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March 10, 2011

Caruso's Godwin's Law Law

By: John Caruso

After the appearance of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler in an online discussion, the likelihood that someone who invokes Godwin's Law has made a worthwhile point by doing so is inversely proportional to their belief that they have.

ADDING: In the more general and equally valid version of CGLL, the initial clause is omitted.

— John Caruso

Posted at March 10, 2011 12:23 AM

I have a game I play on Twitter called "Godwin's Law in X moves," in which Godwin's Law is typically invoked within 1 move.

Posted by: Glenn Fleishman at March 10, 2011 01:43 AM

Agreed, but you're understating the phenomenon. I'd say it's inversely proportional to the square of their belief.

Mike Goodwin himself on the topic:

People familiar with my work and writings will find plenty of ammunition there to use against those who would glibly shut down discussions. The purpose of Godwin's Law is to provoke remembering, not forgetting (and certainly not silence).
Posted by: jm at March 10, 2011 09:46 AM

I should have mentioned the first CGLL corollary, which states: Including Godwin.

Posted by: John Caruso at March 10, 2011 11:14 AM

This inversely proportional relationship also of course applies to citations of the "No True Scotsman" logical fallacy, stated in full as:

After someone points out an important distinction between two or more apparently, or allegedly, similar concepts others are attempting to conflate into one, the likelihood that someone who mentions the "No True Scotsman" fallacy has made a worthwhile point by doing so is inversely proportional to their belief that they have.

Posted by: weaver at March 10, 2011 06:40 PM

The Godwin-Hitler Paradox is why more people should read Eco, Mosse, and Paxton.

(omitting the links that consigned the better version of this comment to moderation)

Posted by: lurking gnome at March 11, 2011 08:24 AM

I don't see any comment from you that's stuck in the holding pen, gnome. If you resubmit it with the links I'll make sure it gets released from quarantine.

Posted by: John Caruso at March 11, 2011 08:48 PM