Today is April 1st, the day when web pranks ensue. For a change from previous April Fool’s redirects (1, 2, 3), I have instead decided to forego a front-page prank and instead provide you, internet, with a valuable web prank service: the “Stephen King is Dead”* Obituary Troll Generator.
A simple homegrown PHP-based mad-lib script, the troll obituary generator asks you for some basic info on the recently deceased, then gives you some text saying that you heard on talk radio that s/he had died at home, that there would be no denying that person’s contributions to some body of work, and that members of some community would miss this figure who was truly an icon of his or her nationality. From there you are free to copy the text to paste into forums and weblog comments everywhere, sowing panic, alarm, and chaos in your wake. So have at it!
* A bit of explanation for the uninformed: “Stephen King is Dead” was a popular “red herring” troll on Slashdot, posted early in a thread to throw it off-topic as forum newbies went on panicked searches through the news, then came back to the topic to post follow-ups like “I can’t find any news about Stephen King” or “No, he’s still alive,” thus further derailing the discussion. The choice of Stephen King for this particular troll was completely arbitrary, just like how Rickrolls involve Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and not some other song or artist.