Absolute Beginner's Frequently Asked Questions

10. What is Godwin's Law?

Godwin's Law states that if one participant in a discussion calls another a Nazi or compares them to Hitler, the thread has degenerated into personal abuse and there is no possibility of further rational discussion, the thread is therefore dead and no one should post any more messages in it. If anyone ignores this and does continue posting, they should not be replied to.

Exceptions:

1. Godwin's Law may not be invoked deliberately and so any attempt to use it purely to kill a thread should be ignored.

2. Godwin's Law does not apply when one party genuinely is a Nazi.

Godwin's Law is a hangover from a time when Usenet was much smaller and discussion tended to be a bit more civil and courteous than is the norm these days. That's not to say it is outdated and shouldn't be observed. The principle is still valid - once personal abuse takes over, rational debate is impossible.

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