“On Extreme Pedantry, there was some discussion about the proper way to load a dishwasher, and I said, ‘Right, I need to create a similar group called Extreme Dishwasher Loading.’ I just went and created the group, and a load of people joined it at that point in 2016,” Hegedus, who lives in Essex, UK, tells WIRED.

Hegedus, known to the group as Dear Loader, says that in the first years there were just a few thousand members. Then, like many such Facebook groups, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 saw the number of people joining and sharing images of their dishwasher loading skills—or lack of skills—explode. The group added tens of thousands of new members.

While dishwasher loading techniques are taken extremely seriously, the group’s tone is overwhelmingly welcoming rather than mocking, and new members are encouraged to share pictures of their dishwashers as soon as they join.

The group’s dozen or so administrators make sure that arguments never escalate, they never get personal, and anyone who becomes aggressive or abusive is instantly blocked. The result is a corner of the internet which is simultaneously friendly and gently mocking at the same time.

The majority of members are based in the UK, but there is also a large US contingent, though Hegedus says there are no regional quirks when it comes to dishwasher loading.

Hegedus adds that the reasons people join are very different, but one member who spoke to WIRED says it was the sense of community that pushed her to become part of the group.

“I joined because I was thrilled to find other people as enthusiastic as me with the dishwasher,” Laura Marsh from Somerset, UK, tells WIRED. “I hate—really hate—washing by hand, and my other half never stacks it right. How much can you fit in a dishwasher and still have everything come out clean? There’s definitely an art to it.”

Despite finding her people, Marsh also ran afoul of the rules set out by the admins when she posted a picture in response to a question about the strangest thing she’s put in her dishwasher. “My answer was ‘a toilet seat.’ Not my usual thing to put in there, just seemed like a good idea at the time. That was a big no-no. You’re not to mention toilet seats in the moist box. I considered my wrists slapped.”

But the key to the group’s success, Hegedus says, is not that it provides a sure-fire way to load your dishwasher properly—it’s the double entendres.

“It ended up being a great place for innuendo,” Hegedus says.

Group members these days appear to be less interested in posting the picture of the perfect cutlery tray or the properly tessellated dishes, but seeing who can cram as much word play into their comments as possible.

Posts and comments in the group are filled with terms like “moist box” (a reference to the dishwasher), “filthy load” (a reference to the contents of the dishwasher), and “hand job” (a reference to washing by hand).

Take for example this recent comment to a question about feuds within the group: “We filleth the salty hole until it overflows with His abundant love,” the poster wrote. “We praise the burgeoning racks and the open flaps that The Dear Loader has generously bestowed upon us. With ecstatic fervor we plunge the largest and filthiest loads that we possibly can into our hot, moist boxes.”

In the end, the Extreme Dishwasher Loading group has achieved a huge level of popularity not because of the advice it dishes out, but because it never takes itself too seriously.

“It’s a place to get away from everything else, because at the end of the day it is so inane and unimportant,” Dear Loader says.

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