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It contains comments by one or more Wikipedia contributors. It is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline, though it may contain advice. A potential measure of how the community views this humorous essay may be gained by consulting the history and talk pages, and checking what links here.
|This page in a nutshell: In Wikipedia, sometimes debates get heated. Whenever this occurs, it is of primary importance that you always ensure that you get The Last Word.|
In Wikipedia, even more than in real life, getting The Last Word in a debate is crucial, as it is the only proof of your argumentative success over competing editors. The following is a useful collection of suggestions on why and how to obtain your right to have the Last Word, however tenaciously your opponent may be trying to rob you of your privilege.
Reasons for getting the last word
Getting the last word means that you win the debate. It also shows your moral superiority. This should convince your opponent that you are correct, and will certainly impress your fellow Wikipedians.
It is particularly important to get the last word where you are in some doubts as to the merits of your case. The last word will serve as a clinching argument that will make up for any deficiencies in your logic. Achieving the last word now also brings the advantage that you may subsequently point to your success in this debate as the clinching argument in future debates. However, if you did not win the last discussion, we still recommend claiming incessantly that you did.
How to get the last word
We recommend the following tried and tested tactics to aid you in taking what is rightfully yours.
Often, your opponent will not understand the importance of the last word (abr. TLW™) and will readily concede the ground to you (in which case it's nevertheless mandatory to rub it in his face on all relevant talk pages). However, sometimes your opponent is well aware of this Wikipedian convention and will attempt to wrongfully deprive you of your right. Do not give ground to such intimidation. Pursue your case with fortitude and vigour. If your actual arguments have already been stated on the page, do not fear to repeat them in a slightly different form. CAPITALISING YOUR ARGUMENT, or bolding sections, can be used to give variety if you fear you are being repetitive.
|“||I know what you're doing, you are just trying to have the WP:WORD!||”|
Debates are like boxing matches. Try to make your opponent do the footwork so they get exhausted while you preserve your energy for the
final blow Last Word. If they bring any arguments you cannot immediately refute, play dumb and ask for clarification, it helps wear off the adversary's patience. Ask for more sources and better sources (ideally in that order). If they insolently keep providing answers, arbitrarily stop replying for a while. Better yet, point out that their answer dodges the real question, which is something tangentially (if at all) related to your original point. Be sure to post on their user talk page, so they have additional opportunities for frustration thoughtful response. You can conserve your own energy by posting one question on the article talk page, posting a second question on their user talk page, then posting that second question on the article talk page and the first question on the user talk page.
Elegance is relative. Cheat, if you think you can get away with it. Call in
your friends uninvolved users to keep the other party busy and distract from the original debate. Exploit the headstart you have over impudent newbies. Most of them walk into debates like knifers into a gunfight: Easy prey.
In the last resort, it is very advisable to use warning templates as early as possible (go there now and pick one or three) and to cite any convenient policies that you think will be useful to your cause. (Vandalism templates are usually the best). After all, one template says more than a thousand words, and it's an elegant way to get the last word in case the other
bastard user just won't concede the ground.
Other complementary tactics
The following are practical enhancements to all TLW™ strategies:
the little shitsyour opponents that they should abide by Wikipedia:Assume good faith and Wikipedia:No personal attacks. If you are, why shouldn't they?
- Liberally employ vandalism accusations. It is at least theoretically possible that their edits are vandalism, so there is no reason not to raise this concern.
- If the "arguments" of the other side are being agreed to by one or more people, chances are you're dealing with sockpuppets, so make sure to appropriately demand proof of innocence.
- Noticeboard reports are strongly recommended but carry the great risk of being overlooked or not yielding a useful response (beware of the bad admins™). You may want to distribute the risk by posting to several noticeboards at once, including but by no means limited to Wikipedia:Wikiquette assistance, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, and of course the chronically underused ANI, as well as all specific pages applicable in the given situation.
- Block the jerk or get him blocked by one of the good admins™, and protect his talk page – then post your comment.
- Don't forget to bring up Jimbo. After all, he's the principal authority and mentioning him will give you an edge. Maybe excluding debates with Jimbo himself, but even then, it's still worth a try.
|NB: any attempt by him/her to deprive you of TLW™ is quite obviously uncivil, possibly JUST TROLLING and certainly a UNILATERAL VIOLATION of Wikipedia:Don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. RESIST it at ALL costs.|
- m:How to win an argument
- How to win a revert war
- Wikipedia:Advice for hotheads
- Wikipedia:Assume bad faith
- Wikipedia:Just drop it
- Wikipedia:Mind your own business
- Wikipedia:Sarcasm is really helpful
- Wikipedia:The Truth
- Wikipedia:The Most Important Thing Possible
- Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass