|This page in a nutshell: If the debate has died, don't revive it.|
There comes a point in every debate where the debate itself has come to a natural end. You may have won the debate, you may have lost the debate, or you may have found yourself in a long, drawn-out draw. At this point you should drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass.
If a debate, discussion, or general exchange of views has come to a natural end through one party having "won" or (more likely) the community having lost interest in the entire thing, then no matter which side you were on, you should walk away.
If you don't, if you continue to flog the poor old debate, if you try to reopen it, if you continually refer to old news, if you parade your triumph in the faces of others ... you're not really winning friends and influencing people. Instead, you are annoying everyone nearby.
- If you have "won"—good for you. Now go about your business; don't keep reminding us that your "opponent" didn't "win".
- If you have "lost"—sorry, hard luck. Now go about your business; don't keep reminding us that your "opponent" didn't actually "win" because of ... whatever.
- If the debate died a natural death—let it remain dead. It is over, let it go. Nobody cares anymore. Hard to stomach, but you're going to have to live with it.
So, the next time you find yourself standing over the body of a clearly-deceased horse: please don't beat it. It won't help. There is no way to beat a dead horse back to life. Let the poor animal rest in peace.