Re: On Godwin's Law

Lloyd Wood (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 23:16:56 +0000 (GMT)

On Mon, 16 Mar 1998, Joseph M. Reagle Jr. wrote:

> From the Jargon dictionary:
> >1. Joseph loses the argument, by Godwin's law as stated above (and
> > Greg's assertation of convergence is not just a variant of Godwin's
> > law).
> Your argument assumes I learned off of Godwin's law off of Usenet, and it
> must be incorrect. However, as you stated, I got the definition off the Web,
> and as any good reporter knows, if it was on the Web, it must be true.

...and usenet and the web both have the same browser interfaces,
audience and contributors these days, too.

> >3. By continuing the thread as we are doing, we are providing a
> > practical demonstration that Godwin's law is, indeed, wrong.
> Reagle's addendum is that: As an online discussion grows longer, the
> probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one AND the
> signal to noise ratio approaches 0.

This does assume that the signal-to-noise ratio begins above zero,
which would imply that threads begin containing a dose of real

That's evidently not the case on usenet; threads begin with someone
requesting real information and then end with them not getting it.

I posit that the signal-to-noise ratio on usenet is _always_ zero, and
any opinions to the contrary held by the masses responsible for the
signal-to-noise ratio can be disregarded because, as previously shown,
the masses are always wrong.


am I cynical?