Talk:Personal attack

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Ad hominem[edit]

How is this different from an argument ad hominem?

I think this page could potentially be very good - I can see where the original author was going with it. Needs work, obviously. Some research, links to libel, slander and defamation would also be good. - MMGB

Ok - I will stay tuned.  :-)

I too think that a greater distinction should be made between personal attack and ad hominem. I think personal attack that isn't advanced in lieu of addressing the subject at issue, and isn't used as a rationale to dismiss the persons argument, is acceptable. Sometimes it is even called for. Anyway I just stumbled upon this interesting site. So I will leave it at this until I learn some more about what is happening here. --Del

I'm aware of the term ad hominem, but I came to this page looking for a definition to post in a discussion of the rules of a forum. Since "no personal attacks" is used more commonly than "no ad hominem attacks", and people love to quibble about definitions, I value having this page seperately. I think Cyberstalking could fall into the category of personal without necessarily being "ad hominem", but I'd like to read and discuss more before making my first edit. Incidentally, this is my first post on wikipedia; hope I did it more or less right. --Priapos93 05:16, 4 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Dr. Gary Curtis ( thinks the author is basically right in the description, but often wrong in how he applies it to the examples. The author seems to think that one has to argue: "You're an idiot, therefore your argument is uncogent" in order to commit an ad hominem. However, this is so obviously fallacious that it wouldn't fool anyone. Rather, what people do is introduce an irrelevant ad hominem attack in the middle of a debate in order to create a diversion. One should ask whether there is any point to the personal attack other than to distract the opponent. If not, then the attack is an ad hominem fallacy. Dr. Curtis maintains there's a distinction between ad hominem attacks and ad hominem fallacies: every ad hominem fallacy is an ad hominem attack, but not vice versa. Some ad hominem attacks are not fallacious, but others are. Wpraeder (talk) 19:37, 20 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There should be a distinction between personal attack and ad hominem, mainly because we don't need two terms for the same thing, and there are two different concepts to be described. I believe as most people understand it, a statement is a personal attack even if it isn't used as an argument at all. When a forum disallows personal attacks, it's usually a matter of politeness, and sometimes a matter of remaining on topic; not a matter of improving the quality of arguments. Moral people don't like to see other people attacked, so unless there's a good reason for it, they don't want to allow it.

I also think a personal attack has to be an actual attack. Merely saying something negative about a person isn't an attack. It has to be hostile to be an attack. As a verbal attack, it at least has to be intended to make the target feel bad.

The "speeding ticket" example I see up is more of a "tu quoque" example than just an "ad hominem" example, I think. Better "ad hominem" examples might be:

Maria is guilty of one crime, therefore she is also guilty of a second, similar crime, for which she is on trial. Marika is a prostitute, therefore she has no right to tell me how to raise my children. Mariko, you lush, how dare you suggest I shortchanged you?!

Feel free to modify them. -- User:Juuitchan

-- Personal attacks work among the general populace, contrary to what is stated in the article. Else why would people make them. I really don't think that labeling personal attacks as a vital part of the political process is a proper portrayal. Though obviously they do occur often, most people would claim to frown on them. I think saying that "dealing with personal attacks, both by the attackee and the people the personal attacks are meant to influence, is a vital art of the political process which needs to be dealt with," is a much better characterization of the issue.

logical fallacy[edit]

By the definition of "personal attack" given here, using the term "logical fallacy" and categorizing the article as such seems like a highly opinionated presentation. — Feb. 28, '06 [08:42] <freakofnurxture|talk>

I understand that the reason there remains a separate article for personal attack is that it is viewed that all ad hominem arguments are personal attacks but not all personal attacks are ad hominem arguments. Note material lacking a reliable source may be removed (see (talk) 14:52, 24 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is this article still the subject of an NPOV dispute? Been a while since it's been talked about. If not, maybe the NPOV tag should be removed. - Dreadlocke 04:44, 7 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since there has been no response to my query, or any recent edits about an NPOV dispute, I'm going to remove the tag. Dreadlocke 16:02, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note COI edits are strongly discouraged. See Wpraeder (talk) 07:20, 16 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personal attacks in science controversies[edit]

I've seen a number of Wikipedia biography articles which contain personal attacks on their subject. These attacks seem aimed at discrediting the subject, with the intent of dissuading readers from finding out anything of the subject's ideas on science controversies. Saying that William Dembski was accused of violating a copyright, for example.

Should this comment go on a project page instead of an article talk page? --Uncle Ed (talk) 20:20, 15 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This was redirected to Ad hominem which is not a personal attack at all. For lack of a better place, I've moved it to Incivility. If there is a better spot, I'm all ears. But "Ad hominem" is not a personal attack by any stretch of the imagination. Fladrif (talk) 14:43, 17 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]