An ad hominem argument is a personal attack against the source of an argument, rather than against the argument itself. Essentially, this means that ad hominem arguments are used to attack opposing views indirectly, by attacking the individuals or groups that support these views. My ex used to do this. He would denigrate or vilify me or anyone he was arguing with if they didn't agree with him. It was only ever a diversionary tactic when he just didn't have enough actual information to refute what the other person was saying. It would redirect the discussion, reframe the topic, but it was subtle. He was a master at this and it took me a long time to figure out why I could never seem to come out on top in a discussion/argument. He was also a domineering man, and that didn't help any either. It was interesting though, once I realized the tactic, it was fascinating, in an awful kind of way, to see him at work, to observe the nuanced way he shifted the topic without the other person even realizing what was going on. He was a master at being passive aggressive as part of the tactic. I mean, it's brilliant really. It's human nature to defend oneself when one is attacked. That's the typical response, and so when one is attacked, however subtly, one tends to move from an offensive stance to a defensive one, and when you've done that, you're already one down in the discussion. As difficult and painful as it was to converse with my ex or hear him talking to others, I learned a lot about this tactic and have been able to stop it in others. It wasn't unique to him, and realizing that other folks use it too has made it possible to remain unaffected by it when I'm in conversation with someone. What about you?