Sunday, October 19, 2008

Frequently Asked Irritating Self-Righteous Questions

Hello, dear reader! Are you here for the first time? Do you think xkcd is just the most precious and lovely comic ever to exist? Well you probably think I'm a giant douchebag then, for saying that your favorite precious comic sucks. And you probably have some very profound questions that I am totally unprepared for and have never, ever once considered so I have taken the liberty of reading your mind, transcribing your thoughts, and answering them here.

If you can contain your bitter rage long enough, you can also check out a more general but also more thought out website, 15 Stupid Responses to Criticism. I wholly endorse its message.

#1. "If xkcd sucks so much why do you read it? Just skip it you turd, some of us like intelligent comedy and if you are such a stupid idiot that you don't get the jokes just leave it alone."

Ah, a common misconception here. I do not hate xkcd because the jokes go over my lowly plebeian head, rather, I hate them because they are not funny. I get the joke (or rather, often what the joke is supposed to be) and I don't like it. Usually. Basically the answer is that is pains me to see lousy humor, and, like genocide, I simply cannot ignore it and have the problem go away. See Rob's Explanation for a much more logical, less offensive answer to this question (and one with which I entirely agree)

#2. "Why are you criticizing such a brilliant comic when you can't do better yourself? LAME."

Also a good question. But the fact is that few movie reviewers are movie makers, few theater critics are directors or actors, and few book reviewers are authors. In any case, there are times when I could do better myself, and have offered Helpful Critique. See here, here, here.

Rob has provided a good answer to this question, too: right here.

#3. "Why are you so mean spirited and evil? What are you hoping to accomplish?"

I am hoping to either get Randall Munroe to shape up and make better comics, admit that he's lost his touch and stop, or make enough fans see the light that they stop visiting and Randall Munroe drifts slowly into obscurity like a shriveled leaf in an ocean of forgotten love. I'd also be more than happy if he switched from comic to Picto-Blog.

In the short term, I'm trying to have fun, analyze humor, and be a bastion of enlightenment for those people who see xkcd for the washed up shadow of its former self that it is.

#4. "Dude it's supposed to be a comic about math and relationships and stuff. So why do you criticize it for doing just what it pretends to do?"

I understand that xkcd is in theory "a webcomic of sarcasm, math, romance and language", in some order. Those categories are perfectly broad enough for a lot of diverse humor. The problem is when it becomes a webcomic of "python references, shitty breakups, memes and charts" which I think are a bit too specific and feel repetitive quickly.

I don't think I ever say "lame, another joke about computers," I tend to say, "oh lame, another joke about meshing the line between humans and computers, whoop de do."

#5. "Aren't you just jealous?"

No, I would be jealous of him if he wrote good comics. I am jealous of Ryan North, who writes Dinosaur Comics. Once more, see Rob's more thoughtful, detailed answer if you would like a longer explanation.

#6. "Why are you picking on xkcd? Aren't there like ten thousand shitty webcomics out there?"

Yes, there are, but few seem to have the popularity of xkcd. I could always find stupid things to critique, but for the most part, I wouldn't feel like I had accomplished anything (HEY GUYS THE SIMPSONS KINDA SUCKS NOW just thought you should know ok cool we all agree great). It is not so much how much xkcd sucks as how overrated it is - the blog was originally titled just "xkcd: overrated" though that has since been changed to the punchier "xkcd sucks." In short: No other comic seems to combine the same amount of popularity and crappiness. Most popular comics are good, and most bad comics every can agree are bad. XKCD manages to escape that, and I want to change that.

For a related discussion, see my essay here.

#7. "Why are you so freaking humorless?"

I dunno. Childhood accident? I am a Trained Humor Analyst and everyone else in the world seems to think that analyzing humor destroys it, so perhaps there is some answer there. I, of course, being an Trained Humor Analyst know that this silly idea is false. If you want to know what I think is funny, try the following webcomics -

Perry Bible Fellowship
Dinosaur Comics
Achewood
Chainsawsuit
Married To The Sea

#8. "Isn't the whole point of this blog stupid, because humor is entirely subjective?"

OK. here's how it works. Obviously, different things are funny to different people. We all have different experiences and can relate to different things. Person A might laugh at a really great joke about the French Revolution and person B will have no idea what the point is because he never learned about the French Revolution. Or something. Anyway the point is there are clearly some things that people don't think are funny. I'm not talking about terminal diseases, where someone like Cyanide and Happiness makes a joke about it and people go "NOT FUNNY." I'm talking about plain old boring things. A man eats an apple. A yardsale gets rained out. A waiter is particularly friendly. Basically no one (Rob excluded of course) would laugh at those, right? There is something about those situations that is less funny than, say, a funny situation on Arrested Development (or whatever you happen to think is funny).

So there has to be some element of humor that is objective. If you can't agree with that, you are not going to like this blog, and you should probably leave. I'm not trying to be a dick (well, no more than usual) but it's just that we are a community that tries to discuss humor and get at the heart of it, and as a prerequisite, we think there is actually something to find. I don't think it's unreasonable, but then again, I don't think any of my opinions are unreasonable.

#9. "How long to you plan to continue this infantile blog?"

Until it stops being fun.

#10. "Aren't you predisposed to hate every xkcd because you write a blog that relies on them sucking?"

This is a very good question and a point I worry about a lot. I try as best as I can to be openminded, and not just say "eh that sucks" with no particular reason. I read the forums to see how people predisposed to like the comic think, and I encourage people who think I'm totally wrong to comment and explain why, and I have been known to admit that certain comics are better than I give them credit for.

#11. You motherfucker, it's not supposed to be funny. Lots of "comics" aren't funny, like Watchmen or Mark Trail or stuff. So stop saying it's such a problem that it isn't funny.

Man, I hate this question. Yes, I know that the medium of sequential art panels can be used for stories other than humorous ones. I wouldn't call those "comics" because that implies "comic" as in "comedy" etc. That's why nerds like me are so quick to point out that Watchmen is a "graphic novel."

But the point is this: xkcd is clearly trying, nearly all of the time, to be funny. He sets up the stories to have punchlines, in a way that only makes sense if it is intended as a joke. Look at his store - every item description has a joke tacked on to it. There are a tiny handful of comics - here are three examples - that don't even try, but usually what happens is that he tries to be funny, fails horribly, and then defenders claim that "well it wasn't supposed to be funny anyway." But it was.

See Rob's Rant on the subject.

#12. How come you don't know the difference between alt-text and title-text? Is it because you are a giant moron?

I still don't know why people care about this. Yes, yes, I know that the text that pops when you hover over an image is described, in the html, as the title="" whereas the text that appears in place of an image is alt="". So yeah a lot of people call the hover text the "title text" but I don't like that. For one thing, lots and lots of people call "title="" " the "alt-text". It's especially logical in xkcd, where the hover over text is alternate text for the comic; and the "alt="" " is the title of the comic.

"alt-text" also has a much nicer sound.

So I am sticking with that.

#13. "GRRRRR!!!!!"

Yes, yes, I know this makes you angry. Try to calm down, post a comment, write me an e-mail, and we can talk. I appreciate actual critique (I may be a douche but I'm not a hypocrite) and me and the regulars around here are startlingly rational. Let's be friends.

327 comments:

  1. To say that Ryan North draws Dinosaur Comics seems like a bit of a stretch, actually.

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  2. Good point, I'll change it. Of course, I could always have changed it and denied it was ever otherwise, gone all Big Brother on you, but I am a kind hearted person. The fact that that's all you found wrong with this post, Pat, makes me feel good about it.

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  3. He did draw it at first, using a clip-art program. I heard about this on CANADIAN RADIO.

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  4. You actually didn't answer the first part of #1.

    "If xkcd sucks so much why do you read it?"

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  5. Philly: "Basically the answer is that is pains me to see lousy humor, and, like genocide, I simply cannot ignore it and have the problem go away."

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  6. As an occasional visitor to xkcd I don't feel particularly strongly about it either way, but having stumbled across this site earlier today I'm intrigued. From what I can gather, the premise is to hold up xkcd as - in your opinion - a derivative and poorly conceived attempt at humour, inviting those who agree with you to have their voices heard, and all the while increasing the profile of the site you're becoming increasingly pissed at.

    It's an interesting phenomenon. The next step would naturally be a blog criticising yours, then another lampooning that one, and so on until the irony reached critical mass and the blogosphere imploded. Luckily we have the Large Hadron Collider which was developed - by readers of xkcd in their lunch breaks, you know - specifically to counteract the effect. I think we can all sleep better tonight knowing that.

    Given the nature of this site, one wonders if it's not run by the very same individual responsible for xkcd, a method of healthy self-reflection and a refreshing counterpoint to the (apparently popular) original site. Being your own worst critic, you could call it.

    "But the fact is that few movie reviewers are movie makers, few theater critics are directors or actors, and few book reviewers are authors." Probably true enough, but it's a 'what' rather than an explanation of 'why'.

    Still, the tagline in the header sums this site up honestly - "unwarranted" and "harmless" being the important words - you're not taking it too seriously, just making a point. Bravo. That said, perhaps you could also detail somewhere on your site the efforts you're making to combat genocide?

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  7. A blog criticizing mine is something I have long encouraged. It has yet to exist, alas, so I'll just assume that means I am still awesome and without any mockable flaws. Excellent.

    I don't know why people keep suggesting that I might actually be Randall Munroe. This started a few weeks ago. I'm not him. If you can think of a way to prove it, I will be glad to oblige. Actually, I should probably just put this on my other FAQ page. Until then, all I can say is that from what I can tell, Mr. Munroe lacks the self-confidence to criticize himself as much as I criticize him.

    My genocide fighting is not on this particular site, as it does not seem relevant. "Genocide sucks" is not a blog I am writing as of now. But I do think it sucks! But I bet most people agree with me, unlike the opinions here on xkcd.

    (incidentally, that Large Hadron Collider made by xkcd readers - that's not the same LHC that fucked up almost immediately, is it? I guess given that some people were expecting a black hole they probably could have done worse...)

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  8. Yes, that's the point. Almost everyone thinks genocide sucks, yet almost nobody does a thing about it. Now what do you do about it to make your comparison of xkcd to genocide make sense?

    Anyway, I think you have some valid points about xkcd, but sometimes I think you are just trying way too hard to find something wrong.

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  9. Well the genocide analogy only works on one level, namely, that ignoring something bad doesn't make it go away. That's all I meant with that comment.

    The reason genocide differs from xkcd is that most people agree that genocide sucks, so I don't feel this need to go and convince anyone of it (this is also why I don't have a simpsons suck blog, a carlos mencia sucks blog, or a mallard fillmore sucks blog). What really pisses me off about xkcd is that people still insist it's a good comic based only, in my opinion, on self-deception and the quality of the early comics.

    As to whether I am trying to hard to find something wrong, that is a very valid point that I usually have in the back of my mind. It's not really something I can control, though - once I started a blog called xkcdsucks, I'm predisposed to find reasons for it. That's why I try to take disagreements with what I write seriously. Maybe this deserves a place on the FAQ actually, I'm kind of sick of explaining it.

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  10. A somewhat less frequently asked question: Does it bother you if we find this blog and XKCD funny at alternate times?

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  11. No, that's cool. Better than nothing, right?

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  12. Personally I think that XKCD has an extremely varying quality. But I've never understood the need for XXX sucks blogs/home pages.

    Sure, you've covered it here, but the argument "XXX work YYY is more popular then I think that it deserves, so I'm going to whine and do my best be an ass about it. Preferably XXX should care enough about my whine that he stops doing YYY" sounds so childish or jealous that I have a hard time acknowledging it as an argument.

    Anyway you seem to be aware of this from your subtitle so I guess the only thing I really can say about this is: I don't understand the why you bother with this, even after reading your FAQ.

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  13. This is basically covered in the FAQ but absent any other reason: I find it fun. If that makes me an evil person, so be it.

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  14. You say Dinosaur Comics is better then XKCD. Why? I have yet to laugh at a single one of his comics. I find them way to wordy, and I LIKE reading. I get to the end and either think "That could have been funny, if he had kept it more concise." or "Yeah, just T-rex ranting again. *sigh*"

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  15. I really need to stop mentioning dinosaur comics. or add this to the list of frequently asked questions.

    It happens to appeal very much to my personal sense of humor. I don't expect other people to agree with me as much on this one as on some other things. I like the randomness of it, the fact that the humor comes from T-Rex's personality (usually), which is startlingly consistent, for a cartoon dinosaur. I like the immaturity of it.

    I love how when he talks about serious stuff, he ends it lightheartedly, so it never feels so much preachy as five panels of preachyness and then a panel of "ha ha, yeah who really cares about that, huh?" This is something xkcd doesn't do well - it takes itself too seriously.

    Maybe that answers your question, maybe not. If not, I'd say just forget this whole thing.

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  16. Basically the answer is that is pains me to see lousy humor, and, like genocide, I simply cannot ignore it and have the problem go away.
    If you ever used this metaphor around me, I'd probably punch you. Genocide and lousy humor are completely unrelated, ad genocide shouldn't be thrown around lightly, yet you use it anyway to give yourself the appearance of having the moral high ground. Grrrr.

    Then you go on to claim he should stop. Why? Is he damaging anything? Is he hurting anyone? Is it truly causing any harm? If you can honestly say yes to any of those (without loopholes or stretching) then by all means carry on, but if not, then really, why should he stop? Sure, you don't think its funny, good for you. You're trying to convince others its not funny, then more power to you. But what right do you have to demand he stop?

    Also, I see all kinds of personal attacks against Randal around here. Throwing out stuff like that just makes you a troll, and we already have enough of those on the internet. If thats all you want to do, then GTFO.

    Is XKCD overrated? Yeah, but thats hardly Randal's fault.
    Has it been getting worse lately? Unfortunately, yeah, it seems so, but I keep hoping he'll pull out of it.
    Does it suck? I wouldn't go quite that far yet.
    Does Randal suck? No.

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  17. Rest assured that I am actually trying to argue that xkcd is trying to kill lots of people. It was a deliberately ridiculous metaphor! Anyway, welcome to the internet, where nothing is sacred.

    I think randall should stop for his own sake. Ruining the name of 300 or so good comics by writing another 300 shitty ones is bad. For the sake of all that I used to like about xkcd, he should stop producing the crap he is writing now. It's giving everything a bad name, even if it's going to take a little while for people to notice.

    Perhaps you think that is a good answer, perhaps not. In either case, the blog is not waiting for your permission to continue, so I will not be getting the fuck out any time soon I am afraid.

    I will admit that all I know of Randall is what I see in his comics (and media stories) so I hope that it is implied that when I say he sucks I refer only to the fact that as a cartoonist, he sucks. I'm sure he is a decent guy.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting even though you disagree. It's a much more reasonable response than we usually get from people who disagree with the message here.

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  18. So what's a trained humor analyst anyway? Is that some clever joke I don't get?

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  19. No, it's me insisting that I know more than anyone else.

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  20. Actually, Achewood isn't funny at all, and hasn't been even a little funny in years. I think it started to go downhill somewhere around "Philippe is standing on it."

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  21. HA HA GOOD JOKE DONOVAN BECAUSE SEE THAT WAS THE FIRST ACHEWOOD COMIC HA

    I'll just assume that you read the first few, which are pretty weird and not great, and gave up. It's ok, I did that a few times before I got into it.

    But if you don't think this one is funny, then sorry Donovan but I'm afraid we can't be friends anymore.

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  22. It happens to appeal very much to my personal sense of humor. I don't expect other people to agree with me as much on this one as on some other things. I like the randomness of it, the fact that the humor comes from T-Rex's personality (usually), which is startlingly consistent, for a cartoon dinosaur. I like the immaturity of it.

    HERE is the problem with this blog. XKCD and Dinosaur Comics have something in common: they cater to a niche market. They appeal to the personal senses of humor of people in a group fairly small in the grand scheme of things. I enjoy both comics, and they have a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. Yes, Randall just made another joke about dysfunctional relationships involving a nerd (523, most recently), but Dinosaur Comics just made another joke about a little-known word or grammatical phenomenon. Yes, these are old, typical, somewhat repetitive tricks (both for Munroe's part and North's), but I enjoyed both comics nonetheless. They made me laugh. They appealed to my personal sense of humor. And just because you enjoyed one and not the other doesn't make the other unfunny.

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  23. The problem with your argument is that all the regulars on this blog used to like xkcd, and then something changed and now we don't. I assure you, based on how much I like the older comics, I am absolutely the right kind of person for xkcd - and because I think the comics are currently sucking, that means xkcd is failing.

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  24. But if you don't think this one is funny, then sorry Donovan but I'm afraid we can't be friends anymore.

    I don't think we can be friends either. It seems like the joke couldn't decide if it wanted to be about a guy running for pres even though hes ignorant of current politics, be about homosexuals, or be randomly funny, and as a result does non well. If thats a prime example of Achewood, I'm not interested.

    Back on the topic of XKCD, heres what I think is happening: When Randal sits down to write a comic, I don't think hes thinking "I'm going to make a funny", I think he just doodles a thought/idea/concept that has been bouncing around his brain recently, with no intention of being funny at all. A lot of them are funny, but as he matures and moves on with his life, what he thinks about has changed, and now no longer appeals to our sense of humor.

    Or maybe hes sick of all the attention and is purposely making them worse so people will fuck off and leave him alone. But that sounds conspiracy theoryish.

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  25. That should be 'does none well' and 'appeals to your sense'. Words like our and your should not be so similar.

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  26. "It happens to appeal very much to my personal sense of humor."

    You cited this as a reason earlier for bringing Dinosaur comics into your arguments - I wondered, in your quest to find reasons why people continue to enjoy xkcd and it continues to be popular, have you stopped to think that this might be exactly the reason?

    Every now and then, when in need of a morale boost, I log on to xkcd and read through the 10 or so fresh strips since I last looked - and I have to say, a lot of them are very much relevant to my sense of humour, my internet lifestyle, and that of my friends. That may make me a geek, a loser, whatever. I happen to enjoy xkcd and I don't really understand you not being able to accept that as a valid reason.

    I can deal with you thinking it sucks - and others agreeing with you - but allowing it to self-perpetuate (correct usage of the word?) into what this blog has become, where you are actually attempting to bring down Randall Munroe and drag all those who enjoy his comics away from it? That I don't follow at all.

    David

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  27. ... and because I think the comics are currently sucking, that means xkcd is failing.

    Maybe it's failing for your generation of xkcd fans, but perhaps the less intellectual of us enjoy things as they are! Sorry for not amalgamating this into my original post, I didn't spy your quoted reply until after I had posted.

    David

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  28. Either this blog is a joke, or this guy is a complete moron. Either way, it's pretty lame.

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  29. David: I think about it, and certainly I think it accounts, for example, for why so many people like A Softer World and I don't, but I don't think it applies to xkcd.

    The main reason is that all of us regular xkcd-haters here all used to like it, the early comics appealed (and still appeal) to our senses of humor. I know I for one am absolutely a geek, a loser, or if you will believe the cuddlefish below, a moron. I don't think I've changed, I think this proves that xkcd has changed. I also think that as time has gone on, more and more people have begun to agree.

    I think the people who read xkcd and like it are for the most part deceiving themselves, and I think Randall Munroe is, probably unintentionally, helping them do just that.

    As to the question of whether gladness gained through self-deception is still gladness equal to that which is genuine, I guess it's a tough philosophical question which maybe is at the heart of this blog but I think it's not the same. I suppose if you disagree on that point we will not really find common ground.

    Cuddlefish: ha ha, GO FUCK YOURSELF

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  30. It's an interesting idea that you believe us to be deceiving ourselves: I only discovered xkcd after it had been through a few hundred strips, and I mostly read the newer ones before the older ones. I must say I enjoyed them all equally (apart from the few that I didn't get or were over my head science/computer-wise: I'm only 17 after all).

    I guess it's a subconscious thing such that, if it were true, I wouldn't know whether I was deceiving myself by enjoying each - I just find that it often speaks directly into what I enjoy. To cite some examples, 484 was right up my street - as was 459. Am I to believe that I'm not actually enjoying them as much as I think?

    I believe you have a heck of a point to make to those who agree with you, but unfortunately I believe your ideology is flawed in that a lot of people don't and never will agree with your P.O.V.

    Still, by all means continue your campaign. ~ David

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  31. I just don't understand why you'd waste your time. Seriously--get a life. Categorizing humor? Really? You *must* have something better you could be doing.
    I agree--sometimes the strip is a disappointment. But to say that it's the same few jokes over and over is a gross misstatement.

    tl;dr: I think you're a moron. Why don't you give it up and start being a productive member of society?

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  32. oh crap i hadn't thought of that.

    is that really an option?

    shit

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  33. Every site, blog or comic has flaws. Randall does get a little repetitvie, but the good comics new and old far outweigh the bad. Your flaws mainly stem from your close mindedness, your execssive cynicism and the sheer size of your ego. Don't bash other peoples work simply because it isn't funny to you.

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  34. Bah, what a lame example of logic. Yeah, every blog, comic (TV show, book, movie, play, work of art, location...) has flaws. But that doesn't make them equal. xkcd is way, way, way worse than other very popular webcomics.

    While my giant ego and excessive closed-mindedness are flaws, I have always been rather proud of my cynicism...

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  35. This rather has been a matter of confusion for me. Do you think your blog is of a higher caliber than XKCD is? I know you obviously think yours is for a better cause, but do you think you put out higher quality material?

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  36. That's not really something I think I can judge. Some people certainly think so, more probably do not.

    But I think this blog does a better job of doing what it claims to do. In other words, I think this blog is better at humor analysis than xkcd is at humor. I'm not sure you can really compare the two, but you clearly do so let's pretend.

    What do you think?

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  37. the differnce between you and anyone else that dislikes xkcd is the fact that they bitch and moan for awhile then forget and move on. you on the other hand build a monument to your hate for it. Stop wasting your time and stop whinning. Move on!

    (lame or not i stand by my point)

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  38. I know you didn't mean it this way but I take that as a huge compliment.

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  39. Sorry to carelessly interrupt the ongoing flame-war, but...

    I first stumbled upon this site a while ago by Googling "my bologna has a first name, it's A-D-O-L-F", and I've been perusing it over the past couple days. By and large, I have to say I find the commentary spot-on. While I do not think it fair to expect every XKCD issue to positively jiggle my gibbers, the number of them that I find unfunny or strange/creepy has been unquestionably on the rise of late. The definitive shark-jumping moment for me was #383.

    I still check XKCD occasionally and enjoy some of the newer posts, but I think the comic has suffered from the inevitable problem of sustainability that arises in any such creative enterprise. (Damn, where was THAT sentence when I was writing my term paper?!)

    Cheers, Grelthog the Mighty

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  40. Well, I'll just make this brief: I'm a long time xkcd fan and I have several of his comics printed out and displayed around my office desk (being a programmer). Though I too find it that some of his strips are better than others and that the overall quality of the comic varies widely, I still read it unfailingly three times a week.

    Regardless of the above-mentioned quality it always manages to make me at least smile (probably on account that, like Randall or his comic alter-ego, I too am a lonely emo geek). I find myself in many of xkcd's jokes.

    Now onward to this blog:

    No, sorry, no flames to be seen here. It made my bookmarks instantly because it is obvious that it's not an attack site, just legitimate criticism and the fanboy part of my brain is too underdeveloped for me not to appreciate it.

    Keep up the good work.

    ~Paul

    (Grammar and Spelling mistakes shall be blamed upon English not being my native tongue

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  41. SRLSY dude, lawlz, u need to get a website, not a blogger acct. Ah mean omg rly, u needz a liffffe. Peace dudez lol

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  42. http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=34553

    We know tht randall has fallen into a bit of a rut. Honestly, bad comics or not people like his work. you don't that's fine. Just don't bash those who do like it. I mean that's just a childish, immature thing to do.
    speaking of kids i'd hate to see the bastards you'd raise. Do us all a favor and remove your self from the gene pool.

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  43. Sorry for posting anonymous the last 3 times the stupidity is rubbing off...
    A sample:
    Carl wrote:
    "Remember when they used to be creative? When revenge for Mr. Hat involved trapping a sumarine under a lake just to steal back a hat? What's so annoying about this comic is that Mr. Hat's specialty is creative and nerdy ways of pissing people off or killing them or stuff, and so it should be an opportunity for Randall to come up with something like that"
    Response-------------
    I'd lay even odds that if it *had* been one of those comics, he would've complained about abusing the same formula. Also, see if you can spot the place where he blatantly fails to understand what's going on in the comic.

    He's a douche that gained some limited popularity off of the concept that the comics aren't funny, so now he needs to invent justifications for why the later ones aren't either or risk his audience wandering off. The justifications, when they don't stem from his inability to understand the comic due to lack of sufficient geekery or just an inability to read comics (because really, the only reason you'd have the aforementioned comprehension problem with 515 is if you're not good at comics in general), are more or less made up after the fact, and so aren't terribly consistent or sensical and amount to so much blathering.

    In other words, I find his blog intensely amusing for reasons entirely separate from those he intended, I'm sure.

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  44. OK I hadn't seen that forum thread about our little endeavor over here but the person who said I am "a fucking douche jockey who needs to accept the fact that the entire world doesn't revolve around him" is my new best friend. i will have to put that quote up here somewhere.

    As to the second post here: um...is there are reason you are just quoting from that forum thread?

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  45. Sorry to have taken so long to get back to y'all... but no, that Achewood isn't funny. It's just deliberately stupid and weird. To steal shamelessly from your style OH HA HA PHILIPPE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND POLITICS BECAUSE HE'S AN OTTER AND HE'S FIVE AND HE'S A STUFFED ANIMAL HA HA. On top of which it's from 2004. So if that's the most recent example of a hilarious Achewood comic then you fail twice. I presume that it's just one of your favorites and therefore you only fail once.

    I stand by my assertion that "Phillipe is standing on it" was actually really, really funny and that somewhere about 3-6 months later Onstad ran out of funny and has been coasting on stupid and weird ever since.

    Although on reflection that first joke also relied on stupid weirdness. Or weird stupidness. Or something. Anyway, XKCD does indeed suck now, so even if we can't be friends at least we can agree on something.

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  46. Incorrect. That achewood is indeed funny (though you are right that I chose it because it's one of my favorites, for a recent one I liked a lot try this). It's funny because of phillipe's complete innocence, that on a highly charged issue he just thinks about cute monkeys. It's also funny because such a campaign move would obviously destroy a real campaign, and Phillipe thinks he's running a real campaign. And also it's funny to see Pat get frustrated at a child.

    In any case, I've always thought that the first batch of Achewoods were really weird and random, not to mention full of characters you don't know yet, and it took me a long time and several tries to get into the comic. So I guess we just have inverse tastes.

    Except on xkcd: I believe I have stated, on the record, that it does indeed suck.

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  47. Yes, but we don't have to agree with you. You're jumping at any tenuous excuse to claim the moral high ground, you call anyone who doesn't exactly think like you "delusional" or accuse them of having bad taste. Rather, we have different taste. Honestly, I just don't see why you'd expect to gain any respect with us who aren't as intolerant as you if all you are is condescending to us.

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  48. Do you also happen to like bisecting frogs?

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  49. why yes, i do like dividing all of a frog's angles into two smaller angles that are each half as big as the original.

    as to dissecting frogs, if you happen to want to know for some reason, i think it's pretty clear that if something as a metaphor for humor, I would like to dissect that thing, yes.

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  50. How to make this site:
    - Copy the entire contents of an xkcd forum thread
    - Replace each instance of "Get out of my head, Randall" with "I am personally offended by you, Randall"
    - Publish

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  51. -replace each "lol!" with "you guys are idiots, you just don't get the jokes. LOSERS."

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  52. in #2 you say that a few critics and reviewers actually produce the sort of things they are criticizing. So you consider yourself a webcomic expert? or worse, a HUMOR expert?

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  53. see q. #7 - "I am a Trained Humor Analyst"

    if you don't like this idea you are going to hate this website

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  54. I was seriously confused by this website until I hit this line: "I may be a douche but I'm not a hypocrite."

    Well, okay then. We all gotta do what we do best. Douche on, my man. Just keep douching on.

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  55. i shall redouble my douchey efforts, just for you.

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  56. The only reason I visit this site is because I think it's retarded that people gain fame by leeching off the people who are truly humorous. Sure xkcd has had it's unfunny moments (more so than usual, lately), but you have to let a comic run it's course. Eventually xkcd will lose it's fanbase or Randall will think of better material, nothing written, said, thought, or expressed by you alone can change that. You are wasting your time trying to dismantle a stable foundation of a comic. If you don't like it, don't fucking read it, it's as simple as that. There are more important things in life than to insult a WEBCOMIC, you lifeless douchebag

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  57. i've known for a while now that Rob is the one who got famous because of this blog, not me.

    Things written by me may not change things but they make it less frustrating. Anyway, I'm pretty sure we took care of these questions above.

    Also: IT'S = IT IS.
    ITS = possessive, as "xkcd has run its course"

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  58. There's plenty of comics out there that have very dismal moments and are still awesome. Ctrl Alt Delete, Cyanide and Happiness, Penny Arcade, Questionable Content, Dinosaur Comics, AppleGeeks 3.0, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

    All those comics there are ones that I think certainly have their "oh god....*facepalm* this is so shit" moments. And I'll readily accept that there are certainly some xkcd comics that just are urgh.... but really, who cares? The writers don't care if people dislike their comics anymore than you care if people dislike your blog.

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  59. Also, ever heard the "Randall doesn't do comics that are suggested to him" thing? Try making suggestions on the xkcd IRC channel to Randall about comics you hate, in the hope of using it against him!

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  60. Hey anon - it's funny you mention that particular criticism, as I recently wrote a post explaining why I give xkcd shit that I don't give other comics/

    It's a strong argument you make, but I think it's ultimately a flawed one. For starters, I think xkcd has a much, much lower success rate than the other comics that are that popular. For another, they tend to be working in a more confined way - PA writes about games, and has its recurring characters. Qwantz, obviously, is limited in the action it can have by its art (and what I love about it is seeing how he stretches those limitations - making some panels in thought bubbles, some panels alternate endings, etc). At the very least, most comics either 1) come out more often than xkcd, so they have to produce more jokes, so I understand a little more if they fail a bit more, or 2) have way, way better art or way more content, not this stick figure nonsense Randy keeps giving us, or 3) both.

    I assure you, Randall cares when we dislike his comics (he made it clear in an e-mail to me, which you don't have to believe)

    And about the Randy doesn't take suggestions thing: Rob knows better than I do that a bunch of these comics were thought up with / by other people he knows. Ask Rob about it sometime.

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  61. I don't really get the idea here. Do you think that Munroe is making the comics bad on purpose?

    Why does it bother you that so many people really like his comics even though you don't? People are different, and therefore will it always exist people who cherish comics you don't. Tons of people loves "Paradise Hotel", but it's no point making a blog about how it sucks.

    If your intention is to make his comics better, and doesn't seem be able to make comics yourself, you could give him ideas through mail or forums. You could also make a blog called "This is how xkcd could be better!".

    It's important to be able to understand the differense between constructive and destructive criticism. I can understand your reasoning "It's fun", though.

    (Bah, too long post. Nobody will read it now:P)

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  62. "No, I would be jealous of him if he wrote good comics. I am jealous of Ryan North, who writes Dinosaur Comics."

    Stopped reading there.

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  63. Uh, thanks for telling us?

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  64. After reading and disagreeing with this blog a few dozen times, I think I'm done here, but first I'd like to say one thing. In order to like xkcd, you don't have to "deceive yourself". That seems to me like an extraordinarily narrow-minded view, one that easily writes off people who don't share your opinion as "wrong" by some objective standard.

    When most people read xkcd and like it, they like it because they find it funny, not because of some blind devotion to the earlier comics. If you disagree with that, you are literally claiming to know what I and those like me enjoy better than we do. And you don't. So by all means, continue expressing your opinion on the comic. Just don't pretend you can speak for us as well.

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  65. Perhaps I don't know what you personally like, but I know that I've spoken to a ton of people who can't imagine why I don't like xkcd, but once they start to think about it and read a few new comics with their rose-colored glasses off, they usually agree with the point of this blog (eventually).

    If there's something that sucks so hard that just making yourself a little open-minded makes you see that it's objectively bad (or at the very least worse than it was), that's a pretty stunning critique of the product, I'd say.

    Also, you're a dumbfuck idiot. "Don't pretend that you speak for us" is a crazy thing to say, given that you are only speaking for yourself and "those like me." So you are claiming to speak for tons of people too, who may disagree with you as well. FOOL.

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  66. A point on #1 and #3: You seem to say that you have this website to actually make a difference, and that the problem won't go away by you ignoring it. However, over the past year that you have been running this site xkcd has continued to grow in popularity. Quite obviously, because it is growing in popularity, Randall Munroe will not shape up and make better comics, admit that he's lost his touch and stop, or have enough of his fans stop visiting such that he drifts slowly into obscurity like a shriveled leaf in an ocean of forgotten love. Do you still actually believe that any of your hopes will be fulfilled? Or are you only continuing for the pure enjoyment of "analyzing humor" and criticizing a widely read webcomic?

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  67. Sorry for double post, but I just had a thought occur to me. If xkcd were to cease/become better, where would all your enjoyment of this blog and criticizing xkcd go? It is in this matter that xkcd does bring you enjoyment, which I believe should be the goal of cartoonists (and most people for that matter). Randall Munroe is causing you to think about his comics and analyze them, which I would consider effectively reaching you. I believe it has been his goal to cause people to think (in new ways or old) and it would seem he has definitely succeeded. Also, if the comics were to get better, would you actually admit to it? Because as I said, you would no longer have a need for your blog which you seem to find so much enjoyment in. I think you would convince yourself that the comics were in fact not better. Just some interesting points I thought of.

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  68. First things first: What makes you say it has grown in popularity? I haven't heard anything about that. I've heard a lot more people recently being disappointed in it, though that's anecdotal of course. How can you possibly show that more people like it? In any case, I can still believe that I'm making it less popular than it would be without me.

    If xkcd stopped, I would probably try to migrate to blogging about webcomics more generally, and lose most of my audience. I don't think his goal is to get people to think about why he sucks so hard.

    I have spoken many times about my inherent bias, and just last week admitted that a comic (capture the flag) was probably better than I gave it credit for. I am happy to admit when a comic is good, and have on occasion thought that xkcd had turned a corner. I really do want it to get better; I don't want it to become like the Simpsons where all the crap that happened later overshadows the genuinely good stuff that came earlier.

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  69. without carl i would still like xkcd

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  70. What makes you say it hasn't grown in popularity? I've heard a lot of people finding enjoyment in it. I am just basing my standing off of Google Trends and the fact that there seems to be more media coverage of xkcd. Even with upgraded server hardware, with the late delivery of a recent comic came a server crash. Why did the server crash? Because everybody was constantly refreshing the page. Also, I don't really see why you would believe that you're making it less popular. The people who read this blog are a) people who already hate xkcd and b) people who hold a dislike for people who hate xkcd. Why else are people going to read the blog?

    ...and I do hold the belief that one of the goals of xkcd is to make people think. And you are certainly thinking about it quite a bit (more so than the average reader). I really don't think it matters what specifically you're thinking about in regards to it. It's on your mind, and you're finding enjoyment from it. Don't you think it's wonderful how Mr. Munroe can reach out to so many people and make them look at things in a new light? It appears that there is almost a branching effect. You post about the comments and then other people who normally wouldn't read the comics actually read them just to enjoy your criticisms.

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  71. I told you: anecdotal evidence. it's not much, but apparently it's all either of us has. If you are going to make a claim like "it is growing in popularity" you will need some more evidence, my friend. media coverage does not mean more people like it; it means the media finally noticed that webcomics exist. Likewise, a server crash might mean more nerds checking in at exactly midnight, or it might mean some other kind of mistake.

    You would be amazed at how many people say that they read this blog and enjoy xkcd. I don't understand them, but apparently it's possible. Some of them are converted to the anti-xkcd side, astoundingly.

    If you think Randy's goal is to make people think about his comics, ok, but I'm pretty sure his goal is to make funny comics, not ones where people go "why does that fill me with such rage?" I guess I can't prove it, but it seems just a wee bit pathetic to think that having people like me hate him is a goal of his.

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  72. "Perhaps I don't know what you personally like, but I know that I've spoken to a ton of people who can't imagine why I don't like xkcd, but once they start to think about it and read a few new comics with their rose-colored glasses off, they usually agree with the point of this blog (eventually).

    “If there's something that sucks so hard that just making yourself a little open-minded makes you see that it's objectively bad (or at the very least worse than it was), that's a pretty stunning critique of the product, I'd say."

    So you’ve talked to some people who like xkcd, many of whom have subsequently changed their view on it. That’s a fair point. It does not, however, mean that those who do not change their view are deceiving themselves.

    "Also, you're a dumbfuck idiot. "Don't pretend that you speak for us" is a crazy thing to say, given that you are only speaking for yourself and "those like me." So you are claiming to speak for tons of people too, who may disagree with you as well. FOOL."

    Yeah, personal attacks are fun, I know, but try to contain yourself. Since for some reason you seem to think my second paragraph shows me to be incredibly stupid, I’ll go out of my way to show you why it doesn’t.

    Firstly, we can hopefully agree that speaking for a set of people is acceptable when that the vast majority of that set agrees with you.

    Now, in the second paragraph, I made three statements that could be construed as speaking for the set of people who read xkcd and like it. Which of these statements do you feel the vast majority of that set would *disagree* with?

    That most of them like it because they find it funny?
    That when you say ‘if they like xkcd they’re deceiving themselves’, you are basically claiming to know what they like better than they do?
    That you *don’t* know what they like better than they do?

    I think it's safe to assume that the set of people who read xkcd and like it, or at least the vast majority of that set, would agree with me on those three points, and thus speaking on their behalf shouldn’t be a problem.

    Hope that’s clear enough for you.

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  73. Just wondered across the site and decided to drop a comment to agree with the anonymous user who commented directly above me.
    The thing is, I never believe concepts like "good", "bad", "funny", "lame" etc. can be objective. People are different, and just because you think xkcd is not funny, doesn't mean others don't either. And it certainly doesn't mean others who think it's funny is wrong. I don't get what you mean by people who enjoy xkcd are deceiving themselves. I'm not even xkcd's targeted audience (I'm in arts) but I enjoy the comic. I may not be crazy about it and declare it the best thing ever, but I generally feel positive about it. Now that's just me, and it doesn't make me right and make you wrong, because it's a personal opinion. I don't get how can people ever justify that their personal opinion is more superior than others'. Maybe you know more things about the world than I do, maybe you know more things about xkcd than I do, but that still doesn't make you emotional reaction towards xkcd any more valid than mine. It's just that we don't agree on things and that's common. We are human beings. We can try to convince each other, but simply because we have different opinions doesn't mean one of us is correct or superior.
    I would like also to agree with the above comment that people who enjoy xkcd are likely to do so because they find it funny. I can't speak for others, but I for one am among those people, and I'm also one of those who don't feel my opinion changed by your site (and I carefully read almost all of your posts all the way back to the beginning). It still doesn't mean one of us is right, it's just I have my stance and you have yours. But the problem is you want to tell me my stance is wrong. That is what I feel uncomfortable with.
    I can totally see that you made some people who liked xkcd dislike it. Congratulations. But does that mean you are right? Well, there are people who like xkcd, read your blog fully, and still like it (e.g. me and some other people who told you so before me), does that make you wrong? I believe the answer to both question is no. An opinion is an opinion, it's not a truth. You can share your opinion, but there is no need to declare it superior than others. I mean, you probably didn't officially declare that, but you are trying to convince others that xkcd is not good because you believe that "xkcd is good" is a wrong idea, right? If you think "xkcd is good" is an okay idea then you wouldn't want to change it. And again, good is one of those concepts that is subjective.
    As I mentioned above, I read all your posts. I can begin to quote all the instances that you mentioned "this one just sucks" "it's just not funny" or other ideas along the same line. But how do you back an idea such as "it's just not funny?" Because you think it's not funny? That doesn't make it not funny to other people. There's no such thing as "objectively not funny". It's what people thinks. And people think differently.

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  74. haha it's funny that you guys always say "we're in a separate blog that you don't have to read, so you can't complain about us complaining", when your goal here is to "make enough fans see the light that they stop visiting".

    Personally, I'm finding the comics and your posts about them (with their comments) about equally entertaining, especially when a really good xkcd shows up, and I see you grasping at the tiniest of straws. :D

    For the first time, I'm posting with a real profile, in honor of my regular attendance!

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  75. Judging from the critiques I read, you are pretty humorless. Or it's the fact that except for a few minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I spend my time with normal people doing things like rock climbing and drinking rather than constantly ruminating on a webcomic's use of memes.

    Keeps it from getting stale.

    If you eat marshmallows until you hate marshmallows, it's your fault, not Stay Puft's.

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  76. I like your analogy, mayo: "If you keep reading xkcd, you will hate it, and it's your fault!" I guess the key is to only read, say, one new xkcd every month (fitting with my marshmallow eating habits) and then it won't suck as much!

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  77. To be honest, I don't like Dinosaur Comics either, and it's not because of the art, the idea is sound, I just find it annoying (not always).

    I also don't like xkcd however, not because of your reasons, but because it makes nerds who don't do the emo (like me) raise an eyebrow at the fanatical following of anything technological, I think loving monkeys or turtles is great, but "macs or pcs" is moronic; learn to use both and both of them have their good points and yes I like both.

    I had another point but I might make it later, anyway, that's all I had to say.

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  78. I sounded completely repetitive [I'm not apologizing], my other point came back to me though. Relationship plots in xkcd ARE repetitive and I would forgive that if the author didn't seek fame and omgloveme4ever!1oneone, I get that he had the idea for the comic, and I get your idea for this blog, but to me it's not worth it so I'm glad someone else doesn't ignore everything like I do.

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  79. This entire blog is nothing but an elitist excuse to try and convince people that something they like is stupid and to make them feel bad for liking it.

    Seriously, who cares if you and your little band of followers think that XKCD used to be funny but no longer is. Many people still enjoy XKCD and the pure arrogance of you assuming that they are deceiving themselves is nothing short of sociopathic. You see people with opinions which differ from your own and you decide to yourself that this cannot stand, that you MUST convert everyone to your way of thinking. I absoultely abhor people like you. You did however inspire me to start creating a "xkcd sucks" sucks blog. However, I plan on devoting the blog to refuting your weak logical arguments rather than just say your blog sucks because I disagree with something subjective like your (lack of) sense of humor.

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  80. Go for it! I think you will find all the good urls taken however.

    You may say I am elitist, but here is what people like you look like to me: You are stupid stupid people, who sees your social group laughing like ninnies over this webcomic, which as I have shown, is objectively bad. You want to fit in so badly that your mind actually tells you this is funny. That in turn, alas, only makes you like the damn thing, and as you see no negative consequence for this self-deception (all you see is laughter and your friends accepting you) you continue to do it. You have to have someone peel the humor colored glasses from your sad deformed eyes in order to see the true story. I know you may not realize it now, but some day, some day: you will see I am only trying to help you.

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  81. @Cuddlefish:

    "You see people with opinions which differ from your own and you decide to yourself that this cannot stand, that you MUST convert everyone to your way of thinking."

    And you see people with opinions that differ from yours and you call them sociopaths.

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  82. Hey whoever

    I dunno, I don't find XKCD all that bad personally, but I think this site is all right regardless. I mean you can be kind of a dick a lot of the time, but you're still a lot less mean-spirited than, say, some of the people who COMMENT on this blog, and I commend you for that.

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  83. I'm starting to wonder if Married to the Sea isn't getting sort of repetetive and less funny than it used to be. I still visit it, though, because some of them are truly good. That's sort of my stasis with XKCD.

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  84. I think the part that makes me appreciate you is #10. Good job.


    -Xkcd lover

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  85. I can't believe this blog is really fun to write.

    You may be the most widely read critic for stick-figure comic strips though. So that's something.

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  86. I mean, I'm naturally a pretty argumentative, sarcastic person, so this fits in with my base desires pretty well.

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  87. You have sick, sick desires.



    </sarcasm>

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  88. Here's my take on this list, it's all right, except the one point that I find is completely terrible.

    You analyze HUMOUR. Seriously, are you an idiot? Humour isn't to be measured on a scale, it varies. Anyone bashing a comic strip for "not being funny" is an idiot. So far, you've pointed out that you have a different sense of humour. Great. We do too. But, you start to complain about how XKCD can possibly be popular, in it's oh-so-unfunniness. How about stop trying to manipulate our sense of humour? OH WAIT I KNOW YOUR ANSWER - "NO!" So, once again, I'll leave with the point, I loathe your parastitic hobby, and by extension, probably you too.

    (Why yes, this pretty much does say the same thing as I said on comic 604. I just really felt like getting the point across).

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  89. Well one of the pillars upon which this blog is built is that there are objective elements to humor. If you can't accept that you should probably just leave. It's not something I can compromise on.

    But I think you'll have to agree that to a certain degree, it's true. A lot of people think that Seinfeld is funny. A lot of people don't, but there are a lot who do. What you or I think about it doesn't matter, the point is, there is a sizable population which sees that and finds it "funny", whatever that might mean. Same with "Family Guy", same with Chris Rock, same with "Pearls Before Swine." You can agree that some of them are at least sometimes funny?

    Contrast that to a video of a middle aged man going to a bank, depositing a check, getting in his car, and going to lunch. Very, very few people would find that funny. Right? You wouldn't, right?

    I hope you are with me so far.

    So - there is something about seinfeld, family guy, etc (pick whichever one you think is the funniest) that makes it funny, which the man-at-bank does not have.

    Probably Seinfeld has a different kernel of humor than Family Guy, which is different from Chris Rock's standup or whatever made old SNL episodes good. So there is something (or some long list of things) which can make a thing funny.

    Of course, we can debate (and have been, for years) whether xkcd has any of these things. I maintain that usually, it does not.


    To get back to your comments, you write, "Anyone bashing a comic strip for "not being funny" is an idiot." Really? So you are saying all comics are funny? It feels like I am putting words in your mouth, so you should probably rephrase, but it sure looks like that is what you are saying. Is garfield funny? Is Mark Trail? Am I not allowed to say that? What am I allowed to say about a comic, then?

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  90. carly, every time you describe something which is categorically not funny I am always stricken with a desire to just make videos/comics of it, because the lack of humor would be awesome

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  91. (I am never going to call you carly again)

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  92. I would have to agree with Rob here.

    rob let's make a video of the most mundane things ever

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  93. yes let's!

    oh man we can even make it a webcomic. it can just be a bunch of bad drawings of people doing stuff that isn't funny.

    panel 1: 'hey, do you want to order a pizza?'
    panel 2: 'sure, i guess'
    panel 3: LATER: 'man, that was good pizza.'

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  94. This is totally unrelated but I just realized if we mesh your name, my name, and Jay's name we can make "Randy"!

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  95. i just want to say that even though you write this blog for the purpose of making xkcd's comics better, the reason why randall makes comics is because he has fun doing it. he even said it himself, that people (including you) were idolizing his webcomics way too much, and that people should leave their computers and go live a litte. The thing to remember is that i dont think randall makes comics for the readers, but for himself, and that he doesn't really cares if it doesn't satisfy you. (sorry for my probably crappy english, im french)

    so yeah, your blog is as pointless as if i was making a blog to try to change your critics of xkcd

    Gaboche

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  96. oh yeah and if we follow the rule established in your last post, the fact that somthing is funny is based on the assumption that a considerable amount of people is of that opinion. well according to that train of thought, 50 cents is a better musician than Stravinsky because more people bought his album. And, also following that logic, xkcd is funny, because a lot of people think that way.

    P.S although i disapprove your opinions, i think your way of expressing it is very noble, unlike pathetic trolls like xkcdsucks.com . you look like a very wise man to me, unfortunately too rare on the internet these days (i count myself in the stupid ones for responding to your blog with those fanboyish opinions).

    Gaboche

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  97. You use in your responses words like "success" or "fail", and, because you are a person who clearly enjoyed the earlier comics (but not the later ones), you feel justified in using those terms.

    I would submit that your intense dislike of XKCD stems not from Randall's apparent suckness; it is more likely that, over 600 editions later, his style or his humour has changed and you don't like it.
    In much the same way, a rock band might alter their formation/frontman/sound, inevitably resulting in all kinds of backlash from their diehard fans. It is not failure; it is change. And this is fine. He's lost fans, gained new ones, or, in my case, held my attention for every single comic.

    To equate your criticism with that of a film or literary critic, is, I think, disingenuous. I would argue that a good critic analyses a work in his/her chosen field, offers an opinion, and moves to the next one. For instance, Ebert does not review Michael Bay movies exclusively. It would become repetitive, boring, and he would lose all credibility because his opinions would offer no context in regards to action films or cinema as a whole.

    If you feel compelled to blast away at humour you consider mediocre, it would make more sense to broaden your scope. Perhaps encompass more than a solitary web-comic as your subject, and offer a weekly review of all of them. Forget this dedication to 'XKCD sucks'. By giving your opinion context you'll appear more passionate, more informed, and maybe fun to read.

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  98. Gaboche: That might be the nicest anyone has ever disagreed with me. Awesome. The only thing I can bring myself to argue with is this: Randall may have started off just drawing for himself (especially with the notebook sketch era) but now he writes this comic to sell shirts and make a living, so he has to appeal to a fairly large amount of people if he wants to make money and not get a harder, more boring job.

    Bob: Learn from Gaboche, I would disagree with you less if you called me a "wise man."

    Anyway - OK, so xkcd changed. The problem is it changed from being "funny" to "not funny." Or "Genuinely nerdy" to "appealing to a certain broad stereotype of internet nerdery." Etc.

    However - I do agree with your last panel. I try to mention other comics when I can but I usually feel I don't have much to say beyond "this was good" or "i didn't like this." But it happens, sometimes. The point of comparing this to other fields of criticism is merely to point out that just because I am not making my own popular webcomic does not mean I cannot find flaws in others.

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  99. "your last panel"? Carl, please step away from criticizing webcomics for a while OH WAIT YOU ALREADY HAVE

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  100. Amanda, i don't really like the art in your last post.

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  101. yeah Amanda your head is like not even connected to your neck LERN 2 DRAUGH

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  102. This is all rather petty.

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  103. I respect your point of view, even though I do not share the same opinion.


    Yeah, let's see you work with that.

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  104. fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck guys the blog is canceled

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  105. All the comics you have listed are either totally unfunny (dinosaur comic, Achewood, Chainsawsuit, Married To The Sea) or sport a bad comedy-like humor (the one with the mallet), like Perry Bible Fellowship. I think you have just a bad sense of humor. But maybe that's just me. I like http://www.phdcomics.com e.g.

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  106. phd comics suck, and so do you. inappropriate use of 'e.g.' is for losers.

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  107. You do realize that critism on each and every one comic since comic #409 has probably taken a lot of time thatcould have been spent better then bashing a comic series that is by far not the worst and as I realised you just don´t like. I mean seriusly is this the best way to spend your free time?

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  108. OH DAMN i guess i'll stop then.

    Oh wait no, let me think about it more: Never mind.

    At the very least, I like the fact that this blog forces me to write a lot. Lots of people will tell you that you can become a much better writer (and blogger) by writing as often as possible, just to get practice, regardless of the subject, as long as you take it seriously. So if nothing else, I am getting practice with that. I'm also learning about blogging, html, google analytics, and other internet things.

    Leaving a single comment, on the other hand, like you did, really is probably a waste of time.

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  109. I thought about posting something long winded on here, then thought better of it. All I'm going to say is that I read through your blog, disagreed with most of it, and won't come back to bother you again.

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  110. WOW, THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK, ANONYMOUS DUDE. WE SURE CARE.

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  111. Why do you think comics have to funny? Simply looking for the humour in xkcd is missing the point.

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  112. FUCK YOU.

    he's clearly trying to make jokes in about 95% of his comics. They are set up like jokes, the characters react like they are jokes, and a lot of the time, he even explains the joke in the alt-text.

    Besides, if you aren't looking for humor, what the fuck is the point? Surely you aren't reading it for the groundbreaking art?

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  113. Carl, he is clearly reading it for the intelligence that xkcd provides the world. Enlightenment and all that.

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  114. i had not heard of 'math' until xkcd made a comic about it so even if it is not funny at least xkcd turned me on to math so yay for xkcd. yay! for xkcd!

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  115. What the hell is wrong with you? You are some kind of weird sociopath who can't have his mind changed about anything. "You disagree with ME?! You're retarded!!!!LOLZ!" GET A LIFE!

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  116. maybe i would change my mind if I were ever wrong, but I'm not.

    Why would I have a wrong opinion? That would just be silly.

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  117. "But the fact is that few movie reviewers are movie makes, few theatre critics are directors or actors, and few book reviewers are authors."

    True enough. But Roger Ebert, when he reviewed "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalow" didn't follow it up with a blog called "Rob Schneider sucks" which he updated more regularly than once a week!

    So, the message here is move on with your life! There's a webcomic you don't like, so what? It's hardly the worst thing on the internet (The parodies of xkcd on your forum, which focus to a disproportionate degree on the apparent hilarity of rape are far worse), nor the worst thing in comedy, and as you have pointed out in your FAQ, plenty of people can and do enjoy it. Why not live and let live, and not focus all this hatred for some sort of quest that's pretty pointless.

    This isn't me saying "How dare you criticise blah blah blah" just saying "This is way too much time and effort to waste by hating something so unimportant."

    This is the sort of thing you will look back in ten years time and think, "Oh, I wasted my life!"

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  118. Why does it matter if people enjyo something you don't? Why do you feel like you need to convince people to change their mind? I hate "Two and a half men" while many people, including close family members love it. Yet the world keeps on turning, I live me life, and don't have a huge crisis.

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  119. whats with the giant chip on your shoulder?

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  120. or, it would be, if it took any time investment at all

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  121. 9:40 anon

    okay yeah the reason why robert ebert doesn't have a website that updates every week about rob schneider is because rob schneider does not make a movie three times a week (without fail)

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  122. Okay, so I came here, then I visited the "XKCD could be better" site and looked at the versions which people had modded there, in the threads for about 8 different XKCD comics. One poster always replaced every last piece of text with something about rape, and most of the others replaced the text with sarcastic meta-commentary about either Randall or the comic. (There were one or two notable exceptions, but these were the majority.

    OK, so... people are disappointed with the comic in large part because after hundreds of strips, they feel it has gotten repetitive. Yet when they create a forum as a place for better, funnier versions, they themselves fall into repetitiveness even faster. IMHO the could-be-betters suck more than the comic itself does right now, although I hope that changes someday; the idea itself is a good one.

    As to the larger issue of "Has XKCD run out of new things to say?" The answer is "probably at least to a degree."

    My response to this is "so what?" When was the last time Garfield had something new to say? Or Dilbert? Or even Herman's Lagoon, or Pearls Before Swine?

    This is not to say that a cartoonist has to run out of new things to say, either. Charles Schulz seemed to never completely run out of things to say. Bill Watterson's run with Calvin and Hobbes was fantastically good at it. Among current comics, Frazz seems to be having a remarkably good run at. But the one thing these comics have in common is that their cartoonists have taken the approach with their comics of developing realistic, multidimensional personalities for their characters.

    If you're interested in identifying what you see as being wrong with XKCD, and offering suggestions about how to fix it, perhaps that's a good place to start: what's wrong and/or changed about the characterization of the recurring and/or occasional characters?

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  123. ok, 1) it's Sherman's Lagoon, Herman has nothing to do with it.

    I agree with an astounding amount of what you say, actually. Garfield is terrible, I find every Dilbert repetitive, etc. There are precious few newspaper comics I have any respect for anymore.

    It's fine for a cartoonist to run out of ideas, but they should stop their comic at that point, not force more out if it isn't going to be good. If that takes 1 year or 50 years I don't care, there is a natural end to everything. Otherwise you end up with Blondie and Garfield, and ew.

    A few things that have changed:
    -Too many sad relationship comics
    -Too many comics with meaningless references to internet culture
    -tried to force Mr. Beret into being a recurring character a la Mr. Hat, but didn't give him a single recurring characteristic
    -too many jokes that either he or another popular comic has already used

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  124. I disagree that Mr. Beret doesn't have any recurring characteristics. He is Randall's conception of an existentialist, which is to say, he is quirky and whimsical and impulsive. He is super excited about just being alive, and is so overwhelmed with how excellent everything is that he is kind of absent-minded.

    Randy does not know anything about existentialism.

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  125. no. What about when he got all sad cause he thought his fat mom was in space? or when he didn't get puns?

    neither of those fit with your description.

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  126. "He is super excited about just being alive, and is so overwhelmed with how excellent everything is that he is kind of absent-minded." Read: "he is kind of dumb."

    QED.

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  127. but neither of those instances are absent minded because of joy, they are just stupidity (or for the puns, justified confusion).

    come on Rob, you know about how characters work. Mr. Beret is an incredibly weak character.

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  128. he is totally weak but he is a consistent character.

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  129. The reason stated for this blog is to get Randall to shape up. Just wanted to say, it may not have anything to do with "shaping up"; maybe Randall just enjoys making comics about different things now that you may not enjoy? So its not really about meeting your standard but perhaps recognizing that he does what he wants to do, and everybody has different standards, likes, dislikes, etc. which mesh differently depending on the viewer who reads them. I mean, what if this entire blog is just based on a misconception that everything is only good humour if you say so? What is "good" humour? Isn't everything relative?! Anyways maybe you thought about it or maybe not, just thought I'd put it out there

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  130. My first reaction was to think that I learned everything I needed to know about your tastes when you said you were jealous of Ryan North. If any webcomic deserves a site like this one, it seems to me that Dinosaur Comics is it. But no: "de gustibus non est disputandum." In truth, it seems that all of the sites dedicated to slavishly following and excoriating internet content demonstrate nothing more than the fact that some people cannot abide differences of opinion.

    Well, that's all. I won't be coming back, so feel free to pour all your usual scorn upon me without any worry that I might have a rebuttal. I leave you to your life, such as it is.

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  131. Mmk, I'm an XKCD fan, does that make me the devil?

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  132. Sorry if this has been said already (I made it into the 50 or so first comments), but if XKCD's been getting worse - I think the Voynich manuscript one hit the bottom - it's certainly become top again recently!

    W.

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  133. You said that you will stop writing this blog when it no longer becomes fun. To that extent you imply that you are (or at least attempting to have fun) at bashing XKCD. The impression that I get when I read your blog is that you actually despise and hate XKCD. (My apologies for the obvious statements but they are required to connect the dots at the end).

    I have visited your blog on occasion just to see how much you blew up on a particular comic. However, I started to notice a pattern in this blog and it can be summarized by this.
    http://tinyurl.com/nm7hf7

    And then it hit me that your argumentative capacity is that of a 9 year old. You can tell when someone has no actual facts to present when all they can do is complain about how bad something is. When you have to tear something down with names and factless biased opinions to prove a point, the only point you've proven is that your an ass.

    I'm not sure if your aware but all artists creations are heavily influenced by their own lives. Each comic is created out of some previous experience or Idea. That's what art is, an extension of the soul onto some tangible medium. XKCD is an extension of Randall Munroe himself of which you've shown nothing but outright rudeness. Because after all, if xkcd did not suck, you'd have nothing to blog about.

    I'm not sure if it has occurred to you that not all comics are intended to be funny or witty all the time. I'd say a good handful of comics are all about action and adventure. If we renamed the subtitle to "adventures of romance, sarcasm, math, and language" I think it would be a bit more clear what the comic is about, but any regular reader can figure that out.

    I will also say that you have very little to no imagination which becomes obvious by how literal you take each comic. Your lack of imagination really becomes apparent when you dismiss any out of the box thinking as artsy shit. I personally really enjoy a comic that engages me and gets me thinking about stuff, I do not enjoy ideas and opinions that are forced upon me (which by the way is what you are attempting to do with this blog). When i'm hand fed stuff it turns me off for two reasons, it's boring and it's usually full of BS opinions.

    Which brings me to the final point: XKCD will never become as boring, repetitive, and unimaginative as this blog.

    In summary:
    your an unimaginative asshole with the argumentative ability of a 9 year old who runs a washed up repetitive blog on a relentless quest to demand a successful artist give up his work on the accusation that it has become washed up and repetitive. Sounds pretty pathetic to me.

    So answer me honestly, is it really that much fun spreading all that closed minded hatred?
    -Lawngnomeslayer

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  134. I honestly can't tell if this site is serious or not.

    Seriously.

    Your tagline kind seems almost self-defeating. Unwarranted nastiness to something harmless is right. As in...you seem much more like a literate troll then anything.

    I've seen anti-Twilighters be kinder than this if this site really is serious =/

    Seriously, what's wrong with just leaving the guy alone?

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  135. don't worry, we're kidding. just don't tell anyone (i can say it here because this is an old post)

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  136. ironic sincerity: everything I ever do

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  137. Carl,
    My main problem with your site isn't your directive. I get what you mean about xkcd not being as funny as it used to, but I think it's just that the novelty of the strip took a few hundred comics to wear off--Now, maybe this is just me, but I never really appreciated xkcd in the traditional way that one appreciates a comic. For me it was always more like having a conversation with someone who tells funny stories all the time. And that quality hasn't diminished...much.

    At any rate, my problem is that you definitely have sufficient hatred-fueled intellect to make a scathing political cartoon site if you wanted to, and I think your efforts are going to waste simply bashing someone else. You could be taking fans from him if you wanted to do something honorable =P

    Just sayin.

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  138. Actually it's interesting you say that. As you will see if you read more of this blog, we sometimes talk about a theoretical website called "Randall Munroe's Illustrated Picto-Blog," which is basically a blog where Randy can put all his funny or interesting ideas, possible illustrated with his stick figure doodles.

    The point is that he would update it when he wanted to, not be forced to do it three times a week. And he wouldn't have to try to cram humor into it if it weren't easy. I think it would be a great website, and it would be like just talking to an interesting, cool guy. But I can't say I think the comic is like that as it is.

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  139. I think I'd be much more interested if your tone and arguments weren't so senselessly angry. You do bring up valid points, but they're so cleverly hidden behind the rage that it seems like too much work to find them. As is, it feels too rant-ey and not analytical enough for me to bother.

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  140. hey just a quick point here, i dunno if anyones brought it to attention yet, but you guys realize that comic strips are jsut a medium right guys? they dont neccisarily HAVE to be funny. Doonsbury wasn't funny all the time. (although it sucked a lot of the time, so it might be a bad example) What im saying is that i just picked up the XKCD line of comics a few days ago, and im already about halfway done the archive, and i've been sooo hooked on them. My point is, is that a lot of randalls comics are thinkers, and I realize only later that they arn't funny, but they ARE relevant, and enjoyable. So although I know the point of your lonely, sad little troll-blog might be that his attempts at humour might be lackign as of late, at least he's working at it. What are you doing? nothing sir, you critique a comic website thats as obscure as most any that exist. For F sakes man, go for a run, ride a bike or climb some rock or SOMETHING,you strike me as kiiind of a shut in, what with the whole "I do this cause I think its funny so screw you" answer to every question. That works for the likes of maddox, but not for most, least of all whiny bloggers. Whew, that became FAR more ranty than id planned, but, now tha its out, i might come back here once jsut to see what you have to say, whereas randalls site, his i'll be visiting until its finished, now tell me, who's really the better man there?
    Go create something, loser.

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  141. I wasn't really sure if it was a joke or not, cause it just looks like you think it sucks "cause it sucks". That's probably why at first some people thought you were Randall. It's just too angry that it doesn't seem real.

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  142. You seem to actually read these comments, so I'll give my feedback on why your blog seems bad to me.

    1) You write up an xkcd sucks blog every day, which means you're obligated to write one every day, so you go in looking for writing material. It's not so much that you're predisposed to think the comic's bad, but as you're reading you focus on the details of how he builds the comic. And if you do that, there's really no way you can like it.

    2) Criticism is good, but "xkcd sucks" and the overall tone of some of the posts seem like a really mean way of doing it.

    3) As far as I can see, Randall is never an ass and he doesn't go around claiming he's a god, so making a whole blog dedicated to why Randall is not a god seems like bad taste, even IF other people go around saying he's a god.

    4) You're always talking about joke construction, where the punchlines are, and how it's unoriginal. But when I read xkcd, I'm not really looking for comedy gold. It's cute, it makes me smile, and it's really unlike anything else I've ever seen on the internet. And maybe one in five comics DOES make me laugh out loud. So for me, xkcd does not suck and I don't want him to stop. Sure, he has some bad strips, and maybe the first 300 were better, but I still like what he's doing now.

    The obvious counterargument to this is "Yes, you may like it now, but it could be even better for everyone!" but I disagree. Sometimes you're right about moving words and rearranging panels. Sometimes I disagree completely with what you say. And if he changed it, I really don't think it would be xkcd anymore, at least not the xkcd that makes me smile.

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  143. Anon #1: I hate this question immensely, and so I will make it a brand new FAQ item, just for you! Check back and you'll find that question answered!

    Anon #2: ok then!

    Mercury:

    First off, no, I do not write a post every day. I write 3 a week, which is to say, 3/7 of days. And sometimes I don't even do that at all! Most of the summer of 09 I got people to write it for me. Right now it's a guest week and someone else is writing it for me.

    Next, if I am predisposed to hate xkcd, how to you explain all the comics I like? Perhaps you have not been around long enough but every few weeks or so there is an xkcd that is good, and I am always happy to admit it.

    2: Randall has already said he doesn't read this blog and refused to read the book we wrote him, which had lots of good suggestions for improvement. It seems clear that Randy does not want help, though we still feel the need to give it. Think of the blog more for just making us haters feel better about ourselves.

    3. Randall is an ass. This I can say from my own experience as well as stories people have told me. He's a dick, a jerk, etc.

    4. OK, so here you are saying that you have low standards and xkcd meets them. That's nice. I guess the rest of us have higher standards. But if you love mediocrity, woo hoo for you I guess, the Internet will be a great place for you to hang out.

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  144. personally, i think you're a giant tit wank. i can see through your pseudo intellectual style, which really makes me believe you're just 13 years old. if you used your own voice in the critique of xkcd, maybe i'd see your blog's value. but you don't. you write like a predisposed 50 year cunt far too off her tits to actually understand the concept of free expression and a free voice. its just a shame your critiques lack any kind of literary merit.
    let me guess... is your name actually dan brown?

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  145. good guess, but I am actually 12 years old. thanks for your comments though!

    !!!

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  146. I find your criticism generally balanced, and you make a fair point most of the time. Sometimes I feel like the comics are quite lame, and the jokes poorly written (I found this blog by typing into google the ohm's law xkcd comic sucked). I've noticed that you often express your sentiment that the comic has gone 'downhill' in quality. Do you ever worry that this is just a penchant for nostalgia? I often hear elderly people state that things were better before everything changed, even though they weren't - we really are better off than in the 70s with drugs and STDs and general quality of life.

    XKCD has had some really poor quality older ones, and some excellent newer ones, but overall I've found it much to be the same as it ever was. Writing is a dynamic experience. Criticise it's flaws to your heart's content, but it is awfully cliche to yearn for the comic before it "changed".

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  147. There are stories for Randall being an ass hat?

    ... Can we here them?

    No seriously, can we? Or are they just off limits as far as criticism goes?

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  148. I have to say, the immense levels of hypocrisy in this blog are.... staggering. You lie any time you are faced with something you've actually done, or any time someone propounds a new concept to you, you shut it down. You are close minded, unimaginative, and overly harsh of a simple web-comic. I am happy to say this is the last time I will be visiting your site.

    If your intention was to convince other people that xkcd does indeed suck, you have yet to provide a good argument. They are all vague and shittily constructed. As Randall would say, "Someone is WRONG on the internet!!"

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  149. You're envious of Ryan North, not Jealous. Unless you're a professional comic creator -- in which case -- nevermind.

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  150. eons - I did once get a great story about Randall being a dick, but alas, it ended with "please don't tell people this story" so I cannot. Perhaps if we meet in person some time, I can tell you. Trust me though: It's a great story. Sorry this ends up so lame, I guess you don't have to believe me.

    Evan: I never lie. I don't know what you are talking about. What do you mean? Perhaps you can give an example so I can see if you are just batshit crazy or what.

    The blog's primary purpose is not to convince people that xkcd sucks, but to make people who already think xkcd sucks feel better about themselves.

    Nutella: Whatever. You have a delicious username.

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  151. Is the preoccupation with things being overrated a product of the large amount of media we consume or did it always exist?

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  152. Meh. Respect the wishes of the readers and all that jazz, I suppose.

    Maybe it is best that continue judging the comic on its quality-which has been in a downward spiral since 400- then how big of a jerk the creator may or may not be.

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  153. I find it shocking how a comic that basis itself off of 4 keywords, and one that has gone on for over 600 strips, might have repeated a few themes.

    thank you for opening my eyes good sir

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  154. I don't think this site sucks hugely, but this seems the best place to comment.

    One thing I like about xkcd is that even when I'm ambivalent about it, I'm ambivalent in a productive way, if that makes any sense. While some of the strips are too simple, I admire the ones that are weird and unsettling just for having the balls to finish the thought and still put it out there instead of just making a safe joke. (I know that's not always an admirable thing, just making something shocking or incomprehensible doesn't make it deep, I'm thinking more of moments like the Penny Arcade slash-fic)

    I don't mind it being a "Picto-Blog" of thoughts instead of a comic that's always supposed to be funny. But with that said, I think that's all the more reason to enjoy actually discussing the strips and picking it apart. It pisses me off when people suggest that it's not worthwhile putting enough thought into something to criticize it, or that you need to just "get a life hur hur, why not just not read it" So for me it's not the comic itself but those type of knee-jerk fan reactions that make me mad, which kind of proves the whole point about why this blog should exist.

    I started reading this blog after I found an xkcd strip I totally didn't get, and went to browse the forums for help, but came away unsatisfied. I just find this site a more fun environment for comparing reactions. I don't get why all the "why don't u ignore it then?!? Why all the HATE?!" people can't just take their own advice...

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  155. You are nothing more than a troll by another name.

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  156. You are nothing more than a cuddlefish by another name.

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  157. You are nothing more than Rupert by the same name.

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  158. Anon 7:13: Very clever, but xkcd does not base itself off 4 key words. Think about it - name the 5 most recent "math" comics. I can think of Paul Erdos as a zombie and no others. How about "language." Romance I will grant you, he does that a lot. "Sarcasm" seems to be too broad a category to talk about meaningfully, but in my opinion, it doesn't come up much.

    So despite what you'd pretend, xkcd is not limited at all in what it can talk about, yet it still repeats itself all the time.

    ambivalicious: I can respect that. I think the problem is that xkcd is usually trying to be funny. It's "interesting" comics (like the one that is newest as I write this, 657) are still set up with elements that are supposed to be humorous. This fact, and the fact that so many people gobble up the lame ones with "LOL@! SO FUNNY" is what pisses me off. Again, as I've said many a time, a blog with just Randall's interesting ideas would be great.

    Rob: You are nothing more than william monty hughes by another name.

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  159. Carl: You are nothing more than Randall by another name.

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  160. o man carl you better take that back or willy will be pissed

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  161. Having just stumbled across this site through the xkcd forums (?), I'm pleased to report that I fall into the category of liking both xkcd and (now) xkcd sucks - from now on I'll make a point of reading both!

    This blog raises some valid points, and there are many occasions when xkcd has left me wanting more - perhaps this blog can give me what's missing on thoe future occasions (of which I have no doubt there will be several). Having said that, I can't deny that on other occasions, xkcd does bring a smile to my face; I always thought it was down to whether I got the joke first time round or not - if you have to proactively go and look up the reason it's a funny comic, then it's clearly not funny.

    Should I be ashamed to say I also find xkcd educational - is this a benefit? On those rare occasions I don't get the joke first time round, I generally end up learning something new about the world (reverse polish notation is a recent example that springs to mind).

    Top stuff on the blog btw - ignore these fools who take it all too seriously, it's nice to see that not everyone thinks he (Munroe) is perfect ;)

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  162. Mr. Lostman you are nothing more than Cam by another name.

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  163. this conversation is nothing more than WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON by another name

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  164. ya but u xkcd haters didn't mentiond yet if xkcd is so bad y how cum every1 no i mean evry1 like reads it ?????????? srsly its like coolest thing ever al my friens luv it !!!!! i think ur just jealus of the guy who makes xckd get a life

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  165. (Note: Pardon the jargon, I'm a philosophy major and don't wish to dumb my argument down, bear with me)
    Well gentlemen, it seems that in order to understand what processes occur in Carl's head that would explain the existence of this blog, let us analyse his behaviour. Lest any one should imagine that he may even be conscious that we know quite a priori that the man who is otherwise honest (or who for this unanimity itself would be quite different from life, something in which pure concepts of the classification of all things, in order to seek in the world allows us only to the evils of life, however favourable fortune may be tested and appreciated). They want to persuade to join the calumniators of an impartial reason, which may be raised from outside its sphere, but, as far as they have not, after first laying the foundation of a respect for the law, and hence that they have not, after first laying the foundation of our reason finds it impossible for it is obviously impossible to see if they are still determining principles of experience; and pure, yet practical, reason is concerned with the determination of the like kind. Thus, if such is the determination of Mr. Carl, his actions can not be any plainer. This debate needs not continue for this reason.

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  166. "In short: No other comic seems to combine the same amount of popularity and crappiness."

    LOLNO

    Have you never heard of Ctrl+Alt+Del?
    Now -that's- a shitty comic.
    That still manages to be popular enough to support its talentless creator.

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  167. "But the fact is that few movie reviewers are movie makers, few theater critics are directors or actors, and few book reviewers are authors."

    A pretty poor excuse I must say, many book reviewer are authors) but that's besides the point, I think you should try and write a comic I really do. What have you got to lose. In fact I challenge, dare and implore you to write a comic. I think it would almost definitely open you're mind a bit and inform you're critique and even failing that you could still say you'd tried it. Just try it and if it's rubbish you don't even have to show anyone.

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  168. Carl said...

    "-Too many sad relationship comics
    -Too many comics with meaningless references to internet culture"

    Somebody's butthurt. Are you still trying to find someone who loves you? Are those nasty internetarians still making fun of you?

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  169. Way to use Pakin's complaint generator, Stanlee.

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  170. carl he challenged, dared, AND implored you!

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  171. I assume Stanlee and Anon 1:58 are the same person?

    Anon 2:04 - I know that making a comic is hard. I draw little comics to myself all the time, no doubt much like Randall's earlier sketches (but with far worse art and handwriting). What does that prove? What is your point? That I should give Randall and A for Effort? fuck that, man.

    Anon 6:06: woo, you learned a 4chan word! I am proud of you.

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  172. Though I don't necessarily agree with making something for the specific purpose of putting people down (in this case Randall and XKCDers) I do believe you have a point.

    XKCD used to feel like it was drawn by a smart funny guy who had an awesome idea and put it onto paper where ever he may have been but now it seems like he wakes up, says "Whoops its Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday I need to draw a comic for the site."

    I don't think this blog will change Randall or his comics. If anything it will make him even more adamant about what he is producing.

    All this being said I do check the site looking forward to new comics. But I don't read the forums or blog unless I am extremely captivated by something (as was the case with comic 657, a commenter led me to your site actually)

    I just think the blog might be better if people weren't as mean spirited as it comes off as and people didn't approach Randall IRL dealing with this stuff.

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  173. I wish I'd never stumbled across a forum link to your blog, because I've wasted a good quarter hour trying to get my head round the fact that this matters so much to you.
    I've had no luck, I'm afraid. So, I'm off to check my list of liked webcomics. Most of which you probably don't like anymore, and think I (and others) shouldn't read. But you know the funny thing? I'll probably forget this blog within the next 24 hours, and you'll still be slogging away trying to explain your tenuous argument for such a waste of time. Probably starting with a reply to this (I won't see it) or the decision not to reply to this (I won't know).

    This isn't said in a mean way, I'd like to add. Just in genuine confusion. I hope you find a worthwhile hobby/something else to do, not too far in the future!

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  174. Hey Carl,

    For the most part, don't like what you say, defend to the death and all that. I will just pick you up on a couple of things tho:

    FAQ 2, the examples that you give of where you could do better than Randall.

    They're nothing of the kind. They're improvements on what Randall already created, which is not the same thing as being better at creating things. If you wanted to prove that you can do better than Randall, i'm afraid you'd have to actually come up with your own idea for a comic from scratch. Sorry.

    FAQ 1 - The self-conscious "like genocide", line. I know, I know, it's an exagerration for comic effect. But seeing as you brought it up, do you spend a couple of hours a week speaking out against genocide? Do you investigate and categorise it with such precision? Please do post a link to your "genocide sucks" blog, I'd be interested to read it.

    It's a comic. A comic. You seem like you've got a decent brain. Why not devote your energy to something that matters.

    Finally, please don't pretend you're not jealous. You may not be jealous of his talent, but you're being slowly eaten alive with jelousy of his success. It seems to boil down to the fact that you feel you could do better, that this success should somehow be yours. Well, it could be (and i say this assomeone who probably couldn't), you just actually have to try.

    I hope you can see why, "I'm not jealous, I just wish people didn't laugh at his jokes, he didn't have a publishing deal and a girlfriend he adores to the point of being nauseating, and people listened to me instead of him", is deluded and fairly sad.

    Anyway, hope you find something more fulfilling soon.

    Big love,

    Steve

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  175. carl perhaps you should put in a question about "why don't you ever update on time?"

    (the answer is "because i am a big lazy motherfucker")

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  176. Carl,
    I'm sorry if this has been posted already, but I didn't see it as I scanned this forum. My question does run along the lines of "if you don't like it then why don't you leave it", but not because of the reason you sighted in the FAQ. I'm sure you're a perfectly smart person and that you get the 'jokes' of XKCD. I see clearly from some of your angrier rants that you think the quality of the comic has gone downhill. So, instead of saying, 'that's a shame. this used to be good' and going on with your life, you spend what is clearly a significant portion of your free time tearing these strips apart. Why? You don't like it, sure, but is one dissapointing moment out of your day really worth all this effort? Is XKCD so overrated to you that you need to convince THE ENTIRE INTERNET that you're right and Randall is a failure of an artist? He's just a guy, doing what he loves, or at least doing his job. In my opinion, that's what we all should be doing. Why are you attacking him for that? No one's making you read his comics 3x a week. You're holding on to so much anger, and rage and frustration, and for what? Because you think it's fun? Because you honestly think it will make a difference in people's lives? Is this really the greatest injustice you think you can devote your efforts to combating? I guess my final question is: Why are you doing this? An honest, neutral question. If you do answer, I have some requests: 1. no dodging my legitamate question with unrelated humor, which you seem to do a lot in this forum. 2. don't respond with something like "fuck you" or "I hate this question". I'm sorry if this is like the 9th time you've answered it, but I'm trying to be polite. Being on the internet doesn't give you an excuse to be a dick. 3. Please actually answer to the best of your ability. I'm honestly curious. Thank you for your time.
    Karen

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  177. You obviously have not read the FAQ, Anon 12:34. If you had read the FAQ, you would have noticed that Carl specifically stated that he is enjoying writing on this blog. If it is fun for him, and it isn't harming anyone else, why should he stop?

    Also, if you don't like this blog, why don't you leave? The argument goes both ways, you know.

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  178. It's so funny to see these wonderful logical fallacies brought up. Tell me, if the comic is "objectively bad", and there are fans, that must mean that xkcd is also "objectively good". This means that the entire purpose of proving the objective badness of xkcd is pointless, as you yourself admit that your views are biased towards one of two possible-and entirely correct+valid-opinions/POV. Also, you claim to know of these unbiased, unobjective methods for comic/humor evaluation, yet not once have I seen one of these factors mentioned.

    It is also worth noting that responses involving non sequitors don't exactly add to credibility.

    - the Analyst

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  179. Why do you use so much name calling, negativity, and outright hatred in this blog? How can it be so much fun to trash on an artist's creations?

    Why not offer up your sugguestions in a professional, positive, and constructive manor?
    You do offer up a good point every now and then but the name calling, and negativity overshadow this 90% of the time making an unpleasant read fo a potentially brilliant blog.
    -kevin

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  180. "Tell me, if the comic is "objectively bad", and there are fans, that must mean that xkcd is also "objectively good"."

    That's, uh. That's not what objectivity is.

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  181. chaos is funny. strong contrasts are funny. the inevitability of death and pain are funny. A sudden change in context is funny. Human stupidity is funny. Cuddlefish are funny.

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  182. Hello, can I come here to post useless and comments which over-all add very little to any major or general purpose?

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  183. LEAVE RANDELL ALONE!!!!!!

    -Jimmy, though I am confused why people leave their names at all, is it so that if they ever make a good point, they can bring it up later on and gloat about it? Or maybe it's so people who disagree with a statement can put a name to an idea. On that note Carl, I completely challenge your ideas that XKCD is an objectively bad comic, based on the fact that you are communist, as Karl Marx was communist, and your name is Carl. That C can't trick me, since its homotopily the same as K. Heck yes.

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  184. hehe, you made my day, not because i agree, because it made me laugh how much of your life youve wasted in an attempt to destroy xkcd. PRobably hours, a lot of hours, anyways, xkcd makes many people happy reading it, or it woul dhave died by now, so congrats on wasting your life on something that doesnt even really metter that much, you self serving prick.

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  185. Wow, this thing shows up on the first search page of Google.
    My five-dollar prediction is: Randall will keep drawing, people will keep reading and laughing, you will keep heckling with a few ragtag elitists, and...well,
    I... I thought you guys had LIVES.
    Okay, back to my own.

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  186. i can't believe i wasted ENTIRE HOURS of my life! hours? not hours! You only get so many of those, and I'm nearly out!

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  187. think of tragic it would be if other people wasted minutes of their lives commenting on this blog telling you that you're wasting hours!

    OH GOD WAIT

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  188. I'm curious. What exactly would the defining characteristics of "objective humour" be?

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  189. are you somehow related to glenn beck??? coz you sound like him:D

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  190. J: I'll give you one for now, 'cause I'm tired of having to write this all the time: Chaos. chaos, if it escalates from non-chaos, can be extremely funny. Watch Arrested Development for lots of good examples. Or the opening scene of The Producers.

    Anon: I am not related to Mr. Beck, however, I do think that now is a good time to consider investing in GOLD.

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  191. Humor is objective now? WHAT THE FUCK
    =]

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  192. Fair enough. So humour is chaos remembered in tranquillity? ;)

    OK, I can accept that as a standard you use. I'm not sure whether it's one I would accept for myself as a sufficiently exhaustive objective measure, but now I know where you're coming from.

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  193. How odd. I disagree with your opinion on xkcd, and your opinion that because you dislike it people who like it must be wrong. Yet, you seem to be incredibly intelligent and very self-aware, and I have to say you are one of the most likeable people I disagree with.

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