Jokes as alternative input for Cunningham’s Law


We all know the Simpsons meme of McBain saying “that’s the joke”. But what if we could tap this potential hoard of explainers and put their retorts to good use?

Cunningham’s Law states that the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer. I propose jokes are as effective a delivery mechanism to achieve this desired outcome.

Exhibit A: A friend forwarded me this brilliant video showing an oscillating fan bumping a mouse to prevent a computer sleeping. It was creative, original, and just a bit silly in the best possible way.

What do you think most of the responses were? You don’t need a hint, but let me provide you with an example anyway:

You know you can turn off power saving mode…. right??

The deductive brilliance of these people is wasted on sites like Reddit. Next they’ll be asking have we considered that video doorbells render knock knock jokes obsolete, or that the chicken could have just crossed at the traffic light. You do know that airline food has a reputation for being bad, don’t you?

Whether jokes form a subset of “wrong answers”, or whether they warrant a corollary theorem to Cunningham’s Law, is something I’m still investigating.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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