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Poe's law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an Internet adage reflecting the idea that without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism.
Poe's law, in broader form, is:
The core of Poe's law is that a parody of something extreme by nature becomes impossible to differentiate from sincere extremism. A corollary of Poe's law is the reverse phenomenon: sincere fundamentalist beliefs can be mistaken for a parody of those beliefs.
The statement called Poe's law was formulated in 2005 by Nathan Poe on the website christianforums.com in a debate about creationism. The original sentence read:
8. Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks.
Without the voice inflection and body language of personal communication these are easily misinterpreted. A sideways smile, :-), has become widely accepted on the net as an indication that "I'm only kidding". If you submit a satiric item without this symbol, no matter how obvious the satire is to you, do not be surprised if people take it seriously.
"Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook."