ad hominem

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin, literally "argument at the person") is a technique advised by sophists to discredit what someone says by making them appear less reputable.

In Open Politics, arguments ad hominem are not allowed by the terms of use.


John says Capitalism is a blight on society
Jane replies. John has smelly feet.

A more subtle ad hominem questions the motive of someone making a claim.

Hasim says: Breast feeding babies is not the best choice for everyone
Claire says: weren't you just in a custody battle for your infant child?

A reverse ad hominem is when someone tries to add credit to an argument by extolling the virtues of the person, as with self promotion This is also inappropriate, but not contrary to terms of use, because it rarely escalates disputes.

Addressing the person presenting the argument or assertion rather than the argument itself is generally an intellectual cheap shot, as in a smear campaign. While it may be tempting to point out an inconsistency between a view expressed by an individual and the remainder of his or her beliefs. Such behavior becomes a vicious circle and causes wikifights flame wars , and other nastiness which is contrary to the public good.
Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. (Winston Churchill)