Tuesday, 01 January, 2002

Godwin's Law

Godwin's Law says "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."  Furthermore, "there is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress."

In plain English:  sooner or later somebody's going to compare somebody else with Hitler or Nazis.  When that happens, the discussion is over and the person who brought it up has lost the argument.

The law was developed some years ago (for history and more detail, see this entry atfaqs.org) from observations of Internet newsgroup (usenet) threads.  It's an interesting observation that appears to apply equally to message boards of all kinds.  Recently, comparisons to the Taliban have become all the rage, and there are some people lobbying for a corollary that includes the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

The Internet is an endless source of amusement.