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The crushing lameness of April Fools Day on the Internet.
490 points by hoodoof on Apr 1, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 170 comments
I have a sense of humor. Really I do.

I just don't find being pounded with systematic absurdity for an entire day every year as being very funny.

I don't know how to solve it. It seems every single company and publication that communicates via the web has a corporate communications department or something that thinks it's a corporate priority to come out with something for April Fools. The Internet systematizes, amplifies, focuses, fully resources, funds, schedules, plans and implements high production value foolery. Corporate drone: "Larry, Sergey, have you signed off yet on this years $4M April Fools budget? How are we going to attract and recruit the best engineers unless we've got a reputation for the very best and most foolish April Fools trickery?" Ugh.

It's just kind of silly and boring and makes we wish April 2 would come as soon as possible. As I read the Internet on April 1 I just try to self filter out all the silly unbelievable garbage. Most news sites (including HN) are hardly worth reading April 1.

You know when someone who thinks they are funny insists on telling lame jokes, and the audience feels an obligation to give an acknowledging guffaw? It's like an whole Internet day worth of that.

I feel like the Grinch Who Stole April Fools but really it has to be said. If you've got it in mind to do some fine ol' foolin then maybe the classy thing to do is leave the foolin to others and spare us one more depressingly lame absurdity.

"I have a sense of humor. Really I do."

Are you sure? I think you're taking yourself and the internet a little too seriously. If the jokes aren't funny don't laugh and don't click. If it really bugs you go ahead and spend a day without reading news on the internet, you'll survive, I promise.

April Fools is interesting on the internet because attention is rewarded and that encourages companies to put real effort into silliness. It's okay to be silly sometimes, it's actually important. The fact of that a company like Google still has a sense of humor about itself renews my faith in them a little bit.

Look at Blizzard's April fools:


The credit card slots in the controller to make for easier microtransactions. With the new business models they're using for Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm it's actually pretty funny. The fact that they're acknowledging it softens me to them even just a little bit.

Some of us look forward to April Fools on the internet, maybe the jokes are lame but the effort makes the event interesting.

> It's okay to be silly sometimes, it's actually important.

I agree with this entirely, but I think the argument here is that none of these corporate April Fool's jokes are silly, or funny, or clever, or interesting. They're the minimum effort to justify being a "gag" in order to farm page hits. Honestly, when was the last April Fool's prank that "got you" or made you laugh?

Blizzard's made me laugh. I think the Google Pokemon map was funny. The celebrity photobombs on the front page of Google. These are nerds making these not standup comedians. Pretty much every internet April Fools gag is funnier than SNL these days...

Pretty much every internet April Fools gag is funnier than SNL these days...

That's a really low bar to hurdle.

It should all be a cautionary example about institutionalized humor.

What would make me laugh is a google.com "Fail Whale" on April Fools.

Pokemon and other Google's "jokes" were just pathetic. Apparently, typical Googler has a sense of humour of a 5 years old.

Didn't a famous software dev blogger write that everything he needed to know about managing programming teams was written in a book titled something like: Everything You Need to Know about Talking to your Five Year Old?

you, sir, appear have the chubby fingers of a five year-old

hahaha, you're so funny

I'd rather them make jokes and try to make me laugh to "farm" page hits rather than publish click-bait headlines that lead to idiotic articles. At least we're all in on the joke on April Fools.

I don't know that I agree - I find really bad humor to be sometimes worse than no humor.

Agreed. I often have to change the channel if a scene on a show (that I otherwise like) is just too cringe-inducing. I wonder if there's something underlying some people's sensitivity to this? Heightened activity of mirror-neurons perhaps (e.g. feeling embarrassed for someone else)

Corporations can spend their money on what they want. Whether they manage to get page hits is an aside! I haven't clicked on anything to do with April Fools.

People forget that the Internet is a "pull" system, so they consciously have to decide to click on a link and visit a page. It isn't like they're subjected to incessant April Fools pages from corporations. Surely if someone doesn't want to view an April Fools page (or ANY page), they shouldn't CLICK on the link?

The Internet isn't that serious a place. If there is outrage over April Fools pages, that's a bit sad. I mean of the 200 million top level domains housing perhaps thousands of pages each, of what percentage are April Fools pages? It's not a big issue really, nor one that I would see the "ugh sigh" attitude worthy of.

As you say though, I can't remember the last April Fools prank that made me laugh.

Now on to complaining about people smiling in public. . . .

The last one I liked was http://www.google.com/virgle/


Rotisserie Chicken was actually pretty funny.

Are you sure? I think you're taking yourself and the internet a little too seriously. If the jokes aren't funny don't laugh and don't click. If it really bugs you go ahead and spend a day without reading news on the internet, you'll survive, I promise.

This is true. But I'd also like to point out that humor shouldn't be given a free pass on a little healthy analysis simply because it feels good and has been lionized in our culture. That's just a pretext for shutting our brains off. Often this is used as a way to attack analysis which makes things uncomfortable, and sometimes the analysis is uncomfortable because it is true.

Nah, most people have a sense of humor, but few people are comedians. Lots of people can read, few are good writers.

I cannot think of a single Internet April Fool's joke that is funnier than the bottom-tier amateur comedians I know at the local club.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, though. Comedy is hard. A team of developers and project managers that try it once a year are...well... you know the expression "Keep you day job"? I think that sums it up.

Did you just promote your own listicle?

> It seems every single company and publication that communicates via the web has a corporate communications department or something that thinks it's a corporate priority to come out with something for April Fools.

It's not really the lameness of April Fools Day, it's the lameness of internet businesses, social media marketing, or marketers and salesmen in general. They need to take over, trivialize, devaluate and destroy every thing that becomes special in society, in hope to get some additional sales. I also don't know how to solve this, but April Fools Day is only a more visible than usual demonstration of a problem that happens every single day.

Even if we ignore the social impact of marketing, it's pretty sad when people who work in communications believe that they are only required to be original once a year.

The original carnival days like "Feast of Fools" [0] were an outlet for subversive undercurrents in the otherwise immobile medieval societies. You could be Pope for a day, but you were still a beggar for the rest of your life and nothing would change that.

Marketers who play April Fools unwittingly paint themselves as the beggar in this scenario. It's like they're broadcasting a message: "I feel like my work has no meaning in this world, but at least today I get to pretend that I'm the one making the news."

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Fools

> "I feel like my work has no meaning in this world, but at least today I get to pretend that I'm the one making the news."

So what you are saying is I should be pulling stupid pranks today...

in hope to get some additional sales

That's a copout, like blaming the legitimately elected political leaders in a democracy.

_People_ do this to holidays and special events because they are easily impressed and inclined to follow social trends like lemmings.

If people weren't so impressed by lameness, then the advertisers and marketers would attempt other ways to gather eyeballs.

I shudder when I think of how unreadable I used to find Slashdot every April 1st (back when I was reading it).

> If people weren't so impressed by lameness, then the advertisers and marketers would attempt other ways to gather eyeballs.

It's a feedback loop; one that is arguably easier to break on the marketer's side. OTOH posts such as OP's complaint are attempt to break that loop on the side of people by signalling that well, we're fed up with crap. I doubt any marketer will listen though.

It would seem to be easier to break the cycle on the marketer's side because you're viewing the problem at the choke point where marketers are ostensibly in control - but really it's a systemic problem with people that would have to be fixed. Fix a couple of marketers and a couple of other marketers step in to fill the void.

Plugging a couple of obvious holes in the dike does no good when the dike is fundamentally unsound.

I think you're right.

So this leads to an obvious question: how do we fix the dike?

In general or with regards to April Fool's?

In general, the same way it's always done: years of social activism, patient stating and re-stating of your case to an uncaring public who is barely impacted by your position, possible civil disobedience (though I have no idea what form that would take in this context... Being told by our employer to roll out an April Fool's project and responding "No, it's a waste of our time and our customers' time, I'm not doing it" perhaps).

With regards to April Fool's: I wouldn't bother. It's a once-a-year annoyance, not nearly as disruptive as Christmas. If your goal is to encourage people to knock off nonsense, than I'd easily start with the pagan-holiday-cum-Christian-nativity-celebration-cum-marketing-extravaganza that we hold every December; it's far more disruptive to the economy and people's psychological well-being.

If you find April Fool's too annoying, take a personal day and tune out; go read a book, go on a walk, take the disruption of functional communication on the Internet as an opportunity to step back from the Internet. Use the opportunity to look around at the world outside the screen and see what needs improvement; maybe you'll come back on April 2nd inspired.

Simple - stop giving them your attention. If no one paid attention to it, it wouldn't work. If it didn't work, no rational management would foot the bill for it.

You're missing the feedback loop. Marketers will keep trying stuff until they find something we pay attention to. And they will destroy its specialness in the process.

Short of the hope that medical advances and genetic engineering will bootstrap a dramatic increase in human intelligence... I got nothing but observations on the futility of the problem.

If people weren't so impressed by lameness, then the advertisers and marketers would attempt other ways to gather eyeballs

There is alien life out there, organized into a federation. Their technology is so advanced to ours that remaining invisible to us is trivial. In order for our species to qualify for membership, we must first survive a series of evil pranks designed to kill or intellectually stultify us in the most darkly ironic way possible.

This is why we have automobiles, nuclear weapons, and April Fools.

Yep, this is it. Neutered culture intended for mass consumption, right down to the utterly safe, whimsical April Fool's Day gag -- "wow, $CORP is so random!"

An April Fool gag, even if carried out by a corp can be funny if it is truly random. I got fooled by the BigCorp I contract to when they put up a makeshift sign up asking us to consider covering our faces, because the parking had been fumigated ("although we expect it to be safe"). It played right into our prejudices about the declining health and safety culture in my country.

The problem, in my opinion, with gags like Google's is that they are utterly predictable. They are safe, and have no "edge" - which is sensible, since they don't want to alienate customers, but utterly fail as jokes.

What if April Fool's jokes were actually funny ...

I think half the annoyance is most of the time, unfunny people reveal themselves on this day.

It's not possible to be genuinely funny when the real objective is defined by traffic and 'clout' metrics.

What's more lame, a business trying to attract attention to itself with humor, or a person trying to attract attention to himself or herself by loudly proclaiming how above it all they are?

What do you mean "a person"? This is all I know about "hoodoof":

user: hoodoof created: 1055 days ago karma: 704 avg: 1.51 about:

not really the lameness of April Fools Day, it's the lameness of internet businesses, social media marketing, or marketers and salesmen in general. They need to take over, trivialize, devaluate and destroy every thing that becomes special in society, in hope to get some additional sales.

They're not different than anyone who's ever done marketing, it's just that most single individuals in industrialized nations have almost effortless access to potential audiences only Popes and heads of state had several hundred years ago. Ever been in an open air marketplace? In a lot of places in the world, everyone is shouting in the marketplace.

Another of Garret Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons"

I agree with all your points, except for the generalisation on marketers and salespeople. Not all of them are like car salesmen or self proclaimed marketing gurus. Some really care about the product they are selling and the people they are selling to.

I am a CTO in a startup, and everyday I'm either selling an idea within the company, or selling a product to customers. All this back and forth produces great insights on the software we're developing as well as in the business itself. I wouldn't be able to do this kind of thing if I hand't learned valuable lessons selling surf and skateboard goods on my family business back when I was a teenager. Also, around the same time I started a t-shirt business with a cousin which instantly got me interested in graphic design, and marketing. I did all that while programming on the side as I still do nowadays.

Sales is all about serving the customer. Marketing is all about conquering the customer by heart, and message. Both skills are of extreme importance in any business, specially in startups. Instead of bashing, we should embrace these disciplines.

After all, we can only profit from them.

> Instead of bashing, we should embrace these disciplines.

I'm happy to embrace honest selling, but that seems to be a completely different mindset than most of the sales I saw. If your product is really good and provides value to the customer (instead of trying to extract value out of a customer), then the salesman/marketer has an easier job in 'conquering our hearts', and doesn't need to resort to mental hacks or things that are plainly annoying. I'm happy to pay more for such a product, sold by honest people.

What's your startup, by the way? :).

I have to agree with you on many cases — but I would take exception for the most successful attempts, namely this year: Google Maps’ Pokemon hunt, and a couple others.

When operated by communication offices with little contact with the company’s culture, like most attempt, it falls flat. Otherwise, those can be very representative of a company’s culture, and I would recommend checking their last prank before applying to a company (if you expect to have the luxury to choose). It you think it’s funny, edgy, or demonstrate an expertise, than yes, you might be on track.

A couple of GMail’s pranks have been illustrative of that: creepy to people without knowledge of databases, yet funny because obviously non-scalable to people familiar with large on-line structure.

Humour is by far the most revealing element of anyone’s culture, and that’s why I like questions like ‘Tell me a joke’ during interviews — although, to be honest, I’ve only asked it when being the interviewee.

This. Every single holiday. Is The Same. Problem.

Here here! Contrived holidays => corporate profit. What isn't contrived these days? But I guess many of us work at these places so...

Well, hopefully the engineering team is taking part too. This can be used for fun company culture AND marketing.

I just can't give enough +'s for that - well said.

See also: Christmas.

April Fools' Day is amateur hour for people who aren't funny the other 364 days of the year. It's much like New Year's Eve for people who don't party or Valentine's Day for people who aren't romantic. They feel like they have to do this on this exact day, which of course leads to an embarrassing situation for everybody.

Boom! You nailed it. It's the social expectation to do something and BE something that is an excuse for people without those natural tendencies to act out.

Out of their comfort zone, feeling social force to try to be funny, they overextend themselves in obvious ways.

I don't know that I agree with this. I do like your analogies, especially the Valentines Day one for people who aren't romantic the rest of the year, but companies do have to act serious most of the time. April fools feels like the day they can "let their hair down" and be a little goofy. I think you can see some of the culture of the company exposed in that moment, and I like that.

> April Fools' Day is amateur hour for people who aren't funny the other 364 days of the year.

I'm keeping this in my "quotable quotes" file - do you have a preferred attribution, or is "jedrek" sufficient?

jedrek/jędrek is sufficient

All of these holidays are also amateur hour for people who view themselves as intellectual social critics--people like the OP.

I contend there are worse things that businesses can do with their time than think up bad jokes. Let's keep some perspective here, people.

Oh, I agree. But realizing what they are can help you deal with them better. My GF and I are pretty romantic, we like to go out and love fine dining... So on v-day we have steak dinner and watch a movie at home. If we don't have a great house party to go to on NYE, we'll head out of town and just spend the night wandering around some other city.

The one time I went to an organized party on NYE, the bathrooms were all vomited over by 11pm.

It's a completely normal human reaction. If something annoys you, you often have an urge to share that.

Let me tell you about Valentine's Day and the greeting card industry. In excruciating detail.

I contend the same. Here are a few worse things (note that 2048 isn't one):

1. Using "agile" as a noun.

2. Meetings.

3. Conflating http and CRUD with high tech.

I think you've put your finger on something important, but I don't think that it's just a bad thing that leads to an "embarrassing situation for everybody".

Opportunities to act differently for one day of the year are more valuable than that. That way, you can explore a side of you without being "inconsistent" with your usual public self, or get to know a different side of other people.

Anyone can decide to dress up like a pirate on any given day, but most of will wait for Halloween to enjoy it.

This is the second post about how people don't like April Fools Day. Are we replacing the actual April Fool jokes with posts moaning about them? I'm not sure that's much of an improvement.

Well, at least we aren't being sold anything!

Not yet. Give it some time.

I saw a poster like this yesterday: "Change it, Avoid it, Accept it. Complaining is just victimizing yourself."

I call bullshit to the highest rank on that line. A complaint gets eyeballs on the problem, a complaint opens ears to the problem.

Complaining is not whining. Complaining is not furtive. Complaining is speaking up.

Hm. Proposing reasonable alternatives is speaking up. Suggesting changes to the process opens ears to the problem. Complaining is whining, unproductive and corrosive to discussion.

I call BS on the attitude that complaining is really a public service, that its done with the highest motives. Its done to vent, to gain sympathy, to feel better. Not to help.

Or it may just be a matter of perspective; a manager might call a customer raising a complaint about terrible service someone whining for rebates on their next meal. Does the customer see it that way? Are they venting to feel better or are they making a complaint because they want to redress a failure to deliver qualitatively on their expectation as patrons? Is it both?

Is asking to be escalated to a manager when you call your ISP after numerous failings by level 1 support to adequately solve-to your satisfaction promulgating 'whininess'?

End of the day whatever your chosen nomenclature of "I had the expectation of X and the responsible parties failed, so I'm going to speak up about it" it's just my lone opinion that calling it "victimizing yourself" is absurd.

As long as you provide a way forward, a suggestion or solution, that's cool. Just complaining - that's unproductive.

I'd lean towards saying a complaint without ends to improve is whining. On the whole though, we agree.

20 years ago, the average person was exposed to a handful of media channels. So, if they each produced one April Fools gag, they wouldn't have been annoying.

Now, our media diet consists of hundreds of channels, sites and blogs, and it seems like every single one of them does an April Fools gag

The result is tired, formulaic humor, repeated ad nauseam.

>I have a sense of humor. Really I do. I just don't find being pounded with systematic absurdity for an entire day every year as being very funny.

I don't know why its so funny to think of you getting irritated by this, but it is.

Don't forget to spend all day of the Super Bowl telling everyone on the Internet how you don't watch football.

Except we didn't subscribe to the LameJokes channel, so why should we receive jokes instead of whatever the channel was supposed to give us?

You should realize that this is the internet, not America, and April's Fool is an American tradition.

This is completely incorrect. It's celebrated widely in European countries & elsewhere. April Fools didn't even start in the US.


It's not celebrated in Asia, Africa, South America, and in most European countries. Probably your propagandized media and education system lead you to think that everyone celebrates American holidays.

FWIW, Wikipedia has good looking sources putting the April Fools tradition long before America [0]. I think it's safe to say it's a Western tradition at the very least.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools'_Day#Origins

Matt Cutts had the perfect saying on this one. https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/450741899146440704

"Hate April Fools? Consider taking a 24 hour offline holiday instead of telling everyone over and over how much you hate April Fools."

[I'm going to take his advice and get off HN for the rest of the day.]

> How are we going to attract and recruit the best engineers unless we've got a reputation for the very best and most foolish April Fools trickery?

I would actually discourage anyone from taking a job from any company that takes April Fools too seriously. Having to put in extra hours to get the April Fools out in time is the only thing that's more soul-crushing than the stupid corporate joke itself.

Spending some time to actually raise the mood of your clients is a no-go place for you? I assume your preference is to work for a no-emotion company 100% dedicated to the product, and a casual chit-chat is a strong NO policy.

The question is whether a joke is funny and made you smile of course.

You're reading stuff that clearly wasn't in my comment. I just said I didn't want to spend extra hours on something that is just a one day joke when I have proper bugs to fix.

I totally agree with you. April 1st renders my local, personal experience of the internet completely useless. This goes on almost for a week, because people will repost the clever 'jokes' for a couple of days. April fools day on the internet is, as it feels to me, a Marketing Department Slack-Off Day. Every company feels they have to contribute, because the others are doing it.

Some tech sites will do the same with ridiculous stuff. 04/1/14: Python 2.8 to lose the GIL. HAHAHAHAHAHA DO YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY?! It doesn't even make sense.

I would like to point out that this issue extends to other, especially North American happenings. As soon as Haloween, the super bowl or "the Oscars" are up, the internet becomes almost unusable because all the sites with user-"shared" (let's be honest, it is rarely really generated by them) content have no other topics and half of the news sites appear to have nothing better to do then to comment on the obvious real life events; even worse, the European news sites will start commenting on the American stuff as well. It is times like this when I get out old 90's PC Single Player games just to be away from people for a while.

I have the dumbest sense of humor and will laugh about almost anything but April 1st is just gear-grindingly annoying...

Well, I guess we've reached the ultimate in meta: an internet rant about internet humor.

Next I guess somebody should parody this? Then a rant about the parody?

Seriously, the internet is full of annoying things, and April Fool's, where folks actually try to have fun with each other, is what's bugging you? I'd place "having to be upset about something 24/7" as much higher on the list than a bunch of bone-headed PR stuff.

I'm really happy HN is mostly humor-free. PG made a smart move there. But one day a year where companies compete to be funny? I can think of a million other things to fret about. Seriously. Trust me, somehow you'll live through it. A day without Erlang innards will leave you mostly scar-free.

DogeRant 2048

I used to be into online retail sales before I got fed up with all the money grubbing. It was all about Black Friday and if you weren't ready with a major production by then or at least Cyber Monday you'd miss the boat on a huge influx of potential revenue. If your Black Friday effort went viral you'd be riding the gravy train all holiday season. I get the sense April Fools has become the Black Friday of social media. If your joke goes viral you've got a huge opportunity for viewership and brand awareness. No thank you. My site doesn't celebrate any "holiday".

Is this post an April Fools joke? I cannot imagine anyone actually getting this bent out of shape about one day of sometimes lame jokes.

The lameness is "crushing"? Really? If something this inconsequential affects you this much I hope you don't ever encounter a real issue.

April Fools Day is funny the first couple of times you experience it. Then it's just soul destroying.

If we could ignore April Fools Day and treat it as any other, that would be fine.

If we could dismiss anything we hear on April Fools Day and treat it as a lost day in the news cycle, that would also be fine.

But we're in a situation where 90% of news is everyday pablum, 9% is AFD BS, and 1% is the creation of GMail, changing the Internet forever.

If your hypothesis is correct and the reason that April Fool's jokes are lame is because there's one day dedicated to them every year, "an entire day every year", then a rational proposal for a solution would be for companies to put random funny things out more often. If we had a "Fool's Day" every month then there wouldn't be such a shock, and they'd start to be something enjoyable rather than laboured.

Additionally, we'd need people to make them, so employment would increase, and people could sell merchandise promoting the best jokes, services to quantify what's funny, and so on, so there'd be business opportunities created too.

This could be the start of a whole new industry.

> rational proposal for a solution would be for companies to put random funny things out more often

The best way would be if they put those funny things at random, i.e. not on a specified date known by everyone in advance.

But IMO the root of the problem is not the day, it's that 'being funny' is not a terminal goal for companies. They make jokes to drive sales/traffic, whereas humour is something that has to be done for its own sake.

This is the same difference I think makes SpaceX and Tesla so awesome compared to others - because going to space and electrifying transport for humanity's good are terminal goals for Musk, and not - like with most businesses - proxies for making money (i.e. a company would stop doing what it's doing and start selling useless widgets if it paid more).

I think people who are good at being funny are the ones who should do the job of being funny.

Oh dear god. I hope I never have the misfortune of working with you.

Why don't you have some fun, instead of being that god awful internet pedant that thrives off hating on the way other people do every little thing. Go back to posting about why you think some obscure javascript library is superior to the rest - get that feeling of enlightenment somewhere else instead of hating on people who are having harmless fun.

God I hate hacker news.

No. We should have fun. This is geek humor, maybe some take it a bit too far, but still.

April Fools power in the old days was that the foolin wasn't expected. Nothing quite so ordinary as a thoroughly expected trick.

Geek humor? More like PR humor.



More like American humor/tradition. Try to keep it within your borders, because in the rest of the world this is a normal business day.

Except it is not funny at all and annoying TBH.

Some of the April Fools jokes are quite funny and some of ThinkGeek's in particular actually turn into real products. I could imagine this one becoming real:


Sure, it's silly... but it's fun.

It kind of underlines the point though - most of these joke products aren't any more ridiculous than their real products. Is that really a joke?

If you dont like it, dont spend your energy and attention onto it.

As a response: Lots of people do like it, creating those jokes, and cunsomers reading those jokes. Its (almost) free publicity.

Get over it

seriously, these people complaining about april fools are probably the ones telling others to change the station if they don't like the violence from their favorite breaking bad characters, yet can't follow their own advice when it comes to the internet

I want to thank most of you for making this one of the funniest threads I've seen on HN.

Your theories as to why corporations and the people around us succumb to societal pressures pushing them to take on disingenuous facades of unfunny silliness for profit and attention are deeply profound -- April Fools!

What cruel fates conspire to tease man with this fool's existence? The solemnity of the grave seems a comfort when faced with the endless torments of a life of gaiety. If only the dead could speak aloud their regrets, that we might continue our sermons long past the crumbling of the mount.

Tis but a season's breadth afore yet 'nother trial befalls the stoic knights of castle hacker. Stay true in your labors, lest mirth's foul hand stir your mind to thoughts impure and sundry! Death's grip closes, and time is short, tary not along the path but stride through and bask in the righteous exultations levied upon the earnest and forthright! Down with the usurper, that lowly succubus whose poisonous impositions distract the holy from their cause!

This is obviously an April Fools Day joke. Well played, sir/madam...

I'm with you man, but then again - I'm busy with doing some actual work, and the pranks that I do encounter are either from Google or a mindless click on a link, few times at most.

We should be allowed to have fun, but this is hardly funny - it's painful.

When Google first started doing this, it was great. A welcome respite from our expectations of corporate monotony. Plus, it was genuinely unexpected, and therefore more funny.

Now that every company has to do something, or risk being labeled uncool by users/potential recruits, the humor seems forced (and therefore less funny).

Perhaps the best April Fools Prank Google could pull now would be to treat this day like any other. Imagine the irony of billions of people waiting to be "surprised", anticipation slowly increasing throughout the day, wild speculation about any normal announcement that Google makes.

Now that would be funny.

No April Fools tricks? That's a very big risk for a company the size of Google to take.

"This is the day to be mandatorily funny. Go out there and do something funny. That's an order"

In the grand scheme of bad orders throughout history, I'm having trouble getting upset about this one.

If you want to read anything on the Internet, April 1 is a very exhausting day due to all the filtering you have to do. You waste time reading the minimum necessary to detect if it's a joke or not and move to the next thing (hoping it's not).

It's better to just ignore the whole thing. If a company/person/group decides to release something really cool on April 1, too bad... I won't be paying attention.

You'll find, if you put your head down and keep working, that it's over within 24 hours.

Unlike Halloween and Christmas, which keep pounding nails into my head from about a month or two before they occur to about two weeks after they're over.


At the office, a few people might do gags, and maybe one is really good and sucks you in totally. That's funny. No, it's awesome to get punked to that degree even when you were looking out for it!

On the net it's (become) unbearable, because it's a solid wall. News, thoughtful articles, social media are so full of AFD stuff that the net is almost worthless[1]. I.e., it doesn't scale.

I don't mind being punked. I don't mind it a few times in the same day. When the whole day is a never ending stream of it, it becomes tiresome and irritating.


1. This is substantially different from, say, the Super Bowl. If I'm not interested in the Super Bowl I just skim past it. But AFD pranks are meant to look plausible. In an alternate universe "Facebook buys Oculus" is an AFD prank instead of real. So you can't skim over them.

I wonder if everyone here knows that we had a rather animated thread about this last night, after I asked people to flag April Fools' gags off the front page (and then amended it to say lame April Fools' gags):


These threads are still open for discussion, but I'm going to downweight this one now, since it's been on the front page a long time and nothing new is likely to emerge from it. I applied the exact same penalty to my own post last night.

HN doesn't avoid humor, but it does eschew lame humor as part of eschewing lameness in general. Obviously, people's opinions about what's lame and what's funny differ wildly.

But there are unicorns on Stack Overflow.

...they are great and I like what you can buy with them.


They are a 'joke' in the broadest sense of the word, but not a joke. I am not 'fooled'.

A true April Fool's Day joke is about pulling the wool over someone's eyes in such a way that they really do not know if it is true or not.

The only decent thing on the internet I've seen on April 1 was when Slashdot went OMGPONIES! That was just silly funny.

Then they ruined it with their stream of fake shitty joke news.

I think next year I'm going to take the advice posted by someone else here and just take April 1 off. I'll just spend the day playing games or something else away from anything other people are doing.

And I spent far too long "mining" unicorn coins...

> "How are we going to attract and recruit the best engineers unless we've got a reputation for the very best and most foolish April Fools trickery?"

You say that sarcastically, but I see that as a legitimate concern. Why miss out on a great opportunity to make a connection with thousands of users who otherwise wouldn't see any uniqueness or individuality to what you do? And the only risk is that they'd piss off someone with a corny joke.

That said, I sympathize. I enjoy jokes, but I'd like to read real news too.

> I have a sense of humor. Really I do.

The problem is that very few of the jokes that any of these companies pull are even a little humorous.

There have been a few funny/clever ones, but they're the 1%.

We'll see what comes out this year, but I generally think there is always at least a few smirk/smile inducing pranks every year. Where when you read the headline, there is at least a half-second where your mind believes it...

Famous guy: '99% of Everything is crap'. So jokes are included in that I guess.

StackOverflow unicoins are sort of fine with me because I can still use the site. But up until midday php.net was rotating every single documentation page which was hyper-annoying.

Today is my most productive day. Cause I just don't have the will to figure out if "news" stories are real or 4/1. So, I don't read HN or Reddit or anything. (I didn't realize it was april 1st until seeing this.)

Like the redis Hyperloglog? is it a joke, is it real? Fuck if I'm wasting my time to figure out. If it's real it will be still be talked about next week and I'll learn about then.

Until tomorrow, Norm out!

Besides spending 15 minutes searching for pokemons and 5 minutes enjoying the htc gluuv joke, this is just a normal day for me.

I really don't see anything to be mad about.

It's been downhill since BBC aired the spaghetti tree.

This is most likely joke, but there is nothing more uncool that trying be cool very hard. Especially, these american style campaigns. So off-putting.

Well, people think they cannot miss out and need to do it - because their competitor does it. You'll see the same with world cup advertisement in a few months. Most of it is crap, rising above the crowd is hard.

On the other hand, there are some clever things that sound like jokes, but are not: http://stroopwafel.me/

Well, I for my part have my share of fun.

I would like to see an ad that is just plain text "We donated the $250k production budget for this ad to Haiti" and a logo. That is far more likely to make me give a company my business than any stupid pointless video clip.

How about a "holiday filter" app? Such an app could enable users to flag "insipid holiday content" which would cause it to be hidden. This could be implemented as a browser extension. In fact, you could even aggregate the information and sell it to companies, and people would even be happy to know that companies are paying to be told they're being annoying.

Wow, you sound incredibly bitter... it's one day out of the entire year... How about you unbunch your panties, close your computer and go outside for a day if it really bothers you so much.

And, I realize HN is all adding to the conversation - that's me adding to the conversation with actual, non-sarcastic advice. Pretty blown away at why this deserves an entire thread.

I actually just brought this up with my coworkers yesterday. I don't like april fools anymore because all the pranks people pull are completely uninspired and the entire day I have to ask myself "is this an april fool's gag?"

And if you fall prey to a "prank" it's like, "wow you really got me great job" and that's it.

I agree 100%. I have long considered April Fools Day as National Do-Not-Use-The-Internet Day, and I generally treat it as such.

Not doing very well at that I see. :)

So I heard on NPR this morning that San Mateo County was experiencing snow, sleet, and hail at the higher elevations on California 35 and that snow plows were dispatched. Can't tell if that is true or not due to April fools day + the fact that weather is unseasonably cold and rainy last few days. Very lame if its AFD joke.

Build an April Fools' API that allows crowdsourced contributions and a browser plugin to flag fake URLs and links.

my thoughts exactly... you can't make a good prank anymore when it has become a "PR must" to publish one

Simple, don't read the news today. Really, it's just one day. You don't have a huge problem to solve.

I agree with this. Seriously, it's just one day: Have some fun or let the others enjoy their fun..

I guess this is a first world problem

Can you give some examples? The only april fools things I saw was reddit's webcam thing which I thought was great, and an icon on the corner of youtube which went to a great parody video mocking memes. I later found out about Kaggle's Random Number Challenge which I thought was funny.

Very few come up with something that is both audacious enough to be interesting, and realistic enough to pull people in. Usually it's either too pedestrian to be funny, or not realistic enough to catch the spirit of fooling people.

But that 1 in 100 is enough to keep the tradition going.

Lame jokes make it easier for the non-creative to participate in the April Fools process.

Not everyone can make a good joke. And those who are bad at making pranks are given the opportunity to stretch out beyond their comfort zone.

If you're looking for a non big name joke today, here's a pretty hilarious(and not to mention incredibly controversial) one:


I think April Fool's day internet pranks may be one of the easiest way for companies to maintain corporate whimsy and allow their employee's to create something momentarily off their grinding path.

This whole thread amounts to: "I like a thing" vs "I don't like a thing". How can people really believe they have meaningful opinions about something so innocuous.

This guy just got more than double his total karma over a 1000 day period for whining about April Fool's day. If that's not funny, I don't know what is.

Ugh, get over yourself.

Are you being treated for that depression? Do you kick puppies and holler at children too? Does it really cost you anything, anything at all to ignore a lame joke?

The only thing that is much worse are spam emails claiming "Our prices are so low that they look like an April Fools joke, but we're serious!"

I remember plenty of april fool's jokes on the radio and on TV.

I think your problem is just that on the internet you are just exposed to a lot more of them.

Little do we know, this entire post is an April Fools joke. Better not agree with the guy, or you're in for a world of trouble tomorrow!

Is it so difficult for you to spend one day in a year away from the Internet to avoid the "lameness" that irritates you?

April Fools jokes are only truly funny when they are unexpected, exceptionally clever, and well implemented.

Actually, HN today is filled with almost no April fools stories. I tried looking, there's maybe 1.. 2?

Here's how to "solve" this problem - grow up and ignore things you don't like.

Today is a good day for a walk.

You know when people say "don't be that guy"?

You're being that guy.

I don't wate my time reading the news on April 1. It's pathetic.

This is a joke, right?

A chance for every NonCreativeEntity to feel special.

You don't like cold and cynical companies trying to appear funny and relatable? That's an American tradition as old as Mickey Mouse. The anti-Semitic union busting one.

You are visiting the wrong websites, then.

It's just marketing and advertising.

I am viewing this thread Emojified.

I enjoy it.

I just don't read news on April 1. Sometimes is really hard to decide what is joke and what is true.

Wait a day. It gets better.


Yea, I hate fun!

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