If you're planning to post to an Internet discussion board (including a Usenet newsgroup, just in case anyone still uses them), please score your planned post using the guide below to determine whether you should do so. Starting with a score of zero, add or subtract each indicated value that corresponds to your post.
- Do you commit a logical fallacy not otherwise covered here? (+10 for each one; if you are called on it and assert that it doesn't matter, +20; if you commit a logical fallacy in the course of accusing someone else of that same logical fallacy, +20)
- When proved wrong, do you:
- admit that you were wrong? (-20)
- come up with some ridiculous explanation as to how your wrongness was actually a higher form of rightness? (+20)
- say that you were just kidding, when you plainly weren't? (+10)
- change the subject (+10, unless you started the thread, in which case +20)
- throw up some red herring? (+10)
- appeal to ridicule? (+20)
- claim that you are being persecuted for some personal characteristic that is beside the point and not because you were wrong? (+30)
- continue to use the argument anyway as though nothing had happened? (+40)
- Do you spend substantially more time defending a position than you did researching it? (+10, unless you didn't research the position at all, in which case +20)
- DO YOU USE THE CAPS LOCK OF TRUTH OR THE REPEATED PUNCTUATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS??????? (+10 for one or the other; +30 for both)
- Do you "correct" someone else on that person's inner life, or on events in that person's life that you could not possibly know? (+20 each occurrence)
- Do you lecture people on a subject with which you are "familiar" only from the popular media or your own speculation? (+10 generally; if you should have known that your audience includes people intimately familiar with that subject, +20; if you have actual knowledge that your audience includes people intimately familiar with that subject, +30; if you are merely asking questions of knowledgeable people; -10)
- When called on the above, do you assert that those people's intimate familiarity with the subject precludes them from expressing an opinion on it? (+20)
- When people ask for evidence for your assertions, do you:
- provide it? (-10)
- ignore them? (+10)
- say that your assertions are self-evident, when they're not? (+10)
- tell them to do their own research? (+20)
- make another unsubstantiated assertion, this time about your expertise in the subject? (+30)
- claim that you are being persecuted for some personal characteristic that is beside the point and not because you haven't substantiated your assertions? (+30)
- Do you take the position that since sane adults making a free decision must necessarily agree with you, anyone who disagrees with you must be:
- doing so under duress? (+20)
- immature? (+30)
- mentally ill? (+40)
- When people disagree with you, do you take the trouble to find out why? (-30)
- Do you use a typo flame as an excuse not to make a substantive argument? (+30)
- Do you dismiss out of hand the notion that you could ever possibly have the burden of proof on anything? (+30)
- Do you address your audience as "children" unless you have a very good reason to do so? (+40)
How to score:
- 0 or negative: You should have no problem posting.
- 10-20: Take a deep breath and proofread.
- 30-40: Are you sure you want to post this at all?
- 50+: Are you sure you want to continue owning a computer at all?
T o n y...you finally went into business for yourself!
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