Forums / Discussion / Meme Research

25,168 total conversations in 3,437 threads

+ New Thread


KYM Workshop: Circlejerk

Last posted Jan 21, 2013 at 03:47PM EST. Added Jan 17, 2013 at 12:48PM EST
26 posts from 19 users

While the term “circlejerk” has roots outside of the Internet, it has taken a somewhat different meaning online in recent years. Lately it seems to be used as a pejorative referring to cliche or stereotypical beliefs and attitudes within a subculture.

I suspect this has a lot to do with the popularity of Reddit’s /r/circlejerk subreddit, and the many other circlejerk-style subreddits that have come after. Does anyone know if this was used on other sites before Reddit in this context?

Last edited Jan 17, 2013 at 12:57PM EST
Jan 17, 2013 at 12:48PM EST
Quote

The term “circlejerk” is often used on tumblr to reference people consistently and almost singularly reblogging each other in order to raise popularity between the blogs. I cannot say, however, if it was used before that subreddit was made on Reddit.

Google searching has turned up quite a bit of pornography to dig through.

Jan 17, 2013 at 01:06PM EST

Sorry about the double post, but I’ve passed the half-hour limit. If you like, you could merge the two postings

Seems to refer the the “echo chamber effect”, in which similar interests/beliefs are perpetuated around like-minded individuals and outside/counter opinions are blocked out or shunned.

UrbanDictionary definitions that date back far enough it wouldn’t be reddit popularized:
Circle Jerk
Circle-jerk
The Echo Chamber

They’re the first entries, so you won’t have to read that far in to find them.

Jan 17, 2013 at 01:58PM EST

The title made me laugh a little.

The term can used for posting around each other with similar interests on fora, posting often about the same thing in the same way very often (hence how it sounds degrading) or maybe even what Crazy Moon said, but funnily enough, I don’t actually know what it really means.

I don’t use Tumblr, so I can’t confirm CM’s post, either…

Last edited Jan 17, 2013 at 02:23PM EST
Jan 17, 2013 at 02:22PM EST
Quote

From what I have noticed, the term refers to positive feedback loops, at times mockingly. Members of a community, whether small or big, share a positive opinion about their community or what their community centers around. Because the specific, commonly positive, opinion stays within that specific group or community, there is no feedback or counterpoints from an outsider perspective. In other words, they won’t get anyone speaking against their opinion. It basically reinforces their individual belief systems.

As the Wiki entry for Echo Chamber reads: “the effect is a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission inside an “enclosed” space."

These circlejerk discussions are often started on purpose by communities, to increase community morality. Users give the community positive feedback, without the input from those that disagree, to give themselves a better overall impression of that community than is really the case.

Which then can be combined to the IRL meaning of a circlejerk, a group of males in a circle jerking of (whether themselves or each other). The event only functions to pleasure those within that circle of males, similar to the positive feedback circle functioning to make the users feeling better about themselves being part of that community.

I had ideas to make this entry around a month ago, but got occupied. Glad to see the staff had a similar idea to give it an entry.

Last edited Jan 17, 2013 at 03:18PM EST
Jan 17, 2013 at 03:16PM EST
Quote

Working off of the breakdown of circlejerking to echo chamber brings up the ideas of Conformity, Groupthink, and Collective Narcissism.


Conformity – is fairly straightforward. The group as a whole has a specific set of mixed ideals that, when deviated from, cause people who break from those ideals to be outcast from the group. This causes a great deal of homogeneity within the circle. This leads to:


Groupthink – is the idea that the people inside of this circle, when lacking leads, begin to barrier themselves even more from the outside. Bias, self-censoring, and “Illusions of unanimity” further reinforce the original idea that the circle was built upon. Can lead to belief in group invulnerability, which can cause:


Collective Narcissism – inflated self-love and ego-stroking inside the group. Belief that everyone else should recognize how “great” the group is.


Examples: Political groups, gangs, fandoms, ethnic groups, religions, species..

Pretty much everyone is a part of it in some way or another. It seems to just become stronger the more concentrated it is. Verbose has a degree in sociology, I believe, which would put way above what I know about the subject. You might ask him if he knows anything about this.


I get the feeling I’m going off in another direction now. Did you have any specific regions in mind for this, Don?

Jan 17, 2013 at 03:52PM EST

Yea I thought you were proposing a Circle jerk Don.

Jan 17, 2013 at 08:36PM EST
Quote

Cale wrote:

Yea I thought you were proposing a Circle jerk Don.

>Not being part of KYM’s weekly mod circle jerk sessions.

You have no idea what you’re missing out on!

Jan 17, 2013 at 09:06PM EST
Quote

“Echo chamber effect” and “positive feedback loops” are definitely relevant keywords here. Now the question is when / where / how did its meaning evolve from “a boring or time-wasting meeting or other event” (Studs, Tools, and the Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By / 2001 / link) to what Crazy☾ and Randomman’s description (“positive feedback loops in echo chamber”)?

Google Trends for circle jerk indicates that the keyword peaked circa 2005, and I do recall hearing the word sometime prior to that, but only in the literal / sexual sense.

For researching pre-Reddit usage of the term, it might be worth the time to dig through IMSDB archives and see if anything turns up for the keyword.

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:00PM EST
Quote

9gag is literally worse than Hitler. Amirite, KYM?

EDIT: WAIT STOP DON’T DOWNVOTE ME. This was just an example of the KYM forums circlejerk.

Last edited Jan 17, 2013 at 10:42PM EST
Jan 17, 2013 at 10:37PM EST
Quote

On a serious note:

Say you have a group of friends. You’re good friends, share a lot of the same interests. You are all very similar. This means you get along very well, but also means that you only tend to agree on things, there’s not much real debate or discussion going on because you are all so similar you agree about everything.
You have some inside jokes in this group of friends. These inside jokes are called “memes”. These friends love their inside jokes – it makes them feel like a community of friends, they like that sort of humour, they love repitition.
But again, you just agree all the time. Sometimes this is a bad thing. Say there’s a new guy in the friend group and he disagrees with something. Let’s pretend he thinks green is a better colour than blue. Well, all the friends will exclude (downvote) mister green-lover, and kick him out. Thus, the blue loving friend group keeps reinforcing itself and it’s own opinions by only “letting in” people that are exactly like the people already in the group.
Now let’s say there’s a new group of people that live near this group of friends. Maybe some members of this new group used to be in the friend group, but they got sick of all the constant agreeing and exagerrating issues they agree on (“circlejerking” – constantly reinforcing the same viewpoint in a group, everybody patting themselves on the back for having the same viewpoint, so on). Well this new group is tired of it but they also think the circlejerking friend group is pretty funny and at times pathetic.
So this new group starts to tease the friend group. They pretend to be the friend group and thus tease it by pretending to be it. You know when you pretend to be one of your friends to tease them? “Look at me, I’m Simon, I’m sooo smart about maths!” It’s the same thing. This new group, r/circlejerk, teases the main friend group, reddit (specifcally r/atheism, r/askreddit, r/politics, r/gaming, all the biggest subreddits) by mocking them, pretending to be them, but exagerrating their qualities.
A typical /r/gaming post – “Gabe Newell is so awesome! I wish he was the president of every game company, like that silly company EA”
R/gaming would actually believe and stand by this statement. R/circlejerk would find it funny and try to mock it, like so:
Circlejerk post – “OMG Gabe Newell is LITERALLY the best person in the universe!!!! i wish he was emperor of the world!!!!! DAE hate the NAZI game company EA? They arent run by Gabe!”
In this post, /r/circlejerk is teasing /r/gaming for liking Gabe Newell so much it’s unusual and creepy, and mocking the childish and naive thought that he should run every game company just because /r/gaming likes a lot of his work
Get it? R/circlejerk mocks the big circlejerks of reddit by pretending to be them, but taking it a level further. It’s called satire and can be very funny and insightful when done effectively.

Taken from here.

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:49PM EST
Quote

The only Circle Jerk worth a good goddamn is the SoCal punk band from the 80’s.

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:52PM EST
Quote

I’ve always wanted to know what that term meant, and up until this point was too lazy to track down a definition. Thanks, KYM!

From what I’m getting in this thread, it sounds like circlejerking is what most of the Internet does on a regular basis. Simply due to its very nature (no barriers between movement of people and ideas, so like-minded individuals almost invariably cluster around each other like droplets of water in oil), people in fandoms or websites of homogeneous user-bases get together and begin to build off from each other’s similar opinions.

Obviously it’s a lot more complicated than that. Communities are, after all, a fractal business. I’m just pointing out that in the broadest sense, the Internet spends a lot of time circlejerking all over the place. Now that I understand what this term means, I realize that I see that kind of stuff quite often.

Very interesting.

Last edited Jan 18, 2013 at 02:26AM EST
Jan 18, 2013 at 02:25AM EST
Quote

In “Zack and Miri make a porno” there is a reference to a similar technique called “Dutch rudder”:

“…All right, you grab your dick,
then you have someone else work your arm.
Here, let me show you.
All right, grab my arm. I’m grabbing my dick, you’re grabbing my arm.
Now work it. Work my arm. See that shit? Work it up and down.
It’s like someone else is jerking you off.
Okay.
There’s the double Dutch rudder,
which, I grab my dick, you grab your dick,
you work my arm, I work your arm, same time.
It’s like jerking off together but not gay.
We’re not touching dicks, each other’s dicks anyway.
I’m touching my own dick. You’re working it, and I’m loving it…”

Clip: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-awyyu44mmhYYn/zack_and_miri_make_a_porno_2008_talking_to_miri_and_jerking_off_lester_part_2/

Jan 18, 2013 at 03:30AM EST
Quote

Quake 3 (released in 1999) spawned a phrase ‘Circle-jump’ which explains the initial step in the ‘strafing’ technique. In many communities where people discussed and argued about circle-jumps the term circle-jerk was used to identify a neverending argument. The connection is very easily made.

Jan 18, 2013 at 01:22PM EST
Quote

I don’t know about the way it has evolved on the Internet lately, but using the term “circle jerk” in a non-sexual manner seems to go back to at least 1972. In particular, there is an appearance in paragraph 3, page 10 of the May 1, 1972 New York Magazine here that I don’t think is meant to be taken sexually.

Jan 19, 2013 at 01:54AM EST
Quote

Somewhat related: I managed to get some people on /v/ to talk about the rampant circlejerking that happens there -

As you can see, it’s general consensus that use of ‘le’, ‘LOL’ and mocking use of emoticons has actually went from mocking anyone they deemed inferior to unironic use now. It’s that cemented in their mindset.

Last edited Jan 19, 2013 at 07:08AM EST
Jan 19, 2013 at 06:46AM EST
Quote

Jake and Amir – Reddit (On collegehumor.com) shows what every Redditor thinks of CircleJerk’s meaning. THOSE CIRCLEJERKING DIVAS.

Jan 19, 2013 at 10:28AM EST

Youyou Meme wrote:

I must say, the “KYM Forum” picture is highly appropriate.

I cried of laughter. Four Karma for you, youyou Meme! You go YouYou meme!

Jan 19, 2013 at 10:29AM EST

It kind of becomes easier on karma-based sites like Reddit since popular opinions are elevated and unpopular ones become hidden. Anybody with generally unpopular opinions won’t even bother posting because nobody will be able to read their comments anyway.

Jan 19, 2013 at 06:07PM EST
Quote

Cian wrote:

It kind of becomes easier on karma-based sites like Reddit since popular opinions are elevated and unpopular ones become hidden. Anybody with generally unpopular opinions won’t even bother posting because nobody will be able to read their comments anyway.

Exactly right, however, it can occur in places where an upvote-downvote system isn’t there, i.e. sub forums for a site.

Jan 19, 2013 at 06:25PM EST
Quote

RandomMan wrote:

>Not being part of KYM’s weekly mod circle jerk sessions.

You have no idea what you’re missing out on!

>mod making joke about his own brother in meme are a circlejerk
>i think im in love
>inb4 i need to answer i love all the mods <3

Jan 21, 2013 at 12:36PM EST
Quote

Youyou Meme wrote:

In “Zack and Miri make a porno” there is a reference to a similar technique called “Dutch rudder”:

“…All right, you grab your dick,
then you have someone else work your arm.
Here, let me show you.
All right, grab my arm. I’m grabbing my dick, you’re grabbing my arm.
Now work it. Work my arm. See that shit? Work it up and down.
It’s like someone else is jerking you off.
Okay.
There’s the double Dutch rudder,
which, I grab my dick, you grab your dick,
you work my arm, I work your arm, same time.
It’s like jerking off together but not gay.
We’re not touching dicks, each other’s dicks anyway.
I’m touching my own dick. You’re working it, and I’m loving it…”

Clip: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-awyyu44mmhYYn/zack_and_miri_make_a_porno_2008_talking_to_miri_and_jerking_off_lester_part_2/

Completely irrelevant.

Jan 21, 2013 at 12:54PM EST
Quote

I’ve found that a Circlejerk can be defined as: What tends to occur when a collection of people of similar views on a debatable or controversial subject discuss those views.


Without external opinion, the jerkers gain gratification from knowing that their opinions are in the majority. This leads to a sort of two party syndrome, whereby everyone outside the jerk is immediately stupid, misguided, or foolish for not sharing the beliefs of the ‘clearly superior’ group. (This can be seen with sports teams; supporters on one team insult the other for no reason other than their inherent opposition).

The debatable topic can be anything from religion to ice cream flavour. In the example of Reddit, r/Atheism is a often seen as a circlejerk, whereas r/Christianity is not. This has nothing at all to do with the actually beliefs of the parties, but because r/Christianity welcomes other belief systems and encourages debate. This is promoted through their use of “badges” to declare your belief upon posting, proving that your belief is likely not alone amongst the masses.

As such, r/Christianity has sort of evaded a circlejerk, where as r/Atheism has not (which is clear, as one of r/Circlejerk’s favourite targets is r/Atheism). It should be noted, that one reason for r/Atheism’s jerkery is that those who hated the jerk left, leaving the concentration of jerkers even higher.

TL:DR The top two lines.

Last edited Jan 21, 2013 at 04:04PM EST
Jan 21, 2013 at 03:47PM EST
Quote
Skeletor-sm

This thread is closed to new posts.

Old threads normally auto-close after 30 days of inactivity.

Why don't you start a new thread instead?

Sup! You must login or signup first!