Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states:
"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."
Godwin's Law is often cited in online discussions as a caution against the use of inflammatory rhetoric or exaggerated comparisons, and is often conflated with fallacious arguments of the reductio ad Hitlerum form.
The rule does not make any statement whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact. Although in one of its early forms Godwin's Law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms, and more recently blog comment threads and wiki talk pages.
Corollaries and usage
... For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's Law.
After scanning a couple of the recent (and no so recent) discussions between Neanderthal coal-burners and Paleolithic coal-burners, I thought this might be an interesting tid bit to throw out there.
Benford's law of controversy
Benford's law of controversy is an adage from the 1980 novel Timescape, stating:
Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.