Punctuational Proposal Revisited

Back in April of '06, I blogged on the idea that we needed a sarcasm mark to supplement our current set of punctuation marks. As I mentioned then, this was something that I had discussed with my friends some years earlier, particularly one of my buddies who was going to school in the UK. Since then, the sarcasm mark has become the subject of a Wikipedia article, and that brief post was cited as a reference for the article.

I was alerted to this by a new comment on the old post (I found it while checking traffic numbers to see how the new web comic was doing...). The commenter, unfortunately anonymous, pointed out that I was being credited as the 'inventer' of the idea of using the percent symbol as the sarcasm mark. He claimed that he and his friends came up with the same idea earlier (in 2003).

In the interest of keeping the record straight, and %because I would hate to besmirch the sterling record of accuracy for which Wikipedia is so famous%, I have to admit that I'm not sure exactly when we started using the sarcasm mark, but I believe it was before I returned to college in 2001. I have sent off messages to my buddies to see if by some miracle, they might have saved the messages from those days (remember, this was pre-Gmail, so the storing of every single message is unlikely). Hopefully, we can reconstruct a timeline for the creation of this punctuational convention, and credit the correct inventer(s). To be honest, I think it was my idea, but I want to confirm that with the folks who were there - it could have been the brainchild of someone else, and I just ran with it... More on this in the future.

7 comments:

Big Gay Jim said...

Even if someone else presented the idea previously (or even simultaneously...there's nothing that says 2 people can't think of the same thing at the same time), I'm certain they didn't present it with as much style as you.

Mark Travis said...

This is so cool. It's like internet history or something.

His Sinfulness said...

Thanks, Jim.

My use of the sarcasm mark is somewhat different than others in the article. I suggested something that would be used in pairs, like quotation marks, while most of the other suggestions were for an end-of-the-sentence type of mark, like an exclamation point. It will be interesting to see what comes of this...

If only I was one of those computer savvy types, who could create a new little symbol thingy - that would be best. Something small, easy to write, and not likely to be mistaken for a quotation mark...

His Sinfulness said...

Mark,

I hope it really is history - because I seriously think this form of punctuation would aid readers. Especially my readers... :)

Mark Travis said...

For the quotation mark method, I always thought the Asterik (sp?) or something like that would be good, or the carrot. Something small like you said, but that could be used as quotation marks or individually for chosen words within the sentence.

Eitherway, it would need to be fairly simple, and the rules associated with it should be relatively simple as well.

I wonder if there is a more official way of doing this, like submitting a new word to the word gods,etc.

La Petite Fleur (AKA Tessa) said...

have these other "people" posted about sarcasm punctuation? if not, then they have now right to complain about a lack of reference when no such reference was avalible. yeah we all have good ideas when we are spouting off with friends, but the beauty of the ministry here, is that it has documented the flock's %great% ideas... =) go us!

His Sinfulness said...

Thanks, Tess :)

So... where is the computer savvy guy who will design my special mark? Flynn? Kingbogart? Big Gay Jim? Drew?

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