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Welcome to /townhall/! This is an anonymous-only board for debates, dialectics, and discussions of a serious nature.

As the topics discussed on this board may deal with sensitive or controversial subject matter, we expect a higher standard of conduct than elsewhere on the site, and will enforce the board's rules with a greater degree of strictness. Inability or unwillingness to follow the rules will result in a /townhall/-only ban.


1) All posts in a given thread must contribute constructively to the conversation, whether agreeing or disagreeing. Off-topic, contentless, inflammatory, or hostile posts will be deleted and result in a ban.

1a) Derails that occur as a natural result of discussion progressing from the original subject will generally not be interfered with; however, if these hinder discussion of the original topic, making a new thread is preferred.

1b) Part of contributing constructively is understanding and addressing the reasoning behind an opposing view. While this can be a tedious task and will generally not be officially enforced, please make an effort to at the very least avoid "talking past" someone when presented with a counterargument. Simply doubling down on your initial point does not advance a discussion.

1c) Be as willing to "lose" as you are to "win", and above all else, be willing to learn and understand. You will not get the most out of this board if your only goal is to persuade, and you will not even be effective at that unless you understand what you are arguing against.

2) Ad hominems and other uncivil behavior will not be tolerated. You may have a significant personal stake in some subjects discussed here, and it is normal to be frustrated when someone cannot relate; however, lashing out is not an effective way to engender sympathy for your position, and will not advance the conversation in a constructive way. Even if you find someone's argument morally abhorrent, there are constructive ways to express this.

2a) Attempting to deliberately provoke an uncivil reaction is prohibited, even if it is done within the letter of the law.

2b) Snark and other forms of mockery are strongly discouraged and may result in warnings or bans.

2c) "Strawmanning" an "opponent" deliberately will be regarded as uncivil conduct and will be dealt with accordingly. This will not apply to genuine misunderstandings.

3) While we do not claim to be arbiters of absolute moral or empirical truth and aim to moderate this board in a fair and even-handed, politically agnostic manner, the following extreme positions are considered "off-limits" regardless of how they are put forward, including attempts to "hint" or dogwhistle:

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If I understand correctly, one of Elon Musk's main motivations for Mars is to establish a self-sustaining settlement on the planet to prevent Human extinction in the event the Earth's population is wiped out.  We are in a pandemic so you can imagine a scenario where millions of miles of space make a good quarantine, for example.  I guess the other reasons to go to mars are: it's cool/inspiring, and (science!).  It's not really an economic move of any kind.

I'm seeing negativity about billionaires touring space while others struggle for necessities.  So, what are your opinions on pushing to make humans a two-planet species?


Elon Musk is a tool with an overinflated ego that has managed to develop a following that thinks he's the real life Tony Stark.

But he's right that it would be good to have sustainable space colonies.


I, for one, believe that it's absolutely great for billionaires to spend their money advancing science and promoting expansion into outer space.

This isn't just because such things are nice for their own sake but because a number of billionaires (such as the Koch family) have essentially dedicated their fortunes to the cause of actually restricting and damaging humanity, especially by funding environmental destruction as well as organizations that make such despair even worse through political extremism and more.

Musk himself has a buttload of problematic aspects to his personal character, but I'll ignore that since my concern is his economic actions most of all.


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Do you ever wonder if there's something that's common and appropriate today that will be considered a horrible evil in 100 or 200 years?  (Guess I'm thinking about slavery in early America, projecting forward.)

Or do you think we're past that level of moral change, and only small things will change from here forward -- that people will look back at this time and say, "They could have tuned some things, but folks were mostly good to each other."

If you think morality will change in the future, what things do you think will become very evil?
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Have you heard of the lead-crime hypothesis? It's quite fascinating. Recommended reading for everyone.



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Crime is so bad I can't even get a number for how many Americans are criminals -- maybe 30%.  Prison population may be a proxy.

Anyway, I've heard similar about abortion -- effects trickling down to (types of) crime.  I think that was a chapter in Freakonomics.


Yes, if I could, I'd like everybody to research the lead-crime hypothesis as well as the legalized-abortion-crime hypothesis. Understanding both is very helpful in terms of seeing how history has changed.


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What is the political fight (in America)?  Suppose it's hard to find general rules, because it must be a fight -- anything for which people aren't willing to fight over is not going to surface as a concern.  And so issues will come and issues will go.  But I will list what I think of as general trends.

The Right: Free Market; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Religion; Freedoms are most notably won through Military Force

The Left: Equality of Outcome for people of different Gender, Race, and Sexuality; Concern over Climate Change; Freedoms won through protest

The Left sees the Right: Rich Racists (or those duped by them); Religious Fanatics; Colonizers

The Right sees the Left: Lazy Folks who want to steal from Hard Working Americans; Anarchists; Rioters who would rather destroy than build.

Questions for you:

1) Is that basically correct?  Do you have things to add?

2) Do you expect anything to change over the years, especially the level of hatred or empathy for the opposing political party?  (In your experience has it been different in the past?)
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Unfortunately, your examples of the Blue Tribe supposedly causing harm to the Red Tribe are a telling point to how asymmetric the issue is.

"Cancel culture" is a great point. The practice was invented by the Red Tribe, though not in that name, to systematically discriminate against LGBT Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, et cetera and so on when those groups express their freedom of speech in ways that the Red Tribe doesn't like. The classic McCarthy campaign against supposed communists is a key example.

Now, because of changing social norms, we're having situations in which a Red Tribe member harasses and doxes a transgender person or otherwise does something abusing freedom of speech to cause harm there's consequences to that. Consequences in a surprising way because other tribes are actually engaging in self-defense. The Red Tribe is reminded of how they've been able to, say, get transgender people fired from their jobs due to kissing their partners in the supposedly wrong location or the like for a long time... it feels bad for them to get a taste of their own medicine even if that's not really what's going on precisely.

Your other citations are rather weird, to be honest, in general. The Blue Tribe has actively been there promoting economic reform packages, for instance with the expansion of health care services, to help those who've lost their jobs. Their enthusiasm for helping working-class laborers is so strong that that's why they're mocked as "do-gooders" and "bleeding hearts", after all.

As far as antifa goes, they're an anarchist militant organization that hates the Blue Tribe as much as they do the Grey Tribe, the Red Tribe, and everybody else. It's baffling as well to say that they're something like the white Christian nationalist militas that the Red Tribe has. There's no comparison in terms of money, size, support networks, and more.

As far as mentioning Black Lives Matter, they're not a terrorist organization no matter what Tucker Carlson and similar ilk lie to you and others about.


>Blue tribers involved in hiring have a tendency to require applicants to have college degrees even where irrelevant to the work
Some, I think, work to make a state-accredited college degree a necessary credential to do good work and be a part of good communities.  I seem to remember a swipe at credentialism in George Gilder's Republican Bible, Wealth and Poverty, but I can't remember if it was consistent.  I guess I'm not sure whether this is something parties are split on.  Maybe.


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Yes, the McCarthy blacklists were a particularly pernicious example of the red tribe engaging in such practices.

I'm sure that blue-tribe economic plans do have the effect of helping unemployed red tribers as part of helping unemployed people generally, but I was talking more about individual blue tribers personally care about the plight of unemployed red-tribers.

>Their enthusiasm for helping working-class laborers is so strong that that's why they're mocked as "do-gooders" and "bleeding hearts", after all.
For a long time, the Democratic Party was the party of the working class.  But in 2016 and 2020, whites without a college degree voted overwhelming Republican, while whites with a college degree voted mostly Democratic.  

>As far as antifa goes, they're an anarchist militant organization that hates the Blue Tribe as much as they do the Grey Tribe, the Red Tribe, and everybody else.
Antifa members may hate most of the blue tribe, but they're mostly still part of the blue tribe.  I don't have numbers, but I'd imagine that hardly Antifa members are evangelical, believe in creationism, oppose abortion, get conspicuously upset about terrorists and commies, or shout “USA IS NUMBER ONE!”?  And Antifa definitely gets conspicuously upset about bigots/racists.

>It's baffling as well to say that they're something like the white Christian nationalist militas that the Red Tribe has. There's no comparison in terms of money, size, support networks, and more.
Do you have a citation for this?  I don't think that nationalist 'militias' are very big or wealthy.

>As far as mentioning Black Lives Matter, they're not a terrorist organization
Yes.  I recognize that most BLM protesters are peaceful.  My comment above referred specifically to the rioters, not the peaceful protesters.


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Gain-of-function research and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.
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Take your meds.


Learn to formulate an argument.


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Happy Caterpillar created a thread asking whether combining pony art with politics was bad.  And I got to thinking, perhaps the issue is not pony, but more politics.  So a companion thread might ask, are politics cancer?

Consider the incivility, messy protests, awkward family events, endless angry online back-and-forth.  Most of us just want to get through the day.

While bickering is prehistoric, I would date modern politics to the French Revolution and the idea that any given citizen had the right to opinions on matters of state.  Politics also requires a capacity to mistrust the state -- each party tends to mistrust parts of the state the other trusts, which fuels the conflict, but nobody campaigns with: "Everything is awesome [in government]!"  Or especially not with, "Government is divine."

Now I'm no historian, but the French revolution was a mess.  Not that the monarchical centuries before were a cakewalk, but the new belief in individual rights lead to an outbreak of violence.  Fortunately in many areas, physical violence over politics has simmered to keyboard battles and sign-holding.  But maybe still, the whole project was a misstep.
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Hmm...yes, if politics is permeable to Nazi-themed ideas, that's certainly a problem and must be fixed.  If I remember my history, Nazi's were popular because they would fight war reparations and the party would combat their communist competitors.  (And of course they encouraged belief in genetic superiority.)  Now, I know many Americans despise communism, but I would hope they have equal hate for Nazism, or similar ideas.

If not, does politics have a causal connection to enabling Nazi ideas?  If you answer yes, I believe this thread is complete; QED.


>If not, does politics have a causal connection to enabling Nazi ideas?  If you answer yes, I believe this thread is complete; QED.

It's a reasonable question. However, I genuinely don't know the answer.


Thinking about it a bit more, maybe I overstated things.  Politics is probably more like a highway, someone might be driving away from a bank robbery on the road, but that might not mean you need to tear it up to prevent another crime.  Suppose you'd only want to remove the road if it were a main thoroughfare for thieves, and otherwise did little good.  Or if the taint of the crime were simply so bad, everything connected must go.

So I suppose that begins a slightly fairer question about politics and Nazism.


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"Let us just imagine for the sake of the argument that even after all of the problems of disease, poverty, malnutrition, pollution and the rest of it are corrected for, there is still a genetic difference that means average African intelligence is ten points below that of average Caucasian intelligence (or mathematical ability or whatever).  By the time that rolled around, the technology would be in place so that would just be one more thing to be corrected – relying on the old fashioned way of shuffling genes around will be a disability in itself.  Whatever genetic differences there are between the human races will be nothing compared to those between humanity and post-humanity."
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>Something as simple as encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children seems, by itself, to increase IQ scores by a significant amount.
Yes, depending on genetics.  There is a specific SNP for that:

>To be frank, the modern obsession with IQ scores appears to be based on an assumption of near absolute heritability of IQ in all contexts: in which genes mean almost everything and environment means almost nothing.
If I recall correctly, in developed countries, the heritability of IQ is pretty high, greater than 50%.  Of course, malnutrition in childhood, infectious disease burden, and lead poisoning can all lower IQ.


If psychologists need intelligence to effectively compress to one number, and if that were not possible for people like me, I would expect psychologists to treat us unkindly, and I don't care to be treated unkindly for who I am.  As long as psychologists (and biologists, I guess) don't prevent me from doing my scientific work, I will allow them to do whatever they please.


>the heritability of IQ is pretty high

No. And yes. Somewhat. Not really. In part.

It's actually a rather complex situation in which it can be found to be even less than 50% (typically for certain groups of children) and even more than 75% (typically for certain groups of adults). There's no ironclad scientific consensus on the subject. It can be said, though, that beyond the complexity there's a certain kind of balance found in how genetics can be reinforced by environments that then encourage individuals to reinforce expressed traits. Thus, SES/socio-economic-status can be crucial.

"Results demonstrate that the proportions of IQ variance attributable to genes and environment vary nonlinearly with SES. The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero; in affluent families, the result is almost exactly the reverse."

> https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1046/j.0956-7976.2003.psci_1475.x

It's also worth mentioning that "intelligence" as a general cluster of somewhat only slightly related attributes and the specific trait of "IQ testing success" are quite different in application often.

"General cognitive ability yielded a heritability estimate of about .80 in two assessments 3 years apart as part of the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging. This is one of the highest heritabilities reported for a behavioral trait. Across the two ages, average heritabilities are about .60 for verbal tests, .50 for spatial and speed-of-processing tests, and .40 for memory tests."

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Happy July 4.  This date has some political significance for at least one nation I'm aware of, probably others as well. But we needn't talk about that if you don't want.  Perhaps we can just wish each other well on this Sunday.


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It is a good day to reflect on and be thankful for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.  


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I don't know how many are interested in legal documents.  But I think every subject/citizen may admire the freedoms and restrictions their authorities provide, as long as their patriotism does not create conflict or worry.  Happy Sunday, and now also Monday, Splendid Dragon.


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Well, that's how someone who was fairly upset at me worded it anyway.  I guess the idea is bringing pony art to bear on issues in the human world is inappropriate.  We should talk about Sugercube corner or...at worse, the details of Celestia's government and economy, but nothing else (and I suppose we are not to get too wrapped up in logical inconsistency in the show; that's another kind of cancer).

But...maybe I'm a bad pony fan, I have trouble investing a lot of time in the details of a fantasy world, but I like ponifying things.  I like the simplicity of the art.

I guess this thread is for your thoughts.  I don't really plan to change, but maybe I can consider other perspectives.
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In that it spreads maliciously killing and replacing healthy tissue? Not really, but politics in general is pretty cancer. Ponery in some context where you're trying to take yourself way too seriously is just kinda cringe.


>You are either arguing against discussing politics at all to prevent others from making the choice to be toxic, or that there is something special about ponies that make people toxic.

That's not what they are trying to say, they are trying to say that there are better websites to discuss politics on than a pony fandom image board where people like to come to relax and talk about shows they like, hang with friends, etc.

However, seeing as people are people and will naturally want to at some point discuss the political atmosphere of what is going on in the world, and trying to pin down exactly what counts as political is damn near impossible, then they can come to this specific board if they really feel they have to debate these issues on this site.

It would be better to hold political talks and debates on some other site that is geared for that, but we all know that won't happen, so you know. Just use this board.


I failed to say it at the beginning, but the issue is any combination of pony art and politics, nothing specific to ponyville.us.  Probably it's simpler if I say I'm not talking about ponyville at all, I think that's most of the confusion.


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I think maybe I want to be a good pony.

So I wish to ask what makes a good pony, but must first ask whether that question has an answer that is not simply tautological.

For example, in a social environment where the government is esteemed, I might be told, "A good pony follows the laws and pays her taxes."  In a social context oppositional to the government, I will be told, "A good pony tries to thwart the state and avoid taxes.  Or a good pony is a criminal."  Both can't be true, so the only consistent answer is that a good pony does what is approved in a social context.

I guess I'm asking -- is there any other kind of answer to the question -- an answer not subject to sudden change as group opinions change?
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>Do you purposefully cause pain to other people?
No.  Unless you mean emotional pain, as I do two things: exist with various properties (eg. religious affiliation, gender, a specific appearance and dress, sometimes occupying spaces such as cross-walks that might cause motorists delay -- I know they hate that), and set social boundaries.  Basic properties of existing seem to be enough to cause distress in others at times.  I'm also weird which probably makes it worse.

>Do you purposefully ignore someone who may be causing pain to another, simply because you care about this someone?

No, but that wouldn't seem my business anyway unless I am an authority over that person.  Authorities may give orders and punish disobedience.

>ignore actions of another, actions that may be causing great harm, because we care about the person who is causing harm

Care about harmony with that person, yes.  Hmm...this gets kinda deep.  My mind is different from most humans, which makes it inappropriate for me to try to judge whether someone is suffering sometimes.  Yes, I get physical pain, but perhaps we look favorably at a dental procedure.  Even there, it's complicated.

I guess I try to let others be as much as they don't attack me, so I don't accidentally hurt them.

Great harm -- what do you think about when you write that?


>Great harm -- what do you think about when you write that?

I figured that one might be a bit confusing, so I will just give you an example of what I have personally witnessed and gone through.

A few years ago I became friends with a very toxic person who was very manipulative. I at first didn't understand what he was doing, but as time went on I began to see patterns in his behaviour that made me question whether he was a good person.

One specific instance/event, was that we were both at a party and we were both very intoxicated. I found my friend in another room, touching and trying to kiss another man who was clearly too drunk to be giving consent.

At the time, and perhaps because I was under the influence of alcohol, I tried to justify my friends actions by thinking that he was too drunk to realize what he was doing, so I pulled him out of that party and away from that other man.  

As time went on, and I saw my, at the time, friend, do more and more things that were bordering on abusive and sexual assault, I began to really question his morals. He was not always drunk when he would try to abusively push peoples boundaries, and even if he was, being drunk was not an excuse. There is no excuse for behaviour like that, and I later realized, after we were no longer friends, that I had done a great disservice by ignoring his actions at the time.

I ignored and tried to justify his horrid behaviour, simply because I cared about him at that time. And his horrid behaviour caused great pain to the people who he did these things too.
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That makes sense, glad you did what you had to.  I think for me I'd draw the line at enabling, encouraging, or ordering bad behavior.  Other than that, it's not my business.


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Vox Populi imageboard. The voice of the people. Come post and have some fun. :)


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Hardly the board to be advertising a site of dubious merit on, and certainly bad form for the site to post it without asking permission first.

Violation of Rule 4. Thread locked, saged, and link removed.


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Blow up here means capable of generating attention and response.  Expressions with such capacity tend to be one-liners with an ambiguous order of operations.

I realize my sense of order of operations is effected by programming, where the expression would be written 8/2*(2+2) and evaluated the same in C++ and Python.  But I gather mathematicians are not so precise.  What integer do you fill in for the question mark in the image?
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The answer would be to read from left to right in case of ambiguity, like for computers.

However, a mathematician would simply use fraction notation to avoid the issue.

This isn't some deep paradox, this is just some street magic muckery with confusing notations.


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You would prefer one of these two, I think.


Anything else is just screwing around with notations, rather than presenting a paradox.


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People wish to protect children from transgendering; they wish not to have children sexualized or exposed to adult issues too early.  I can not argue against protecting children, no one can ague for sexual expression in children who can neither understand nor consent to that sort of thing.  And I can't figure that 'trans' or 'cis' is the issue, we are not to be prejudiced in that way.  What remains is that gender is inappropriate.  I know it is conventional to use gender for children, but sometimes convention is wrong.  Does ethics require all children be referred to as 'it' until they reach the age of consent when they may choose an appropriate gender?
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There are some words in there that are not for my eyes, I believe.  But...in general, transgenderism in children has become authorized and healthy, I take it.  If so, my previous impressions were just out of date.


>I have no opinion myself.

Then what the heck is this?



I have no opinion on whether transgender children are appropriate, and mostly respond to the common view, with the exception of wishing to make it a bit more logical.  I have enough opinion on the matter of age to not be against things like porn websites verifying users are adults.  This is what we are calling epistemic justice.


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There have been repeated assertions by many on the left that the Trump Administration was especially racist, white nationalist, or white supremacist.  If those assertions are true, one would expect that blacks and Hispanics would swing sharply toward the Democratic Party, compared to previous presidential elections.  But as it turns out, Trump did better in both 2016 and 2020 than Romney had done in 2012.  Of course, Obama being a black candidate probably increased support for him among blacks and thereby decreased support among blacks for his opponent.  But looking at pre-Obama elections, Trump is still roughly on par with previous Republican nominees.





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Yeah, it wasn't just racist white people. It was also racist It was racist people in general.


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Most Trump supporters aren't actually racist.



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Recent events on the board have brought up an interesting topic, in exactly what it is to "strawman" someone.
Is it, as some definitions would seem to suggest, the misrepresentation of an argument in a false or misleading manner from the argument made,  or is it, as seemed to be suggested at least by one staff member, responding to what someone has argued as written, without malicious intent or dishonesty, and not what they meant to say.

For myself, I would consider the first more accurate.  Intent is difficult to assess, and direct statements, if not always reliable, are at least grounded in some consistent and objective rationality that gives a bit more reasonablity to a presumption of positions.  
Ultimately, we have to assume positions somewhere, and going specifically by what is said seems the better alternative to assuming what someone's meaning separate from the words used.
Not to say of course that people cannot change what they said if it's a mistake, as of course.  But if that mistake is made, it's on the person who made it, not the person reading it, and shouldn't as I see it be met with accusations of strawmanning or other such claims of dishonesty.  It should just be acknowledged and clarified as a simple mistake that caused misunderstanding.

I am curious on you all's thoughts, in any case. I'll provide a few links to some definitions below,  for you all.   In the mean time,  here's some questions and scenarios I'd love to hear your view on;

Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
If so, why? If not,  why not?

Is strawmanning an intentional act, or is it something that can be done without meaning to?

If someone says "sharks eat people", but their intention was "people think sharks eat people", is it a strawman to argue whether or not sharks eat people?
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>Is strawmanning malicious, dishonest, or otherwise immoral of an act like?
If so, why? If not,  why not?

I think it's dishonest.  Whether it's immoral depends.  Sometimes people strawman political positions to express themselves.  You would not have trouble finding strawman agruments against, say, The Green New Deal, but that's not really arguing, but expressing distaste.  But sometimes it does hurt people.

>Is strawmanning an intentional act, or is it something that can be done without meaning to?

I think either way.

>if you know what they meant, or didn't know?

I'm mixed about this.  I often guess what people mean because I don't always find what they write to be clear (or maybe I spaced out when reading it).  Probably in the right mood, I will stick to exactly what they write.

>percentages of the examples that are wrong influence (...)
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I find this thread somewhat disengenuous considering how often the term "ad homenum" is thrown around wjen others (like myself) are being rude, which isn't the same thing as an ad homenum fallacy but is used more informally to designate one person attacking the character of another.

In one sense strawmanning means simply misrepresenting someone else in making an argument against them, in the other sense, it's deliberately misrepresenting someone's argument.

Context can make the distinction between the slighlty less rigid, more informal meaning of the term and the more rigidly formal definition of the fallacious rhetorical tactic. Either way, it's uncivil on this board, either to deliberately misrepresent another's argument or to misrepresent their motivations or thought process in an attempt to counter them.


Probably we all need to attempt to be as obtuse as possible in sticking to the exact wording of posters to avoid the various possible violations.

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