Debate Techniques

Debate Techniques

Techniques not commonly classified as propaganda techniques, but share many of the same aspects of propaganda techniques, in being evasive, misleading, and/or emotionally-charged.


appeal to pity - portraying oneself as a victim in order to gain sympathy and manufacture justification for attacking your opponents.

These attacks can then be characterized as just "pushing back" or "counter-punching."

attacking the ratings - attacking a news organization's ratings, circulation, or popularity, while not refuting the substance of its criticism.

Another form of ad hominemsee definition - attacking the character or motive of your opponent, while not refuting his facts or logic.
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can't speak on behalf of - not addressing another's conduct by claiming that addressing it would be speaking on his or her behalf.

going negative - characterizing criticism from an opponent as being underhanded, unfair, or indecent in some way.

Often used to justify a response that is underhanded, unfair, or indecent in some way.

innuendo - implying something without actually saying it, which can't be refuted because it wasn't actually said.

Like saying, "it's nice to hear you tell the truth," to imply someone is typically dishonest without actually saying it.

loaded question - presenting a question that has a presumption of guilt built into it.

Its inflammatory nature is particularly effective at derailing rational debate, since the respondent is compelled to defend against the question, rather than debate the issue at hand.

non-sequitur - response that doesn't follow logically from or isn't related to anything previously asked or said.

passing the buck - shifting blame onto someone else for self-exoneration or to direct attention away from those really at fault.

the last word - getting in the final words in an exchange to take advantage of the cognitive bias to remember best what is heard last.

Based on "the recency effect," a phenomenon by which you're more likely to recall what you heard last, so information conveyed at the end of an exchange tends to stand out the most in someone’s mind.

trolling - making inflammatory or controversial comments to provoke a strong, emotional reaction from an opponent.