The principle behind the straw man fallacy (a logical error) is simple: instead of attacking someone’s position, you present a distorted version of that position (one that is easier to attack) and start attacking that one instead of referring to that person’s actual position.
Is this fallacy common in the domaining industry?
Here’s an example you’ve probably come across frequently:
Person A: I think new gTLDs will be reasonably successful.
Person B: What, you think a gTLD will ever surpass dot com? Don’t you realize how many trillions of dollars have been invested in directly or indirectly promoting the dot com extension? Or that pretty much all popular websites are on a dot com domain?
As you can see, we’re dealing with a straw man. Person B is presenting a distorted version of Person A’s position. Person A simply said he thinks new gTLDs will be reasonably successful, not that one of the new gTLDs will surpass dot com.
Instead of attacking Person A’s actual position, Person B is attacking a statement Person A never made. The distorted version of Person A’s position is considerably easier to attack that Person A’s actual position, so Person B most likely thinks he’s dominating the discussion and proving just how wrong Person A is.
Is he dominating the debate?
Well yes but not the debate at hand
The debate he’s dominating is one that never existed in the first place.
Person B never said a new gTLD will dethrone dot com.
He simply said he thinks new gTLDs will be reasonably successful.
Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong.
This much is certain: after a deeply flawed debate such as the Person A vs. Person B one, we aren’t any closer than at the beginning to being in a good position to figure out whether he was right or wrong.
If we want to draw the right conclusions when it comes to new gTLD debates and domaining industry debates in general, it’s very important to be intellectually honest and the straw man argument represents a very good example of (intentional or accidental) intellectual dishonesty.