Horselover Fat's Inside Guide to the DFC
Well, this page has become a historical document. The DFC is no more.
Here's more SpinnStuff,
including a glimpse of what the DFC was like.
Don't forget to join the all-day/all-night
all-Spinnwebe party on irc-- channel #spinnwebe on EFnet.
Or if you want your words immortalized on
DejaNew's towering stack of Zip disks, check out the newsgroup,
Text index to the DFC Archives Where was that big fish cartoon anyway?
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- What is the DFC?
- Oh, man, if you don't know, just
- Who are you?
- I'm one of the editors. Heather Garvey (Raven) and Ken Kaufman
are the others. Spinn edits too sometimes.
- Why do captions get edited at all?
- So you see 50 to 100 funny captions, instead of 1000 captions
ranging from funny
to lame to inexplicable.
Let your mind wrap around that awhile. We often get over
a thousand captions for a cartoon-- the record is well over 1600.
You don't want to see the whole set; it would destroy your soul.
- How does editing work?
- Once a day, one of the editors enters a lead-lined bunker buried far
below the Rocky Mountains, passes a battery of tests including a retina scan and the
TOEFL, and logs in to SpinnWebe. The waiting captions are tossed at us, kind of like Tetris, and shuffled into four buckets: Accept, Reject, Okay, and Stupid.
- Do you accept a fixed percentage of captions?
- No, we just accept the captions we really like. We keep a cartoon until
something over 60 captions have been accepted, then archive it.
(Also, the good captions tend to peter out after a few days.)
- When do you put up new cartoons?
- Usually, when we archive an old cartoon. It also depends on there
being scanned cartoons. (At the moment we're flush.)
- Do you change the wording of captions?
- We only just got the ability to do so. Ask me again in a few
- Do you favor certain submitters?
- Not at all, because when we're editing we don't see the submitter's name.
Captions stand or fall (sometimes crushing those below) entirely on their merits
- Do you favor your own captions?
- See previous answer. I submit mine to one of the other editors;
they don't see any names, remember, so they're completely free to
reject it. 'Course, we'll just see if they get
invited to any dinner parties of mine after that.
- What a surefire way to get accepted?
- Make me laugh.
- What are some surefire ways to get rejected?
- Repetition. The caption repeats something already accepted, on this cartoon or another one. Remember, we see a lot more captions than you do, so we get tired of jokes quicker than most DFC readers.
- Also, repetition. Every day we get great submissions... that
repeat somebody else's caption for the same cartoon. Things that make you go hmmm.
- The humor got left out. It's not enough just to suggest that
Bil can't draw, or that Mommy's molesting Billy, or that Dolly's a dyke. You gotta say it in a funny way, or find a new angle to it.
- Any HTML tags besides bold and italic. That includes formatting, pictures, and links in the caption itself.
- Getting the names wrong. The kids are Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, and P.J.; the parents are Bil and Thel. The dogs are Barfy and Sam. The cat is
- Getting Dad's friend Roy's orientation wrong.
He's Dad's friend; that should give you a clue.
(BTW, for those who were wondering, like me, Uncle Roy seems to be an
import from an old SNL routine, though of course he's evolved in his
own way in the DFC.)
- Not paying attention to what's in the cartoon. I personally like captions that make good use of everything in the cartoon: who's talking, facial expression, other characters shown, unusual objects depicted. Contrariwise,
it's a bad sign if the caption doesn't refer to anything in the cartoon.
Also see Greg's submission
guidelines, which have more helpful hints for happy humor.
- What's the okay list?
- Just what it says: concepts we like, but that could be improved. It means there's an even funnier caption inside that's trying to get out.
Something that may not occur to you when you're trying to rewrite: Often you
improve a caption by tightening it up, not by adding to it.
Editors can now add a comment under a caption.
This is a new feature, so bear with us as we work out how best to use it.
Consider our comments to have a big fat IMHO in front of them. It's nice
to be able to suggest why we didn't green-zone the caption, instead of
leaving you to guess-- but there are often many ways to fix a caption.
- What's a surefire way to get on the stupid list?
- It's a bit more challenging now that there is none. But you can try
(If you're really really new: the stupid list, aka the red zone, was where
we filed the stupid crap sometimes submitted as captions. Inevitably,
people started submitting faux crap. Which just defeats the purpose.)
(And if you're terribly upset over the loss of the red zone... get over
it already. It's just a show; you should really just relax.)
- Is it bad to be on the okay list?
- Not at all. It's a step up from the Invisible Asterisk, which is where most captions go.
- How do I do bold and italic?
- To make text bold, surround it with the tags <b> and </b>. To make it italic, use <i> and </i>. For God's sake don't put in a <b> or <i> without the closing </b> or </i>
- What's the Difficult Zone?
- If we put up a warning about a Difficult Zone, it means we've seen so damn many captions on that topic that we're sick of it. If you want to use that topic, your caption had better be so funny that major surgery is required to repair the damage.
Some stuff is in a kind of global Difficult Zone:
- Jokes about Keane's drawing ability. Remember that we get two dozen 'Bil can't draw' captions per cartoon. By this point they have to be pretty creative to be accepted.
- "I faked my orgasms too", "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK
" and other well-known lines.
- Rotating heads. Yawn.
- Taxidermy. There's a limit to many times we can shoot, stuff, and mount each character, and we reached it about a hundred cartoons ago.
- Comments about the editors. Some of these have been pretty funny; but it just seems kind of incestuous to accept them.
- Anything Greg said he liked in a comment. Oh, like, say, hypno-hair. That usually seems to be a signal to beat the concept into the ground.
- "Poop holds ___ wher it is", tripped nutsacks, and "Good on you, mate".
- DFC in-jokes and references to the DFC in
general. This is
very funny for the hundred or so DFC regulars, including the editors.
But we shouldn't make the humor impenetrable for everyone else.
- What's an Impossible Zone?
- The same, only worse. It means that there's basically just one or two jokes for the given topic, and they've been made already... or they're not worth making.
- Hey, why'd my caption disappear in the archives?
- Before they're archived, Greg goes over the
cartoons and discards captions he deems unworthy of permanent storage.
- What's wrong with Soylent Green anyway?
- Nothing-- once. You want to see a good Soylent Green caption, set the way-back machine to cartoon #1. There it is-- not exactly a rouser, but an amusing reference. But, just about every caption we receive on Soylent Green is that joke, again.
- Doesn't this depend a lot on YOUR sense of humor?
- Sure. Ultimately it depends on Greg's, of course. But he picked the editors because our sense of humor is similar to his.
It doesn't mean that we only pick captions that we would have written.
I'm constantly amazed at the things people come up with.
- Is anything off limits?
- No. Just don't forget the wit. Despite what you might think,
we don't load up on Tanqueray before editing; so humor that relies
primarily on the word "peener" doesn't get the laugh muscles churning.
- You don't get to the captions fast enough.
- It was server problems. Really. Everything is back to norbal.
(I left in that line because I like it; but actually, these days we edit
about every weekday, and often more. So enough whining. 'Whinging', if
- I really think you should have accepted my caption.
- Yeah, I know.
- We may just have seen that joke too many times.
- What tickles you may not tickle us.
- Living in a hermetically sealed bubble as we do, we missed that particular episode/flick/CD/news item/party.
- The dog ate it.
- It wasn't me, it was Ken.
- Just try again.
- Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent.
- Some of the captions you accept are lame.
- Yeah, I know.
- It made us laugh. Humor is irrational.
- You were so wrapped up in hot syrupy sex that you missed that particular episode/flick/CD/news item/party.
- It refers to a prevous cartoon, or a comment on the cartoon page that isn't
there anymore, or it's a running gag, or something.
- We're only mutants.
- It wasn't me, it was Raven.
- So submit your own funny ones.
- Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent.
- Are my captions getting through to you? I can't believe they
- We still get mail like this, despite answering this very question
here and in the DysFAQ. The standard answer is: 1) yes, they are
through; and 2) believe it.
This complaint usually comes
from someone new to the DFC. They're very amused by their own captions;
but it's something we've seen and got tired of long before. (DFC
regulars will remember one striking recent case-- but he wasn't alone.)
- I want to complain.
- Sorry, this is Getting Hit on the Head Lessons.
More seriously, we're only an e-mail away.
will get to all the editors plus Spinn.
Give your mail a descriptive subject line, like "Hey! You rejekted my
- How do you pronounce SpinnWebe?
- Frahnk-en-shteen. I forget how Greg says it, but it's German, so it
should really be shpin-veh-beh.
- Are you involved with 'It's a dysfunctional life'?
- Nope. Casey is the IADL editor.
- I hear someone keeps stats on who's posted the most captions. How can I get at them?
- Charlie Steinhice posts them regularly to alt.fan.spinnwebe.
Your ISP doesn't need to
get this newsgroup for you to read it; you can see it thru DejaNews.
See the link at the top of the page.
- Uncle Roy? The psychic fern? Poop holds the tent wher it is? HUH??
- Ah, I see you've met a few of our running gags.
For explanations of these and more, as well as neat stuff like
a list of all the DFC memoir titles, or my DFC haikus, see
Raven's DFC Home Companion.
- What happened to Vice Pope Doug?
He's fine, really. He's adapted to life in stir very well, and he has a
really scrumptious cellmate.
Er, well, actually, he says, "I'm just on a lot of airplanes
these days." So, no time to edit or even submit captions.
He thanks you for your interest.
- What happened to Craig?
- Another victim of real life. He's out of law school and presumably
working 80 hours a day back in Dallas.
Keep those captions coming!