Deny, Discredit, Distract, Disrupt
Most people in Second Life (SL) prefer to avoid highly political or negative discussions but there are those who tend to thrive in them. The reason for that is that they have consciously or subconsciously honed their skills in the four Ds for arguments. These four Ds can vary in wordage but the general tactics are closely related depending on what they are used for; politics, propaganda warfare, etc. You may not think that those in SL or even your general real life would use them but once you know of them, you can see their use in many high emotion arguments.
On a side note, generally those that resort to petty name calling are those instigating the argument. They thrive on the tension and will use any means to further their ‘alpha status’ in it. They are oblivious to the fact that they sound more like a child throwing a temper tantrum than a logical adult.
Deny is easy to spot and generally the first tactic used when one is responding to another. This is when a person denies any accusation against them, even if it is blatantly and obviously true. In cases where there is no obvious evidence to present, it turns into a he-said-she-said ordeal.
“I did not say/do that! That proof and evidence is edited and Photoshopped! Nope, totally was not me! I am not the liar, you are! I laugh at your accusations because you cannot prove them!”
Discredit is sometimes the first to be used for an initial attack or as a responsive attack once Denying does not work. Discrediting can use either partially true or false information but the sole objective is the same; to discredit the person and all that they have previously said and done. In many cases, this can be considered slander. This is often combined with Distracting.
“Oh yeah? Well that person has no standing in this topic because of THIS. They even sent these people against me in SL/RL! They use a whole list of ALTs! They are actually this most hated person! Why should anyone listen to them when they cannot do THIS.”
Distract is used when Denying and Discrediting have failed on the original topic and one needs to find something else to attack about a particular person. This is where you will see a person change the subject partially or entirely and seemingly ignore the original issue that started it all.
“And look at this other unrelated fault of theirs! Shame on them for this! Here is a list of all of their ALTs but never mind how I obtained them! They are crazy and have a mental illness! You are ‘bullying’ me with these accusations! You must be a psycho for ‘stalking’ me so much. Get a REAL life!”
Disrupt is where the attack gets real. This can be in the form of boycotting, creating protesting posts or images on social media, copybotting or in a worst case scenario, sending avatars to physically attack as sim. Aside from blocking or banning, these often spiral out of control to the point that the instigator of the disruptions violates Terms of Service agreements in SL and various social media outlets. To avoid the penalty, anonymous postings and throwaway alts are often used.
“I am going to ban/block you! Lalalala, cannot hear you! I have an army of followers that will spam your sim and group. We are going to boycott you and your little dog too! I am going to expose your real life information to the masses!”