Sickipedia, the site where the young Lancashire man Matthew Woods found inspiration to post "jokes" about the missing child April Jones on his Facebook page was "down for maintenance" when I tried to check it out this morning, though I managed to get a glimpse of the kind of content it publishes courtesy of Twitter.
I'll reproduce just one, which should come with the equivalent of one of those taste and decency disclaimers you get on TV: "My dick is a lot like Marmite. My wife hates it when I rub it on her toast". That was from May. That alone should allow you to conclude, if you hadn't already realised from its name, that this site is for the seriously sad and inadequate. That should be the end of the story. The decision of Woods, however, to reproduce "jokes" about April Jones and Madeleine McCann has led him to be sent for 12 weeks to a young offenders' institution. Prior to that he had been taken into protective custody to prevent him being lynched.Firstly I agree that it is outrageous for someone to be jailed for reposting jokes on Facebook. Attempted Hilarity is not a crime.
Secondly as someone who has put up about 500 jokes on Sickipedia I have to object to Kampfner's description of as being for the sad and inadequate. Obviously it is true in my case but even so he misses the point of the site.
It is user generated so anyone can put jokes up, this can lead to dire jokes, plagiarised jokes and offensive jokes devoid of comedic merit. However it can also lead to brilliant jokes of the kind that will be liked by 1000s of people. The site has a voting system so the good jokes get more exposure and the crap gets washed away. In the forums of the site there is a lot of ranting about and mocking of the terrible jokes that get posted- there is no one among the regular users who doesn't realise that there is a good deal of rubbish on site. (I odubt that Matthew Jones is a regular user as his efforts were abysmally unfunny).
Taking one shit joke which didn't score well as being indicitive of the site is as fair as taking one Beatrix Campbell article and concluding that the Guardian is crap.