The idea for Muggn came about after a thread about funny mugshots took off on EAVBuzz. No, there’s nothing new about posting funny mugshots online, but we thought the “art” was missing a couple of things.

First of all, mugshot sites haven’t been very interactive. These things beg for comments and ratings. Secondly, most mugshot sites have a limited selection of shots that are posted, and we thought there might be a better way to efficiently find and publish funny mugshots. Once we figured out that we could, in fact, do a better job of finding and publishing these things, the decision to make the site was set.

What? - Funny mugshots. Visitors can add comments, rate the mugshots and share the shots and their comments.

Why? - To raise the “art” of funny mugshots to a level befitting the inherent hilarity.

How? - Custom-built PHP code scours a couple dozen county jail sites across the U.S. to capture a ton of mugshots (somewhere on the order of 700,000 have been sucked up to date). We use an open-source photo gallery viewer to quickly review photos and built a one-click publishing method that pushes the good ones out. The site itself is built on heavily-modified WordPress code employing naming convention tricks and other things to serve up the mugshot images, pages and comments.

When? - The site was launched in January, 2009.

Dev Tidbits - The core of this project really was the mugshot capture / publish / display challenges talked about above. It is a great exercise in capturing things published elsewhere and in abusing the hell out of the WordPress code to get it to do what you need.