The Conroy Rule is a fast-spreading internet meme, similar to Godwin’s Law (well at least similar to the bastardised form of it that I have seen called Reductio ad Hitlerium, and which is also known as Dodd’s Corollary). It basically says that any argument from a politician discussing the internet devolves into simplistic references to child pornography, which in-effect makes that politician’s argument a losing one. A reference from one of the emails floating around today is:
“Note that we will be operating on the newly coined ‘Conroy rule’, a variant of the ancient and practical ‘Hitler’ rule on UseNet: the first person to equate free speech and child porn loses the floor, and all points. This restriction on free speech will hopefully deter flame wars, so we can consider the technical and legal issues for the day more rigorously.”
Basically this all stems from a forum on the new internet censorship proposal being discussed at the UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre. There’s a live-feed blog which has the transcript, and makes for interesting reading; it covers several hours worth of speakers from Catherine Lumby and her ilk, to Donna Ashelford (from SAGE) and other technical people, to various child-porn experts, to various legal/regulatory people from the Classification Board (old OFLC) etc.
That’s Dodd’s corollary to Godwin’s law, to be precise, and I like the new variant!
Much more relevant, and about time it had a name (it has, in effect, been around for a while now – the /. meme was always along the lines of “but think of the children!”
Yes it is. Have you been reading what I wrote, or did you research that on your own ? 🙂
I agree – it’s long overdue. Of course, “think of the children” (in the way that we’re using it) is a phrase that is accessible to everyone who recognises sarcasm. Geekifying it is long overdue – now we can say the same thing in such a way that only those in the geek club can relate 🙂
I had to address someone who brought up Hitler on /. a couple of weeks ago. Said He’d never heard of Godwin! “Hand in your geek card immediately, Sir!”
On another note, have you seen the British comedy Peep Show? We’ve just been watching it on DVD, I think you’d like it…
I do little more than browse /. headlines these days. Occasionally there’s an article that I look at, but there’s so much traffic on the SAGE mailing lists and related blogs over Conroy’s rubbish proposal that I spend most of my free minutes during work keeping up with that.
Two of the Mitchell and Webb series have appeared on the ABC, and it’s part of the better British comedy on our screens at the moment. I expect that we’ll get Peep Show next year.
I really only look at /. when I’m at work, waiting for a render.
Peep Show – there are 5 seasons of it to see…
That’s me on Fark, while waiting for a project to compile 🙂
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