Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.
Telegraph.co.uk – Poe’s Law
Not to be confused with the law of poetry enshrined by Edgar Allen Poe, the internet Poe’s Law states: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”
It was originally formulated by Nathan Poe in 2005 during a debate on christianforums.com about evolution, and referred to creationism rather than all fundamentalism, but has since been expanded.
Poe’s Law also has an inverse meaning, stating that non-fundamentalists will often mistake sincere expressions of fundamentalist beliefs for parody.
Examples abound – one particularly difficult-to-judge site claims that “Heliocentrism [the belief that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than the other way around] is an Atheist Doctrine”.
One that must, surely, be a parody is sexinchrist.com (WARNING: link contains adult material), a site that offers Christians advice on the rights and wrongs of such activities as threesomes and pubic shaving, among much more.
However, it is hard to be entirely certain, given the existence of christiannymphos.org (WARNING: link contains adult material), an apparently entirely serious site.
Here is an example of a parody site that embodies both Godwin’s and Poe’s Laws.