Forums are strange places.
Like foggy marshes in an Irish film-set: populated with malevolent creatures that snap at the heels, can not be reasoned with, and are interested only in flesh.
Monsters that lurk in the shadows, leaping out to snap and worry. Driven to win, at any cost.
There are the benign creatures, too, of course. Creatures of the marsh. It isn't always foggy and dark.
But beware the Pavlovian Debater!
I imagine Van Helsing once dreaded encounters with vampires. Before he became the vampire-hunter par excellence.
Armed with pointed sticks, silver arrows and garlic, the dreaded became merely commonplace. Mere skewer-targets.
Likewise: Pavlovian Debaters are fearsome things, to the novice.
Possessed of a little intellect, an endless supply of whatever it is they use for reason, logic and bedside-manner.
And an immunity to anything they have not yet experienced.
The PD will pose and posture, snarl and insult. All the while, sneering like something far fiercer than it actually is.
There really isn't very much to fear from these creatures, although it takes a few skirmishes to discover that.
Their teeth are made of rubber, and their saliva isn't at all corrosive.
The one thing that terrifies them is to see their own reflection.
Having trouble with these beasts?
Here's my advice to adventurers into the dark world of forums...
PDs don't actually know anything.
They were taught to debate, at high school.
Somehow, their teachers managed to convince them that debating was very important.
And so they debate at every opportunity.
They live to win, and they do this by attempting to reduce all-comers to heaps of singed fur.
I say attempt, because without your help, they can do nothing to harm you.
Their method is to draw you in with invitations to teach them new and wondrous things.
And who can resist such siren songs?
So you relate your real-world experiences, in gullible honesty.
Only to find your real-world was actually created by the PD, and you don't know the first thing about how it works!
But the PD somehow knows every nuance of your real-world, and how it works.
And he makes you look like a complete idiot.
Or so he thinks.
But the happy truth is that the PD is actually a hopeless no-lifer, that has only one trick.
To persuade others that they are worthless, and, like a vampire, suck the life out of them to nourish itself.
And so all you need to know is this:
The PD is toothless to anyone who does not believe in vampires.
Non-existent. Harmless. Formless and powerless.
Hold up a mirror to it, and it vanishes, screaming in despair.
Because the PD really isn't alive at all.
And you are.