Ah, the Internet squabble. It can make even the most analytical mind sound like a shrieky high-school girl. Wouldn’t the Web be a better place if everyone learned to argue logically?
To that end, Craig Ward, a British-born New York-based designer, has produced an excellent flowchart on how to prove people wrong online. The guide reinterprets Paul Graham’s 2008 essay “How to Disagree,” a primer for Internet commenters and bloggers on the hierarchy of effective argument forms.
It’s familiar stuff to anyone who took a college logic class. Calling someone an asshole: bad. Refuting the central point: good.
Ward’s flowchart might look a tad confusing, and that’s precisely the point. “As anyone who’s tried to have an argument on a message board or forum will know, it can be a frustrating experience — often with multiple participants and several different overlapping comments and opinions,” he tells us. “With so many people weighing in, it can be all to easy to lose track of a thread so the complexity of the lines and the flow of the piece are intended to represent this.”
The infographic — which in real life is more than 10 feet tall! — goes on view tomorrow in the window of an abandoned Victorian shopping arcade in Newcastle, England, as part of Design Event North East.
Will it reduce the number of assholes thrusting their opinions on the rest of the Internet? Of course not. But at least it’ll teach them how to be convincing assholes.
[Images courtesy of Craig Ward]