Wikipedia: “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To ‘attack a straw man is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar yet weaker proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”
A familiar straw man misrepresents a post by reducing its argument to either/or and then slamming it by saying it’s often something in between. In the real world, things don’t come in black or white; everything is painted in shades of gray.
Most yes/no categorizations are extremist; I think of them as bipolar reasoning.
As Feed said in 2003, “As is sadly always the case in American intellectual discourse, complex social and historical issues get reduced as quickly as possible to simplistic binary oppositions which exclude by definition all the really interesting choices and developments (a good analogy here is our reduction of the categories used to analyze sexual behavior to either promiscuity or monogamy).”
The world is not binary, things exist (and persist) for a reason, and you can’t separate content from its context without losing something in the process.
In Informal Learning, I wrote that, “Formal learning and informal learning are both-and, not either-or. This book is focused on informal learning, but when you assess what will work for your organization, consider how informal learning might supplement what you are doing now rather than replace it.”
Nonetheless, I still hear from people who say it’s unreasonable for me to asset that informal learning is better than its formal cousin. I tire of being put down for something I never said.
Every business decision is a trade-off. (If there’s no trade-off, it’s a no-brainer.) I find it useful to list the pro’s of doing something and the con’s of not doing it or doing something else. Awareness of what you’re trading off when making a decision can keep the straw people out of the picture.