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Laws of the Internet Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Laws of the Internet

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


1. Godwin’s Law

The most famous of all the internet laws, formed by Mike Godwin in 1990. As originally stated, it said: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probab­ility of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." It has now been expanded to include all web discus­sions.

It is closely related to the logical fallacy “reductio ad Hitlerum”, which says “Hitler (or the Nazis) liked X, so X is bad”, frequently used to denigrate vegeta­rians and atheists.

2. Poe’s Law

Not to be confused with the law of poetry enshrined by Edgar Allan Poe, the internet Poe’s Law states: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundam­ent­alism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.”

It was originally formulated by Nathan Poe in 2005 during a debate on christ­ian­for­ about evolution, and referred to creati­onism rather than all fundam­ent­alism, but has since been expanded.
Inverse Poe’s Law, stating that non-fu­nda­men­talists will often mistake sincere expres­sions of fundam­ent­alist beliefs for parody

3. Rule 34

States: “If it exists, there is porn of it.” See also Rule 35: “If no such porn exists, it will be made.” Generally held to refer to fictional characters and cartoons, although some formul­ations insist there are "no except­ion­s" even for abstract ideas like non-Eu­clidean geometry, or puzzle­ment.

The spread of fanfic, slash fiction and hentai around the internet, as well as the rise of furries, are making this law more and more accurate every day.

The other 33 rules change freque­ntly, except one and two, which are “Do not talk about /b/” and “Do NOT talk about /b/”, respec­tively, referring to a message board on the website.

4. 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."

It is an online version of the proofr­eading truism Muphry’s Law, also known as Hartman's Law of Prescr­ipt­ivist Retali­ation: "any article or statement about correct grammar, punctu­ation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one eror".

5. Scopie’s Law

States: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing as a credible source loses the argument immedi­ately, and gets you laughed out of the room.” First formulated by Rich Scopie on the badsci­enc­ forum.

This law makes little sense without a background knowledge of, a conspiracy theory site which includes such items as the complete text of the anti-S­emitic hoax Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as claims that Aids is caused by vaccin­ation progra­mmes, and that Auschwitz never happened.

6. Danth’s Law (aka Parker’s Law)

States: “If you have to insist that you've won an internet argument, you've probably lost badly.” Named after a user on the role-p­laying gamers’ forum

7. Pommer’s Law

Proposed by Rob Pommer on ration­alw­ in 2007, this 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.”

8. DeMyer's Laws

Named for Ken DeMyer, a moderator on Conser­vap­edi­ There are four: the Zeroth, First, Second and Third Laws.

The Second Law 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.”
The Zeroth, First and Third Laws cannot be very generally applied and will be glossed over here.

9. 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' ...has automa­tically lost the debate' has automa­tically lost the debate."

10. The Law of Exclam­ation

First recorded in an article by Lori Robertson at FactCh­ in 2008, this 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.