My new favorite response to online and offline debates: “Give me sources. I need receipts.”
Listen…I’m open-minded. I don’t necessarily ask for these sources to prove that the debater doesn’t have any. I really go into every conversation/debate with the intent on learning something new or to have my belief challenged. (What good is a belief if it isn’t challenged?)
At any rate, many debates tend to be deep rooted opinions that are inherited by a sourceless meme, third-party article/satire site, or outright distain for the subject. If it’s an opinion, fine. Present it as such. BUT…if you present these opinions as fact, 12 times out of 10, I’m gonna want to see receipts. I’m gonna want sources. If word got around that Michael Jordan was coming out of retirement again, most of the sports world would be waiting for “multiple sources” to confirm. Why not approach everything in that manner?
Lastly, if I am given website sources, I’m going to check the legitimacy of the website sources against the major media outlets first, then I’m going to look at the “about us” section of said website. If I am given a meme, that meme better trace me back to a legitimate source or else I will shoot holes in it every time. I am a researcher by nature, so when I report something, there’s a good chance that I have receipts/sources, trust. AAAAAND, if I’m wrong, I will quickly and humbly admit it.
Moral of the story: I need sources and receipts.
*end of rant*