An artist's interpretation of YouTube comments.
The subject of arguing on the internet is a joke among those who spend their time online. It is generally accepted as a futile practice: if it's already difficult to convince people of anything in traditional arguments, then you probably aren't going to convince anyone of anything online. Yet, despite this, there's still a high level of zeal behind the opinions of any fool who's found themselves thinking, "Yes, I disagree, and I have to say something."
Like all things, there's a little more to it than that. It's hard to use the criteria of effectiveness on an online argument, because what is 'effective' online is very different from what is 'effective' in real life. The rules of engagement are very different.
What, then, is the anatomy and worth of an online spar? And does it have any higher implications about the way we communicate?