Poe's law

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Alternative forms[edit]


Formulated in 2005 by a user named “Nathan Poe” on the website christianforums.com, originally in the context of creationism.[1]

Proper noun[edit]

Poe's law

  1. The observation that, on the Internet, without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and a parody of extremism.
    • 2013, Scott F. Aikin; Robert B. Talisse, Why We Argue (And How We Should) [] , Routledge, →ISBN, page 130:
      If you accept Poe's Law, you hold that religious believers are indistinguishable from their parodies.
    • 2017 June 5, Emma Grey Ellis, “Can't Take a Joke? That's Just Poe's Law, 2017's Most Important Internet Phenomenon”, in Wired[2], ISSN 1059-1028:
      But because the internet has changed in innumerable ways since 2005, expanding and accelerating all the while, Poe's Law applies to more and more internet interactions.
    • 2018, Whitney Phillips; Ryan M. Milner, The Ambivalent Internet [] , John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 121:
      It's not just digital media tools that amplify the ambivalence of humor online. The familiar combination of context collapse and Poe's Law is equally impactive.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nathan Poe (2005-08-10), “Big contradictions in the evolution theory”, in Christian Forums[1], archived from the original on 2015-09-23:
    POE'S LAW: Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is uttrerly[sic] impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article.