At the bottom of this article is a link on Online Debating. It points out that it is better to seek clarification (understanding) than persuasion.
I like to think about 4 major types of conversation:
The article points out that debate (or I listed as “apologetics/argument”) has problems. Positively, it is likely to be better than polemics/preaching because it at least respects the other person enough to listen to what they have to say. But seeking understanding rather than change has advantages. In the article below, two effects are listed: “Bias Confirmation” and ” Backfire Effect.” One can’t do much about the former, but backfire effect can be lessened if on focuses on understanding/clarification, rather than change.
Move toward Dialogue over Lecture improves things further since one is respecting the other person by listening to them.
I would like to suggest (without proof except anecdote) that missions is more effectively carried out through dialogue than the others. The next best is teaching. After that is a toss up: argument or preaching. While there is a lot of tradition in support of preaching… I see little evidence that it works now for much more than confirming what people already believe (preaching to the choir). I could be wrong.
Here is the article: