Trash Talkers: How Not to Be

Just like how you would behave and follow certain etiquette when you’re inside the classroom or when interacting with another person offline, the same must also be observed when you’re engaging in online discussions. We’ve crafted some tips to help you have a healthy discourse in the virtual world.

When Posting

1. Know when and where to engage

All of us are free in the virtual world, but that doesn’t mean that we can just post wherever and whenever we want to. You should be wary when it comes to engaging in an online discussion.

  • Avoid online rambulans

    Trash talk groups like Online Rambulan and Online Trashtalkan are not the place for you to look for a fruitful discussion. Obviously, there’s nothing but chaos in these kinds of groups. So, save your brain cells and avoid anything that requires you to engage in toxic arguments that go nowhere.
  • Find the right place

    Sites like Quora and Reddit are some of the site-based communities where you can have a healthy discussion. On these websites, you can create a community on any niche, and anyone is allowed to share stories. Awesome right? Exactly the right place for you to exercise your critical thinking.

2. Be concise and simple

When it comes to wording and phrasing, make sure that everything is as simple as possible to get your point across. Avoid slangs, unnecessary acronyms, and use your grammar to the best of your ability. Maintain the neutrality of your tone, and always remember that word choice matters because not everyone on the internet uses the jargons and language you are using. This is also to ensure that everyone can easily and clearly get your point to avoid misunderstanding.

3. Be factual


Credits: Logical Fallacies by Michele Rosenthal for Artists for Education



Make sure that you have facts backing up your statement. You can provide citations from books and journals, or simply attach a link so readers can browse through the information you are referencing your argument with.

  • Beware of CTTOs

    Many netizens, including trolls, abuse the fact that very few people actually do fact checks. That’s why they just insert “CTTO” at the end of every argument to make it seem like it came from a credible source. When in reality, most of the time it isn’t really reliable at all. Make sure you’re vigilant against dubious sources like this one and make double-checking a habit.

3. Be open to others’ point of view

Discussion is a two-way process, it is a give and take process, and the best ones will always leave you learning something new. Our posts and sentiments in life are not always absolute.


When Responding

1. Be polite

Just because you are interacting online doesn’t mean you should forget your manners. If you disagree with someone, don’t rage just to make a point. Respectfully outline specific points on which you offer specific evidence that shows why you disagree.

2. Be serious

Answer promptly and completely. This demonstrates that you are digesting it and thinking about it in a way that will allow you to apply the knowledge in practice.

Avoid making jokes as well. It can be difficult to know when someone is joking because the readers can’t see the other person’s non-verbal communication.

3. Don’t fall into logical fallacies

Save yourself some time and personal dignity; be careful of your own arguments. People tend to commit logical fallacies due to error in reasoning, and this is commonly the reason why many arguments fall apart. (15 Logical Fallacies You Should Know)

4. Know when to stop

Online discussion can be a time-consuming endeavor so know when to stop when you’ve already given your point. This is why being concise and factual is important because when you’re in the virtual world, time seems to go by so quickly.


In today’s age where teens spend an average of nine hours online, it is inevitable for them to encounter and engage in virtual discussions. This is totally fine because “discussions” is known as a crucial instructional method that allows active learning, promotes greater understanding, and facilitates critical thinking.

The virtual world today is a perfect platform for individuals to express views and get feedback from other netizens. However, since the online realm is vast, it is still important for you to have standards that will help your online experience engaging, fruitful, and fun.