Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
One common tactic a number of woos like to employ is requesting a change in the battlefield, to get the skeptic to join them on a podcast debate or whatever. The problem with the vast majority of these is that it's a challenge to a verbal debate: One of the least honest kinds.
The problem with a verbal debate is that it artificially limits the debate to individual knowledge, and carries implicit time limits. Without being able to insert hotlinks in speech, it's hard to know if a woo is being honest about a report they're citing. Many alties who believe in the mythical link between thimerosal and autism, for example, like to claim that a Simpsonwood document proves that there's a cover-up. It doesn't, but that doesn't stop people from quote mining.
Additionally, since 'let me read that study' or 'I need to research that' doesn't go over well in such a debate, a woo can pull out any unexpected half-truth the skeptic doesn't know about in detail and make it look like a point in his favor of his pet woo when that specific skeptic doesn't know a response. Additionally, since the woo can spout out several 'anomalies' at once, he has a verbal advantage over the skeptic: A single canard takes time to debunk, especially since woos in the audience are generally uninformed about the skeptical position on any given issue.
Worse, a number of these debates have little or no moderation: Sometimes the woo will 'win' by sheer volume, an irrational moderator's insistence on focusing on an irrelevant detail, and other such absurdities.
Sometimes, though, woos will challenge a skeptic to join a typed forum. Though sometimes these can be honest, there are countless woo forums out there that will ban anyone at the slightest provocation, including merely expressing a contrary opinion. When asked why, there reply is usually silence or equating polite dissent with trollish belligerence, usually involving a double-standard.
Of course, all of this is moot if there's no reason to change the battlefield in the first place: Why not continue the debate in the forum, blog, or wherever this doggerel gets brought up?