Serving the greater social good for personal gain: Effects of polite disagreements in online debates

Ming Ming CHIU, Yu Won OH, Jeong-Nam KIM, Ioana A. CIONEA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Asynchronous, anonymous online debaters might be less likely than face-to-face debaters to value their public self-image (face), and thus disagree more freely. In this study, we examined whether polite disagreements (as opposed to rude ones) help online debaters win over audience members. An analysis of the most voted-on 100 political debates on Debate.org (200 debaters; 1,750 voters; 472,652 words) showed that debate initiators who used politer face-saving strategies to disagree (i.e., using expressions such as negatives with agree words rather than disagree or harsh rejection words) were more likely to receive more audience votes and win their debates. These results suggest that politeness tactics during online debates increase effectiveness, align with normative ideals, and yield pragmatic gain. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication Research
Early online dateNov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 2021

Citation

Chiu, M. M., Oh, Y. W., Kim, J.-N., & Cionea, I. A. (2021). Serving the greater social good for personal gain: Effects of polite disagreements in online debates. Communication Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/00936502211053456

Keywords

  • Argumentation strategies
  • Face-saving tactics
  • Online debates
  • Politeness theory

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