Let me take a moment and explain the history of the Wacky Misspelling Gag. It started out as a parody of usage common in certain subcultures, particularly those of teenage software pirates and crackers, and infantile Usenet newbies. You still see someone who types this way without irony every once in a while, particularly in groups devoted to heavy-metal bands. In any case, at some point a number of different individuals created a mythical entity named BIFF or BIFF@BIT.NET or BIFF@psuvm.psu.edu or something like that, an enthusiastic but clueless adolescent who posted from his brother's Commodore 64. BIFF typed in all caps, often with bizarre line breaks, and ended every sentence with a string of !!'s and some ones mixed in for good measure (which really makes no sense given the C64 keyboard, but BIFF's naivete exceeded even physical bounds).

It is a very old joke and tired too, but now that's its charm, as Mike Nelson as Jack Perkins would say. Most of us started out as BIFFs in some sense or another; we would put huge ASCII swords in our .signature files, or misspell things intentionally so it would be K00L, or respond in a puzzled manner to obvious bait and flame the poster apoplectically in sentences ending in strings of exclamation points. We look back on our newbiehood, and BIFF helps us remember. Personally, one of the most embarrassing aspects of my Usenet childhood was that I thought BIFF had at one time been a real person.

In any case, now you know. Kibo wasn't responsible, not originally, at least. I've asked him who was, but he says if he tells me he'll have to kill me.

BiCapitalization = B = BI

B1FF /bif/ [Usenet] (alt. `BIFF') n.

The most famous pseudo, and the prototypical newbie. Articles from B1FF feature all uppercase letters sprinkled liberally with bangs, typos, `cute' misspellings (EVRY BUDY LUVS GOOD OLD BIFF CUZ HE"S A K00L DOOD AN HE RITES REEL AWESUM THINGZ IN CAPITULL LETTRS LIKE THIS!!!), use (and often misuse) of fragments of talk mode abbreviations, a long sig block (sometimes even a doubled sig), and unbounded naivete. B1FF posts articles using his elder brother's VIC-20. B1FF's location is a mystery, as his articles appear to come from a variety of sites. However, BITNET seems to be the most frequent origin. The theory that B1FF is a denizen of BITNET is supported by B1FF's (unfortunately invalid) electronic mail address: B1FF@BIT.NET.

[1993: Now It Can Be Told! My spies inform me that B1FF was originally created by Joe Talmadge <jat@cup.hp.com>, also the author of the infamous and much-plagiarized "Flamer's Bible". The BIFF filter he wrote was later passed to Richard Sexton, who posted BIFFisms much more widely. Versions have since been posted for the amusement of the net at large. See also Jeff K. --ESR]

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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