Playing With: Godwin's Law

Basic Trope: Some participant will inevitably insult someone else by making a comparison to Adolf Hitler and/or Those Wacky Nazis during any online debate.
  • Straight: Bob loses his temper during a forum discussion and compares his opponents to Hitler.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob spends all day trolling the forums, making Hitler references to everything he reads.
    • Bob decides after some thought that such a comparison is unfair to Hitler.
  • Downplayed: Bob unfavorably compares his opponent to another historical figure generally considered an Acceptable Target, albeit one whose crimes were fewer and/or less egregious than Hitler's.
  • Justified:
    • The forum discussion is about Germany during World War II, so such references are appropriate.
    • Another poster mentioned, in a positive light, one or more reasons that Hitler is reviled. If someone was telling you that they support genocide, wouldn't you mention that it's a horrible thing to do?
    • The discussion is about a country or regime which actually can be seriously compared to Nazi Germany (e.g. Stalinist Russia).
  • Inverted:
    • The forum members are anti-Semites, and among such a community a common meme is that someone insults his opponent by comparing him to Jews (or a Hitler comparison is positive).
    • Hitler is compared unfavourably to someone else.
    • Bob praises his allies by comparing them to Jesus.
    • A discussion of the Nazis is derailed by unrelated comparisons. For example, in a discussion about the Final Solution, someone says, "This sounds just like Obamacare!"
  • Subverted:
    • Bob enters a forum and makes a comparison to a man named Hitler, which is actually a reference to his great-grandfather, not the dictator.
    • At length Bob cites "a certain European with a toothbrush mustache," but he's actually thinking of Charlie Chaplin.
    • Bob loses his temper during a forum discussion and compares his opponents to Stalin.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Bob's great-grandfather was a Nazi.
    • And then Bob's opponent compares him to Hitler.
  • Parodied:
    • When Bob makes his Hitler reference, huge sirens go off through his computer speakers and the screen begins to flash red warning messages, and then explodes.
    • Hitler Ate Sugar
  • Zig Zagged: Bob frequently posts online in situations where Hitler would be an obvious comparison, but always manages to find another historical figure who did something roughly similar: Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Subotai, what have you. He becomes a famous historical lecturer, known as "the man who killed Godwin", and is invited on TV talk shows to discuss the Nazis and/or Israel, but turns these down because he's "very busy planning a reunion." Near the end of the work we see Bob shaving his full mustache, but we don't get a look at his face again until he walks into a German restaurant and shakes hands with several elderly German gentlemen. "Herr Goering, Herr Himmler. JOSEF! Liebschen! It's been so long!" And as he embraces a short frail old man, the POV turns around and we see that he IS Hitler.
  • Averted:
    • Bob never makes any Hitler references and uses modern dictators as a comparison instead.
    • Bob makes reference to Hitler, but only in a situation where it's a useful comparison — no insult is intended.
    • Bob finds another Abomination Accusation Attack to use that doesn't involve dictators.
  • Enforced: Bob is a sociologist studying the effects of Hitler/Nazi references in online discussions.
  • Lampshaded: "Looks like Bob just played the 'Hitler card'..."
  • Invoked: Bob has been in a heated argument with his opponent for weeks and finally decides that a comparison to Hitler is both unavoidable and entirely appropriate.
  • Exploited: The opponent promptly raises a stink over Bob's "bigoted and ignorant" comment, hoping the forum mod will shut down Bob's account.
  • Defied:
    • Bob resists the temptation to use the Hitler comparison and instead draws a more realistic comparison to his opponent.
    • The forum has, and strictly enforces, a policy banning contributors who compare anyone or anything to Hitler, so users go out of their way to avoid such references.
  • Discussed: "Look, Bob, playing the Hitler card doesn't make you cool or witty, it just shows that you're out of arguments."
  • Conversed: "Why are all these forums full of Nazi references?"
  • Implied: Every time somebody who hasn't already ticked him off on the forum does so, Bob suggests that s/he has "replaced our good friend Mr. Unmentionable as history's greatest villain."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob continues to make Hitler and Nazi references in various forums, which gets the attention of the FBI, who quickly add Bob to their list of suspected terrorists and arrest him.
    • Alternatively, Bob becomes so infamous that he is actually recognized in real life and fired from his job.
    • Bob's tirades about Hitler get so prevalent that everyone stops taking him seriously and he ends up as the laughingstock of the forum.
    • Bob spawns a colossal flame war.
  • Reconstructed: Bob is careful when using Hitler references to ensure everyone knows he is being funny and/or ironic, so nobody mistakes him for a right-wing crazy.
  • Played For Drama: Bob kills himself when he realizes he has singlehandedly derailed a heretofore respectable forum.

You know who else wouldn't have clicked on this link? HITLER!