Haig's Law

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Haig's Law states:

The awfulness of a website's design is directly proportional to the insanity of its contents and creator.

A corollary to this states:

If a website still runs on Netscape, there is a high probability it was designed by a crazy person.

This is named after the Haig Report webpage, which is a riot of recursive links, varying fonts, enough colours to trigger an epileptic fit, and content that makes Time Cube look sane.

Haig's Law differs from the Timecube Law in that not all crazy pages are overly long, nor are all Timecube-type pages badly designed. Be aware of the confusion of the inverse fallacy — Fred Phelps' websites actually have reasonably spiffy designs that are easy on the eye, yet the content is as questionable as any other site suffering Haig's Law.

However, it is also important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and sometimes a person can be a good writer but a bad web developer, or be a stellar web developer but a person who writes misinformation.

Origin of the "law"[edit]

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Tremble in fear before My angry fruit salad!

The Haig Report would appear to be a smear campaign launched against a Queensland couple by a disgruntled and deranged family member.[1] It also attacks various Queensland judges, accusing them of corruption. It even wants to sell broadband internet. However, the horrific site design makes it virtually impossible to actually navigate the site and read any of his claims — it is perhaps an oddly effective defense against libel.

Law of Exclamation[edit]

A frequently related concept is the idea of The Law of exclamation, which is an internet law that states:

The more exclamation points used in an email (or other posting), the more likely it is a complete lie. This is also true for excessive capital letters.

Exceptions exist, like if the post includes something like "THE POPE IS A MINDCONTROLL LIZARD-NAZI!!!!!!", then it's sarcasm that (hopefully) passes Poe's Law.[note 1]

Other examples[edit]

  • Whale.to: This enormous website's presentation is appropriate to its level of derangement. The main page has five columns containing hundreds of unsorted blue, teal, and red links to subpages, crammed so that the space between them is barely distinguishable from the space between words within one link. If your browser window is too narrow (or your text size setting is too large), text wrapping occurs out of sync with line breaks, creating an even more hideously disorganized look. Most subpages on specific topics are equally horribly presented, typically with a hodgepodge of links, quotes, graphics, etc. with no explanation or introduction to set them in context and no consistency of style or formatting.
  • Jesus Is Savior ("Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven!"): Downright awful design. Impossible to tell what is going on, badly used images, lots of CAPS LOCK, but a fairly restrained range of fonts.[2]
  • Remember that you are an alien!: bonus points for the inconsistency in post design and the badly aliased animated gifs in the header and footer. Claws back minimal respectability in the form of a plain white backdrop.
  • Wesdancin: It takes special dedication to make a Wordpress site look this awful.[3]
  • Time Cube, the original bad web design site that mostly suffers through the effects of the Timecube Law. The swirly grid background is almost tasteful, but the joke really is in reading the source code.[4]
  • WND, as with Info Wars, WND's revamped site was designed by someone with at least rudimentary experience of the internet, but look closely and you'll see adverts masquerading as stories, headlines that flash by too quickly, roll-over sections that appear without warning, and its fair share of clutter. All the signs are there.[5]
  • Richard Hoagland's Mars Tidal Model essay: He calls this a "paper," in imitation of the kind of thing scientists write. It is said that this unbelievable cock-up renders correctly in one browser. We haven't found which one yet.[6]
  • The Afterlife: looking like the bastard love child of Geocities and Every Animated Gif Ever, all this site does is scroll up through a morass of moving gifs — and an epilepsy-inducing flashing background — presumably taking you on a trip (in more ways than the person behind this probably intended!) from Earth to Heaven. Where God is a bandana-wearing, guitar-rocking, dancing baby. For some reason.[7]
  • Satan's Rapture: Ticks all the boxes: ALL CAPS, random fonts; font sizes and colors; scrolling banners; Timecube-esque in length.[8]
  • Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps: [WARNING: link contains abortion imagery] Lots and lots of colors, broken links, typeface trickery, aspect ratio gone wrong, Time Cube lengths, bizarre cult screeds. This one's got it all.[9]
  • 4chan — Not the worst thing ever, but bland, generic, and ugly.[10]
  • FMH Children's Club International: because children need more hellfire in their Sunday school.[11]
  • Big-Lies.org: An eye-watering collection of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, false flag claims, the Nuke Lies archive, and more.[12]
  • Heaven's Gate: Yes, those guys that committed mass suicide in order to hitchhike a UFO. Hard to read, generally looks bad. Of course, presumably it was made in or before 1997.[13]
  • Smoloko News: This anti-Semitic, Nazi apologetic, white nationalist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, Holocaust denial, pseudohistory, "Christian fundamentalist", antifeminist "news" site has an ugly black background and logo/slogan stitched together alongside blue and white columns. Bonus: porn included.[14]
  • Free Republic: this site appears as patriotically awful (as in white background with bright blue and red) as the content and character of its forum and posters.
  • Haven Works: A website that attempted to pass itself off as news. Could you tell us what ISN'T wrong with this site?[15]
  • UFOs, Aliens, & Abductions: A mind-numbing kook site dedicated to the belief that "that the UFO, Alien, and Abduction phenomena is real" and furthermore "what our primitive society has observed as Aliens are in actuality the heavenly hosts, angels, fallen angels, watchers, wicked hosts in high places, rulers of the dark world, powers, and principalities stated in the Bible."[16]
  • Comintern (SH): A small "communist international" that largely only exists on the internet. The website, created in the early 2000s, is a labyrinth of archives of historical works by Marxist leaders, pictures, external links, and screeds personally made by the clearly megalomaniacal founder of the website, all with aesthetics which would only be considered barely passable decades ago when the site was created.[17]

Exceptions[edit]

  • Nizkor Project: It's got that typical design from the 1990s, thus looking as terrible as some of the above pages, but its objective is to present arguments against Holocaust denial.[18]
  • Quackwatch: The site has a somewhat old-fashioned design, though still pleasant, and it's good for knowing what's wrong with alternative medicine. You might call this an example of substance over style. The best thing about it is that weaker mobile browsers don't have to squirm loading the page, unlike too many "updated" sites.[19]
  • Fox Nation: It was put together like any other professional news website, but it's the kind of crowdsourced "stories" that even Fox News won't host due to their unverifiability and bias.[20]
  • Asimov Online: It's a good website about Isaac Asimov, the scientist and author, but with absolutely deplorable nonexistent minimalist design.[21]
  • Audacity: This open-source audio editor has a somewhat dated appearance, but has all the features an average computer user will need when editing audio.
  • GNU Compiler Collection: The website for the GCC compiler, one of the most popular C/C++ compilers, has a dated appearance.
  • Wikipedia: Although Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source, its articles are usually well-written for general information. The website's appearance has remained mostly unchanged over the years.
  • Answers in Genesis: This organization promotes young Earth creation science, which is pseudoscientific, and is rejected by a large portion of Christians. Despite being scientifically incorrect about the founding of the universe, its website and other media have a fairly modern design.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. If 1s are interchanged with exclamation points, the likelihood of satire rises far higher (but is not certain, as the writer could be a genuine buffoon who's dumb enough to lift their finger off the shift key while typing exclamation marks and then not bother to proofread their post brain fart verbal diarrhea post). If "one"s are actually typed out and mixed with exclamation points and 1s, you're definitely looking at satire (as taking one's finger away from the 1/exclamation mark key to deliberately type the word "one" requires conscious effort).

References[edit]

  1. Internet nightmare for Nambour pharmacist
  2. Jesus Is Savior
  3. Wesdancin ~ ONLY TRUTH (THE CREATOR), (BLESSED MOTHER) ARE LIGHT, TRUE LOVE, & INFINITE POWER / Living By The 10 Commandments (Hebrew & Protestant Are Unedited ) = Win / Win For All] (archived from 27 Apr 2015 19:11:17 UTC).
  4. Time Cube (archived from 15 Sep 2014 02:05:00 UTC).
  5. WND
  6. A NEW MODEL OF MARS AS A FORMER CAPTURED SATELLITE
  7. The Afterlife, archived from the original at heaven.internetarchaeology.org.
  8. Rapture
  9. Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps
  10. 4chan
  11. FMH Children's Club International
  12. Big-Lies.org
  13. Heaven's Gate
  14. Smoloko News
  15. HavenWorks.com (archived from August 13, 2010).
  16. UFOs, Aliens, & Abductions, logoschristian.org.
  17. Communist International (Stalinist-Hoxhaist) website
  18. Nizkor Project
  19. Quackwatch
  20. Fox Nation (archived from 11 Feb 2015 22:56:25 UTC).
  21. Asimov Online