Mentioning Nazis or Hitler

78% of Reddit Threads With 1,000+ Comments Mention Nazis

From the post:

Let me start this post by noting that I will not attempt to test Godwin’s Law, which states that:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

In this post, I’ll only try to find out how many Reddit comments mention Nazis or Hitler and ignore the context in which they are made. The data source for this analysis is the Reddit dataset which is publicly available on Google BigQuery. The following graph is based on 4.6 million comments and shows the share of comments mentioning Nazis or Hitler by subreddit.

Left for a later post:

The next step would be to implement sophisticated text mining techniques to identify comments which use Nazi analogies in a way as described by Godwin. Unfortunately due to time constraints and the complexity of this problem, I was not able to try for this blog post.

Since Godwin’s law applies to inappropriate invocations of Nazis or Hitler, that implies there are legitimate uses of those terms.

What captures my curiosity is what characteristics must a subject have to be a legitimate comparison to Nazis and/or Hitler?

Or more broadly, what characteristics must a subject have to be classified as a genocidal ideology or a person who advocates genocide?

Thinking it isn’t Nazism (historically speaking) that needs to be avoided but the more general impulse that leads to genocidal rhetoric and policies.

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