1. Don’t use clichés.
2. Don’t use aphorisms. Don’t use maxims. Don’t use proverbs. Don’t use witticisms. Be original, OK?
3. Don’t use the ad hominem. Meaning, don’t think that criticizing the person I am is an effective way of negating the ideas I propose. Don’t think that addressing or speculating on the things that have happened in my life is an effective way of negating the ideas I propose. Attack my ideas.
4. Don’t operate under the belief that the pithier your language, the more persuasive it is. In other words, don’t use zingers. Don’t be snarky. Don’t be crass. Don’t be callous. Don’t be sarcastic. And please don’t indulge in schadenfreude. Basically, don’t troll.
5. Don’t “refute” me by arguing about or asserting something other than what I proposed. If I argue that the sky is red, don’t attempt to refute me by saying “cats like to eat string.”
6. Don’t use jargon. I don’t care what a postmodern hermeneutic demagogic reader-response paradigm is. I do know that it obfuscates any real argument you think you’re making.
7. Don’t make a prestigious fallacy/appeal to authority. Just because you read H.L. Mencken or went skiing with Foucault or graduated from Cambridge or helped Schrödinger place his cat in the box doesn’t mean that what you said is right.
8. Everything stated above has been put forth as a means of directing you to my real point: debate and refute my actual ideas. That typically means restating what I said by putting it in quotes. E.g., “Don’t use aphorisms.” Response: aphorisms aren’t inherently wrong. Sometimes they can be appropriate. One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic, along with this empirical evidence I’ll present, is a great way of refuting your argument that people are more affected by mass genocide than by the death of a charismatic, attractive young woman. (Of course, the key will be the evidence you present, not so much the aphorism.)