Nasa / Space

SarcMark may ruin the point of sarcasm

Now you can be your regular, sarcastic self in email and text conversations using the SarcMark. Oh joy.

Dictionary.com defines sarcasm as: "A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule." Sure, but sarcasm is often not aimed at a person so much as a situation or place, or nouns in general. Take, for example, the following statement: Meetings are a great way to make friends and are really fun. Do you think I'm serious, or am I being sarcastic?

Thanks to a company named Sarcasm, Inc., you don't have to be confused about my intended meaning. For just $1.99 USD, you can download the SarcMark, a symbol that you insert into any text by typing this combination of keystrokes: Ctrl + >. You can use the SarcMark as a font when you know the receiver also has the SarcMark font installed, or as a graphic for when you don't think the other person is cool enough to have the SarcMark yet. You can even put it on your mobile device by going to SarcMark.com from your mobile device and following the prompts.

But the question about the SarcMark isn't so much can you use it-- after all, if you are running a SarcMark compatible platform and are willing to pony up $1.99 USD, then you most certainly can -- but rather, should you use it? I mean, if the guy on the other end of your message is too dense to get it, then doesn't that become part of the joke? If you are concerned that your sarcasm might be misunderstood and that would create a problem, then maybe it just isn't an appropriate time and place for sarcasm.

Don't get me wrong -- I love sarcasm; I spew sarcasm like a sailor spews foul language, and nothing gets me laughing like a well-placed, well-timed sarcastic comment. I just think that sarcasm ceases to be funny when you have to point it out, and quite frankly, I'm not excited to have to see some obnoxious symbol every time I get into a text conversation with my friends. I'm not saying it's not worth $1.99 (I love fonts in general, and I might ask to be given the SarcMark for Valentine's Day). I just think we should educate people on becoming more literate, rather than add symbols to our literature (even text-based conversations) to make it easier to read.

Would you use the SarcMark? Please share your thoughts about this new punctuation mark in the discussion.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

50 comments
brendajoslyn
brendajoslyn

I downloaded the SarcMark Software a couple weeks ago. It was free to download at www.sarcmark.com. I guess they're giving away the software now. Anyway, I use it all the time. I know a lot of people are skeptical about the idea. I tend to be more open-minded than most, so I use it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think that this sounds like an EXCELLENT idea... /s

FortBragg_Surfgoddess
FortBragg_Surfgoddess

OMG, WTF, and all that other stuff. I tink I will spend the money on a nice green tea. But I bet it becomes the "pet rock" of the current generation...X, Y, Z, B, D or what ever it is this time.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Most of the fun (for me) of using sarcasm is knowing the vast majority of those who read it will only catch the sarcasm if it's pointed out to them. Sure, I'll use something to spoil my fun. edit: increased sarcasm

ZazieLavender
ZazieLavender

Hell no!~ The SarcMark defeats the purpose. Besides people online have their own creative ways to express sarcasm, when it's necessary to point out such in the presence of a dense friend. It's called a sarcasm tag, and it's usually expressed like this: Oh, I totally love your ___ page![/sarcasm] Note that it mainly looks like a closing BB tag, and you can optionally make it look like an html tag by using 's instead for extra geek points. With this, there's no dang need to pony up $1.99 to a stupid greedy idiot who thinks he's invented something cool. This idea has already been considered, and the SarcMark is as pointless as ever. Now, if it ever makes it into say...the unicode specification sometime in the future..then maybe it might see use. But that means the person will have to let people use it for free. XD

franky.xl
franky.xl

Sarcasm is not common in other countries, I'm from Mexico but have lived in the USA for 20 years and have found it hard to make a sarcastic joke because it gets taken as literal.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. :p ;\

wbranch
wbranch

/sarcasm I think I can find ways to indicate my sarcasm without having to pay $1.99. However, I will say this does highlight one problem of the text media which is that it is poor for conveying sarcasm since there is no tone or facial cues like with spoken language. Also worth noting that different people from different cultures might not have the cultural context to get sarcasm from someone from a particular culture. I do think that there are reasons sarcasm could be missed besides the density of the reader, but I don't think paying $1.99 for some foolish character is the way to solve it.

Snak
Snak

If there's one thing that angers me to the point of apoplexy, it's watching American TV (especially documentaries) where every 5 minutes the presenter feels the need to remind me what I'm watching. I do have a memory that lasts more than 5 minutes and find that these contant reminders (accepted, for an American Market, fair enough) are a really annoying turn off (often literally). Now I'm expected to watch for a special mark to tell me when someone's being sarcastic? The day I cannot recognise sarcasm, however badly attempted, is the day I give up completely!

jevans4949
jevans4949

... providing this service to millions of computer users worldwide for only $1.99 ctrl>

AlexT01
AlexT01

There, fixed your article for you.

Carolus9
Carolus9

What happened to plain old honesty? Do we have to be sarcastic? If we enjoy it as a literate toy, how far do we go in using it on mostly less literate users? If I had to say I am going to be sarcastic now, I think then I am in the wrong place at the right time! Regards, Charlie

mrmhead
mrmhead

SarcMark. Someone mentioned an Irony Meter Next up: Oxymoron Detector Spoof Codex Subtle Reference Search Engine All to be taken care of by the Scaminator!

seanferd
seanferd

You decide if one belongs in this post.

IC-IT
IC-IT

I would almost bet that this is a marketing jujitsu. Born from a sarcastic idea ;-)

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

The people that thought up this story are taking the peess out of the rest of us? Is this Sarcasm on a higher plane? Recursive Sarcasm??? OMG we've been sarked!!! edit: is that higher plane or higher plain?? OMG I've sarked myself! AAAArrrgghhh!!

erica.j.henson
erica.j.henson

I personally think this is lame and looks too much like "@". If someone needs to indicate an emotion, it's already designated by the writer in chat, such as "::sarcastic:: Yeah, Houston traffic is great!" I looooovvvvvvveeeee me some Mass Effect and, in that game, there is a race called the Elcor. The Elcor have no ability to vocalize their statements other than in monotone, so the dialog even is along the lines of "[rebuking remark] You know that is not the way we are," "[gratitude] Yes, I am pleased", and so on. Yes, I'm sidetracking. The dialog is almost a spoof of that very kind of thing. My point is this, why would I shell out 2 bucks to do what I can already do? Weird.

Note to Self
Note to Self

That said, I think there needs to be a better method of conveying said wit than a funky symbol that two parties have to purchase for $1.99 USD. I don't see myself using it in a digital medium, but I like the concept. Perhaps on the written page I could include the mark, though I'd still have to explain it to readers.

SKDTech
SKDTech

As such, sarcasm should be avoided in typed text unless you know it will be received in the correct context. Having a special symbol or font only serves to highlight the deficiency of the medium and even then the receiver of the text can not be assured of realizing your intent.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

to emphasize sarcasm, you aren't doing it right. I don't see this taking off.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Open minded? You've been a member less than 12 hours and you've already determined you're more open minded than most? Most what? Most of the general population? Most of the TR membership? Most of those who have participated in this discussion so far? Regardless, the use of an emoticon is only worthwhile when your audience is familiar with the symbolism. That's why the original 'smileys' worked; they're one of the few things about computing that could be called 'intuitive'. Almost no one is familiar with this squiggle, and it's meaning can't be intuited just by looking at it. Unlike an acronym, it's meaning can't be guessed. If you have to explain, "It means I'm being sarcastic", you've failed to make your point. Sarcasm speaks for itself. See seanferd's brilliant post earlier in this topic: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-12847-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=325203&messageID=3237715

santeewelding
santeewelding

That you, circularly, are more open-minded than most? Don't nobody get away with nothing here.

seanferd
seanferd

250,000 pages of unfinished and unorganized specification notes for this could be fast-tracked through ISO.

EliSko
EliSko

Here in Israel sarcasm is perhaps even more common than in the U.S. The trick here sometimes is getting people NOT to be sarcastic for a change.

seanferd
seanferd

I swear some programs could be condensed to 5 minutes if they did not keep reminding you what they jut told you. Especially after a commercial advertisement break. And yes, especially in programmes meant to be non-fiction. edit: Perhaps I should apply for dual citizenship for spelling.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

TV has long has a SarcMark; it's called a laugh track. Like sarcasm, if your jokes are so poor you need a cue to indicate you've told one, you need to consider rewriting them.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

For the most part, less literate users have chosen to be that way. They deserve everything they don't get.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Sometimes it's more fun to watch your "target" insert their foot in their mouth! Besides, you could always use the pseudo-HTML tag "Sarcastic statement here " Well, shoot...the server is TRYING to decipher my HTML, enclosed in brackets above are "sarcasm" and "/sarcasm"...sheesh Hehe...Wiz

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I propose we exercise our sarcasm muscles / glands and help notetoselftomakeacoolalias with his project. How about: Trollbait Patsy Wankanator C'mon people, the newbie needs help! Oh, and welcome to TR, whatever name you choose.

Mac_444
Mac_444

If you have to point it out, why bother? If you feel that the receiver of your text does not know you well enough that you must point out your intent by using an upside down @, they are probably not the right person to be sarcastic with in the first place.

TheOnlyRick
TheOnlyRick

Well, no. But I see the point of it. Of course the free version: :-) will *always* be a thousand times more popular, but a few literary geniuses on this thread seem to have confused sarcasm (where there is some change in the voice to tell the listener that what is being said shouldn't be taken at face value) and lying, (where there is no change in the tone of voice). Communication is never clear cut - it makes perfect sense to try and fill in the gaps sometimes. It (slightly) grates with me that a company is trying make such a such easy money out of it...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

although santee has a good point: sometimes is fun to watch the comment go screaming over the reader's head. I won't be paying for this, and will refuse to acknowledge comprehension of its meaning if presented with it. Knowing my memory, it won't remain in RAM long anyway.

scndtnr
scndtnr

I'm with Comic Book Guy: "Oh, a sarcasm detector. That's a really useful invention!" Fail.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I thought that was unintentional puns? :p

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]...a few literary geniuses on this thread seem to have confused sarcasm...and lying...[/i] so literal that recognizing sarcasm is beyond their capability.

kama410
kama410

[NT]=No Text. Silly person.

seanferd
seanferd

Not that I generally need to use them, but sarcasm detectors are likely prone to destructive overload, even if somewhat less so than irony meters...

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

are way more revealing of the punner. ]:)

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