July 11th, 2015 by Mike Fulton
Categories: Humor, Miscellaneous Rambling, Web Design & Programming

HTML5 has been the big new thing around the internet for about 6 or 7 years now, and it got me thinking that, hey, it’s probably not too long before someone decides that the next version is overdue.  So I have to think HTML6 is peeking around the corner.

While there’s no doubt plenty of new features that will come with HTML6, I’d like to spend a moment to suggest some new tags that I think are sorely missing from the markup language. Combined with a reasonable application of CSS styles to properly set them off, these new tags would help users convey a greater depth of meaning to their web pages, comments, and message threads.

< sarcasm > Best New Feature Ever < / sarcasm >

One of the most glaring omissions in the HTML specification, going all the way back to the original version, is a lack of any tags to indicate the intended tone of voice. And as a result, one of the biggest problems with the entire internet is that people often don’t understand when a post is intended to be taken at something other than face value.

Being sarcastic is often referred to as being a “smart ass” — usually by those on the receiving end.  However, I didn’t think the idea of a new < smartass > tag would really get too much traction.

I really do think this tag would be a huge improvement to the internet, HTML, and life in general.

< satire > Because Sometimes Sarcasm Is Too Snarky < / satire >

Satire and sarcasm are related but not quite the same thing, so they really do need separate tags. Sarcasm is usually much more snarky, more obvious, and often has an undercurrent of anger and/or bitterness so it. Sarcasm is typically expressed by presenting the opposite of the desired argument. Satire is more subtle, and more tongue-in-cheek.

On many occasions I’ve seen someone post a link on Facebook and then go off making some angry comment about it, and it’s clear that they didn’t realize that The Onion is a satire website.

Parody is a less subtle version of satire. I don’t really think we need a separate tag for it, however. Thoughts? Questions? Perhaps we should put out an RFC on this?

< flame > Bitch Bitch Bitch < / flame >

Another good tone-of-voice tag would be flame.  This would indicate a block of text where someone is going off on a rant about something.  Usually it’s a complaint of some sort, but not always. Sometimes it’s just a very impassioned response to another post in a message thread. Expect cursing, WORDS IN ALL CAPITALS, and other good stuff.

It’s worth noting that this tag is already used informally by many people, albeit in an inconsistent fashion.  It’s time to make it official!

< troll > Oh Yeah, Well Nazis So There! < / troll >

An interesting internet phenomenon is the troll. No, not the mythical creature who lives under a bridge and attacks passers-by. An internet troll is someone who makes posts or comments on a message thread of some sort which are intended to manipulate other users, to provoke a certain response.

There aren’t any specific words or phrases to watch for in a troll post.  However, invoking Nazis, communists, gay marriage, former President George W. Bush, or President Obama are all traditional tactics of the modern internet troll.  A really good troll can combine all of those topics into the opening sentence of their post. But depending on the overall subject matter, a troll’s post really could be almost anything. For example,

Batman would beat Superman in a fight

J.J. Abrams has ruined Star Trek and now he’s gonna ruin Star Wars

The Nazis Took Everybody’s Guns Away Too!

Gay Marriage is For Faggots

I apologize for that last one. Although it’s arguably true, I realize that last word is considered a bit offensive. Unless you’re British and talking about cigarettes. However, it wasn’t my intention to offend, but rather to demonstrate how being offensive is one of the troll’s prime weapons.  There’s almost always some part of a troll’s post that’s offensive to someone.

I guess I have to apologize for the first example, as well.  It should be clear to anybody paying attention that Superman could heat-vision Batman into ashes from the other side of the solar system, so really, Batman has exactly as much of a chance to win as Superman decides to give him.

The main attribute of a troll’s post is extremism. It’s extremely offensive, or extremely conservative, liberal, or even extremely center-of-the-dotted-white-line middle-road.  More often than not, the direction of the extremism more or less indicates the direction of the troll’s actual option, but playing devil’s advocate is also quite common, as the troll is far more interested in provoking a response than they are about engaging in serious discussion or debate.

As with sarcasm, one of the biggest problems with a troll’s post is that many times, readers simply don’t understand that the post is purposefully (or perhaps subconsciously) intended to be incendiary and offensive.  Indeed, one of the things about a troll’s post is that you can’t even be sure it represents their viewpoint.

< funny > Well, Maybe < / funny >

As with sarcasm, it’s not always easy to determine when someone is trying to be funny.  If this post has accomplished nothing else, it should have proved that point beyond a shadow of a doubt. This new tag wouldn’t necessarily make a bit of text any more hilarious, but at least now you would have some indication that humor was the actual intent.

I wish I could use it now.