Rotten.com started out as a Shock Site with a lot of Nightmare Fuel or otherwise bizarre imagery. Most of it photographs or pictures of gruesome accidents, decapitations, corpses, illnesses or otherwise disgusting acts.
"The Rotten Library" in particular was perhaps the most well known section of the site and also of interest to people who are not interested in gruesome Nightmare Fuel imagery. The library featured several funny and cleverly written articles about various topics, described by the site as: "all that mankind swore to forget, but which we have trapped in agonizing clarity".
As of November 2017, Rotten.com is down, although it's easily accessible via archive.org.
This site provides examples of the following tropes:
- Amusing Injuries: Rotten often posts funny comments beneath the gruesome pictures of accidents, injuries and deaths they post on the site.
- Atomic Hate: There's a critical Rotten Library article about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: The Rotten Library has several articles about religion, religious cults and their leaders. All of them pinpoint the absurdities and corruptness behind most of the ideas and their founders.
- There are also several articles about superstition and pseudo science, debunking these myths.
- Biography: The Rotten Library has several biographical articles about various celebrities. Some of them short, others longer, most of them very subjective, yet true to the facts.
- Black Comedy: The overall tone of the comments beneath the shocking photographs and in the articles in the Rotten Library.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to other sites, it can be.
- Body Horror: There are a few articles and photographs that show and talk about awful diseases and decapitations.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Several articles in the rotten library are about people like this.
- Crapsack World and Crapsaccharine World: The site shows the world as a frightening and, well, rotten place. Several articles in the Rotten Library talk about cruel rulers and conquerors, corrupt politicians and religious leaders, execution methods, torture devices, massacres, natural disasters, diseases, weapons, racist ideologies, yet they also have fun with it, by keeping an ironic style. Apart from the worst atrocities in mankind's history the Rotten Library also offers articles about more amusing and less nihilistic topics.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Several photographs show graphic photos of people who died in sometimes bizarre ways.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: The Rotten Library features an article about masturbation.
- Death as Comedy: Often treated that way.
- Dem Bones: The site's logo has a grinning skeleton as its mascot, taken from a medieval picture.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Rotten Library has a couple of articles about cryptozoological beings.
- Humans Are Bastards: The overall conclusion you might reach when you read much of the content in the Rotten Library.
- Humans Are Morons: See above.
- Human Sacrifice: Has an article about this topic.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Rotten Library has an article about cannibalism.
- Intercourse with You: The Rotten Library has an entire section devoted to sexual topics.
- Kill the Cutie: The tone of writing borders between irony and cynicism.
- Mad Artist: The Rotten Library has several articles about mad artists.
- My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Several articles show the darker side of American history, politics and culture, yet other countries don't come off much better.
- A Nuclear Error: There are articles about Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island incident.
- Sarcasm Failure: The biographical writeup of Fred Rogers is completely sincere, even reverential, managing only a little token snark about George W. Bush mispronouncing the name of his show.
- Schmuck Bait: Several articles have intrigueing titles or descriptions, inspiring one to click on them.
- Shout-Out: The site's tagline, "When Hell is full the dead will walk the Earth" is a nod to the zombie movie Dawn of the Dead (1978).
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Despite the cynical tone of many of the articles in the Rotten Library the author(s) can write touchingly about certain people and topics. For instance, the article about Mr. Rogers is actually really sweet.
- Take That!: Certain people or topics don't come off very well in the site's writings.
- Warts and All: The site doesn't paint a romanticized version of the world. The darker sides of so-called (American) heroes and history are discussed in detail.