Sarcasm Wars: Proprietary SarcMark Gets Some Sarcastic Open Competition

from the open-sarcasm dept

You may recall, last month, we wrote about some jokers who came up with the idea of the SarcMark to indicate when you were being sarcastic. They forgot to use their own mark on the stunt, though, because it seems pretty ridiculous to create a proprietary punctuation mark for which they expect people to pay $1.99 to get a special app to use. Like that would work. Of course, a few things happened in response. First, a bunch of people noticed that the SarcMark looked remarkably like script version of the Hebrew letter "pey." In other words, get yourself a Hebrew font, and you're probably good to go.

But, perhaps much more interesting is that the sarcasm wars have now broken out. In response to the closed and proprietary SarcMark, another group has launched the Open Sarcasm project that is, instead, pushing a version of an upside down exclamation point to indicate sarcasm -- based on the already in existence Ethiopian punctuation mark for sarcasm (which is why it's already a part of unicode) . I have no clue if they're being serious or sarcastic. Which is why the world needs more sarcasm markers.

Still, whether or not any of this is serious, it actually does show how betting on proprietary solutions can often come back to bite you, as more open, cheaper, and more flexible solutions pop up to fill in the gap. So, yeah, to SarcMark, good luck with that project.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 8:29am

    The site is pretty amusing. I love the ultra-succinct section two:

    II. On Developers Creating New Forms of Punctuation Without Consulting Typography Experts

    Yeah. They shouldn’t do that.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 9:34am

    Long live the SarcMarc¡

     

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  3.  
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    Krish (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Spanish

    You don't even have to go as far as Ethiopia to get an upside down exclamation point. Spanish uses one.

     

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  4.  
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    Danny (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    tongue in cheek?

    Like this article was a good use of my time ¡

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    On my keyboard, ¡ is alt+shift+1.

     

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  6.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Pointless

    I think the whole idea of letting someone know, explicitly, when you're being sarcastic is a little silly. I mean, where's the fun in that?

    If you're so dim that you can't *tell* when I'm being sarcastic, then that's *part* of the fun; I love it when people get outraged at my sarcastic comments, and try to hold me to some kind of fire over them. Usually, the comment was aimed at the very kind of dimwitted ignorance that they possess, so it just makes the game that much more entertaining for the rest of us.

    Is every conversation - online or in person - now going to require a disclaimer to the effect of "that was some sarcasm/irony/bemusement/irritation/tongue-in-cheek/etc"?

    God, I hope so, because that would be sooooooo fucking cool.

    ...wait for it...


    /sarcasm

    CBMHB

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Re: Pointless

    Ya, go someplace like digg, the opinions there are so deep on both sides that often you just cant tell sarcasm from serious unless you know the person making the post.
    With as many users as there are, they pretty much rely on /s as their sarcasm marker.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: Spanish

    Spanish has , it's true, but it means something entirely different. Either that or the transcript from the LXI Legislature I read the other day was full of sarcasm. Really, though, when have politicians been that sarcastic?

     

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  9.  
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    Martin Cohn (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Universal way to enter ¡ in text.

    Attention downtrodden masses of the Proleteriat nerds yearning to break the chains of your Capitalist masters!¡

    Alt-0161 will enter the inverted question mark and subvert the running dog scheme to pry the lordly sum of $1.99 from your pocket.

    MC

     

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  10.  
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    Yakko Warner, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    Re: Universal way to enter ¡ in text.

    What do you have against capitalism, anyway¿

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    And I thought this website defended innovation

    The guy came up with a good idea to market, why would you want to destroy it? If you don't like it, don't buy it! /s

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=%2Fs

     

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  12.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Question

    If the SarcMark is a special symbol that isn't already in any font we have, how do they expect it to work? How is that special symbol going to show up on anyone's computer without installing the SarcMark program? The only time I can see this working is for printed documents, but how often is anyone going to use sarcasm in anything exclusively printed?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    My friends and I use "%".

    No $1.99. No playing with fonts.

    No alt-whatever-doesn't-work-that-way-on-my-Mac-anyway.

    Seriously, how often do you use % for anything anyway?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    50% of the time.

     

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  15.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    "Seriously, how often do you use % for anything anyway?"

    I'm not sure on a rate of usage, but I know I use it correctly 100% of the time.

     

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  16.  
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    yozoo, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    ummm

    How about some decent writing (and critical reading) instead. I dont recall Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde using special punctuation to clue in readers to sarcasm.

     

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  17.  
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    chris (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Pointless

    poe's law of religious fundamentalism:

    "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."[4] named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005.[5] Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law_%28religious_fundamentalism%29#N.E2.80.9 3Q

     

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  18.  
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    OpenSarcasm (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    OpenSarcasm was created by mac users. alt + 1 = ¡ on macs as well. Join the fight!

     

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  19.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Pointless

    "...it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing..."

    Interesting. I bet "someone" is most often a fundamentalist.

    ChimpBush's Postulate:
    "The beauty of parody is in the very possibility that it will be mistaken for the real thing."

    CBMHB

     

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  20.  
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    JustMe (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    The creators live here in town

    and were profiled on the local news. They spent 7 years developing and perfecting the mark. Lolz.

     

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  21.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: The creators live here in town

    Seven Years? SEVEN?

    WOW! How did they manage to create a little squiggly line in such a short amount of time???

    Truly amazing. They should get the Nobel for that.

    CBMHB

     

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  22.  
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    Dementia (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Re: The creators live here in town

    Simply unfreaking believable. 7 years of their lives wasted to develop something no one really needs, but they think we will pay for.

     

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  23.  
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    Matt Brubeck, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    MetaFilter's hamburger

    Last year the MetaFilter community proposed the "hamburger" emoticon for this purpose: {/}

     

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  24.  
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    Mr Big Content, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    This Is Why We Need Stronger IP Laws

    So SarcMark’s investors will fail to recoup their investment, because their claim on ownership of the IP they spent so much hard work and time and money developing fails. How do you think this will encourage new companies to come along and attempt the same thing? It won’t. People need to have some assurance of a return on their hard-earned investment, otherwise they just won’t invest.

    At this rate, we will never see another SarcMark™. And the world will be poorer for it.

     

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  25.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    Re: MetaFilter's hamburger

    Stupid.

    I challenge that mark, and suggest instead that from now on it be considered the "Oscar the Grouch" mark, to indicate when someone is being overly angry or unreasonable online.

    (Because we soooooooooo need marks for this kind of shit)





    ...wait for it...






    /sarcasm


    CBMHB

     

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  26.  
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    OpenSarcasm (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 5:11pm

    Re: This Is Why We Need Stronger IP Laws

    "At this rate, we will never see another SarcMark™. And the world will be poorer for it."

    Interesting point, Mr. Big Content. Would it be?

     

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  27.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    You mean when I mentioned that I have been using the ¿ [alt+191] for years way back on this comment ( http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100115/1200127774#c108 ), someone actually picked up on it and has now made it an open standard? Cool bananas!!!!

    ... and I was only being sarcastic too *BFG* º¿º

     

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  28.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    Re:

    oops sorry it's ALT+0191 on WinX & *nix boxes. I type it so many times daily I never think about it anymore ;)

     

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  29.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 17th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Question

    When you "buy" the SarcMark you get an image version that you can insert into text, and also various special apps that try to add it to your Blackberry or whatever, and come with lengthy instructions.

    The Open Sarcasm page is actually a fun read - it points out just how deluded the SarcMark is. It took a long time to fully draft the Unicode Specification, and the whole point of it was to make sure that it could include all characters. Then this guy comes along with, apparently, no knowledge of linguistics, orthography, typography or anything and tries to invent a proprietary character as a damn plug-in. I am assuming that the "inventor" had the thought "maybe there should be a punctuation mark for sarcasm" one day (and what regular internet conversationalist hasn't had that thought before?) and for some misguided reason believed he could capitalize on it.

     

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  30.  
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    Any Mouse, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re:

    alt + 173 (keypad) on PC = ¡

    There you go.

     

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  31.  
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    Ian Channing (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Absolutely love it

    A perfect example of a much better, simpler solution existing, usually for free. Good stuff to the open sarcasm folks. Now if only they had a t-shirt with just their logo on it, I'd buy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    OpenSarcasm (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Absolutely love it

    Good news! Supporter t-shirts (logo on the right sleeve and all) are available here: http://opensarcasm.spreadshirt.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 18th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Universal way to enter ¡ in text.

    Sure, like it's just going to be that easy¡

     

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  34.  
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    David Hammond (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 7:26am

    My proposal

    I propose the Greek small letter upsilon with dialytika and perispomeni as the new sarcasm indicator.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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