I’m gonna be honest, I hate online discussions.
I will sometimes respond to a claim that I see on Facebook or a blog and, naturally, a discussion will ensue. Waiting for a person’s reply, not knowing what it will be, how sound it will be, how abrasive it will be, etc., is what I hate. It’s the anticipation and the waiting that kills me. It takes up almost the whole of my thoughts the rest of the day. Discussions in person are fine for me, but the online ones make me anxious. Is it because I have a huge ego and don’t want it to be crushed? Am I scared? Do I lack confidence in my own knowledge? Perhaps, but that’s not what this post is about.
A big reason that I don’t like them seems to be that I’m not very good at them. I’m in too much of a rush to respond to my opponent’s reply. This results in responses that I find unsatisfying and a little weak. But I’ve noticed something else. Sometimes I can’t respond to something immediately. I have to go to work or church or something. During those next several hours I’m able to think more about my opponent’s replies and its weaknesses and come up with much more cogent, logical responses. Giving myself time to absorb what my opponent has said and think about it results in much better responses than if I just rushed an answer right away.
So if you involve yourself in a lot of online discussions and you’re a bit of a slow thinker, give yourself some time to think before responding to someone. Though I complained earlier about some of the features of online discussion, the good thing is that you typically have time to put thought into your responses.
Edit: One more thing that taking your time does: It calms you down. It can help you make your responses much more polite and charitable than if you rushed hot-headedly into a response.