There's already a well-established set of unofficial laws -- more like truths, really -- about the Internet. There's the classic Rule 34, which states, "If it exists, there's porn of it." There's Godwin's law, which states, "As a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." And there's Poe's law, which states, "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."
Just as the world of science evolves as new truths are discovered, adding to the tapestry of our understanding of the world, so too should our laws of the Internet. As the technology evolves and more people, experiences, and ideas are added into the mix, we need new truths to cover all the bases. Here are four we can add to the list.
Regardless of Topic, Someone in the Comment Section Will Veer the Discussion into Politics
Start a conversation on the Internet in which random people can join in and voice their opinion on a non-political topic and sooner or later someone will derail it all by attempting to place all the blame for everything on a political faction they don't agree with. This isn't exclusive to one party. People of every political affiliation do it, and they do it regardless of topic.
"Pfft! Fuckig rePUGlicans ruin everything!"
In a Huffington Post article about some recently discovered 19th century erotic drawings, one of the first 10 commenters blames conservatives for making us all believe such images are dirty and shameful. Everyone else came to the comment section ready to laugh at doughy 19th century folks going to town on each other's junk. Don't bring politics into the fondled junk of 19th century fornicators. That should be a law in and of itself.
"Stupid libTARDS and their JEEEEW media!"
These commenters think they can see the Matrix code of life -- the plan of it all, the unquestionable truth of everything. The large pin board in their brain is loaded with newspaper clippings and strings linking them together to form an intricate web of blame. At its center, where all the strings meet, is the word "Republicans" or "Democrats" or "that motherfucker Ralph Nader." No one in real life wants to deal with their hyper-political rants, so they surf the Internet and spread their whiny bullshit far and wide, for all visitors of the comment sections to smell and step in.
If a File Has Multiple Download Buttons, the Correct Button Usually Will Not Be Your First Choice
Lies are all over the Internet. Add in the deception of marketing and you've got clear evidence that the Internet is run by a fur trapper who has gone digital and graduated to humans. Multiple download buttons on a download page are the digital manifestation of this Internet evil.
Four buttons, and not even one riddle to help figure it all out.
All you're looking for is a plug-in or, soon to be ironically, a free antivirus. You Google around and end up on a site that, if it were a neighborhood street, it would be the kind that makes you want to roll up your windows and death grip your pepper spray. There you will find a download button, usually big and green. And then another, bigger, greener; it looks way more fun to click. It's a party in a button. And maybe even another, but this one is blue and small and off to the side. You pretty much have the same choice to make as the guy at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Wisely choose the correct button and your computer will continue living. Choose poorly and your computer will look like this:
You need years of experience traversing nefarious sites to properly navigate the minefield of download bars, or an Internet Sherpa to tell you not to step in yak shit as you climb the mountain of download bars. An incalculable number of your grandmother's PCs have been lost to duplicitous download bars that are basically a box with a spring-loaded boxing glove inside waiting to be opened so it can punch your computer with computer cancer. And it's hard to blame grandma; those things are tricky. They prey on the fact that we respond to symbols. Seeing that big green download button makes us want to click it. In doing so, we ignore the button's fine print, because no other button in the universe has fine print.
That guy out there who loves offering high-fives and then callously takes back his hand and gives you a "Too slow!" has grown. He's matured. He's since gotten into Internet marketing and specializes in fucking with us through download buttons.
For Every Person You Help With a Computer Problem, the Myth of Your Computer Expertise Will Spread to Two More People
It begins with a person learning how to correct minor computer issues on their own. Eventually this person starts working in an office alongside a bunch of people who, until recently, thought computers ran on magic and tiny hamsters on tiny wheels. Most technological problems in an office are easy to fix -- unplug-it-and-plug-it-back-in sorts of things. When these problems arise, all of the Luddites will turn primal, smacking their computers and modems and routers or verbally threatening them to work again. In the midst of the chaos that is the opening salvo in the war between man and machine, the techno-wunderkind will rise.
Rise, savior! RISE!
With their technomancy, the wunderkind will fiddle with wires, click a few keys, and within seconds resolve the issue. This small act turns the average person into a legend. The person they helped thinks of them as a patron saint who can be called upon with a short prayer to deal with technical shit, kind of like how St. Anthony can help you find your missing car keys.
Or St. Isidore of Seville, the actual patron saint of the Internet.
The ones who experienced the miracles tell tales of the Technomancer, and before long the Technomancer is called upon by others to solve their frozen screen issues or get rid of all those goddamned toolbars because nobody needs seven toolbars. From person to person, office to office, floor to floor, the legend grows. The Technomancer began as a mailroom clerk, or an intern, or any number of cogs in the wheel, but is now a vital (if unofficial) part of the office's flow of life. And they don't get paid an extra cent for it. Motherfucker ...
The Number of Minutes It Takes to Unclutter Your Computer Desktop Is Proportional to the Number of Days It Will Take to Reclutter It
It begins innocently enough. You leave a file or two on your desktop -- you're going to be using them for the next week, might as well keep them within sight. And then you download another file, like an album you torrented, and you're going to listen to it sometime soon -- might as well leave it on the desktop as well. It's just a couple of files. What could go wrong?
Three weeks later:
The desktop looks like someone else's desktop exploded and some of their icon debris landed on your computer. It's helicopter footage of a Midwestern trailer park after a tornado. A FEMA convoy took one look at it and bailed. They cranked up "Born to Be Wild" and flipped you off as they turned around. It's time to get your digital shit together.
So, you clean. You file away things that had files to be in but were never put in them until now. You make new files and subfiles for the highly specific types of porn you've torrented in recent weeks. After an agonizing seven minutes of work, the clusterfuck of digital garbage has been sorted. Your desktop is clean.
If the whole cleaning process took seven minutes, you will have seven days of peace of mind with your desktop before it's once again declared a disaster area. Lessons are never learned. Organizational skills are never adopted where there formally were none. However many minutes it took to clean all that shit out and give your desktop that new-desktop feeling, just convert that number to days and you've got an accurate countdown until the next time you turn on your computer and think your C: drive got the stomach flu and barfed on everything.
And see why we need these rules in 22 Lies You've Probably Read Online (Revised for Accuracy).