Poe's Law states:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.

If someone links to a comedian's web-site and asks "Did a grasshopper really walk into a bar and order a drink?", we would close it as non-notable. No-one is expected to believe the claims made; they are intended to be humorous.

If someone linked to The Onion, we would similarly close it as not notable. The FAQ states it is a satirical magazine.

However, looking over at Snopes.com, a similarly oriented web-site, they do have to deal with stories where articles from The Onion escape into the wild, and take some people in (e.g. [1], [2])

Other satirical sites extend the joke further. You need to look hard to find out that the Landover Baptist Church is satirical. Rumour has it that ChristWire deny that are a spoof, although Wikipedia and the New York Times claim they are and that it has fooled people.

It isn't just parody news sites. For example, the comments on this magic trick on YouTube suggest that people were genuinely fooled by a magician, and left believing it was not a magic trick. It seems foolish to spend time explaining that illusionists deceive people, and poor form to explain the secret of the trick. (Proviso: There's a difference between the "honest lying" of typical stage-magicians, and the claims of fake psychics who use conjuring tricks to provide evidence.)

How should we deal with claims that come from parody sites that people mistake for the real thing? Should they be closed as non-notable? Do we need to find evidence to debunk the claims? Or is there a third alternative?


1 Answer 1


If someone believes that it's true, then point to an example of the person believing that it's true, and you've got notability.

If you can easily find the original satirical source, then it's a bit of a LMGTFY question, but that's not the end of the world.

I wouldn't be surprised if the excrement burger was the result of a satirical article being taken seriously.

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