Originally Posted By: Revlgking
the spirit of having a civilized dialogue. I would mean it as a dart, even a dagger--the kind of undiplomatic comment which stops communication.

OK. I try not to use sarcasm or rhetorical questions - for the reason you gave. But sometimes I ask extreme questions and really want an answer, which would illuminate something. The problem is most people refuse to answer those because they think it's just an attack - or they're afraid of revealing what they don't know. I'm not specifically thinking of you here, but general internet discussions, and people in the real world. I see any question as fair game, even if the answer is "the question is invalid because.." or "I don't know".

But if you have an honest discussion, sometimes it can lead to realizing that you don't understand something as well as you would like. That's the usefulness of arguing, it encourages critical thought, which can lead to actually improving understanding, as opposed to "preaching to the choir".