As originally stated, it said: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." It has now been expanded to include all web discussions.
It is closely related to the logical fallacy “reductio ad Hitlerum”, which says “Hitler (or the Nazis) liked X, so X is bad”, frequently used to denigrate vegetarians and atheists.
As well as the descriptive form, it can be used prescriptively: so if any poster does mention the Nazis in a discussion thread, Godwin’s Law can be invoked, they instantly lose the argument and the thread can be ended. Poe’s Law Not to be confused with the law of poetry enshrined by Edgar Allan Poe, the internet Poe’s Law states: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.” It was originally formulated by Nathan Poe in 2005 during a debate on about evolution, and referred to creationism rather than all fundamentalism, but has since been expanded.
If this is done deliberately to end the argument, however, it does not apply. Poe’s Law also has an inverse meaning, stating that non-fundamentalists will often mistake sincere expressions of fundamentalist beliefs for parody.
It was apparently first stated by G Bryan Lord, referring to a user named Skitt, on Usenet in 1998. Scopie’s Law States: “In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing as a credible source loses the argument immediately, and gets you laughed out of the room.” First formulated by Rich Scopie on the forum.
Here is an example of a parody site that embodies both Godwin's and Poe's Laws. Rule 34 States: “If it exists, there is porn of it.” See also Rule 35: “If no such porn exists, it will be made.” Generally held to refer to fictional characters and cartoons, although some formulations insist there are "no exceptions" even for abstract ideas like non-Euclidean geometry, or puzzlement.
Common Godwin's Law appearances include describing women's rights campaigners as “feminazis”, comparing the former US President George W Bush to Hitler, or saying Barack Obama's proposed healthcare reforms are the new Holocaust.
In its broader sense it can be used to describe any situation where a poster loses all sense of proportion, for example describing New Labour as “Zanu-Labour” after Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwean political party Zanu-PF.
De Myer's Laws Named for Ken De Myer, a moderator on ..automatically lost the debate' ..automatically lost the debate' ..automatically lost the debate' ..automatically lost the debate' ..automatically lost the debate' has automatically lost the debate." 10.
There are four: the Zeroth, First, Second and Third Laws. The Law of Exclamation First recorded in an article by Lori Robertson at Fact in 2008, this states: "The more exclamation points used in an email (or other posting), the more likely it is a complete lie.
Equally, of course, if you have formulated one yourself, do likewise – but you might want to include your real name, not just a web pseudonym.