David Thorne

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David Thorne color.jpg
A photo of David Thorne
Birthname David Thorne
Date of Birth February 23, 1972
Birth Place Geraldton, Western Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Writer and humorist
Biography Australian humorist, satirist, writer and Internet personality

David Thorne is an Australian satirist. He gained popularity in late 2008 for an email correspondence about an overdue account, in which he attempts to settle the debt with a picture of a seven legged spider. He runs a website on which he posts humorous correspondences he has had with acquaintances and friends alike similar to that of the seven legged spider story. He has published a book named The Internet is a Playground, which is a compilation of all of his works. Thorne is often accused of cyberbullying in the email correspondences he engages in (as well as the way he discusses these people online). Ethical concerns also arise in his disclosure of others' personal information and his opinion of copyright concerns.


The stock image 27b/6 uses to welcome visitors. This particular stock image, purchased by Thorne, created some controversy on another website where the blogger used the same image.[1]

On his homepage, 27bslash6.com [2], David gives a list of comical things he has done or ideas that he has. Most of them are meant to be satirical. It is made apparent through each one that he has no intention of being serious. The website also includes links to his book as well as his Twitter and Facebook pages. It is also possible to leave a comment or send David an email through his website.

Seven-Legged Spider

E-mail correspondence between David Thorne and his bank. In the e-mail David Thorn attempts to pay his overdue utility bills with a drawing of a seven legged spider.
David Thorne's email correspondence with Jane Gilles, an employee at a utilities company at which Thorne had an outstanding payment, first gained him internet notoriety in October 2008. The interaction, which spanned several back and forth emails between Thorne and Gilles, was posted to 27bslash6 soon after it took place. In the emails, Thorne attempts to pay off the outstanding balance on his account by sending Gilles a drawing of a spider, which he "values at $233.95." [3]. When she declines the drawing as an acceptable form of payment, Thorne demands his drawing back, which Gilles complies with by attaching it in her next email. Thorne sarcastically remarks that the drawing could not have been his, as the spider only has 7 legs, and sends a corrected drawing in a repeated attempt to pay the bill. Again, Gilles declines and Thorne again asks for his drawing to be "returned" and concludes "It was silly of me to assume I could provide you with something of completely no value whatsoever, waste your time and then attach such a large value to it." [4]

The post was soon picked up by the social news site Digg, where the absurd interaction became an internet phenomenon. The new traffic to Thorne's website, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, ended up crashing the site for some time. The emails were picked up by various mainstream sources including BBC's Have I Got News for You and the Late Show with David Letterman. In November 2008, Thorne created an auction on eBay for the drawing of the 7-legged spider, further continuing the joke. The news spread of the auction around the internet and the drawing was sold for $10,000. [5]

Missing Missy

Another one of Thorne's most popular correspondences was his email exchange with his coworker, Shannon. After a request that he help her create a missing poster for her runaway cat, David responded with increasingly ludicrous interpretations of her messages. Beginning with a movie poster-style image, progressing to a "Lost" photo, and eventually an image of another cat entirely from the picture sent to him he makes fun of her throughout and posts each response from each. Throughout he includes both a picture of the woman as well as her actual name in his photos of the emails[6].

Kate's Birthday Party

Thorne created a fake event on Facebook titled "Kate's Birthday Party" and over 70,000 people confirmed that they were attending on Facebook. [7] It got popular when Reddit and 4chan got a hold of the event. Thorne even made marketable items such as t-shirts that said "I attended Kate's Party". [8] This created a debate of Facebook's piracy issues, and eventually facebook shut down the event.[9] Most of the people who confirmed did not live close to the actual location of the fake party. A handful of teenagers showed up at the street where policemen were waiting to handle any crowd that formed. Thorne was accused of risking the arrival of a riot-sized crowd, but none actually formed. [10]

Ethical Implications

David Thorne is often criticized because some viewers deem his stories as defamatory. He is often called a troll, and a (cyber)bully.

The progression of the Penguin Books logo, beginning from the original logo and progressing through Thorne's many adjustments.


David Thorne has run into trouble regarding trademark concerns. After his unauthorized use of the Penguin Books Limited logo, he was contacted by their legal services demanding the offending image be taken down. Rather than comply with their request, he made slight modifications to the image, skirting the issue and demands they set forth. He did not want to have to do any actual work to change the image on his products[11].

From these correspondences it is easy to see that Thorne does not value the rights to a Trademark highly. With Photoshop technology and digital files, Thorne was easily able to take an existing logo and modify it to be his own. With new information technology that exists this type of action is difficult to police and prevent and even more difficult to enforce as remixing and picture editing are easy and free to anyone. It also raises questions about how different a logo, or other piece of intellectual property must be before it is no longer a trademark or copyright.


David Thorne said the following when asked about the authenticity of his email exchanges:

"The email articles are verbatim although I do fix spelling errors, as is my prerogative, and bad grammar prior to posting. I also sometimes change the person's name or remove their second name, unless they have overly annoyed me, and there have been occasions when I have added context or deleted non-contexual content such as footers. The non-email based articles feature friends, associates and work colleagues and are exaggerated, but based on actual events."[12]

Thorne never explicitly states why he chooses to leave the real names of correspondents. By leaving the names in, there is potential harm to the people in these stories whether or not the stories are meant to be satirical. In 2009, Thorne received an email from a correspondent's lawyer demanding that his client's name be removed. After an exchange of several emails where Thorne replied in his usual satirical manner, he agreed to change his name. However, the client's name was only changed from Skye Cargan to Mr. Carganovsky, and the correspondence with the lawyer was posted on the site.

Cyberbullying and Harassment

Several colleagues of Thorne claim they suffered depression, and extreme anger due to the published emails. Former graphic designer, Lucius Thaller, says this has affected his ability to get a new job and could haunt him when he starts a family. [13] Another colleague of Thornes, Simon Edhouse, claimed he was bombarded with emails, tweets and comments and that the emails published have hurt his reputation. He also denies that the exchange ever took place. [13] On the other hand, David said that "most his colleagues told him they didn't mind being on the website." [13] A third coworker, Simon Dempsey, filed numerous complaints with the company's HR department pertaining to different types of bullying he claimed Thorne committed. Some of the things Dempsey claimed Thorne did included replacing all of Dempsey's lunch with a pickle, changing Dempsey's title on his business cards from "graphic designer to horse whisperer," and going into Dempsey's computer and replacing all of his saved stock images with pictures of Justin Bieber. [14]

See Also


  1. "Who is David Thorne?" SEO Bullshit. <http://seobullshit.com/david-thorne/ Who is David Thorne?>
  2. Thorne, David. 27b/6. <http://27bslash6.com/>
  3. Thorne, David. "Overdue." 27b/6. <http://www.27bslash6.com/overdue.html>
  4. Thorne, David. "Overdue." 27b/6. <http://www.27bslash6.com/overdue.html>
  5. "Paying Bills with Spider Drawings." "Know Your Meme." <http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/paying-bills-with-spider-drawings-seven-legged-spider>
  6. 27bslash6.com: "Missing Missy." Retrieved from: http://27bslash6.com/missy.html
  7. "70,000 friends snub Facebook Kate's Birthday party" News.com.au. <http://www.news.com.au/technology/friends-snub-facebook-kates-birthday-party/story-e6frfro0-1225861078003>
  8. Moses, Asher. "Kate's Party gatecrashed by 60,000 Facebook users." SMH.com.au. <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/kates-party-gatecrashed-by-60000-facebook-users-20100427-tp31.html>
  9. Quigley, Robert. "Kate’s Party: Or, How 60,000 Trolls Facebook-Crashed a Random Party in Australia" Geekosystem. <http://www.geekosystem.com/kates-party-facebook-meme/>
  10. "70,000 friends snub Facebook Kate's Birthday party" News.com.au. <http://www.news.com.au/technology/friends-snub-facebook-kates-birthday-party/story-e6frfro0-1225861078003>
  11. 27bslash6.com: "Trademark Infringement and Dilution". Retrieved from: http://27bslash6.com/covers.html
  12. Olsen, Dawn. Q & A With The Internet's "Evil Genius," Humorist David Thorne. The Morton Report. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Griffin, Michelle. Funnyman of the internet just a bully, say former colleagues. The Age. 2011-6-22. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  14. "What office complaints look like when you have the world's most brilliantly obnoxious coworker." Happy Place. <http://www.happyplace.com/9907/david-thorne-makes-co-workers-life-a-living-hell>
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