Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comic 624: Should Be Blocked

hey, guess what, I still don't want to buy an xkcd tie. oh but hey a strange man named Asher sent me a guest post today, so hey, go read it.
hey at least there is color, right?I'm sure we've all seen some similar version of this joke concept before, and I don't think it's a bad concept. But this is an especially lame execution, mostly because it doesn't make any sense. Plus he does a shitty job of writing his out his crappy joke, as always.

-First Randy sets the scene, in case you are such a monumental 'tard that you couldn't infer the guy is browsing the web.

-He also tells us he uses adblock, and by extension firefox! Just like we do! Randy is king of the nerds! Goddamn, seriously? Why the fuck does he need to tell us this shit?

-The problem with the RSS/github parodies is that the real ones make sense. They're not non-sequiters. They're (or so they claim) sites that attempt to connect people with like interests. But his examples, while ever so wacky, build upon the false premise that the originals also aren't good adaptations/comparisons. It reminds me of the Simpsons when Krusty tries new material, and talks about how weird it is that there are yellow and white pages. It just falls flat.

-And last, but not least, the totally unnecessary continuing monologue. Just in case you couldn't figure out that "GITHUB for Lesbians" is illogical, Randall tells you that it is! That guy serves zero purpose for the entire strip. It's like that crappy strip about the news and big numbers. I don't give a crap if he copy-pastes the drawings if they further the joke, but they're just there so he's not just writing mediocre bash.org quotes.

This hits so many of my top grips with xkcd:
1. Retarded and totally unnecessary monologue
2. Smug nerd name-dropping
3. Crappy art that does zilch for the comic

Randall is totally harshing my mellow, man.

105 comments:

  1. captcha: obiesist

    Rob is the obiesist person on the blog.

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  2. "Browsing without Adblock" is not smug nerd name-dropping, it's scene-setting. What the fuck do you want, "browsing without an ad blocker?" Don't flame things that aren't there; at best it makes you come off as trying to hard, and at worst it makes people disregard the things that are ACTUALLY wrong with the comic.

    CAPTCHA: prettylyl
    i'm a prettylyl girl

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  3. How about just "Browsing" ? Most people (even adblock users!) understand the idea of ads online. Or perhaps, setting the scene by showing us the ads (as he does) without the title informing us "THESE. THESE ARE ADS." hm?

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  4. It's funny because I was just using Facebook for sex! Randall, get out of my head!

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  5. To be fair, I've actually seen a 'facebook of sex' ad.

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  6. Am I living under a rock to have never heard of github? The wiki page is like a paragraph of text and half a page of references, so it can't be that well known.

    It's a bad idea to have the punchline be the obscure one of the bunch.

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  7. @Carl

    I can sympathize with Randall on this point. Ad-block users (next to Prius drivers) are some of the most smug and annoying people on the internet.

    Every time someone mentions anything about online advertising on sites like Reddit or Digg, there are at least 10 comments of "What is this 'advertising' of which you speak'"

    Makes my blood boil.

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  8. I kind of liked this one. "RSS&M" made me laugh, even though it doesn't fit the pattern.

    CAPTCHA: comatiz

    Reading xkcd usually makes me want to go comatiz, but not today

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  9. (I meant to make the point that if he didn't mention that he knew about adblock, the entire forum would be full of adblock users and their smug)

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  10. "I can sympathize with Randall on this point. Ad-block users (next to Prius drivers) are some of the most smug and annoying people on the internet."

    Au contraire, commoner. For I, William Monty Hughes, and the vast majority of the "Xkcd" fora just happen to use ad-block (as should all men). Only a true plebian would assume the audacity to accuse ME (of all people) of being smug and/or annoying.
    Research before flaunting your inaccurate assumptions, child.

    -William Monty Hughes
    IQ 224
    "Cogito Ergo Sum"

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  11. Willy's always good for a laugh.

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  12. This comic's also creepy. I do not need to read about Randy's extreme familiarity with porn, or about how he seeks it out.

    Also, it is totally wrong to steal criticisms of xkcd from the xkcd forums, but the dude is floating above his chair in every single panel.

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  13. Also aren't most of these advertisements on actual porn sites? I mean that is the only place I have seen them, as other sites tend to not want to associate themselves with the porn industry (i just had this conversation today! goomh).

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  14. I'm using adblock (as should everyone!) and I'm still getting these pop-up ads. Apparently there is a Russian version of "Facebook of Sex", "SexVKontakte". But yeah, GitHub for Lesbians doesn't make much sense. How about "ebay for MILFs", "fmylife for S&M", "mydeadspace for Necrophiliacs".. ok that last one was a bit over the top.

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  15. You know what? I actually -don't- use adblock because I actually think it's fair that I watch a few ads for the stuff I'm consuming for free on a daily basis.

    The free internet runs on ads. When adblock becomes so prevalent that the vast majority of surfers uses it, then there's no more ad revenue for websites, and that means no more income. So that means all the stuff we get for free now will either dissapear or be paid subscription only.

    If the alternative to that is watching a few ads that I ignore anyway, then I'd gladly choose the latter.

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  16. "mydeadspace for Necrophiliacs" would've been funny if you didn't just cram the word 'dead' in the name myspace to have it make sense with the necrophiliacs thing that came after it. You should've gone for DeadJournal, because at least there the original name has some reference to being alive.

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  17. Is this an xkcd comic? You decide!

    CAPTCHA: fulatin. At Ninja Language school I learnt how to speak fulatin.

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  18. I think it would have been funnier if the stick-guy actually clicked on the last ad. Then again the plain stick man is a usually a stand-in for Randall and is rarely (never?) allowed to have any shortcomings.

    On another note, I spotted this post on the badscience forum. I know it's not the most notable of forums, but maybe this is a sign of growing dissatisfaction with Randy's mediocre scribbles?

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  19. P.S. There are some pretty good parodies on page 2 of that thread.

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  20. Anon 2:38, mydeadspace is a real site. Or mydeathspace is anyway.

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  21. I think this one wasn't too bad, actually. But then again, considering the recent comics, perhaps my expectations are that low?
    Maybe I got it wrong, but I thought the main idea of the comic is that porn advertisement is getting so crazy and illogical that they're using ANY "real life" link, even if it plainly doesn't make sense. The comic shows a gradual progression of that. With that interpretation, it's necessary that the last panel shouldn't make any sense (yeah, I had to look GitHub up).
    But the execution is plain shit. It would have been much better if Randall had actually drawn the fake ads over drawings of actual websites. I think he did quite an impressive job with the spoofs of YouTube and Twitter -- why not try that again? Instead we get that annoying stick figure with those awful side comments. We don't NEED the side comments, we're not stupid.

    ... but then again, considering xkcd's audience recently...

    That doesn't make the execution less awful, though.

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  22. By the way, what the HELL is that "Brightly Wound" comic?? Christ, that's much worse than even the worst xkcd strips.

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  23. C'mon, don't be unfair. It was perfectly reasonable to mention adblock.

    But yeah, the comic sucked.

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  24. Come on now. Yes his comic has a number of similarities with xkcd. No, you aren't the first to notice this. His comic is similar by necessity. He can't draw and he's a physics major. What type of comic do you think is going to come out of that combination? He didn't set out to try to copy xkcd, and hopefully by reading both comics you'll be able to see that there are indeed different styles to them despite the similar art style and subject matter.



    *snerk*

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  25. Aloria, you must be the Devil incarnate to be getting this blog so infected by that "Brightly Wound" cancer. OR you're a secret agent from the xkcd forums set out to make xkcd seem better in comparison. In either case, you're doing an excellent job.

    By the way, I refuse to write "xkcd fora"; not just because I'm bitter with the forums, but because I always got annoyed at how the English language ripped words directly from Latin without making up its own. Portuguese is largely derived from Latin, yes, but we adapt words to our own rules at least!
    ... well, actually, English words go largely unadapted thanks to the "good neighbours" relationship with the north (yeah, right)...

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  26. The Brightly Wound guy didn´t set out to copy XKCD? Are you kidding? Stick figures and physics jokes don´t necessarily make it a copy of XKCD, but you can´t tell me calling it "a webcomic of physics, astronomy, math and grammar" isn´t a nod to XKCD.

    Anyway, what´s up with stick figure dude referring to the ads as being for "porn sites". I know I´ve seen the Facebook of Sex ad, and although I can´t recall what site it for, I´m going to assume it was AdultFriendFinder or one of their competitors.

    Skeevy NSA "online dating" site does not equal porn site

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  27. @Anon 2:36

    That is a great point I wanted to raise (I don't use it either), but thought it would distract from the horribleness of the comic.

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  28. Fernie's like a completely different person. I like him much more now.

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  29. It is a pretty predictable pattern we have going here. One person who still likes XKCD decides that they can play the role of "the pro-xkcd guy" until eventually a comic comes up that is so bad that the pro-xkcd guy joins the rest of us in our hatred. We are truly a persuasive group.

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  30. Other criticisms aside, I think it is unreasonable to complain about a stick figure having to levitate off of the chair that it is sitting on; how else would one draw it while being able to clearly distinguish the (monochromatic) chair from the (monochromatic) stick figure?

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  31. Making a bingo sheet for ridiculous defenses made by xkcd fans.

    Here's what I have so far:
    http://imgur.com/0DDT2.png

    Any ideas?

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  32. ooo

    how about "god why do you waste ur time dont u have somethin better to do with ur time"

    i suggest you look in the frequently asked annoying questions if you haven't already

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  33. You totally forgot the free space and the fifth row that entails.

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  34. Brightly Wound is clearly trying to copy xkcd guys, read his first FAQ. Come on.

    R: "Well I thought it was funny."
    "Well what comics DO you think are funny? Achewood? Oh well that is your problem, you have a terrible sense of humor"
    "I would like this blog more if it weren't so obvious that Carl is Randall Munroe"

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  35. "It is a pretty predictable pattern we have going here. One person who still likes XKCD decides that they can play the role of "the pro-xkcd guy" until eventually a comic comes up that is so bad that the pro-xkcd guy joins the rest of us in our hatred. We are truly a persuasive group."

    I think I'm too biased to tell exactly whether the group *is* that persuasive, or if the comic *is* in such a steep decline. My feelings are sort of mixed. Sometimes I start running backwards through the strips and some of them strike me as quite good. On the other hand, there are times when I remember strips back from the "good ole days" and realise there were some pretty bad duffers even at that time.

    The clearest opinion I can assemble is that the duffers have become much more frequent and far, far worse; and it's been a couple of weeks since a comic that truly gave me a hint of hope.

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  36. So uh

    I'm taking 100% credits for everyone liking Fernie now. Go me.

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  37. It is kind of sad that xkcd is more popular than Achewood, which:
    has more comics
    is more original
    is funnier
    predates xkcd by years
    inspired xkcd
    probably has more effort put into each individual strip
    has actual, well-rounded characters

    It's hard to get at first, but once you do...

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  38. I will like Fernie when he has an opportunity to do his old bitchy routine about how Randy is not a pedophile who is desperately lonely and wants to have sex with Megan and tries to fill the void by having meaningless sex with everyone, but fails because he is a creeping creeperstein, and not only avoids it, but actively participates in mocking Randy's sex life. THEN I WILL BE CONTENT.

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  39. My complaints about this comic are geeky in nature, forgive me for wielding them against a geeky-but-unfunny comic.

    Perhaps others have seen "the facebook of sex!" on the internet, but I haven't seen anything like the ads in the comic. (FYI: I use adblock in firefox, but also keep up with other browsers for the heck of it)

    "Ok, wait, what?" remains the worst straight-man reaction to an odd situation. Just a question mark or sweat drop could be better than that phrase. And if the character (and the intended audience) know what github is, then why act confused about it? He should be excited, if anything. Is everyone supposed to wiki github, adopt it, then search for/create the github of lesbians?

    Sorry, I mean, wait, what? EXCUSE ME WHILE MY ASPIE BRAIN RACES TO UNDERSTAND THIS UNEXPECTED PUNCHLINE!

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  40. Hm, on the "floating above chair" thing I'd say the 2nd and 3rd panels get it pretty well, but the 1st and 4th don't.

    Hey I know! His pants are woven with metal, and the chair contains a superconducting material! Hahahahaha physics!


    Anyway, welcome to the club, Fernie.
    I must say, I see this "staunch defender becomes comic's newest antifan" a lot; I'm in the group on the Order of the Stick forums that whiles away our time snarking the epically bad Dominic Deegan. It's... If the author had TRIED to make it this bad, I'd call him a pure artistic genius, a master of all things ironical. But he didn't. He's trying to make a good comic. And he just keeps finding more and more inventive ways to SCREW IT UP.

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  41. Hang on, hang on, the Internet's not free. You still have to pay for your connection, unless you're accessing it exclusively through freee Wi-Fi hubs, in which case people are still paying taxes for it. Yes, (most) websites don't charge you personally for their content, but the Internet itself is not free.

    Sometimes I consider turning off my ad blocker for sites that I like and want to support, but then I'm too lazy to do it because I don't like and support any sites THAT much.

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  42. what I want to see is an adblock filter that only filters out badvertising. if an ad service is good and doesn't intrude or otherwise ruin your browsing experience then it can go through. basically you need badvertising curators who look through white lists. this needs to somehow become the only thing people use

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  43. I do browse without adblock, and have never seen any ads like those first two.

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  44. What really creeps me out is when he says "Does every porn site have to brand itself like this" implying that he's browsing for porn, and then looking at where the stick figure's arm is placed.

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  45. Does this make me the only person here who everyone still hates? Or who everyone would hate if I posted often enough for you to remember who I am?

    TRiG.

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  46. Triggles, I don't remember why you suck, only that you do.

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  47. basically he was fernie before fernie was

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  48. but less of a whiny 15 year old?

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  49. more arrogant, i think? he's the douche who decided to quote cs lewis

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  50. oh man the CS Lewis douche! yeah he is less of a whiny 15 year old and more of the type of douche who quotes CS Lewis

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  51. it is hard to decide who should be hated more

    i'm just kidding trig, you are all right

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  52. At least the alt-text is funny.

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  53. *sigh*

    I remember when I was the resident "pro-xkcd guy"

    Of course, I didn't post much at that point

    And I started hating xkcd after only a week or so

    But still

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  54. Is this you Rob?

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/store/imgs/stand_back_square_1.jpg

    it looks a bit like you.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_y0kynis303Y/Sek4M9bS8hI/AAAAAAAAABU/V8TomSVK-lg/S220-h/your+FACE.jpg

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  55. what's wrong with quoting c.s. lewis, he's pretty cool

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  56. ahaahhahahahah

    oh, rob. poor rob.

    anyway nothing is wrong with quoting cs lewis, it was just the manner in which he was quoted

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  57. No, this is Rob.
    http://cheeju.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/fattest-man3.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  58. Woohoo, finally a post I read on the same day it's released!

    ...in case you didn't get it, I just crawled throught the entire archive of this blog. Quite instructive and funny, indeed. Anyway, where was I? ...oh, yes, today's comic!

    Oh, damn. I was once an xkcd rabid fan, but it's been at least a week already that I can only look at those last strips and say "...huh?" The alt-joke at least is marginally cool.

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  59. almost anon: no, I am white

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  60. Hang on, hang on, the Internet's not free. You still have to pay for your connection, unless you're accessing it exclusively through freee Wi-Fi hubs, in which case people are still paying taxes for it. Yes, (most) websites don't charge you personally for their content, but the Internet itself is not free.

    Oh please, apart from that being an awfully pedantic discussion of semantics, that's like saying a walk in the park is not free because you need to pay for the bus/buy a car/buy a bicycle/buy shoes/buy food and eat it to get there. You also need to pay to get to the movie theatre. Does the fact that you paid for the bus ride make it okay when you sneak into the theatre without paying?

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  61. Carl: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/04/20/business/link_span.jpg

    also, Randall Patrick Munroe = Steven Patrick Morrissey?

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  62. I don't understand what the joke is supposed to be. The last panel doesn't make sense, obviously, but that's why this comic is stupid, not funny.

    I have a feeling it's supposed to be nonsense + lesbians = funny, and that's kind of sad.

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  63. Oh please, apart from that being an awfully pedantic discussion of semantics, that's like saying a walk in the park is not free because you need to pay for the bus/buy a car/buy a bicycle/buy shoes/buy food and eat it to get there. You also need to pay to get to the movie theatre. Does the fact that you paid for the bus ride make it okay when you sneak into the theatre without paying?

    By your argument, as long as you watch the ads, yes.

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  64. The point is that even if there are costs to you, it doesn't mean that the creator is getting any money, and thus you are circumventing the rules of capitalism and the system doesn't work. You're getting stuff for free, but it's not sustainable.

    And, no, in that case it's not okay, because the profit from those ads isn't nearly enough to pay for the product (movies, theaters, etc). If you want the system to work, you have two options: pay what they ask (be it watching ads, paying cash, etc) or not consuming the product. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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  65. HEY it's Jay, bitching about a comic that's not xkcd for once.

    http://explosm.net/comics/1767/

    I think this is legitimately the stupidest comic I have ever seen online.

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  66. I read that comic, Jay.

    I think I can now feel my brains leaking out of my ears.

    TRiG.

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  67. Trigboy, we know your name. Stop signing your posts like a douche.

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  68. who posted that
    if only they had signed their name i would know

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  69. "Does this make me the only person here who everyone still hates?"

    Hard to say, Dr. Horrible hasn't been seen for a while.

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  70. He said he'd be posting as an Anonymous. But *I* still remember him. What a bunch of drama that was...

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  71. didn't he change his mind tho

    i mean didn't i change his mind for him

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  72. Today's joke wasn't so bad compared to the others. Hell, it's vaguely reminiscent of the older comics. The only trouble I find is that I had to google Github because the place is off the friggen map. Even bugzilla would be a better option.

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  73. Yeah, whatever happened to the Doctor, anyway? I thought he said he needed to go and think it through on his own for a few days or something? Well, it's certainly been a few days and he's like... Disappeared. What's worse, all the drama didn't snowball and destroy everyone on this blog in a horrible catastrophe! Hmph. Talk about an underwhelming conclusion.

    I liked how today's comic had lots of pretty pretty colors! I can't believe none of you said that, it even had a cute little stylization of "S&M"! Unfortunately the "joke" still made me feel dead inside, but yeah.

    Asher: Actually, while it's true that in theory if everyone blocks a guy's ads he will lose money, and hence be forced to either take down the site or make it paid, both of which deprive you of the site. The problem is that it's only true in theory.

    While people love to use this expression as a one-size-fits-all cop-out, I think it applies here: You are assuming people are rational. Isn't the whole idea of a free market and capitalism and McBurgerKing based on the assumption that participants in an economy, without fail, act in a rational manner to achieve the highest monetary profit they can? That's not why you make website- websites are intellectual masturbation. You basically put them up because you're a narcissistic douche, though fortunately sometimes that's warranted and sometimes it's not but still hilarious.

    Like Rob said, there are very few sites anyone would care about if they died, because most sites suck. I don't even know if I can think of any... Maybe Google? But Google is free, except for AdWords, which almost doesn't count.

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  74. Slate, NYT and Washington Post all rely on ad revenue (NYT and WaPo only getting more so as time goes on). I think it's facetious to say that websites are a less valid medium than print or broadcast. Most *good* sites aren't hobbies - they're businesses. And AdWords doesn't count? AdWords is Google, at least it's what keeps Google alive.

    As more things entertainment/info businesses migrate to a digital format, it's only going to become more stark. The lucky thing is that most people will never know about AdBlock. But that doesn't make using it ethical.

    I'd equate it to stealing books. You can argue most books are written because authors just want to write. But if no one bought books, there'd be a hell of a lot less titles on the shelves. And there's no guaranteeing that the good ones would still be there.

    But hey, at least you don't have to see a mildly annoying ad, right?

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  75. By your argument, as long as you watch the ads, yes.

    Then apparently you don't understand my argument at all.

    I could continue arguing this point, but it looks like Asher feels the exact same way and can put it far more eloquently than I ever could.

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  76. Oh man, that whole Doctor Horrible thing was so hilarious. I don't know what was funnier, the way he started sucking up to Randall ("I'm going to tell my professor I got advice from you!" *sparkle*) ten minutes after announcing that he'd criticize his comic on this blog, or the whole "Sure, laugh at me because I am a decent human being" thing he tried to justify everything with. No wait, it's definitely the sucking up.

    Speaking of the Doctor, isn't it time Carl published those chat logs or emails like he said he would?

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  77. I should've clarified: It doesn't count because it is very unintrusive, and not the kind of thing you'd block, anyway.

    NYT and WaPo are certainly legitimate news sources that I value, and although I don't read them regularly I think their sites are convenient and if I were to follow the news, they'd be one of the places I'd start.

    You have a point, if ad blocking drove NYT and WaPo out of business or into pay per view, all the other news sites would probably go after the profit, now that the market is there and the usual one is dead (or just go bankrupt). While I think that would filter out some of the really bad sites, it would also probably drive the good ones out of my price range. But again, I wouldn't block the ones that use something like AdWords, I'd block the flash orgies.

    I know that I didn't say this, and I'm basically weaseling my way out of a tight spot here, but what I should have said that websites are not all about money. People weigh the motivation AND the self-satisfaction when deciding whether to have one- for NYT, obviously no one would pay for it all just for bragging rights. But for Rob's Rants On Ronald Reagan, I think Rob would still put it up even if it cost him money. So there's a chance that depriving him of his ad revenue wouldn't necessarily kill the site.

    Speaking of Rob, why don't the ISP and the webhost divide up the ad space to make my internet access completely free?

    I'd consider paying to read NYT, by the way... But it depends on how much. I know you pay for paper newspaper and it has ads anyway, but if they went completely digital how much would they have to charge for an ad-free newspaper to cover just the server and staff expenses?

    And I'll consider being ethical about blocking ads when advertising start being ethical, by the way: That means no flash, no sound, no flashing colors, no dishonest marketing bordering on con artistry ("Your computer might be infected by a virus! Click here to clean it!" "Fuck you.") and no irrelevant peddling of crap I obviously wouldn't want to buy (second rate merchandise/services, overpriced stuff, paid services that are worse than free alternatives), and no competing for my attention with the actual content. (Though there's the problem of distinct interest conflicts among the userbase leading to mutually infuriating ads. For one, years ago I remember reading Something Awful and being pretty annoyed at that hentai game store's ads, but I can imagine how the ad may have paid for itself)

    Also, both Randall and several other webcomic artists are self sufficient without relying on ads. Wikipedia runs on donations alone, doesn't it? Speaking of donations, the guy who makes Dwarf Fortress also lives on the donations alone. I'm not suggesting that the whole internet could run on charity and accessory stores, but some sites do.

    Also, thankfully books don't have ads yet, so it's more of not paying the 8$ most of which goes to the publisher anyway, I think. Or the 8$ all of which goes to the publisher, if the author is dead. Anyway, I do most of my reading from the library.

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  78. We interrupt this special edition of Very Dull Economics Today for some BREAKING NEWS:

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  79. Jay obviously hasn't read Shredded Moose.
    Or Sentient Puddle.
    Or CAD.
    Or Dominic Deegan.
    Or LICD.
    Or LFG...
    Or the billion other terrible webcomics out there.

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  80. @Ar-Pharazôn (with names like that I really miss copying and pasting)

    Some people are bad

    Let's kill all people


    That is basically what you are saying. There are reasonable ad services out there (google adsense, project wonderful), and you are punishing those webmasters who put up reasonable ads for those who don't. But hey. Since you are blocking all ads because of some people anyway, they might as well put up annoying ads to earn more money, right? Cause you know, that you are blocking their reasonable ads is out of their control, and since they lose revenue on you, they have to make it up somehow.

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  81. I see what you're saying, but I think you miss the greater moral point that this isn't a vigilante justice situation - it's not up to the consumer to pick and choose. I think that's a fundamental ethical thing akin to stealing, maybe you don't. The movie theater example is still apt; is it okay to sneak in only because the price is too high, if you might pay if the price were lower?

    I think the thing with "ethical" ads is that you approach it as if you have the right to visit the site, and therefore any ads that don't meet your threshold of subtlety are bad. But it's just the opposite. They can put any ads up they want, and you are free not to visit the site. Once again with the books, you can't steal them until the prices go down. You just either buy them or don't. Watching the ads is the price you pay for visiting a website.

    And further, websites use those intrusive ads (and lord knows I hate them too - Salon has terrible ones) because they are better revenue generators. There is so much advertising that prices are rock bottom, so it takes a lot to break even. It's not that they're greedy bastards (well, they may be, I don't know), but that they need to pay their staffs.

    And last but not least, if some shmoe wants to earn a couple bucks for his work (good or bad), it's his right. Anyone can make a product, and anyone can sell it (via ads in this case). If you don't think you come out on top for the transaction, don't read it.

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  82. If an author has moral rights to his/her work, that means the auther has the right to decide in what manner the work will be published. If the auther chooses to publish his/her work alongside advertisements, you do not have the right to override the author's wishes, anymore than you'd have the right to redisribute the content elsewhere by, say, copying the entire article into a post on a messageboard (and it still astounds me that many people don't think that's wrong).

    TRiG.

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  83. @TRiG

    Without reading the whole discussion... does that mean that you find it immoral to switch channels during breaks in tv-shows?

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  84. just going to throw out there that I would not pay for the NYT under any circumstances because it is fucking horrible

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  85. TRiG oh man copyright don't get me started ok here I go

    Copyright gives the author of an original work exclusive right for a certain time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution and adaptation, after which time the work is said to enter the public domain. Copyright applies to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete and fixed in a medium. Some jurisdictions also recognize "moral rights" of the creator of a work, such as the right to be credited for the work. Copyright is described under the umbrella term intellectual property along with patents and trademarks.

    An example of the intent of copyright, as expressed in the United States Constitution, is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries".[1]

    Copyright has been internationally standardized, lasting between fifty to a hundred years from the author's death, or a shorter period for anonymous or corporate authorship. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.

    History
    Main article: History of copyright law

    The concept of copyright originates with the Statute of Anne (1710) in Britain. It established the author of a work as the owner of the right to copy that work and the concept of a fixed term for that copyright. It was created as an act "for the encouragement of learning", as it had been noted at the time that publishers were reprinting the works of authors without their consent "to their very great detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families". As such, copyright was first created with the intention that authors might have some control over the printing of their work and to receive some financial recompense, so that this would encourage them to write more books and thus to aid the flow of ideas and learning. As the act itself says: "for the encouragement of learned men to compose and write useful books".[2]

    The Statute of Anne was the first real copyright act, and gave the authors rights for a fixed period, a fourteen year term for all works published the Statute, after which the copyright expired. Copyright has grown from a legal concept regulating copying rights in the publishing of books and maps to one with a significant effect on nearly every modern industry, covering such items as sound recordings, films, photographs, software, and architectural works. Subsequently the Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution (1787) authorized copyright legislation: "To promote the Progress of Science..., by securing for limited Times to Authors.... the exclusive Right to their... Writings."

    Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
    Main article: Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

    The 1886 Berne Convention first established recognition of copyrights among sovereign nations, rather than merely bilaterally. Under the Berne Convention, copyrights for creative works do not have to be asserted or declared, as they are automatically in force at creation. In these countries, there is no requirement for an author to "register" or "apply for" a copyright, or to mark his or her works with a copyright symbol or other legend. As soon as a work is "fixed", that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work, and to any derivative works unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them, or until the copyright expires. The Berne Convention also resulted in foreign authors being treated equivalently to domestic authors, in any country signed onto the Convention.

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  86. oh hey trig you spelled author wrong

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  87. @Anonymous 2:36

    The internet doesn't run on ads. The internet might run on ad *clicks*. Watching ads earns site owners no revenue, clicking does. I can't remember when was the last time I clicked on an ad (and not because of ad blockers), so using an ad blocker does no damage because I wasn't going to click the ads in the first place.

    That's the enthical part. The legal part is there is squat a page owner can do to legally force you to watch ads. They can try hard to make it hard for you to get rid of them, but they can't force you. That's like forcing you to look at all the ads you see down the street. You're free to buy a book and only read the parts you like. You're free to fetch a webpage and discard the parts you don't want. Copyright has no notion of a whole, legally indivisible work, as far as the end user goes. The only loophole that copyright owners have so far is DRM (they can DRM something and make the DRM force you to do something, and removing the DRM would be illegal in the US thanks to the DMCA), but web pages do not (yet) come with DRM.

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  88. The thought that struck me the most whilst reading this comic was exactly what sort of sites Randall is on when he receives ads like this... Where might someone see them?

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  89. Anon: I hadn't thought of that. It's certainly an interesting question. I must consider it.

    I don't watch the telly much. And I'd never flick channels during ad breaks, because I find that annoying. I'd be more likely to leave the room and get myself a sandwich. My housemates channel-hop, though.

    TRiG.

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  90. Bleh. Something went wrong with my comment submission and 5 posts appeared.

    Yes, I know about copyright. And I know it's a bit of a mess. I've read Richard Stallman on the subject and I think I kind-of-sort-of agree with him.

    TRiG.

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  91. in Massachusetts it is actually illegal to agree with Richard Stallman, ever.

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  92. I'm moving to Massachusetts.

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  93. Anon 11:32: You are wrong. Some ads work on how many people see them, some work on how many people click them. It depends. I know this because when I considered putting ads on this blog, google offered me both choiced. Obviously, if you are paid per view, it's a much much lower rate than if you are paid per click.

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  94. Cost per impression vs cost per click is an interesting concept. I haven't looked too deeply into it--except that CPC is probably more cost-effective for people who are not very good at advertising.

    However, this doesn't change the fact that CARL=RANDALL

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  95. an author doesnt have the right to decide how someone reads her work. where'd you get a silly idea like that? I can skip chapters of a book, I can read it backwards, I can ignore any illustrations, the way the book was printed, I can scribble in curse words if I want to.

    when you visit a web page you're not looking at some etheral thing floating out in the internet, you're looking at a document that has been downloaded to your computer. by posting to the internet, the author has given anybody who wants to the ability to download that document and read it. what the reader decides to do with that document, short of violating copyright, and even what portions of that document the reader decides to download, are completely up to that reader. if the author (or media corp, as the case may be) has built a business model around giving away free content in exchange for ad revenue, and for some reason the majority of its readers decide not to view their advertisements, it is not a failing on the morality of consumers, it is a failing of the business model of the website. there is no unspoken contract, no moral imparitive that demands that readers of a website view that website exactly as the creators intend. If a website, intending to exploit the large number of people who view its *free* content, does not succeed in making money becuase the readers find it easier to seek out and install an app and deal with the occasions when it makes certain sites work poorly, then advertising (or at least their approach to it) is not a working business model.

    Just because they (or "we" as it may be) believe that the product they produce for free is deserving of financial restitution, does not morally demand that we should comply with any attempt on their part to achieve that goal.

    In any case I don't use adblock because, as I mentioned before, it breaks some of my favorite websites and simply adding those sites to its ignore list isnt enough to fix the problem.

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  96. damn, well put.

    and from an anon no less. nice.

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  97. But you are basing this on the assumption that it is a business model. What about private sites that just can't afford to keep the site open without ads covering a part/all of it?

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  98. So can we stop with the guest posts already? Almost all of them sucked, people don't write well (save for Hatebottles and his post). Please?

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  99. "facebook of sex" is a real ad, it shows up on 4chan all the time

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  100. Can we make a category for every time Randy squeezes in that little sitcom-style "wait, what?" after the alleged punchline? It could be the largest category made to date.

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  101. this comic is funny and i love xkcd..
    where am i? a xkcdsucks blog? wtf? who doesnt like xkcd?

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  102. People with discernment and taste.

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  103. you should discern that anon was kidding. I think?

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  104. The answer's still the same!

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