One of the Quickest Ways to Lose Credibility in an Online Discussion

I was reading an entry over at Jason Calacanis’ blog and I noticed 3 comments (by 2 “different” people, supposedly) where they both personally attacked him for his spelling and grammar. This brings me to this:

One of the quickest ways to lose virtually all credibility in an online discussion, as far as I am concerned, is to attack the person’s spelling or grammar. It all goes back to the common “attack the point, not the person” mantra that I repeat so many times to the users of my communities, but to attack spelling, to me, really gives away that you don’t know what you are talking about or you simply have no good, useful (counter) viewpoint, so you resort to a personal attack. At that moment, my interest in what you have to say shrinks…

The comments in question were deleted and I would have done the very same thing, without hesitation. They were the typical “anonymous” comments, one word names, no URLs, no e-mails, etc. So many “stalkers” out there. If you don’t have any, you need to get to work! :)

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.

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