X-Message-Number: 21898
References: <>
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 10:56:36 -0500
From: Steve Jackson <>
Subject: What Godwin's Law really says

At 9:00 AM +0000 6/6/03, John de Rivaz wrote:
>Message #21882
>From: "John de Rivaz" <>
>Subject: Godwin's Law on CryoNet?
>Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 10:14:36 +0100
>Godwin's Law is some sort of Internet shorthand to say that is anyone
>introduces to an argument similes or makes other comparisons to National
>Socialism, or any of its practitioners, then they automatically end the
>discussion and lose the debate

No, no, that is NOT what Godwin's Law is. Tim Freeman even posted a 
link to the FAQ about this "law," and it looks from the above as 
though John either didn't read it, or read the first paragraph about 
what it WASN'T and concluded that that was what it WAS.

  Godwin's Law simply states:
	"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a 
comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

In other words, it's an observation that no matter what you discuss, 
somebody is going to be sufficiently excited and uninhibited to claim 
that those who disagree with him are Nazis. It's a comment on the way 
namecalling drives out rational discourse online.

Which is exactly what has happened, and is happening, here. Even to 
the bit about "Yeah, but these people REALLY ARE like the Nazis."

I jump in, not because this ventfest is in any way new, interesting, 
or appropriate to the list (sorry, gentlemen) but because Mike Godwin 
is a long-time associate, and was instrumental in our successful 
prosecution of the Secret Service case.  I hate to see even this 
small bit of his Internet legacy muddled and misused.

  Steve Jackson - yes, of SJ Games - yes, we won the Secret Service case
   Learn Web or die - http://www.sjgames.com/ - dinosaurs, Lego, Kahlua!
           The heck with PGP keys; finger for Geek Code. Fnord.

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