I Am The Law!


I am not a great fan of rules and laws for creative processes (see my previous mauling of Stephen King) but as a frequenter of social media, blogs and forums, I have to accept that there are certain online posting behaviours that are repeated to such an extent that you might as well create laws and observances for them. I was astonished to learn that many already exist, have their own names and everything. Here are a few. While I don’t personally endorse them as hard-and-fast rules in online discussions, you might have observed them in action.

1. Godwin’s Law
Godwin’s Law was created by attorney and writer Mike Godwin in 1990 and states that "As a web discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

2. The Law of Exclamation
This was first invoked on FactCheck.org in 1998 and states, "The more exclamation marks used in a posting, the more likely it is a complete lie. This is also true for excessive capital letters."

3. Pommer’s Law
First proposed by Robert Pommer on rationalwiki.com, the law states: “A person's mind can be changed by reading information on the internet. The nature of this change will be from having no opinion to having a wrong opinion.”

4. Skitt’s Law
Skitt’s Law is an online version of Murphy’s Law. Simply put, the law states that "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself".

5. Danth’s Law
Danth’s Law is named after a user on the role-playing gamers’ forum RPG.net. It instructs that “If you have to insist that you've won an internet argument, you've probably lost badly.”

6. DeMyer’s Law
Ken DeMyer, a moderator on Conservapedia.com, has several ‘laws’ but his Second Law states that “Anyone who posts an argument on the internet which is largely quotations can be very safely ignored, and is deemed to have lost the argument before it has begun.”

7. Cohen’s Law
Created by Brian Cohen in 2007, Cohen’s Law states that: “Whoever resorts to the argument that ‘whoever resorts to the argument that... …has automatically lost the debate’ has automatically lost the debate.”

1 comment:

edfortune said...

I'm rather partial to the notion of Rule 7: "Don't take the piss". (With Rule 8 being "Unless it's funny".