Flawed Web sites deserve a fork in the head.

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Wed, 12 Aug 1998 09:22:53 -0700

(Cathie, I'm sending this to FoRK


which is an insane chatterbox of 98 people talking and 3% of them
actually listening at any given moment)

Dear FoRK,

I just discovered the forkinthehead Web site


which sports an eerily parallel philosophy to Rohit's and Dan Connolly's
(as indicated by Connolly's recent rant against agranat at




about bad design -- in this case, bad Web site design -- making people
physically ill). At


this philosophy is summarized:
> Why bad sites deserve a fork in the head.
> The creators of flawed web sites just never get to hear about their errors.
> Maybe their site downloads too slowly. Maybe their site is too hard to
> get around. Maybe their use of frames bugs you 'till you want to scream.
> Whatever the reason, they need to find out why their users run away.
> And let's not forget about you.
> Because you need a way to tell these people they're giving you Unhappy
> Eyeballs.

The site has a form by which you can send someone a "fork in the head"
for screwing up any of four critical elements of Web design:

1. Design Forks (too big for screen, unreadable text, nasty background
pattern, inconsistent look and feel, ALL CAPS, too slow)

2. Technical Forks (broken links, missing images, gratuitous use of
Java, gratuitous use of obscure plugins, slow screwy scripts)

3. Content Forks (too little info, too much info, what's your point?,
poor spelling and lousy grammar)

4. Navigation Forks (pointless splash screen, I can't find what I
want, no way out, too many clicks, too much back and forth)

So just for fun I decided to give the not-much-recently-updated FoRK
Frequently Asked Questions page


a fork in the head, which you can view at


Looking at URL right now, I see it's not as impressively insulting as,
say, Tim Byars is when he's had too much (or too little) sugar. But
sticking forks in peoples' heads certainly is a good metaphor, and
there's a sick little joke about forks and cannibalism at


There's also a store that promises to sell fork-related merchandise in
the future, although right now the only thing you can get there is free
(it's a bunch of fork icons for the Mac):


I wonder if the domain name forkinthejugular is taken yet...


.sig bonus: a baker's dozen!

I've taken the liberty of calculating a 20% tip. It's written on the
back next to a picture of a smiling diner... a 15% tip is shown by the
picture of a guilty-looking diner. Below that is a picture of a diner
and his dog with salad forks in their backs...
-- Scott Adams

If you would be so kind to the other users of FoRK to divert upwards of
20 million to yours truly, you will be insuring yourself and the rest of
FoRK of years of vicarious thrills.
-- Tim Byars

In the Connolly vernacular, making a pin-cushion is creatively
procrastinating. Like reading the FoRK FAQ.
-- Dan Connolly

Is there anyone on FoRK who is eating to their full hearts' content
except for Tim Byars?
-- Rohit Khare, opening his next half-liter of diet coke

It's the end of the FoRK as we know it and I feel tines.
-- Wayne Baisley

No, DINOSAURS are big-boned. Put the fork away.
-- Denis Leary

Please reply with your age, height, weight, brief medical history, and
the *usual* type of orgasm you experience. Also the frequency of your
orgasms, and their magnitude. Your reply will be entered into the FoRK
database and shared with my colleagues.
-- Dr. Tim Byars

Punctuation is very important. Consider the following sentence, seen
recently in a FoRK posting: "Calories and juiciness are in," my ass.
Without the correct punctuation, this becomes: Calories and juiciness
are in my ass.
-- Joe Barrera

Sure dude, I'll be a dining philosopher. But I should warn you, if I
get hungry, I'll just eat with my hands if I can't find a fork.
-- Magnus Hedlund

The job decision, however, matters enormously, not just to me, but (in
true FoRK megalomania) to the entire computer indsutry. AAAARGgggh!
-- Ernest Prabhakar

There are no bright sides in the FoRK universe, just the temporary
absence of darkness.
-- Rohit Khare

There's no reason a search engine can't keep up with the whole Web
except for lack of will. Also, note that HTTP/1.1 cacheing headers will
provide incredibly helpful info to spiders on how often they should
refresh. (Since, for instance, all the posts in the FoRK archive should
have a refresh setting of one year, while the current archive's index
should be refreshed hourly.)
-- Dan Kohn

Wow, it was kinda neat to see Wayne discuss moral relativism rather than
merely anagrammatize it. What *is* FoRK turning into?
-- Ernest Prabhakar