Sunday, October 19, 2008

Frequently Asked Awesome Questions

Hey there, cool people. If you were wondering any of this stuff well then I have got some answers for you. If you have any other questions you suspect are frequently asked, tell me and I'll add them.

And remember - this list is only awesome questions. If you have lame questions, go to the Lame Questions Page.

#1. What's your least favorite xkcd ever?

Oh man, that's tough. I certainly got pretty angry with comics 432, 455, and 475. Look at the "angriest rants" bar off to your left to see the ones that have pissed me off the most. The most irritating, just because it was so close to being good but made one fatal flaw that caused it to suck, was 398. Also, 631 was pretty epically horrible.

#2. What's your favorite?

An easy choice - Search History

#3. I have the best idea EVAR for a post here what can I do with that?

oooooh send it to me send it to me send it to me.

#4. What else should I send you?

You should send me links to xkcd related anything - interviews, parodies, musings, etc. Also anything relating to the field of webcomic criticism. Or anything else. Examples of Randall having copied other people's ideas. Most anything.

#5. Does Randall Munroe know about this blog?


#6. Wait, what? He does?

More details can be found here. Spoiler alert: he's not a fan!

#7. Wait, are you Randall Munroe?

NO, and stop asking me that. If I were Randall Munroe, I would a) be at least a little nicer, b) advertise this site on reddit all the time (I am not, unlike Randall, a reddit user), and c) probably have a lot more readers. Look, if you guys can think of a way for me to prove I'm not Randall Munroe, I'll do it. But all I can say is that I know for a fact he knows about the blog, he doesn't like it, and he's very much not me.

One time guest-poster Dr. Horrible IMd us both at the same time, to prove we were different. He had a substantial conversation with Randall; I just counted numbers so he knew I wasn't also writing to him as Randall from some other computer. Decide for yourself.

#8. What is the best possible thing I, as a reader, could do to make your life better?

Well the answer to that used to be "Comment on the posts" but it looks like we have a healthy community of people writing both important and utterly absurd posts as it is. If you are going to say something insightful - either pro- or anti- xkcd - I'd still say go ahead. Other than that - just remind your friends that xkcd sucks no matter what they think.

You can also digg this site, and tell your friends and enemies about it.

#9. What's with the Cuddlefish thing?

oh man. Basically it started 'round Christmastime, with a comic about cuttlefish. We were being vexed by the fact that too many commenters were not signing their names, which made it hard to have real conversations with them, not to mention refer to them individually. So we started calling them Cuddlefish, not that that actually helps to solve the problem, but it's fun and it's our first real xkcdsucks meme, so yay for that I guess.


  1. Way to fan the fires of conspiracy theory, Carl. But if Randall's public persona is any indication, he probably wished you the best of luck and was just thankful you're not a hacker trying to crush his site.

    Also, kudos for saying you'll quit when this stops being fun. That makes you the Bill Watterson of haters. "I refuse to sell a mug about hating xkcd! Farewell!"

  2. Now I am curious about Nos. five and six. My English curiosity will never be sated.

  3. Crap. I am curious too!

    Just as I am about the Z in your email.


    I really miss the velociraptors of xkcd... but if he were to bring back the joke, it'd probably be as bad as Hat Man has been...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You know, I almost want to meet Randall more now that I am actively talking about how his webcomic is in a steady decline from its glory days and basically sucks now. I feel like that would be a much more interesting conversation.

  6. Huh... now, I'm curious about 5. and 6. but also about the deleted comments you sometime have on the blog...

    I really feel for Randall. It was a really good web comic. Stopping writing more strips must be hard for him after turning into an internet celebrity.

    There was a web comic called One Over Zero. It was one of the greatest, in my opinion, with good characters and character interactions. Early on into the comics the author decided to quit on page #1000, exactly #1000. I think this is in part what makes 1/0 such a great work of art - the author didn't let it rot.

  7. I can tell you that I haven't deleted any comments, I don't think. Maybe one or two at the beginning but I still don't think I did. Since I get them all e-mailed to me before people have a chance to delete them, I can tell you that they are rarely interesting. Usually something that they realized was a dumb comment or they posted it twice or something. I have yet to see something where I went "woah, they totally shouldn't have deleted that!"

    I'll look into One Over Zero - but I've always thought that The Perry Bible Fellowship was a good example of quitting while ahead.

  8. You know, I'm really surprised that you like #155 Carl. You could file that one under: "I'm quirky...and so is my search history!"

    That strip reminds of when I was ten, and all my friends would say the word "fart" at random moments, just to make everyone else giggle.

    Eleven years later, Randall's done the exact same thing, he's just supplanted the word "fart" with the word "raptor". Witty!

    Or maybe I'm missing something. Is this whole "raptor" business some big Internet joke that I'm missing? Is #155 a(nother) xkcd based around a meme?

    Agree with you about PBF though. That was amazing.

  9. Hey Tim - See, the thing with the quirkiness is it's only annoying (well, only totally overused here) with relationships. If the main guy in the comic is quirky, that's probably fine with me. At least for now. If it's like Mr. Beret or something, that is starting to be a problem.

    I really do think they are mostly funny. You imagine a guy there who is worried about these things, and I find them to be quite funny. I like the idea that you would use Jurassic Park as a learning tool. I like the fact that he is worried about raptors being alive and also being able to pick locks, basically this horrible supermonster thing. "Raptor sympathizer"

    And of course I like to think that what with the "utahraptor" and "dromaeosaurids" it's also a clear shout-out to dinosaur comics.

    Oh and also the alt-text gets points because that is, in fact, a WONDERFUL set of AOL searches that somethingawful has. Go read it, all of you. Aug 13th, 2006.

    The raptor thing is just, as far as I know, a mildly running joke in the early (or "golden age") xkcds. It was nice because it didn't really get used too often and stopped before the comic went to Suckstown, USA. See 87 and 135 for some others.

  10. Carl,

    1. Have you ever found a relatively new comic that you think is good? What's the latest XKCD that you like?

    2. Probably related to #1. When did you think XKCD started to go bad? Did you take one look at it and think it was bad from the start? Did you follow the comic for a while, but just recently decided it was bad?

    As for the person who mentioned 1/0: Thank you. I can honestly believe 1/0 is the absolute best read that is ever possible to create. I laughed, I cried... and I've only read the first 100 comics. Comics like that give me hope that good media still exists, even if it was finished years ago. Kid Radd is another recent find that is another exceptional title.

  11. Anonymous: WOOHOO! 1/0! (for anyone who haven't cought the link yet...)

    Can we have a list of comics the chief editor likes? What about the ones that used to be good but now suck? This thought leads me to the question: Can this blog expand to new grounds of vitriol web comics criticism? There is precedence for that with the GWB accidents series.

    Comedy Lead (as opposed to gold?) blog?

  12. Oh, wait. I didn't remember there's a list of links to good web comics in the Irritating FAQs (#7). :-/
    Sorry for reiterating the question. How do I remove that bit from my comment?

  13. Anon - good questions.

    The last comic I liked was the lesbian experimentation one I liked the google maps one until I saw the Penny Arcade it was almost identical to.

    Way back when I started this blog I wrote about my 10 favorite comics, but limited my choices to the first 200 to make it easier. I keep meaning to go back and do 201-400 but I am too lazy.

    on question 2 - it was absolutely the latter. I loved the comic when I first started reading it (summer of 2007) and then slowly noticed I wasn't enjoying it as much. Then people told me I was crazy and it was Teh Awsome but after a few people told me things like "yeah, I thought so too, no else seems to agree with me" I decided I was right. and when googling "xkcd sucks" brought up nothing good, I figured I would do it myself. And here we are.

    I would say it started to go bad around 350, give or take. People have vary widely differing opinions on this one.

    It's funny that you mention 1/0 because even though I wrote in October that I would look into it, I only got around to reading it just now. I liked it for the most part, though there were some parts that I didn't like - I still don't understand (spoiler alerts!) why Terra ended up deciding she was in love with Zadok after all and I certainly didn't follow the logic that led to Marcus losing his fourth wall. But in general it was very interesting and a lot of fun.

    Cow: I have had as a long-term goal for a while now opening up this blog to talk more about humor in general, and hopefully it will start to happen a bit more. Still not sure about this. As to your comments, I'd say you should delete your first two and write a new one, but of course, that will appear after this comment, so it may look odd. Of course, I could always delete this and repost it after your new one, but honestly none of this is worth the effort.

  14. Regarding comic 155: The somethingawful aol search logs that were posted on Aug 13th, 2006, are actually the funniest things I have ever read. I may literally believe this. I can't imagine why one would waste time on the internet reading webcomics or anything else if one hasn't looked up these yet.

    This comic is pretty funny because it's a fairly accurate imitation of what the search logs of aol users actually look like (if somethingawful is to be believed).

  15. Do people really think that this blog is written by Randal Monroe? That's strange. Because Randal Monroe is *funny* and *intelligent*

    Also *cute*, but that is beside the point.

  16. You have no idea what I look like!

    Further evidence that I am Randall Munroe: I can spell both "Randall" and "Munroe" correctly.

  17. what is with this anon who cannot spell "Munroe"?

    I mean I make that typo a lot but I generally correct it PLEASE CORRECT YOURSELF OKAY CUDDLEFISH

  18. It's not like all xkcd haters spell it as Munroe. I'm pretty sure I spelled it as Monroe before.
    And I wasn't sure about the double-l part in Randall so I just used Randy...

  19. Well it would make more sense for someone who hates xkcd to misspell Randall's name than for someone who hearts xkcd to misspell it, don't you think?

    Carl perhaps you should have started this blog and pretended your name was "Randal Monroe"! Then you would be like Perez Hilton. Sort of. Just less bitchy.

  20. it would only fuel the rumors that we are the same person, I fear.

  21. I never noticed that you had answered the Cuddlefish question here! when did you do this

  22. I don't even remember! But there it is, I guess.

  23. Shouldn't #631 be your least-favorite xkcd ever? Just sayin'.

  24. It is safe to assume that those comics that appear under "Angriest Rants", which includes 631, are ones that earned particular ire. To be honest, I think the 11th Grade one pissed me off the most of all of them.

  25. The link to the "more info can be found here" isn't working.

  26. man, I fucking agree completely with you on this one. XKCD, WAY PAST ITS PRIME. although you were incorrect on your judgement, I think xkcd stopped getting funny after the tree stump comic

  27. I'm genuinely confused why you spend so much effort to critique xkcd. And you critique it well, too; you don't just bash it. I mostly like xkcd, though yeah, it sucks some days, and is rarely hilarious, but it's consistently enjoyable. That's honestly good enough for me. But back to my question... why spend so much time and effort doing what you do? Is xkcd THAT popular? (It's hardly on prime-time TV...) Or is it there some personal animosity? (Doesn't seem like it...)
    I can only assume you enjoy making an intelligent thorough critique of something, anything, and like to practice your skills. Is this the case? If so, why xkcd, and not any other thing at random? Did you just get dissappointed by it one time too many, or did you just decide it would fit your needs?
    In short, I'm consfused. Unless you are a professional critic, you want to make art/lit/etc. criticism your JOB and you enjoy it more than anything else, then woulnd't your efforts be better served creating something yourself, rather than critiquing the (rather niche and hardly world-changing) work of others? I can only assume you love being a critic... and if so, I can compliment you and say, yes you're truly good at it, and more power to you. But I feel there must be more to the explanation and I remain confused.

    As an aside, here's my website (yes, I'm ashamed to throw in the plug, but I'm just doing it out of curiosity re: your thoughts on it): . Please let me know what you think:

    Best to you,

  28. Hey Charles, I really love xkcd too. I think its great that you do this homage, although its a little heavy on the irony for me.

    Keep up the good work.


  29. "I can only assume you enjoy making an intelligent thorough critique of something, anything, and like to practice your skills. "

    that is exactly it. And when you put it that way, it almost seems honorable. As to why xkcd, I don't know. I wasn't really planning for this to get so big when I started, and then once I started it just gradually turned into this. I think it works; it updates at about the right speed for me, it's a small enough thing that I can totally know everything happening in the xkcd world.

    i am not going to visit your website though because i am LAZY and you are trying too hard I think.

  30. I think you forgot that XKCD is actually pretty funny as a depiction of a man being leeched of creative spirit by a merciless and self-imposed schedule, kind of a satire of literature depicting self-destruction. I like to believe that Randall Munroe is actually the online persona of J.D. Salinger, using metaphor to talk about how fame affects one.

    Then again, perhaps not.

    In any case, I love this site for the detailed and honest critique you give of XKCD - whenever I see a comic I like, I google '[blah] sucks' and decide whether the author of the ensuing blog is talking sense. Sometimes they are; still other times, they just seem to be trying to enhance their e-peen artificially. Your blog was the former. ;)

    Reading XKCD first and then your critique is a great way to test my critical reading skills, too, since you normally pick up anything I don't hit.

  31. While not a fan of this site (it's just too mean spirited for little old [read: young] me) to read often. I love the top line; "[a] A bitter..."

    I actually would browse occasionally though, if it were not for the fact that I can't seen to use the arrow keys, 'end,' 'home,' ect. keys or copy/paste?

    Er... what's up with that?

    BeepSmile ain't smilin' right now

  32. try logging in...I know that blogger sucks usually, but besides moving the blog to another host (which is a long term goal of mine) there is little I can do.

  33. BeepSmile: if you enter some text, and then click "preview" and "edit," you gain full functionality.

  34. Hey, what's up?

    You know, I forget how I came to this website, but at first I was all like "No, you're wrong" and then I was all like "Maybe you have a point" and then I was all like "Wait, xkcd DOES suck!" But then I was all like, "No, you're really wrong, actually." But by then weeks had passed, and I realized the truth was xkcd sucks some weeks and rocks others. You just can't tell cause you're job has become HATING xkcd. Still, you try to be objective, and you do ok on xkcd's good days and you do awesome on xkcd's bad days. The point is, I now read my xkcd comic and come straight here for my xkcd comic criticism. It works very nicely, and helps me find flaws or virtues I missed on my original reading of the comic itself. I only wish you could be more impartial, yet... maybe then it wouldn't be such a perfect dialectic?

    On the whole, thumbs up. Sincerely, AK47

  35. Why do you like the search history comic so much? If you've written about this just give me a point to the article. I was wondering if you'd do an analysis on why you find it funny- akin to your analyses on why you don't find other comics funny. I personally hate that one.

    I am still a lover of most of what Randall's comics, although I agree with you he does have terrible ones. I would argue most comedians do. Even though we agree on the fact that not all of his stuff is good, I think we disagree totally about what we are looking for.

    My favorite comic is #45, Schrodinger's comic. What do you think of this? I could flood w/more, on his other topics, but I'm sure that this is the litmus test I'm looking for.

    Also, I was wondering if you would feel like putting together a "Manifesto of humor". A collection of what is comedic gold to you. I would be interested to hear what you have to say about other media of comedy. What about Eddie Izzard? What do you think of The Marx Brothers?

  36. You know it occurs to me that there's a lot less comments here than on the "sucks hugely" FAQ. Maybe there's a reason for that? Hrmm...

  37. Of course, if you were Randall, it would be nothing to write a script to count for you on a second computer. I think we'd need to subject you to simultaneous Turing tests.

  38. That's true. I am open to any other feasible suggestion to prove I am not Randall.

  39. There's really only one way to prove you're not Randall, and that's to post nude pictures of yourself.

  40. so you can compare them with your nude photos of randall, or what?

  41. Where'd the little quote at the top of the page come from?

  42. a cuddlefish called us that in a comment thread a long time back.

  43. Hey, I hate the faux-nerd culture as much as you. It's like the faux-depressed culture that called itself "emo" and made depression into a style. Not okay. Generally, stop faking who you are, and stop advertising if you are. A true "nerd," if you're going to call yourself that, doesn't need to advertise.


    Cuddlefish? Name-calling... cute. Very cute.

    You know something else? Generally, critics critique the comic, not the creator. Feeling nice and cozy, with your names for the anonymous idiots and your straw-man Randall? I notice you all seem to sign only first names...

    I'm signing.

  44. yeah, because adding a last name would definitely change things. what?

  45. Shut the fuck up Mason


    oh wait, I don't fucking care, which is why it's the easiest thing in the world to find my full name on the internet.

  47. That...that was my point. I was making fun of the "how come you only show your first name here, cowards???" guy you just replied to.

  48. I know you already have the shitty blogger tag for it, but could you maybe have a link to "comics I like" somewhere that's always on the front page, like this FAQ or the other one? I think it'd be more handy for when dumb fans come in calling you biased and stuff.

  49. Anon: good idea. i will try to remember it.

    Sam: The cuddlefish term was born of absolute necessity.


  50. Rob ate my brother.

  51. yeah, and about 445 other pounds of stuff

  52. You are to xkcd as Maddox is to life.

    But seriously, you went to ALL THE TROUBLE of counting numbers to PROVE that you aren't Randall Munroe? Get a life! That is the easiest thing ever to script or photoshop.

    Sincerly Cuttlefish...

  53. except i don't publish twice per year

    hey, the numbers thing was Dr. H's idea, I just went along for fun