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).
CitationChiu, 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
- Argumentation strategies
- Face-saving tactics
- Online debates
- Politeness theory