Godwin’s Law

I discovered Godwin’s Law after reading this thread on the WPMu Forum. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:

Godwin’s law is often cited in online discussions as a caution against the use of inflammatory rhetoric or exaggerated comparisons, especially fallacious arguments of the reductio ad Hitlerum form.

The rule does not make any statement as to whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued[4] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact. Although in one of its early forms Godwin’s law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions,[5] the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms, and more recently blog comment threads and wiki talk pages.


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3 Responses to Godwin’s Law

  1. ekusteve says:

    I see you posted Goodwin’s Law here and you linked to the post that mentioned it in the Mu forums…did you get everyone’s permission first? naughty, naughty 😉

  2. jimgroom says:


    Be careful, I might just re-purpose your comment now!

  3. IIRC, invoking the H-word automatically meant you lost the argument on Usenet. Whatever the flame war was about, it didn’t matter – you lost. Not sure if that was ever an official Usenet rule, but I seem to remember it… Of course, I remember a whole bunch of things I’ve made up on the spot, so that might not mean too much.

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