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Trolling the Entire Internet (codeword.xyz)
442 points by Rudism on Mar 15, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 160 comments



Easily 9.9 out of 10 people won't get sardonicism. My contribution was the Evil of Pippi Longstocking site, which aimed to prove that Pippi Longstocking is the devil. (Anybody remember the '90s?)

The Daily Show, which thought I was serious, invited me to do an interview with Mo Rocca. (They were disappointed to learn the site was a joke.)

I earned a headline in Sweden, and in the story Astrid Lindgren lamented being misunderstood (ha!).

The hate mail (and some fan mail) from Sweden was precious. I later added a section on the site called "Swedemail." You'd think that would tip people off, but nope.

Anyhoo, AOL took it down eventually. But it's still on archive.org, thankfully. Here's a later snapshot with the Swedemail section (complete with Barnes & Noble affiliate ads!) if anyone's interested. http://web.archive.org/web/20021017095408/http://members.aol...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

>Poe's law is an Internet adage that states that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression of the parodied views

Similar, there was also the Bert is Evil website from 1997, which attempted to "prove" the Seasame Street character Bert was evil. It contained a photo of Bert photoshopped with Osama Bin Laden which actually appeared on a sign at a pro-Bin Laden rally in Bangladesh. The sign holder simply printed out a picture they found on the web, unaware of who the character was or that the photo was a parody.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_is_Evil

>After this photo was released on the news wires, the owners of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop, raised the possibility of pursuing legal action against Ignacio. In response, he took down the "Bert is Evil" section of his website,[10]:736 also stating that he did not want to undermine the character in the eyes of children who watched Sesame Street. "I am doing this because I feel this has gotten too close to reality", he said.[11] Since the original Bert/Osama picture had been posted to Dennis Pozniak's mirror, he too was bombarded by the international media seeking interviews. As a result of all the attention Pozniak also closed his mirror.[12]


Back in the late nineties, I and a few coworkers called Gene Ray, the Time Cube guy. We were sure his site was parody. After a few minutes conversation, we concluded he was sincere. Therein lies the danger of extreme parody -- there are enough oddballs out there that you can't immediately discount something as parody.


I want to believe the Flat Earth Society is parody... but I know a Flat Earther and he's totality serious. :-/


I wintered over in Antarctica last year, and regularly had people DM'ing me on Instagram (probably searched for the #antarctica hashtag) and asking if it was actually real, if it was really an ice wall, if there were "secret military blackout zones" etc. It was pretty funny. I always took time out to answer them, but often I'd have to block them once it became apparent they were never going to be convinced.


Ask him about mountains if you want to see olympic levels of mental gymnastics.


I remember a bunch of "X is evil" sites sprouted up at some point. There was even a site that aggregated them.

I did mine when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter back in '96. I had quit smoking cigarettes, and this was one of my outlets. It would be cool if someone could produce an accurate timeline of all the AOL, Geocities, etc. sites. Too bad we only have incomplete snapshots! I wouldn't even now how to start something like that.


That would be amazing, I had an old geocities site that unfortunately hasn't been archived by any of the new geocities archive sites.


I had one that, unfortunately, has.


my site was really atrocious and quite embarrassing (it was a fan-page for the kind of cheesy stuff 13-year-olds love like The Matrix and stickpage.com animations), but sometimes I think it would be cool to look back at where I started.


>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

Is this the same Poe's law referenced in a pull-quote, above the fold, in the linked article?


Actually, now that I look at it more,yes. I usually ignore quoted text like that in articles because they are almost always quotes from the article itself that make no sense out of context. So I didn't realize Poe's law was referenced.


This is caused by media sites/blogs abusing block quote typesetting for pull quotes. If the quote is in the text of your article elsewhere, it should be placed off to the side as a pull quote, outside of the natural reading order.

This article's author properly used block quote positioning, but our minds have been trained to skip it as we assume it is a pull quote.


Agreed. I created a humorous cooking site that quickly became the #1 google result for, "how to sort lentils." It still gets a lot of hits from poor souls who are trying to figure out what that vague "sort the lentils" instruction in their recipe means.

Later, I posted an article that proposed smoking coffee like crack. A Fox News station actually contacted me when they were working on a piece about teens smoking coffee to get high. They quickly dropped the conversation when I pointed out that the site is not a serious news source--as is evidenced by the fact that every posting is absurd.


http://www.porkulent.com/2011/01/how-to-sort-lentils/ This must be it. Had a good laugh.


Yup. That's it.

Edit: And this is the post that Fox was planning to reference in their story (if you're short on time, scroll past the blather and just enjoy the photos. Like they did): http://www.porkulent.com/2013/11/how-to-prepare-coffee/


Thank you, this is brilliant.


And now Google is putting your website in a callout bubble and treating it as fact: https://i.imgur.com/mIyZV9a.png


That...is spectacular. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I can die happy now that I've contributed facts. How did they pick that particular excerpt, I wonder.


This topic actually came upon hacked news the other day

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13800566


Ooh. That does seem a little irresponsible on Google's part, and a bit less funny now. Thanks for the link!


I wonder why they don't just say "look for rocks".

One also occasionally finds weed seeds in dried lentils and beans. And I imagine that there's selection for weeds with similarly sized seeds.


> the Evil of Pippi Longstocking site

I remember that! It was kind of an in-joke among those of us who haunted the Weir Hall computing labs in our high school days, cadging Internet access to make up for our lack of modem ownership and benefiting from the benign disinterest of ill-paid undergraduate admins.


Yes! That's great to hear!


> The Daily Show, which thought I was serious, invited me to do an interview with Mo Rocca. (They were disappointed to learn the site was a joke.)

I enjoyed this in the article as well -- even people whose job revolves around writing jokes (Joe Rogan & the Register) completely missed the joke.


I remember this from when it made Cruel Site of the Day. I don't remember believing that it was serious, however.


Fun read. The article mentions:

> “e/n” sites (which was what blogs were sometimes called before the term “blog” had gained wider adoption)

Does 'e/n' stand for something? This 1999 post [0] calls it 'Everything and Nothing', but I can't find anything else on it, is that right? It says:

> This was probably influenced by the number of EBG-like sites popping up with the words “everything” or “nothing” in their name.

EBG?

I remember unabbreviated 'weblog' that seems all but gone now, but I've never come across 'e/n site' before.

Also, spoiler alert: the domain in question now redirects to a new Github repo with the original site's source. [1]

[0] - http://www.hearye.org/1999/05/whats-an-en-site/

[1] - https://github.com/rudism/NetAuthority


I got my start (in programming) building my first e/n site (god has it really been 18 years...). My personal understanding was that "e/n" stood for "everything/nothing". In my case, this was exactly correct.

It was a place for my friends to post stupid stuff, a place for me to experiment with css and php, build new "features" just for fun. It was an open playground in a new world. It was a lot of fun. I also just remembered how it was hosted. I became known as the neighborhood kid who collected old computers, so I ended up with a bunch of weird hardware. The site was originally hosted on a 75mhz intel something or another sitting behind a 133mhz linux frankenstein gateway in my bedroom. I remember getting mad at my internet provider when they claimed I had used up "all 10 gb of data", when I clearly had the bandwidth logs that showed it wasnt possible!

The other cool thing was connecting with other e/n site owners who were also doing their thing. Sometimes you'd collaborate or ping each other's APIs, other times participate in their own experiments. Thousands of little web sites with micro communities built on spaghetti code, almost all have certainly faded away through the various ways that tiny sites die: a web host gets sold, an upstream system upgrade botched but not addressed, a missed payment, an unpatched vulnerability. Maybe today the owner still maintains the domain name out of nostalgia. Shoutout to gyrate.org and sejje.net; Rest in peace, frikk.tk


> I remember getting mad at my internet provider when they claimed I had used up "all 10 gb of data

Lots of data accounting systems 'back in the day' counted every packet as 1500 bytes. So if you send 1 million packets it was

     1,500 * 1,000,000 = 1.5GB
In reality the average packet size in 98 or so was much smaller

     600 * 350,000 = 210 MB
     1,500 * 650,000 = 975 MB
     Total = 1.185GB (a difference of 315MB)

https://www.caida.org/research/traffic-analysis/pkt_size_dis...

Depending on your packet profile you may have seen anywhere from a 20 to 50% overhead.


Which is ridiculous. I worked at an ISP in '99, and even back then it was just Apache log parsing with Perl (whether that be a custom script or some open source project written in Perl). Colocation usage was done by logging byte counters on switch ports.

This was a small independent ISP with maybe 3-4 sysadmins/network operations people. Not doing at least that much seems pretty rinky-dink to me. It was trivial to do that much.


Hey, frikk.

What did you call that little chat box? Shoutbox?

You invented twitter, pretty sure.


Haha. Hey dude. I figured you'd find your way over here. :P

Forgot all about that little shoutbox.


I enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame via e/n, though the attention ultimately resulted in the demise of my site. It was all fun and games until the lines between the internet "playground" and real life were blurred, and my school/parents started getting phone calls. Social media also deteriorated the separation between "online" and "IRL". I retired my site in favor of a career :)


> I remember getting mad at my internet provider when they claimed I had used up "all 10 gb of data", when I clearly had the bandwidth logs that showed it wasnt possible!

Same here, though probably about a decade later on early versions of mobile data. They still owe me like 15 euros of prepaid, but they're out of business by now.


> They still owe me like 15 euros of prepaid, but they're out of business by now.

Never lose hope.


The explanation I read back in the day was that e/n is something that means everything to the person who's writing it, and nothing to everyone else.


SomethingAwful still has an e/n forum for personal problems


It was always everything/nothing. Because back then websites usually had some kind of purpose or category which usually was reflected in the domain name as well. But then sites like Stile Project and others mentioned there came out just talking about whatever the author wanted to rant about (IE the modern internet). So the category was everything and it was about nothing really important.


> Does 'e/n' stand for something?

Back when the term was current it was described to me as standing for "entertainment/news".

(This was by someone who ran a small e/n site and generally followed the scene - though of course it could still be wrong.)


It was entertainment / news for me.


Back when I was reading those e/n sites I knew it as everything/nothing, the sites themselves would call it that too. As in, talking about anything they want, doesn't even have to be important.


everything and nothing. I ran such a site with a few friends in the late 90s/early 00s. Embarrassing proof: http://web.archive.org/web/20000521031551/http://www.thedayt... .. they were basically a genre of pre-blog sites where mostly (but not entirely) 15-25 year old males posted total trash like pictures of celebs they liked, offensive jokes, and, well, total trash :)

e/n had a variety of celebs itself. "Stile" was in the scene and took clickbaiting to the extreme (though it wasn't called that at the time) by essentially turning into a site packed with "extreme" images and porn. A perennially down on his luck Rush Limbaugh fan called Jon Bence was also pretty famous for describing his mundane life in excruciating detail.

The scene fizzled out within a few years, particularly once "blogging" became its own actual thing.


I had an e/n site in the mid to late 90s with some popularity. I think StileProject probably coined the term. There was a whole group of people who were "internet famous" at the time whose names have been forgotten but I see "derivative work" every day.


As for the meaning, yes, everything/nothing. Your blog is about everything and nothing. Seinfeld is "a show about nothing."


The best definitions I could find:

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


I always knew it as entertainment/news


My favorite bit of trolling, from 2004, was the "I don't usually link to blonde jokes, because they are sexist, but this one was really funny..." Such a very clever bit of trolling.

A few bloggers (most of a feminist mindset) agreed to launch it together, and they linked to each other. Then several dozen other prominent bloggers joined in, linking to each other with text, which varied but basically stayed with the same theme: "Blonde jokes are sexist, so I don't usually promote them, but this one was really funny..."

So a person reading the first blog would click the link, and go to a second link where the text was again "I know, I know, I should not promote blonde jokes, they are sexist, but this one really made me laugh..." and you click again and again you read "This is the funniest blonde joke that I have ever read" and you click again and again you read "I hate blonde jokes, but this one made me laugh out loud..." and you click again...

How many times did you click, before you realized the joke was on you? The joke was pretty much a test of your social intelligence.

That joke really only worked in the blogosphere of 2000-2006, the era when the blogosphere was at its peak. I am not sure how anyone could recreate that joke now.


This seems similar to "The Old Reddit Switch-a-roo" (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-old-reddit-switch-a-roo?fu...)


A couple years ago someone on reddit managed to draw a tree-trace of the switch-a-roo


>> My favorite bit of trolling, from 2004, was the "I don't usually link to blonde jokes, because they are sexist, but this one was really funny..." Such a very clever bit of trolling.

Off topic, but back in college I was sitting in a big lecture hall next to a guy who felt compelled to tell me a few blonde jokes. I gave a concerned look and pointed to the blonde woman sitting quietly right in front of us and he responded "Oh, don't worry, she won't be offended til Thursday". Thus ended the conversation.


That's what all the click bait advertisements you see at the bottom of articles do.


Not exactly. Those ads are functional. They eventually link to something, typically something they want to sell to you. And they don't go in a circle. Instead, the clickbait ads want to get you to go to a specific website. In the original "I don't usually link to blonde jokes, because they are sexist" if you clicked enough times you eventually came back to the website where you started. If you were very, very stupid, then that is when you realized that there was no blonde joke. The joke was on you. But I would guess that most people realized there was no blonde joke after they had clicked on maybe a dozen links or so.


Tricky. Also a bit weird.


> That joke really only worked in the blogosphere of 2000-2006, the era when the blogosphere was at its peak. I am not sure how anyone could recreate that joke now.

Are you kidding? I see people living through that joke all the time, it's Facebook -> Buzzfeed -> Mashable -> Vice -> names I don't know, promising you funny images, hot celebs, and OMG you won't believe what they look like now.

They never deliver, because they don't have to: before you get to number 26 and see how unbelievable it is, something (promising something) even more shocking has popped up in a banner ad, and you've clicked on.


I responded in a different sub-thread, but again, I would say this isn't quite the same, because the links don't go in a circle. In the original "I don't usually link to blonde jokes, because they are sexist..." if you clicked the link enough times, you eventually came back to the website where you started. And then you knew the joke was on you.


> I am not sure how anyone could recreate that joke now.

I've seen something similar in a series of tweet responses expressing shock, outrage, glee, surprise - any emotion, really - that only ever replies to more of the same.


I've seen it done with a giant quote-tweet chain where each user adds a single outrage-y adjective, so 'Awful ...' quoting 'Disgusting ...' quoting 'Appalling ...' quoting etc.

I had vast amounts of fun starting from popehat wading in going back through the QTs looking at the social graph as I went deeper down the rabbit hole.


subtweets


Reminds me of the time when I was running a dating site (before dating sites were really a thing)

I released some untested code and wound up emailing every user with a huge email which was essentially a concatenation of every user's email content, personal information et al.

Much anger was unleashed.


Probably what, 15 misplaced characters?

Back in these days, dating sites and tested code both weren't things yet, IIRC.


Wow, ton of memories being dredged up by this post and the comments ... good times :)

I often think back to that time period. He mentions that there was no concept of social networks back then, but IMO he's totally wrong. I mean, obviously there weren't any social networks as they exist today, but between the message board communities, and the massively interlinked personal e/n blogs ... there very much was a social network. And it was decentralized. For a short time, it was turning out to be a beautiful thing, especially once RSS started gaining popularity.

I understand why myspace and facebook took all of that marketshare; it wasn't easy enough for the average person to put up their own site, and by the time things like wordpress became popular, every instance was so generic looking (despite templates) that it was tough to get anyone reading your stuff. There was a glimmer of hope with things like google's RSS reader, and Google's social graph API (https://developers.google.com/social-graph/) ... the future could have been awesome, but alas


I think the Internet hasn't significantly changed since those days. I think the difference is that now it's on the publisher to get things in lots of places, vs before it was on the reader to aggregate all the sources that they cared about. You still have decentralized publishing, and you still have lots of disparate reading applications. News Aggregators like Something Awful, Slashdot and Fark have been superseded (for me) by Reddit and HN. IRC has been somewhat replaced by Slack, Gitter, Discord. AIM/MSN/ICQ has been replaced by a dozen other non-interoperable IM systems. BBS systems running on phpBB and other similar self-hosted tools are still massively popular. Email still chugs on, almost completely unchanged. I feel like Facebook solves the issue of a single, curated application platform that a user isn't expected to leave - what AOL/Prodigy/CompuServe used to do.

I agree, I preferred some of the old technologies, as they seemed more open with a lower barrier to entry, but I don't think the future is particularly bleak.


> my massively inflated sense of self-importance from all of the blog posts, links, phone calls, and emails that continued to pour in clouded my judgement

This is brilliant insight. I appreciate this site contributed to better understanding what a reality without trust would look like.


The code snipped at the end had me cracking up


I was mostly incredibly happy to see ancient perl code that didn't use prototypes or fail 'use strict'.


It was so easy to register weird domain names back then. Our contribution was satan.com. The guy who owned the domain name eventually sold it and it goes nowhere now. For a few years in the late 90's the entire site was just a badly drawn MS Paint image:

http://web.archive.org/web/19980625181403/http://www.satan.c...

Clicking on that was a mailto: link that sent mail to an internal mailing list that we had. Got some good laughs from it but we could never figure out what to do with it. The archives are still floating around somewhere...


The internet was nothing if not hyper free speech back then.

So ironic that this shows up now, during the internet's "let's scrub out the fake news" phase.


It was bittersweet to see Lester haines' name on that Register link. Lester passed away last summer -- he was an inspired writer and a jewel of the 21st century incarnation of The Register. The link must have been one of his early pieces and not up to his eventual standards.


I love that Joe Rogan took the time to email you about this but didn't catch on that it was a joke


http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

"Should I be concerned about Dihydrogen Monoxide?"

classic


This was a really fun read, thanks. I first made it onto the web in 1999, those were the days!


I will respect HN when a site making similar fun of Islam hits the front page


Wow..... Just went to the site he mentioned (rotten.com). I nearly threw up. I thought I had a decent stomach for stuff but that is fucked up. Sorry for the click bait sounding comment but I am disturbed after a few of the pics. I have no words.


I would say that I remember the medieval Internet as being much more shocking (or at least, much easier to stumble on shocking content). I remember when I first got internet at 12 years old in 1996, I saw an ad for a site called "Animal sex farm" and basically saw an image of a girl with a dog... That was my first exposure to porn (not ideal as a first thing to see as a kid)...

This kind of content is most likely still available today but I do think that it's deeper under a surface and that a kid or anyone is less likely to stumble on it while browsing.

That's not to say that there weren't good things about early Internet. I have good memories of irc, usenet and the decentralization that existed back then. In a way, it felt more magical than it is now but that's maybe the kid in me talking.


This kind of content is most likely still available today but I do think that it's deeper under a surface and that a kid or anyone is less likely to stumble on it while browsing.

Oh god yes. It's also not... new. Alost everyone has seen at least one unforgettably horrible thing, and we're not stronger or better for it... just a bit sadder. When almost everyone has that under their belt, it's not really a cool or new thing to look at someone rotting off a noose, it's just pathetic and childish.

I think that, as much as anything, has changed it.

That, and it's just... at the time you could watch Magical Trevor again, or go to the dark places. You could spend the rest of your life in 2017 just looking at a slideshow of kittens.


Once upon a time, I frequented 4chan. I've lost count of all the stuff I can't unsee and in hindsight would have preferred not to see. There is a LOT of fucked up shit online.


A whole generation just winces and sighs at the phrase, "Can't Unsee" or "Need eyebleach". I wonder if this is going to be a permanent feature of youth, or if generations yet to come will just see us as odd?


I agree with what you say, but I think there is also a bit of the opposite. We have become desensitised.

I remember waiting for minutes to download a picture (with all my family nervous because I was using the only phone line at home) and then being totally shocked by something I had never seen before. Images of this kind could not be found in books or magazines. Nowadays, kids see one of those images and either they just sweep left or write a 'not wtf' comment.


No, you just hang out in places full of mature people. Go to 4chan and pop your bubble, it is still out there.

That said you have just given me a flashback to https://xkcd.com/467/. I haven't forgiven Randall yet.


4chan today is nothing like 4chan a decade or more ago, and overall I think that's a good thing. What you're talking about gets saged to death very quickly these days, if it's not removed by moderators. That's been true since well before moot sold the site to Hiroshima; the sort of thing you describe here, one no longer really finds unless one goes looking for it.

The Web isn't the Wild West any more. It hasn't been for a long time now. What we have today is more like the sort of well-aged cyberpunk shithole you find in films like Blade Runner, translated from the physical to the virtual. That's an interesting world of its own, and it has its own challenges. It also has gatekeepers - many of them - and they mostly bounce old-style shock site content pretty fast.


Yep, I was curious and visited 4chan about 6 years ago and I've just revisited it now, it's much more tame compared to what I remember. I mean it's still rather misogynistic and not a great place to be but it's definitely not as bad as it was...


But GP acknowledged it was still out there, just harder to accidentally stumble upon for the average internet user. And I think it's right; even with safesearch off (because I don't want to lose anything I might want to false positives, and I trust Google's relvlecance algorithms more than their filtering ones) I stumble into orders of magnitude less extreme content today then I did around the turn of the millennium.


I take it you weren't surfing a lot sites back around the turn of the century (Internet mideval times); that site was one of the more high profile and controversial destinations that started several offshoots and inspired others. It was started around the same time as The Smoking Gun and had a similar profile at the time.


I was a stupid young guy at the time, in high school. I realize that we were some of the first (among many others of course) to surf those sites, and realize, "You know... this isn't fun, this isn't great, this is just... miserable." I still remember some of those things however, and with the viewpoint that life is already full enough of horrors, I regret it.


I thought The Smoking Gun was more of a dox drop/gossip site, if I'm remembering correctly. I always thought Rotten like efukt and some of those other sites were more into gore and various paraphilias.


Wow, I'm surprised rotten.com is still up; it was the web's original shock site (that and goatse). I remember it being pretty viral around 1996. Well, as viral as a website could get in 1996.

I am going to go ahead and assume that there's much more terrible shit on the web nowadays. 1996's Rotten.com is probably pretty tame by today's standards.

Back on the original topic, I remember another early satire site that was taken seriously and created very real outrage, Bonsai Kitten.


Bonsai Kitten was really good. I also remember the Stinky Meat project at around the same time. Fun times. :-)


Oh god yeah. We had a project in school about animal abuse and stuff and had several groups to cover individual projects (my group made a website about the other groups content) one group went with the bonsai kitten.

From todays perspective i can't even tell how we were not able to easily disprove this, and as far as i remember everyone, including all the parents who had to witness our presentation were shocked about the bonsai kittens.

There was no wikipedia or anything stating that it was wrong, and if there was a article somewhere that mentioned it, we either did not find or (also likely) it was written in english when our internet bubble was mostly german.


>Wow, I'm surprised rotten.com is still up

Really? I'm sure the domain alone is a cash machine.


Yes, I am surprised; the majority of the early web outside of major companies has either link rotted or turned into major companies. Especially those for niche topics.

Look at the top websites from before the turn of the century:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/12...

I doubt CompuServe.com or geocities.com is a cash machine.

That being said, rotten.com might actually be owned by a bigger parent company for all I know.


you forgot stileproject.com haha


Bonsai Kitten

Hah! That and manbeef


I assumed everyone knew about rotten, may I ask how old are you (honest curiosity)?


31 y.o. here, just got my first taste of rotten.

List of emotions experienced: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_17760284.html


I see how this can happen y=ー( ゚д゚)・∵. but which pictures made you go ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) or (^▽^)?


I know this is a very Reddit-y comment, but it was at this moment, many HN visitors realized that they are... in fact... getting old.

Orgish.com forever baby


alt.flame checking in. Still have the volcano cave new t-shirt.


The Ogrish forum had surprisingly good non-gore discussions.


I remember Ogrish.com... Also, Maddox...


Ahh Maddox. Always thought he was a fairly clever writer, though his content declined in quality over the years.


His writing sort-of lives on at cracked.

I'm sure he largely set their style.


There are very dark corners on web one should actively avoid to maintain its sanity, rotten.com is just one of the early examples.


Call of Cthulhu wasn't about demons of our elder past, it was about the demons of our internet future. Who would have known.


Stay away from the front page, but Rotten Library is a pretty good read (and mostly SFW). All sorts of weird topics and macabre historical facts.

http://www.rotten.com/library/


I'm very sad that they seem to have stopped updating it years ago.


Yes, and so why is it still there?

Someone must be paying the bills and maintaining it. But it's the same folks behind ...

http://ratemykitten.com/

http://www.ratemypuppy.com/

http://www.ratemybunny.com/

http://www.pennypostcards.com/

http://www.nndb.com/

... so maybe it's just for nostalgia.


It's a static page; I imagine that the costs for it are pretty trivial. And maybe they've just forgotten about it - a few bucks a month from a hosting service that hosts a dozen other sites, where a credit card number gets updated every few years.


I guess. As I recall, the theory was that the admin got locked out of the server. But after a few years, that seems unlikely.


We used to use trojans or microsoft word viruses to set all the 8th grade school computers to this (or goatse) as the home page. Back when finding truly vile stuff on the internet was easy. The good 'ol days....

Does nobody remember consumption junction? My girlfriend introduced me to it, oddly enough


Consumption junction was the bomb. Some one needs to resurrect it, or something very similiar to it.


I remember it well -- it was my website.

I truly loved doing it, but the problem (presumably one all the sites of that nature had) was it was incredibly difficult to monetize. Pretty much the only customers willing to advertise over a video of someone being pooped on were porn sites, so our choice was to go all-in on porn, or have a very, very expensive hobby (monthly bandwidth bill was in the $30k-40k range). We eventually sold it to one of said porn companies, and they "solved" the monetization problem by putting an age verification system (AVS in porn-speak) on the landing page, which was ultimately just a way to bang people's credit cards.

As for resurrection, my old partner recently spoke to the current owner of the domain about re-launching it, but he wasn't interested. I hear he's a big VC muckity-muck now though, so, "S", if you're reading this, let's do a deal. The people demand to be horrified.


Couldn't you do a deal with LiveLeak to build them an ad-fueled trending dashboard? Regular ads for the liveleak videos that aren't featuring jihadi rockstars decapitating contractors, and porn ads for the videos featuring homemade gopro footage of horses boinking large women. You could pick your level of horror and get ads to match, and always have a fresh streaming pile (.....) of horrible videos you can't find on YouTube.


Maybe some sort of p2p hosting decentralisation like ZeroNet? I guess people can personally fund the site directly. Maybe some sort of way for the users to "tip" the submitter and the site and the uploader split the "tip".


For what it's worth, The Rotten Library is actually a series of decently researched articles about interesting things.

If they were interested in marketing themselves and making some money, they could easily spin it into a fascinating YouTube channel.


Ha! For your next homework assignment, google "tub girl". Not violent, but still one of those things that will imprint itself permanently in your memory.



http://www.bash.org/?top has been basically a static page (is it actually static?) for at least 13 years now. I keep hoping for some upstart quotes to make it in there, but there's been no change since sometime before 2004.


Church of Fudge, enough said. It isn't a website...but a video anyway haha, I remember "Tub girl" and lemonparty.org

Anyway I am past this "searching phase" for shocking material, I bet it is really creepy nowadays.


orange juice ;)


There is an extremely dark underbelly of 'real life' violence porn out there sadly. CCTV and smart phones have enabled this to be recorded for all eternity on those types of sites.

In the same way that on youtube Russian Car Crash videos get huge viewings, those that show loss of life happening are usually hived off onto extreme websites where there is an audience for that type of material.


One could ask why underage pornography is illegal while this isn't. In both cases someone suffers and the act being recorded is in itself illegal, plus the video is viewed for amusement/pleasure of the viewer most of the time.


I suppose the obvious differentiator is whether content was performed to be recorded, or incidentally filmed. 'Snuff films' and other intentional-for-filming recordings are usually illegal (or at least investigated to find the producers), while recordings of general violence aren't.

It's a touchy distinction (as any intent charge is), but it makes a certain amount of sense - one major reason for criminalizing content is to reduce demand and thereby hopefully prevent further production. Recording an accident or unrelated act of violence presumably doesn't create any incentive for more violence.


I think the parent is asking more about possession and distribution of murder not being illegal (presumably, in some jurisdictions) whereas possession and distribution of child pornography is. Not all of the pictures/videos/etc hosted on those sites (rotten.com, bestgore.com, etc.) are accidental recordings.

>Recording an accident or unrelated act of violence presumably doesn't create any incentive for more violence.

Getting visitors for your gore site is pretty good incentive for more violence and more extreme content. Same with selling of early non-web based content like the Faces of Death series.


Yes, that's what I meant. Merely possessing underage pornography is a crime that will land you in prison, even if you haven't participated in creating it in any way, but possessing a snuff film, or even a rape video where the person is not underage is not illegal. Rotten.com specifically is full of videos which are not in any way or form accidental.


> possessing a snuff film […] is not illegal.

Please don’t be too concerned with people possessing things which do not exist. There are no snuff films.


My definition of snuff film is for example a terrorist beheading video produced specifically to be distributed. Such things definitely exist. Is yours different?


What a weird attitude to take.. how could you be so absolutely certain?



> Snuff films' and other intentional-for-filming recordings are usually illegal

Actually, there are no such films. I’m not saying someone could not, in theory, create one – I’m saying that, to my understanding, no such films have ever been shown to actually exist. Be careful with what you assume.


There are plenty of videos showing intentionally filmed murder: the Mexican drug cartels and various Middle Eastern terrorist/vigilante/death squad outfits are notorious for this kind of stuff. The "snuff film" hypothesis is just that it's possible to sell this kind of material for a direct profit and/or that they're "made to order" by buyers, which are highly unlikely.



I watch russian (and other) car crash videos, not for the gory content, but because I find them very educational. I feel they help me become a better, more responsible driver.


I played Carmageddon for that. Well, that game actually made me a more cautious pedestrian.


Interesting. I wonder how many self-driving car researchers incorporate car crash videos into their AI (anti-)learning datasets?


Couldn't find anything in the literature - they probably don't, or perhaps it's such an obvious requirement that it's not even mentioned. Given that driving culture and etiquette are very different in every country, I'd guess a system trained for US roads, traffic rules and social behaviors does not generalize as well for Russian or Chinese or any other country's roads.


What percentage of them are gory/shocking, in your opinion?


On Youtube, there are a few channels that kind of focus on the gory side, which is why they have a lot more static images taken from the outside after the mishap.

But the ones I watch are regular dashcam video footage where some kind of mishap is captured while it's happening - sometimes just a fender bender, sometimes road rage, sometimes serious accidents, sometimes a third vehicle which just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time . I'm of course biased towards such channels, but the number of such channels are far higher in my opinion, atleast on youtube (sites like vimeo or liveleak possibly have a different ratio).

It wasn't really gore that was most "shocking" to me. It was realizing just how easily and suddenly an accident could happen. In fact the most shocking one I remember was an in-car footage of a cab passenger thrown violently like a ragdoll when its rear was hit hard by another vehicle. It happened in the blink of an eye and it was severe. Now I insist all my backseat passengers wear their seat belts, despite a lot of eye-rolling and groaning :)


Some of them also have amazing saves by the people involved. I'm not sure one can actually learn how to do that in an extreme situation from a video though.


That's exactly what a troll would say!


You´ve never been to rotten.com before? o_O" How old are you? How long do you use the internet?


I've been online since '92, and never even heard of the site before.


I started shortly before that, and also have not been exposed. Judging by the reactions, I'll choose to remain blissfully ignorant.


Somewhat interesting. I bet you'll find most folks who started just a few years after you would find your lack of knowlege of rotten.com amazing. And conversely you likely represent the majority of your cohort as well.

I started in 1994, and I don't know how I could have avoided rotten.com a couple years later. It was just the social circle you "hung out with" online I'm guessing. It was almost a gross-out form of rick rolling, if nothing else.

We certainly share an Internet generation, but we likely are in fairly distinct cohorts simply due to a few years difference. You probably had a much different social network than I did, even if we were the same "irl" age.

I find this topic somewhat interesting, the vastly differing online experiences people had just within a 10 year timeframe is pretty amazing looking back at it.


Curiosity seared an indelible image into the kitten's eyes. It wished it had been killed.


WWW user since NCSA Mosaic (1993?). Net user since 1984. Have successfully avoided rotten.com for all that time.


It's funny to me that someone is still surprised by rotten, in 2017.

Do you know about goatse, by the way?


Aw man, that was so awful. I remember there was even a meta site of people showing goatse to other people and taking a picture of their faces.

It's so awful it's seared itself into my mind. I now think of OMG as "Oh My Goatse" and OMFG as "Oh My Farting Goatse".

Still it gets worse. There's 2 girls / 1 cup and 1 man / 1 jar. Awful, NSFW, don't go there for your own sanity.

I was forced there by my younger brother.


Just be thankful they didn't build a hotel near you[1] that may trigger certain image flashbacks.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=the+aviator+farnborough&tb...


This mechanic's shop in Ottawa always made me a little uncomfortable for the same reason:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.3389992,-75.8980172,3a,17.7y,...



FWIW 2 men 1 horse is a thing as well...


"Kermit the Frog reacts to 2 Girls /1 Cup"


Last I heard, goatse was an email provider.


It's goat.si which is available through https://cock.li/ which is an 8chan offshoot.


Luckily the article isn't all about rotten.com. It just mentions it as a site that was around before social networks.


There are no offensive images on the root page and the links are fairly descriptive; if you viewed imagery that disturbed you, then take ownership of your own actions and don't click links that purport to be things that offend you.


I don't understand. How were they not taking responsibility for their own actions? Does that mean they should not talk about their actions, or anything related to them?


They must subscribe to the branch of logic (andor High Horse) that encourages the idea that nobody that isn't them cannot complain about something.


No I subscribe to a great sense of personal agency. I'm appalled at how someone isn't being held accountable for their own actions. If you stub your toe you don't get to sue the person who laid the concrete.


Well that site DEFINITELY falls foul of the Net Authority guidelines. Suggesting that NA isn't real, smh.




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