatism but also great divides within modern liberalism and conservatism. I started one time to make the argument but stopped due to time (I am very busy these days). Hope you guys make this topic.
-----

What do you want from this debate site?

I came here to be challenged and to learn. I feel I have been given both but that I came in at the tail end of what used to be a great site. There are great debaters here but the debates as of late of been lacking. I like people who are independent in their thinking but I appreciate all political and social beliefs.

Some of the people’s ideas on this site are very original and worth noting. Next time I get to talk to Representative Solomon Ortiz or meet Senator Kate Bailey Hutchison I am going to mention AD somehow or someway. I want to just because I would like to think that someone still has an open mind and willing to look at other ideas. People today seem too unwilling to listen or, actually, consider would be a better word. I have my mind made up on a few issues but for the most part I am willing to change especially when the facts change and the truth is revealed.

I laugh because I have friends who get mad that I read Chomsky or on the other end of the political spectrum Robert Bork. I honestly read everything and everyone for the most part. I won’t read Mein Kampf because I am not interested in knowing the ideas of a madman. Other than that I am open to mostly everything. I would like to see more people to just being open. That does not mean your worldview will change

Do you want to explore ideas, grow, perhaps allow your mind to change. If so, why?

As I said above, yes. I like learning and dead serious about finding the truth, being kind, and standing for justice.

Do you want to state, and restate "IMO, you are very disagreeable." If so, why?

I guess this is better than any other time so here it goes. The one great issue I have is that some people are just mean to religious people like myself and maybe not directly but out of nowhere someone will just say something hateful and more importantly unconstructive about God, Jesus, etc. I don’t care about the hate because I have tough skin and I keep quite but just because you are on the internet does not mean you should toss all civility aside even if you hate faith... just a thought. biggrin.gif To be clear, I watch Bill Maher, read Dawkins, and like Christopher Hitches (just to name a few) so I can take the heat cool.gif but it would be nice to be able to go and debate without having to read obnoxious comments. Granted, there are times when something typically obnoxious needs to be said and I am not saying people should say anything... hopefully you know what I am trying to say.
Hobbes
What do you want from this debate site?

Objective discussion of the issues with a goal not of winning the debate but of arriving at the correct conclusion. Naturally, 'correct' is open to interpretation, which is often part of the debate, but it goes without saying (although it should probably be said alot more) than no particular ideology holds the patent on it.

Do you want to explore ideas, grow, perhaps allow your mind to change. If so, why?

No. Naturally, I am more interested in that happening for all those I debate with! whistling.gif) (SOMEONE had to say it!)

Having said that, I have had my mind changed a couple of times here. If someone makes an argument that makes sense, is valid, yet contradicts yours--perhaps that is because they're right. Nothing wrong with that. It is much better to have a changed mind than remain an obstinate fool. If there were one phrase I would love to see more on this site it would be "Hey, you have a good point there." You can even do that without agreeing with everything else they said. Really, you can, and it would do wonders for the tenor of many debates.

Do you want to state, and restate "IMO, you are very disagreeable." If so, why?

Never. That means the debate has become personal, and is no longer about whatever issue is being discussed. I have at times had to state that the discussion was becoming pointless, but it should always (IMHO) be the discussion and not the person that is the problem.
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