Every night, from 4am to 6am, a hosting bug messed up our iGUK website. The format went crazy and precisely 32 anonymous users were erroneously reported online. It become a running joke, our website had ghosts! Whenever anything went wrong, website or with the company, the ghosts took the blame.
I started that joke, which leads me to believe that you can start in-jokes for your community. If not directly, then you can increase the odds something will become an in-joke. Here are a few ideas I’ve seen work in my community and elsewhere.
- Steal, Steal, Steal. Find a community you love, look at a few of the in-jokes and colloquialisms, and adapt them for your own community.
- Name actions after people. Pick on people that can take it. What are they known for? What have they done? Can you name it after them?
- Refer to a funny comment/incident from one thread in another. Perhaps the only practical advice in this post. If something’s funny in one thread, refer to it in another, and another. If it catches, you’re in.
- Frequently Recite Strange Phrases. Did someone say something that sounds a little odd. Can you repeat it more often and in nonsensical ways?
- Create ACRONYMS. Now no-one will have a clue what you’re talking about…unless they do.
- Mimic Someone’s Writing Style. Does someone have an annoying habit of misusing capital letters and ending bullet points with an unnecessary .’s ? Repeat.It.Often.
- Mis-Apply Topical Terms. Pick something quite relevant, and apply it in strange and bizarre ways. Has your community got any Mavericks? Can you see the moon from your house? What about bailouts?
- Quotes of the Month. Create a quotes of the week thread. Let people add their funniest quotes. Let people steal and recycle them as they see fit.
- Turn Big Mistakes Into Big Jokes. Skip this one if it was YOUR mistake. What’s the most famous blunder in your community? Do you have your own community-gate? How about an
- Never Forget Terrible Excuses. I don’t know why, but terrible excuses about anything make for great in-jokes.
- Refer to Real Life Meetings. Things tend to happen in real-life meetings that are endlessly repeated. Who got lost? Who forgot to tip? Who tripped over?
- Top 10 In-Jokes List. Yes, well, it works.
- Do Something Random. Sometimes I eat brown bread.
Here’s a good list of in-jokes at MetaFilter. What in-jokes does your or your community have? Did you help start them?