Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Wilcox-McCandlish law of online discourse evolution
The Wilcox-McCandlish law of online discourse evolution, developed by Bryce Wilcox and Stanton McCandlish on USENET, is
- The chance of success of any attempt to change the topic or direction of a thread of discussion in a networked forum is directly proportional to the quality of the current content.
There are numerous corollaries:
McCandlish's first corollary to the Wilcox-McCandlish law:
- The chance of any change to the topic or direction of a thread being a change for the better is inversely proportional to the quality of the content before the change.
The exception to McCandlish's first corollary:
- When a thread reaches the flame war stage, all changes in thread topic or direction will be changes for the worse.
McCandlish's second corollary to the Wilcox-McCandlish law:
- Thread bandwidth consumption increases in inverse proportion to thread content quality.
Wilcox's corollary to the Wilcox-McCandlish law:
- The more involved one is in a flame war, the less likely one is to recognize it as such.
McCandlish's third corollary to the Wilcox-McCandlish law:
- Any attempt at recourse to formal logic or identification of classic fallacies will simply increase the irrationality of the discussion.
The Wilcox-McCandlish paradox:
- Thread degeneration can (theoretically) be forestalled or even reversed by citation to the Wilcox-McCandlish Law.
See also: Godwin's law
External links and references
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