Back in the long ago days when I was active as a prankster, we had sort of a “Code of Honor” regarding what was acceptable and what was not. What disturbs me is that many of the above mentioned pranks do not seem to fit.
These were for people living in Dorms. If you pissed off your neighbor, you still had to live with them for the rest of the year, and there was plenty of opportunity for revenge. If the prankster violated these rules blatantly enough, they might even get the help of local authorities in effecting revenge. (ie somebody might be able to obtain a pass key to your room) So it was much to your advantage to follow them.
Here’s the “rules” as I remember them:
Rule 1: Thou shall never pull a prank on you roomate. (if you violate this one, you are stupid enough to DESERVE whatever happens next)
Rule 2: Thy prank shall be directed only at the target and not involve roomates or neighbors, unless they are also part of the target population.
Rule 3: Thou shall take care in the selection of targets. Do not target those who are picked on or struggling anyway, or thou mayest “push them over the edge” to your and their everlasting regret.
Rule 4: Thou shalt DO NO DAMAGE to property (ie buildings or vehicles) that thou does not hold title to. This includes the property of thy target.
Rule 5: If Rule 4 should be broken unintentionally, thou shalt do what it takes to restore the property to it’s original condition. (ie pay for repairs, or make them thyself in a workmanlike manner)
Rule 6: Thy victim shalt always have at least one avenue of escape in case of fire or other unexpected calamity. (note: it doesn’t have to be easy or usual, just possible. If you lock somebody in a room, make sure they have a window to get out through)
Rule 7: Thou shall not take any action that may be regarded by the police as a crime. ( assault of any kind is not a “prank”)
Rule 8: If the mess thou hast made takes an inordinate amount of time to clean up, (more than an hour or two) thou shalt assist the victim. This will restore peace and harmony to thy living quarters. (Note: If you’re clever, you can assist in the clean-up and comiserate without letting on that you were the perpitrator, at least not until much later, when a confession might be useful. Just having SOMEBODY help will improve the victim’s mood, and they will enjoy the joke sooner)
Rule 9: Thou shall perpitrate no pranks during Finals week, at least not until AFTER the victim’s last final. Nor shall thy prank disturb others who have not yet finished their ordeal.
Rule 10: Those who are paid to serve thee (janitors, cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, etc.) are not valid targets.
It was definitely more of a challenge to stay within the rules which, by the way, were included in a semi-official publication from the university. Pranks will happen in such a setting, this was an attempt to keep it clean harmless and funny by putting people on their honor. Mostly it worked. Some of the pranks were practically art, and stayed within the rules to boot!
PS if anyone’s interested I could give examples;)