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Carpets and counting: Five of the web's oddest communities

By Dave Lee
Technology reporter, BBC News

image copyrightReddit user Mike_2013
image captionBirds with arms: a forum with more than 60,000 subscribers

For a while, one of the UK's free morning newspapers - Metro - ran a column named The Ridiculant. Its tagline was "things we found down the back of the internet".

Because it's down there - right down there, if you stretch a bit - where you can find some of the most intriguing, compelling and downright bizarre corners of the web.

Places where people all over the world gather for the most pointless of reasons, yet feel some reward from it.

The BBC decided to stick its hand down the back of the internet to see what it could find. The results, in no particular order, and for no particular reason, can be found below.

Many examples live within social news site Reddit, which is establishing itself as something of a natural home for the weird and wonderful.

Please note: Due to our policy on linking to sites that may contain strong language beyond the BBC's control, you may have to find your own way to some of the communities here via your favourite search engine.

image copyrightRobert Bush/Carpets for Airports
image captionAn airport carpet. That's really all there is to it

Singapore is famous for many things, but did you know its airport is also home to "one of the most psychologically terrifying carpets in the world"?

Or that Peru's Jorge Chavez International Airport, with its "muted, calming gold and white looms" gently steers your thoughts "away from possible engine failure and the looming Andes"?

Probably not, unless you are an avid follower, or perhaps even a member, of Carpets for Airports, a web community committed to finding and reviewing what greets our feet when we end up in far-flung places.

Navigated by swinging round a Google Earth-powered globe, short descriptions and a quick picture - the more boring the better - tell you all you need to know about global travel. Why bother travelling at all?

Sample user quote: "LXR's cold, hard, marble is fitting insomuch as it matches the demeanour of the airport authorities who routinely harass airport carpeteers for taking pictures of it."

image copyrightReddit
image captionAlmost there...

For some reason, almost 5,000 people are part of Counting, one of Reddit's many "subreddits" (that's the name given to individual sections on the site which anyone can create).

One by one, users queue up to count upwards in order.

This has been going on for well over a year, and the group is now up to 150,000. The target is, err, infinity - but they do seem to be having fun with it.

A hall of fame details which users hit specific milestones along the way.

Sample user quote: "150,998"

image copyrightReddit user LikeWTF42
image captionHere's rapper Eminem as Thomas the Tank Engine

Take one well-known children's TV theme tune and mix it with the baddest hip hop. That's how this subreddit works.

They're all in there: Dr Dre, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G.

As one YouTube comment put it: "How does this song go with everything?!"

Sample user quote: "I love the internet."

image captionThe forum even has a 'stories' section

"Run out of ice....OMG....never, never, never...I must have ice in the house at all times...out of food, so what...we got ice...I AM GOOD!!!!!"

That measured quote comes via a member of the Ice Chewers Bulletin Board, a gathering of people who just love to chew on ice.

And if you thought ice was simply frozen water, think again - the site's users share tips on recipes. Put a pinch of yogurt inside the tray, suggests one person, and freeze it for about three to four hours. "Trust me guys its unreal!"

The forum was a little quiet when the BBC logged on - perhaps something to do with the Winter Olympics.

Sample user quote: "I am so thrilled to know that I'm not the only one who enjoys the scent of one's freezer."

image copyrightThebastion/reddit
image captionDon't feed it any more bread

Birds with Arms started out as an image-manipulation challenge posed way back in 2008, but now boasts a Reddit community of more than 60,000 people.

It doesn't pretend to have any greater meaning, no artistic purpose, no statement on society. It just looks funny. Birds! With arms!

"You can't help but find yourself smiling," noted one review.

Sample user quote: "I must say you do a wonderful job of linking the colour of the arms to the colour of the birds' feathers. Good show sir."

What did we miss? Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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