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What is Rule Zero of Internet?

December 19, 2019
4 min read

Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer‘ is Netflix’s twisted documentary that brings one of Canada’s most shocking killers to the forefront. Luka Magnotta might have ultimately been imprisoned for the violent murder, dismemberment and subsequent distribution of body parts of an Asian student, but he came to the attention of a group of internet sleuths way before that. This was primarily because Luka started off by torturing and killing cats in the most gruesome ways possible, including drowning, asphyxiation, and feeding one to a python.

If you notice the title of the documentary itself, it does not refer to Luka’s crime of taking a human life but instead refers to how Luka messed with cats. In fact, Baudi Moovan, one of the amateur sleuths who helped track down Luka, went on to mention that Luka broke one of the most important ground rules or rule zero of the internet, vis-a-vis, don’t mess with cats. Now, as internet surfers yourselves, you might be wondering what these internet rules are and what rule zero actually implies. We are here to answer your questions in that regard.

What Are the Rules of the Internet?

Contrary to what the name suggests, the rules of the internet are not actually enforceable. They are actually Netiquette, laying down guidelines about how people are supposed to behave online. In some cases, the rules actually go on to highlight how people behave online, rather than how they are supposed to. A lot of the internet rules started as inside jokes, references, and guidelines that captured how internet culture was in the early 2000s.

Notably, the rules were first published in the satirical Wiki, titled Encyclopedia Dramatica, in 2006. While some of the rules are universally accepted, others have been added out of nowhere. For example, rule 34 of the internet is often championed by users, and it states that “There is porn of it, no exceptions”. Notably, some of these rules might even be misogynistic in nature, but they are not part of the official set. If you traverse across internet subcultures, you will see some of the rules varying, but the core guidelines remain the same.

What is Rule Zero of the Internet?

Interestingly, rule zero of the internet is not officially or unofficially included in the internet rulebook. Baudi refers to the same, saying that it is an unspoken and unwritten rule, but everyone lives by it and agrees to it. The premise of rule zero is that if you mess with cats, people will find you out and make you suffer the consequences. Now, you might be wondering why is it called rule zero.

This is because rule zero is the first rule that is taken into consideration before all else. It is the most important or cardinal of the rules. And rule zero is that you have to behave properly with cats, because the internet is a space where plenty of pet and animal lovers fawn over creatures, especially cats. While dogs are immensely popular as well, and there are some who like more esoteric pets like snakes and spiders, cat videos are an absolute phenomenon on the internet. Therefore, harming cats draws the ire of a very vocal community.

Luka Magnotta, considering the time he spent on the internet, must have known the unspoken rules of the place. Here was a man who loved attention, no matter how he got it. However, he wasn’t getting much fame in real-life, or in reality shows, two of whose auditions he did appear for. Thus, he decided that the quickest and easiest way to become famous, or rather infamous (on the internet it is the same thing) would be by breaking the cardinal rule of the place, torturing and killing cats. And thus, started a chase, and the downfall of a man who is now serving a life sentence behind bars.

Read More: Where is Luka Magnotta’s Mom Now?

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