Characteristics of civil arguments include some basic "dos" and "don'ts."
Strive for clarity.
Listen for areas of agreement.
Keep a civil tone.
Research both sides of the issue.
Acknowledge facts that go against your position.
Recognize that there are issues on which reasonable people can disagree.
Ascribe bad motives to the other side.
Assume that the other person is uninformed.
Use straw man arguments.
Distort the other person's position.
Become a blind advocate.