Arguing online: you can do it, but you gotta be Superjesus

There should be a code you can adhere to in order to signal “I am sincere, and probably not going to make things worse.” Something like this:

The Code of Superjesus
- I might be wrong.
- I am not trying to win an argument; I am either trying to educate or trying to get to a further shared truth. (if I am trying to educate, I will be very careful that I’m not being a jerk and offering unwanted advice.)
- I realize that all the people involved in this argument are real people, and I will make an effort to imagine that each of them is a person I respect.
- I will give everyone involved as much benefit of the doubt as possible.
- I will make every effort to avoid a common set of logical fallacies. (Maybe we could use the Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments for starters.)
- I will not offer unfalsifiable claims.
- I realize that I must be even kinder online than I would be if I were having this argument in real life.

I wonder if this has been done. Recurse Center’s manual comes to mind (“no feigning surprise”, “no well-actuallying”, “no subtle isms”, etc). I bet the Lesswrong folks or some other online rationalists have done this too. I mean, to be clear, probably every successful subreddit or other online community has something like this (and I bet I know some online-community researchers, so if you know this, shout it out). I think I’d want it to be one step less connected to any one community - so I could say “Code of Superjesus in effect” and link to it and people could know what this means.

(Of course, that would then make it one more (unofficial) community and in-crowd. Oh well.)


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