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Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-language dept.
pinkushun writes "SarcMark is a copyrighted punctuation mark, that claims 'It's time that sarcasm is treated equally!' Pretty damn cheeky while they're charging for their software, which only inserts their punctuation through a hotkey. Open Sarcasm is destroying SarcMark by advocating a new punctuation mark (not displaying here properly — alt+U0161) as the new open and free sarcasm symbol. Either way, this will be one interesting turnout. With bad unicode support across the web, displaying the characters properly might be an issue. PS Left out sarcastic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the U0161 character."
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Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation

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  • by elocinanna (1640479) on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:54AM (#33030050)
    We've come a long way, baby.
    • Meta(meta)[m e t a] (Score:4, Informative)

      by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:09AM (#33030298) Homepage Journal

      Left out sarcastic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the U0161 character."

      Slashdot is written in Perl, a language that tends to self-obfuscate within minutes of having been written. Consequently, updating the code base for trivial things like correct display of posted text is highly problematic. Also, even if the Perl implementation was written in non-standard (that is, comprehensible) fashion, to quote Rob Malda in a recent letter to me, "Unfortunately there really isn't any engineering time available to make any changes these days"

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...to quote Rob Malda in a recent letter to me, "Unfortunately there really isn't any engineering time available to make any changes these days"

        What the hell are they so busy doing? Clearly not editing article submissions.

        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:33AM (#33030734) Homepage Journal

          What the hell are they so busy doing? Clearly not editing article submissions.

          It is a careful balance between collecting ad revenue and ignoring the shortcomings of the moderation mechanism.

          Only the most modern of management techniques have been used to arrive at this complex and deeply nuanced operating strategy; only here, at the heart of the technical community, can we find an implementation that so perfectly reflects (in the sense of reflection about the opposite axis) the technical nature of its users.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I think it should be pointed out that slashcode (http://www.slashcode.com/) is open source, so feel free to submit patches.

            And perl is incomprehensible to everyone, so not knowing the language may actually help you.

      • Slashdot is written in Perl, a language that tends to self-obfuscate within minutes of having been written.

        I sighed.

        I nodded.

        I shook my head.

        I put my palm to my face.

        If only it weren't true.

    • by smartr (1035324)
      FIRST alt+U0161
    • Is this another another Jibe at koda ?

      Sorry filtered so [U0161]koda ....

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:56AM (#33030062)
    ... but the thread would probably implode at this point.
  • it's a character in a font. it should be displayed by your local font choice as long as HTML is passing the correct code for the character.

    /. is not responsible for HTML standards, or the font's installed on your local computer alas. it's up to your computer whether it's displayed or not.
    • by sonnejw0 (1114901)
      What happened to the tilde (~), I thought that was pretty universal as sarcasm.
      But if you can't figure out when it's sarcasm, then the problems with you, not the comment.
      • Some people just seem to use that to signal a word that's pronounced in an elongated way, but not necessarily sarcasm..

      • by thomasdz (178114) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:26AM (#33030594)

        I always used the tilde to indicate "moustache" or "backwards 'S' taking a nap"
        since those two concepts rarely entered my on-line conversations, I rarely used the tilde.
        But, hey! yeah... I could use the tilde to indicate sarcasm! What a ~great~ idea!

      • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:30AM (#33030696) Journal
        I suppose it could happen; first initial "S", last name "Arcasm".

        cd ~
        pwd
        /home/sarcasm
      • by shish (588640)

        What happened to the tilde (~), I thought that was pretty universal as sarcasm.

        In fansubbing it's used to indicate a long vowel, eg waaaaaaaaaaaah --> waah~

        I'm personally in the habit of using it to end sentences where a full stop seems too sudden, and ellipsis are too emo~

        I've only ever seen it used for sarcasm a couple of times, both on slashdot, both by people with "~ = sarcasm" in their sigs to explain it, so I have my doubts about the universality of it

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        What happened to the tilde (~), I thought that was pretty universal as sarcasm.

        Seems a lot more practical than an all-new proprietary mark for sarcasm, and also a lot clearer than the "open sarcasm" Ethiopian option, which kind of looks a lot like a lower-case "I"...

        So, yeah, I'm totally on board with the whole idea of adopting the SarcMark@ (At-sign is the closest thing I've got to a spiral around a dot...)
        And I think the Open Sarcasm thing is gonna work out really, really welli
        Jokes really out to be marked so there's no question you're joking around~

      • by Hooya (518216)

        no wonder! i've been typing 'cd ~userid' and it puts me in .Trash

      • by ais523 (1172701)
        I thought the sarcasm mark came after the normal end of a sentence, i.e. you end the sentence as ".~" rather than just ".". That's pretty unambiguous, as opposed to a tilde on its own which can mean all sorts of things.
      • by fractoid (1076465)
        I haven't seen tildes used in that way, but the tongue-poking-out smiley ( :P ) is a widely recognized indicator of joking / sillyness, which indicates sarcasm when used with an otherwise serious sounding sentence.

        And if you can't figure out when someone is being sarcastic in plaintext, the problem is DEFINITELY with you and not them. :P
        (Yes, that was sarcasm. It's often impossible to tell whether a comment is sarcastic or serious, especially between strangers on the internet. Duh.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by marcansoft (727665)

      Slashdot filters out just about all useful Unicode for no good reason other than laziness. People were abusing control characters, but they were too lazy to make a proper blacklist and instead opted for an almost nonexistent whitelist.

  • by advocating a new story topic (not displaying here properly - alt-ctrl-del) as the new form of grammar and coherence. Either way, this will be one interesting turnout. With bad grammar and coherence across the web, advocating a new story topic properly might be an issue. PS Left out new story topic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the alt-ctrl-del character.

  • Time to come up with marks for Humor, and mood and patent them. Wait...perhaps Chinese already has it!
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Abstrackt (609015)

      Time to come up with marks for Humor, and mood and patent them. Wait...perhaps Chinese already has it!

      So does the Internet: emoticons. For example, "=)" means happy, "=(" means unhappy, ">=(" means angry, "=p" is sticking out his tongue, mocking you, laughing at you, haunting your dreams! "=^_^=" is a soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur. I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

  • Pfft. (Score:5, Funny)

    by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@NOspam.stango.org> on Monday July 26, 2010 @10:59AM (#33030134) Homepage Journal

    Oh, a sarcasm punctuation mark. That's a real useful invention!

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:01AM (#33030150) Homepage

    If you need a punctuation mark to express sarcasm then you are not doing it right.

    It is like a laugh track or a drum rimshot to indicate a joke's punchline. It only accompanies the worst forms of humor.

    I'm reminded of Laurence Olivier's remark to Dustin Hoffman, who had subjected himself to sleep deprivation to prepare himself for his role in "Marathon Man". Hoffman came onto the set, looking like hell, and explained what he did to prepare. Olivier said, "Dear chap, next time try acting." No special punctuation mark needed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Palestrina (715471) *

        Hard to argue that it is essential if we've had 2500 years of written Indo-European languages and we managed to express sarcasm just fine without requiring another character. If we lacked something essential I assume the Gauls would have added it 1800 years ago. They were far more sarcastic than us moderns.

        Note I have nothing against a parenthetical expression or other notation using existing characters. This might be good for expressing a variety of things, like "This sentence is funny" or "This phrase

    • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:50AM (#33031042)

      You're wrong.

      Within a spoken conversation sarcasm is usually accompanied by a change in facial expressions or in the voice. It doesn't make it worse, it only makes it better. A sarcastic mark could stand for that, just like an exclamation mark is used when you'd raise your voice, or an emoticon gets used for other emotions. Now, it will probably be abused, just like emoticons and exclamation marks do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111 :PPPPPP, but nevertheless it serves a purpose. Online sarcasm seems too harsh without a sarcastic mark.

      One problem is that there are different expressions that go with sarcasm, not one, both friendly and unfriendly, but written conversation doesn't try to match spoken exactly. They are different forms of conversations with their own intricacies. Adding another mark that allows you to add more to those intricacies is only good.

      • by Palestrina (715471) * on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:35PM (#33031982) Homepage

        But ditto for other things as well. I can ask a normal question, a rhetorical question, a negative question, a hesitant question, a imperative question, a leading question, a disbelieving question, even a sarcastic question. Should we have a glyph for each of them? Really? Are you kidding? What makes sarcasm so special compared to every other language nuance that it requires its own glyph?

        • What makes sarcasm so special? The inability of many persons to tell apart sarcasm from a regular assertion, I am afraid.
          I am not a sarcastic person, but I tend to see a lot of misunderstandings among persons that are, and other random Average Joes. You can see examples in any forum or mailing list.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        that is what emoticons are for :-/
        • I think there's a fair degree of overlap between people who use emoticons and those who dot every "i" and "j" with hearts or smiley faces.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by srobert (4099)

      "It is like a laugh track or a drum rimshot to indicate a joke's punchline. It only accompanies the worst forms of humor."

      To the contrary sometimes the laugh track is thrown in because the humor is considered too sophisticated for the audience. (Gilligan's genius was too cutting edge for us.)

    • by julesh (229690)

      If you need a punctuation mark to express sarcasm then you are not doing it right.

      Unfortunately, this isn't true. It is always possible for somebody to misunderstand. Indeed, to misappropriate a law, any sufficiently idiotic honestly held point of view is indistinguishable from sarcasm.

  • Emoticons are not enough. Well, it can happen.
    Introducing a new symbol for "something new" can also happen.
    But copyrighting it is something I'm not prepared to.
  • by vlm (69642)

    I can't see the open alternative website because its slashdotted, but the sarcmark is obvious based on the Debian logo. I'm thinking that's not a coincidence?

  • ...as to whether this thing claims to be protected by patent (not patentable) or copyright (only the exact image would be protected, if that).

    Actually, it appears that they are claiming that it is a registered trademark. In that case you are completely free to use it as punctuation.

  • Can we all agree to use the exclamation point at the beginning of a sentence to denote sarcasm?
    A question mark at the end makes sense as it's right at the end, if you read the main part in your 'mind voice', raising tone at the end makes sense.
    For sarcasm, you need to know at the beginning of the sentence, so the punctuation needs to go there.
    ! would work I think

    !Oh, that's such a good idea.

    !Have we forgotten our pants today?

    See? Compatible for other punctuation too.

  • Wait. Wait wait wait. Alt0161 is the upside-down exclamation mark that is already used commonly in Spanish sentence structure. WTF are you guys pulling?!
  • As others have noted, if you need special punctuation for sarcasm, you aren't doing it right.

    On the other hand, what a great way to dodge accusations of libel alt+U0161

    President (Bush | Obama) has sex with baby chickens every Sunday while listening to old 8-tracks of Jerry Fallwell alt+U0161

    PROSECUTION: You have deceived millions of your fellow Americans into believing their (former president | president) engages in sexual relations with assorted poultry while taking communion.

    DEFENSE: No I didn't. It's

    • Problems -

      Does not Display on Slashdot ...

      Is not easy to type ...

      Either makes most Finns and eastern Europeans seem constantly sarcastic, or stops them using it altogether because it's a letter not a punctuation mark

      Please use a real punctuation mark .... and not one with an already well established meaning ....

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:18AM (#33030444)
    Quelle surprise. Does Slashdot display any Unicode characters correctly, apart from English letters and punctuation? I think I saw some madman use the British pound symbol once, but that was Dark Magic and he was burned at the stake.
    • by dkf (304284)

      Does Slashdot display any Unicode characters correctly, apart from English letters and punctuation?

      Only if you use HTML entities, and even then only if they're named; being this poor must be © slashcode...

    • <homerism>mmmm, pound of burned steak</homerism>
  • "Pretty damn cheeky while they're charging for their software, which only inserts their punctuation through a hotkey."

    Hint: In many cases, Sarcasm loses its usefulness if there's no ambiguity about it. &irony;

  • <sarcasm>I prefer to wrap mine in tags, like bold, italic and underline.</sarcasm>
  • by Tomahawk (1343)

    If sarcasm is done right, as a previous poster mentioned, then it should be obvious, and thus a symbol is not needed.

    If the inventor of the sarcasm symbol needs help understand sarcasm, why should the rest of us point it out to him? And, for that matter, why should we pay him for the privilege of point it out to him.

    Anyway, there is already a well know symbol that doesn't require any addition to the Unicode standard, nor any addition to any existing fonts. :-p

    Easy as that, really!

    Reminds me of a joke where

    • "Reminds me of a joke where an American actually 'got' sarcasm for the first time."

      Whatever. I was watching "As time goes by" (britcom starring Judy Dench) with some friends. Jean and Lionel took a trip to Hollywood to shop a story to a production company. A production assistant (obviously an American character played by a British actor) came on the set and asked where Lionel was (he was in the toilet.) When Dench replied he was taking a leak the "American" looked toward the ceiling and covering his head. Everyone of my friends laughed and one of them said "The British must be idiots!"
      A b

  • Trogdor ? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ruvim (889012) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:32AM (#33030722)
    I thought this character is already reserved for Trogdor!!! [homestarrunner.com]
  • Overloading Unicode (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Please please please please please, dot NOT overload Unicode by assigning a punctuation to U+0161. This is the code for a small s with caron, and is necessary for writing Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Slovak, and other languages. If you want to support a new character, put it in the Private Use Areas. There's over 130,000 code points that are set aside, just for this sort of thing. It's like those idiots trying to support the new Indian Rupee symbol, but end up calling in to question the interpretation of all s

  • That's SOOOO interesting. I mean, we REALLLLLY need help in pointing out when someone's being sarcastic. That'll be SOOOO helpful. I can't even BEGIN to tell you how useful that will be. These people REALLY are geniuses, and I TOTALLY mean that.

    .
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know if you are being sarcastic, but I don't agree that they are geniuses.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gv250 (897841)

      U0161 is Latin Small Letter S With Caron

      While that may be true, TFA says that the open sarcasm mark is U+00A1, an upside-down exclamation point, to be used at the end of a sentence.

      Graphically indistinguishable from U+00A1 () Temherte Slaqî differs in semantic use in Ethiopia. Temherte Slaqî will come at the end of a sentence (vs at the beginning in Spanish use) and is used to indicate an unreal phrase, often sarcastical in editorial cartoons. Temherte Slaqî is also important in children’s literature and in poetic use.

      • by rpresser (610529)

        Sigh. At the time I posted, TFA was slashdotted and unavailable, so I couldn't see it.

  • At opensarcasm.org they mention the Ethiopian sarcasm mark, the Temherte Slaqî. It's pretty much indistinguishable from the Spanish initial exclamation mark. I'd show it here, but Slashdot doesn't support anything beyond basic ASCII, apparently.
  • I really care about this. It's probably the most important thing I've read this year.

    See? No special punctuation needed. Next!

  • It seems like a fairly nonsensical symbol to me. If it's meaning is not immediately obvious and you actually have to explain what it means, it is doomed to failure. Oh, yeah, and actually have to pay to download it and assume that whomever you're speaking to has paid and downloaded it as well. Just imagine the back-and-forth conversion with your mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/[enter technically-illiterate relative or acquaintance of your choice here] ...

    You: oh, yeah, stabbed him in the ribs alt+U0161
    Recipien

    • by epp_b (944299)
      Yes, I'm aware of my own grammatical errors in that comment. As a fellow grammar nazi, I humbly request that you gloss over them, please.
  • http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0100.pdf [unicode.org]

    "Small Latin Letter S with Caron"
    "Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Slovak, and many other languages."

    -molo

  • The beauty of sarcasm lies in its inherent ambiguity and its delayed-action effect.

    A sarcasm symbol is crude and ugly.

    Is it April 1?

  • With bad unicode support across the web, displaying the characters properly might be an issue.

    To what "bad unicode support" is the submitter referring? The Web has excellent Unicode support. Every browser supports just about every BMP Unicode character I can throw at it (except IE in Windows XP, but even that does at least a fair job).

    • by treeves (963993)
      OK, then reply to this comment with ten non-ASCII Unicode characters.
      • by VGR (467274)

        Okay, I see your point. Too much of the software supporting the web is not Unicode-aware.

        Slashdot isn't the only site where I've had to make a conscious effort to avoid non-Latin-1 characters, because I fear it will break the underlying software.

  • Sarcasm mark - that's real useful.

  • If you can't read something and know it's sarcasm, well...stupidity should be painful. Just ask all those news organizations who keep quoting The Onion stories as real news. [wikipedia.org]

    You wouldn't want that kind of fun to stop, would you? That's one of the best parts of sarcasm. Pitching it over the heads of stupid people and watching them not get it. There is an element of sadism to really good sarcasm, and a punctuation mark to make it obvious would ruin that.

  • Sarcasm, Inc., is based in Washington, Michigan, a bit north of Detroit. I, for one, will be paying the buck ninety-nine to support the Michigan economy. We're at over 13% unemployment, and we never recovered from losing our manufacturing economy. And now, my great state has once again started building something: punctuation! If you support open punctuation, you're destroying Michigan jobs!

    Oh, I just visited their website, and there's no Linux version of the SarcMark software.

    Fuck you guys, SarcMark.

  • Let's put this thing in perspective. I'm in France where the Euro has been legal tender for about 10 year, I'm a geek who changes computer every couple years, and even on my brand new Dell laptop 8G+500G+4proc I have no frigging idea where the euro key is. So for me (and many others), the solution to the sarcasm symbol will be ;-) or :-P for quite a while still.
  • i give you sarcastrophes!

    i just ^love^ being modded down.

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