The Rule of Two
I have a personal rule concerning arguments. I accept only two.
I’ve made this a tight habit. If anyone protests (as they have) that they didn’t put forward their strongest argument at the start, then I say this indicates a waste of time even more. Why put forward bad reasons, if you have good ones?
This saves time, but even better - it provides an interjection for when debate becomes heated, and someone’s not playing the game charitably. It allows you to say
You’ve said more than three points. So do you intend for me to memorize your three points, then you plan to sit patiently while I respond to each of the three points?
I don’t think any reasonable person could reply affirmatively.
It also adds a stopper to people who might be spit-balling their favourite arguments for a beloved subject, but hadn’t considered who’s on the other side of the table, considering these points with a potentially new perspective, or possibly just struggling to understand them.
This requires only a single, simple, setup; count the arguments. I find people weather interruptions for clarifications happily.
People say some arguments go on forever, but with the rule of two, they stop at two.
One has to implement this charitably, and never count arguments which may or may not show or emphasize their conclusion. This applies only to arguments which clearly, and demonstrably cannot relate to the given conclusion.