The Grand List of Forum And Community Laws is a blatant spoof of TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches. It attempts to catalog and explain some of the more notable trends in message board communities, such as the behavior of certain kinds of users, certain kinds of threads, and what to expect if posting in a certain way. JustForFun, of course!

For the record, the actual rules of every community and forum on the internet pretty much boil down to 'Don't be a dick' and/or 'Don't piss off the mods'. [[note]]This site's rules are exceedingly simple: Fun will be had. Boorishness and Dickery will not be tolerated. Mutual respect among the posters is expected. Vandalism of the wiki will get you banned tout suite.[[/note]]

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!!The Grand List of Forum and Community Laws

* '''"[[FirstPost FIRST POST!]]":'''
** In any "response to a new installment of something" thread, there is 74.3% chance that the first post will include the poster stating that they got the first post. At least half the time, the post will consist only of the "I got the first post!" comment, and nothing of any use.
** Corollary: On more popular sites, the first five to ten posts will consist of the above, either by posters who aimed for the first post but missed, or continuing the chain by posting "second!" "third!" and so on.
** Corollary 2: The more people who continue identifying their post order, the more likely it will spark an argument with the other users complaining about how much they hate people who do this.
** Corollary 3: On sites where replies to posts are placed directly below the post they are replying to, many posters will "reply" to the First Post instead of making a new post, so their writings are near the top.
** Corollary 4: In threads that have a limit on how many comments can be posted to one thread, such as in [=MiiVerse=], getting the "last post" has the same prestige as getting the first (which is to say none at all, but it won't stop posters from trying).

* '''Theory of Relativity, Forum Version:''' As the rate at which you check a forum for new posts approaches light speed, the rate at which the forum receives new posts approaches zero.

* '''The Heartbreak Effect:''' Users who visit a forum after an extended period of server downtime will be disappointed to find that there are no new posts.

* '''CAD's Theorem of Topic Closure:''' A clear, well thought-out, well-written post is less likely to receive a reply than a poor post, because it leaves less to be said. The post may even appear to bring the conversation to a screeching halt. However, if it is a topic written by a member of [[ForumPeckingOrder the Old Guard]], it is likely to be enshrined in legend. Any replies to it, mind, are likely to be completely ignored. Also see: {{Implonkus}}

* '''Page View Phenomena:'''
** A thread less than 2/3 of a page long is less likely to get read if the topic creator is displayed as having the last post.
** If the only two posts of the thread are the first post, and the topic creator posting again to wonder why no one else has posted anything, the probability of anyone else posting in the thread immediately drops to less than 1%.
** A thread's page views will skyrocket shortly after its second page begins.
** Page Views of very long threads will continue to skyrocket, though the rate of new posts in the threads will drop.
** A thread will get an abysmal rate of new page views if it still has 0 replies after a set time of being created, usually around a day, but varying depending on the forum's activity level, being as short as hours or minutes for highly active ones.

* '''Law of Thread Entropy:''' A given thread will ''always'' tend to drift off-topic.
** '''Branching Scrambled Paths Corollary:''' A thread with a sufficient number of posts will drift off-topic in several different directions, resulting in a set of completely different conversations, all jumbled together based on the chronological order of the posts.
** '''"Who are you talking to?" Corollary:''' Many of these posts will not quote the post they are replying to. Some other users will then come across the post, try to (at first, idly) find which post that post was replying to, and if it's difficult to find, become obsessed with figuring out the mysterious context of the post which took someone 5 seconds to write.

* '''You Broke It Rule:''' A new thread with a first reply which is severely off-topic or lacking in content is not likely to see an improvement.

* '''Anti-Gravity Property of Threads:''' The tendency of an active thread to stay focused on some topic is inversely proportional to the amount of different users posting to it. Smaller numbers of users will be conversing directly with each other, larger numbers of users will be simply tossing their comments into the wind.

* '''Page Break Effect:''' Unless the final post of the previous page is quoted, the post will usually be forgotten

* '''"Thanks for Nothing" Effect:''' If the first post in a thread ends with the sentence "Thanks in advance!" it is exponentially less likely that it will be replied to.

* '''The Alpha Omega Probability:''' There is a significant likelihood that the user who created a topic will end up having the last word, whether or not the topic was popular.

* '''[=KennyMan's Law=] (Meme Injection):''' If a thread is created to bring attention to a humorous video or flash animation, at least one of the replies will consist of a quote from the video and nothing else. At least 2 replies will consist of a quote from the video with the addition of a "lol" or an emoticon after the quote.

* '''Falling Into The Pothole:''' If a post in a thread is created to bring attention to another web site, the thread's rate of replies will drop drastically. If the website is [[{{Tvtropes}} this one]], the remaining replies will be [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife lamenting lost time]].

* '''Kelter's Law ("Silence in the Library" Effect):''' Forum administrators who are strict about keeping all threads on topic (merging or locking duplicate topics, splitting out off-topic chatter, encouraging users to use the search button before posting, having many sticky threads at once) will find their forums full of 100-page threads which nobody will want to read all the way through. It follows that, since most intelligent users are inclined to fully read a topic before posting to it, this will lead to an overall decline in the activity of intelligent users across the forum.

* '''Reverse Briar Patch Rule:''' The instant a popular topic is stickied, everyone will spontaneously lose interest. Mods who dislike said topic will actively encourage this effect.

* '''The Loss of Childhood Effect:''' Performing a forum restart will, in general, cause a decrease of activity in ''all'' forum members.

* '''The Fan Handle Rule:''' If a board is themed after a series, users who sign up with a screen name pertaining to the series will do one of three things:
** Lose interest in the forum and vanish very quickly,
** Change their name when they become a respected member of the community,
** Consistently act like an idiot and be liked by nobody.
** '''Corollary:''' If users without a related username are in the minority or the ratio is around equal, this is prevented from happening.

* '''The First Law of FAQ Dynamics (The Law of FAQ Fatigue):''' Most forum [=FAQs=] are assumed to be essentially identical.
** Most users will read the rules of the first forum they join, then never read the rules for any others.
** People will repeat a question answered in the FAQ at least once a week.
** People may reply to questions by simply going "Read the FAQ" without actually giving an answer. If this happens, there is a 50% chance the question is actually '''not''' covered in the FAQ, either completely or not to an adequate degree.

* '''The Second Law of FAQ Dynamics (The Law of FAQ Entropy):'''
** Troublemakers and LoopholeAbuse have a cumulative effect on the strictness of the community's rules. Thus, over time, the rules of any given community become increasingly formal and [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic]], which in turn causes the entropy of the FAQ and rules pages to approach a maximum. (This also applies to legal contracts and government laws, as demonstrated by the DMV.)
** '''Corollary:''' Any community based around a common goal, no matter how informal it starts out, will gravitate towards treating the goal as SeriousBusiness over time. The lower the barrier to entry, the faster this happens; for example, a wiki will gravitate faster than an open-source software project. See also OpenRoleplayingDecay.
** '''The Generalized [[http://deerstalkerhat.blogspot.com/2007/11/quantifying-stability-belady-lehmans.html Belady-Lehman Curve]] Corollary:''' For any collaborative project, the numbers of flaws and errors in both the FAQ and the project itself will initially decrease towards a minimum, but then start to increase without bound, after which these counts will continue increasing for the remainder of the project's lifespan.

* '''The Third Law of FAQ Dynamics (The Law of Inverse FAQ Importance):''' The importance of a FAQ/forum rules sticky is inversely proportional to how much importance it places upon itself.
** '''"General Information Thread"''':
::: What you get: All the answers you seek pertaining to your specific problems in the domain of the forum's topic exactly.
** '''''"!!! MAIN F.A.Q. AND RULES THREAD! ABSOLUTELY MUST READ THIS before you post (or do ANYTHING else) OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES!!!"''''' (post is linked to from the registration page, the main page, the New Thread page, the Reply To Topic page, and every other sticky at the top of the page):
::: What you get: 2 paragraphs of why you absolutely must read the post you have navigated to, accompanied by several quotes pertaining to how many times you should read the FAQ, followed by the 4 lines of the FAQ which are all rephrasings of "Be specific when you ask questions".

* '''The First Law of Online Motion:''' An object in motion tends to stay in motion to the point of steamrolling over anyone who tries to tell the object that what they're doing might be a bad idea.

* '''The Second Law of Online Motion:''' The amount of force (''F'') a moderator needs to use is equal to the number of morons (''m'') in the community times how aggravating (''a'') they are, ''F = ma''.

* '''The Third Law of Online Motion:''' For every notable action there is a vile and opposing overreaction.

* '''Search Button Paradox:'''
** The forum's search feature is often cited as a useful tool for those seeking information, yet is entirely useless for finding answers to most questions (especially to newbies who really need to know answers to obvious questions). Users who ask these questions will often be flamed for not using the search button.
** The use of the search button by new users is one of the leading causes of unnecessary resurrection of dead threads. The people who subsequently complain about the thread resurrection and the people who encourage others to use the search feature often have a significant overlap.
** '''Search Uselessness Corollary:''' When using the search button to search for "Topic X", the probability of any of the results being relevant is roughly 6%. The probability of the results consisting solely dead threads involving "Topic X" and people asking "why don't we have a "Topic X" thread" is 97%.
** If a user claims to have used the search feature when starting a thread on "Topic X", there is a one-in-three chance of an existing thread on "Topic X" on the first page.

* '''Blast from the Past Rule:''' If a user resurrects a very old thread, the post will usually be devoid of content.
** '''Corollary:''' In the event that a user posts a well thought out, meaningful, in-context reply that actually adds something new to an old thread, the thread will attract users asking "Why haven't I seen this thread before?", reducing the quality of the resurrected thread again.

* '''The Workshop Paradox:''' Most sites with a submission process will have a "workshop" forum dedicated to refining a work before it is submitted. The judges in charge of accepting or rejecting the submission will not visit this forum, even though they will cite the forum as a place for newbies to go and receive help and feedback for their project. The result is that no matter how much help the project receives in the workshop, it is not assured a passing grade by the judges.
** '''Corollary:''' Any attempt to remedy this by having users vote for/against pending submissions will only worsen the problem, as this will only result in submissions being accepted or sent back to the workshop based 90% on how many of the author's friends vote it up and only 10% on actual quality.

* '''CAD's Boomerang Law:''' If an ''active user'' creates a post announcing they are '''voluntarily''' leaving the community, they will almost certainly return. The length of the post is directly proportional to their likelihood of returning and inversely proportional to the time it will take for them to return. However, if an active user suddenly disappears without announcing themselves, and it was not because they were banned, the chances of them returning are much less, let alone the chances of them being remembered outside of the occasional "hey, what ever happened to MacGuffin?"

* '''The Reverse Boomerang Law:''' If a user comes back after an extended hiatus from a forum with a lengthy "I'm back" post, the user will almost certainly leave immediately again. The length of the post is directly proportional to their likelihood of disappearing forever -- this is because, the more promises the user makes in this post, the more they will feel ashamed of them and wish to run away from them forever. See also the ''Nail in the Coffin Law''.

* '''Unused Equipment Request Procedure''': If announcing on a {{MMORPG}} forum that they are leaving the game, especially in anger, there will be at least one response of '[[IfYouDieICallYourStuff can I have your stuff]]?'. Also, they will never actually quit.

* '''The Internship Principle:''' The longer a community-driven site exists, the less welcoming (and interesting) it becomes for new members to get involved with. As a community accumulates its own backlog of history, rules (both written and unwritten), members and their respective reputations, and inside jokes, the more new members are expected to conform to the already-existing community environment rather than bringing their own ideas to the table, and the less likely new members will be willing to accept the tradeoff between obligation and fun.

* '''Location Axiom:''' There is always another clever location field entry that you haven't seen yet.

* '''Custom Title Desecration Axiom:''' On a board which hands out free custom titles, there will always be at least one user who sets their title to something that cannot, by any stretch of the definition, be called a "rank" or a "title". 60% Of these off-topic ranks will be internet memes.

* '''Name Change Cascade:'''
** If a notable member of the community changes their screen name once, they will usually do it again in the future.
** There is a significant likelihood that the second name change will be the user changing their name back to their original name or something similar to it, due to the Public Icon Effect.
** If it is in a forum where name changes are given relatively freely and easily, and if a new season or series comes out, and if at least one member of the staff changes their name to something related to this new series, there is a high chance at least half the members of the board will change their user names to something related to the series as well.

* '''Public Icon Effect:''' If a notable member of the community changes their screen name, signature, or (especially) their avatar after a very long period of not doing so, an uproar of confusion will be caused among the community and several others will suggest that the user return things to the way they were.

* '''"Less is the new Black" Principle:''' If a user who is notable and active on one forum registers for another related forum with the same username, their profile on the second forum will usually lack numerous entries such as a signature, avatar, or location. The chance of this is inversely proportional to their activity on the related forum.

* '''GodwinsLaw:'''
** As the length of a thread approaches infinity, the probability of a comparison involving AdolfHitler or the Nazis approaches 1.
** '''Corollary:''' Outside of a small number of specific topics (for example, discussion of the British National Party), making such a comparison automatically loses the debate.
** '''Noob Corollary:''' The alternative to Hitler and Nazis is to call opponents "noobs". While this doesn't usually cause the user to instantly lose the argument, there's a decent chance they're not going to win anyway (moreso if they invoke this when calling someone a noob makes no sense).

* '''Quirk's Exception:'''
** Intentional invocation of GodwinsLaw will fail to have the desired effect.

* '''[[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Okuu's]] Law:'''
** As the length of a discussion on nuclear power approaches infinity, the probability of Chernobyl and/or a hyperbolic apocalyptic scenario being invoked approaches 1.
** '''First Corollary:''' The probability of Chernobyl being invoked ''as'' an apocalyptic scenario also approaches 1 (albeit at a slower rate), despite the fact that life still exists in Ukraine after the Chernobyl disaster.
** '''Second Corollary:''' The probability of a comparison to Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki as an apocalyptic scenario also approaches 1, in spite of the fact that nuclear reactors cannot possibly produce an atomic-bomb-like explosion.
** '''Third Corollary:''' Unless the forum is based on a related topic (e.g. physics, nuclear physics, science in general), the less a user knows about physics, the more likely they are to start such a thread.

* '''[[http://www.badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5240&p=90463*p90279 Scopie's Law]]:'''
** In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately.
** Corollary: Doing so gets you laughed out of the room.

* '''PoesLaw:'''
** Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of anything that ''someone'' won't mistake for the real thing.
** Corollary: Sufficiently advanced trolling is indistinguishable from genuine stupidity.

* '''The Law of Fakery:'''
** Anything fake which attracts enough attention will have some people vehemently proclaiming it's real. Anything real which attracts enough attention will have some people vehemently proclaiming it's fake.
** Corollary: If the creator confesses that it was fake, some people will ''still'' claim it's real and call the confession a fake.

* '''The Law of Mastery Jealousy:'''
** For any thread pertaining to a video which demonstrates an impressive mastery of a skill and/or game, as the thread grows longer, the probability of a post insulting the performer and instigating that he/she must have no life approaches one. Approximately 97% of the time, the post will also be evidence that the poster should enroll in remedial English classes.
** Corollary: Ironically, such a post will only prove that the ''poster'' has no life, because (a) nobody wants to hang out with an obnoxious jerk, and (b) why else would they have nothing better to do than to post such pointless comments?

* '''Law of Diminishing Attention Spans:'''
** Typos, spelling errors, or other syntactical errors in an otherwise well-written post will draw attention away from the meaning of the post, even if the meaning is still as clear as day. Several of these errors may cause the reader's brains to turn off altogether, prompting them to point out the errors instead of focusing on the meaning of the post.
** '''Corollary 1 (Dan's Debate Law):''' If you remind your opponent of a joke they heard, you lose the debate.
** '''Corollary 2:''' This also works with the above ''Godwin's Law'' and variations: [[http://xkcd.com/261/ say "Hitler", for example, and your opponent will become so excited that you fell into a standard "you lose the argument immediately" clause that the rest of your post will be completely ignored, regardless of how valid it was]].
** '''Corollary 3:''' Your opponent in a debate thread will try to maneuver you into invoking this law, so they can accuse you of using a ChewbaccaDefense.
** '''Corollary 4:''' Using a metaphor or analogy will derail the thread into a discussion about the metaphor or analogy itself. The simpler or clearer the metaphor or analogy is, the faster the derail will occur and the longer it will last.

* '''Skitt's Law:'''
** Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself.
** '''Murphy's Corollary:''' The frequency and magnitude of an error in a post are directly proportional to the degree of embarassment it will cause the poster.

* '''Law of Systematic Response (The Ping-Pong Discussion):'''
** If two or more users are locked in a debate, and their posts consist of chains of very short quotes and responses, it's already dissolved into a hopeless flame war and cannot be salvaged. The quotes will usually be taken horribly out of context and the responses will often involve name-calling.

* '''Law of Meta Discussions:''' In very analytical communities, debates will have a tendency to shift from arguing about the subject, to arguing about the argument itself. ("...and that's how we know the Earth is round." "That's not what you were arguing for five pages ago." "You're citing me out of context." "You've been citing your sources out of context for twenty pages! Here's a hundred examples of you doing that." "Here's a lengthy, bullet-pointed refutation of each of those examples." ...And so on.) When this happens, the debate has run its course and is on the verge of becoming either [[FlameWar flamey]] or horribly boring, and/or getting locked.

* '''The Dictionary Effect:''' As a corollary to the previous rule, once a debate has regressed to its participants quoting dictionary definitions in an attempt to prove their point, the discussion has passed its intellectual event horizon and has become unsalvageable. Called "[[http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LaynesLaw Layne's Law of Debate]]" on Wiki/WikiWikiWeb.

* '''Law of Efficacious Text:''' The longer the post to a debate thread, the more the poster will feel satisfied that they have addressed and flawlessly countered all of their opponent's points, regardless of whether or not they did or if their post even makes any sense.

* '''Law of {{Determinator}} Defense:''' As a debate thread progresses, for any statement asserted by a member who is still participating, the amount of mounting evidence against the assertion is inversely proportional to the odds that the author of the assertion will admit he/she was mistaken, and directly proportional to the odds that he/she will use InsaneTrollLogic trying to defend that assertion. See also SunkCostFallacy.

* '''Last Post Wins Theorem:'''
** As a flamewar gets longer and longer, all participants will find it increasingly boring, particularly if the original topic is forgotten, but will not stop until something forces them to in order to avoid giving their enemy the last word.
** '''Corollary:''' If you see a mod put in one last word on the subject of the debate immediately before locking a flamey thread, run far, far away from the forum as fast as you can. Chances are either the forum is about to implode in another flame war over this mod behavior, or the implosion has already begun.

* '''Atheismo's Law:''' If you talk about religion, it will lead to debate.

* '''Politico's Law:'''
** Any mention of politics will trigger a debate.
** '''Corollary 1:''' The longer said debate goes on, the less likely it is to ever be resolved or end.
** '''Corollary 2:''' There will be at least one SingleIssueWonk who will jump onto any use of a word that could conceivably be related to politics, no matter the context, and attempt to make a flamewar out of it.
** '''Corollary 3:''' As said debate drags on, the ratio of posts containing InsaneTrollLogic genuinely believed by the author to be true approaches 1.

* '''The Morality (Fandom) Wank Law:'''
** Any mention of morality or ethics will not only trigger a debate, but will also prompt at least one egotistical claim of moral superiority. This usually is done using InsaneTrollLogic and some variation on one or both of the following base arguments:
*** "Agreeing with my position makes one a perfect saint and disagreeing with it makes one a horrible immoral person."
*** The [[YouFailLogicForever ad hominem]]: "Clearly you're a horrible person, which makes me superior to you, which makes me right."
** '''The [[{{Pokemon}} Perish Song]] Corollary:''' If someone in a discussion attempts to support their position using morality or ethics, that conversation is immediately doomed and unsalvageable. If you're in the conversation, your best bet is to simply withdraw from it before the flame war erupts.

* '''The LawfulStupid Law of Morality:'''
** Any discussion on whether or not an action X is justifiable will eventually see at least one poster whose entire argument boils down to either "X is good because there is no law against it" or "X is bad because it is illegal".
** '''Corollary:''' In at least 4 out of 5 cases, this will also be based purely on the law where they live, completely ignoring any foreign laws on the subject.
** '''Corollary to the Corollary:''' If two such posters in the same thread are from two different countries and X is only illegal in one of those two countries, the thread will promptly explode into a very long and completely pointless ArgumentOfContradictions between those two posters.
** '''The First Amendment Corollary:''' 90% of invocations of the First Amendment to the US Constitution will be done by someone trying to excuse something incredibly stupid they (or their friend) just said, while simultaneously failing to understand that the First Amendment only guarantees that ''Congress'' can't abridge your right to free speech, and says nothing about forum moderators.

* '''Defending The Indefensible:'''
** No matter how much of a no-brainer a particular opinion may seem to the person who posted it (particularly where politics or religion are involved), someone is bound to take an opposing position even if doing so in RealLife would render him a pariah.
** Corollary: When this occurs, the chances of GodwinsLaw being invoked rises exponentially.
** Second corollary: There is at least a 90% chance that at least one person discussing the position (on either side) is a {{Troll}}. The chances that this is the original poster are about 2%.

* '''[[http://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/RPG_Lexica:STU Skarka's Law:]]''' Similar to Defending The Indefensible above, there is no behavior, practice, or act so reprehensible that you cannot find someone to defend it on the Internet.

* '''The Website/YouTube Comments Law:'''
** As any unmoderated discussion ([[http://xkcd.com/202/ such as YouTube comment threads]]) grows longer, the odds of a StrawmanPolitical or religious-themed {{Glurge}} being used approaches 1.
** '''Corollary:''' As any such discussion grows longer, the ratio of intelligent, well-thought-out posts approaches 0.

* '''Khan's Law:''' As the length of an anime-related discussion approaches infinity, the probability of the topic switching to [[SubbingVersusDubbing the relative merits of subtitles as opposed to dubs]] approaches 1.

* '''Skew Line Debate Rule:''' There will always be one debater whose clear grasp of grammar, facts and logic only serves to terrify the other forum denizens. This is because, despite their admirable education, they simply can't see why people keep thinking Robespierre [[ReignOfTerror did something wrong]]. %%needs clarification, not everyone will be familiar with the reference. --Another user asks: Robespierre, or skew lines? Because I, for one, won't pander to people who aren't familiar with Robespierre, especially with a relevant link sitting right there.

* '''The First Law of Discussion Non-Response Bias:''' Discussions tend to attract those with strong opinions, because moderates are less likely to make an effort to give their opinions.

* '''The Second Law of Discussion Non-Response Bias:''' Any posters who ''do'' voice a moderate or reasonable opinion will be ignored completely as the extremists continue sniping at each other. This may also be due to ''CAD's Theorem of Topic Closure'', mentioned earlier.

* '''The Third Law of Discussion Non-Response Bias:''' If a discussion starts getting heated from extreme opinions, the non-moderator members of TeamSwitzerland will give up on having a reasonable discussion and leave, causing the debate to get even ''more'' heated. Once this has occurred, the probability of a FlameWar erupting in the thread start to asymptotically approach one as the discussion continues.

* '''Debate Corollaries of Sturgeon's Law:'''
** 90% of all debate threads degenerate into crud.
** 90% of all posts in debate threads are crud.
** 90% of all people can't keep a debate intelligent and civil worth crud.
** 90% of all people in debate threads are not interested in having an intelligent and civil discussion, but are only interested in shoving their opinion down everyone else's throats and/or trying to make themselves feel superior.

* '''The Debate Corollary of [[InterruptedCooldownHug Hulks Cooldown Hug Corollary]]:''' Whenever a debate dangerously close to turning into a flame war is being defused by cooler heads, some idiot will rush in and flame.

* '''The Law of Diplomacy Futility:''' In a heated debate, occasionally one or more participants will try to make a concession in an attempt to make peace between sides because [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment they are not looking for a fight]]. At best, this will have no effect, and at worst, this will just encourage the belligerent minority who ''are'' looking to pick a fight. This is because the belligerents are also the ones who are intent on shoving their views down everyone else's throats and likely [[ChewbaccaDefense believe that the opponent backing down is a victory]], which makes them interpret the attempt at diplomacy as a sign that their obnoxious, forceful tactics are actually effective.

* '''The Field Expert Effect:''' Separating all or part of the content of a post into a list of bullet points will make the poster feel more important.

* '''Holy War Syndrome:''' If a user posts about a problem with a computer program that is one of a number of programs serving the same purpose, several replies will be people suggesting another of those programs, claiming how it is the best out of all programs of the kind. At least one such reply will suggest that using the program is, itself, the problem. In other words, God help you if you ever need help with anything Microsoft-related.

* '''The First Fundamental Theorem of Fan Feedback:''' Most non-professional critics and reviewers are just honest people who want to make a statement about some work and have their opinion taken seriously.

* '''The Second Fundamental Theorem of Fan Feedback:''' Most professional critics and reviewers are just honest people trying to stay employed, and couldn't really care less about whatever it is they are reviewing.

* '''The Third Fundamental Theorem of Fan Feedback:'''
** When the average user reads any kind of review, it does not affect their opinion of the work in question. Rather, it only affects their perceived peer pressure, serving to help them gauge how much they are allowed to like or dislike the work in public.
** '''Corollary 1:''' Some users are so sensitive to peer pressure that they will stop enjoying a work if it receives too much negative feedback. These users will feel obliged to fight back against the criticisms to "prove them wrong", thus fighting for their right to enjoy the work.
** '''Corollary 2:''' If a user enjoys a work which they know to be unpopular, a good portion of the user's enjoyment of the work will come from the thrill of standing out from the crowd. Similarly, users enjoy standing out from the crowd [[ItsPopularNowItSucks if the work is popular]].
** '''Corollary 3:''' Reviews have a greater chance of improving or damaging the reader's perception of the ''reviewer'' than the ''work'' based on the reader's perception of it and whether or not the reviewer agrees.

* '''The Fourth Fundamental Theorem of Fan Feedback:''' The only people who unconditionally take all feedback seriously are the work's creators. [[UnpleasableFanbase This sometimes gets them in trouble]].

* '''The Iron Bubble:''' Bloggers screen for spambots by necessity. They can screen for grammar or vulgarity without trouble. But if they screen out opinions, even if the opinion is "the Holocaust didn't kill all that many people and that's too bad," they'll be the petty tyrant of their domain within two months.

* '''The Bully Theorem:'''
** In every community, there is one member who will consistently display a negative or malicious attitude toward other users, the forum staff, or the forum itself. Said user will:
** Insist their antics shouldn't be taken seriously,
** Eventually be warned or banned by the forum staff,
** Complain up and down that the forum staff which banned them has no sense of humor or is taking things way too seriously.
** Corollary - If said user happens to also be a moderator or an admin, said user will likely be:
*** The creator of the forum and thus a root admin by default.
*** Friends with one or more of the mods or admins on the forum.
*** Often use their power to justify their attitudes toward other members or warn and/or ban any naysayers.
*** Often make a name for themselves ''because'' of their attitudes.
*** Will have little to no chance of being banned, punished or otherwise stripped of their rank for their attitude.
*** May have a small chance of prompting one or more moderators, admins or members to share that same attitude, but unlike the original, they will be punished.

* '''The Caste System:'''
** Members can bully those in a lower tier on the ForumPeckingOrder and see little to no punishment for it. But if a lower-ranked guy so much as criticizes someone in a higher caste, they're looking at anywhere from a public verbal whipping by the mods to being banned outright.
** '''The Nepotism Corollary:''' For purposes of this theorem only, being a friend of one or more mods automatically promotes one to The Old Guard.
** '''TheShepherd Exception:''' Communities with a sufficiently high ratio of [[TheShepherd Shepherds]] to other members are exempt from this caste system.

* '''Inevitable Troll Rule:'''
** Any forum focused around a single work or franchise is guaranteed to have at least one poster who hates the work or franchise in question and complains about it at every opportunity, despite the fact that the entire rest of the forum wants them to go away. This poster will be as annoying to everyone as possible, but will be careful to not actually break any rules, so they are rarely banned, or if they are, it is usually after a relatively long time.
** Escapist's Generalization: This troll will target any thread in the forum, including off-topic ones completely unrelated to the work the forum is based around.
** Corollary - If and when this poster ''does'' break a rule, it will more often than not lead to them being immediately banned for among the flimsiest reasons that other members typically get slapped with a warning, at most, had they done the same.

* '''Inevitable {{Jerkass}} Rule:'''
** Any forum not specifically aimed at an intelligent audience will inevitably attract some loud-mouthed, poorly-informed idiots who make [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Cirno]] look smart. Any forum which ''is'' specifically aimed at an intelligent audience will inevitably attract some arrogant, pretentious, and egotistical snobs who make [[TheBigBangTheory Sheldon Cooper]] seem downright humble. Either way, there's no avoiding them completely.
** '''Corollary:''' If a forum or subforum is intended for intelligent discussion, as it grows larger, the ratio of posts which actually constitute intelligent discussion approaches 0, and the ratio of posts written for the express purpose of making oneself feel superior and/or participating in snobbery pissing contests approaches 1.
** '''Corollary to the Corollary:''' Achieving intelligent discussion is sorta a Zen thing - the best way to achieve it is not to try too hard.

* '''The Me Too Guy:''' On every forum, there is at least one user who feels they don't fit in with the community, and will constantly refer to this fact by referring to themselves in most of their posts, qualifying every post as an opinion, apologizing profusely for other posts or actions, and eventually attempting to start a "Why does everyone hate me" thread. It is usually the case that this person would fit in just fine if it weren't for all of their desperate attempts to fit in. This user is especially prone to other laws such as the '''Boomerang Law''', the '''Name Change Cascade''', the '''Lock Picking Theorem''', and the '''Illusions of Grandeur Principle'''.

* '''Technology Nooblet Phenomenon:'''
** In a popular forum, there will always be at least one new user who will start out thinking that the forum administrators designed the forum software it uses and will request bug fixes and offer suggestions. They may also confuse anyone with moderator or comparable status with an admin.
** '''The Fix It Corollary:''' If the forum is about software or consumer electronics, there will always be at least one new user who thinks the forum administrators designed the software or device and should therefore be contacted in case of bugs or feature requests. This applies whether or not there is a forum section dedicated to such, an official bug report form and whether or not the forum is in any way associated with the company involved.

* '''Poster Ghost Rule:''' Every forum will have at least one member who hasn't been active for a long period of time, but everyone else remembers them and reminisces about their antics. You will be expected to know about them even if you only signed up a week ago.

* '''Lock Picking Theorem:'''
** When a new user creates a thread which is quickly locked, there is a 50% chance that they will make a thread asking why the thread was locked, demanding the thread to be unlocked, continuing the locked topic, or apologizing for being stupid enough to create the thread in the first place.
** The longer the new thread goes without being locked, the more closely it will come to resemble the original thread, including the exact same arguments and posters.
** The more the topic starter asks to restart the thread without starting whatever debates, flame wars and criticisms that locked the previous thread, the more likely:
## the same points, debates, flame wars and criticism will start up, making this new thread likely to be locked like the old one
## Will cause even ''more'' points, debates, flame wars and criticisms to start up in addition to the old points, usually calling out the user as being a hypocrite and/or the one to start the conflicts that locked the previous thread whether or not they really did so
## they more than likely ''will'' be the one to start it all over again and cause 1 and 2 to happen.

* '''Polyglot Syndrome:''':
** As a 100% English site grows bigger, the probability of finding a post written entirely in another language approaches 1. Said post rarely has a reason for being written in a different language, since obviously the user can navigate an English website.
** Corollary: There is a 90% chance said post will be written in Spanish.
** Addendum: If is an {{Anime}} or {{Manga}} site, than there is a 90% chance the post will be in Japanese.
** Corollary: If the forum has a primarily European audience and lacks an enforced 'English-only' rule, 1 in 10 threads will be in French, German or Russian.

* '''Wannabe Polyglot Syndrome''': If a community has a considerable number of people who speak a common second language but still mainly stick to using the community's primary language with each other, then there will also be at least one other person who claims to speak that second language despite having no qualifications beyond "I took a year of in college", if even that.
** Corollary: If the second language is Japanese, said user's vocabulary will most likely consist of "kawaii", "neko", "baka", and "desu". There is also a 50% chance this user mispronounces "neko" as "nickel".

* '''Official Secondary Language Principle:''':
** If a forum is based around a particular work or series which includes one or more usable constructed languages, words or short expressions from those languages will tend to be found in posts otherwise in English (or the native language of the forum) and tend to be widely understood even among those who do not speak the language to any greater degree.

* '''Dutch Multilingual Constant:''':
** Most multilingual forum-users that are able to speak three or more languages comfortably, if not fluently, will tend to be from a relatively small number of areas; Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, etc. It is also common that on any particular forum, the multilingual users [or at least half of them] will from the same area.

* '''Diversity Obliviousness Phenomenon:'''
** A new user whose first language is not English is usually automatically assumed to be a "noob" who is too lazy to type coherently.
** Any non-native speaker who apologizes in advance for their English will have a better command of the language than at least 60% of the forum posters.

* '''English Law:''' If a user expresses annoyance or puzzlement that Americans don't spell words the same way as everybody else, the first response will be that English didn't have standard spellings until the 19th century, after the first dictionaries were published in America.

* '''The Law of MisplacedNationalism Embarrassment:''' Seeing someone from your own home country make an idiot of themselves with MisplacedNationalism is embarrassing, but seeing someone from ''another'' country do it is ''more'' mortifying because it makes you realize just how much the idiot from your home country is embarrassing the country as a whole.

* '''Law of Sarcasm Infallibility:''' "Sarcasm always makes sense, even when it doesn't."
** On every forum, there will be at least one member (usually a veteran) who will task themselves with speaking only in sarcastic, witty one-liners. Said one-liners will be assumed by everybody to be meaningful, even if they actually don't make any sense.
** If the one-liner is clearly meaningless, its meaninglessness is assumed to be the meaning.
** '''"Pwned" Clause:''' If said one-liner has a spelling error, that error will be assumed to be part of the meaning too (and will be replicated by other users).

* '''Law of Reverse Irony Perception:''' When posting a Sacrastic or Ironic post the amount of people who recognise the Sarcasm is inverselly proportional to the amount of Emoticons used.

* '''Noob Effusion Axiom:''' If you make a habit of parodying annoying users, you will become just as annoying as they are.

* '''Illinia's Paradox (The Me Time Rule):''' If you are having a one-on-one conversation with an angsty user and trying to console them, it may seem as though the best way to help would be to sympathize and relate to them by telling about your own experiences with the subject. This will actually not cheer them up at all, because you are robbing them of attention.
--> '''Person 1:''' I'm depressed.
--> '''Person 2:''' I remember when I used to have problems with depression...
--> '''Person 1:''' Shut up, we're talking about my problems, not yours.

* '''Law Of Old'd:''' No matter how "new" news is, at least one person already knows it, probably from a different forum or corresponding chatroom. Even though a user will get flamed for posting "old news", there will always be several users who didn't know it before.

* '''Wimp Syndrome:'''
** On a board which advocates a specific series of games with multiple difficulty levels, the board's users will not take you seriously if you do not play on the [[EasyModeMockery hardest difficulty level]].
** However, if you claim to beat the game among the harder levels if not the hardest level of them all, you better be armed with screencaps.
** Corollary: DMD Syndrome: Only the highest difficulty level will warrant any respect from the community. The name is taken from the higheset difficulty level of VideoGame/DevilMayCry, which is called [[HarderThanHard Dante Must Die]].
** Corollary 2: This applies to games with ranking and reward levels such as Halo 3. The average member will be at the highest possible rank or close to it and often this will be to the point that to the average player, they are speaking a completely different language.
** Corollary 3: Players will eventually resort to lying about their achievements in order to fit in with the crowd.
** Corollary 4: If a board doesn't do this, a newcomer will immediately assume it does as soon as they are asked "what difficulty are you playing on?", even if it was being asked to help give advice based on that information.

* '''The Law Of Cosmic Balance:''' On a forum or website with favoritism voting, if someone or something has a skyrocketing perfect record, they will eventually receive the lowest possible vote by one or more members.

* '''The Sycophant Law''': Everyone always agrees with the forum owner.

* '''The Average Rating Sine-Curve''':
** On a site with score voting, a user or work of high caliber will gradually rise in its average rating score until it rises high enough on the charts to draw attention to itself, at which point fans of other works or friends of other users will vote it back down so their preferred entity has the better score. Once it gets knocked back down, said fans will forget about it, allowing its rating to gradually climb back up until the cycle repeats.
** Corollary: Due to this effect, nothing can stay on an all-time top-rated chart permanently, as being on the chart will attract people who will vote it down to make room for their own preferred entities.
** '''The Up And Away Corollary''': If there is only an upvote button and not a downvote button, works will attract more upvotes by simply being on the top-rated chart until they gain an unsurmountable lead, even when it is blatantly obvious to an unbiased observer that the work is outdated.
** '''The DeviantArt Corollary''': When a work is promoted to a spotlight position, the comments section will fill up with complaints about why this work was chosen instead of a certain other work of higher quality. If there is even a grain of truth in this statement, the conversation is likely to degrade into vicious attacks on the work until the creator deletes it or quits the site.

* '''Rule of Ratings''':
** Any time score voting is presented on a site, most voters will only give out the maximum or minimum possible scores, depending on whether they liked or hated whatever is being voted on. Any scores between the two might as well not exist.
** Corollary: If a poster cites a composite rating from a site such as MetaCritic or Rotten Tomatoes in support of his/her position, the poster in opposition will call into question the methods used by such sites.
** Corollary 2: Anyone who does give an intermediate rating may draw hostility from both sides for 'not being able to form an opinion', particularly if they give a rating exactly in the middle of the scale.
** Corollary 3 (The Front Page Corollary): Anything that gets featured on the front page will immediately get a ratings boost regardless of its actual quality, due to a flood of people who give the maximum rating to anything that doesn't suck out loud (and some things that do).

* '''The Law of Inevitable Statistic Abuse''':
** Any kind of numerical statistic displayed for users and/or submissions (such as post/edit count, average score vote, or "karma" points/"tokens" for users who contribute and/or are active), will inevitably cause some people to go to insane lengths to try and drive up their statistic(s) and/or lower those of others they dislike, usually through attempts to cheat the system, even if the stat is never taken the least bit seriously by the community. This represents a classic example of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodhart%27s_law Goodhart's Law]].
** '''First Corollary:''' Any kind of numerical statistic based on users' votes will inevitably cause some people to create ludicrous numbers of sockpuppet accounts for the sole purpose of such abuse on that statistic.
** '''Second Corollary:''' Nobody will care about any numerical statistic. Despite this, people may end up citing such statistics during a protracted flamewar, especially in the absence of another argument or when it has been reduced to arguing semantics.
** '''Third Corollary:''' Any system which rewards members for any such statistic will inevitably prove counterproductive as the people who actually get rewarded the most are those gaming the system, which will irritate those who actually contribute honestly.

* '''The Illusions of Grandeur Principle:'''
** The more someone calls attention to their talents, the less they will accomplish with them.
** Corollary: The more someone calls attention to their ''lack'' of talent, the more likely it is that they are actually quite talented.

* '''The Law of Image Overcompensation:''' The amount of effort a person, group, or organization puts into projecting any image for themselves is inversely proportional to how accurate that image is. This is ''especially'' true of politicians and advertising campaigns. For example, it's always the biggest homophobes who turn out to be ArmouredClosetGay. Likewise, the "pro-family" politicians are always the ones who have been cheating on their spouses, and "this is not your grandfather's car" means it most definitely ''is'' your grandfather's car.
** '''The Nickname Corollary:''' If a person's chosen screen name contains positive self-descriptive adjectives, it is safe to assume that the exact opposite is true of them.
*** '''The Left Hand Corollary:''' 39.6% of all kids between the age of 10 and 15 will have a username containing a reference to demons or death.
*** '''The [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Marvin]] Corollary:''' A similar proportion of young adults between the age of 16 and 20 will have a username containing a reference to mental disorder or prescription medication for same.
** '''The Euphemism Corollary:''' Much like "good neighborhood" is real estate advertisement code for "this property sucks, but there are some good ones adjacent to it", 90% of all uses of the following words or phrases will actually have the following meanings:
*** ''It is a known fact that...'': "I believe..." (credit goes to [[http://jcdverha.home.xs4all.nl/scijokes/8_2.html this page]])
*** ''Many/most believe'': "A couple other guys agree with me" (credit to the above link)
*** ''Experts agree'': Same as above.
*** ''Expert'': "Someone who agrees with me"
*** ''[[NoTrueScotsman True fans]]'': "People who agree with me"
*** ''Thought-provoking'': "Blatant propaganda for my side"
*** ''Honest'': As in HonestJohnsDealership.
*** ''Hard-working'': Either "I/He/She sucks at it, but I/he/she tries hard!" or "very enthusiastically barking up the wrong tree."
*** ''Clearly'': "If you don't agree with me, you're an idiot"
*** ''X is in denial'': "I'm in denial about X being right."
*** ''Leading X(s)'': "My favorite X(s)" or "(An) X(s) I cherry-picked"
*** ''Common sense'': "My opinion"
*** ''Mistakes were made'': "I/We screwed up royally but don't want to admit it"
** '''The "I Don't Mean to be Racist, But..." Corollary:''' The amount of effort someone expends trying to preemptively establish what they're about to say or do is ''not'' X is directly proportional to how egregiously X the next thing they do or say will be.

* '''The Inverse Confidence Law:''' The more confident someone is in their belief, the more likely they are misinformed or just flat-out wrong. Conversely, the more doubt one expresses in their belief, the more likely they are right. See also MillionToOneChance.
** This is known as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect Dunning-Kruger effect]] in academic circles. See also KnowNothingKnowItAll.
** '''The Loudness Corollary:''' The louder someone expresses a belief, the less likely they are right.
** '''The Condescension Corollary:''' The more condescending someone acts while expressing a belief, the less likely they are right.

* '''The Great Law of Amateur Game Development:'''
** If a person creates a thread about a game project in order to recruit help or otherwise advertise it, and they haven't started it yet, it will never be finished.
** If a team project/community project is started by a group of forum members, the chance of said project ever actually being completed falls to the same likelihood of ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'' being released. The sheer level of expectations of said idea, and the sheer production values level will also rise dramatically before it inevitably dies out. Therefore, the probability of the project being completed rapidly rises to 1 after fourteen years.
** '''Corollary:''' As soon as one member of the project quits, the project will fall apart even if finding a replacement would be trivial.
** '''The [[InYourNatureToDestroyYourselves DeskStar]] Corollary:''' A suspiciously large number of amateur game developers suffer a [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup fatal disk crash]] shortly after promising the moon and stars.

* '''Default Career Path:''' ''Everyone'' on the internet wants to be a game developer.
** '''Corollary:''' Those who don't, instead want to be a graphic designer.
** '''Corollary:''' Their credentials are usually limited to "I played a lot of games and I have feedback for the developers" or at best "I enrolled in a game design course".
** '''Corollary:''' Everyone who manages to point out a single mistake made by a professional game developer, or notices that the game developer can't actually ''play'' the game as well as they can, will feel entitled to the position of game developer.
** '''Corollary:''' As in any career field where supply vastly outnumbers demand, most game developers work very long hours for very little pay doing mind numbing grunt work.

* '''Nail in the Coffin Law:''' If a project or web site goes for an unusually long time without being updated, and the creator returns after the extended length of time to assure everyone the project is not dead, and they have not returned with one or more updates, the project is now officially dead. Exception: if the post contains absolutely no exclamation points, there is still a small glimmer of hope for the project to continue.

* '''Back of the Mind Theorem:''' If a project or web site goes for an unusually long time without being updated, and the creator has not explicitly announced their resignation (or invoked the Nail in the Coffin Law), they are almost certainly still intending to post again at some undetermined time in the future -- no matter how long it's been.

* '''[[http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/The_Brillant_Paula_Bean.aspx Paula Bean's Law:]]''' If a project goes for an unusually long time without being updated, and the project creator continually posts progress reports that are vague in nature ("It's going great!") or tiny inconsequential scraps of material without any specific references to the project or any solid evidence that they've made progress, they have almost certainly done absolutely nothing. If this happens from the start, the project itself might not even exist. This is especially true if the person is known to frequently post works-in-progress without actually finishing anything, showing that they are desperate for attention in any way they can obtain it. If they have something to show, they would have shown it by now.

* '''"This is Not 4chan" Rule:'''
** As the length of any "random/humorous image thread" grows longer, the probability of somebody getting the thread locked by posting an image that flagrantly violates forum rules approaches 1. They will then be angry about it after the fact.
** If the forum has no rules regarding images, the thread will eventually degrade into porn.

* '''Visual Zombification Postulate''': The more images are used as discourse in any given thread, the less said thread will tolerate independent thought. Imageboards, being at the very extreme of images-as-discourse, are hive minds that instantly detect a nonassimilated psyche.

* '''The Killing Joke:'''
** When more than two admins or big-name mods start to adopt "for the lulz" as their core guiding principle, the forum is on the verge of dying an agonizing death in a raging flame inferno.
** '''The Backfire Safeguard:''' If said admins and big-name mods are capable of admitting a mistake, this trend may be nipped in the bud by the initial flare-ups.

* '''[=McHabe's=] Rule:''' The mods are generally decent folks just trying to do their jobs. The forum creator is all but absent. However, the administrators' level is home to all the petty tyrants on the board - in the rare instances that they can resist the allure of [[ArtifactOfDoom the banhammer]], they'll still have no mercy in jeering you out of your insolent deviance.

* '''[=GreenCobra's=] Law:''' "Arguing with the mods is allowed. Winning an argument against the mods will get you banned." When the staff of a forum is strict, mods and admins will allow people to argue against their points in order to shoot down the counterarguments and strengthen their own opinions. When this fails and a user's rebuttals become increasingly difficult to counter, expect the staff to start pulling out topic locks, demerits, and banhammers.

* '''Gideon's Rule (The Red Flag of Masochism):''' If a user openly invites opposition to themselves -- be it competition in a video game, criticisms of their works, or counterpoints to their arguments in a debate -- and qualify it with something along the lines of "I always welcome being beaten/proven wrong/criticized, I enjoy it, it's how I learn"... it's your cue to run far, far away. This is because, 85% of the time, what the user ''really'' means is "I dare you to try, because I don't think it's possible". Either they're right, and they will pummel you into submission with their expertise, or they're wrong, and they will throw a tantrum when they are beaten. Either way, it's not someone you want to be caught disagreeing with.
** Note: If the user is part of the forum staff, this is probably an illustration of [=GreenCobra=]'s Law.
** Corollary: If the user is part of the small percentage that is genuinely seeking healthy competition or honest feedback, someone else will still wander into the conversation and start the war instead.

* '''Party on the Totem Pole Law:''' If a forum is made of a small group of tightly-knit friends, over 60% of the active users on the board will have moderator powers.
** '''The [=CoSC=] Corollary of Stubbornness''' - If the forum in question is a [[RolePlayingGame Role-Playing]] Forum, then this group of staff is often the only thing that keeps a site alive in periods of slow activity. Which may or may not be all the time.
** '''An Armed Society Is A Polite Society Theory''' - As the number of moderators as percentage of the forum population grows, the less their mod powers will see actual use.
** '''Corollary:''' As the population size of a forum increases, the less likely the group is to be tightly-knit, and the proportion of the members who have moderator powers decrease. This in turn causes each moderator to spend more of their posts keeping other members in line, and the proportion of mod posts written for that express purpose will approach one.
** '''Corollary to the Corollary:''' Under no circumstances should you search for all posts by a mod on a large forum and browse through the list. The sheer amount of stupidity and EpicFail the mod has to squash will make you facepalm hard enough to bruise yourself.
** '''IRC Topic Corollary:''' If such a community has an IRC channel, every regular will be given some level of op powers in it, if only for the express purpose of letting them goof around with the channel topic without also opening it up to abuse from spambots or trolls.

* '''The Private Clubhouse Effect''': If a small, tight-knit community gathers around a forum, as time passes more and more postings will have little to do with whatever is the forum's subject and instead will be just the regulars chit-chatting and hanging out with each other. This also applies to individual threads, which will go on pages-long tangents.

* '''The Loser's Fallacy (The First Law of the Special Olympics):''' 95% of all disputes on the internet are settled by maneuvering the losing party into a position where further dissent of any nature, correct or incorrect, demonstrates that they have no life.

* '''The Time Sink Theorem:''' A forum with an associated chatroom, IRC channel or similar will be less active than it would have been if it had no chatroom.

* '''+b Coherency:''' The topic of every chatroom, regardless of the site it is affiliated with, is randomness. Anyone who attempts to start a meaningful conversation will be disregarded or scorned for going off-topic.
** If two or more users attempt to start a meaningful conversation of any sort during a session of randomness, they will be directed to take their discussion somewhere private.
** If the site has multiple affiliated chatrooms, with one "general" chatroom and the rest dedicated to special topics or on-topic conversations, the "general" room will be devoted to randomness and all chatter will take place there, while the other rooms will remain mostly silent and/or empty.

* '''Harkster's Law of Logical Backfire:''' If a logical pattern or law is proven and defined as true, the law will more often be cited in support of ambiguous statements or falsehoods which appear to resemble the pattern, than it will be cited in support of the truths which it actually defines.

* '''Conservation of Intelligence:''' For a well-thought-out post, the longer it is and the more sources it cites, the more likely replies to it will consist of only one sentence that dismisses the entire argument through use of a [[TheWarOnStraw straw man]] and/or [[YouFailLogicForever logical fallacy]], usually both.
** Real life application of the LawOfOne.
** ''The Storm Shelter Corollary:'' Waiting until the initial wave of pointless replies passes by and then bumping the thread is a recipe for success.
** '''The "OK" Corollary:''' If two consecutive troll replies in a thread are exactly the same, every subsequent reply will be exactly the same as well as people flock to the bandwagon. Once this happens, the thread is impossible to salvage, but a new forum meme may emerge.

* '''The Law of Cherry Picking:''' If a user posts his or her side of an argument, and a number of other users try to refute it with well-thought-out posts and cited sources, the original user will only respond to the easiest replies to argue with, ignoring all of the others.
** Corollary: If a posts demands a source for a claim, and a source is produced, the next post invariably attacks the credibility of that source. Usually, this is solely on the basis that the source of a specific argument they disagree with also happens to disagree with the poster in general.
** Corollary: No matter how many sources a post cites, someone is still bound to think they know better than the original poster based entirely on the fact that the original poster has a view different from their own.
** Corollary: If a user says "call me X, but..." in a post, as the number of direct replies to that post increases, the odds approach one that one of those replies will consist of "You're X." and contribute absolutely nothing useful whatsoever, yet the poster of that reply will still somehow think that completely refutes the original post's argument.

* '''The "Information Wants to be Free" Paradox:''' On the official forums for any work, the harder the staff tries to censor spoilers and/or secrets, the easier it will be to find the same information on a fansite.
** This is a corollary to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect The Streisand Effect]], a law of the internet which states that the more effort is put into removing information from the internet, the more attention is called to that information, and the further it will spread.
** Corollary: The most efficient way to keep a spoiler or secret hidden is to just ask nicely once, within the spoilery section of the work itself if possible.

* '''Hell Hath No Trollbait:''' ''Never'' complain that a person has just callously spoiled a plotline where novices can see it. Trolls will flock in from all the forum, unleashing several missile salvos' worth of game-changing spoilers for everything from ''Film/CitizenKane'' to the eighth Harry Potter book.
** '''First Corollary:''' Most of these spoilers will be true.
** '''Application Paradox:''' Unless you are deliberately doing this in order to invoke the effect and get the entire plot for free. In that case, the other posters will make a point of being unhelpful.

* '''Blakeyrat's Law:''' Any discussion of an ad will quickly devolve into a discussion of the use and/or morality of ad-blockers.

* '''Corollary to Blakeyrat's Law:''' During the discussion of ad-blockers, somebody will invariably reply, "oh, this site has ads? I've never seen them", in the most condescending way possible.

* '''Thread Resuscitation Rule:''' If a thread has more than two replies in a row by the same poster (and it's not a double post or posted within a couple of hours of each other), then the topic is officially dead, and no amount of bumping can revive it. It's best to abandon it to the graveyard of the forum archives.

* '''First Law of Forum Necromancy:''' 50% of attempts at ThreadNecromancy will result in a stillborn topic that sinks to the bottom of the forum like a lead stone. The other 50% usually reignite the FlameWar that killed the topic the last time. Either way, the chances of rekindling a meaningful discussion from a raised thread are very slim.

* '''Second Law of Forum Necromancy:''' If a poster decides to start a new topic with the same subject rather than dig up an old topic, the first response will typically be a link to the old thread and/or an exhortation to "use the search button". Also see the ''Search Button Paradox'' rule.

* '''Signature Decay:''' As a user gets older (and hopefully more mature), the amount of images, titles and quotes in their signature and profile will decrease.

* '''The Justice Rust Theory:''' The smaller the userbase of a forum, the less the board's nonstandard special features (reputation, merits, etc) will be used.

* '''The "Get Off My Lawn" Rule:''' The older the average age of the forum members, the more likely it is that any young person (i.e under the age of 25) will not be able to comment on anything without being dismissed as a "noob" or a "youngster".

* '''The Nostalgia Filter Theory:''' Chances are, if a thread is started about some sort of media made after the average forum member's childhood, it will eventually devolve into, "Back in the day we had real shows, not this crap they have now." The same philosophy will always be applied to any news story. If there is a story about youth doing something bad and the average age is over 20, expect half the posts to be "All I did when I was little was play ''Pokemon'' and watch ''Power Rangers''.

* '''April First Is The Worst Law:'''
** Webmasters tend to love April Fools Day much, much more than the average user. Average users tend to get exceptionally bitter, even to the point of death threats, over online April Fools pranks.
** Corollary: Any news article or announcement released within a week of April 1st will be met with extreme skepticism, lest it be yet another April Fool's Day prank.
** Second Corollary: As the number of users posting April Fool's Day jokes increases, so does the number of moderator retaliations. Naturally, mods and admins posting their own jokes are exempt from this.
** Third Corollary: None of this will be cleaned up on April 2nd, and forum searches will be disproportionately likely to dig up joke threads.

* '''Smile! But Not Too Much!:''' In any forum that has emoticons beyond the default ones provided by the site, they will usually be:
** rips or custom sprites made specifically for the series
** recolors or restyles of the defaults to either fit the theme or provide a new set
** random animations or sprites found on the internet that may or may not have been stolen from a nearby adoptable site
** may sometimes include animations seen hundreds of times on several other videos, websites and so forth that may be so big it's pretty clear they weren't meant to be smileys.
** A rule that only between 3 to 20 of these smileys may be used in one post, which will then lead to at least one or more members to go above and beyond that
** An actual limit set on how many smileys may be used to avert or to work with after clause 1 happens, which will prompt hordes of angry topics to appear that will argue against the limit
** complaints that there are too many smileys
** complaints that there are too few smileys
** '''Corollary:''' If there is a smiley that is blatantly too big or low quality, its use in a post is a reliable indicator that the poster is under the age of 12.

* '''The Unfortunate Law of Wiki Humor:'''
** On a publically editable site, if a joke is absolutely perfect in every way, it will inevitably be outright removed, or edited into an imperfect joke. The only way to prevent this phenomenon is to lock the page.
** The more prominent a joke is (at the very top of a popular page, for example), the more likely someone will read the joke and simply ''not get it'', compelling them to replace it with their own which they think is actually funny.
** Some users may like the joke too much and add more of the same making the joke less sharp and snappy. This repeats until the joke is finally driven into the mud and promptly killed by another user.
** It is also likely to be read by a cranky admin or user who believes the site is "SeriousBusiness", and will be removed on the basis that humor is inappropriate for that particular page.
** The more awesome a joke is, the more likely it appeals specifically to a particular sense of humor, and so the more likely it will bother or offend someone who does not share that sense of humor.
** It is also likely that someone will like the joke but will find it too cryptic, and will remove its subtlety, which will lead to the evoking of the previous points by users who previously did not notice the joke there.
** It is also common that the users could simply grow bored with the joke, in all its perfection, and simply change it to something they find more fresh.

* '''Anchor Law:''' A forum has to be founded for a reason. It could be for people who live in your general area, Joseph Merrick enthusiasts, or even rebellion from an already-popular forum. It could be, and most often is, one tiny subforum that people drift away from as they become seasoned users. But if one founds a forum for people to talk about anything and everything, it will be lucky to last a month.
** Forums attached to popular sites will usually have dozens of subforums for every interest under the sun. Most of them will remain empty because users will have participated in the same discussions on other forums and will not feel like repeating everything they said on each and every site they join.
** Also, expect that when this type of forum stays open for a long time, 90% of the posts in any given category will be troll posts.

* '''Forum Creator Existence:''' If the person who created the forum leaves and gives the position to someone else, most of the time the forum will become inactive, end up closing or become a spam filled wasteland filled with trolls and flame wars.

* '''Law of Inverse Enforcement:'''
** The more a community complains about the rules imposed by the site, the more vehemently they will insist everyone adheres to their informal rules.
** Legal Corollary: Any community whose purpose is inherently illegal (ie- file sharing) will border on totalitarianism with regards to enforcing its own rules.

* '''Inherent Savagery Postulate''':
** When a previously unregulated community starts enforcing positive posts, this means it has begun its decline. If it elects to enforce negativity instead, it can burn like a merry hell-pit for years on end.

* '''Memetic Bash Law''': In unmoderated forums, whatever is the newest and most popular will be mercilessly bashed at every possible opportunity, such as Justin Bieber. You will see comments like: "This is real music, unlike Justin Bieber". Alternatively, people will start complaining about people doing this, even if nobody has yet, managing to be just as annoying as the original complainers.
** '''Bashing Bandwagon Corollary:''' At least half of the participants will not have heard the target being bashed, and at least a quarter would not have heard ''of'' the target were it not for the relentless bashing.

* '''The Law of Unbreakable Stereotyping:''' As the fandom of a widely popular show continues to exist, the odds of someone accusing the show of being completely generic approaches 1. For example, the longer ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' remains popular, the more inevitable it becomes that someone will label the show as "just another children's show".

* '''The Litmus of Utter Simplicity''': In a thread devoted to a work or genre of fiction, CTRL+F for the words "simply" and "utter". If both appear on the same page, then a significant portion of the user-base believes all the characters, insane evil clowns and impulsive twelve-year-olds included, should employ flawless strategy at all times. Ignore them if you want to enjoy anything.

* '''Undying Argument Rule:'''
** In a forum about something which is very divisive that splits the community, the argument will never die once and instead will be brought back to life every once in a while, unless the forum explicitly bans this topic of discussion.
** Corollary: This law covers topics such as AK-47 versus M-16, Beer versus Wine, Privatization versus Socialization, Ford versus Chevy, Rock versus Rap, Metal Band versus Metal Band, new Doctor Who versus old Doctor Who, Joel versus Mike, Kirk versus Picard, etc.
** '''Don't Touch That Button Corollary:''' The more often the mods remind members not to start or respond to these discussions, the more often members will.
** '''No Escape Corollary:''' If a new forum is developed in (or even next to) a fandom that includes one or more such "[[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/R/religious-issues.html religious issues]]", these arguments will spread to the new forum despite being completely valueless. In extreme cases, they may migrate mid-argument!

* '''[[UndeadHorseTrope Undying Horse]] Rule:'''
** Any conversation an a public forum which has reached a resolution (questions answered, miscommunication or misunderstanding cleared up, etc.) but not locked by a mod will still continue for at least one further page by bystanders rehashing previously made statements thinking they have something new to contribute.
** '''First Corollary:''' As the number of members on the forum and the length of the original conversation increases, the odds of this undead horse conversation recursively spawning yet another one asymptotically approaches 1.
** '''Second Corollary:''' If a clarifying question receives a clear answer, at least 2 other people will still proceed to ask the exact same question again.
** '''Third Corollary:''' If someone uses an argument that has already been disputed earlier in the thread and someone else uses the same dispute, the former will accuse the latter of steering the argument in circles, even if he himself didn't contribute anything new in the argument.

* '''Moot's Law:''' As an online community grows in age and size, the odds of the administrator, moderators, or site's founder being called a faggot approaches one.

* '''Law of the Quicksilver Camwhore:'''
** On forums with dedicated user photo threads, the sooner a new user posts a photo of themselves, the sooner they will leave forever.
** '''First Corollary:''' If you see a post in such a thread made by someone with a post count of less than one hundred, chances are that you've just about seen the last of them.
** '''Second Corollary:''' Users whose avatars are self-portraits will either be the first ones gone, or go on to become the worst and most persistent kind of attention whore.

* '''One More Last Post Law:''' If a participant of a forum debate declares they're fed up with it and are posting in the thread for the last time, the probability of them posting again after someone replies to their post is 1 until they stop claiming that the subsequent post is really, ''really'' their last post.

* '''Inverse Attraction Effect:''' When someone starts a thread seeking fans/supporters of something (ex. "Who else here likes Literature/{{Twilight}}?") on a forum not devoted to that thing, the thread is going to primarily attract people who [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike dislike it and would like to tell the original poster about that]]. The reverse is also true (ex. "Who else thinks anime is too popular?" will rally the fans).

* '''"But Everyone Else Jumped Off The Bridge Too!" Law:'''
** Valid criticism of one entity (literally anything, from a politician to a fiction series or even a [[{{Shipping}} pairing]]) will draw a bunch of its supporters to rampantly dig up as much similar dirt as they can on other entities in the same category (other politicians, series, pairings, etc.) and try to cite it as if that excuses the flaws of the original subject.
** '''First Corollary:''' Each time this happens in a given thread, the thread risks becoming an unsalvageably dull "Duck Season! Rabbit Season!" war about which entity is worse with respect to these flaws. The odds of this approach one with each successive occurrence.
** '''Second Corollary:''' If the subject is political in nature, few to no people will actually try to suggest anything to ''fix'' these problems being cited. Those who do will be ignored.

* '''"And Justice For All" Rule:'''
** On any site, when you're caught by the mods doing something that's technically forbidden but nevertheless often done by the participants, any attempt to defend yourself by pointing out that you're not the only one doing it will be met with the exact response "Well, [tell us who they are,] they should be banned too".
** '''Corollary:''' If you tell the mods who they are, less than 50% of them will be actually punished. The ones who are likely to be are often any resident trolls (see ''Troll Grandfather Clause''), or inactive or universally disliked users.

* '''"Troll Grandfather Clause"''': On any forum, chances are there is at least one person who, if he/she isn't a troll, is pretty close. This person will be allowed to say whatever they want to say and will never be perma-banned, (if banned at all) but anyone else who says what they say will be banned. Often, this person arrived before the forum had many rules, or when the forum only had a few mods. Sometimes the person is being kept around as a joke, or as an example of what not to do. In forums were one's "rank" can be changed by the user or administrator, chances are their rank will lampshade that they are a troll.
** Corollary: Some forums will ban the Troll Grandfather but never more than a few days at a time, regardless of how many times they are banned. These Trolls will likely wear their history of bans with pride on their signature.

* '''"The Law of Emotion"''': The likeliness that everyone will ignore your post increases after the use of two emoticons. Moreso if your post is the first post.

* '''"The Law of Excessive Punctuation"''': The average number of punctuation marks between the last word of each sentence in a post and the first word of the next sentence is directly proportional to the likelihood that everyone will ignore the post, unless the ratio is less than 1, in which case it is inversely proportional.

* '''"Déjà vu:"''' The longer a thread becomes, the more likely that users will skip through it without reading any posts and will say the exact same thing someone else said a few posts ago.

* '''[=DeMyers'=] First Law:''' Anyone who brings Young Earth Creationism into an argument - that is not about creation, the origins of life or the age of Earth - requires no further serious consideration and is deemed to have lost the argument.

* '''[=DeMyers'=] Second Law:''' Anyone who posts an argument which is largely quotations can be very safely ignored and is deemed to have lost the argument before it has begun.

* '''[=DeMyers'=] Third Law:''' Anyone who posts a picture with a caption which does anything other than describe the picture is deemed to have already lost on the point they were trying to make and it can be ignored.

* '''Danth's Law:''' Anyone who loudly insists that they've won an argument has lost.

* '''Pommer's Law:''' Information on the Internet will change someone's opinion on a subject from nonexistent to wrong.

* '''Cohen's Law:''' Whoever resorts to the argument that ‘whoever resorts to the argument that... ...has automatically lost the debate’ has automatically lost the debate.

* '''The Law of Incorrect Warnings:''' Any post beginning in "I don't want to X" or similar constructions will inevitably X, e.g., a post that begins "I don't mean to rant, but..." will turn into a rant.

* '''The Sensitivity as Bait Rule:''' Should a member become vocally offended at a phrase or word that is impolite but allowed to be used according to the forum rules, there will be a sudden spike in the uses of the phrases or words in question. This is often due to trolls seeing an easy target.

* '''The Internet Project Law:''' Attempts at starting a collaborative project will most likely fizzle out due to a lack of participants that are interested, have the needed skills and have the time and/or money to spare, especially if any element of it requires meeting in person at some point.

* '''The 'Flying Over the Head' Law:''' Any arguments that require difficult or complex skills will be ignored by the intended recipient, due to lacking said skills.

* '''The Logic Gate Law:''' When a post contains multiple statements, users who do not agree with every single point will post a negative reply criticising the points they disagree with.
** '''Corollary:''' If the forum uses an upvote/downvote system, any post containing enough non-trivial points will get downvoted.

* '''Martin-Jordan Theorem:''' As the length of a discussion of ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' or ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' approaches infinity, the probability of it being compared to the other approaches 1.

* '''Secondary Forum Law:''' When a topic has a few prominent related forums, the more prominent a member is on one forum, the more likely they become to register on the others, although usually posting at a lower rate.
** '''Corollary:''' New users to one forum are also more likely to register on related forums.

* '''Spam/Flamebucket Law:''' Any attempt to make a specific board for trolls and/or spammers to remain in will eventually fail because the trolls and/or spammers will eventually run out of prey and move back to the rest of the boards.

* '''Stock Forum Games Law:''' Every single forum with a Forum Game section will include a thread involving twisting an above user's wish, a thread about "What first comes to mind after seeing the above word", a thread about continuing a story with one word to a sentence per post, and a thread for counting before a member of a certain group (normally admins or the gender the forum is less popular with) resets the count.

* '''Late to the Party Rule:''' 98% of questions beginning "Has anyone else noticed..." in thread titles have the answer "Yes".

* '''Betteridge Rule:''' 98% of leading or speculative questions in thread titles have the answer "No".

* '''The Law of Forum Selling''': If a forum gets sold to a large corporation, the chances of it staying active are near enough nonexistent. It will also often be just left to stagnate until closed down.

* '''The {{Fantendo}} Law''': The larger a website, especially a wiki, grows, especially a wiki that allows non-registered users to edit, the higher the likelihood is that it will be filled with boring, uninspired list articles. The staff of said website will often complain about how something needs to be done, but never actually do anything. The page/thread count in said website will often be well over 10,000.
** Most of the pages will have uninspired names, often made from [[Administrivia/EverythingsWorseWithSnowclones Snowclones]]. For example, on a website that allows Mario game ideas, expect to see from 50 to 400 pages called "New Super Mario Bros ____". Often said blank is a symbol such as a triangle or a music note for no reason other than "they weren't taken yet."

* '''The Chatroulette Law of Nudity:''' The willingness of a user to post and freely distribute nude and/or lewd pictures and/or videos of themselves online is inversely proportional to the number of other users who actually want to see such material, and directly proportional to the number of people who will reach for the BrainBleach if they see that material.

* '''Gore's Law:''' As the length of an online climate change discussion approaches infinity, the probability of the anti-AGW arguments descending into attacks on Al Gore approaches 1.

* '''Martin's Law:''' If during an online argument anyone accuses their interlocutor of living in their parents' basement, the argument is over and the accuser has lost.

* '''Martin's Law, Reflexive Corollary:''' If during an online argument anyone accuses their interlocutor of living in their parents' basement, the accuser has identified themselves as exactly the sort of internet troll who may well live in their parents' basement.

* '''The "One and Done" Law''': If a forum has a dedicated section for users to make a post introducing themselves, there is a high probability that this will be the only post they make.

* '''The "Lock the Gates" Phenomonen''': If a forum has been online for an extended amount of time, and veterens hang around, new players will cease to stay due to the use of inside jokes, phrases and just an air of 'us, not you'. When the length a forum has been online approaches infinity, the chance a new user will stay approaches 0%.
** '''Corollary''': If veterans return to the forum after an extended amount of time, whether it be for a special event or not, they will almost positively be negative to all players, excluding other vets.
** '''Corollary to the Corollary''': Veterans who have come back for no reason then to hate and troll, will directly hate other veterans who dont hate the forum's franchise/topic/ect.

* '''Kersplusho's Law''': If a staff member who is hated by many members creates a thread asking what they can do better, then 3 things will happen
** 70% of comments will be honest opinions and 30% will be troll comments which consist of 1-5 words.
** A string of threads asking the same questions by non hated staff (and sometimes members) will pop up
** 80% of comments of ^ threads will be comments of how much they hate these threads, 20% will be the hated staff members saying they did it before it was cool, and 100% will consist of trolly/sarcastic comments. Nothing will be honest feedback

* '''The Twilight Infectioning Effect''': If a thread ever mentions Twilight, then the thread will instantly turn into:
** A thread hating on twilight
** A thread about the possibility of vampires
** A thread where people will threaten, always threaten, people with other twilight opinions

* '''The law of great ideas''': The more promoted an idea is, the more it is likely to come from someone who is never going to be able to act on it.
* '''The law of bugs''': The more obvious and easy to trigger a bug is, the more people are going to do it on purpose.
** Corollary: The more broken a bug is, the more people are going to embrace it.
** Corollary: The chance of a bug being fixed is inversely proportional to how abused it is to circumvent system limitations.
** Corollary: If a bug is fixed, people are going to complain about missing it.
** Corollary: As the number of attempts to fix a bug goes up, the chance of successfully fixing it goes down.
* '''The law of overriding problems''': The more noticeable a problem is in something, the less likely discussion about other topics will be.

%%% New rules go above this line.

!!!Rules for adding new entries:
* New entries can be posted next to those they directly relate to, otherwise at the bottom. There are no fixed categories. (Yet.)
* The rules don't have to be true, they just have to ''sound'' like they are, to the point where a lot of people agree with you. [[YouFailStatisticsForever You're welcome to pull statistics]] [[AssPull out of nowhere]] [[LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics if they sound right]].
* Try to keep the "rant" factor down. Don't post new entries just to vent about something that happened to you or to bash people. If you must, then disguise that fact with an intelligent and cleverly-worded entry.
* Giving your entry a name is optional. Look at the RPG cliche list or trope naming conventions for inspiration. If you really like a law that you yourself made up, you can name it after yourself.
* If you want to remove an entry, first go to the discussion page and see if anyone else disagrees with the entry.
* Above all, have fun!
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