[pp.int.general] TorrentFreak: Dutch Pirate Party Joins Election Race

Richard Stallman rms at gnu.org
Sun Mar 14 20:30:30 CET 2010

Sarcasm means you replace some element of the statement with another,
making it a statement that you disagree with; then others must figure
out which element was replaced, and restore the correct one in their
minds, to understand the real meaning.

In email, it is hard to recognize sarcasm.  Using explicit tags can
deal with that problem, but it's not the only problem.

Sarcasm tends to be ambiguous; for instance, if I sarcastically say,
"Tom is a great living swindler", I could mean that Tom is honest, or
that he is an incompetent swindler, or that he is dead, that the great
swindler is really Jack.  A <sarcasm> tag will tell you that the words
state something false, but it won't help you figure out what the real
assertion is.

Thus, people trying to understand your sarcasm have to know you and
the situation pretty well, and they need very good communication

Most of the people on this list are not native English speakers; that
makes for bad communication conditions.  Therefore I suggest everyone
completely avoid sarcasm here.

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