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Malicious Debate Tactics

xXCryptoXx
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6/11/2013 2:30:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This topic will be dedicated to listing as many, or all malicious debating tactics some users use in order to get an easy win.

I haven't seen a topic like this, and I think it would be beneficial to make a topic where all the newbies know what to look out for when debating.

I will put this in list form with definitions.

If you think you can improve a definition please tell me how it should be re-worded.

I will start with the most common tactic:

1. Trolling - Trolling can be a form of any of the below listed. In a broad term, trolling is when a user uses any malicious tactics to win a debate. A common way to see if a user is trolling, is to either (a compare what they are doing to any of the listed definitions below, or (b see how far they are taking the debate away from the resolution. For example, if you find yourself arguing about the definition of a word for several rounds and not actually on the topic of the debate, you are most likely being trolled.

2. Semantics - Semantics is not always malicious, but can often be. Semantics is when you twist the definition of a word (usually from it's most reasonable meaning) and use that word to your own advantage. For example, if I am doing a gay marriage debate and my opponent twists the word gay to mean happy, then he is playing semantics with me. The best way to avoid semantics, is to look at all key words you will be using in your debate and specifically defining them in the OP.

3. Lawyering - Lawyering is also not many times a malicious tactic, but can be very unfair to newer members. Lawyering is basically taking tons of scientific information, facts, sources, everything and just completely overwhelming your opponent with it. Lawyering can be common in debates between higher ranking members, but when a member uses the tactic of lawyering with the intent of trying to make you forfeit, it can be malicious. The best way to prevent lawyering is to simply make a rules section in the OP, and saying something along the lines of "no lawyering".

Some Tactics also have no name, and are less common than the above three.

1. Sometimes an opponent will forfeit a round or two, and come back saying something along the lines of "I was waiting for you to provide more details or make a more convincing argument in order me to respond." Don't be fooled by this tactic. The forfeiture of an opponent will usually be looked down upon and will almost always be a loss of conduct points for them.

2. This tactic could be called the most malicious of them in all in my opinion. This tactic is where someone purposely forfeits all rounds except the last one, then provides every argument in the final round (this only works if the person gets the last argument of the round) in order to attempt to refute all of yours, and not allowing you to give a rebuttal. This tactic is especially malicious because they sacrifice conduct points for convincing argument points. In other words, 3 > 1.
Nolite Timere
gordonjames
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6/11/2013 4:05:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
A couple of unfair / unkind tactics if have seen in real world discussions

- A person skilled with words can make a less skilled person want to quit even when they are likely on the losing side in "convincing arguments".

- Hostility in comments can be used to intimidate away from the debate.

- comment trolling!
Posting unending comments to try to convince readers of points not in the debate
DetectableNinja
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6/11/2013 4:10:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The first three tactics you list are completely legitimate, unless convincingly argued as abusive by the other opponent.

However, the last two you mentioned I agree are ABSOLUTELY malicious and unprofessional.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
MassiveDump
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6/11/2013 4:11:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As for the first three, I like trolling alot, debating over semantics also helps improve people's debating skills by having them explain why their definition is more rational. If you call it "Topicality" rather than semantics, no one seems to care. And finally, I've lawyered before. Funny A.F.

The other two I completely agree.
DetectableNinja
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6/11/2013 4:14:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:11:50 PM, MassiveDump wrote:
As for the first three, I like trolling alot, debating over semantics also helps improve people's debating skills by having them explain why their definition is more rational. If you call it "Topicality" rather than semantics, no one seems to care. And finally, I've lawyered before. Funny A.F.

The other two I completely agree.

See, this is why I like you, MassiveDump, bringing in the fact that all semantics are are issues of topicality--which is, as I've argued for like, ever, entirely legitimate.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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6/11/2013 4:15:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Continuing to post in the comments is unfair.

"Lawyering?" I don't understand the problem with this. Should people not post a lot of facts and sources if it supports their argument?
MassiveDump
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6/11/2013 4:17:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:14:37 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 6/11/2013 4:11:50 PM, MassiveDump wrote:
As for the first three, I like trolling alot, debating over semantics also helps improve people's debating skills by having them explain why their definition is more rational. If you call it "Topicality" rather than semantics, no one seems to care. And finally, I've lawyered before. Funny A.F.

The other two I completely agree.

See, this is why I like you, MassiveDump, bringing in the fact that all semantics are are issues of topicality--which is, as I've argued for like, ever, entirely legitimate.

*informal salute*
philochristos
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6/11/2013 4:30:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here's some more malicious debate tactics:

1. Being smarter than me.

2. Making better arguments than me.

3. Having more people on your side.

4. Pointing out the flaws in my arguments.

5. Not conceding my points.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Ragnar
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6/11/2013 4:58:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Complaining that someone used a better argument in a debate, than they did elsewhere.
Unofficial DDO Guide: http://goo.gl...
(It's probably the best help resource here, other than talking to people...)

Voting Standards: https://goo.gl...

And please disable Smart-Quotes: https://goo.gl...
MassiveDump
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6/11/2013 5:09:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:30:53 PM, philochristos wrote:
Here's some more malicious debate tactics:

1. Being smarter than me.

2. Making better arguments than me.

3. Having more people on your side.

4. Pointing out the flaws in my arguments.

5. Not conceding my points.

6. Not being American

7. Having hair of a non-reddish pigment

8. Not having a two-word name that involves inanimate object

9. Being anyone who isn't Carrot Top

Gotcha
philochristos
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6/11/2013 5:09:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:58:11 PM, Ragnar wrote:
Complaining that someone used a better argument in a debate, than they did elsewhere.

I'm guilty. I always avoid in depth arguments on the forums because I don't want to give up the element of surprise.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
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6/11/2013 5:16:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 5:09:21 PM, MassiveDump wrote:

6. Not being American

Well, there is definitely the British fallacy--typing with a British accent. It's a fallacy because it gives the debater an unfair advantage by making them sound smarter than everybody else whether they actually are or not. It's bad enough actually BEING smarter than me, but SOUNDING smarter than me, well that's just low. It's not my fault I was born in east Texas.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
2-D
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6/11/2013 5:30:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Malicious Debate Tactics. Not sure what would qualify after working in an office the last 5 yrs. It's all about who you have convinced to join your side. Communication is tricky and often it is about how you say what you think. Sadly the worst arguments communicated in the best way often win.
xXCryptoXx
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6/11/2013 6:03:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 4:10:46 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
The first three tactics you list are completely legitimate, unless convincingly argued as abusive by the other opponent.

However, the last two you mentioned I agree are ABSOLUTELY malicious and unprofessional.

I am quite aware that the first three tactics can be completely legitimate (well except trolling. I am c'mon, really?); notice how I said sometimes, or often before I went on to explain how they can be unfair tactics.
Nolite Timere
Detective
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6/11/2013 6:19:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't quite see the point of this thread to be perfectly honest.

It inspires malicious debaters to try other ways of being malicious and only highlights what civil debaters avoid doing anyway.

This reminds me of anti-bullying assemblies that would occur when I was younger. They inspired bullies to torment their victims in new ways and made those who don't bully only remember what they avoid doing anyway.

Those who are cruel will remain cruel, regardless of you pointing the fact that they are cruel out to them.
I made a signature because I could,
I did not make it because I should,
If I should not then I still would,
Because I'm a rebel, like Robin Hood.

I'm joking, I lied, oh dear I deceived you,
If I had no conscience that I'd pretend it were true,
For I am no rebel, I'm a sheep of the norm,
Afraid to be shamed if I displayed my true form.
xXCryptoXx
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6/11/2013 6:38:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am not posting this to tell those are malicious debaters to stop. I am posting this to allow newbies to know when someone is using malicious tactics against them.

In them same way, I wouldn't be holding an anti-bully session. I would be teaching those who are being bullied how to identify and handle the situation.
Nolite Timere
Detective
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6/11/2013 6:40:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/11/2013 6:38:32 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
I am not posting this to tell those are malicious debaters to stop. I am posting this to allow newbies to know when someone is using malicious tactics against them.

So essentially, you aren't trying to help a homeless guy get a home, you're just informing of all the bad things that have happened to him and how to identify them as they appear in his crappy life story.
I made a signature because I could,
I did not make it because I should,
If I should not then I still would,
Because I'm a rebel, like Robin Hood.

I'm joking, I lied, oh dear I deceived you,
If I had no conscience that I'd pretend it were true,
For I am no rebel, I'm a sheep of the norm,
Afraid to be shamed if I displayed my true form.
xXCryptoXx
Posts: 5,000
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6/11/2013 6:42:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This topic will be dedicated to listing as many, or all malicious debating tactics some users use in order to get an easy win.

I haven't seen a topic like this, and I think it would be beneficial to make a topic where all the newbies know what to look out for when debating.

I will put this in list form with definitions.

If you think you can improve a definition please tell me how it should be re-worded.

I will start with the most common tactic:

1. Trolling - Trolling can be a form of any of the below listed. In a broad term, trolling is when a user uses any malicious tactics to win a debate. A common way to see if a user is trolling, is to either (a compare what they are doing to any of the listed definitions below, or (b see how far they are taking the debate away from the resolution. For example, if you find yourself arguing about the definition of a word for several rounds and not actually on the topic of the debate, you are most likely being trolled.

2. Semantics - Semantics is not always malicious, but can often be. Semantics is when you twist the definition of a word (usually from it's most reasonable meaning) and use that word to your own advantage. For example, if I am doing a gay marriage debate and my opponent twists the word gay to mean happy, then he is playing semantics with me. The best way to avoid semantics, is to look at all key words you will be using in your debate and specifically defining them in the OP.

3. Lawyering - Lawyering is also not many times a malicious tactic, but can be very unfair to newer members. Lawyering is basically taking tons of scientific information, facts, sources, everything and just completely overwhelming your opponent with it. Lawyering can be common in debates between higher ranking members, but when a member uses the tactic of lawyering with the intent of trying to make you forfeit, it can be malicious. The best way to prevent lawyering is to simply make a rules section in the OP, and saying something along the lines of "no lawyering".

Some Tactics also have no name, and are less common than the above three.

1. Sometimes an opponent will forfeit a round or two, and come back saying something along the lines of "I was waiting for you to provide more details or make a more convincing argument in order me to respond." Don't be fooled by this tactic. The forfeiture of an opponent will usually be looked down upon and will almost always be a loss of conduct points for them.

2. This tactic could be called the most malicious of them in all in my opinion. This tactic is where someone purposely forfeits all rounds except the last one, then provides every argument in the final round (this only works if the person gets the last argument of the round) in order to attempt to refute all of yours, and not allowing you to give a rebuttal. This tactic is especially malicious because they sacrifice conduct points for convincing argument points. In other words, 3 > 1.

3. Don't allow an opponent to fool you or scare you away with their use of words. Keep calm, analyze their arguments, and respond accordingly. Try your best to ignore any and all attempts to intimidate you.

4. Sometimes someone in the debate will post in the comments section responding to your arguments, insulting, or otherwise trying to intimidate you. This is fairly common in debates. It's best to overall ignore what the person that is posting in the comments section and to ignore any and all attempts to intimidate you. If your opponent is treating you in an inappropriate way, remember you can always report them to a moderator.
Nolite Timere
Detective
Posts: 18
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6/11/2013 6:51:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
1. Trolling - Trolling can be a form of any of the below listed. In a broad term, trolling is when a user uses any malicious tactics to win a debate. A common way to see if a user is trolling, is to either:

If they can use ANY malicious tactic and be considered a troll then why is it in a specific list of TYPES OF malicious behaviour?

(a) Compare what they are doing to any of the listed definitions below.

Which definitions below?

(b) See how far they are taking the debate away from the resolution. For example, if you find yourself arguing about the definition of a word for several rounds and not actually on the topic of the debate, you are most likely being trolled.

No. This is a problem with your clarity of resolution.

2. Semantics - Semantics is not always malicious, but can often be. Semantics is when you twist the definition of a word (usually from it's most reasonable meaning) and use that word to your own advantage. For example, if I am doing a gay marriage debate and my opponent twists the word gay to mean happy, then he is playing semantics with me. The best way to avoid semantics, is to look at all key words you will be using in your debate and specifically defining them in the OP.

Your failure to define a word does not make ones exploitation of it malicious.

3. Lawyering - Lawyering is also not many times a malicious tactic, but can be very unfair to newer members. Lawyering is basically taking tons of scientific information, facts, sources, everything and just completely overwhelming your opponent with it. Lawyering can be common in debates between higher ranking members, but when a member uses the tactic of lawyering with the intent of trying to make you forfeit, it can be malicious. The best way to prevent lawyering is to simply make a rules section in the OP, and saying something along the lines of "no lawyering".

Ah, so actually backing your arguments up with facts is malicious... I see... So basically every politician is a malicious debater then. Oh, don't forget every scientific theory maker too! Heck, the Nobel science prize must be like giving a bully a medal!

Some Tactics also have no name, and are less common than the above three.

1. Sometimes an opponent will forfeit a round or two, and come back saying something along the lines of "I was waiting for you to provide more details or make a more convincing argument in order me to respond." Don't be fooled by this tactic. The forfeiture of an opponent will usually be looked down upon and will almost always be a loss of conduct points for them.

How is this malicious if they lose votes for it? It's self destructive if anything, as opposed to offensive upon you.

2. This tactic could be called the most malicious of them in all in my opinion. This tactic is where someone purposely forfeits all rounds except the last one, then provides every argument in the final round (this only works if the person gets the last argument of the round) in order to attempt to refute all of yours, and not allowing you to give a rebuttal. This tactic is especially malicious because they sacrifice conduct points for convincing argument points. In other words, 3 > 1.

This isn't malicious, this is stupidity. this doens't harm you in any way adn gets them voted down like hellfire.

3. Don't allow an opponent to fool you or scare you away with their use of words. Keep calm, analyze their arguments, and respond accordingly. Try your best to ignore any and all attempts to intimidate you.

Ah, so essentially become them by using the semantic and perhaps the lawyering tactic.

4. Sometimes someone in the debate will post in the comments section responding to your arguments, insulting, or otherwise trying to intimidate you. This is fairly common in debates. It's best to overall ignore what the person that is posting in the comments section and to ignore any and all attempts to intimidate you. If your opponent is treating you in an inappropriate way, remember you can always report them to a moderator.

Oh wow, I never would have guessed. How very malicious of them to comment on a debate!
I made a signature because I could,
I did not make it because I should,
If I should not then I still would,
Because I'm a rebel, like Robin Hood.

I'm joking, I lied, oh dear I deceived you,
If I had no conscience that I'd pretend it were true,
For I am no rebel, I'm a sheep of the norm,
Afraid to be shamed if I displayed my true form.
RoyLatham
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6/11/2013 10:40:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote his "38 ways to win an argument" in the 1800's. Here are the first four:

1. Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.
2. Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his or her argument.
3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.
4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent till the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitous route you conceal your game until you have obtained all the admissions that are necessary to reach your goal.
http://www.mnei.nl...

Pretty familiar stuff, from 150 years ago. Schopenhauer wasn't actually advocating use of the 38 devious tactics. He was teaching people to recognize them.

Semantic arguments are best overcome by dragging out the dictionary and pointing out that if a term is not defined for the debate, the dictionary definition that best fits the context of the resolution is what prevails. Stress the context. When instigating a debate, always give some context to the debate, such as a matter-of-fact news article or Wikipedia entry that describes the subject matter. That sets up the context you need to defend against semantics.

Lawyering depends upon making a lot of arguments in limited space. That means that not much elaboration can be made for each argument. The trick is to respond as tersely as the original. If an opponent says A, B, and C are true with a reference, you need only say that A, B, and C are not true, with your countering reference. You can't expand your end of the argument or you'll run out of space. Finding references is work, but that's fair. In a tennis match you can't complain that the match was unfair because your opponent was willing to run faster.

If an opponent forfeits a round, don't let up. Pile on another bunch of arguments so that if he comes back later he won't be able to catch up. Point out that new arguments in the final round as not allowed by debate convention, because they cannot be rebutted.
philochristos
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6/11/2013 10:45:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I like this explanation of how to win an argument:

http://www.digitalroom.net...

My favourite tactic is the "compare your opponent to Hitler" tactic.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
RoyLatham
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6/11/2013 11:01:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't think it matters whether the tactics are called malicious or not. People sometimes use them without any malicious intent, just believing they are clever. They are overcome whether malicious or not.

I think trolling is posting something with the intent of attracting attention rather than to advance a belief or argument.
wrichcirw
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6/11/2013 11:59:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think the "no lawyering" stipulation is not appropriate. If one decides to bring in a ton of information into a debate, then it's up to the opposing side to counter the information. It could be that most of the information is simply not relevant to the debate, and a counter could be very easy.

But, if that information WAS pertinent to the debate, then what that person did was to bring a well-researched, informed, and substantiated opinion into the debate, thereby raising the quality standard to a very high level. I find these debates to be the most interesting to read, as they require a very high level of argumentation to pull off.

After all, there's already a limit as to how much information one can bring into the debate, the character limits. If someone can bring in much more substance than tht other person even though they both have the same character constraints, that person deserves to win.

Therefore, people who do this deserve to win debates, IMHO.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Korashk
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6/12/2013 1:02:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
That last "tactic" is the fault of the voters. As a voter you shouldn't even consider any new arguments or rebuttals made in the last round.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
wrichcirw
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6/12/2013 9:23:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/12/2013 6:49:18 AM, Smithereens wrote:
When it comes to illegitimate techniques, there is nothing more comprehensive than this imo: http://www.orange-papers.org...

I was about to read this when I read the opening and noticed this quote:

"This election is not about issues," Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager said this week. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." That's a scary thought. For the takeaway is so often base, a reflection more of people's fears and insecurities than of our hopes and dreams.
" Judith Warner, New York Times, September 4, 2008


This quote is so ridiculously biased in its own right that it made be realize that the paper itself was going to be propagandistic. The NYT equating a Republican candidate with "people's fears and insecurities"? Please...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Guy_D
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6/12/2013 2:04:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Great topic,

More tactics:

False premise: Debater makes a statement that assumes some other fact has already been proven when it has not; in court, such a statement will be objected to by opposing counsel on the grounds that it "assumes facts not in evidence"

Hearsay: Debater cites something he heard but has not confirmed through his own personal observation or research from reliable sources, e.g., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid"s allegation that a Bain Capital investor whom he refuses to name told him that Mitt Romney has not paid any taxes for ten years.

Straw man: Debater attacks an argument that is easy to refute but which is also an argument that no one has made in the debate. Obama can hardly get through a paragraph without committing this violation.

Source: http://www.johntreed.com...
Gd
xXCryptoXx
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6/12/2013 3:32:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It would be cool if we could keep piling up debate tactics, then get a moderator to organize the tactics and make a sticky topic on it.
Nolite Timere
MassiveDump
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6/12/2013 3:39:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Murder: Killing your opponent in order to intimidate him into forfeiting. This is a very commonly used tactic, but remember: it's still illegal in 47 states.