Appeal to worse problems

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An appeal to worse problems is any argument to the effect that effort spent trying to solve the problem currently under discussion is a waste because there are worse problems within the same general category which need to be solved more urgently.

It is a common trolling technique, as it both enrages other participants (by belittling their concerns) and derails the discussion. It was also once famously (and illegitimately) used by Richard Dawkins in an attempt to derail criticisms of sexism within the atheist/skeptical community.

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  • 2015-04-03 [L..T] Fatwah envy, again "Both of these people are committing a kind of rhetorical extortion, using the threat of murder elsewhere as a club to silence those who strive for respect and dignity in their lives. And in that sense both Ali and Cotton are happily exploiting atrocities to justify continued injustices."