Every day, someone will say something you disagree with. They might even say something about you.
We're very sensitive about our status. Most arguments are caused by people fearful of losing their status in front of others. They argue to protect their status. Online, all criticisms are made in front of others. We're under greater pressure to be on guard against any perceived attacked.
This is a big mistake. Before responding to any criticism or being engaged in any disagreement, you should ask yourself five questions:
- Am I responding to this for my own ego or because it will actually help someone?
- Who will it help and how will it help them?
- How do I need to craft my message to make sure it helps them and doesn't provoke a negative response?
- Is this person ready to listen?
- Should I contact them privately instead of replying in front of the entire community.
If your answers wont help the other individual, don't reply. Nothing will do your status greater harm than being sucked into a dispute with another. You look petty. I hate to see people do it.
And if you do respond, respond once. Says what needs to be said and stop. The very debates we get into to protect our own status in front of others are those which do tour status the most harm.
Aside: Know the difference between someone attacking you and attacking your idea. Ignore the former and respond to the latter with "What do you think would make it better?"