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?
Does this change if you know what they meant, or didn't know?
If someone gives a cluster of examples to something, is it a strawman to argue against one of those examples not being accurate instead of the overall point a strawman?
Does the number or percentages of the examples that are wrong influence this?
If someone exaggerates, say by claiming a number higher or lower than it actually is, would pointing that out and arguing it instead of the conclusion be a strawman?
Please do provide your reasoning for these. More discussion is the best kind of discussion!
Here's Wikipedias article on it, which is going to be the most comprehensive. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
Here's Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/straw%20man
Here's Wordink, which is probably the definition site I use most, albeit because it's usually the default for results on the search engine I usehttps://www.wordnik.com/words/straw%20man
And here's the source for my OP image here. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman