A “steelman” is an improved/smarter version of someone’s argument.

A “steelalien” is a smart argument that’s nothing like what the other person was saying except that it uses similar words, and you can pretend that it’s what they were saying.

I see this with professors all the time. “That stupid thought you said that uses the word ‘gender’ reminds me of this way better thought that also uses the word ‘gender.’ Good job!”

Sometimes it’s prudent to steelalien someone. It’s a great way to avoid awkwardness.

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