Talk:List of eponymous laws

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Page title[edit]

That's not what eponymous means... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Yup, that's true. But per eponym, it is a common nonstandard usage which makes for a snappier article title. --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
snappiness is not encyclopedic, and neither is this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:49, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

Hofstadter's law[edit]

I miss Hofstadter's law (after Douglas Hofstadter), usually quoted as "It will always take longer than you think, even when Hofstadter's Law is taken into account" or the like, but I do not know the source (a Google search turns up a lot of quotations, but no source, and the Wikipedia article about Hofstadter does not mention it). Can someone who's better informed please write the entry? -- 15:38, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Oliver Burkeman wrote an excellent piece in the Guardian that referred to Hofstadter's Law - 325jdc (talk) 12:07, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

It's stated in Godel Escher Bach on pg. 152--"Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." tom (talk) 21:36, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Poe's law[edit]

There are now more than 23,000 results for "Poe's Law" (quotes included) on Google. It shows up in a number of blogs and wikis, and has even made it into a research paper.

I believe that this may make it sufficiently used to merit an entry in the English Wiktionary. I'm looking for your feedback on the option of adding it to the list of eponymous laws, or creating a disambiguation page out of the previous deleted articles. I realise this has been nominated successfully twice before, but I believe the situation is different, even "so soon" after, and that the expression is likely to continue to propagate. Much like at least one Keep vote said, I came here looking for the definition, it may be time to add it. (in fact google results for THIS poe's law outweigh the existing poe's law?) - BalthCat (talk) 02:41, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Please read the talk page archive for this issue, linked above. Google results are not sufficient to merit inclusion. None of the links you have presented are reliable sources, and many of them have been specifically addressed in discussion here before. I can't speak for Wiktionary, but it is still unsuitable for Wikipedia. — Hex (❝?!❞) 09:45, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Several of those sources are perfectly fine and it should be in this list, many of the those sources are used as cites in other articles about other subjects. Unfortunately, in this case we have an involved admin that will actively use their powers to stifle debate and block users who try and add what should be added. Good luck. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:01, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Your link's top result is now a PhD research paper, referring to Poe's Law in the title. There is clear evidence this term is in use, on a blog notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia... by a person notable enough to merit his own article on top of the blog's... use by an incredibly notable (in North America) film critic...
I'm looking for more guidelines as to what point does this neologism become not-trivial and become more like Godwin's Law? I'm not clear on where that line will be crossed. (I read a great deal of the discussion you linked me to, however there appeared to be a great deal of negativity and not a great deal of explanation.) For example, the saying may be notable, but the origin currently unverifiable. That doesn't make the saying non-notable. Are we perhaps confusing separate issues: the notability of the saying in use, the verifiability of the saying's truth, and the verifiability of the saying's author? - BalthCat (talk) 20:03, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
A self-published paper is not a reliable source. "Used on a notable blog" is not a measure for inclusion in Wikipedia. — Hex (❝?!❞) 13:30, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
But lists of jargon from old usenet FAQs are? (ie: Godwin's Law) This is what I'm having a problem understanding. - BalthCat (talk) 16:27, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
"Godwin;s Law" is in at least one book [1], mention in the NYT [2], [3], (85 times in the NYT site). "Poe's Law" zero. A bit of a difference, one might say. Collect (talk) 16:47, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I emailed PZ Myers, to see if he is aware of any published academic papers that refer to Poe's law. The exisence of even one scholarly paper is enough to merit this law its own wikipedia page. While re-directing Poe's law to here and using some obscure EEP reference MIGHT be within the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit.CalvinLawson (talk) 02:32, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

For goodness sakes people, Wikipedia is not Wikiquote or Wiktionary. The article Harry Lee Poe has been around since the last time this came up, and you wouldnt believe it ... nobody has added this inconsequential fact to that article ... WHY!!?!? Perhaps two or three very minor mentions are not indicative of notability. John Vandenberg (chat) 13:07, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

That's cool, but "Poe's law" is by a "Nathan Poe" rather than Harry Lee Poe.... — Hex (❝?!❞) 13:31, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Well something needs to be done. "Poe's law" currently redirects to this page, but the law isn't actually mentioned on the page, and "Poe's Law" (with an upper-case "L") currently goes to a "This page deleted" message. It's all a bit of a dissatisfying compromise and confusing for casual browsers (such as myself) - either we need to add the law to the list, or we need get rid of the redirect page ~dom Kaos~ (talk) 17:49, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Poe's Law is mentioned on this page - look more carefully. On the other hand, I've added a matching redirect for the upper-case version. — Hex (❝?!❞) 18:26, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
<bangs forehead> You're right, I must have looked right through it because it wasn't wikilinked - my mistake. Good work on sorting out the red link - I was going to do so myself, but I wasn't sure, with the deleted page, whether I was blindly stepping into an editors' minefield.
There does appear to be some confusion regarding which law we mean: the "Poe's Law" with which I'm familiar, and to which the above posters seem to be referring, is the one (apparently) by Nathan Poe regarding parodies which get confused for the thing they're parodying: the one mentioned in this article is by Edgar Allen Poe and is concerned with the length of poems. I agree entirely that at the moment the former doesn't appear noteworthy enough to be included, but I can see this becoming a bit of a disambig/redirect mess if it ever does become prevalent enough to warrant a mention in WP ~dom Kaos~ (talk) 21:36, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

New information: It's the #2 law in an article, not blog or opinion piece, on the British news site (Digital Publisher of the Year), the Telegraph [4]. It's also the top story at this moment in "Technology News" [5]. You'll notice that the URL even includes the name "Poe". From the NEWS article, again, not a blog, it states: "We take a look at 10, with the most well-known and widely used towards the top and some of the lesser lights lower down. If you know any more, let us know below." The #2 law is "Poe's Law". It states, "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing." It gives the origin too. "It was originally formulated by Nathan Poe in 2005 during a debate on about evolution, and referred to creationism rather than all fundamentalism, but has since been expanded." Rules #1, #3, and #4 are all listed in our list. If the third and fourth rules are named in Wikipedia, and this list is organized by most well-known to least well-known, then surely the second rule should be included. According to the Telegraph's Wikipedia article, " became the most popular UK newspaper site in April 2008". Okay. We now have a true news article from a very respectable news (not opinion, not blog) site that gives the explicit text of Poe's Law as well as its origins. Can we finally add this to the list? Sleeker (talk) 23:56, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I have decided to be bold and add it on the grounds that the Telegraph article is sufficiently sound as a source.--A bit iffy (talk) 11:24, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
This "reliable source" is merely quoting or paraphrasing from the things listed above that were considered unreliable. Am I the only one who finds this silly? Or is all this some sort of meta-Poe aimed at making fun of Wikipedia? (talk) 21:28, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, very silly. They just made an internet rumor into something verifiable in a reliable source, didn't they? Shit happens. Live with it. There's also now a 2009 university research article "Poe's Law, Group Polarization, and the Epistemology of Online Religious Discourse". Dicklyon (talk) 23:25, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
To some extent, it does call into question what satisfies notability. There are a lot of items on this list that are uncited, but are notable. There are equally items that may not be notable, but are cited. In some ways notability is like pornography: you know it when you see it. But one person's notability is another person's trivia. If the information presented in the Telegraph article is merely a regurgitation of information already presented and deemed to be non-notable, then why does that same information when presented in the article grant the imprimatur of notability? Stile4aly (talk) 23:57, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
You must be reading a different WP:NOTE than I am. Dicklyon (talk) 00:48, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's put it this way. I think Poe's Law was notable before the Telegraph article. The fact that it's been cited by multiple respected websites seems to satisfy the web portion of WP:NOTE. The fact that we needed an admittedly basic newspaper article in order to allow it to merit inclusion suggests to me that the rejection was based on meeting an unnecessary demand. Stile4aly (talk) 20:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I would point to the "discussion page on conservapedia" for potential motivation for rejection, Although the "original article" was rather bare.CalvinLawson (talk) 05:06, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

_____ Effect[edit]

Can these types of "laws" be included too? For example Flynn effect, plus many others? -- œ 19:07, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Maybe there should be a List of eponymous effects? Seems reasonable enough. — Hex (❝?!❞) 23:49, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics[edit]

This seemed like a fairly obvious exclusion, though perhaps because of a Wikipedia rule I am unaware of. I'm not really sure if it should be added under 'Asimov' or 'Three' or 'Laws', but I hope someone can go ahead and add it if it is appropriate. Loonybin0 16:54, 10 December 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Loonybin0 (talkcontribs)

Applying Hex's Standards[edit]

I've read through these talk archives and just done a rather large edit applying Hex's requirements for the inclusion of Poe's Law to all the other laws on this list. I have been generous, in that I've assumed that any law with a cite, of any kind, is not using a cite that is 'self published', as Hex would view it, and that cite is also 'verifiable' and/or 'reliable' as Hex would view it, without actually checking up on whether this is the case. Unfortunately, despite this generousity, the list is still now a shadow of it's former self, though, for some reason, the Poe's Law that's named for Edgar Allan Poe was hidden, so I've unhidden it. I expect it will get reverted quite quickly, but, hopefully, this will demonstrate to Hex precisely how ridiculous he's being. (talk) 00:59, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

No, it demonstrates an anonymous coward violating WP:POINT. — Hex (❝?!❞) 03:18, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Specifically, the discussion concerning "Poe's Law" as an addition has broad consensus among registered edotors here. It is not just one person's "law" -- it is consensus you would have to change. And the consensus is that any added law must be fully cited. and note further that all recent additions of which I am aware are fully cited. Vaandalism to make a point is still vandalism, by the way. Thank you most kindly. Collect (talk) 13:27, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I realise this is now academic, due to the Telegraph publishing an article detailing Poe's Law, but I am curious as to how it can be justified that the rules that Hex was supposedly applying only apply to some of this list, but not all of this list, especially considering he was citing rules that are supposed to be universally applied to everything on Wikipedia (according to what he was saying, anyway - this would actually seem to be contradicted by the part about the rules being 'best treated with common sense and the occasional exception' that is on the top of virtually all rule pages on Wikipedia). (talk) 23:24, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. One cannot apply a standard in one place and eschew it in another without being guilty of hypocrisy. (talk) 22:02, 1 February 2015 (UTC)


I have edited several of the names of the laws (i.e., "Kerckhoffs's Principle") and added an s to the end of the name. This is to ensure grammatical correctness; please do not revert these edits because they "look funny" to you. I assure you that incorrect grammar "looks funny" to me. (talk) 20:58, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the spelling you quote above contradicts that given throughout the Kerckhoffs' principle article itself. If you feel that it is incorrect, please raise it on the talk page for that article, have it fixed throughout (and the article renamed), and then correct it here. I have returned it to the previous spelling in the time being. — Hex (❝?!❞) 18:35, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Poe's Law[edit]

There is now a reliable secondary source for the origin and purpose of Poe's Law: [6]. I propose that we reconsider including it in the article. Stile4aly (talk) 18:15, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I have now added it. See also main discussion above.--A bit iffy (talk) 11:25, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
You folks are quick! I came to see if the Telegraph had settled the debate once and for all, and it seems it has :) - (talk) 18:03, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Two points: (1) The source is not scholarly. (2) The source is reporting a list of internet memes. Using this as an acceptable source would open the floodgates to other internet memes and expressions. Poe's Law looks out of place compared to genuine eponymous laws. One casual mention in the Telegraph does not mean it belongs here. My best guess is that some users from the "Rational Wiki" are pushing a personal agenda here. Avangion (talk) 20:11, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I will also add that a working paper is not considered a scholarly source. Avangion (talk) 20:16, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Question: would a parody of a parody of fundamentalism still fall under Poe's Law? Seregain (talk) 02:41, 10 November 2009 (UTC)


I won't edit the article to include this page about "my" law since that would be rude, but you guys might. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Voidmstr (talkcontribs) 09:10, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not so sure about this law's notability. -- œ 03:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Prandtl–Glauert transformation[edit]

It's stated that this is also known as "Prandtl–Glauert rule". Would this and other mathematical 'rules' qualify for the list? -- œ 03:52, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

In my view, no. The list was started to collect things known as laws - i.e. that had "law" in the title. I think there are or should be other eponym page to collect such things as Prandtl–Glauert. --Tagishsimon (talk) 12:34, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
In this same vein, I'm not sure Bayes's Theorem and Pythagoras's Theorem should be included. They're both purely mathematical results, and there are many mathematical results named after people. If we include these, why shouldn't the others be on this page? Cyrapas (talk) 23:37, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

How significant should laws be to be mentioned ?[edit]

There are a number of laws that come to my mind when reading this entry:

da Vinci's law (after Leonardo da Vinci, actually several laws; like in fluid mechanics, proportion, friction, of free fall (which was wrong))
Galileo's law of free fall
Pythagoras' law: When the tension on a string remains the same but the length L is varied, the period of the vibration is proportional to L (after the guy with the rectangular triangles)
Aristotle's law of the identity
Plato's law on slavery
Markov's law (after A.A. Markov)
Marx' law of profit
Goethe's law
Hilbert's law of the excluded middle (after David Hilbert, mathematician)
Minkowski's law in general relativity

Pepys' law "I see it is impossible for the King to have things done as cheap as other men" after Samuel Pepys

and this list could go on for some time. All of these will get some hits on the web, but not many. Pythagoras with more than 3000 seems to top the list. Well on second thought actually Galileo's law get 14000 hits. OK, I should not be counting hits, but with the exception of Pepys for which I only found a reference in a newspaper, all of the names are renowned or controversial scholars, so it will be no problem at all, to come up with reliable references. But my question is more, whether more obscure laws should be added - lest the list becomes forbiddingly long.
All of the laws mentioned above seem interesting to me, but some are clearly for the experts. So where is the threshold for adding a law ? Goethe's law at the time caused a serious debate and some scholars still investigate it, but it is not in the mainstream of science, as I would perceive it. Aristotle you simply cannot leave out (my feeling). On the other hand none of these are on the list. Any particular reason ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

The list was started, iirc, by listing "law" articles found in wikipedia. The criteria then was, thus, that an article existed. Over time laws which have no articles have been added; in the main, some sort of referenced justification has been given, or else searching after the fact has confirmed the currency of the law. I think the present situation is that if you can make a referenced case for a law, then the law should go in. I don't think length should be a consideration. I've looked at a number of the laws you've listed, and they check out to my satisfaction - as you note, Pepys excepted. I respect that this answer represents a fairly flakey threshold measure; but there you go. I'd advise adding those you feel have widespread currency. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:25, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed,I see we've tried to constrain the scope by saying at the top of the list "This list of eponymous laws provides links to articles on laws, adages, and other succinct observations or predictions named after a person" (my emphasis). Notwithstanding that, if sufficient evidence can be adduced that there is commonplace knowledge of an eponymous law not in this list, I think the law should be added. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:50, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Related to that, I wonder if it counts if a law is by name a law, but isn't an adage exactly. For example, Wheaton's Law. (which does not have it's own page, but does have a section under Wil_Wheaton) Oakwright (talk) 05:10, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

The lead sentence says, "This list of eponymous laws provides links to articles on laws, adages, and other succinct observations or predictions named after a person." Is there a proposal to do differently? Dicklyon (talk) 21:32, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Davis' law[edit]

"..used in anatomy to describe how soft tissue models along imposed demands. It is the corollary to Wolff's law." I saw this law was missing from the list and was about to add it, until I read that the full name of the person is unknown. Does it still qualify for addition? -- œ 02:09, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

IMO, yes. --Tagishsimon (talk) 13:22, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to add LeBlanc's law[edit]

LeBlanc's Law states: "Later equals never" is used in the context of software development, but may be applied more broadly to other areas. The law is attributed to Dave LeBlanc.

Here is a link to an article that discusses the topic. It is mentioned in the book "Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship" by Robert Cecil Martin.

Gouldsc (talk) 05:32, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Jenkins's Principle of Electron Spin-out[edit]

In engineering projects, often a reason for an event is needed, but sometimes it is hard to find a satisfactory explanation. For an electrical project, Tom Jenkins recently wrote this about a reason for no voltage being found at certain terminals. According to Tom, the idea of "electron spin-out" has been around for years, and has been used at many other companies to explain the difficult-to-explain occurances in the electrical world.

"True story: A resident engineer (previously proved to be clueless) was giving BS to one of my guys while he went through normal start-up. At one point he made a big deal out of the lack of voltage on some of our dry contacts. My man told him that there had been an electron spin-out because the electrician had made the wire bends too tight. At the afternoon progress meeting, this engineer used electron spin-out as his excuse for the project being behind schedule! On the next site trip there was a new resident engineer.

My engineer first heard about electron spin-out from me. I, in turn, first heard it from another of my employees, who in turn heard of it while he was a manufacturing engineer at the late great American Motors. Before that,[who knows]?" (talk) 17:41, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Are paradoxes in scope?[edit]

I noticed this addition. If paradoxes are within scope for this list, there are quite a few which can be added. If not, then this and the two others on this list should be removed. Paradoctor (talk) 15:52, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Paradoxes should not be added here; the Paradox article is probably more appropriate. Reify-tech (talk) 20:45, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

"A list of eponymous laws: a list that is never long enough." Is this an oxymoronic one, or just paradoxical? Paradoctor (talk) 13: 06, 19 May 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Bernoulli's principle[edit]

Bernoulli's principle is not listed here, and I don't see a reason it shouldn't be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eric3815 (talkcontribs) 08:25, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Correct casing of eponymous laws?[edit]

Can someone tell me the reason why eponymous laws, theorems, effects, etc. are not be formatted in title case? I don't understand the rule for this. To add to the confusion, Godwin's law includes a synonym Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies written in title case. Thanks for the guidance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Crocker's Rules[edit]

Lee Daniel Crocker#Crocker's Rules.

Don't know if this one is applicable or not. -- œ 11:07, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Kryder's law[edit]

Not sure about this one. According to an AfD on it a while back this "law" was actually firstly coined by a Wikipedia article. I think adding it may set a bad precedent where we are reinforcing WP:CIRCULAR referencing yet it does still qualify to be listed here does it not? -- œ 04:44, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Reed's rules[edit]

Another one I'm kind've hesitant to add. Apparently there's also another "Reed's rules" at Thomas Brackett Reed#Rules. -- œ 02:30, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Category anyone ?[edit]

Wow, just read the archive on the Poe's Law debate. What a lot of hot air just to rush/delay the inevitable. I suspect some kooks and trolls were involved in the debate (no smiley).

Now to my point, the word eponymous I first saw on this list page and was quite tickled and have had quite some fun following links and learning great wisdom. My difficulty is that when I send people to a wiki page for an eponymous law I wish they could also find and enjoy this list, after looking a while it seems that nothing will show up in the footer or source to indicate inclusion in this list. For me the word eponymous seems to suffer from some sort of aphasic (had to look that word up as well again) block so I have had trouble finding the list again myself. Just today I thought to use the What links here button so that is me sorted as this list is one of the visited links near the top.

Now what about other people who do not know that this list exists but are reading an eponymous law page on WikiPedia?

Would it make any sense to mirror this information in a category and make maintaining the list perhaps even easier by having new laws pushed into the listed page section (by editors adding tags when new pages are created) and keeping this part with the descriptions where available as the the page body? - Idyllic press (talk) 21:39, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

I think Idyllic's idea is excellent. RedHouse18 13:12, 31 May 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by RedHouse18 (talkcontribs)

Seems it was done before but then got deleted --Hooperbloob (talk) 06:54, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

OZI rule[edit]

"... a consequence of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), that explains why certain decay modes appear less frequently than otherwise might be expected. It was independently proposed by Susumu Okubo, George Zweig and Jugoro Iizuka in the 1960s."

Wasn't sure on adding this one. -- œ 07:43, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Loftus's Laws[edit]

Another one. Not certain. -- œ 05:51, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Recommend adding von Babo's law[edit]

Recommend adding a link to von Babo's law, at (talk) 07:25, 18 October 2016 (UTC)

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Rebner's Law[edit]

Anything done to simplify anything will raise the matter to a higher lever of complexity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:17, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

Darwin Award[edit]

Should Darwin Awards be included on this list, or is there more suitable list (similar to this one) where Darwin Awards should be listed on? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Testman42 (talkcontribs) 15:33, 23 November 2018 (UTC)