When Godwin's Law Met The Streisand Effect

from the take-it-down,-you-nazi dept

Okay, here's a fun post for a Friday evening: Earlier this week, I was at World Hosting Days, where I gave a keynote speech about the importance of CDA 230 and things like intermediary liability protections -- and why they are so important to protecting free speech online. The emcee of the event was Mike Godwin, who (among his many, many accomplishments over the years as an internet lawyer and philosopher) coined Godwin's Law. The organizers of the event, realizing that they had the guy who coined Godwin's Law and the guy (me!) who coined the Streisand Effect in the same place at the same time, thought it might be fun to have the two of us talk about these two memes.

And, voila. Here's the video of the two of us discussing it. We're also planning to release this as a podcast soon, so if you already listen to the Techdirt podcast and want to wait for that, feel free... But, if you want to skip ahead and watch/listen now, go for it.

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Filed Under: godwin's law, mike godwin, streisand effect


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  1. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 17 Sep 2017 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: this thing i see often

    "Authoritarian" or some other relevant descriptor shared by Nazi's and the intended target of comparison (assuming the case is even valid and not simply an insult) just doesn't have the same ring as calling something or someone "Nazi". "Nazi" is lazily overused to push people's buttons. (So are other horrible dictatorship-related party and figurehead names.)

    You really encounter discussions being shut down when there are valid comparisons, via overuse of Godwin's Law claims? I can't imagine a discussion being vital and also capable of being shut down by this or other issues or derailment. I haven't been everywhere, but i have been a lot of different places on the net for a very long time, and i haven't encountered this. I have seen an occasional feeble attempt, but these have hardly had any effect other than to add to discussion how Godwin's Law may or may not apply.

    Many components of Nazism were always with us. Of course they still exist. I hardly argue that Godwin should be misused, but there are plenty of other comparisons if any are, in fact, needed. This is a thing in itself - people distance or remain ignorant of the actions and history of their own cultures, states, etc., because comparing something to a fairly remote and "dead" episode of world history is easier. Sometimes i personally find a nazi comparison pointless, where something is bad enough in its own right. Would one have called Stalin / the Soviet Communist party "nazis" at the time? The brutal authoritarian natures which we like to use for these comparisons are essentially the same.

    Apparently i find this highly interesting. Sorry about the wall of text.

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