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Facebook tests satire tag.
August 17, 2014 6:38 PM   Subscribe


 
Ooh, a satire tag. That's a REALLY useful invention!
posted by entropicamericana at 6:46 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


8 More Unarmed Teens Still At Large!?!?
posted by mannequito at 6:47 PM on August 17


Great. Now how will we know who the stupids are?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:48 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Great. Now how will we know who the stupids are?

Yeah, 'cos working that out has always been really difficult.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:54 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


The Onion should spend the next week just reporting the news straight and watching as Facebook autotags legitimate news as satire. What better commentary on the state of the world?
posted by duffell at 6:56 PM on August 17 [118 favorites]


For the record, sarcasm is not the same thing as satire.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:02 PM on August 17 [54 favorites]


"all of the boming out there is supposedly a scandal to release deep pockets of oil out of the magmolium (deep) layer of earth's crust."
posted by unliteral at 7:02 PM on August 17


For the record, sarcasm is not the same thing as satire.


No, I'm sure everyone reading this is clever enough to figure that out.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:06 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Shit, now I can't tell if Horace Rumpole knew we knew that or not. What to do, what to do...
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:07 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Anybody want to lay odds as to this being a secret, government-funded, crowdsourced program to teach the NSA search algorithms how to detect sarcasm?

Of course, that kind of thing would *never* happen in this country.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:19 PM on August 17 [11 favorites]


For the record, sarcasm is not the same thing as satire.

Guilty as charged. I am a victim of my own thoughtlessness. I thought about using the edit window to reframe my comment, but that would have been dishonest. I own my stupidosity. I IS DUM.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:19 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


No one told Zuckerberg about "hamburger"?
posted by TedW at 7:22 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


This sounds like a scheme to drive Snopes out of business.
posted by TedW at 7:25 PM on August 17


Man, if this catches on how will I continue to feel intellectually superior to the rest of you? Oh yeah, I'm smarter. (Just kidding! Maybe!)
posted by cjorgensen at 7:25 PM on August 17


If only there were a tag for the above.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:25 PM on August 17


There is a tag for that, it's the Hey Ladies tag.
posted by medusa at 7:47 PM on August 17


Was that story real?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:11 PM on August 17


I didn't read any of comments, or the article, and I barely completed the post, but here's what I think: it sucks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:19 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


I hope this does generate false positives because I want other people to experience the same thing I did when the AV club opened and I thought I was missing a joke.
posted by NoraReed at 8:32 PM on August 17 [13 favorites]


Was that story real?

From the Ars Technica story:

"A Facebook representative issued the following statement to Ars Technica: 'We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units.' That test has been ongoing for over a month, and while we were told other satirical sites' links have received the same tags, we were not given a list of those sites. Our question about whether the tag would ever appear in other places on Facebook remained unanswered."
posted by vverse23 at 8:40 PM on August 17


My first paid piece for NBC Interactive* "The Opus interview" was a subject of some discussion among the editors because, hey, I was interviewing a fictional character. I defended myself by stating that 80% of what came out of the character's mouth was based on either the history of the comic or story arcs within the comic (the rest was me channeling the personality of a character that was a lot like me anyway).** I was told they created the "PARODY" tag just for that article and didn't know whether to feel honored or insulted. Then I wrote an article I would rather not link to, in which I added dumb punchlines to some serious Hollywood history, and the editors cut most of the punch lines but still slapped a "PARODY" tag on it, so I learned to write more seriously.

The "PARODY" tag did come in useful a couple years later when I formatted an article about "Deal or No Deal" as an interview with the show's "Banker" character.

But I really would've preferred "SATIRE".

*in the Entertainment section of msnbc.com, since relocated to today.com
**I was later contacted via email by Berkeley Breathed who told me that some people working for him had thought he had written it himself and ordered me to cut it out. I felt totally honored.

posted by oneswellfoop at 8:50 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Silliness isn't the same thing as satire, either.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:58 PM on August 17


K but there is for serious an island somewhere populated by intelligent, speaking horses who keep humans as pack animals right?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:02 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


K but there is for serious an island somewhere populated by intelligent, speaking horses who keep humans as pack animals right?

More or less, yeah
posted by aubilenon at 9:18 PM on August 17


Anybody want to lay odds as to this being a secret, government-funded, crowdsourced program to teach the NSA search algorithms how to detect sarcasm?


Secret Service urgently seeks sarcasm-detecting software

posted by the jam at 9:31 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Maybe some idiot will see the satire tag and suddenly understand satire. Maybe they will suddenly understand and stop voting against their own best interests...
posted by bleep at 10:02 PM on August 17


Nah, I just tried linking a Sarah Palin Op-Ed and nothing happened :(
posted by mcrandello at 10:13 PM on August 17


The Onion should run a straight news story, then screengrab the Facebook feed which labels it [Satire] and run it with the caption Ha Ha Fuck You.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:42 PM on August 17


More useful still would be the 'Sadly Not Satire' tag.
posted by mazola at 10:56 PM on August 17 [7 favorites]


While the Onion is excellent at revealing itself as satire, I've seen a handful of copycat "satire" sites that are much more subtle, to the point of basically spreading unfunny lies in a news-like format (the article mentions one such source). I think the FB satire tag will help keep these from generating undue attention and/or hysteria.
posted by p3t3 at 11:54 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


"Our remaining users, most of whom are retirees on ipads, said they would appreciate a way to detect these new fangled satires."
posted by benzenedream at 12:19 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I've seen a handful of copycat "satire" sites that are much more subtle, to the point of basically spreading unfunny lies in a news-like format

I myself have been caught out by gop.gov.
posted by maxwelton at 12:20 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]


Even if it gets gullible people to stop falling for satirical news, it won't stop them from falling for misleading/out-of-context items. Maybe they could put a "grain of salt" tag on everything?

I've noticed a trend of images that Facebook is supposedly going to ban, so you should share them while you still can!

The other annoying one is comments just consisting of friends' names to get their attention.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:35 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


While the Onion is excellent at revealing itself as satire, I've seen a handful of copycat "satire" sites that are much more subtle, to the point of basically spreading unfunny lies in a news-like format (the article mentions one such source). I think the FB satire tag will help keep these from generating undue attention and/or hysteria.

An unironic use of the word hysteria is one reason The Onion exists. Beyond the word's origin and typically sexist usage (of which p3t3's post is not guilty), the term's subjectivity is maddening, as is any effort to determine what is of "undue attention".

How can any impartial procedure exist for distinguishing "spreading unfunny lies" from relevant commentary? Was A Modest Proposal "funny"?
posted by lazycomputerkids at 12:46 AM on August 18


How can any impartial procedure exist for distinguishing "spreading unfunny lies" from relevant commentary?

At present a lot of these satire sites label themselves as such in their "About" section, which I think makes for easy tagging when these sites are sourced.

Differentiating between the funny and unfunny sources is another story, and I think it is unfortunate that the label will be slapped on all of them universally, because having the satire slowly revealed in the article is often part of the humor/commentary. But for those other sources that make no such effort at deeper commentary or revealing their satire, I think this will help reduce their viral impact which simply thrives on gut reactions to shocking misinformation.
posted by p3t3 at 1:01 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


I think this will help reduce their viral impact which simply thrives on gut reactions to shocking misinformation.

I appreciate your expounding and I follow the distinctions you're making-- a manipulative trend versus a deliberate artiface. And though I don't agree with the objective, I think tags are an unsurprising response to "serve" a readership.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 1:14 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm not sure I entirely agree with the objective either. On the one hand, I think it lessens the critical impact of true social satire as you alluded to above, but I also see the need for clarity when the medium for communication is a stream of text-diarrhea pointed toward anyone and everyone you've ever known. I'm reluctant to post satire on social media since I live in Japan, where satire is nearly non-exist and will easily be misinterpreted.
posted by p3t3 at 1:47 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Sarcasm-detection algorithm perfected...something something...Skynet?
posted by jet_manifesto at 3:02 AM on August 18


The real problem - and I blame scientists for this - is that nobody's yet constructed a really robust online irony meter. I've been trying different models out since the days of 300 bps, and the bastards keep combusting. Without a proper understanding of the mechanisms at work, I fear that we will make no progress here. If we can't measure it, how can we know it's safe?

We must produce a proper unified theory that unites the fundamental forces behind irony, sarcasm, satire and paradox. Only then can we hope to use these dangerous energies for the good of all mankind.

Until that point, Facebook is merely being a responsible member of the online community. Nobody should risk confusion or ridicule just because they have been unable to process satire. Plain truth or meaningless froth should be the only content allowed for public consumption. Everything else, if allowed at all, should come with health warnings or be restricted to government licensed and controlled researchers operating in secure conditions.

Perhaps in time, we will master these dark and disturbing forces.

Until then, we must constantly and assiduously take the paradox, irony, satire and sarcasm out of online content.
posted by Devonian at 5:13 AM on August 18


I use ability to detect satire as a useful sign of whether I'm going to like a person a not. Anyone dumb enough to be taken in by obvious satire, such as the likes of The Onion, Landover Baptist etc. deal in, deserves to be.
posted by Decani at 5:13 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of why I didn't like Facebook when it started. Because on Myspace, it was so easy to tell whether or not I could be friends with someone by how ugly their customized profile page was.
posted by p3t3 at 5:23 AM on August 18


@Celsius141: "Anybody want to lay odds as to this being a secret, government-funded, crowdsourced program to teach the NSA search algorithms how to detect sarcasm?"

I don't know about crowd-sourced, but government funding already exists to study "socio-cultural content in language" [1], including sarcasm [2] and metaphor [3].

[1] http://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/research-programs/scil
[2] http://www.cs.utah.edu/~riloff/pdfs/official-emnlp13-sarcasm.pdf
[3] http://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/research-programs/metaphor
posted by isnotchicago at 5:24 AM on August 18


For the record, sarcasm is not the same thing as satire.

"Dude, are you being satiric?"
posted by entropicamericana at 8:26 AM on August 18


"...or are you just happy to see me?"
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on August 18


Thanks, Alanis.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:48 AM on August 18


Hopefully this won't blindly tag everything from The Onion as satire, since they do have the occasional informative piece.
posted by ckape at 9:02 AM on August 18




Early use of the blinking SATIRE tag in the Monty Python Architect Sketch at around 3:55.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:35 PM on August 18




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