May 14, 2014

Dear W.H.,

The Argument.com Domain Could Help You Win an Information War

Introduction

You asked me to conduct a research study that focuses on innovative ways to win an information war and write a report based on my findings. As such, this research concentrated on traditional, modern, and accessible means of communication, advertisement, and presentation of information. While conducting it, I was driven by the idea that you are in a pursuit of a relatively easily accessible means to your endeavor. As a result, I have identified a tool that will unambiguously satisfy most of your requirements.

THE ARGUMENT.COM DOMAIN COULD BE A POWERFUL WEAPON IN INFORMATION WARS

Summary

In order to hold a solid ground in a contemporary information war, one should follow a few important steps. First, create a sound, well established social platform capable of supporting fair and transparent collective argumentation. Second, use a premium generic domain name—short, descriptive, and easy-to-remember—one that can give you instant recognition and credibility, one that can easily attract those who are tired of the lies and half-truths and desperately look for trustworthy information. Argument.com is a great example of such a domain, since it is an easy and memorable name, which represents an international term understandable to most of the world.

An argument presents a scientifically elaborated case to an audience, backed up with a warrant, reasoning, and evidence. Such a case is constructed in accordance to argumentation schemes, which are used to make it comprehensible and well accepted by the presenter's audience. In the information era, it is easy to use various Internet services—blogs, social media, etc.—to help one achieve his mission.

The substance of an information war is typically a conflict between different, contradictory pieces of information. More often than not, false information will find it's way to the public. It can consist of outward lies, blatant quote mining, hypocrisy, and double standards. It is up to the holder of truthful information to make an effort to spread correct and trustworthy information to the widest possible audience.

Various techniques exist in elaboration and argumentation of a case, and one must make this information credible, understandable, and—what is often underrated—interesting to the public. Sometimes, false information will be better accepted by an audience – for no other reason than being presented in an interesting way.

The Argument.com domain name may facilitate the creation of a great platform for presenting sophisticated reasoning, argumentation, and elaboration. Thus, it will enable presenters of accurate, truthful, and trustworthy information to publish their arguments and make them heard.

Without further ado, I respectfully present you my findings in a form of a report, gathered around several topics. The analysis is organized around three main sections. The first section discusses the type of domain name in question. The second elaborates on the meaning of the word argument itself, and the purpose of argumentation. The final section provides possibilities how this domain name could be employed in an information war.

Advantages of a Short .COM Premium Domain Name

.COM is a 30-year-old most desired and most popular top-level domain extension in all countries; it was offered to the general public starting in 1995. Although it was derived from the English word commercial, indicating that .COM domains were supposed to be used by commercial organizations, that meaning was lost when they were open for unrestricted registration.

Short .COM domain names are easy to memorize and hard to misspell, that is why they typically generate additional [type in] traffic. Speaking of a single-English-word .COM domain names, they are truly a rarity today.

My research shows the existence of certain advantages of short premium domain names. The memorability of a short premium domain depends on many factors. I listed a few of them according to the relevance:

Length of the domain name. The most important factor. People will remember a short name and will tell their friends about the web site.

Widely used word. It could include different words (popular words, colloquialisms, neologisms regarding technology, social media and networks, and also the Web).

Easy spelling and pronunciation. Most popular premium domain names are those comprising of an easily spelled and pronounced word(s). Such word(s) reduce the chance of being misspelled and incorrectly pronounced, even so if they do not contain special characters, such as diacritical signs.

Catchy and melodious name. A pleasant and sounding name. Easy to the ears.

Memorability. The four above described factors contribute to this characteristic.

Argument Is an Internationally Recognized Word

I would like to elaborate on the characteristics that make the word argument an internationally recognized word. The word argument has its origins in the Latin language. The linguists consider Latin a dead language. However, many today-spoken languages contain Latin-based words, called internationalisms. According to linguists, such words exist in several languages that have originated, or have been borrowed, from the same source. On top of that, they contain similar meanings. For that reason, their usage is international. I have compared thirty two different existing languages spoken worldwide from the Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Romanic and Slavic language family trees. The word argument appears in each of the thirty two languages, it expresses similar pronunciation and written form, varying in the suffix, however, in some languages it has Cyrillic orthography. The results are presented in the table below.

Spelling Language(s)
argument Africaans, Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian,
French, German, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish
argumento Esperanto, Filipino, Galician, Portuguese, Spanish
argumentum Latin
argomento Italian
argumen Indonesian
arguments Latvian
argumentas Lithuanian
argumentua Basque
аргумент
(phonetically,
argument)
Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian
аргументот
(phonetically,
argumentot)
Macedonian

Because it is used worldwide, the word argument easily surpasses geographical and man-determined territorial boundaries. In all listed languages the word argument is polysemous. It means that a single-written form of the word refers to multiple meanings: it refers to multiple ideas, concepts and notions.

Argument(ation): Meaning and Purpose

For the purpose of this brief report, I shall discuss concepts that are present in the majority of these languages. It regards the general and worldwide known notion of an argument.

An argument connotes any written textual, spoken, or visual form expressing a point of view, claim or thesis. It is used by many as a strong means of conviction and persuasion. It is used as a powerful means of changing the audience's beliefs and viewpoints in favor of the presenter and his case. Many social scientists distinguish another meaning of a word argument, which is action of making one or more arguments. This idea is conveyed by the word argumentation.

In order to logically persuade the intended audience, an argument must satisfy three conditions: it must be relevant to the matter in question, must be acceptable to the audience, and must be sufficient (would not require further argumentation). A good argument is an argument that provides a solid justification for its formed thesis or claim. According to the British philosopher Stephen Toulmin, an argument – or argumentation – consists of six interdependent segments:

Claim. The first step in creating an argument is establishing its conclusion. The conclusion is the presenter's goal. It is a thesis or a certain point of view.

Ground. It is data, evidence or facts, supporting a claim. It represents a solid bricked foundation in construction of a point that substantiates a claim. It can be identified by answering a simple question “What are the grounds for this argument?”

Warrant. It is a statement connecting grounds to a claim. Imagine it as a mortar that forms a stronger bond between the argument's foundation and its support.

Backing. One can imagine it as credentials or certificates that substantiate warrants.

Rebuttal. It is evidence or a statement designed to recognize or to contradict both grounds and warrants.

Qualifier. Social scientists define them as words or phrases revealing presenter's scale of the certainly with which he presents a certain claim. I should add that, in some cases of verbal presentation, facial expression or body language could be considered as a qualifier (although not always).

Some social scientists believe that claims can be constructed based on argumentation schemes, versatile types of plausible argument forming hypothesis in favor of their conclusion. They are joined with evaluative critical questions, criteria that identify a type of an argument.

Simply put, the presenters use these argumentation schemes to create an argument, leaving its audience to disprove them. Audience can then pose critical questions which could reveal a strong foothold. They could also reveal a weakness in argument's relevance, acceptability, and sufficiency transferring the burden of proof to presenter.

Employment of Argumentation

Arguments and argumentation are widely employed in many areas. They are commonly used in communication, discourse, and rhetoric. They can be expressed in three different ways – in an oral, written, and visual form. The fields where they are used are:

Conversation (oral verbal and non-verbal communication). It includes verbal and non-verbal formations of cogent ideas, thinking, or performing public speeches.

Science and technology. It's wide use varies from writing scientific papers, creating and conducting scientific and technological experiments, writing research papers or documentation.

Politics and diplomacy. Employment of versatile arguments while performing public speeches, interviews during a political candidature, etc.

Law, legislature, and judicial system. Logical reasoning when forming laws, public declarations, or prohibitions. Using argumentation in the court-of-law (jury's verdict or cross-examinations, etc.), or in criminal investigations.

Not all arguments or argumentation are good and valid. Argument whose claim is based on fallible (irrational, untruthful, deceitful, or distorted) grounds or warrants are called fallacies. This is precisely the type of an argument some people deliberately employ in order to wrongly and hastily convince their audience into adopting their points of view. The audience is thus given a false and liable information.

A Powerful Weapon in Information Wars

In the line of this, this premium domain name could be used as a powerful tool in wining an information war. It would be effectively used as a defensive strategy weapon. This premium domain name can become as powerful defensive tool against false, deceptive, and slanderous information. Fallacies are used on a daily basis, in order to trick people who are not even aware what an argument is, how it is formed, nor the existence of argumentation schemes, by which they could differentiate good arguments from fallacies. Among many fallacies, some dirty propaganda tricks are widely used:

  • Outright lies; aggressive, dirty, unfair and biased propaganda
  • Quote mining; taking someone's claims out of context and giving them new meaning
  • Selective storytelling
  • Double standards, hypocritical standpoints, and deception

There is a number of ways in which the premium domain name Argument.com could be used as a strong weapon that would ultimately wager a war. I have concentrated my research on the type of content that would displayed by the users for the users. This could include a variety of the following:

Social and scientific platform for debates and discussion. Such a platform would be used as a blackboard where all arguments would be organized accordingly, along with their claims and grounds. Possible iterations would be revised, then removed or placed to their intended subject, thus providing clearer picture for discussion.

Microblogging. The numerous textual or instant messages, e-mails, digital audio or digital video recording send or recorded by users "trying to get the argument out".

Article archives. In a form of a available depository which safeguards numerous articles addressing certain discussion along with their substantial evidence.

Platforms for structured collective argumentation. Not widely used (yet), but [in my opinion] the most promising platform for structuring high quality arguments. The MIT Deliberatorium project provides an excellent prototype of such a platform.

THE ARGUMENT.COM DOMAIN COULD BE A POWERFUL WEAPON IN INFORMATION WARS

Truthful information and fallacies spread with same speed once they are publicly expressed. It depends on popularity of their presenters, whether the public will believe the truth or the deceitful information. The strongest public reaction will be to the information that reaches them first. If such information happens to be untruthful, the opposite side should take the following hasty steps. It must provide the right information to the public, backed up by strong, bullet-proof arguments. It must address the deceitful information. Then it must reach out the very people that have been deceived, and if possible, an even larger audience. The presenter of truthful information must establish and constantly maintain its credibility.

To conclude, I highly recommend the domain name Argument.com as a means to win not only an information battle, but also to achieve a victorious triumph in an information war.

A. K.