Talk:Poe's Law

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This article was identified as a possible duplicate of List of Poe's Law examples, but it was decided to keep the articles separate.


[edit] OBJECTIVE: Ministries

OBJECTIVE: Ministries is described as a parody in the 'Test yourself' section and as a 'Known parody' in that section. I actually think it all seems legit, except for the kids' page, although it can be so hard to tell... Can someone clear this up? CK

Obvious parody. PACODOGwoof, bitches 05:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
A site that says — to children — that Cain had INCEST in order to populate the earth(even though God could have used another way) must a parody or made by very stupid people. — Unsigned, by: ColbertFan / talk / contribs
Fairly sure it was outed as a parody a while ago. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:30, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Silver and stuff

Sorry guys, I have temporarily dropped this from Gold to Silver because, frankly, the second half of the article is a mess and that "poe's law limit" thing is completely citation free. I've tried briefly to look for where that story came from, but can't find it. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Don't forget to edit Template:Coverstory to reinsert it once it's gold again (follow the instructions in the edit notice) -- Nx / talk 22:16, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, it's right around there that the article starts to fall apart - it's quite up through the Paradox section. And the Limit bit would be ok with a cite or two. After that, well, I think everybody and his brother wanted to add their favorite examples and it turned into a mess. If we could somehow prune all that chaff (sorry bout the mixed metaphor) by about 80% it would be a good thing. Oh, and the silly ROT-13 answer to the quiz should just be a link to section far enough below it to be off-screen, I think. Or is there a way to replace the "number" in a footnote link to a word (like "solution below")? ħumanUser talk:Human 22:38, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
A "solution" ref group would be best. -- Nx / talk 22:40, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Alternatively: Mouse over to see solution solution -- Nx / talk 22:41, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Either mouse-over or a collapse box - as its far down the page, the issue with it appearing uncollapsed as the page loads is less than collapse boxes at the top. Or even further, take the entire list of things that we know are real and we know are fake and generate a random quiz, could be fun! Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Collapsebox is too much clicking and needs javascript. -- Nx / talk 22:55, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:56, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
(EC) I like collapsebox. And it's only one click, isn't it? Have many people failed to install js? Or browse with it disabled? ħumanUser talk:Human 22:58, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Definitely needs fixing up, considering we're #1 in results for "poe's law" in Google. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 23:00, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
If it's the list of examples you're talking about, that could be a subpage. It seems a shame to drop it altogether. Examples might be what people want to see when visiting this page from Google searches. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:11, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I would recommend ignoring the troll/bitch Nx who never edits articles, and deleting most of the cruft in this article. I would also advise looking at old diffs to see how good it was. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:21, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that it "used to" be good, as much that our standards have raised slightly since this was put on the cover. Anyway, I have implemented a few changes to the "test yourself" section and totally re-organised the examples section. If a few people check it over and okay it, this can probably go back on the cover. The issue of citing that "limit" thing is still there, however, I'll probably just strip it to talk until we can find what its referring to, or find another example - the idea seems "okay" but not essential. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 14:39, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Poe's Law limit

The "Poe's Law limit" is a further expansion to Poe's Law, which applies when the concept is taken to extremes. It is defined as:

The point in an e-mail exchange when it becomes apparent that the fundamentalist involved is utterly oblivious to the fact that he is a walking incarnation of Poe's Law, incapable of behaving otherwise, and that any further interaction with him would serve only as sport (affording him more opportunities to produce humorous self-caricatures), since the conversation no longer has any prospect of increasing net global knowledge or changing anyone's mind.

The phrase dates back to no later than March 2010, during an interchange with abortion opponent Karl Jenkins, who introduced the term "women in the womb" in an apparent effort to persuade feminists in the discussion that abortion involved mass murder of women.[citation needed] Several other participants pointed out that, while every womb has a woman on the outside, none of them has a woman (by definition, an adult human female) on the inside. It gradually became apparent that Jenkins thought he was making a serious point, which deserved to be taken seriously. He evidently believed that "women in the womb" would be the decisive argument which turned other participants in the discussion against abortion, and he failed to even acknowledge the prospect that it was bombastic hyperbole. Among the other participants were:[citation needed]

  • Margaret Downey of the Freethought Society
  • Marie Alena Castle of Atheists for Human Rights
  • Edd Doerr of Americans for Religious Liberty
  • Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Different participants in the discussion reached their own personal Poe's Law limits at different times, giving rise to speculation that it might be a quantum (i.e., observer-dependent) phenomenon.

The above was cut from the article pending us figuring out what the hell it means. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 14:40, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Formalizations

Visual representation of one possible arrangement of state space for Poe's Law
I think this article has been made worse by the addition of so much weird cruft. Did we remove that awful diagram yet? ħumanUser talk:Human 14:47, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the diagram works. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 14:51, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Except in light of the paradox, now I'm thinking about it. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 14:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I have never been able to follow that diagram, and I have tried dozens of times. A graphic should make something easier to understand, not harder. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:38, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
That's the problem with most of the "formalisations" - if you get it, then fine, if not, the blame should be put on the article as its job is to explain things clearly. The red/green thing kind of does make sense and is an interesting interpretation. But I don't think it's an accurate representation of the issue and it's clearly also confusing things for some. Possibly drop the entire section or revisit how it came about in the first place? Scarlet A.pngpathetic 19:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Cut awful graphic to here. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:00, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

"One approach to formalization has been to use a Cartesian graph to visually represent the state space of when something which is perceived as either parody or real fundamentalism. The y-axis represents the bias of the observer, while the x-axis represents the intentions of the poster. One such example is illustrated to the right. In this case it is assumed that a more rational observer is more likely to see parody in fundamentalist positions than a fundamentalist observer is. The actual area taken up by perceived parody or fundamentalism will change depending on the background to the issue and the location of its publication."

Parody of explanation that goes with it. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:02, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] I just deleted two sections

Sorry, meant to make it easy to revert me if I was wrong, and by doing two in a row it's not so easy. For a "gold"/cover story article, this thing has become piss-poor. Misspellings? Bad grammar? And a section encouraging every bored innertuber to add their favorite weird site? I dunno. This article should not be sprawling, it should be tight. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:01, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

I think an article like "List of Poe's Law examples" would be a better place for them. - π 05:11, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Excellent idea!!!! I will do to atone for my sins. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:13, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
We should start a Poe's Law project. I will write an essay "Does Nathan Poe have Macheesemo?" - π 05:16, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Hahahaha! But anyway, I came back here to say thank you thank you thank you, I wish I thought of simply moving that stuff to its own article. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:20, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Forks are good, but not quite as good a sporks. - π 05:21, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Skorts are evil, you can never see the goodies no matter how hard you look. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:28, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

I think with Armondikov's two further deletions the article is a lot better. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:01, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] A way around Poe's Law?

Can a non parody be identified by the amount of work that went into it? An example wuld be the web site devoted (still) to proving that George W Bush is the antichrist. [1]. Surely no parodist is going to spend the hundreds of hours this site took on a mere parody.

Potentially, but some people take delight in highly elaborate hoaxes and pranks. Consider "modern" crop circles. There is also some classic literature which is essentially parody, which required great effort to produce. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:00, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Mmmmmm... Babies.... Quaru (talk) 02:10, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Weinglass's Corollary

Hi, I'm Weinglass and I don't feel like making an account. I'd like to suggest the following corollary to Poe's law: It's also impossible to take fundamentalism seriously, at least until they start chucking grenades at you.

Thanks for your attention.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 0:04, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Are grenades a metaphor for ignorance, hatred and general wingnuttery? If so, yes. Chthonios (talk) 20:22, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that's the general idea. Cheers — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 20:51, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

[edit] ColbertFan's Law

ColbertFan's Law states that a creationist will mistake a parodist as one of there own, and then use some of the parodist's arguments. Colbert|FanI know what I don't know 22:02, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

ColbertFan Seme Blue 22:14, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Aces Law states that if the glass is half empty a new bottle will be purchased. Ace of Spades 22:10, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Human's law states that if the bottle is in danger of being half empty, Ace's account will be charged for a full reserve supply. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:39, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
I have that says something about if you don't fail to not un-deconvolute the double negatives... Scarlet A.pngpathetic 11:49, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

[edit] More fame - a book done by Rob Manuel of , a site for bored graphic designers and meme addicts - David Gerard (talk) 20:07, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

I want that graphic for somewhere on this site. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 21:32, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Twitter

I typed in "RationalWiki" into Twitter's search bar, and there were several hits of people tweeting various RW pages. Poe's Law was easily over half of them. I don't know if some of these tweets are from our users, but that is kinda nice. Aboriginal Noise What the hell is that thing? 22:36, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

This is pretty much the go-to article for that subject. It's still very commonly spread around. At any one time there's at least 2-3 links to it if you type "RationalWiki" into Facebook, and that's considerably less open than Twitter. ADK...I'll vote your oddball! 22:45, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I lie there, it's th Scientific evidence of evolution being a hoax article that's still doing the rounds from the last slash-dot attack. ADK...I'll exemplify your icicle! 22:46, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Poe's Law is not the original form of this idea

In 2001, Poe's law was originally formulated as Alan's Second Law of Usenet (by Alan Morgan posting on Usenet's forum). Following the familiar schema of Arthur Clarke's Third Law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"), Alan's 2nd law (as found on this blog) is:

* Any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.

Morgan's originally phrasing of the law was "Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a kook." — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 03:14, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

...and? It's sort of basic logic that you can find somebody for a certain view, except for one you literally made up on the spot to try and disprove it--Mikalosa (talk) 03:19, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

If that is true, then why bother attributing a law to anyone at all? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 03:25, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Mikalosa, you can't argue the fact that Alan's 2nd law is essentially the same idea as Poe's law. So long as Alan's 2nd law predated Poe's law, it must be seen as having precedence. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 03:27, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Age =/= Precedent or importance. Who is this guy? Never heard of him. Looked it up on tvtropes, didnt see much on there from my skim. Never 'eard of the rules. He isn't important and NOBODY is going to give a damn if we dont mention him. also make a fucking account or learn to sign your posts--Mikalosa (talk) 03:33, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Alan Morgan is just this guy from Usenet. Maybe that's why it is "Alan's Laws" and not "Morgan's Laws."

Anyway, if you agree with me that Poe's Law is important, then you will also agree with me that the history of the idea is important. I am merely pointing out that the observation which we now call Poe's Law was formulated prior to 2005. At least once, in 2001, on the the Usenet forum

Though I don't feel like looking it up in an archive of decade old postings, its existence is also testified to by the link I provided above (the "soquoted" blog). So if it really happened, and if it really happened prior to 2005, and at least some people noticed it, I feel as though we can make mention of it here. Isn't that fair? Not trying to steal Poe's thunder, just pointing out that this idea was batted about before Mr. Poe thought of it. And it was nicely and succinctly put, making allusion to a well-known maxim by the esteemed Arthur Clarke. (talk) 03:49, 13 October 2011 (UTC)Zane

Yah, and it wasnt first made by alan i can fucking tell you that. Beyond that, no, it ISNT important about the terms history. thats irrelevant to anybody NOT writing a fucking paper on the term an anybody doing that is insane. --Mikalosa (talk) 03:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

No reason to get sore. And you are right that I can't prove Alan Morgan captured the idea first. But I can demonstrate that Nathan Poe was not the first. So at least I thought it would be ok to include two lines in the History section of the awesome article that mentioned his contribution. It seems reasonable. I am not replacing anything about Poe. Just adding a line about Alan. As to your question regarding Alan's importance -- well I never said he was all that notable. Maybe that is why he called them "Alan's Laws" and not "Morgan's Laws".

Who the hell is Nathan Poe, anyway? (talk) 03:59, 13 October 2011 (UTC) Zane

Actually, if we can reliably source an earlier use it would be interesting.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:05, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article lists two previous sightings - both referenced. One is the Alan Morgan, the other is older still, Jerry Schwarz in 1983. Maybe we should steal them. Bad Faith (talk) 07:27, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Here's the great thing about earlier formulations of something; people will only dig them out of the woodwork (or even recognise them) until the "later" idea spreads and becomes common. I'm sure if you looked hard enough you could find formulations going back decades - and I seriously doubt Nathan Poe himself was ever aware of any of them. This is, incidentally, why most literary theory is bullshitting. The "true originator" is usually completely irrelevant except for reasons of jacking yourself off, what matters is what idea survived and spread. ADK...I'll defenestrate your bluejay! 07:55, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
So... Poe's Law is another victim of Saunt Lora's Proposition that every idea has already been thought of? Not surprising, as every idea has already been thought of... --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 12:03, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Interesting that Wikipedia now has a Poe's Law article. That battle's been raging for years. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:31, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Daniel Butler's Corollary

I have successfully proved that all posts are trolling. See my Google + post for full writeup.

Basically using the quantum superpositions theory a post is both trolling and not trolling until it is observed to be one or the other. By poes law you can not tell if a post is trolling unless they tell you so like ";)" Therefore its both trolling and not or it is trolling therefore it is always trolling. Rekh127 (talk) 22:22, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Poe's Sigularity?

I keep coming across people on forums referring to "Poe's Singularity", but google searching produces no results. Is "Poe's Singularity" functionally equivalent to "Poe's Law limit", or is it something else?

Here is an example.:

Anid Maro wrote: I don't think there's much argument that Romney is ignorant of the poor. His quote shows that. However that's different from claiming his quote shows him to viscerally enjoy feasting upon the dried carcasses or poor Americans, or some such.

Fallout2man wrote: He personally doesn't need to, but it showcases the emotional mood of the electorate that would chose Romney. He's considered the inevitable front-runner, his plus is supposed to be regarding his ability to fix the economy. Yes, the poor have "a safety net" and he's so not worried about them he wants to institute policies which gut it despite saying they'll be fine and alluding with his very same statement he wouldn't do such a thing. Personally if it weren't for his quite apparent history of policy and rhetoric changes I would wonder if he himself thought that way. At this point I'm pretty sure Romney's joined at the hip to opinion polls and supports whatever he thinks will be popular with the base.

Anid Maro wrote: Really, when people distort quotes to fit a pre-determined strawman* but then simultaneously complain about the political process... all that enters my mind is "garbage in, garbage out". It's like our politics are the monster we deserve. And I'm talking about both sides of the divide here; Every time someone who watches Fox News goes to complain about media distorting political discourse, I retch a little inside.

Fallout2man wrote: I really wonder what the solution is to the situation. I mean even when I try to be non-confrontational about it I've yet to find an issue thread where I was able to form a clear consensus with the conservatives here outside of copyright threads, and also on police militarization surprisingly. (Thanatos and Spool agreeing in the same thread is priceless) I'm not sure at this point if or how we can talk to each other rather than trying to talk past each other on certain issues. I think it's because in a lot of cases we've reached a point where no one just wants to change their positions because of a good argument since it's seen as a sign of personal weakness. It's sad. :-/

Anid Maro wrote: This strikes me as what SKFM is protesting, rather than any desire to shine up anyone's perception of Romney. *Yes, my second line is a pre-determined strawman. A hyperbole even. Yes I'm aware of the irony. :)

Fallout2man wrote: So we've reached Poe's singularity finally? ;p

I asked and Fallout2Man said: Poe's Law states that any sufficiently funny parody of religious fundamentalism will become indistinguishable from the real thing. After seeing the current GOP primaries I joked they would take parody so far as to reach Poe's Singularity: Where as the parody slowly reaches the speed of light its mass will grow so heavy that it appears legitimate/insightful and actual fundamentalism will be considered a hilarious parody. In short, the day The Onion has a serious news article that touches on social issues and the mainstream political news reads like The Onion. Well, that's the more scientific way of saying it anyway! ;p — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Kinda like a collapsed wave function? -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:54, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Could Poe's Law Apply To Racism?

I hate to use informal examples, but some friends and I recently encountered someone so racist is to be ridiculous. The group of us contained a few different races, so we spent the next couple hours talking about the different racial "facts" (read: stereotypes) which quickly became more unlikely, but we were still being taken seriously.

"Well obviously. We white people can't jump, so we have to compensate somewhere." "Oh hold on, I looked away from him. Let me see if I still have my wallet." "Oh, yeah me too."

I kind of feel like Poe's Law could be more generalized to apply to any particularly nonsensical opinions.

-- (talk) 16:09, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it can easily be applied to any extreme opinion that is so far outside a person's realm of common sense that they have to response "this can't be real!!" Scarlet A.pngpathetic 18:52, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Sure. Racism, diet, whatever. Our example in the first sentence is about homophobia. Another pretty obvious example is our current Debate:The Permissive Society. --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 19:01, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Alternative rendering

'There is no cure for deliberate/malign stupidity.' (talk) 14:51, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Deliberate stupidity has an easy cure: stop being deliberately stupid. Anyway, what's that got to do with parody, or Poe's Law? WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:34, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Meta-Poe

Arguably, it's easy enough to spot parody. The real difficulty is spotting the difference between people falling for the joke and people getting in on the joke when it comes to discussing it. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 15:08, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

[edit] New Conservapedia

If this is a joke, would it be worth adding here? Inquisitor Sasha Ehrenstein des Sturmkrieg Sector 18:24, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

No. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:37, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] Postmodernism and Poe

Can a Poe's Law version of [2] be created? (The summaries do seem to describe 'real books' in that field) (talk) 15:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

[edit] "Poe's Inversion"? (The "Just kidding"-defence)

I was wondering after my pointed comments on environmental classism regarding the "We were just joking"-explanation for the contents of the Summers memo[wp] whether it's an inversion of Poe's Law when people called out on something use the "Just kidding"-escape hatch? Or is it some other fallacy/trope that covers such behaviour? ScepticWombat (talk) 21:17, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

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