A Guide to Gracefully Losing an Internet Argument
courtesty of somethingawful.com
If you are right now (at this very moment) reading an article on a comedy website, then chances are you've been in at least one argument on the internet. Arguing on the internet is a high-stakes battle of the wits between two anonymous combatants and anyone else that feels like typing a whole bunch about a TV show or a video game. As minutes turn to hours, and a single refresh turns into a constant pounding on the F5 button like the low, hungry beating of the drums of war, internet arguing can become a uniquely stressful and thrilling pastime in which you will probably lose.
The fact is, nine times out of ten, the other person will either back you into a corner with irrefutable logic, or, more likely, keep you at it until your fingers give out from the strain while he has been secretly using a deadly combination of voice recognition software and cough drops to outlast you. At this point, you face the inevitable: losing an internet argument.
But the inevitable doesn't have to be the unenviable! Everyone respects a really good entrance or exit. You're already too late for that first one, but here, just your luck, is a chance at that second one. Losing an internet argument with grace can put you so far ahead on the secret internet score sheet that not even a direct order from Bill Gates himself could keep you off the internet high score board.
How do you go about doing this? I am so glad you asked:
1. Point out that everyone else posting is a giant nerd because they are posting on the internet.
You've spent the last three hours feverishly checking the thread on Playstation 3 sales figures and responding to every criticism, and at this point even you have to admit that they have you backed into a corner. Think twice about that, champ! What you have to remember is that anyone who argues about stuff online is a nerd. And by anyone, conveniently enough, I mean anyone but you.
It's time to remind them what giant nerds they are, and also that you are not a giant nerd. You are an internet superstar, one of the few and proud, and you have simply briefly stooped to their level in order to lead them up towards yours. Kind of like a saint, or one of those Buddhist people who teach white guys kung fu.
Bad: God, look at how nerdy we're all being. Including me. I'm nerdy too.
Good: Nice post about video games there, nerd. I copied your post and pasted it in Word and then I ran word count and found out you had 300 words in your post. Three hundred whole words about video games. Ha ha. Great job there nerd. Is it hard to play video games through your thick glasses that are constantly being broken by jocks? I know how that is…for the jock. Because you're a nerd and I'm an awesome jock.
2. Post lots and lots of words about something trivial.
The more trivial the subject, the more words you are going to have to post here. If you're discussing the recent firing of several federal attorneys, for instance, you can get away with a paragraph or two with no swearing. If you're discussing whether Chrono Cross was a successful game on its own merits despite clearly not being as good as Chrono Trigger, then you are going to have to pull out the internet forum's equivalent of War and Peace, except you aren't allowed to put paragraph breaks and you have to swear a lot and put the swear words in CAPITALS so it reads like you said the entire thing in one breath and shouted every few words.
This shows that you have passion. Passion is a manly trait, and men are basically cool. I'm talking about a man's man here. A man willing to break it down and get emotional about Shadow of the Colossus. You know who you are. Give me a pound of your fist on your monitor. If you break it, it's ok. That just means you don't know your own strength because there is too much testosterone pumping passionately through your bloodstream.
Since it's all about length, a bad example would be anything short and a truly good example would pump this article's length up by about 1000-3000 words.
3. Tell everyone you are arguing with how little you care about the argument.
This is especially effective as a one-two punch with posting a lot of words. You have proved you are passionate, but men aren't just passionate. They also are stoic, and when there is danger they narrow their eyes and smoke cigarettes. The problem with this aspect of manliness is that narrowing your eyes and smoking cigarettes is very difficult to portray over the internet, although there are probably some emoticons that can help out.
The best alternative then is to follow up your essay on Dragonball Z playing cards with a coda in which you explain that you did not care about all those words you just posted.
Bad: I am literally crying right now. There are tears all over my keyboard because I am crying all over it. My keyboard is going to break because I can't stop weeping all over myself and it.
Good: Haha ok, I didn't know you'd react so strongly. It's just the internet. Who cares? I don't. Do you care? You probably do. You're a woman, I am a man. I don't care about things.
4. You were only playing devil's advocate/trying to piss people off/controlling their emotions like the puppet master you are.
You may have lost the war, but great news! You didn't want to win anyway. In fact, you lost intentionally, so by winning they are actually doing exactly what you wanted them to do. They're like tiny ants that you can crush, except they are about the same size as you (maybe on average a little bigger).
Bad: I meant every word of this thread. I was trying to get you guys to like me. The only puppet here is me
Good: Wow you guys seem pretty angry at me. I bet you're all fuming and drooling over your keyboards because you have a glandular problem that causes uncontrollable spittle production. This is just where I want you, by the way. I entered gimmick mode the moment I saw all you nerds and I just couldn't help but toy with you a little bit. Ok, enjoy your EVE Online thread boys now that I've caused you all run around with it like you were posting as bulls and I was posting as a piece of red cloth. Why don't you pelibeans malt over that idea for a while.
5. When finally leaving the argument, make sure to inform them you will be partaking in some sort of basic social function.
The goal here is to not just disappear from the internet for awhile, but make them envious that they aren't disappearing like you are. Try something like: "Listen, if you want to sit around being wrong about the season finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender on a fine Saturday night, you can, but I am going to a bar with people I recently met at work" or "Hey, if you think that's the best strategy for the last level of Battletoads, be my guest, but maybe you can tell me the best strategy for driving to a woman's house to attend a party she is throwing for 50 of her closest friends because that's what I'm doing right after I post this sentence."
What this does quite effectively is establish yourself as someone capable of maintaining real life social contact on some sort of level, which makes you way cooler than all these other freaks who have been arguing anime with you for most of the afternoon. Your case is made even stronger if you can somehow work in some mention of sexual contact or the presence of alcohol, and is significantly weakened if the real life activity is possibly nerdier than arguing with people online.
Bad: I am going to an Elfpunk LARPing group that I found on Craigslist. Ha ha. I bet you losers wish you had a big velvet cape like the one I am wearing right now (I am wearing a giant green cape while I'm typing this. Picture that, losers).
Good: I'll be up in the club getting wasted on Bacardi Breezers with some hot bitches and they gonna be all up on me, brb.
A bitch is also a female dog, so you might want to clarify the statement by adding something like: "I'm also gonna pour some champagne all over them bitc*bleeeep*, they ain't no female dogs if you know what I mean."
Another important tip!
The word ho does not present the same problem despite its misleading pronunciation. It is actually spelled differently than the gardening tool.
6. Post a really hot picture of yourself flexing your pecs while shirtless.
Note: This only works if you actually are hot/have pecs. I found that out the hard way.