build a strawman

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  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    If it comes from Czech :)p), it means to fabricate a non-existing danger or to magnify a negligible one.

    So far I haven't had time and opportunity to explore the rural areas in the USA, but in the heart of Europe, people often put straw men in rags and with rattling cans (click, click) in the fields to frigthen birds.

    I would think there's a connection. :)

    Jana
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Jana337 said:
    If it comes from Czech :)p), it means to fabricate a non-existing danger or to magnify a negligible one.

    So far I haven't had time and opportunity to explore the rural areas in the USA, but in the heart of Europe, people often put straw men in rags and with rattling cans (click, click) in the fields to frigthen birds.

    I would think there's a connection. :)

    Jana
    Scarecrows is another name for them. :)
     

    tonyray

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.A.
    "To build a strawman and tear him down." This a logical fallacy where, in problematizing something for the sake of logical argument, one presents a weaker version of something without including all the facts and purports it as a whole thereby making one's argument seem compelling.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In the company where I used to work, the term was used to describe the very early stages of development of a new proposal.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Kelly B said:
    In the company where I used to work, the term was used to describe the very early stages of development of a new proposal.
    It is a useful concept in those circumstances - it allows whoever created it to avoid feeling upset when everyone takes the new proposal apart. That was the purpose.
    Getting someone to have a go at drafting the new proposal can be much more dangerous:D - meaning dangerous for someone's ego.
     

    shamblesuk

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It's a phrase often used by Marketeers, project managers. You 'build a strawman' which is a mixture of ideas from many individuals. This is then used as a basis for a more focussed debate.

    I have no idea where the analogy comes from!
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    In general, a strawman is an object, document, person, or argument that temporarily stands in for and is intended to be "knocked down" by something more substantial. Or a strawman is what you see in Jana's post.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are three quite distinct uses of strawman here, though there are clear connections.

    The strawman used to magnify/exaggerate scariness - posts 2, 3, 9.

    The strawman used in debate to caricature an opponent's position in such a way that it can easily be refuted - posts 4, 5.

    The strawman used in creative thinking to provide a focus for discussion - often on the basis that we can't see the answer until we have seen something that quite clearly isn't the answer - posts 6, 7, 8, 9.

    I'm not suggesting this as a numbers game, simply that the strawman concept has several (at least three) different usages.
     
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