To get Boaty McBoatfaced means that you’ve made the critical mistake of letting the internet decide things. In other words, as much as we revere democracy, there are times — and they do typically involve the internet — when one’s fellow citizens deliberately make their choices not in order to foster the greatest societal good, but, instead, to mess with you.
The city of Austin, Texas, got McBoatfaced, for example, when it asked the internet to name its waste management service. The internet obliged by suggesting it be named in honor of Fred Durst, the frontman of the rock band Limp Bizkit.
Taylor Swift and VH1 got McBoatfaced when they asked the internet to choose a location for her forthcoming concert. The internet obliged by choosing the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. (Ms. Swift, proving once and for all that she is a good sport, donated $10,000 to the school, before settling on another venue.)
But sometimes these episodes can take a darker turn. Mountain Dew got McBoatfaced when it asked the internet to name its new flavor. The internet — largely driven by members of the message boards Reddit and 4chan — obliged by naming the new flavor “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong.”