August 14th, 2007


More thoughts on Vampire People

Some more "favorite" moments from Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice:

Page 8:

     January 2000: Kristen introduces me to Kara, a writer for, a now defunct webzine dedicated to reviewing cult and 'tween television shows. Due to Kristen's recommendation, I handled the negotiations to place an Emmy Consideration ad in Daily Variety on behalf of ScoopMe, called "Give Buffy an Emmy." Buffy never got an Emmy.

Except, of course, for those two Emmys it got.

Screenshot from showing the two Emmys Buffy got
Screenshot from

Pages 46-47:

     This is where high school politics come into play once again. There are some laws related to internet discourse that rule over every forum. The most cited law is Godwin's Law, which states

     As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches. [sic]
     There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.
     It is considered poor form to arbitrarily raise such a comparison with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized codicil that any such invocation of Godwin's Law will be unsuccessful.

     The second most cited law is likely Snacky's Law and that's the one that applied to The BIT and was an immense roadblock to getting the truth out to the masses. Snacky's Law says that

     Whenever two (or more) groups of people are arguing, anywhere on the web (usenet, mailing lists, message boards, blogs, etc.), inevitably, someone on one side of the argument (regardless of age or gender) will compare the group on the other side to "those bitchy girls who made everyone's life hell in high school."

Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of Snacky's Law, nor heard it cited. Now, I won't claim universal omniscience, but I've been on the Internet since 1994, and I've spent a generous portion of that time reading "usenet, mailing lists, message boards, blogs, etc.," so it's a little surprising that I'd never encountered "the second most cited law" in all that time. So out of curiosity, I turned to my good friend Mr. Google. A search on Godwin's Law returned about 270,000 results, the first of which was the Wikipedia article from which Beatrice plagiarized the definition of Godwin's Law quoted above quoted without attribution. A subsequent search on Snacky's Law returned about 1,280 results , the first of which was the Urban Dictionary entry from which Beatrice plagiarized the definition of Snacky's Law quoted above.

[Edited, 8-14-2007: Allyson Beatrice informed me in a comment that she had permission from snacky to quote her law, so I retract that charge of plagiarism. She also had permission from Mike Godwin to quote his law, but the definition included in the book includes not just the Law, but also text not written by Godwin expanding upon and explaining the Law taken from the Wikipedia article. Wikipedia encourages people to reuse their content, so in retrospect that probably shouldn't be labeled as plagiarism either. That said, the GFDL still requires proper attribution of the quoted material.]

I should add that the relatively paltry number of references to Snacky's Law doesn't prove that it's not "the second most cited law" related to internet discourse. Maybe I've just been lucky never to encounter any message boards that are populated by bitchy high school girls.

And speaking of Nazis -- page 74:

I've drifted through all sorts of message boards in a series of one night stands and long-term relationships. They've all had different styles of moderation; from the community policing of's The Bronze to the jack-booted thugs at (TWoP), I'm fascinated by the way each board enforces the law of their particular slice of the internet.

Well, I can't argue with that, though I wouldn't have compared the TWoP moderators to Nazi stormtroopers. I'm not surprised Beatrice does, though; she expresses a preference for the sort of loosey-goosey "community moderation" that encourages troll-feeding (which Beatrice gleefully admits to doing as often as she can) and allows for the kind of off-topic ramblings that would earn you a one-way ticket to Bootsville over at TWoP. I prefer the TWoP style, for what it's worth. I mean, I visited The Bronze (which Beatrice loved to the point of devoting an entire chapter to its demise) a few times, and it was horrible: hard to read (beige text on a black background?), impossible to follow threads, constantly spiraling off topic... guh.

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