Brandolini’s Law in Sustainability Discussions

Dealing With Nonsensical Sustainability Positions

I have recently experienced a number of profoundly confusing and somewhat bizarre positions and arguments on LinkedIn (and elsewhere). For example, absurd arguments against the requirement for greenhouse gas emission reductions, not providing a liveable wage or the right to employ slave and child labour. Though these entries are obviously more emotional than fact based, we can often feel a need to at least make some observation to help the dialogue without getting into a mud slinging contest.

I was reading the difference between lying and, with apologies for using the word, bullsh!$.

The liar must know the truth of the matter under discussion to better conceal it from the listener or the reader being deceived.

The bullsh!$$er, however, is someone whose principal aim is to impress the listener and the reader with words that communicate an impression that something is being or has been done, words that are neither true nor false, so obscure the facts of the matter being discussed (Frankfurt, p. 61, 2005).

These bizarre “conversations” could be mistaken for trolling, but in reality these nonsensical arguments and discussions are in reality bullsh!$ because of the emotional nature of the “argument” and an inability to consider other perspectives or facts.

Now in most cases, the suggestion when dealing with internet trolls is… don’t feed the troll.

That said… sometimes you feel like you have to take some kind of a stand…

If You Feel the Need to Interject, Use Brandolini’s Law

If one wants to make a statement or interject and be politically correct at the same time, just write “Brandolini’s law.”  This first appeared in 2013 and was coined by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer, as the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle (also known as Brandolini’s law). It states:

“The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it” (Brandolini, 2013).

By simply writing the response “Brandolini’s law” to the discussion, possibly with the link, provides a unique response that if actually investigated will show that you do not agree with the narrative as it is being laid out.  The rest of us will also know that you think it is nonsensical.

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions.


Image found at:

Brandolini, Alberto. (2013). “Brandolini’s law”.

Frankfurt, H. G. (2005). On Bullshit.



Peter Milsom

Peter Milsom is an entrepreneurial advocate for sensible, sustainable change delivery practice. Peter has come to realize that sustainability is the perfect catalyst for Project / Programme / Portfolio / Risk / Value / Business Case and Benefits Management improvement. As an entrepreneurial methodologist Peter's unique value proposition is the vast array of tools and techniques that he brings to every engagement using the most cost effective and efficient methods based on the situation and tailored to meet your needs. This is based on his unique combination of experience and extensive training / certifications in change delivery, value / risk / benefits management business case, and business architecture.

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