I’ve briefly mentioned Godwin’s Law before, an Internet adage which asserts that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler becomes more likely. (Wikipedia)
I was thinking about that today as I was reading a few stories in the Wall Street Journal. After reading the articels I would then start reading the comments, and I had a sense this was going to happen from past experience. At some point, and usually fairly quickly someone makes a political statement that seems to have little to do with the article.
It could be someone bringing up the COVID lockdowns, a reference to WOKE or BLM, getting in a jab at Trump or Biden, climate change.
When such a comment is made, you can be sure someone is going to respond to it, and then the discussion goes off on a tangent, with little of that discussion having to do with the original article.
So I decided to give this phenomenon a name.
Not having the hubris of Mike Godwin, I couldn’t name it after myself, so I used the first two letters of the Wall Street Journal; hence, WASTJO’s Law,
From what I have briefly examined, it usually takes less than 10 comments until WASTJO’s Law kicks in.
I know it’s not just limited to the Wall Street Journal, but it is one of the sites I am most familiar with, and one where I have noticed this phenomenon for years.
I also didn’t do much research to see if someone has already picked up on this phenomenon and given it a name.
If not, who knows. Someday there may be a Wikipedia entry for WASTJO’s law…