25 Unofficial Rules and Laws of the Internet

These aren’t any government prescribed laws list, but what you ought to behave like to own the noobs, in a classy way.

They made automobiles, and we forgot how roads work.

They made television, and we forgot how morality works.

They gave us phones and all, and we forgot how life works.

And somewhere along the line, they provided us with the internet…

…And we forgot how decency works.

This be an announcement for those who need some reminding bells, how to be like while meeting others on the internet and/or what to expect, as well.

1. Danth’s Law

If you have to insist that you’ve won an argument, you’ve probably lost badly.

In the silvery October of 2005, one man was waging a war to shape the world for the future arm-chair warriors to feel meaningful without falter. That was Danth, a member on the RPG.net forums going head to head with another member called spiderman1fan.

And many other members “harshly” begun taking sides with the latter, fools found logic in his arguments they said…and so Mr. Danth, citing that all the members have suddenly taken sides with the other guy and are also mean with his opinions took this as the sign of his victory and left. This incident was later named as danth’s law.

You’ll see this happen a lot with news anchors now a days, when people go against the their agenda.

This guy comes to mind.

2. DeMyer’s Law

There are actually 5 laws in this, but the one we are taking serious enough to tell you is the second one.

Anyone who posts an argument that mainly consists of the quotations of other people can be very safely ignored and is deemed to have lost the argument before it has begun.

Ken DeMyer, a moderator on Conservapedia.com, (moderators are sort of like referees in a wrestling match – of the internet discussion forums) holds the honor for this law, why? People named these laws based on his debating style.

Musta be a fun guy, anyway, in any argument if anyone at any time brings up quotations of popular figures to enhance his or her argument…

…He/she falls down from the thread so hard, Media arrives to find the cause of the sudden massive sink hole in his/her neighborhood.

3. Badger’s Law

Websites with the word “Truth” in the URL have none in the posted content.

A very hilarious, so true and thus very disturbing law, which originated around the same year, when the world unanimously took a break from sanity – 2016!

On Facebook of all places, this law was coined on the pages of “Genetically Modified Humans For Monsanto.” The websites who practice the meaning of this rule are usually denoted as webshites. “Natural” has also become an extension for the words “truth” for this law, in the recent years.

4. Godwin’s Law

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

Mike Godwin was an attorney, and like all attorneys in the world he had a destiny to shape up just enough so it could be called his own.

Introduced way back in 1990, it says that if a discussion goes long enough there will be someone who will bring up a reference to Hitler. In 2012, it even found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

5. Poe’s Law

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.

In the magical times of 2005, Nathan Poe formulated a law on the christianforums.com which basically means that Creationists (which later it was found that many other “-ists” can also follow this law very easily) will take any satire or parody of their subject(s) as truth unless provided with distinct marks of humor.

So the next time you post something extreme or sarcastic on twitter be sure to end it with a smiley or an LOL – you never know, someone might take it seriously.

6. Skitt’s Law

Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself.

A pretty obscure law even for the regular netizens, but wow, what a sharp one!

A digital version of the real world’s Murphy’s Law which states that in any given situation, if there is a possibility for things to go wrong, then they will!

If you correct someone else, someone else shall have to correct you.

Fun Fact: While criticizing Trump for the “Covefefe” tweet, CNN made a typo of their own!

In 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted something about “coverage” which came out as “covefefe”. It of course became a huge thing in the media and popular culture.

But while discussing this event, CNN made a spelling error of their own when they called Gloria Borger, a panelist, the “Cheif Political Analyst”!

On national TV!

Skitt’s Law in Motion baby!

7. The Law of Exclamation

The more someone uses exclamation marks in a post or mail to enhance the “truth”, the more likely it is anything but! Law goes the same for excessive usage of UPPERCASE WRITING!

Easy one. If someone is using excessive markings to accentuate their own information or opinion, you should probably double or triple check that, chances are, it won’t be true or even close.

For example, if one gets a message like – “OMG!!!! You are so great!!!! LOL!!!!!”

Suffice it to say that the receiver probably isn’t great and the sender isn’t actually laughing loudly.

8. Rules of the Internet

A picture containing 4chan's Rules of the internet

There is an online forum called 4chan where people can come together to talk on a multitude of topics. Topics are categorized by sections called boards and each board’s chat is called a thread.

In the early 2000s, under the random topic board /b/ there were about 47 rules of the internet, much of those don’t hold much today. But some of them have prevailed the test of time! A few of those are –

  • #14 don’t argue with trolls, it means they win.
  • #19 the more you hate it, the stronger it will become.
  • #26 any topic can very easily be turned into something entirely else.
  • #29 on the internet, all girls are men and all kids are undercover FBI agents.
  • #34 or Rule 34, as it’s now known, it states that if something exists, there is a porn of it!
  • #35 if the porn isn’t there, give it some time, there will be, it’s inevitable!
  • #36 if you think you just saw something so horrible that cannot be matched in its degeneration, you are thinking wrong!
  • #43 the more beautiful or pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt it.

9. Shaker’s Law

Those who egregiously announce their imminent departure from an Internet discussion forum almost never actually leave.

An adage coined by a forum user named Shaker, it states that if a public song and dance is made with threats of departure from an online forum, it actually won’t happen or last long!

10. Pommer’s Law

A person’s mind can be changed by reading information on the internet. The nature of this change will be: From having no opinion to having a wrong opinion.

On RationalWiki, in early 2007, Rob Pommer made this rule in order to point out that there is so much stupid stuff on the internet and so many stupid people on the internet who will believe those stupid things at the drop of a hat that it suggest nothing but harrowing glimpse of mankind’s doom.

We think this law is very much applicable now in 2019. Only replace Stupid stuff with Fake news and we’re good to go.

While there is growing awareness about fake news there are still a huge number of people who would believe just about anything seen on Twitter and Facebook.

We ask that do you do your bit and bring awareness to this issue. The least you could do is correct that uncle of yours who cannot shut up about the UNESCO awards we’ve won on WhatsApp. Only takes a couple of minutes, but will go a long way.

11.  The 1% Rule

Only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk.

Compared to the other laws and their implication this one’s a sweet summer dream. Yes, very few people actually contribute towards all the good (or bad) stuff you see on the internet.

12. Cunningham’s Law

The best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it’s to post the wrong answer.

If no one is answering your questions, then post a wrong answer and people will hoard up to give you the right one.

13. Cohen’s law

Whoever resorts to the argument “whoever resorts to the argument that… has automatically lost the debate” has automatically lost the debate.

Proposed by Brian Cohen in 2007, this recursive law states that if you claim someone lost an argument just because he/she said something, you have automatically lost the debate.

14. Layne’s Law

Every debate is over the definition of a word. OR.
Every debate eventually degenerates into debating the definition of a word. OR
Once a debate degenerates into debating the definition of a word, the debate is debatably over.

A software developer Layne Thomas coined this law and how accurate this one is as you can see it in any thread with topics such as Secularism, Feminism etc.

15. Shank’s Law

The imaginative powers of the human mind have yet to rise to the challenge of concocting a conspiracy theory so batshit insane that one cannot find at least one Ph.D holding scientist to support it.

The conspiracy nuts on the internet often try to rationalize or give credibility to their theories citing the “findings” of scholars or Ph.D. Professors.

They of course interpret their researches their own pre-defined ways but not all of those Ph.D. professors are right in their upper floors, as well.

16. Skarka’s Law

On internet message boards, there is no subject so vile or indefensible that someone won’t post positively/in defence of it.

Defined by Gareth-Michael Skarka, a user from RPG.net, Skarka’s Law pretty much defines the Internet Hate Machine and the modern online experience.

From neo-nazis to the snuff films, there are people who defend those…stuffs. Some are just being a douchebag, some are testing the waters but eh, oh well.

17. Streisand Effect

An attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the internet

Coined by Mike Masnick in 2005, a magical year full of hope and whatnot, the rule is named after Barbara Streisand case wherein she sued a photographer who took some pictures of her home.

Fearing people will see it, she sued him, but this only made people download and share the picture even more than it could have been cared about!

Fun Fact: The Streisand effect in India

Three instances of the Streisand effect in India

#1: Tanmay Bhat’s Snapchat Video

In 2016, Stand-up comedian Tanmay Bhatt made fun of Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar in a series of Snapchat videos. Many people took offense – FIR’s were filed, political parties got involved and it became national news. The Mumbai police spoke to Facebook, Google and Youtube to remove the video. But, alas, the Streisand effect struck – the video went viral and reached more people than it would have ever without the controversy.

#2: Gas Wars: Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis

Three authors self published a book called “Gas Wars: Crony Capitalism and The Ambanis”; they were sued by the Ambani brothers but this made their book reach more audience on a much higher level than it would have without the lawsuit.

#3: IIPM and Arindam Chaudhuri

IIPM or the Indian Institute of Planning and Management was a controversial management school often criticized for false advertising and claims. It used legal threats against authors critical of it which led them to take down such articles. Not everyone compiled, one of the them being Mr Maheshwer Peri who is the founder of Careers 360 magazine. He and his publication were promptly sued and they fought them back and won. Mr Peri opined that the cases filed by IIPM brought more attention to the articles they were trying to suppress.

In July 2015, IIPM announced that they will be shutting down 17 of their 18 campuses in the country.

18. Hydra effect

The hydra effect owes its name to the Greek legend of the Lernaean Hydra which grew two heads for each one cut off, and is used figuratively for counter-intuitive effects of actions to reduce a problem which result in stimulating its multiplication.

You may have seen websites being taken down from time to time, like torrents websites. But in a couple of days two or more similar sites rise up to take its place.

19. CAD’s Theorem of Topic Closure

A clear, well thought-out, well-written post is less likely to receive a reply than a poor post, because it leaves less to be said.


20. The Wadsworth Constant

The first 30% of any video can be skipped because it contains no worthwhile or interesting information.

Hey, open up any YouTube video, chances are the first three minutes (or 30%) of it will be lame intros or ads.

Pro Tip: Press the number 3 key to skip the first 30% of a YouTube video

Earlier we could skip the first 30% of the video by adding “&wadsworth=1” to the end of a YouTube link. However, that is discontinued and now you can use the number 3 key to skip the first 30% of the video.

21. Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety percent of everything is crap.

And now, back to you Captain Obvious!

22. The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory – The GIFT

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad

On 19th March 2004, at the webcomics site called Penny Arcade someone posted this,

This theory describes the antisocial behavior of a perfectly normal human being, while on the internet fueled by anonymity and lack of accountability.

And on the net, You must have heard about trolls threatening people with death threats and rape threats, that is The GIFT in motion.

23. Betteridge’s laws of Headlines

Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

Ian Betteridge, a British tech journalist was discussing a TechCrunch article in February 2009, titled “Did Last.fm just handed over listening data to the RIAA?” (Answer: No).

And that was the moment when Betteridge’s Law of Headlines came into this filthy world.

24. Armstrong’s Law

While discussing topics among Americans and non-Americans and it becomes apparent America is not the greatest at said topic, the likelihood of the American to arbitrarily bring up the US moon landings increases dramatically.

All rise for the National Anthem of the United States of America.

25. Wheaton’s Law

We end our article with this,

Don’t be a dick.

Will Wheaton, the guy who worked on Star Trek: The Next generation and the Big Bang Theory coined this law during his keynote speech at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in August 2007.

Plain and simple – don’t be a dick to others online or offline!


And so here ladies and gents we bid you adieu in the hopes of meeting again with another amazing things of this world and till then…

Lets Make the Internet Great Again.

Categories: Internet, Technology
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