SarcMark Gets Some Open Source Competition

Which just shows that there are times that anything is better when free.

If you remember, several weeks ago, a company had come up with a clever little idea to grab some revenue, by putting out a little mark that would indicate to the person reading, that there was no doubt as to the presence of sarcasm.

The plan only had a couple of drawbacks. The first was, it had to be a cooperative effort. The SarcMark had to be bought in pairs to be useful; the receiver had to have it already available on their machine. The second part was the cost factor – in today’s marketplace, the salability of a single character for nearly $4, plus the difficulty with getting the recipient to cooperate to get your message across is less than optimal.


You may recall, last month, we wrote about some jokers who came up with the idea of the SarcMark to indicate when you were being sarcastic. They forgot to use their own mark on the stunt, though, because it seems pretty ridiculous to create a proprietary punctuation mark for which they expect people to pay $1.99 to get a special app to use. Like that would work. Of course, a few things happened in response. First, a bunch of people noticed that the SarcMark looked remarkably like script version of the Hebrew letter “pey.” In other words, get yourself a Hebrew font, and you’re probably good to go.

But, perhaps much more interesting is that the sarcasm wars have now broken out. In response to the closed and proprietary SarcMark, another group has launched the Open Sarcasm project that is, instead, pushing a version of an upside down exclamation point to indicate sarcasm — based on the already in existence Ethiopian punctuation mark for sarcasm (which is why it’s already a part of unicode) . I have no clue if they’re being serious or sarcastic. Which is why the world needs more sarcasm markers.

Still, whether or not any of this is serious, it actually does show how betting on proprietary solutions can often come back to bite you, as more open, cheaper, and more flexible solutions pop up to fill in the gap. So, yeah, to SarcMark, good luck with that project.

Yeah, that little problem with the trying to put one over on people as the SarcMark being an original work could also be a bit of a snag.


Spock @ the console Captain, the sensors have picked up sarcasm, at 0.25 parsecs off the port bow…

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