- Web IRC
—, generalization of Meepsheep's Law
Meepsheep's Law is an Internet Law branching off of Kitties' Law that states that ironic in-jokes or themes within an online community will, over an undefined period of time, eventually be confused with sincerity, thus creating a bastardized second-generation community defined by what the original one was attempting to parody.
How it works
So a fandom, forum, or some other form of online locality decides to start engaging in a bit of self-deprecating humor, satire, or any other form of irony. If the community members find this to be especially relevant and/or humorous, they will likely take up repeating and spreading said banter. This is when the concept of post-irony comes into play. Post-irony is defined by being the point at which the line between irony and sincerity becomes, for the most part, obfuscated. New members entering the community with no prior knowledge of this self-conscious satire will begin interpreting elements of it as earnestness (largely due to the bandwagon effect), which will eventually cause the initially comedic concept to evolve into sincerity.
There is no set time span for Meepsheep's Law to reach its final point, thus a particular community may lose interest in a certain joke or satirical concept before complete sincerity is achieved. It is safe to assume however that communities who ironically take up radically clashing interests will take much longer to see the full effects of Meepsheep's Law occur. Thus, given the short attention span of the internet as a whole, Meepsheep's Law may never be fully completed in some situations.
For instance, 4chan's /a/ has recently shown an interest in contemporary hip-hop, mostly due to the efforts of self-described "anime rappers" such as Josip on Deck. Though there has been an increased interest in anime viewing among youths who would otherwise be too busy smoking weed and jiving in the streets (vaporwave is probably also a contributing factor to this), it will likely take several more years before we start seeing acts of violence break out in public over who is the best K-On! girl. Because the lifespan of an internet fad is, on average, 1-2 years, this trend will most likely be dropped completely before the final product of Meepsheep's Law is witnessed.
Note that since the original publication of this article in 2014, the anime rap trend has died as expected.
Though the internet has proven to have no boundaries when it comes to the acceptance of the absurd, there are some situations in which it would be rational not to expect Meepsheep's Law to take effect because of sheer ridiculousness.
The pseudo-fandom revolving around Shrek is a good example of this as, while the humor shares the same similarities as situations where Meepsheep's Law, it is very unlikely for anyone in the near-future to begin religiously worshiping Shrek as seen on sites like shrekchan.
It should be noted that the various multipliers of Meepsheep's Law can aid in reducing the chance of the community in question being marginalized due to ridiculousness. Additionally, Meepsheep's Law is mostly situational, meaning other, unexpected, factors can contribute.
The following factors have historically proven to speed up the process of Meepsheep's Law, sometimes to the point where only 3-4 months are required before absolute sincerity occurs:
- Anthromorphic characters are somehow involved
- "Social progressiveness" is somehow involved
- Any kind of art, music, etc is made that could in some way be interpreted as having actual creative value is somehow involved
- Trolling (or in most cases, pseudo-trolling) is somehow involved
- The trend in question gains significant media attention
- Bronies: Probably the best example of Meepsheep's law, Bronies began as a joke on 4chan's /co/ board which eventually spread to other 4chan boards and began becoming progressively more disruptive, eventually reaching the point when moderators were banning anyone guilty of posting My Little Pony related content. This led to a brief period of attempted trolling in which pony shit was posted with the sole intent of, hopefully, angering moderators. Ponychan was founded as a safe haven for the time being, which would go on to attract more individuals oblivious to the vaguely ironic origins of the My Little Pony fandom. Eventually, bronyism would evolve into the monstrosity it is today, in which misguided 14-year-olds take up clopping to Rainbow Dash in complete frankness.
- The degradation of 4chan's music discussion board: Contrary to popular belief, 4chan's /mu/ board was, at one point, actually capable of rationally discussing music. When traditionally independent acts such as Animal Collective began receiving mainstream critical praise, /mu/ began to take interest. As a result of the "hipster" label now being liberally thrown around, /mu/ posters started ironically accepting this as a means of dealing with pretentious metal enthusiasts. Unfortunately, Meepsheep's Law occurred, and legitimate Pitchfork patrons would begin flocking to the board, eventually transforming it into the incomprehensible mashup of memespeak and genre buzzwords it is today.
- American marijuana culture: Beginning as a result of the outlaw of cannabis in the early 20th century, a certain set of ideologies (read: scare tactics) became associated with marijuana smokers in America that would at first be mocked, then ironically embraced, and finally subconsciously, sincerely embraced by weed smokers everywhere. The idea of marijuana instantaneously causing life-ruination, propagated by films and pamphlets (many of which are now cult-classics), was commonly mocked by beatniks of the late 40s and early 50s*. Over time, the idea of marijuana being literally worshiped would become more and more a reality, until the final product of Meepsheep's Law was reached in the early 2010's when proud self-proclaimed stoners began flocking to Colorado entirely because marijuana was legalized.
*Don't believe the media lies; the beatnik tread was dead by the mid-50s.
- Poe's Law
- Irony - misunderstanding this concept is the primary cause of Meepsheep's Law
- Meepsheep - the e-sociologist responsible for identifying and naming this phenomenon
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