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Misused: Strawman Has A Point
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Misused: Strawman Has A Point get usage counts

 76 Noaqiyeum, Fri, 12th Apr '13 12:59:45 PM from a thought-experiment gone horribly wrong Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
'A position set up only to be taken down' is the definition of a straw man argument, though. o_O

Here's what's happening in this trope, as I understand it, in Wikipedia's terms without using the words 'straw man': The author, seeking to discredit Position X, sets up the superficially-similar (or oversimplified) Position Y within the work. Position Y is attacked and easily discredited, with the implied conclusion that Position X is false as well.

However, in this case Position Y is not actually as weak as the author believed, due to setting details or other circumstances. Position X is still untouched, but Position Y is not as easily knocked-down as it was supposed to be.
"I know I raised more questions than I answered, but I hope now we are all confused on an higher level and about more important things."
 77 Hodor, Fri, 12th Apr '13 1:50:30 PM from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the trope, but I thought that a big part of it was that Position X was being "disproven" by being ascribed to Person X, who is represented in a negative manner.

Also to note, the trope is "Has a Point", not "Is Right"- the Strawman doesn't have to actually have the better argument (it is more a matter of individual opinion whether they do); rather, they have a stronger argument than the author acknowledges (because the author is caricaturing that argument).
Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
 78 Noaqiyeum, Fri, 12th Apr '13 1:54:36 PM from a thought-experiment gone horribly wrong Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
You're thinking of the Ad Hominem fallacy, I think.
"I know I raised more questions than I answered, but I hope now we are all confused on an higher level and about more important things."
Using Patch Adams as an example, the movie is shown from Adams POV and his stance of using humor and being friendly to patients brings him into conflict with his professors. The professors are portrayed as stuffy naysayers who are looking for any reason to expel Patch despite his excellent grades, who have explicit dialogue showing them as not caring about their patients and are more concerned with maintaining a strict, emotional distance from humanity. By the end of the movie the naysayers (especially his roommate) are forced to agree that Patch is right because all of his patients love him.

Here is where Strawman Has a Point, the roommate said it best that when you have terminal cancer you want a consummate professional who will give things to you straight and not the guy acting like a birthday party clown who is more concerned that you don't feel sad about your illness.

Now that movie is probably the worst extreme, because the main character is portrayed at the far extreme of the point he is trying to make (ie bedside manner). Usually the character depicted as being in the right is supposed to be the sensible, persecuted one who has the right ideas but is being beaten down by the system. But the point is that the subject at hand is portrayed in a black and white manner and doesn't genuinely explore the grey area of the topic. If that grey area is explored then it isn't a strawman argument but instead a proper discussion.

I have been thoroughly confused by this trope. Sometimes we ourselves find proper counterarguments to the people whose views are being promoted(and our view may be similar to the strawman). But the strawman by nature doesn't really have a good argument(unless I'm mistaken). Yet it feels like there are so many instances where the Strawman gets proven right WITHIN story, so does that make them a strawman?
I treat all living things equally. That is to say, I eat all living things
 81 Another Duck, Sun, 14th Apr '13 12:24:08 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
[up]I think that directly disqualifies them. Or at least, it's playing with the trope. But if they're proven right within the context of the story, it most likely means they were never intended to be strawmen to begin with.

Maybe they just were antagonists because they held a view opposed to the hero, but they were still on the right side of justice, and since the story is from the protagonist's point of view, it appears that the audience is supposed to consider the antagonists to be wrong, when it's really just about feeling sympathy for the hero. The Top Gun example I removed was much like that, for instance. There's a difference between understanding why the hero thinks he's right, and trying to make the audience think the hero is right.

edited 14th Apr '13 12:25:52 AM by AnotherDuck

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I'll raise a few examples

In Jurassic Park 2 people often seem to cite the "dinosaurs were the corporations property" therefore whatever they were in the right. Right as in "they're not technically breaking any rules" or right as in morally? Sure Nick was stupid, but that was later, and I'm not really sure if it justifies mistreating the dinosaurs.

I Am Sam: Is the opposing side really a Strawman? I agree(even though when I was first watching I followed emotionally), it would've been better if Lucy was raised by someone who was more capable, and that's why Sam didn't win the case. I didn't see any strawmanning necessarily(unless I'm missing anything), and ultimately the ending of the movie reaches a compromise.

I can concede that protagonists can be stupid, and I won't necessarily sympathize with them but sometimes it just turns into outright Rooting for the Empire and defaulting to other side just because.

I treat all living things equally. That is to say, I eat all living things
 83 Editor Pall Mall, Wed, 17th Apr '13 6:55:59 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Since every time we come close to defining what this audience reaction is suppose to be someone objects, I am going back to my stance of purging it. No matter what an author says, even if an author is not making a message, somebody somewhere is going to disagree with it and point to this article for validation. If we want to retain the inbounds, redirect the page to Straw Character.

Remember, audience reactions are not tropes. We loose nothing by removing this article.

edited 17th Apr '13 6:59:40 PM by EditorPallMall

Keep it breezy!
White Hindu
[up]We lose this page. I always consider removing pages to be worse than keeping them. If I don't like an article, I ignore it. Why do people believe it matters? That's a legitimate question.
"What's out there? What's waiting for me?"
 85 Noaqiyeum, Wed, 17th Apr '13 8:18:24 PM from a thought-experiment gone horribly wrong Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Bandwidth use, compliance with mission statement, focused standards.
"I know I raised more questions than I answered, but I hope now we are all confused on an higher level and about more important things."
White Hindu
I'm sorry, I'm just bitter over the loss of Troper Tales. Especially since the stated reason was one of the stupidest I ever heard. In fact, I've gotten pretty disillusioned with TV Tropes after a while.

Back on track: I'm clearly not one to give a meaningful vote to keep/purge. My vision for a site I don't work for is different from that of the ones who do. Just ignore what I said earlier.
"What's out there? What's waiting for me?"
My understanding is that there are a few criteria for this trope. 1.Alice makes a point to Bob that the reader is supposed to disagree with. 2.Alice, in part or in whole, is proven right in story. 3.This resultwas not the author's intention.

I think in addition to the discussion over what constitutes a straw argument, there are a few other issues with each of the criteria to the trope- specifically whether and how much a work qualifies in each regard- that I will discuss in more detail.

1.There's the question of whether you're meant to disagree with the person. The fact that the majority of the characters, or the more "reasonable" characters disagree doesn't necessarily always imply that you're meant to. On the other hand, having other characters back up the straw man is one of the best ways to prevent that individual from being a straw man.

An example is the editor in chief's decision in Bakuman。 to put the main characters' series on hiatus while Mashiro was in the hospital. Most of the mangaka disagree, but it's also indicated that Mashiro's mother wants him to quit manga altogether, and this is a compromise. Mashiro ultimately accepts the decision to keep his series on hiatus until he gets out of the hospital. As for the editor in chief, some chapters later, when he tells Takahama that he can't switch editors, the main characters admit that he has a point and they've been blaming Miura too much, ultimately using his logic to get a deal to end Tanto early. Thus, the editor faces opposition, but he's not necessarily meant to be seen as wrong, nor is he meant to be a strawman.

The character's reasons should also be considered; strawmen often involve a fair amount of hypocrisy, dishonesty or self-serving ulterior motives that indicate that they don't believe what they're saying. Having these and being right in spite of them would make a character a strawman who has a point.

In addition, works with no morally clear protagonists largely don't fall into this, since they don't have people you're meant to root for. See the World of Warcraft entry; as I pointed out, Sylvanas and the Forsaken might have a claim to Lordaeron, but there are also living Lordaeron refugees out there; perhaps the two groups have both have a right to Lordaeron that the other is unfairly denying.

2.There's four variants as to how much a strawman is proven right in a work, and the relevancy of the parts they are right about.

A.Alice is entirely right. This would make this a textbook example, but it's rare for a character to be both a strawman intended to be seen as wrong and completely on the mark.

B.Alice is right on one regard. See Cerberus' entry in Mass Effect, which indicates that even if they're not entirely moral, they're trying to save the galaxy from the Reapers.

C.Alice brings up a point that isn't necessarily relevant, but fans believe is dismissed out of hand. See the Pirates of the Caribbean entry, which argues that the danger pirates pose is being downplayed.

D.Alice is wrong, but is not at fault for thinking this way. For example, the Nanoha page had Regius described as one in the vein of this trope, with it being argued that he's right to view Hayate as a criminal and view her with distrust (not only is she entirely heroic, but according to some discussion, she seems to be Taking the Heat with regards to the Book of Darkness incident).

Regarding how much they fit, only A counts decisively. With B, it is often the case that Alice is wrong about the larger issue; it's possible that there are downsides to the heroes' position that they may know about, but their way is still better in most regards. C is almost purely fan speculation and disagreeing with the author; the fans might be right, but none of the evidence for their positions comes from the work itself. D seems to be a case of the character being misinformed rather than a strawman.

3.Perhaps only the author really knows what readers are meant to think, as can be shown by Word of God. Did they fail to convince the readers or were the readers not necessarily meant to agree? The more people side with the strawman, the less clear it becomes.

The short of it is that the problem with this trope is that the criteria for the standards of the trope are nebulous, and can often be influenced by the assumptions of the editor nominating an example. One editor might assume that a certain character is being unfairly maligned, while another might assume another strawman has more of a point than he gets credit for. Granted, it is a YMMV trope, but even those tropes have their own specific standards for what does and does not qualify. If we cannot come to a definite conclusion about what this trope should be, I favor removing it altogether.
 
 88 Septimus Heap, Thu, 18th Apr '13 3:21:12 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
"Audience Reactions are not tropes" is not an argument in favour of cutting a page with 2000+ inbounds. And we don't "not lose anything" by cutting it either.

Also, "every position is theoretically subject to this" is simply false, here as anywhere else - this page would be much larger than it currently is, so clearly there is some restraint.

This Audience Reaction is basically when an author sets up a caricature of a position (often a political one) that should be easy to tear down, but the audience ends up agreeing with the caricature. Anything else is misuse and needs to be removed.

 89 Editor Pall Mall, Thu, 18th Apr '13 7:58:22 AM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Fine - let us continue on the assumption the article will be saved. In which case, I want to change the first paragraph to conform to how Septimus defines the reaction. For those following this, please state if you think this would improve the article or not:

An author sets up a caricature of a position that should be easy to tear down. The author writes the story in a way that the heroes agree with his side, the opposing side is incorrect, and the author's opinion prevails. Yet -sometimes later, sometimes right away- the audience ends up agreeing with the caricature. In other words, what was intended as a straw-man argument is not as weak as the author intended it to be, sometimes to the point of being better than the "correct" argument.

edited 18th Apr '13 8:01:48 AM by EditorPallMall

Keep it breezy!
 90 Septimus Heap, Thu, 18th Apr '13 8:03:57 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
I would think it improves the article.

 91 Hodor, Thu, 18th Apr '13 8:13:22 AM from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
[awesome] That is a very good summary of how the trope works in terms of the creator's intent and how it plays out to the audience.

edited 18th Apr '13 8:13:38 AM by Hodor

Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
 92 Another Duck, Thu, 18th Apr '13 1:43:13 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
[tup]
Check out my fanfiction!
 93 Editor Pall Mall, Thu, 18th Apr '13 1:52:59 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
And done. Next issue, I believe paragraphs 2, 4, & 5 can be trimmed down and merged to form the second paragraph. They all deal with why this trope occurs but spend too much time talking about it.
Keep it breezy!
 94 Another Duck, Thu, 18th Apr '13 2:04:40 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Descriptions this long don't tend to clarify things. They just tend to hide facts within wordcruft and other stuff, and few people want to read a page's worth of text just to see if their example fits or not (and that's if they bother with more than the title). Cutting it down would be a great improvement.
Check out my fanfiction!
 95 Septimus Heap, Thu, 18th Apr '13 2:09:39 PM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
Yeah. At best, throw the junk on Analysis/

White Hindu
This is why I love Laconic.
"What's out there? What's waiting for me?"
 97 Editor Pall Mall, Thu, 18th Apr '13 5:56:52 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Trimmed the article down considerably. If we need to add some cut content back to the article we can grab it from the history, but reading it over it all felt like unnecessary and even redundant clutter.

Now we need to remove all square pegs from the examples section.

edited 18th Apr '13 5:57:32 PM by EditorPallMall

Keep it breezy!
 98 Editor Pall Mall, Thu, 18th Apr '13 11:22:29 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Spent some time pruning away examples that do not belong and shortening overly long examples. If anyone disagrees with what I cut, discuss it here.

Can someone tackle the anime section? I do not watch anime.
Keep it breezy!
 99 Nohbody, Fri, 19th Apr '13 12:38:31 AM from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
Didn't touch the anime section, as that's not my strong point either, but I did do a little tweaking, including removing "stealth" Real Life examples hiding in the "Other" folder since the trope is NRLEP.
Maybe we can fold a lot of the examples into Villain Has a Point.
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