Is it appropriate to use straw man arguments on this integral forum?



Is it appropriate to use straw man arguments on this integral forum?

  • No
  • Yes
  • I don’t know
  • I don’t want to give my opinion

0 voters

The reason I write this post is that I want this forum to be open and inclusive and civilized, exactly as outlined in the community road rules. For some reason I have gotten no response from the moderators in 16 days since I flagged a post and asking the moderators for some feedback. After waiting for about 8 days I even e-mailed the moderators directly to their public e-mail addresses. I have not contacted the administrator of the forum because I know he is very busy and he has delegated the moderating function. And because I know myself enough to expect that I will be upset if he also gave no response.

So another option is to turn to the wisdom of the crowd. I think readers here are individually already very wise (yes I also mean you :wink:), but perhaps you find it easier to vote in an anonymous poll than to give your opinion directly.

I am clearly not targeting any individual, I am only addressing a certain kind of behavior. If someone wants to argue that a certain interaction is not a straw man, or something else unrelated to this poll, I respectfully ask that this is done on another topic. You can probably agree that this current question is more important. Other comments, for example why you answered in a certain way are off course welcome.

I will end by giving a description of what a straw man argument is, quoted from Wikipedia:

The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

  1. Person 1 asserts proposition X .
  2. Person 2 argues against a superficially similar proposition Y , falsely, as if an argument against Y were an argument against X .

This reasoning is a fallacy of relevance: it fails to address the proposition in question by misrepresenting the opposing position.

For example:

  • Quoting an opponent’s words out of context—i.e., choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent’s intentions (see fallacy of quoting out of context).
  • Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then denying that person’s arguments—thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.
  • Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
  • Exaggerating (sometimes grossly exaggerating) an opponent’s argument, then attacking this exaggerated version.


So if I understand you:

You feel someone made a straw man argument.
You reported them to the moderators.
The moderators did not act as you thought they should.
Now you are want to “turn to the wisdom of the crowd”

What are you trying to accomplish with this discussion?

I myself vote “no”. (It is not appropriate to use a straw man argument).
However (and this is a VERY BIG however).

When I read the community road rules - I interpret them for myself that they are intended to be self-reflective. I don’t read anywhere in there that they are intended to be used by one person to judge that another has been in violation. I instead read them that they are rules that I should use to reflect on my own participation.
So when I vote no - I do so with the caveat that I do not find it appropriate for myself to use straw man arguments.
I suppose other people such as yourself my read them differently, but that is how I see them.


Yes, you are understanding me perfectly, thank you. Except that more than one straw man arguments were made in that particular topic.

That is a good question. I didn’t intend it to be a discussion, it is a poll. Depending on the result it could potentially be a building block to help many things that I want to see accomplished:

  • help to deal with my frustration and anger because I feel I am being ignored as a paying member of this community.
  • help this community to clarify the appropriate norms of behaviour and the ways to deal with transgressions
  • improve the quality of the discussions, prevent that ideas are dismissed without proper investigation.
  • prevent that members or potential members of this forum feel hurt, unwelcome, unheard, attacked, bullied… by witnessing this kind of behaviour
  • all of this helping to make his forum even more integral

I hope you are aware of what you are doing here. Without making it completely explicit, you are suggesting that there is at least another person that is using the community road rules “to judge that another has been in violation”. And you also make an implicit negative assessment (judgement) about this kind of behaviour. You do this by stating that it is not in the road rules and that you don’t do that, and also by using two emotionally loaded words, “to judge” and “violation”, instead of more neutral synonyms like for example “to estimate”. You enforce your message by using all capitals, that I associate with shouting and anger. From my previous interactions with you it is quite obvious it could be directed at me but if I recognize that it could appear that I “incriminate” myself or show that I am too sensitive or emotional because of my shadows. Which is not impossible.

I felt I needed to explain all that to even begin to address it, I could say it is very clever. Regardless if it was conscious or unconscious. My answer is that even before I read the road rules and joined this forum I already had concluded that using straw man arguments was bad behaviour. I gave you some reasons in our private conversation. So I didn’t need to use the community road rules to judge that kind of behaviour. (Unlike you* I don’t judge people, I judge behaviour.) The road rules help me to understand that this kind of behaviour is also not appropriate or not normal on this forum and give me an encouragement to address it. If I bring up the road rules in conversations with other people, it is to help to communicate that a particular kind of behaviour could potentially be inappropriate or to explain my behaviour.

So I am not denying that I, as a member of this community am using the community road rules to judge other peoples behaviour as well as my own. I can even use them to try to justify that I am doing that:

Now could you explain me why you think it is better to judge someones behaviour without referring to what is witten in the rules (as you are doing with me and others) than with it (as I try to do with you) ? Or let me know that I somehow misinterpreted what you wrote. I don’t know your intentions.

*here is an example were you explicitly judge a human being instead of their behaviour

BTW I think you might have forgotten to actually vote on the poll.


Nah, I didn’t forget to vote.
I was just giving you an opportunity to explain further your own reasoning and any background to the poll.
Thank you for explaining.
Now people can chose to vote (or not), knowing a little bit more what is behind the poll.


I am thankful for the opportunity to explain myself better. I am even more thankful for the opportunity to deal with the infamous mean green meme. That felt really good on multiple levels. If I remember correctly it took me quite a while to conciously recognize it as that, even though it could be considered a text book example. This exercise will help me to recognize it and address it better, also in my own thoughts.


I am starting to become at least open to the idea that I am being purposefully ignored in order that interesting lessons like this can be learned. After all, both moderators are professional integral coaches.