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Straw Man

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A soft target that you construct

A Straw Man argument is an assertion of an exaggerated or untrue representation of your opponent's argument in order to make it easier to attack or refute.

Straw men occur during the entertaining but pointless sport of arguing on the internet. The idea is to present an easily defeated misrepresentation of your opponent's argument and then pwn it in a display of wholly imagined 1337 debate skills. This happens on every thread of every argument on every forum of every website.

Just like its close relative the Ad hominem argument - strawmen reveal the minds behind people arguing. Anyone who dislikes loud music is a black person-hating racist with a tattoo of a swatsika. Anyone who supports their troops is Bush-loving trailer trash. Anyone who supports gay marriage is a leftard inflicted with liberal guilt. And so on...

And what makes it so very, very sad is that most of the time they are correct.

Common Phrases[edit]

Trolling With Strawmen[edit]

Motivational Posters are supposed to have a black border...

Easy[edit]

Annoying people with strawmen is incredible easy - simply disagree with everything they say. For example:


User: Abortion should always remain a legal alternative to having a child. It is simply not always feasible or wise for a woman to attempt to raise a child.

Troll: Why do you support murdering innocent children?


Alternatively:


User: "While abortion began as a means to save the life of the mother in cases where there is a strong possbility of death, it is now being abused and used as an easy form of contraceptive.

Troll: So you're saying that women are second-class citizens and shouldn't have any rights?

Medium[edit]

Although slightly more difficult, when done correctly this can make your opponent look like either an extremist or self-serving douchebag.

  • Agree with what your opponent says but take it to a more extreme level which is easier to argue against:
    • Either they will agree with you and look like a dangerous fundie.
    • Or they will disagree with you and look like a hypocrite. Observe:


User: I don't think marrying your cousin truly counts as incest.

Troll: When you really think about it brothers and sisters marrying isn't all that bad either. Many famous kings and queens were siblings.

User: Exactly.

Everyone Else: LOL REDNECKS


Alternatively:


User: I don't think marrying your cousin truly counts as incest.

Troll: When you really think about it brothers and sisters marrying isn't all that bad either. Many famous kings and queens were siblings.

User: Well no, brothers and sisters are more closely related.

Troll: Oh I see - it's fine when you have a crush on your cousin because you like to fool yourself into thinking you're not really an inbred hick. Don't kid yourself fuckwit. The state is going to have to pay to look after that two-headed monstrosity she shat out.

Hard[edit]

Surprisingly the hardest people to troll using strawman arguments are the fundies themselves, as they use strawman arguments all the time. Most of them even believe their own arguments. So single-minded are they that it's difficult to get them to even look at someone who doesn't worship their every move.

Fundies are surprisingly popular on the internet because they have a large number of fanbrats to congratulate them for being "controversial" and open-minded," thus inflating their e-penises. It should be noted that if you are going to try and trip up these morons, you must first make sure they are not successful trolls in disguise:


Below are Examples of How NOT to Troll using Strawmen:


Fundie: Religion is a mental illness because nobody can prove God exists so theists are psychotic for believing in a sky-fairy.

Troll: You're just a Dwakins fanboy who thinks he's changing the world. Try studying history fucktard.

Fundie: I AM changing the world! You're just a butthurt Christfag who lives in the fucking stone age! Grow up retard!

Troll: Just because I disagree with you that makes me a Christian? I disagree with you because you're a piece of shit who thinks he knows all the answers because you follow a book somebody else wrote. LOL hypocrite.

Fundie: OMFG ad hominem attack! I know you're a butthurt theist because no one but a real sick bastard would compare atheism to religion - it's a lack of belief shithead! Is bald a hair colour too?

Troll: But you just used an ad hominem attack on me. And can you prove that God doesn't exist?

Fundie: You can't prove a negative you stupid cunt - and the more you try to prove your "God" really does exist the more likely it's gonna be that one day the men in white coats are gonna drag you away!


Alternatively:


Fundie: Jesus is the light and the way! Unless you convert to Christianity you WILL go to hell!

Troll: Oh look, another raging bigot. What makes your religion so special?

Fundie: How dare you question the will of the LORD! Thou shalt burn forever in the enternal flames! The Bible is God's will!

Troll: So what? All religions have their Holy Books. You're just saying yours is the best because you're a racist homophobic pedophile.

Fundie: Typical - Jesus warned us that the devil would try to stop us from spreading our message! How dare you oppress me!

Troll: You're the reason people think religion is a mental illness...

Fundie: Typical non-believer, so certain that there is no God. Your pride shall be your downfall for not using the freedom God has given you!


It is almost impossible to argue against such high levels of stupidity. The only possible solution is put these two groups together and watch them try to gouge each other's eyes out. It's a pity that it can't happen over the Internet (yet).

See Also[edit]

External Links[edit]


Straw Man is part of a series on Language & Communication
Languages and DialectsGrammar, Punctuation, Spelling, Style, and UsageRhetorical StrategiesPoetryThe Politics of Language and CommunicationMediaVisual Rhetoric
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