Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comic 548: Kindling

moar wp plz

Really? Really?

It is now clear that Randall Munroe is fucking with me. At first I thought it was some bizarre side-effect of his lack of comedy, but now we've have three jokes about wikipedia in the last four comics.

Now let's just quickly get this out of the way because I know otherwise some dumbass cuddlefish are going to mention it:

-This is a joke about wikipedia. It is not a joke about the Kindle. The kindle serves only as a device to access wikipedia; the joke is that if you have portable access to wikipedia anywhere then you have enough information to survive on, and so it is just like having the Hitchhikers' Guide with you. For proof of this, reread the alt-text. The joke is "wikipedia is incredibly useful!"

-There is nothing wrong with a joke about wikipedia per se. It is not a forbidden topic, and as I have stated before, there are lots of good examples of wikipedia humor, including wikipedia itself. But if xkcd is just going to be a repository of cartoons about wikipedia, that's dumb. That's really dumb, and I'm going to call him on it. This has nothing to do with whether or not xkcd is a "niche comic" or whether it's supposed to be a "nerd comic." Nerd comic ≠ wikipedia comic.

Alright Randall. You want to do this? Fine. Let's do this. Bring me all the wikipedia shit you have. I'm ready. It is on.


Unrelatedly: It would be unfair of me to critique xkcd as I do and not point out this week's Subnormality. I thought last week's was long - clearly that was just some kind of very wordy appetizer. Also, this comic, while it does play a little with spacial relationships at the end there, has barely any art and certainly is not supposed to be funny. So, let this be a warning to you, Winston Rowntree! Your thought-provoking morality tales have no place on the "Comic" part of your personal website!


  1. got it. i hate the blogger spell check; sometimes it underlines misspelled words and sometimes it waits until you click the spellcheck button.

    Also: the blogger spell check, as you can confirm if you start to leave a comment below, does not recognize "blog" or "blogger."

  2. Have you thought of adding these wikipedia...I hesitate to call them jokes...comics to the list of repeat offenders on the left side of the page?

  3. Wow Carl your fast posts have me a little alarmed but also make me very happy.

    I think, though, that the alt-text is one of the better ones we've had in a while, if only because i enjoy picturing Randy on someone's lawn.

  4. The worst comic in months. Really, really embarrassing.

  5. And once again, we find that you're sulking that it's about Wikipedia; with you not even commenting on or criticizing the humor of the strip.

    And yes, there have been comics on Wikipedia before. Who gives a flying fuck? Maybe 1/50 XKCD comics are about Wikipedia? Maybe we should complain that upwards of half of your posts use identical criticism to the previous several, despite the comics having different Assuming you hadn't invented those problems to begin with. Perhaps, even, we should criticize you over your terrible English skills in a similar fashion to as you did when Randall accidentally drew the girl several pixels higher than the chair?

    And fuck; you can't even tag the right comics as 'wikipedia', let alone get the numbers for the damned things right.

    And of course, now that I've said this, I'm going to be referred to as a "Cuddlefish" as you undoubtedly pore over my comment and attempt to find any potential flaws in it, in your incredibly childish way :/

  6. despite the comics being completely different.*

  7. Tobias do you not read any of what is posted on this site?

    The fact that this comic sucks.. well okay when we get down to it Carl REALLY can't blame it on being about Wikipedia. WHICH HE IS NOT!

    Read the post again. The joke is "wikipedia is incredibly useful!" And this is not a joke!

    The posts here complain about the same problem because the comics lately have HAD the same problem. So we can't really fault Carl for this.


  8. Yes, it's another Wikipedia joke, but as a former Amazon employee, I have a soft spot for the alt text.

  9. You don't get to have accidents when you draw stick figures for a living. Draw like a big boy. Or at least a child that can keep more than 50% of it's character's heads from falling off.(Maybe you can tell by now, but that really, really bothers me.)

    Otherwise, people who read the comic thoughtfully give a fuck. The last few months at least have just been the same recycled jokes on shuffle. If I wanted this monotonous shit I'd go read Garfield.

  10. Ambie: We'll see how it goes. If he keeps doing it, yeah, I could see adding a category page. Right now they've all been flying at us one after another, and I feel like when they stop they'll stop for a long time.

    Amanda: It's just that with these last two I've had sudden emotional reactions and wanted to put them into words before they fade away.

    Tobias, we only use Cuddlefish as a name for people who sign as Anonymous, it's just to make it easier to identify. Since you have been kind enough to use a name, we can call you that.

    Tobias: All I'm going to say is that I loved reading about my terrible english skills right before reading your quasi-sentence "...despite the comics having different Assuming you hadn't...". You corrected your error; I corrected mine. Let's call it equal, shall we?

    Cuddlyfish: At least with Garfield we can make our own Garfield-Minus-Garfield. Just like how the family circus always - always - has the potential for hilarious captions on their stupid pictures.

  11. I think this is the best of the Wiki-related comics, I just wish it had been at the front of Randall's love train and not at the end, since the recurring theme of "Wikipedia is awesome and everyone should pay attention to it" is tired.

    Carl, save the worst rage for when Randall suggests that Wikipedia allow the option for all of its articles to be read in a clever British accent. In which case, we shall all write the vilest "xkcd sucks" article and spam his inbox with the mp3 of it.

  12. This one was so hilarious that it left me near tears. Hitchikers Guide, INDEED, etc. And that is, indeed, what the Kindle is- a little e-book like device with instant access to all the information you could ever need (i.e the internet.) My second stop was this blog, to see how this comic could possibly have it's meaning warped.

    And I arrive to find that you happy folk have decided the joke of the comic is "wikipedia is useful."

    I can't sugar coat this. You people are morons. Yes, you. The punchline of a joke almost always comes at the end. The end of this comic had the "Hitchikers Guide" under the Kindle logo. Thus, the joke. The accessibility is the ENTIRE point, as established by the second panel: only the Kindle and the Guide provide such access even if you "spend months broke and drunk in a strange city." Like the guide. Which the woman points out in the third panel. The joke would be equally intact if you substituted "Wikipedia and wiki travel" with "answer.com and google maps."

    This is simple. This is very, very simple. To miss the point of this comic either requires willful blindness born of hate, or staggering stupidity.

  13. Look, I'm not the world's biggest xkcd fan, but it's simply not a joke about wikipedia. It's a joke about the Hitchhiker's Guide. It made me laugh.

  14. No comments about how the real point of this comic is "Hey guys, I have a Kindle 2!"?

  15. I wasn't near tears, but I have to agree, generally, with Demetrious and ta... I think slapping a "this is about WIKIPEDIA" label on the comic is unfair. It occurred to me as well that the joke would be just as funny if he hadn't listed any websites at all - it was primarily a joke about the Kindle and "Hitchhiker's". I'm inclined to be annoyed with Randall lately, as a wide difference in quality is discernible between the old and new comics, but I try to give credit where credit is due... and I thought this was a funny Kindle/Hitchhiker's joke. I'm not convinced by your "This is a joke about wikipedia. It is not a joke about the Kindle etc." In fact I think you're flat-out wrong on that point. And I think Demetrious hit it right on the nose when he said, "To miss the point of this comic either requires willful blindness born of hate, or staggering stupidity" - personally, I'm more inclined to think it's "willful blindness." Either way, it's not really funny... and I think Carl could have more success if he tried to make witty observations about other aspects of the comic instead of taking the easiest route (but people keep saying this, don't they? And you always say you're just responding to Randall's repetition?). Well, here you had an opportunity to find fault in a different aspect of the comic, but you didn't.

    At least reading this blog for a few weeks has made me realize that Randall is lazy, so kudos to you for that.

  16. You don't get it. That's fine, you don't have to get it. But by blogging about it, you're just embarrassing yourself in public.

  17. Guys, lets redirect wikipediaisawesomecomics.com into xkcd.com

  18. Wikipedia being the real Hitchhikers' Guide is an olde idea. There was even another website on http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2 that was launched around 1999, two years before Wikipedia. The joke's older than this millennium.

  19. Not particularly funny, but not a wikipedia joke wither. The set-up is the kindle, the punchline is the HG2U, and wikipedia was a side reference.

  20. Demetrious, I liked this one and wished it could've appeared before the trio of other Wiki-referencing comics, but you have to go and lump everyone together as "morons." In bold, no less!

    To do so either requires willful blindness born of hate, or staggering stupidity.

    As for the fact that Randall could have substituted answers.com or Google Maps and gotten the same punchline, that's true, Wikipedia is not necessary for the punchline to work. However, it would seem that Wikipedia is necessary for Randall to work, and that trend is annoying to us. I wouldn't mind if his characters ate Dorito's every so often, but I don't want them to figure into every non-Dorito's joke with the following defense of, "Just imagine it's any other brand or food item!"

    Like Donald Rumsfeld, we must critique the xkcd we have, not the xkcd we'd like to have.

  21. The joke has to be about wikipedia because most of us internet people tend to trust wikipedia, and it reliably has information on a ton of subjects. You can't just say "the internet in general" or "google" or whatever because they are not reliable, and also they are not at all the the Hitchhiker's Guide. That's just the internet; the Guide is an encyclopedia, full of cross references, presented so as to usefully convey information, and worked on by a massive team of people (or aliens).

    I agree with Thomas though, if this comic had been before the other two Wikicomics I would have been inclined to like it a lot more.

    Demetrious, we can disagree on the point and the value of the comic but if that truly left you "near tears" than something is deeply wrong with the world.

    Anon: You really think this counts as being in public? I can say anything here with no repercussions in real life: let's all fuck goats, people! See? Nothing.

  22. It's amazing it's taken him this long to make the connection. I worked on the original Kindle and I was pretty excited about finally having a real Hitchhiker's Guide!

  23. I think this comic would have been perfect if he didn't directly mention Wikipedia, because the joke itself works... but as has been said before it just feels like a continuation of the Wikipedian love train.

  24. I will repeat this once again:

    Observational humor requires two things: an observation, and a joke based on that observation.

    With this comic, we have an observation:
    Free Wikipedia anywhere + Kindle = Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Fine.

    And then we have a joke...OH WAIT.

    Once again, Randall has forgotten the second and arguably most important step.

    Randall is good at making observations. He is bad at writing jokes and drawing. Ergo, a webcomic should probably not be his medium of choice.

  25. Jesus. When I saw the word "wikipedia" I actually let out a noise somewhere between a laugh and a moan. The comic is one of the better shitty wiki ones, but it's STILL a fucking wiki reference. Which is what he's been doing for a while now.
    If he'd spaced this wikipedia shit out over a month or so, then maybe we'd be okay with it, but because he's hit us with a clod of them all at the same time, it's repetitive and detracts from the little humour there is in there.
    52 comments on the last post at time of posting; clearly a lot more people are thinking "man, xkcd SUCKS".
    Tobias is a pretty crappy troll.
    Amanda is awesome. She deserves cuddly hugs.

  26. OK, fine. *I* think it was a joke about the Kindle, but that's an opinion. But: THIS ONE *WAS* FUNNY! I thought it was great! The joke isn't "wikipedia is incredibly useful" it's "look how HHGTTG-like the Kindle coupled with Wikipedia is!" Fine, it has a wiki joke, and I'll admit that it is getting a little old, but at least this comic was coming from something else.

    You're overcompensating: any mention of wikipedia is going to automatically anger you, right?

  27. N'awwww! Thanks Dan; cuddly hugs all around! =)

  28. @Scyphozoa:

    *sounds of frustration essentially impossible to represent through traditional onomatopoeia*

    No matter how many times I say it, someone always forces me to repeat myself:

    "look how HHGTTG-like the Kindle coupled with Wikipedia is!" is not a joke. It's an observation. It is commenting on a subjectively interesting state of reality. It may be correct. It may even be witty. But it's still not a joke!

    I'll admit he at least tried to make it a joke by using an anecdote to present the observation rather than just directly stating it, but he still didn't add any real humor to it. He didn't put in the effort to craft a truly great joke. To me, it feels lazy. When the main focus of your comic is not the art and you can get away with stick figures, you could at least put the time in to craft some really great jokes. What irks me so much is that he's done this before in the past. Nowadays, it just seems like Randall doesn't care...WHICH IS THE WHOLE REASON THIS BLOG WAS STARTED.

  29. Like Poore said, there's only an observation. No joke. I really can't seem to fathom how this is funny.

  30. A few months ago I made an xkcd parody comic just to see if I could imitate Randall. I think I failed, because I couldn't make it unfunny enough.

  31. fluffy: Funny you should mention that, because where I live, the newspaper (few years ago) had an article about driving while using a cell phone being outlawed. This was followed by a report about how people skirt this law by keeping the phone out of sight (speaking to the phone in their lap, for example). Texting was also noted as a driving hazard. Then came word of voice-texting, thus completing the circle of stupidity and validating your comic.

    Just please tell me you didn't capitalize on the idea.

  32. fluffy your alt text was amazing.

  33. Gentlemen: Do recall the dominance of Wikipedia in "nerd" culture. It has become a sprawling octopus of an entity, a font of information that is almost invariably referenced by quite a few people several times a day. It incorporates two key concepts of "hacker" culture- open sourced collaborative effort and peer social networking for greater accuracy- and thus has become a massive, defining entity of the entire subculture that XKCD roughly targets. Comics referencing Wikipedia are not going to be uncommon, by any reasonable measure.

    To Carl, and Thomas: Wikipedia still wasn't the focus of the joke. It did not focus on comparing the width and breadth of Wikipedia to the obsessive comprehensive vault of knowledge contained by the Guide. It focused exclusively on the striking fact that reality has caught up to fiction; that there is now a device in existence that can fit in your coat pocket and still provide any information you need, anywhere. (This was always the most striking nature of the Guide. A mere encyclopedia, no matter how extensive, is a bit pedestrian.) Ultimately, this revolves around the internet connection, ergo the technology. Almost any information on Wikipedia could be replicated by a search engine that favors scientific journals and reference websites (somewhat like Google Scholar,) and obsessively-maintained fandom triva wikis. The word "wikipeida" has become shorthand for "vast information on the wide interwubs." "Wiki it" is now a verb, much like "google it." Thus, writing "wikipedia" instead of "answers.com, google Scholar, google image search, How-to-wiki, etc, etc, etc," does not mean that Randall is wanking on Wikipedia again. It means he only has so much space to write his dialogue.

    I found the underlying point being made about how reality has caught up with fiction to be witty and amusing. On the other hand, I don't go into paroxysms of rage when "wikipedia" is mentioned, so I can appreciate how you'd find that reference to rather overshadow the Kindle.

    Cow_2001: Listen carefully, for I am forever removing that complaint from your arsenal. There is nothing new under the sun. Most of the comedic formats we have today can be seen clearly in the work of ancient Greek playwrights; or at best can be traced back only so far as Shakespeare. Also, there are a lot of people in the world. It is entirely possible for two independent authors to come up with the same joke, without ever seeing or hearing of the other one.

    This does not mean the joke was stolen.

    This point comes up every now and then, such as when both Penny Arcade and Ctrl-Alt-Del did a comic on the "WTF" nature of the Halo 3 beverage ads on TV. Penny Arcade's updated a day or two prior, and is more popular, so naturally Ctrl-Alt-Del was accused of ripping it off. Now, I don't like Tim Buckley much, but any comic that updates on a regular schedule usually has the comic written and drawn at least a week before it's time to post it (so Fred Gallagher has no defense should he copy.) Sometimes jokes will be thought of, recorded in a notebook or file, and only acted upon/fleshed out months or years later. Most authors and creative types do this.

    This does not mean the joke was stolen.

  34. @Demetrious:

    And your response to me is...?

    I don't mean to sound like an attention whore (though I am one), but I still believe your carefully crafted, well-reasoned essay on why Randall's cock fits so snugly in your mouth is based on the faulty premise that a joke actually exists somewhere in this comic.

    Since XKCD is a comic for "nerds", let me express my point (which I've made at least twice now) in a simple mathematical statement for you:

    Observation =/= Joke

    There. You see that equation? The one right above this block of text? You do? Good. Go show it to Randall, then, because he's obviously unaware of it.

    You've mastered the art of literary criticism and analysis (read: bullshit), which is kind of admirable, but also the butt of one of the few good jokes your hero has made in the last year or so.

    Thanks for playing, though.

  35. Eh, call me crazy, but for some reason I liked this comic. I saw some humor in the comparison of Randall Monroe stumbling drunkenly through a city clutching his Wikipedia-Kindle to Ford Prefect with his Hitchhiker's Guide.

  36. The observation is that you can have Free Wikipedia from anywhere on Kindle, the joke is that it's actually H2G2 in disguise.

    You guys really missed that?

  37. ... I just stumbled upon this site. I have never seen so much BAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWW in my life.

    Here's a great way to sum up your poor pain and displeasure "Carl":

    Stop reading it.

    But then you wouldn't get the pleasure you receive from bitching about it, would you?

  38. Cuddlefish:

    "Hey, we have free wikipedia everywhere if we get a Kindle."

    "You know what? That sounds exactly like the Hitchhiker's Guide!"

    "Hey, you're right!"

    Yep. That's a great joke right there. Hysterical.

    Please get over yourself. We understand what Randall was trying to do, but attempting to make a joke and actually making a joke are two different things.

    You are not smarter than we are. You are not cooler than we are. You are someone who believes that posting an antagonistic comment in a blog that holds opinions contrary to your own is a smart thing to do.

  39. People have been saying it's not a joke about Wikipedia because you could replace 'Wikipedia' with 'Google Maps' and it would be the same. Except... you know, it wouldn't be the same. You could, however, replace the Kindle with a comparable device, and it would be largely the same.

    In fact, the comic might have been vaguely amusing, f I hadn't seen the idea before in this instructable using a different device quite some time ago. Yes, I know, it's not a Kindle and it's not able to update from anywhere - but it's the same "Wikipedia-is-kind-of-like-the-Hitchhiker's-Guide" malarkey. So not only is it not funny, it's not original.

    Not that that comes as a surprise anymore.

  40. "But then you wouldn't get the pleasure you receive from bitching about it, would you?"

    Kbob, you meant that as an insult, but that is actually EXACTLY why we're here, and we admit it. You see this as a bad thing because you're an idiot.

    Generally I like having xkcd people post here, so I try not to be a dick, but man... you are just dumb.

  41. Jay at least Kbob said "bitching" and not "whining." I guess it's a start...

  42. He did imply it with the BAAWWWWWW thing. But yeah, I suppose it's a step in the right direction.

    That bothers me so much more than it should. It's probably because they ALL do it.

  43. Heehee. It's okay, Jay, redirect your anger towards Randall. Or to my loud roommate who won't let me sleep, I would appreciate that. =)

    I think they do it cuz they are sort of like lemmings. Besides, there are only so many non-arguments they can come up with in defense of his crappy comics. The "stop whining" demand is not as annoying as the "HE WASN'T TRYING TO BE FUNNY OKAY," though. *rages*

  44. There's also the glaringly obvious point that the common response to our perceived "whining" is to...whine about it.

    If you're so opposed to whining/bitching, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?

    That's called hypocrisy, guys. And that's no good.

  45. Agreed; I think that's why it's as annoying as it is. >=(

    Also poore I forgot to mention that I totally agree that observations are not jokes. But this is definitely a step up from the HUGELY observational and TOTALLY not funny one about laptops being weird. I remember I was so incensed at seeing that that I e-mailed Carl and he called me angry. He was right.

  46. Randall's hangers-on irritate the hell out of me. Every now and then I peruse the forum or his blog comments and it's mostly just self-congratulatory bullshit from people who are stroking their beards and/or genitals because they understood the references.

    And then in the "open discussion" sections it's just horrible.

    Here's a bunch I collected the last time I felt like going there, which was a while ago. I haven't been able to stomach it since then.


    I am too lazy to link them myself and it looks (from the preview) that links aren't auto-linked. I apologize.

  47. Amanda, you speak only truth. I think the reason I disliked this comic so much is because I see huge potential for the idea, but the execution is so "meh" it infuriates me.

    Also, I think Jay has a great point - it is fun to be angry about things. Catharsis is a wonderful thing, and I feel sorry that people like Kbob can't understand that.

  48. @poore: "why Randall's cock fits so snugly in your mouth"

    Lends a whole new meaning to "Get out of my head, Randall!"

  49. "You are not smarter than we are. You are not cooler than we are."

    Wait are you serious? Because I thought I was.

    "You are someone who believes that posting an antagonistic comment in a blog that holds opinions contrary to your own is a smart thing to do."

    Ahhh, thanks for clarifying my position there. I was confused for a bit.

  50. Good job Cuddlefish, way to verify that you are, in fact, just as stupid as you first appeared.

    lol at poore and thomas. Love you both.

  51. Carl, if I may request: take this latest one slowly. The handful of Wiki references were moot, but now Randall's gone back to Geek Pop Culture and failed to infuse his sterling wit into something that was already damn witty to begin with.

    You must rise to this challenge, and break his comic apart with reason powered by hate instead of hate powered by reflex. There's more than one reason this comic sucks, and I hope you've got enough ammo for them all. Godspeed!

  52. thomas,

    I am saluting you through the Internet as hard as I possibly can.


    I am proud to call you my Internet friend.


    If you were being serious, you fail. If you were attempting sarcastic humor, you also fail. If you are trying to troll, you, again, fail.

  53. "Good job Cuddlefish, way to verify that you are, in fact, just as stupid as you first appeared."

    Wow, really? You didn't notice that the whole message was to point out that poore is pulling crap out of his ass and putting words in us "cuddlefish's" mouths with his ludicrous comment?

    Because everything we cuddlefish do here is OBVIOUSLY because of a sense of elitism we have and a hate we possess of every view points that isn't ours, right? It's never because we think you're wrong, only because we think you're stupid and/or uncool.

    You'd do good to exorcise such representatives from your group unless you want to come off as ridiculous ad hominem glass cannons in your comments.

    That being said, I don't particularly care about how your group represents itself. If you want to load your comments by spamming ad hominem in response to criticism I'm fine with that. If you want to use weasel words and poisoned wells to preach to your choir then thats fine. Your choice.

    I'm sure Carl doesn't mind the prospects of most new members thinking you're irrational assholes and never visiting the blog again.

    Or perhaps losing regular readers? I know I probably won't bother with this site after having my IQ depraved by the ridiculously dismissive and logically unsound comments section.

  54. You're allowed to not like the comics, a lot of them aren't really funny at all. But pulling out comments like that? That makes you worse than trolls.

  55. I don't really understand how it was at all irrational. The first Cuddlefish (to whom poore responded) very snarkily explained the non-joke to us yet again and then asked "You guys really missed that?"

    Assuming that the Cuddlefish that responded to poore and the Cuddlefish that quoted me are the same as the first Cuddlefish.. well, yes. You are stupid: clearly you have a problem reading and comprehending what you have read. So please stop saying "ad hominem" to appear smarter and also please stop pretending that you were trying to make some sort of smart comment when you responded to poore that somehow flew over our heads because then in addition to stupidity you have a problem known as arrogance.

    Latest Cuddlefish: pulling out comments? Wait I really don't know what you are talking about; are you the same Cuddlefish I am currently battling?

  56. "You are stupid: clearly you have a problem reading and comprehending what you have read."

    Clearly, because there is absolutely no possibility that you could actually be wrong, right?

    "So please stop saying "ad hominem" to appear smarter and also please stop pretending that you were trying to make some sort of smart comment when you responded to poore that somehow flew over our heads"

    To appear smarter? What? That's a laugh, certainly funnier than most recent xkcd.

    Those aren't any particularly 'special' words or anything, I find it amusing you equate using words like 'ad hominem' to some sort of appeal to intelligence.

    Everyone who uses words like those are doing it just to sound smart, right?

    "because then in addition to stupidity you have a problem known as arrogance."

    This is coming from someone who thinks that they are so absolutely right and there is no possibility that they're wrong. Thus the only justification they have for someone else having a different opinion is that they "have a problem reading and comprehending what [they] have read"?

    Talk about arrogance! Because they couldn't possibly disagree with a position like yours which is so obviously right, right? Arrogance, hah, that really is golden.

    "are you the same Cuddlefish I am currently battling?"

    It doesn't matter. I'm sure I don't have to tell you to address the points not the person... Oh wait - I did.

  57. Wow, the next one sucks even worse. And you know the forumites love it. When was the last time Randall actually came up with a clever joke on his own instead of just exploiting nerd icons? Nothing of any value since 532.

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. To the anonymous cuddlefish: I'm pretty no one here thinks that xkcdsucks = srs bsns, except for you. Lighten up and get laid.

    Re: today's comic, yeah, it's pretty hard to screw up a Princess Bride reference. About as hard as screwing up a Douglas Adams reference, I'd say. Nowadays I seem to take a perverse pleasure in witnessing Mr. Munroe's ability to suck the humor out of things like a vacuum cleaner.

  60. Long time reader first time poster here!

    There's been a lot of quibbling over whether the joke is about Wikipedia or HG2G. Frankly, I don't really care. The comic is lame either way.

    First - and most importantly - there's the point poore keeps hammering home (a point that would have become tiresome by now if it wasn't for the fact that some people aren't taking a blind bit of notice): IT'S NOT A JOKE.

    Next there's the criticism that Randy is just pandering to the nerd community. I think this is apparent in many of his comics. As someone who is only vaguely geeky I often can't be arsed to Wiki whatever obscure mathematical algorithm he's referencing cos frankly the effort never yields the LOL-return I'm hoping for. MAYBE I JUST DON'T 'GET IT'.

    However if that's what he was going for in this comic then I'm sorry Randall, that was pathetic. Hitchhikers Guide? Come on! If someone had only just read HG2G then it might be kind of novel for them that they got the reference. As a result it might produce a smug little 'aren't I clever' type chuckle. But HG2G has been around since the 70s and any geek worth their salt can quote it verbatim. As such it's so completely tired and obvious that I feel insulted.

    If it's about Wikipedia then: BOOOORING.

    Either way it's not a joke and thats what really fucks me off. As poore also mentioned there was huge potential to do something clever with this, but you did nothing. NOTHING.


  61. "That being said, I don't particularly care about how your group represents itself."

    Then why do you keep posting?

    I'm sorry, it's just that your words, harsh though they may be, don't match your actions at all.

    "Talk about arrogance! Because they couldn't possibly disagree with a position like yours which is so obviously right, right? Arrogance, hah, that really is golden."

    What I disagreed with wasn't your opinion - it was the fact that you tried to present an argument that had already been addressed twice, and then act like we hadn't addressed it at all.

    If you don't want people to dismiss your opinions, maybe you should actually pay attention to their opinions as well.

    "It doesn't matter. I'm sure I don't have to tell you to address the points not the person... Oh wait - I did."

    Huh...so to show how much you dislike ad hominem attacks, you resort to...sarcastic, ad hominem attacks.

    Regardless of how intelligent you are, you have a severe problem with hypocrisy.

    Finally, and this is the part that really confuses me, why are you trying have a serious argument on an blog's comment page? I agree with Don - chill out, man. It's the Internet.

  62. Will you fucking kids stop flirting, I'm trying to get some work done over here.

  63. Jay, that's one of the funniest things I've read in these comment pages.

    "The Guide has this to say on the subject of forum arguments: both parties will protect their positions with the severity of trench warfare, when in all likelihood their differences could be settled if they 'shared the same foxhole.'

    As such, all online debate that continues beyond the third volley is considered online dating and monitored by web executioner Chris Hansen."

  64. there are times when I just get so proud of the little community we are building here that I don't know what to do...good show, all.

    Thomas: I worry that I am not qualified for this post, as I've generally just ignored the princess bride and don't really care about it. I don't suppose you could take up the reins on this one? I can write it but it won't do the post the kind of justice you want.

  65. Thanks poore, you said everything I needed to say.

    Also, I'm sure Carl doesn't mind the prospects of most new members thinking you're irrational assholes and never visiting the blog again.
    Yay you got one right!

    And thanks, Jay. You make me laugh.

    Yay so we are looking forward to post from thomas?








  67. Man, I thought I posted here earlier but I didn't. You guys make me so proud.

  68. cuddlefish I believe you would do well in the "stupid and condescending" group!

    fluffy your links... I just.. wow. That one where the poster was like "oh well you xkcd-readers are SO AWESOME you always stay rational no matter what blah blah"... ugh. We oughta redirect all those that responded to that to xkcdsucks and see how well those forumites take a website mocking their hero.

  69. I know Randall is my hero.

  70. I entirely agree, just like Dresden Codak. He keeps doing comics about transhumanism and philosophy. Aaron seriously needs some new material.

    I also hate any comic that isn't funny. Especially those story ones that aren't supposed to be humorous. As if you can even call yourself a comic if you don't joke.

  71. Oh man, it's like that one time I tried to make a joke, but nobody laughed, but then it was okay, because I pretended I wasn't joking.

  72. Nomenclature aside, I have no problem with non-humor story-based comics. Most comic books and many long-form comic strips (even in the newspaper) aren't intended to be funny, but to tell a story. (Of course I'm biased in that respect.)

    Where xkcd falls short is that it's intended to be funny, and even without that it's not even trying to tell a story. It's just a bunch of random dumb quips about things that sound vaguely smart to people who don't actually deal with this stuff for a living.

  73. fluffy what are you talking about? It's the same reason that this week's Subnormality sucks.

    To quote Carl "Also, this comic, while it does play a little with spacial relationships at the end there, has barely any art and certainly is not supposed to be funny. So, let this be a warning to you, Winston Rowntree! Your thought-provoking morality tales have no place on the "Comic" part of your personal website!"

    Don't you agree?

  74. I don't agree with the general sentiment. Every medium has different genres of content. TV, movies, books, music, and basically everything else has room for comedy and non-comedy things. So why not webcomics?

    Getting hung up on the "comic" part of the word "webcomic" is a bit ridiculous. I suppose there could be a better term, ideally one which doesn't involve pretentious faggery like "sequential art" or whatever, but the term "comic" (meaning "sequential art") itself has often referred to things which are not comic (meaning "funny") in nature.

    That said, I do agree with the specific point about Subnormality, which goddamn fucking sucks. Too many words, too little art, and no point. I don't see why everyone on the Internet seems to have such a big jizzy orgasm for it lately. The first few are pretty good but it rapidly declines into Doing A Thing (much like xkcd and Dresden Codak and all the other big fapfests).

  75. What are some good comics then fluffy?

  76. I assume you mean good long-form drama comics? Well, to be honest, they're pretty rare, and all of the ones I used to follow regularly have ended and of course I don't remember them off-hand. I realize this post doesn't do much to help my argument.

    There are plenty of excellent examples in the print comics world, though. Basically everything by Dan Clowes, the book "Epileptic" by David B, the various graphic novels by "Jason" (such as "Why Are You Doing This?"), and of course I think Maus was pretty good (ignore the fact that furries have tried to subvert it by completely missing the point).

    I think it's difficult to find good examples on the web simply because non-humor comics are in the vast minority of humor comics, and on the web, pretty much everything fucking sucks, so to find examples you've got to look at a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.

    Also, there's a few good comics online which go outside of the drama/punchline-humor continuum. The only one I'm currently subscribed to in my feed reader is Slow Wave, which is sometimes funny but mostly absurdist (and usually completely devoid of a punchline).

  77. Sturgeon's law holds true everywhere, fluffy.

    And I meant comics in general.

  78. Well in that case, my list is way too long to spam a comment on this blog, since I subscribe to something like 150 webcomics via RSS (mostly sporadically-updating, and note that "subscribe to" doesn't necessarily mean "enjoy"). I have a short list of the lesser-known ones that others might enjoy over on my comic site, although it needs cleaning up since several of those haven't had any sort of lasting appeal.

    Cherrypicking from that list, I particularly like (in alphabetical order) Achewood, Bunny, (some of) Dumm Comics, Gone with the Blastwave, Grumble, Name Removed, The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, the various ones listed under Shaenon Garrity (all of which are long-form, although humorous), Three-Panel Soul, and We The Robots.

    And, of course, I think my own comics are good enough to keep doing (mostly in a scratching-an-itch sort of way), although I have like 30 regular readers so take that for whatever it's worth.

  79. Oh, and Minus! That one's ended but it's still worth adding to my linkroll. I forgot about that one, somehow.

  80. Ugh, do I have to point it out again?



    and if you're too lazy to use that URL, "the term, derived from massive early use to convey comic themes, came to be applied to all uses of this medium including those which are far from comic."

    And if you're too lazy to read that, consider suicide.


    If you say it three times, it has to be funny. Those are the rules as I have said them. I said them, therefore they are the rules. The rules which I have just said. Ah hah!

    I am Moe Joe Mun Roe. Now surrender unto me your hits, and in exchange I will impart upon your delicious brain matters my valuable collection of memes, ah so!

  82. Ugh, do I have to point it out again?

    K, as poore has pointed out, this comic lacks a joke. Okay, according to your definition, that is fine. Except that Mr. Munroe here was aiming for humor, and he failed. Therefore comic = sucky.

    And fluffy is pointing out many comics that are successfully not-funny (but not unfunny, I believe there is a difference). So I dunno why you're all caps-lock and yelly.

  83. We should make Profiles of a Cuddlefish. In it we can describe all of the types of cuddlefish, and then just link them to their profile when they start posting.

    (Full disclosure: I really just want to complain about Myers-Brigs Decision-Making Function Elitists.)

  84. Amanda; I was not directing it towards this comic specifically, as obviously an attempt at humor that fails is a bat comic. However, something is not a bad comic if it's not even trying to make a joke and comes across as not funny because comic by definition do not have to be funny. Which one of the Cuddlefish was hanging onto.

  85. Fluffy those comics you link that are supposed to be humorous almost solely rely on non-sequitur...

  86. I'm not sure you understand what "non-sequitur" means.

  87. There were a few which deviated, but most of the 2-3 comics I read from each link were "Here is the setting, some setup, getting close to the last panel. Ah fuck it here is a monster which shoots lasers and eats peanut butter"

    That is hyperbole for some but still, most of them end with non-sequitur.

    "We should make Profiles of a Cuddlefish. In it we can describe all of the types of cuddlefish, and then just link them to their profile when they start posting."

    Haha yeah, we totally should, that way we can ignore their stupid arguments just by giving them a poisoned name.

  88. Yes exactly! You are being ironic but frankly it gets tiresome, since there's probably about... oh, five to ten 'arguments' that ever get made.

    There's 'you guys are pathetic you have nothing better to do with your time,' which is probably the most common. There's 'sarcastically pretending to agree by using strawman arguments and deliberately misunderstanding terms,' which is done by those who fancy that they are clever. There's 'you guys are wrong and I am smart because I'm an INTP and that means I am polite and logical,' which seems to believe objective truth can be derived about comedy. Then there's 'you are just reaching for something because you hate XKCD' and 'you're too dumb to understand because it's a niche comic and it's not FOR you.'

    There are two options! We can continue responding like they are real people, which gets super old, or we can just link to a sneering, condescending article which stereotypes them based on their arguments and personality and ignore them. I like the latter!

  89. It occurs to me maybe you were actually agreeing with me. I am sorry if I thought you were being ironic when you were not.

  90. How the holy fuck does this have 92 comments?

  91. Hahah. I love you all, even you hateful Cuddlefish out there.

    Can we reach 100? Hmm.. Something tells me no.

    Also Rob I support your idea but who will write the articles?

  92. Can you get porn on a Kindle? Erotic fiction? Erotic Wikipedia entries?

  93. Yes.

    My particular role on the Kindle team was to work on some of the content preparation stuff, specifically on books which weren't already in an electronic format (it's not just as easy as OCRing things, since OCR is just inaccurate enough that you end up having to edit the whole book anyway). Early on, we kept on running across romance novels. After that happened a few times I printed out the bunch of Achewood cartoons starting with this one and put them up on my office wall. Ever since then, everyone on the team referred to them as "angels slapping pudding books."

    In that sense, Achewood has had a hell of a lot more to do with the Kindle than xkcd ever will.

  94. COME ON 100





    Thank you!!!
    I found this site by writing "I hate XKCD" in google - you have all made my day

  96. This guy provides a free service for fucksake, and you go through all this effort to dis him. If you don't like it, don't visit the fricken site. Go back to the dark corners of the internet with the rest of the furries. 9 out of 10 scientists agree that you might be a dick, but you probably don't have one.

  97. okay guys I can't resist being a sarcasmfish for just a moment:

    Lazarus: Carl pvides a free service for fuck's sake, and you go through all this effort to dis him. If you don't like it, don't visit the freakin' site. Go back to the herds of the internet with the rest of the xkcd sheep. 9 out of 10 scientists agree that you might be an idiot for posting a very hypocritical comment and ending it with a very confusing statement.

  98. woo 100th post from Mr. Lazarus! excellent work, all.

    Seriously though, there is a reason I went to the trouble to make a frequently asked pissy questions page. read it people!

    is there a way that I can force blogger to make you click a box swearing that you read the FAQ before you can post a comment? That would be nice.

  99. I think I'm a bit late here, and I won't say who's side I'm on (Just so I'm not labeled an xkcd lover/hater), but what is the definition of "joke"?

  100. It's not the definition we're worried about, it's the connotation.

  101. Then it would seem that this is a joke, because it's "something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement" AND an observation, because it's "an act or instance of noticing or perceiving".


  103. Are we worried about the definition of connotation or the connotation or connotation? I'll assume definition and ask this:
    What is the implication of "joke"?

  104. the problem is that Randy here has done nothing to provoke amusement, but has instead only made an observation. Think of the observation as a statement, if you will, and note that while some statements are jokes, not all statements are jokes. Randy has added nothing to the observation that "oh this is so useful!" and hence it has not provoked humor.

    I mean cuz otherwise I would be the world's best joke-teller, because anything I said, ever, could theoretically make anyone laugh.

  105. also if you feel like arguing about observation vs. joke, I suggest you talk to dear ol' poore, a wonderful commentor and one-time poster (that "one" needs to change, I think) who is much more articulate than me.

  106. Ugh.

    Definitions are the literal denotative quality of a word. They don't go very far, because they lack nuance--though in many cases definitions attempt to capture the nuance and connotation of a word, they often fail, or only do this when it is nearly universal.

    Connotations, in contrast, are the qualities that a word suggests. When you say 'joke' you're not talking about everything that is done in the attempt to make people laugh. You're implying something else.

    The thing about connotations is they are generally difficult to quantify or write down, since it's often an elusive concept, a je ne sais quoi of the topic at hand. And the other thing is, since it is not a denotative quality but rather a connotative suggestion, it is quite possible for the connotations to be misconstrued, or for one person to disagree that a given thing is implied or suggested by a word. There is no definitive set of connotations to a word. It's squishy and subjective.

    But the conversation here in this thread was pretty obviously sharing a certain set of connotations for the word joke. To quote the combined powers of Carl and Amanda: "The joke is 'Wikipedia is incredibly useful,' and this is not a joke."

    That pretty much sets up the parameters. If I had to write them down, I'd say the implication of the word 'joke' we're all operating on is that a joke is saying something which is funny, AND something which is new, clever, original, or otherwise not completely and utterly mundane--the joke itself, and not the subject matter, has to be funny. Under these PATENTLY FUCKING OBVIOUS criteria, observational humor such as 'Man, what is the deal with buses? I mean, they're never on time, am I right?' does not qualify as a joke even if it makes some people laugh, and was intended to do so.

    In other words, a joke requires more than observation. This did not, in fact, do anything beyond make an observation.

  107. Observational humor CAN be funny, but it relies a lot on the delivery, which xkcd completely lacks.

    Many xkcd strips have a germ of a good idea and potential humor but is completely ruined by Randall's insistence on just crapping out the first idea he has on the page.

  108. Rob the phrase "the combined powers of Carl and Amanda" make me imagine Carl and myself crossing our hands and shouting, "IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!!!"

  109. Wow, all this cognitive surplus - writing a blog about how you don't get a comic, then others commenting on it at length.

  110. Why the fuck did Randall put "Hitchhiker's Guide" on there rather than "Don't Panic"?