Check into your chosen forums periodically—daily is ideal.
Look for debates veering off into falsehoods.
Use our fact check resources to determine the facts before commenting.
Accuracy is key, but so is engaging with your audience.
Keep emotions out of the exchange. Discuss, don't attack. Show respect.
Listen carefully and try to articulate your position accurately.
Let's say one of your areas of focus is immigration. You may want to compile facts you find as you do your research at fact check sites. This can serve as a reference as you interact on forums. For instance:
Contention # 1: Immigrants don't pay taxes. Fact: Undocumented immigrants are already U.S. taxpayers. Collectively, they paid an estimated $10.6 billion to state and local taxes in 2010, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a research organization that works on tax policy issues.
Contention # 2: Immigrants don't pay into Social Security: The truth is that undocumented immigrants contribute more in payroll taxes than they will ever consume in public benefits. Take Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), unauthorized immigrants — who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits — have paid an eye-popping $100 billion into the fund over the past decade. "They are paying an estimated $15 billion a year into Social Security with no intention of ever collecting benefits," Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the SSA told CNNMoney. "Without the estimated 3.1 million undocumented immigrants paying into the system, Social Security would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover payouts starting in 2009," he said.
Contention # 3: Immigrants drain the system: Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits. Most of these programs require proof of legal immigration status and under the 1996 welfare law, even legal immigrants cannot receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for more than five years.