Miscellany № 54: Facebook doesn’t get satire. Let’s help it out.

Or rather: Facebook gets irony perfectly well, but its users don’t trust themselves to catch it.

Sam Machkovech of tech news site Ars Technica has discovered that certain news stories posted Facebook now come prefixed with the word “[Satire]”, square brackets and all. Machkovech determined that this happens to links in the set of “related articles” box presented to you, the Facebook user, when you click through to the original news article and then return to Facebook. Of course, it goes without saying that the tag is only applied to satirical articles — for now, it appears that only The Onion is being targeted — but this may yet prove to be the thin end of the wedge.

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Miscellany № 51: a new-old-stock irony mark

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A grab-bag of miscellaneous links for you this week; I am knee-deep in nineteenth-century printing history at the moment, courtesy of The Book. Enjoy!


After writing about irony marks again recently (specifically, Michele Buchanan’s project to introduce an irony mark along with two other marks of punctuation), I was simultaneously happy and dismayed to come across yet another irony mark on Twitter recently. This one, however, is something of a blast from the past.

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Miscellany № 16

As eagle-eyed readers of the @shadychars Twitter feed will have noticed, September 24th was National Punctuation Day. Billed as the “holiday that reminds America that a semicolon is not a surgical procedure”, this year’s event was accompanied by a competition, run by the New Yorker’s Questioningly blog, to design a new mark of punctuation by combining two existing marks. The competition is now closed, and though I won’t spoil the winner for you, I will say that I particularly appreciated @Majo_P’s “commarisk” (,*), used to connect a logically unsound conclusion to a premise, and Andrew Nahem’s “meh” mark (¥<), used to indicate a lack of enthusiasm for something. See more entries and the eventual winner here!

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