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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Snark it up

There has been much snarkiness in the blogosphere of late. Much has been written about the snarkiness. Much has been written about what has been written about the snarkiness.

What I think is missing from this discussion is an underlying framework to measure snarkiness. Doc Searls had the idea of a snarkiness slider; however, how will Technorati and others determine the level of snark?
To this end, I want to introduce the HyperText Snarkup Language (HTSL) which will initially be described as simply an extension of XHTML with a namespace. This will allow publishers to have full control over their snark.

First, an example:

<html . . . xmlns:snarkup=''>
  <snarkup:snark target="" 
                 subtext="threatened" >
    This guy is an idiot!  He doesn't know ASP.NET from a hole in the ground.  
    I'm a real developer!  A technologist!  An inventor! 

The snark tag
Allows the user to enclose snark text in tags to better identify the target of the snarkiness as well as the level, tone, and subtext.

<snarkup:snark target='href' level="low|medium|high" tone="even|sarcastic|abrasive|ironic|unhinged" subtext="none|veiledsuckup|allingoodfun|threatened" >

target allows the author to target a specific individual without a direct link. href is really a place holder for identity — I’ll wait to see how Identity 2.0 gets fleshed out.
level defaults to medium. tone defaults to even. subtext defaults to none.

The jumpthesnark tag

<snarkup:jumpthesnark href='href'/>

Allows the author to identify someone else’s post as going a step to far. Using this tag with no href (i.e., <snarkup:jumpthesnark/>) allows a publisher to self-identify this state.

Conclusion and a call for comment
It is my hope that HTSL will enable a host of new services. Like Snarkorati and Snarkorandum, and of course establishing the all important SnarkRank.

Feedback is welcome; I’m sure that the snark tags could use some enhancement.

<snarkup:snark target="" level="low" tone="ironic" subtext="veiledsuckup">
If we can get adoption on this then we’ll be able to confirm Dave Winer’s claim that Nick Carr has the highest snark-to-information ratio.

Snark on!



    Dan Ciruli wrote @ March 6th, 2006 at 3:27 pm

Simply hilarious.

    Mike Warot wrote @ March 6th, 2006 at 9:31 pm

Of course, third party snark flags are going to be more accurate. My persistent to the point of annoying complaint about all of these tags is that they can’t be applied by a third party.

Any change towards being able to actually markup someone elses hypertext is a good thing.



    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ March 6th, 2006 at 9:47 pm

Mike: Thanks for the comment. I recognize this is an issue. Maybe Snarkorati could be an anti-Digg where users can snarkup others content.

    Ed Schipul wrote @ March 8th, 2006 at 7:22 am

This is useless without a microformat! Why not go through the standards bodies before just MAKING stuff up!

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ March 8th, 2006 at 8:31 am

Good point — I agree that a microformat could help (maybe Marc Canter can help me on this); however, I prefer to emulate Dave Winer (with RSS) and the AttentionTrust (with their principles) and just make it a workable standard ūüėČ wrote @ March 9th, 2006 at 4:09 am


From Expert Texture (read all about it), a proposal for a new tag at the center of a new language: <snarkup:snark target=’href’ level=”low|medium|high” tone=”even|sarcastic|abrasive|ironic|unhinged” subtext=”none|veiledsuckup|allingoodfun|thr…

    Gianni wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 4:11 am

Flexible concept – I propose a small rearrangement of the parameters and possibly a new one

flavor = “positive|negative|even”
grade = “unhinged|ironic|sarcastic|blasting”
audience = “public|advanced|initiated” » Blog Archive » Hypertext Snarkup Language wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 5:22 am

[…] Robert Anderson of Expert Texture has come up with perhaps the greatest blog innovation since the comment.¬† Ladies and gentlemen, I give you hyptertext snarkup language. […]

    Dan Markham wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 5:24 am

What a dumb idea. This guy has no idea what he is talking about!

I’ve done stuff like that for years. I’m an expert, an inventor!

Durn. Forgot the snark-tags again.

    Jason wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 7:28 am

It’s things like this that make me excited to be a web developer all over again.

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 8:04 am

Thanks for all the comments — when I make this into an article I’ll incorporate the suggestions for the tags.

And I wholly agree with the Royal Rodent, Dan Markham and Jason.

    kevin jamieson wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 8:16 am

Sorry – probably wrong side of the pond, but what’s snark?

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ March 15th, 2006 at 8:23 am

Snark has a bunch of definitions (check out Wikipedia); however,
“snide remark” is probably as good as any.

    Manly Geek » Blog Archive » Snarky Is As Snarky Does wrote @ March 18th, 2006 at 8:54 pm

[…] Anyone who spent time in the blogosphere knows how snarky posts can get. The anonymity of the net breeds a kind of freedom of expression that is too often free of couth as well. So what do suppose is to be done about the snarkification of our internet communications? Write new laws? Impose a Snark Tax? Use real napalm in flame mail? Mr. Robert W. Anderson thinks he has the answer. In his blog, Expert Texture, he proposes the adoption of the HyperText Snarkup Language (HTSL). I wonder if Mr. Anderson ever met Agent Smith. Like the machines in The Matrix, the goal seems to be one of control. If you can’t remove snarkiness from the blogosphere, his answer is to at least have it well marked. His proposal seems serious as he fully enumerates the language and suggests that an entire new set of services could be created including Snarkorati and Snarkorandum. SnarkRank anyone? […]

    themusicgod1 wrote @ May 4th, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Ever thought getting together with the Internet Society and writing it up as an RFC? Even if just an april fools RFC I think it has potential.

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ May 4th, 2006 at 9:25 pm

themusicgod1: thanks for the idea — could be fun, but my over-committments are already over-committed.

[…] Read the whole thing. […]

    Influential Interactive Marketing wrote @ October 24th, 2006 at 7:59 pm

Introducing the “Golden Rules of Blog Etiquette” Writeboard…

What are the rules of the road when interacting with people in the blogosphere? Chances are, if you are already a blogger, you have probably already worked out your own method of contacting and interacting with other bloggers. There is…

    The Art of Blogging & Farewell Jenny :( « We Love wrote @ August 13th, 2008 at 5:29 pm

[…] is leading to an increasingly common blog-specific attitude … snarkiness.¬† Unfortunately,¬†snarkiness is getting more attention.” […]

    SuperU Blog // The Art of Blogging & Farewell Jenny :( wrote @ September 17th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

[…] is leading to an increasingly common blog-specific attitude … snarkiness.¬† Unfortunately,¬†snarkiness is getting more attention.” […]

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