Hello, my name is Chris, and I read the comments. Most people avoid the searing mouth-breathing idiocy that seems rampant on even the most innocent posts (true story: I posted a video on YouTube of K1 doing something reasonably cute. Cute enough that Boj asked me to post it for her family to see. That received ridiculous, negative comments (which I’ve since deleted because, I mean, really?)), but not me! The bile that pours out of people helps me to recognize the knee-jerk reactions that I sometimes have to stories, and allows me to filter my feelings through people who seemingly have no filter whatsoever.

The main reason I read the comments, though, is to hone my skills at spotting logical fallacies. It’s fun! You get to be all snobby and use latin phrases like “Reductio ad absurdum” and “Cum hoc ergo propter hoc” (you all know this one as “Correlation does not imply causation”) and you get to point at your computer screen and exclaim, “Thine argument is poor! Let me enumerate the ways!” It’s usually a good idea to wear some sort of rhetorical headgear when this happens, as it adds to the experience.

Today, as I read the comments in this article posted on my twitter timeline, it occurred to me that this could be an enjoyable pastime for everyone if only they had a method of knowing a fallacy when they saw it. It’s almost as if you could play buzzword bingo, but with logical fallacies! And that’s when it struck me, the million dollar idea. I could make bingo cards using fallacies rather than numbers, or, I suppose, buzzwords.

As all potential blockbuster startups must, I did some market research to see how much demand there was for such an awesome tool, and found this. It looks like my work is done. Phew. To be honest, while the coding would have been simple enough, I wasn’t relishing all the VC meetings and whatnot my creation would have entailed.

The webpage I linked above (and here again, because why make you move your eyes?) is aptly named Logical Fallacy Bingo, and puts up a 5×5 board using a random selection of 24 fallacies from a collection of 40 or so (the free centre square on mine is “Opinion as Fact (basically free)”. The truth in this makes me laugh.). Once you’ve generated your board, you can read the comments on any contentious issue, and become jaded and generally appalled by the human race. But hey! You might get a diagonal!

PS: Here’s the TL;DR if you didn’t click on the Star article. One Ontario Minister said he’d like to lower residential speed limits to 40 km/h, and another one said that it’s not going to happen (this second one is the minister who would push such a change, so boo). Commenters pointed out that there are no speed limits on the autobahn (a: not entirely true, there are limits in built-up areas, so “Factually Inaccurate”, and b: the autobahn isn’t a residential street, so either “False Analogy” or maybe even “Thought Terminating Cliché”.), that driving slower will in fact cause more accidents because people will become bored and will stop paying attention to what they are doing (“reductio ad absurdum” with a healthy dose of “appeal to fear”), and of course the ever popular idea that lowering speed limits, instead of being done to save lives, is really just a cash grab through increased speeding tickets (“Appeal to motive”).

Actually, don’t play this game. It’s pretty depressing.