Have you ever been browsing the internet and come across a blog post, usually about hockey, that is so stupid, so idiotic that you just had to let the author know? It might have been an idea that challenged your current notions of the sport, or perhaps it was trying to quantify something that you are so sure that it is not possible to challenge?
Well look no further, this here is a guide to help you point out to the author the errors of his way and let him know that both his or her hard work does not have any merit and the author should consider stop writing because of their stupidity!
If you wish to discredit a discussion, the first thing you need to do is discredit the author. If you can attack their character or personal traits then you can easily undermine their entire argument. If you can remove focus from what they are saying to who they are then you can easily show your audience this person has no value.
e.g. “Why should we even bother listening to someone who has never played the game?”
Appeal to Motive / Ergo Decedo
Continuing down the same path we can completely discredit a person’s argument by pointing out that the arguer is biased and predisposed to take a particular stance and this will make their argument invalid. Attacking a perceived affiliation you can point out that your opponent is a traitor and they should not be touching the subject altogether.
e.g. “You’re biased because you do not like [General Manager] and want to draw page views like those mainstream media hacks.”
Appeal to Authority
Great, you are on a role, you have managed to discredit the author so now you must capitalize on this effort and appeal to authority. This tactic is best used when the author is trying to challenge the decisions of someone in hockey management. If the author disagrees and tries to point out why they think poor decisions have been made by those in Hockey Operations you know you are in the right area to use this technique. How could someone online know more than a General Manager, there’s a reason they are working in the NHL while that “writer” is living in his/her mom’s basement.
e.g. “There’s a reason why they are working in the NHL and you are not.”
Argumentum ad Lapidem
Now that you’ve successfully written off the writer’s ability it is time to focus on their material itself. If you’ve ever come across an idea so absurd that you just cannot accept it then this is the perfect time to use “Argumentum ad lapidem” – completely dismiss their ideas because they are absurd at face value. Don’t believe that you can make hockey predictions? That one your favourite team’s record in one-goal games is unsustainable? Or that shot quality has little value in team performance over the long run? Here’s where you can point out the ridiculousness of the article.
e.g. “This team is “lucky” to be the least injured team? That’s obviously wrong!”
Argument from Ignorance
Now you’ve put your opponent on the ropes.It’s time to throw some evidence back at them. What’s a better way to prove you’re right than by offering up evidence that they cannot prove to be false? With this technique, you can easily assert a proposition is true if it has not yet been proven false.
e.g. “Character and Grit play more of a role in winning that puck possession and you can’t show otherwise because you can’t quantify it.”
Burden of Proof
Now you’re starting to nail your opponent with arguments like a six shooter at the O.K. Corral. Once you start nailing with your sure-fire evidence to counter-act their point of view, you won’t have to defend it. Anything you say will have to be disproved by your opponent if they wish to claim your claim is wrong.
e.g. “Shot quality is more important to predicting wins than your Corsi statistics, if you don’t agree then you have to prove it.”
Just remember that your evidence does not have to support the entire statement. Just pick out the pieces that support your claim and you will strengthen what you are trying to say. You only need to present select evidence in order to persuade your claim and have your opponent accept your position. Some might say that strong withheld evidence makes your argument more fallacious, but then again those guys are usually nerds and if they knew what they were talking about they wouldn’t be on the internet.
e.g. “Yeah, sure [goaltender’s] numbers aren’t great, but if you take out the blowout losses, he’s done well enough”
If your opponent is not with you, then they are against you. It’s about to become a showdown between what is right, and what some nerd believes and you need to make sure that you draw the sand in the line and show them that there’s no way they can have some sort of duel belief that overlaps with your ideals. We aren’t heathens here after all.
e.g. “If you believe in analytics then you can’t appreciate the intangibles of players that makes them elite”
Inflation of Conflicts
This technique is a no-brainer. These nerds in the blogosphere love to taught their analytics, and their spreadsheet wheeling evidence. But we know the reality of the NHL today, not all general managers use analytics. Sure you have some teams who do like Edmonton, Toronto and Carolina, but what have they won lately? Great minds in hockey such as down in Anaheim, Boston and even the rookie GM in Jim Benning (with 101 points and 40+ wins in his first season) don’t use them. So if the real leaders in the industry can’t come to a conclusion on their value how can they have any use? Make sure you let your opponent know this.
e.g. “If not all GM’s believe in the value of analytics then we can easily be sure no conclusion can come from their value.”
Moving the Goal Posts
Your opponent might have gotten lucky with his first retort, but you know never to start with your strongest evidence. Once they address one concern, start flinging more evidence at them, no matter how well they respond you know they will eventually give up and concede the point.
e.g. “Sure, Lack might have had the better sv% – but why does Miller have more wins? Why does Miller have more Vezinas? Why does being good on Twitter have any value in being a goaltender? …
Finally, If your opponent just won’t give up and continues to be relentless in responding to you with valueless feedback it’s time to keep them on their toes and consistently switch topics until they cannot win and you can avoid your initial argument.
e.g. “If the prospect pool isn’t the best, why did the AHL team go all the way to the Calder Cup?”
Just remember, haters are going to hate, and if there’s no way you can imagine something could be true, then it must be false.