We have a problem with fallacy questions. There are a lot of them, they are often duplicates or near duplicates, and they often aren't very good. This question proposes a sample/guide for fallacy questions, and highlights some common problems with fallacy questions.
While I think the advice given there is pretty good, it doesn't help address the sheer volume of such questions. I think the volume is problematic since they often show up on the "Hot Network Questions" and I worry that their prominence gives people the idea that they're the paradigm of a good Phil.SE question and leads to more of them being asked.
Given their ubiquity, I wonder if we should have a community wiki "big list" question for fallacies that we could point people to when appropriate. How I think it should work:
- One fallacy per answer.
- Title with name of the fallacy at the top of the answer.
- Explanation of the fallacy and an example of it.
- Explanation of situations (if any) where the fallacy might not be indicative of faulty reasoning, or where good reasoning might appear to fit the definition of the fallacy.
1-3 seem like the obvious components of a good answer to this sort of fallacy question. I think that 4 is often neglected in answers to existing fallacy questions and would be really valuable. (In fact, my original idea was just to have a CW question along the lines of "Which fallacies might not always be indicative of faulty reasoning?". The fact that we don't, at least to my knowledge, have a big list for fallacies more generally prompted me to expand the scope.)
What do I have in mind with 4? Consider something like "appeal to authority". Oftentimes people will be too quick to dismiss arguments as "fallacious appeals to authority". For example, if someone appeals to expert consensus as evidence in favor of some view they might be told that this is a fallacious appeal to authority. But, clearly, expert opinion has evidentiary value. What tends to go wrong in these cases is that the objector hasn't clearly grasped the distinction between deductive fallacies and across-the-board bad reasoning. Expert opinion doesn't establish a view with certainty, as a logical inference from true premises would, but it usually makes the view more credible.
What do others think? Do we need such a question?