name = Urban Legends Reference Pages (snopes.com)
url = http://www.snopes.com/
type = Reference pages
commercial = Supported by advertisements and contributions from readers
registration = Required only on forums
owner = Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
author = Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
Snopes (pronEng|ˈsnoʊps), also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a
web sitethat is the most widely-known resource for validating or debunking urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin in popular culture. [Neil Henry, "American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media" (University of California Press 2007), p. 285.] Snopes is run by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a Californiacouple who met on the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup. The Mikkelsons also founded the San Fernando ValleyFolklore Society, and were credited as the owners of the site until 2005. [cite web|url = http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=55;t=000490|publisher = snopes.com|title = Messageboard post] The site is organized according to topic and includes a message board where questionable stories and pictures may be posted.
David Mikkelson used the username "snopes" (the name of a family of often unpleasant people in the works of
William Faulkner) [cite web|url = http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp#snopes |title = Urban Legends Reference Pages: (Frequently Asked Questions)|quote = What are 'snopes'?|publisher = snopes.com|accessdate = 2006-06-09] cite web|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/07/DD242504.DTL |date=2002-09-07|author=Paul Bond
San Francisco Chronicle|title=Web site separates fact from urban legend] in the Usenetnewsgroup alt.folklore.urban.See Michele Tepper, "Usenet Communities and the Cultural Politics of Information" in David Porter, ed., Culture (1997) at 48 (" [T] he two most notorious trollers in AFU, Ted Frankand snopes, are also two of the most consistent posters of serious research.").] Barbara Hamel was also a prolific poster. The Mikkelsons created snopes.com in 1995. Barbara now works on the site full time, while David, a programmer, works on the site part time.cite web
Cathy Seipp|title=Where Urban Legends Fall
National Review Online]
Snopes aims to debunk or confirm widely spread urban legends. The site is often referenced by news media and other sites, including
CNN, [ [http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/10/03/rec.false.rumors/index.html CNN.com - Hear the rumor? Nostradamus and other tall tales - October 3, 2001 ] ] FOX news, [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,226223,00.html FOXNews.com - Teens Abusing Energy-Boosting Drinks, Doctors Fear - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News ] ] and MSNBC. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17798063/ Urban Legends Banned-April Fools'! - ConsumerMan - MSNBC.com ] ] The site is so comprehensive that leading folklorist Jan Harold Brunvandhas cited it as a reason why he has never created a site of his own. Snopes' popular standing is such that some chain e-mail hoaxes claim to have been "checked out on 'Snopes.com'" in an attempt to discourage readers from seeking verification. [ [http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Who Is Barack Obama?"] . Retrieved 22 January 2008.]
Snopes directs people to more information about various hoaxes, especially in regard to
chain e-mails. Although they research their topics heavily and provide references when possible, not all of their sources (especially personal interviews, phone calls, or e-mails) are fully verifiable. Where appropriate, pages are generally marked "undetermined" or "unverifiable" if the Mikkelsons feel there is not enough evidence to either support or disprove a given claim.
The site is sometimes confused with
The AFU and Urban Legends Archive, [ [http://www.tafkac.org/ The AFU & Urban Legends Archive ] ] a similar site run by the denizens of alt.folklore.urban, which houses that newsgroup's FAQ.
The Mikkelsons have stressed the "reference" portion of the name "Urban Legends Reference Pages", indicating that their intention is not merely to dismiss or confirm misconceptions and rumors but to provide evidence for such debunkings and confirmations as well. [ [http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp "Urban Legends Reference Pages: (Frequently Asked Questions)"] . (Re "How do I know the information you've presented is accurate?") Retrieved
June 9, 2006.] In an attempt to demonstrate the perils of overreliance on authority, the Mikkelsons created a series of fabricated urban folklore tales that they term "The Repository of Lost Legends". [ [http://www.snopes.com/lost/lost.htm "Urban Legends Reference Page: Lost Legends"] . Retrieved 9 June 2006.] (The name was chosen for its acronym, T.R.O.L.L., a reference to the early 1990s definition of the word "troll" to mean an Internet prank, of which David Mikkelson was a prominent practitioner.) One fictional legend averred that the children's nursery rhyme" Sing a Song of Sixpence" was really a coded reference used by pirates to recruit members. (This parodied a "real" false legend surrounding " Ring Around the Rosie"'s link to the bubonic plague.) Although the creators were sure that no one could believe a tale so ridiculous — and had added a link [ [http://www.snopes.com/lost/false.htm "Urban Legends Reference Page: Lost Legends (False Authority)"] . Retrieved 9 June 2006.] at the bottom of the page to another page explaining the hoax, and a message with the ratings reading "Note: Any relationship between these ratings and reality is purely coincidental." — eventually the legend was featured as true in an urban legends board game and TV show. [ [http://www.snopes.com/humor/mediagoofs/sixpence.asp "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Humor (Mostly True Stories)"] . Retrieved 20 June 2006.]
For some time, Snopes' ad provider was distributing the
Zangoadware product. [ [http://www.techspot.com/news/28789-snopes-peddling-malware.html Snopes peddling malware] - TechSpot]
A television pilot based on the site called "Snopes: Urban Legends" was completed with Jim Davidson as host, but major networks passed on the project.
* [http://www.snopes.com/ Snopes.com]
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