If you have never won an argument on Facebook while reacting to burning social or relationship issues on your friends’ timeline, don’t fret. Here are certain simple rules which, if followed properly, can make you a winner in online arguments.
According to Chenhao Tan, a PhD candidate in computer science from Cornell University, the team followed 18,000 threads on social networking website Reddit under the subreddit “r/changemyview” over two-and-a-half years to find out that people need to follow certain rules if they want to win online arguments.
“We find that persuasive arguments are characterised by interesting patterns of interaction dynamics such as participant entry-order and degree of back-and-forth exchange,” Tan noted.
“Furthermore, by comparing similar counter arguments to the same opinion, we show that language factors play an essential role,” he added. In particular, the interplay between the language of the opinion holder and that of the counter argument provides highly predictive cues of persuasiveness.
“We show that stylistic choices in how the opinion is expressed carry predictive power,” the researchers noted.
To win an argument, you must respond sooner rather than later to the initial post and always try to link your post to some evidence for authenticity. Also, keep your language clean with longer responses. “Changing someone’s opinion is arguably one of the most important challenges of social interaction,” the authors said.
“We find that not only are interaction patterns connected to the success of persuasion, but language is also found to distinguish persuasive arguments. Dissimilarity with the wording in which the opinion is expressed turns out to be the most predictive signal among all features,” the study noted.
“Although this novel dataset opens up potential opportunities for future work, it remains an interesting problem how our findings generalise to different contexts. It is also important to understand the effects of attitude change on actual behaviour,” the research paper suggested.
According to Tan, the findings can be generalised to other online settings and social networks. The research paper titled “Winning Arguments: Interaction Dynamics and Persuasion Strategies in Good-faith Online Discussions” is set to be presented at the International World Wide Web Conference in Montreal, Canada, in April.