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Internet Debating Laws

The regular nerds will be familiar with Murphy’s Law; Godwin’s Law, and Poe’s Law, but how many of us have heard of the other laws for winning debates on the internet?

Skitt’s Law
Expressed as “any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself” or “the likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster.”

Scopie’s Law
States: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses the argument immediately, and gets you laughed out of the room.”

Danth’s Law (also known as Parker’s Law)

States: “If you have to insist that you’ve won an internet argument, you’ve probably lost badly.”

Pommer’s 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.

DeMyer’s First Law of Internet Debating states:
“ Anyone who brings Young Earth Creationism into an argument – that is not about creation, the origins of life or the age of Earth – requires no further serious consideration and is deemed to have lost the argument.1
DeMyer’s Second Law of Internet Debating states:
“ 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.2
DeMyer’s Third Law of Internet Debating states:
“ Anyone who posts a picture with a caption which does anything other than describe the picture is deemed to have already lost on the point they were trying to make and it can be ignored.

Cohen’s Law
Proposed by Brian Cohen in 2007, states that: “Whoever resorts to the argument that ‘whoever resorts to the argument that… …has automatically lost the debate’ has automatically lost the debate.”
Has also been stated in the much longer version, "Whoever resorts to the argument that ‘whoever resorts to the argument that… ’whoever resorts to the argument that… ’whoever resorts to the argument that… ’whoever resorts to the argument that … ’whoever resorts to the argument that… …has automatically lost the debate’ …has automatically lost the debate’ …has automatically lost the debate’ …has automatically lost the debate’ …h

The Law of Exclamation
states: “The more exclamation points used in an email (or other posting), the more likely it is a complete lie. This is also true for excessive capital letters.”
It is reminiscent of the claim in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels that the more exclamation marks someone uses in writing, the more likely they are to be mentally unbalanced.
According to Pratchett, five exclamation marks is an indicator of “someone who wears their underwear on the outside”.

Sorry for breaking DeMyer’s Second Law with this post.

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Information This article was edited after publication by the author on 25 Feb 2011. View changes.

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