- Moving the goalposts
This phrase is a straightforward derivation from sports that use goalposts, such as football. The figurative use alludes to the perceived unfairness in changing the goal one is trying to achieve after the process one is engaged in has already started. The phrase came into wide use in the UK during the 1980s. The first known attested use is in 1987.
As logical fallacy
Moving the goalposts, also known as raising the bar, is an informal logically fallacious argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded. In other words, after an attempt has been made to score a goal, the goalposts are moved to exclude the attempt. This attempts to leave the impression that an argument had a fair hearing while actually reaching a preordained conclusion.
Moving the goalposts may also refer to feature creep, in which the completion of a product like software is not acknowledged because an evolving list of required features changes over time. Thus, the goal of "completing" the product for a client may never occur.
The term is often used in business to imply bad faith on the part of those setting goals for others to meet, by arbitrarily making additional demands just as the initial ones are about to be met.
Accusations of this form of abuse tend to occur when there are unstated assumptions that are obvious to one party but not to another. E.g., "The killing all the fleas on a cat is very easy" (with the unstated condition that "The cat still remains alive and in good health").
- ^ a b http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/251400.html
- ^ Rayner C, Hoel H, Cooper CL Workplace Bullying: What we know, who is to blame and what can we do? (2001)
- ^ Peyton PR Dignity at Work: Eliminate Bullying and Create a Positive Working Environment (2003)
- ^ Humbug! The skeptic’s field guide to spotting fallacies in thinking – textbook on fallacies. "Moving the goalposts" (p92).
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Complex post-traumatic stress disorder · Dehumanization · Denial · Destabilisation · Exaggeration · Grooming (adult, child) · Lying · Manipulation · Minimisation · Personality disorders · Psychological projection · Psychological trauma · Psychopathy · Rationalization · Victim blaming · Victim playing · Victimisation
Psychological manipulation Positive reinforcement Negative reinforcementAnger · Character assassination · Crying · Emotional blackmail · Fear mongering · Frowning · Glaring · Guilt trip · Inattention · Intimidation · Nagging · Nit-picking criticism · Passive aggression · Punishment · Relational aggression · Shaming · Silent treatment (blanking) · Sulking · Swearing · Threats · Victim blaming · Victim playing · Yelling Other techniquesBait-and-switch · Deception · Denial · Deprogramming · Disinformation · Distortion · Diversion · Double bind · Entrapment · Evasion · Exaggeration · Gaslighting · Good cop/bad cop · Indoctrination · Low-balling · Lying · Minimisation · Moving the goalposts · Pride-and-ego down · Rationalization · Reid technique · Setting up to fail · Trojan horse Contexts Related topicsAssertiveness · Blame · Dumbing down · Enabling · Fallacy · Gaming the system · Gullibility · Impression management · Machiavellianism · Narcissism · Personal boundaries · Personality disorders · Persuasion · Projection · Psychopathy · Self-esteem · Sheeple · Sycophancy · Vulnerabilities · Weasel words · Whistleblowing Informal fallaciesAbsence paradox · Begging the question · Blind men and an elephant · Cherry picking · Complex question · False analogy · Fallacy of distribution (Composition · Division) · Furtive fallacy · Hasty generalization · I'm entitled to my opinion · Loaded question · McNamara fallacy · Name calling · Nirvana fallacy · Rationalization (making excuses) · Red herring fallacy · Special pleading · Slothful induction Correlative-based fallacies Deductive fallacies Inductive fallacies Vagueness and ambiguity Equivocation Questionable causeList of fallacies · Other types of fallacy
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