Cornell University has released a new paper on how and why people are convinced to change their minds in online discussions. For almost two years, researchers analyzed posts left on a reddit forum called ChangeMyView. For example, one could start a post with a statement like “Eating meat is immoral.” Others would reply to try to convince that person to change their view. According to the new paper, here’s what works:
- Numbers. The more people who try to persuade one person, the greater the chance of changing that person’s mind.
- Timing. Those who reply quickly are more likely to persuade.
- Different Words. Using different words than those used by the person you’re trying to convince signals that you’re bringing a new point of view to the argument.
- Longer answers generally have a greater effect.
- Calmer Words. (Donald Trump would disagree with this tactic.)
- Specific Examples. Any teacher of any subject will back up this finding.