Fake HTML Tags

Fake HTML Tags

Updated Feb 06, 2014 at 08:42PM EST by James.

Added Dec 22, 2011 at 02:11PM EST by X.

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<select> Koption> Option> /options く/option> </select>


Fake HTML Tags are pretend hypertext markup codes that are used to convey particular nuances or feelings that may require more than a straightforward interpretation of the plain text, such as sarcasm.


First developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the primary language used to describe and format information on web pages.[1] It consists of a series of tags used to represent certain types of information, which usually take the form of <tag> for opening tags and </tag> for closing tags. In the early days of Usenet, fake C pre-processor directives were used to convey the true emotions behind a post, either as an attempt at self-aware humor or to make sure sarcastic and/or trolling remarks were understood as intended:

#ifdef TROLL
trolling statement here


However, fake C pre-processor directives eventually became less popular with the rise of the more approachable HTML as the core component of web pages, leading to their replacement by fake tags used in a manner similar to Emoticons:

<flame tone="angry">
flaming statement here

In online discussion forums where HTML is enabled for page formatting, the displayed message strips out anything in the form of an HTML tag, even if not valid, thus forcing posters wanting to use fake HTML to come up with workarounds. Some message boards employ BBcode, a markup language slightly simpler than HTML, leading to similar use of fake tagging such as:


Sometimes the tags can be written without brackets, such as: /tag and sometimes only the closing tag is used without the opening tag at all. Since entering colloquial usage through computer programming humor, several instances of fake HTML tags have appeared in the form of wearable merchandises, including anti-war activist Darcy Burner's t-shirt with "</war>" written on it (shown below) and one of the Mythbusters hosts Adam Savage's t-shirt that reads <mythbuster> "Am I missing an eyebrow?" </mythbuster>.

A number of articles have been written about the use of fake HTML codes, including Wired Magazine's GeekMom column titled "Using HTML in Your Daily Life: The Rise of Fake Code." Another rising trend is to replace fake HTML tags with twitter-style hashtags, notably the #swag tag.

Notable Examples

Image Parodies

<sub> /sub> sup POLIZE <smal1> POLIZEI / </smal1>
head> body>

Sarcasm Tags

Sarcasm is one of the hardest emotions to express using text-only methods; without the appropriate voice tone and facial expressions, sarcasm in message boards and blogs has often been misunderstood as ignorance or stupidity.

The "</sarcasm>" tag and its shorter form, the "/s" tag are used at the end of a post to indicate the presence of sarcasm, or that the post is meant to be read with a sarcastic tone.

Anonymous: 2008-05-04 12:39 223 | Very funny Look at the sarcasm Anonymous 2008-05-04 13:15 >36 I don't see any (sarcasm) or <sarcasm>s/sarcasm>

Due to its usefulness, this has become one of the most widely-used fake HTML tags, as noted at the Wikipedia page on sarcasm.[2] It became a sort of in-joke between coders that the <sarcasm> tags would be included in HTML5 upon its release. This spawned several Facebook pages[3] petitioning the addition of <sarcasm> tags in HTML5. A shirt containing this html tag is also being sold on ThinkGeek.[4]

End Thread Tags

On its own, this closing tag means the end of the thread, although this is not a real tag. It is used on message boards and forums to indicate that the previous or quoted post is of such high quality that the thread cannot possibly contain any post topping it, therefore closing the thread or discussion is in order. This can also be used negatively when large quantities of ignorance or stupidity are present, implying that the thread can no longer return to a proper discussion.

User 1: Which is the best video sharing website?
User 2: YouTube
User 3: /thread

This tag is similar in function to users quoting a previous post and typing the word "THIS" after it.

External Refrences:

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