"Are you pointedly ignoring my "Who the heck is Godwin?" question, or did you just overlook it?"
Jeez, your google finger broken??? Counter-meme "So, I set out to conduct an experiment - to build a counter-meme designed to make discussion participants see how they are acting as vectors to a particularly silly and offensive meme...and perhaps to curtail the glib Nazi comparisons.
I developed Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
I seeded Godwin's Law in any newsgroup or topic where I saw a gratuitous Nazi reference. Soon, to my surprise, other people were citing it - the counter-meme was reproducing on its own! And it mutated like a meme, generating corollaries like the following:
Gordon's Restatement of Newman's Corollary to Godwin's Law: Libertarianism (pro, con, and internal faction fights) is the primordial net.news discussion topic. Any time the debate shifts somewhere else, it must eventually return to this fuel source.
Morgan's Corollary to Godwin's Law: As soon as such a comparison occurs, someone will start a Nazi-discussion thread on alt.censorship.
Sircar's Corollary: If the Usenet discussion touches on homosexuality or Heinlein, Nazis or Hitler are mentioned within three days.
Van der Leun's Corollary: As global connectivity improves, the probability of actual Nazis being on the Net approaches one.
Miller's Paradox: As a network evolves, the number of Nazi comparisons not forestalled by citation to Godwin's Law converges to zero.
In time, discussions in the seeded newsgroups and discussions seemed to show a lower incidence of the Nazi-comparison meme. And the counter-meme mutated into even more useful forms. (As Cuckoo's Egg author Cliff Stoll once said to me: "Godwin's Law?
Isn't that the law that states that once a discussion reaches a comparison to Nazis or Hitler, its usefulness is over?") By my (admittedly low) standards, the experiment was a success."
(read it all, it's interesting)
There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.
Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.
However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.
Thanks for the info Nicole, I didn't know that.