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.

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Comments on “Sarcasm Wars: Proprietary SarcMark Gets Some Sarcastic Open Competition”

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ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:


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…



chris (profile) says:

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 in 2005.[5] Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

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.”


Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:


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?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

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.

Mr Big Content says:

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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