As an early Christmas gift, I present for your use in Internet flame wars and grudge matches, a new tool for evaluating the sheer craziness of comments made either by yourself or your opponents. Named the "Bachmann-Hinchey Hyperbole Scale," it will allow you to gage the relative sanity or sheer craziness of statements and charges served up on the web. It is primarily intended for use in political debate, as the name should imply, but it may also be used in arguments about pop culture, Hollywood starlets, sports, or most any other thing you'd care to vent about.
This fifteen point scale is divided into three sections, color coded for your convenience.
In the Green Band, meriting a score of zero through five, the debate remains "Calm."
A "Calm" debate will generally include measured, reasoned arguments, citations of established facts and links to respected reference sources. The opponents will treat each other's debate points respectfully, while perhaps not agreeing, and allow for the possibility that the other person may be correct, at least in some areas.
In the Orange band, the argument moves to "Heated" status.
Heated debates, with a score of 6 to 10, are generally characterized by insults - either thinly veiled or overt - resulting in ad hominem attacks, unlinked references to rumors or urban legends, and slippery slope arguments which take hypothetical examples to illogical, ridiculous extremes. There may still be valid facts and arguments included, but they are frequently overshadowed by angst and anger.
Finally, in the Red band, earning scores of 11 to 15, we finally move into "Bat Shit Crazy" territory.
To earn scores in this range, the author must really leave the realm of common sense behind. These arguments will include (as the name of the scale implies) claims such as New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey stating that President Bush intentionally allowed Osama bin Laden to escape in Afghanistan or Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann calling for Congressional investigations into the loyalty and patriotism of the rest of the members of Congress. References and citations in such arguments never include any links to verifiable sources and frequently involve assertions which are physically impossible. Bonus points are awarded in this category for comparisons to the Holocaust, slavery in early America, pedophilia or beastiality.
I hope this helps. Now, go forth and argue with all of the clueless twits around this wonderful series of tubes we call the Internets and give them a piece of your mind!