Thursday, June 17, 2004

To coin a term

To those of you who don't know what Godwin's Law is, I provide this definition from the Jargon Dictionary:

Godwin's Law     prov.     [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.

The term was originally coined on Usenet, but it has since spread beyond its original realm and can be found in many online discussions (I don't know of any examples of it appearing in the establishment media, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has).

In reference to the last point of that definition, I'd like to coin a new term:

Godwin's Law Nazi     n.     "Anyone who invokes Godwin's Law, not to prevent a discussion from being side-tracked into irrelevant ranting, but instead to shut down a discussion that is going in a direction they disapprove." Put another way, just because someone risks the invoking of Godwin's Law by making allusions to Nazism does not necessarily mean that the allusion is wrong.


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7:03 PM  

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