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Which HTML tag was implemented as a joke?



Answer: Blink

In the mid-1990s, long before the advent of annoying flash ads, pop-overs and other irritating web browsers, there was flashing text. No other HTML design element has enjoyed more hatred than the tag.

What is deeply amusing (or unlucky, whoever you ask) is that the Scourge, which is the blink-day, has completely sprung up as a stupid browser Easter egg after receiving a night of drinking. Lou Montulli, an early and influential web browser programmer, explains the origin of the blink tag on his personal website:

At some point in late summer, I took a break with some other engineers and went to a local bar, Castro Road in Mountain View. The bar was the St. James Infirmary and had among other things a 30 foot Wonder Woman statue. In the evenings, I mentioned that it was sad that Lynx was unable to display many of the HTML extensions we suggested. I also pointed out that the only text style that Lynx could use due to its environment is flashing text. We had pretty good laughter at the thought of flashing text and talked about how and where that blinked and how absurd the whole thing would be. From then on, the evening was pretty normal. I drank a lot more and I met the girl who would later become my first wife.

Saturday morning rolled around and I just went to the office just to find something else but flashing text. It blinked on the screen in all its glory and in the browser. How could that be, could you ask? It turned out that one of the engineers liked my idea so much that sometime after midnight he left the bar, returned to the office, and implemented the blinking day overnight. He was still there in the morning and quite proud of it.

The day was supposed to be a joke, something arcane about which programmer would stumble, laugh at how annoying it was, and move on. Once the blink tag was in the great outdoors, it was equally common on the high school personal websites and corporate splash pages.

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