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What Is Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies?

Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies, which is also called simply as Godwin’s Law, is a theory that was presented in 1990 by Mike Godwin. Godwin forwarded that most discussion on the internet that have become long-threaded would have a tendency at some point to devolve into mud slinging competitions at the very end. Godwin posited that the longer the discussion thread gets the likelihood of a Nazi comparison being presented also increases. Therefore, Godwin’s Rule officially states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

Godwin’s rule actually presents a number of implications. A majority of online discussions would usually be about subjects that would involve very strong personal opinions, beliefs and also touch on their personal values. These are elements that usually clash because of the differences of opinions and beliefs among people. As the discussion deepens, it would usually slowly devolve and become less rational. This happens more often when the valid arguments for the topic have been exhausted already. With discussions that are hotly contested and provide no “right” answer, the opposite camps could start to take it to a more personal level by hurling insults at each other, which is caused by both frustration and anger.

Usually, examples of online discussions that satisfy Godwin’s Rule would usually contain hyperbole. The whole objective behind the action is to try and invalidate the opposing side by comparing them or their beliefs to the Nazi Party. But this tactic would usually backfire.

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