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For starting a new thread/discussion or just posting in general?
Your post doesn't need to be long, but it doesn't hurt to use examples to help make it clear what you're trying to say, whether you mean to explain better when someone doesn't understand you or misunderstands you, or you're trying to convince someone of the strength of your argument.
Similarly, it doesn't hurt to ask questions about what someone's said to get more information or get clarification on the point they're trying to make. It's easy to get angry and heated when someone assumes you meant something that you didn't intend to mean.
But on that note, since discussions can get long and technical, sometimes people will come to different conclusions than you do based on the same evidence or argument or thought process. Everyone comes to these discussions from their own point of view and with their own knowledge and experience. What might seem like a natural conclusion or a simple answer to you isn't always going to be how someone else sees it. That can cause emotions to flare, but sometimes you have to agree to disagree to keep from fighting unnecessarily.
My first piece of advice when debating is leave emotion at the door. Or in other words, argue with the post, not the person behind it. There will often be times where someone says something you don't like or don't agree with, but the worst thing you can do at that point is start insulting the person based on what they said. And definitely don't take what someone said in one thread and let it cloud your judgement in another thread.
I realise at this point that I'm wording this in a very confusing way, but hopefully the veterans know what I'm on about and can re-word it better for the newbies.
My other piece of advice is don't be a grammar/vocabulary nazi. What I mean is don't call someone out for mispelling a word or not wording a sentence correctly, especially if you are doing it just to try and prove someone wrong in an argument. That kind of behaviour is petty and doesn't belong here. If you didn't understand what someone wrote, ask them but don't just start insulting them over it.
Information is nothing if not accessible. While helpful with people on par with your level of understanding, you can't expect everyone to be well versed in all academia or even care about it. Jargon is named as such for a reason. Accessibility is the cornerstone of learning and debating - how can you teach someone if they cannot connect to what you are saying? How you can interact with them? Of course, everyone should make efforts to improve themselves, certainly. But not everyone has the same experiences, opportunities, level of education and so forth. No one will give a flying psyduck if they're cut off from the point of understanding. Tailor your debate to the needs of the discussion itself, not what makes you look good.
If you can't do that, then maybe your point isn't as strong you think it is.
Debating shouldn't involve personal emotions as Midnight shadow noted, debating is a healthy thing to do. It shouldn't be seen and/or mistaken as a verbal fight club.
My advice: Be well prepared from time to time and keep on learning.
Practice a good reading habit! Read more materials, from news articles to books, or even materials published by a person you are not fond of (to expose yourself to different views). While not a necessity, it would be great if you can recall the materials' title for citations in the future.
Learn about the topic, learning doesn't necessarily mean cramming the information. When you are engaged in a debate, you can't just simply emphasize your own views and points; You should, at least, need to know the opposition's (basic yet detailed) ideas and points. It's kind of like lawyers' in court -- when the prosecution brings up an Article, the attorney should have a basic idea what the Article is about. Therefore, it is important to learn about the topic and to absorb knowledge.
Another thing I was thinking about is that most good debates eventually come down to draws, or stand-offs if that's more likely. This is natural if you are not grossly more competent than those you are debating against. Particularly in here when we are mostly young, college-age students with relatively equal skills. Ivysaur is a journalist so he grinded way too hard for the boss fight, but he's an outlier. An outlier with a very high exp level. Anyway, my point is that when it comes down to a point where either side isn't making much advancement, you should start thinking about what can you say that will further the debate and open up new points of discussion, rather than explicitly fighting for what you think is right. You will only get so far if you do not look for ways to vary your debate. Find a way to move to a new battlefield instead of digging trenches. It'll make the debate more interesting for everyone involved.