Cunningham's Law

The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer.

-- Ward Cunningham, 1980

Cunningham’s formulation was apocryphally described in a comment on Ben Schott’s blog in 2010. As stated, it describes the way people interact on the internet; it was satirized by XKCD. More broadly, it’s a supposition about human nature, i.e. that people would rather argue againt an assertion than fill in a blank.

The date of the law is highly uncertain, since it’s been described second-hand and was a casual aphorism rather than a formal publication. Given that it’s claimed to have bene coined in the early 1980s, it’s likely it was phrased in terms of Usenet forums or similar contexts rather than more modern formats like blogs.