Godwin’s Law

By Deane Barker on April 2, 2006

Godwin’s Law: There’s so much about the Internet that I don’t know yet.

Godwin’s Law (also Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is, in Internet culture, an adage originated in 1990 by Mike Godwin that states:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made the thread in which the comment was posted is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

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Comments

  1. I don’t like the idea of this ‘Godwin’ trying to exercise control over what sorts of analogies I use. It’s like he’s the Hitler of analogies or something. ;-)

  2. Darren — it’s in that Wikipedia article:

    “It is considered poor form to raise arbitrarily such a comparison with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized codicil that any such deliberate invocation of Godwin’s Law will be unsuccessful.”

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