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April 1st (April Fools' Day) is a special time of the year for the RFC process. Every year since 1989 (there were a few humor RFCs prior to 1989, however, the trend started in 1989 and continued) several RFCs get added to the ever growing list of Internet Standards. Many of these have become classic RFCs, especially that of RFC 1149 and the Avian Carrier (it has been implemented).

For many novices, it is the April Fools RFCs that bring realizations about how the Internet works by making parodies of them. Just as the best practices RFCs serve as guides for 'what to do', the humor ones provide guides for 'what not to do' in a humorous context.

The type of humor presented here is often 'geek humor' and often parodies existing works.

  1. Fascination with form-vs.-content jokes, paradoxes, and humor having to do with confusion of metalevels (see meta). One way to make a hacker laugh: hold a red index card in front of him/her with "GREEN" written on it, or vice-versa (note, however, that this is funny only the first time).
  2. Elaborate deadpan parodies of large intellectual constructs, such as specifications (see write-only memory), standards documents, language descriptions (see INTERCAL), and even entire scientific theories (see quantum bogodynamics, computron).
  3. Jokes that involve screwily precise reasoning from bizarre, ludicrous, or just grossly counter-intuitive premises.
  4. Fascination with puns and wordplay.
(From hacker humor of the Jargon File)
The humor RFCs are the incarnation of the deadpan parodies of standards documents, themselves actually being a standards document. In combination with a few puns or ludicrous premises (such as the need for ultra-reliable communication thus painting 1s and 0s on M1-A1 tanks as they drive across the desert - see RFC 1217 (Memo from the Consortium for Slow Commotion Research (CSCR))) the RFCs take form. RFC 2549 (IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service) is itself a parody of a parody (how meta).



Not April 1, but none the less humor

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