The Laws of the Internet

January 21, 2014
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Millions of people regard the Internet as a place where anything goes, unencumbered by regulations, law and order, and, too often, virtually devoid of human decency. There are, however, several rules that govern how we behave online, whether we are aware of them or not.

Believe it or not, humans have a propensity for conforming both as individuals and in large groups. Granted, we will behave differently depending on the circumstances.

Surely you must have noticed the presence of Poe’s Law, Danth’s Law, and Godwin’s Law. Naturally, these are not legally binding or affect us in any physical sense like gravity, but you are guaranteed to have spotted how these are in affect online.

The Laws of the Internet
Warning: breaking Internet laws can damage your hand

Take Poe’s Law for instance: “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.”

Nathan Poe proposed this back in 2005 when he realized that far too many web-surfers couldn’t understand sarcasm. Granted, conveying a sarcastic tone in writing is not the easiest. Just ask any celebrity who tried to joke on Twitter only to have it blow up in their faces.

Danth’s Law dates back to 2007 after a user with that name posted on the forums. The law states that: “If you have to insist you’ve won an Internet argument, you’ve probably lost badly.

This is something we can see every day on YouTube, just like we can see how Godwin’s Law, coined way back in 1990, also is present.

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1,” the law decrees.

Simply put, it’s eventually inevitable that someone will be called a Nazi or Hitler during a lengthy online argument. Godwin’s Law can be observed in the comment section under virtually any video on YouTube. No matter what you watch you’ll be sure to have people arguing.

Surprisingly, a video of cute kittens more than often spurs people to argue about politics, religion, and sexual orientation in highly offensive ways. The slightest disagreement on the content of any clip will result in condescending insults. Before you know it, you’re a narrow-minded fool relying on texts in an ancient book; a homosexual looking to get drunk on cock; a Hitler-worshipping Nazi.

I offer you this: Camden’s Law: “The person who insults anonymously online is too much of a pussy to do it in the real world.”

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