In debates, what do you think constitutes a personal attack?

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  1. JMcFarland profile image69
    JMcFarlandposted 10 years ago

    In debates, what do you think constitutes a personal attack?

    With debates spanning the full spectrum from civilized and polite discussions to blatant screaming and name calling, I've noticed that a lot of people are quick to claim that they're being attacked, when the other party has done nothing of the sort - and just disagreed.  in your own opinion, what is your determination for claiming an attack by a debate opponent or fellow hubber?

  2. peeples profile image94
    peeplesposted 10 years ago

    Here on HP it seems simply disagreeing is an attack. However I really don't think it becomes an attack until the name calling starts. Ignorant and delusional seem to be the two from each side of the debates that I hear the most. Both in my opinion are a direct attack.
    Debates are great for us, but only when the two debating can handle being disagreed with.

    1. JMcFarland profile image69
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment.

    2. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      YES!! +1,000,000,000,000,000,000

  3. profile image0
    Deepes Mindposted 10 years ago

    From my experiences here, it would appear that the biggest idea of a personal attack falls in a few categories: 1) For some, it's simply disagreeing with their opinion. Some people are unable to separate their emotions from their beliefs and as such cannot stand scrutiny. 2) As peeples mentioned, name calling certainly be considered a personal attack as well as passing judgment on others (you're deceived by the devil.. hell threats..etc) to bring yourself to that level is a false elevation of self and shows that some are unable to stand firm in their belief and are basically losing ground so they try to save face. 3) Giving your opinion of someone else's opinion can definitely be a personal attack because it takes away from the original topic of discussion. If the discussion how we feel about God, let that stay the subject. Giving an opinion on someone else's feelings about God takes away from the subject itself and places it on the person. 4) Continuing to address a person directly after that person has already agreed to disagree and wants to move forward or after asking you (generally speaking) not to address them personally and directly. To continue makes a person come off as a bully. 5) (This one especially gets to me) When Christians accuse other Christians of not believing in God when all of the information and basis for belief comes out of the same Bible.

    I personally enjoy debating here, but once the conversation reaches a point where it's time to agree to disagree and one person bows out, then let it go.

    1. jlpark profile image79
      jlparkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with this. I'm trying to be on HubPages in this way - backing off when it gets ridiculous. I understand the way that things can be interpreted, but you explain it well - thank you.

    2. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah.  I don't like debating simply to debate. I debate and discuss to gain understanding of others and why they think a certain way about a subject. One thing I've learned is that some may not have been exposed to different ways of thinking

  4. jlpark profile image79
    jlparkposted 10 years ago

    I find it is often when someone has disagreed with them, or actually proven them wrong - which is not attack but a correction.
    It is then that they often resort to doing just what they accuse others of and attacking those who disagree.

    I've noticed with the person whom has posted a question accusing some same hasn't been too bad at it - eg is not attacking others for disagreeing but feels that disagreement is an attack. This person I don't mind much.

    There is another who attacks me every time I comment on equal rights type topics because he doesn't agree but is vehemently nasty about it. This is attack not mere disagreement.

    I find it frustrating that it is us who are accused of the attacking yet people will stick up for people who vehemently attack others because thy actually agree with the attackers opinions but not necessarily their methods.

    It boils down to this: mere disagreement is NOT attacking.

    1. JMcFarland profile image69
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think it's also important to distinguish between attacking or criticizing an idea or a belief as opposed to attacking a PERSON or INDIVIDUAL.  Some beliefs deserve to be challenged.  That doesn't mean we're attacking the person behind them.

    2. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      But for some, attacking the belief is the same as attacking the person because in most cases the belief itself isn't the topic of debate. The topic of debate is the object of the belief

    3. JMcFarland profile image69
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

    4. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The topic of this Q&A is what is a personal attack. I've given my opinion. If you have an opposing opinion, to say I disagree, then follow with your opinion (not personal). Telling me my opinion is stupid (personal) so to  speak. some see it that

    5. jlpark profile image79
      jlparkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thats why "guy 1" I have little to no issue personally with. "Guy 2" isn't always attacking me personally, but is usually designed to be offensive, + is often inaccurate as well. This guy I have an issue with - U can disagree, no need to be nasty

    6. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly, It is that nastiness that stalls meaningful debate and halts the quest of understanding and respecting others ideas and beliefs which can lead to more tolerance

    7. jlpark profile image79
      jlparkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Censorship based on perceived attacking however I find difficult to understand - yet have begun to be 'threatened' with (as have you JM by someone else!), based on a perceived attack,for using a word we have had thrown at us numerous time. SMH

    8. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      +1. It's hard to understand why someone would come on an open forum place, give their opinion, then basically tell others they cannot disagree with them or it is an attack.. It's crazy

    9. jlpark profile image79
      jlparkposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree. I'm not going to name them because that's kinda a low thing to do but it hasn't helped my opinion of them any! I guess people are just a bit sensitive about being disagreed with at times - particularly if they are actually proved wrong.

  5. Georgie Lowery profile image91
    Georgie Loweryposted 10 years ago

    Well, the problem is that a lot of people don't hear "This is what I believe." They hear "You're wrong." The hackles go up and it's on. The person who heard what they wanted to hear will usually start complaining that they're being attacked.

    As far as a personal attack, the only example I can give you is something that actually happened to me. Someone didn't agree with my opinion, so he started with the name calling an insulting. I think he called me a dude a couple of times. That's an attack. And he was lucky my daddy didn't hear that!

  6. ChristinS profile image38
    ChristinSposted 10 years ago

    Some are hypersensitive and unable to distinguish between "personal attack" and disagreement with an idea.  I have actually stopped visiting certain questions and topics because the hypocrisy becomes astounding and going around in circles doesn't help these people recognize they are not being "victimized" but scrutinized.

    I believe we should scrutinize everything - pick it apart and look at it thoroughly.  That's how informed logic and reasoning come to be.  It's how we learn.  Some people don't want to learn - they want to be "right" or they want others to coddle them and say "oh yes you're right you're so right".  It's an egotistic need to be validated by others who share their opinions and at the same time be a martyr to a cause or play the "victim" to those who scrutinize their ideas.

    That being said, calling names, belittling people or telling them their opinions are not valid is a form of personal attack and that isn't right either. Yes, sometimes I would like certain people to shut up and stop talking wink lol - but I don't say that or disrespect them.  I try to remind myself that all opinions are valid.

    I don't mind when people question my ideas - it is good to answer to the scrutiny of others sometimes because it helps us become better thinkers in my opinion.  Healthy debate is awesome - arguing and pettiness not so much.  I think the art of debate is lost on many.

    1. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree

    2. gmwilliams profile image85
      gmwilliamsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I also agree with this premise.

  7. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 10 years ago

    I don't see many claiming personal attack simply because of a disagreement. I see the term used when the opponent moves away from a simple discussion of ideas to a stance that the opposing view is ignorant, uneducated, indoctrinated or delusional.These may not constitute personal attack in the strictest sense; however, they are clearly attempts to personalize the debate for the other party. They are designed to elicit an emotional response. It is poor form and obviously a sign that the person using these tactics does not have a well formed argument in defense of their position.

  8. WalterPoon profile image68
    WalterPoonposted 10 years ago

    Personal attack is a remark made against an opponent, rather than against his or her argument. Some remarks are clearly personal attacks, e.g. "It takes an idiot to come out with such an argument."

    But certain remarks are not quite clear, e.g. "That's a stupid remark." Is the person referring to the remark, or to the person making the remark? Same also goes to the remark, "That's nonsense." To me, when the person makes such a remark without attempting to substantiate why he said so, I would think it is a personal attack. However, if he goes to great length to explain why he said it is nonsense, then he is obviously referring to the remark.

    In short, there is a huge grey area as regards what constitutes a personal attack. And it depends, to a large extent, on the sincerity of the debaters in debating the issue. So it's not just the actual words spoken in the heat of the moment, but also the mental attitude of the debaters.

  9. M. T. Dremer profile image86
    M. T. Dremerposted 10 years ago

    For me, a debate gets personal when the opposing party suggests that I "just don't get it". In political debates, that's usually when the facts dry up and wild conspiracy theories take their place. Or, in religious debates, it's when I don't understand the intention of scripture. It's essentially the point in the conversation where the person says "I'm done debating, I'm just going to declare myself the winner, regardless of what you say." And that's usually when I bow out of the discussion.

    So, for me, it gets personal when it ceases to be point-counter-point and becomes point-block-point. That block can come in many forms, some as simple as "you don't get it" and some as harsh as "You're clearly too stupid to understand". I don't think I've ever been called stupid, but I've met more than a few passive aggressive users that I've had to black list because of their blatant negativity.


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