In the 1990s, Mike Godwin noticed that as Usenet discussion heated up, invariably someone was bound to label a user’s idea as “Nazi-like” or equating the poster with Hitler himself. As the internet grew more viral, this internet adage has grown into “Godwin’s law” which states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1“.
Like Murphy’s laws, this is an anecdotal finding that hasn’t really been analyzed, but which seems true if you visited an online forum at least a couple of times — until now.
There’s no better place for heated discussions than Reddit — the largest online forum, if you can call it one, on the web. After analyzing public records from Reddit, CuriousGnu.com found any thread with more than 1,000 comments had a more than 70 percent chance of having “Nazi” or “Hitler” mentioned in the discussion.
Some subreddits were more prone to Godwin’s law, like /r/history. That was natural, but the analysis suggests that given enough engagement right about any discussion will lead to Hitler.