Revived Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness

Darren Barefoot sez, '1000 Internet years ago, I started something called 'The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness'. It compiled 'wacky, bizarre, surreal and otherwise strange examples of technical documentation' Boing Boing covered it in 2004, which was a thrill, and some of the images appeared in the IT Crowd. I think of the Hall as the first thing I ever made that the Internet liked. Most of the examples were submitted to me by others. Thanks to dodgy gallery software, the Hall went offline in 2008. I've been meaning to get it back up, and Pinterest seemed like the ideal place for it. I'm in the process of uploading images there, and am happy to accept new submissions via darren at darrenbarefoot dot com."

Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness (Thanks, Darren!)


  1. It seems strange to me to illustrate a  piece on technical documentation with the rules of the notorious S-21 prison used by the Khmer Rouge simply because it is poorly translated into English.  The reason for the poor translation is at least partly because knowledge of English was likely to result in a short stay in S-21 for torture before being dropped into a mass grave.    It’s analogous to using the “arbreit mact frei” sign in front of Auschwitz to illustrate an article about that state of union membership.

  2. Reminds me of a centre section of the original Fringeware magazine that had a collection of those vaguely weird product warnings like “Contains Flammable Gas Under Pressure”. What seems like an aeon ago, I lovingly transcribed these and have been adding to them ever since as a source file for a daily MOTD. It makes me sad that their being replaced by pictures as they have a minimalist beauty. They also often mutate into general life advice eg. “keep dry and away from children” or “Make Responsibility Part Of Your Enjoyment”. 

    1.  My favorite weird warning as a child was on the tanker trucks warning of inflammable content. Couldn’t figure that one out even after  it was explained that it also meant flammable. Just seemed butt stupid.

  3. The french version that “the security of regulation” board happens to be incredibly more threatening that the english one.
    First there is the use of the informal/colloquial form, that make it sound like a Cartman-level douche bro wrote this, but on top of it, it’s peppered with things like “don’t try and veil your traitor face” and “you wont be able to count the blows” that really make it scary.

  4. That panel is found at the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It’s a list of the regulations the guards at Pol Pot’s prison were to follow. It was originally given in cambodian and french, most likely, as french was the second tongue there and a number of cambodians spoke it well. The english translation is rather mangled comparatively.

    I find it rather unfunny knowing what it is about.

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