Fark is a community news aggregator with irreverent humor, created by Drew Curtis in 1999. Fark was inspired by Curtis' love for bizarre, unusual, or just plain stupid news stories. Before user-driven content was really the "in" thing, Fark was already allowing website viewers to nominate such articles for consideration.
Typically, a motivated "farker" will find an odd story somewhere online, think of a witty "headline" to list beside the link, and add one of a list of predefined "tags" that tell the reader what to expect. Only the best postings* make it to the main page, while lists of all submissions can be viewed by subscribing to the $10-per-month TotalFark. Consequently, having one's headline "greenlit" is a sign of prestige among the farking community. Once a headline is posted, comments can be viewed and made, blog-style, by clicking on the number to the right of the posted headline.
Like everything else that's lasted this long, it's undergone a number of changes and evolutions, including the addition of daily (or semi-daily, or bi-daily) Photoshop contests, an "UltraFark" e-mail address, and (of course) Wil Wheaton. During it's glory years, it was a hotbed of Memetic Mutation, and quite a few of the Internet's most memorable memes were, if not born, proliferated at Fark. At it's peak, it was one of the top 100 most visited English websites. That's some serious proliferation.
If you're considering farking for yourself, there are a few things you should remember: Fark is one of the more intelligent and wittier communities online, but it's not nearly as nice as TV Tropes. You'll probably get Trolled, and flame wars break out almost hourly. A little research, thick skin, capitalization, and punctuation will go a long way if you plan on jumping in the deep end of the pool.
Oh, and, yes, there is a book.
This website provides examples of:
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: Happens every so often in the comments of the story.
- Allegedly Free Site: TotalFark costs $10 ($5 until 2020) a month; many such users look down upon "liters".
- Mainly because all of the trolls and shills are liters as they don't want to spend money.
- The site also lets users give a TotalFark subscription to someone else. Impress the right person ...
- Ascended Meme: The catch-quotes at the top of the page as of the 2011 redesign. Examples include "Pricipal caught sayof" and "You'll get over it."
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: TotalFark subscriptions enable viewers to peruse headlines not approved for posting on the main page... even though most of them aren't that great. Occasionally TFers can "poach" a greenlight by resubmitting a good story with a better headline.
- When a link gets posted with a poor or entirely lacking pun or joke title, someone will almost inevitably comment "I submitted this with a better headline". If a story is already greenlit but a truly brilliant and humorous headline for the same story gets submitted, the admins may greenlight it anyway with a REPEAT tag.
- Berserk Button: Whatever you do, do not submit multiple newsflashes for a story about Phil Spector. Actually, don't submit multiple newsflashes at all.
- Farkers do not approve of Alternative Medicine or Anti-vaccination. They have a special hatred for Jenny McCarthy, even though they drool over her tits.
- Black Comedy: Nothing is sacred there. (Except Fark itself, and the founder, mods, and policies thereof. Step on those toes, and you'll find yourself on the wrong end of all manner of dickery.)
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Often, headlines are presented in the form of a setup and a multiple choice of what to do. Option c) will be inevitably be the squick. And it will also inevitably be what actually happened, since bread and eggs don't make for good Fark stories. This meme is so overused it's just as often subverted these days, with a), b), and c) being equally outlandish (in which case the answer will be d) all of the above).
- Catchphrase: Too many to list, but including "Duke sucks," "You'll get over it," and "Still no cure for cancer."
- Captain Obvious: Former KABC reporter Ric Romero is Captain Obvious to Farkers (due to his habit of stating the blindingly obvious or investigating something long after its time has passed). He is aware of his 'fame' and seems to enjoy it.
- Continuity Nod: The Followup tag.
- Don't Explain the Joke: "Oh, it's funny because Drew went to Kentucky, and thus hates Duke and repeatedly says the phrase whenever they lose."
- "Gene Masseth" is just an ordinary name. Farkers like to pretend it has some obscene double meaning (like "Heywood Jablome") to troll people who are afraid to admit they don't get the joke.
- Double Meaning: Used regularly in the headlines. "I was wondering what was wrong with this <insert out of control vehicle or unusual flying object here> when it struck me".
- Eagle Land: The "'MURICA" tag covers examples of Type B/Boorish.
- Epic Fail: Stories that feature this get the "Fail" tag.
- Flame Bait: The administrators (who approve the headlines) are mostly conservative. The readers are mostly liberal. What happens is exactly what you'd suspect.
- As of the most recent reset the admins and the readers are now both mostly liberal (except for Drew himself that is).
- Fun with Autocensors: The built-in filter replaces "first comment" with "weeners," and "first post" with "boobies" for instance.
- Golden Mean Fallacy: Used so often by Strawman Political "Fark Independents"note , it garnered its own initialism: BSABSVR ("Both sides are bad, so vote Republican.")
- Here Comes the Science: Ben Affleck did an ad in the UK that featured the line, "Here comes the SCIENCE!" Fark got hold of it and a meme was born and that meme grew up and became a Trope Namer.
- Human-Interest Story: Usually accompanied by a "Sappy" tag and a headline mentioning how dusty it is in here. As of 2019, they have their own Dawww category.
- Hurricane of Puns: Comment threads often turn into one o' these.
- LOLCats: Especially on Caturday.
- Memetic Mutation: In addition to memes harvested from the web as a whole, the on-site Photoshop contests allow viewers to watch memes mutate visually from day to day.
- NIXON, YOU DOLT!Explanation
- I work for Fark, so I'm really getting a kick out of some of these replies...Explanation
- This entry is so obvious that Ric Romero reported it.Explanation
- RON PAUL does not approve of this foolishness.Explanation
- Your dog wants steak.Explanation
- Gene Masseth
- "I have to be at the gym in 26 minutes."Explanation
- X is closed, Y out front should have told you. Though it may be a Discredited Meme after the COVID-19 Pandemic made this apply for everything.
- Mood Whiplash: The comments from users vary wildly from sympathetic to acerbic, no matter the topic.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Often enough as a headline, usually following; "Citizen/Student does (insert something good or awesome) for his community/school. Person gets reward/scholarship for his deed. Just kidding! Person gets arrested/suspended."
- Also, "(insert mundane thing here)? That's a jailin'."note
- Not Safe for Work: Links posted by some users are damaging to sanity.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Abe Vigoda's mistaken death report was such a beloved Running Gag that Farkers were stunned when he actually died in January 2016.
- Oh, Crap!: A Total Fark deal during the Covid Pandemic was called simply Oh Fark.
- Only in Florida: So much so that the state has its own tag. See Acceptable Targets.
- Sarcasm Failure: Frequently accompanied by the "Newsflash" or "Sad" tags, momentous or solemn events are not posted with snark, but with simple, serious listings.
- Not always true (about the news flashes, at least)
- ...but most obituary threads fill up with "wrong" RIP wishes...including at least one for Abe Vigoda. Or, more recently, A pic of Vigoda saying, "I'm still here, bitches". Until January 26, 2016, when Vigoda died for real. They then transferred the meme to Betty White or Keith Richards.
- Sarcasm Mode
- Schmuck Bait: Lampshaded whenever a hot actress in very little clothing is featured. After that fact is stated, most headlines go off into Cloud Cuckoo Land, surmising that the Farker has already clicked the link. Sometimes, this backfires: "and let this be a lesson to you to read the entire headline before clicking!"
- Scunthorpe Problem: The fark filters have become in-jokes themselves. For example, they change the celebrated municipality to Scoonthorpe thanks to Country Matters.
- Shout-Out: At least one headline a day will be a not-so-hidden reference to something. More commonly, multiple ones will be.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The site, its founder, and most of the clientele.
"Or do you think that killing Glass-Steagall and instituting Graham-Leach-Bailey sprung fully-formed from some legislator's head like f*cking Pallas Athena?"
- A brilliant example, from an October 2011 political thread:
"Germany is doing pretty damned good, thanks to a mix of fiscal sensibility, employer subsidies, and broad-based government investment in the private economy. See also: Sweden. Or don't, because you might encounter the real f*cking world, and the Hayekian dildo you've been riding so hard would break."
- This comment, in a thread about the Spanish economy, uses the trope to great effect:
- Spell My Name with an "S": The site readership don't much care if you call them "farkers" or "Farkers." On the other hand, the Grammar Nazis will show no mercy to misspelled or poorly-punctuated headlines.
- Too Dumb to Live: The "Dumbass" tag is normally given, although an actual death may use a different tag instead.
- Troll: Notable for its collection of very bizarre trolls.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The community might kill over bacon and beer. Well, bacon, anyway. They'll definitely kill over beer.
- True Companions: Get on their good side and Farkers will be your friends for life. Particularly TFers and Maddites (The Farkers who post on the daily MSNBC thread).
- Unusual Euphemism: Fark, of course. Also, shiat and coont.
- World of Pun: At least one approved article each day will be of this kind.
- In addition to the lame puns in the headlines themselves, the tags are sometimes subject to punning: "Sappy" on a story about trees, "Asinine" on one about rear-ends, "Weeners" on one about sausages or Dachshunds, "Plug" on stories about plumbing or electrical mishaps, etc.
- Headlines with Sarah Jessica Parker or Julia Roberts will invariably have a horse pun thrown in (or stories about horses might mention either actress). See, it's funny because their faces are elongated and their teeth are prominent, not unlike a horse.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: For all that Fark has a cynical heart as cold as space and twice as dark, jokes about kids getting hurt or killed do not go over well.
- Yet Another Baby Panda: An old Fark meme is news stories about ugly-ass (read: freakin' adorable) baby animals being born.
- You Can Panic Now: "EVERYBODY PANIC" often accompanies sensationalist stories.