Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Help write the xkcdsucks book

Because hell, if Randall can write a book, so can we. It's called, obviously, "xkcdsucks: volume 0" and we want to have it done in time to let Aloria print it out and give it to Randall at the NYC book release party. Of course, the party is on Saturday so we need stuff fast.

If you want to contribute a page, send a 1 page pdf, standard A4 / 8.5*11 size, to Person #1 at [REDACTED] and do it by FRIDAY. so like, two days from now.

What should you write about? Anything in the greater xkcdsucks world. You can write about this blog, or about what element of xkcd annoys you most (the forums? the wiki vandalism? the crappy art? the irritating blog?) You can just write an essay, or do it as your own comic, or edit some other comics, or anything, really. Be creative.

But - don't just make it "FUCK YOU RANDALL how come you can't be funny like cyanide and happiness oh it's because you suck" or something like that. We are trying to get him to actually read it, so think about that as you write.

After it's all done we'll get an account from Aloria about what the party was like and whether our work made it to him or not, and of course, we'll make the pdf available for you to all read.

PS Poore can you write a page with all your favorite drinks on it? Including one called "an xkcdsucks"?

315 comments:

  1. Todays episode of xkcd is brought to you by scribblenauts. Scribblenauts - buy it today!

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  2. It would be great if you could get all it done sooner, btw. It doesn't have to be last second.

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  3. Does this include a preface by Monty?

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  4. I'd imagine that Carl will be writing the preface but I'm pretty sure that Monty has been cordially invited to write a page.

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  5. Guys you probably don't remember a certain comment from a few weeks ago, but GUESS WHAT

    xkcd 637: Paint

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  6. Yes, carl is doing an intro word.

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  7. I don't think I could fill a whole page complaining about nerds who number things starting from 0, and it wouldn't be strictly xkcd-related anyway.

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  8. OMG Sam, you are the wing beneath my wings.

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  9. aloria, you are the wind beneath my winds.

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  10. PS anyone want to write a short rant about the blogger comment box? You could type it out in a comment box, screencap it, and use that image for the book.

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  11. The two center pages should be a large scale version of Comic 631

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  12. or just use another comment system?

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  13. I still have mixed feelings about a comment-box essay. It's not really relevant to randy at all

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  14. Well, I did my part, a slightly nonsensical rant about the wiki-vandalism.

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  15. here have some links

    637: Scribblenauts: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Scribblenauts&diff=314339586&oldid=314296256
    636: Apatosaurus: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Apatosaurus&diff=314100689&oldid=314039876
    633: Harriet the Spy: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Harriet_the_Spy&diff=313371953&oldid=313370611
    632: Oregon Trail: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Oregon_Trail_%28video_game%29&diff=prev&oldid=307927262
    613: Three-Body Problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Three-body_problem&diff=303671945&oldid=303671122
    609: TV Tropes: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TV_Tropes&diff=305387779&oldid=305342346
    607: Year 2038 problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Year_2038_problem&diff=301280831&oldid=301160557
    603: Idiocracy: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Idiocracy&diff=prev&oldid=306249168
    593: Voynich manuscript: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Voynich_manuscript&diff=prev&oldid=294515330
    590: Papyrus: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Papyrus_%28typeface%29&diff=prev&oldid=293029559

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  16. Do we have to send a PDF? Can't we send, like, a Word doc? PDFs are evil.

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  17. I think it is being compiled in PDF, but I'm sending my part in on Word.

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  18. Hm... it's too little time. I'll try to work out somethig that'll (hopefully) make him feel bad.

    Also, Ramsey, no, PDFs are not evil, they're useful. You don't need to worry about formatting and fonts with PDF when putting it all together, it's all there ready and immutable... :)

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  19. it's pretty easy to save directly to a pdf from word

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  20. Wooh, sent my page off, I hope you guys like it.

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  21. We must have a full page spread of this version of "Wings" to show him how funny it could have been.

    http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc7/icecreamkatana/tarantulatoes/xkcd620.jpg

    (and strangely something I think he could have once done)

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  22. "It's called, obviously, "xkcdsucks: volume 0" and we want to have it done in time to let Aloria print it out and give it to Randall at the NYC book release party."

    Sup dawg I heard you like chainsawsuit, and chainsawsuit has totally covered the "give an insulting book to comic author at public event, and be the WINNAR" angle. It wasn't even long ago. You still read chainsawsuit?

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  23. was it this one? all i can say is that if aloria does that than she sucks. I think it'll be better than that though. Who knows.

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  24. I guess I could make up a drink...I'll take something pretentious (absinthe, maybe), mix it with some low quality liquor, and add a mixer that'll make it almost palatable, but with something slightly off about it...

    TO THE LAB!

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  25. Anon 5.15

    It wasn't Carl who had the idea. A bunch of us came up with it over IRC. Whether someone was inspired by that comic I don't know.

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  26. there is NO WAY that aloria will be that lame

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  27. I sure hope William Monty Hughes(IQ 224) writes something for this...

    If not, at least include his 631 post. Though I expect you will getting a whole slew of those already.

    oh, and include some of the better "better" versions. like, the one with the verizon voice girl.

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  28. Danny: yet how is it different from Yellow Hat Guy vs. Rob Liefeld? Really?

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  29. It won't be. It's exactly like that. If you like that guy, you're in for a treat. If you don't, you won't.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Coolies, mine is done. I'm just checking for spelling and grammar. It's a long rant, I almost had trouble fitting it un one page... plus a little cartoon for illustration. =)

    Best of wishes for this project, it sounds as if it'll be aweomse! =D

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  32. imo this crosses the line. it's one thing to have a fun, cathartic blog. it's another thing to insult the guy to his face. there's a reason roger ebert writes reviews, but doesn't go around telling director's that they're hacks. boundaries, people.

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  33. We're trying to make it more about the constructive criticism this blog does. Person #1 has been telling people to keep in mind that Randall is going to be the primary recipient of it, and not to just yell at him. As we see it, there is a lot of feedback that he really should get, and that in the long run he'll be glad to get.

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  34. i get that, i just think it breaks the social contract/norms/whatever to give it to him like that. i can say the stuff on here is ok because it's normal to have criticism, and if he doesn't want to read it, he doesn't have to. i don't think it's normal to confront him, and not give him the choice. i'm all for criticism, but jesus, if the guy doesn't want to hear it, that's his choice. i think at some point you have to accept he's a human being with feelings and draw a line.

    i know this is a dr. horrible thing to say, but put yourself in his shoes. this is a big moment for him, and you want to shit on it to his face. there are some things you just don't do, and this is one of them.

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  35. Recipe for an xkcdsucks:

    1 oz. absinthe
    2 oz. gin
    9 oz. Dr. Pepper
    Small squeeze of lemon juice

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  36. Anon has a point, still I keep disagreeing. Not just because I've just put together a page-long essay about how I liked xkcd, why I don't like anymore and how he should try and improve, please... but because I don't feel it's pushing the bondaries much.

    It's not as if Aloria will put a gun to his head and force him to take and read the entire thing there. If I understood correctly, we're just handing him the book, and he may or may not read it. It's not much different than publishing it here on this site where he will not read it.

    Besides, this will probably make him look like a martyr, having his detractors "attack" him on his great day. The bastard...

    Nonetheless, I might be morally wrong. Still, I think this is a rad project. =]

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  37. Mr. Munroe's rights and our lack of manners and blah blah blah...

    This community (just Aloria) PAID for the ability to give him some criticism. Or should Aloria recite memes and fellate him for his trouble?

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  38. no... aloria, and the rest of us, should just keep it on the blog. there's a middle ground between insulting him to his face and being a retarded fanboy. you can play dumb, but you know what i mean here, and i'm not a fanboy.

    i don't think it's even the content of the book that matters here, Mole. he is being told "xkcd sucks" to his face at arguably his biggest milestone to date. it is very different from publishing it on the blog, which i'm sure you know very well.

    like i said, the pro's don't pull this shit for a reason. you can rationalize it all you want (randall is condescending, his fans suck), but you are telling him he sucks at his own damn party. that's fucked up.

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  39. "Give helpful advice to a person who has posted his work freely and publically, and who is appearing publically, and talking freely with his fans" is a line you don't dare cross?

    ...

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  40. I'm sorry, Anon, I think we're holding different boundaries on different locations. I still think it's not much. First, because he must be highly aware that, as any famous webcartoonist, he has haters. Second, there will probably be so many fans in that party that one person telling him that will make no difference at all.

    Your point is valid and sound, it just doesn't reach me. True, it is different from publishing it on the blog, just not much. At least not for me.

    ...of course, we could still call the book "xkcd: overrated". Would that make it even a bit better? Either way, I'm still on the same point...

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  42. I think Aloria will be able to do this in a respectful way. I guess I have no basis for making that claim, but I think the image of rushing up to him and saying "your comic SUX here's a book about how much it SUX" is far from what will happen. I suspect that she'll be quiet, wait for a time to go up to him alone, talk about how she is a fan, etc, and then happen to mention that we made him a present, and we hope he has the humor to appreciate. I'm going to guess that he will be in such a good mood about the party and the book release that he'll be fine with it.

    I can certainly see it happening the way you describe, but I don't think it will.

    God, i hope he doesn't e-mail to complain afterwards. that would be lame.

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  43. Guys why can't we all just get alonggggg

    And Asher the reason the pros don't do this is cuz movie directors strive to do well. In most cases much of their audience would not be sitting in the movie theater if the movie hadn't gotten good reviews, I think.

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  44. "In most cases much of their audience would not be sitting in the movie theater if the movie hadn't gotten good reviews, I think."

    Twilight, Transformers, any movie that comes out in January...

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  45. Dude if he emails you I am COMMANDING you to forward us those emails. We deserve to know!

    (was that commanding enough)

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  46. MOST CASES, you turd face! As in, when the audience isn't comprised of morons! That is more specific to twilight but whatever

    Okay it is time for me to use an actual computer and not an iPod. Be on the IRC soon

    captcha: awazzat, how Randall will react to the book

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  47. You should include that drawing of Carl beating a dinosaur in an arm-wrestling match.

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  48. Speaking of emails CARL

    Didn't you promise us something?

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  49. What Carl said. My plan was to give him a little gift bag with the book and a stuffed giraffe. I think there is a fair chance I won't be the only person there who gives him something. Considering there will be about 100 people there, 99 who are hardcore fans, I doubt he'll even have time to look at it there, and if he does, hopefully he realizes it's meant as a playful jab, not as an attack.

    And YEAH, CARL, WHAT JAY SAID.

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  50. Carl said not til after the NYC event =(

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  51. well, blogger comment system gobbles yet another testicle by leaving a trail of deleted comments, so fuck it. i'm in the open.

    Amanda: Where to start?
    "And Asher the reason the pros don't do this is cuz movie directors strive to do well"
    I'm sure Randall thinks he works hard. Do we not agree on this? Randall is delusional. But he puts work (bad work) into his comic. I don't really get what you mean about the fans. Bad movies don't have anyone see them? But if they did, then pro reviewer's would confront movie makers face to face? I would say you are smoking crack, but there must be something I'm missing.

    Carl:
    I don't think you can sugar coat this. It's a slap in the face even if you show up dress as Mr. Hat and fondle his balls.

    Aloria: I'm sure if he gets a present, he'll look at it. And even if there are 99 randallsexuals there, it's still a pretty bold insult, and i'll admit it would get me down, and i think i'm generally pretty good about keeping my shit together. Call it a playful jab if you want, I don't think he (or any objective observer) would see it that way.

    Femalethoth:
    A) it's not a therapy session, it's a book that says "you suck" on it, more or less. he's not going to take it as a helpful tip, he's going to take it as a mean spirited insult. which is how anyone not wrapped up in this microcosm of a blog would take it.
    B) just because he leaves his house doesn't mean it's open season on his ass. i'm sure he goes outside to get the newspaper, too. perhaps egging him then would be good? i'm sure he'd see the humor.

    i see it this way:
    I have known many people I did not like, and many people that did bad work. However, I don't tell them they are idiots, because I know that they, like me, are people with feelings. I might complain about them to other people, but not to their faces. Because that's the line.

    Also what's this email now?

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  52. but i still hate xkcd and randall for the record

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  53. asher i can't handle arguing with you

    come join the irc

    (also i am lazy and do not like flipping between windows)

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  54. this is all academic as carl=randall

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  55. The idea of the book was actually inspired by yellow hat guy, someone mentioned him in the channel a few days prior. But the whole thing is still pretty different. The ultimate point is to show randy "See, we're not so bad? We're a nice community and really just want to help you". I am eager to know how he will react to the book. I hope he will be nice about it and let us take a picture of him with it, but I can imagine him just throwing it away as well. Deep down I think randy isn't that full of himself and when aloria nicely gives it to him, he will understand that it's not a vile thing.

    I had not seen that chainsawsuit before, but I like it. We should put it on the last page of the book.

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  56. Any plans for the cover?

    I was thinking just have a close up of a vagina

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  57. http://jvm.mit.edu/f/xkcdsucks_rev8.png

    No close up vaginas but a sufficient quantity of sexkcd.

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  58. Also Asher we have had a few xkcd fans pop into #xkcd_sucks who think the book is a reasonable idea, so it isn't just us.

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  59. my vote's for the above cover. good stuff.

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  60. I'm also kind of on the fence about this thing. On the one hand, I'm all for going there and trying to get him to acknowledge some criticism for once, on the other hand, it's his party, and it seems lame to crash it like that.

    But since it's definitely going to happen, I say keep it fun. Don't put anything in the book that makes us look like bitter douchebags. Keep it funny and kind of upbeat. Also put that wacky captain tacos review in there, because that was golden.

    Also that cover is great. Not sure about the sexkcd, but that mr. hat picture speaks volumes. It's significant because that comic was the point where he finally and irreversibly neutered a once awesome character (before trying to bring him back but turned him into a homicidal maniac instead for some reason), and his whole body language is sort of representative of how we all miss the funny comic XKCD once was.

    You can put this in the book.

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  61. Person #1, if you want two more highly relevant chainsawsuit comics:

    here's one
    and here's one

    don't know what Kris Straub wants for attribution so you may want to be careful. At least credit him and say he has no idea we are using his work for the project.

    Also, if you want Captain Taco's review in text form, tell me. i posted it as an image because as you know by now, i am weird like that.

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  62. This is going to be fantastic. I know you don't think this is going to turn out like the yellow hat guy thing, but it will, and it will be hilarious.

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  63. For the uninformed (including myself): who is yellow hat guy

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  64. WTF people? Did Dr. Horrible drown himself and infect the water supply? Randall is polluting the internet with his shitty, shitty webcomic and in the process stealing attention from a hundred superior products. He is actively degrading our culture. There is no reason to treat him or his fans with an ounce of respect if he won't even listen to criticism.

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  65. Technically, it's Randall's fans who do that shit. Also, it's terribly annoying when XKCD fans come here to say "You're not the target audience, you don't have to read it," so I can also understand when people find it annoying when we do stuff like that.

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  66. Sam: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=yellow+hat+guy

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  67. Thank you for your assistance mr. helpful anonymous, but for your information I already did that and it was ABSOLUTELY USELESS.

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  68. Sam: Yellow Hat Guy feels strongly about comic author Rob Liefeld's work. He approaches Liefeld at a con, blah blah, encounter culminates with him giving Liefeld a copy of "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" or something. Other similarities to the Xkcd Sucks Volume 0 plan are also apparent.

    You could find out this, and more wohoo juicy gossipy details, at the "ABSOLUTELY USELESS" top results of the Google search. Like, the Google search actually pinpoints the exact best possible results for this query. If that's absolutely useless to you, maybe any explanation anyone can give will be useless. Maybe you're just too nice to comprehend the dickery involved in the incident.

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  69. Rob Liefeld is MUCH more notorious as a comic artist than a comic author, although his writings are as fascinating and powerful as his drawings.

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  70. Is someone going to write a page suggesting the illustrated picto-blog? Because that's something that definitely has to be in there.

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  71. Carl, I can't believe you're even considering this. It's one thing to criticize Randall on the interwebs where he is free to ignore you, quite another to crash an incredibly important moment in his life just so you could tell him he sucks.

    For those of you delusional enough to think that this could possibly be construed as constructive criticism or that it could be "funny and upbeat" (Fred)- are you picturing this at all? Your party is interrupted by a group whose explicit purpose is to point out your flaws, and they present you (all in good fun!) with a book entitled "your life work is shit". Seriously, don't do this.

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  72. @LP:

    Well, when you throw a party for yourself, ostensibly for charity even though you're keeping some of the profits for yourself, which is only successful because the social troglobytes from the far corners of the Internet have their mouths firmly plastered to your crotch despite the fact that you have zero artistic talent, a poor understanding of even the basic elements of comedy writing, and a fundamental inability to improve your abilities over the course of several years, I think a little crashing is in order.

    If someone thinks your life work is shit, they have every right to inform you of their opinion. [Insert freedom of speech rant here]. Take your politically correct "everyone deserves their moment to shine" feel-good hippie bullshit and shove it up your ugly ass.

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  73. LP, I will quote the first text, that comes even before carl's intro:

    "We don't hate you, Randall.

    The whole “xkcd sucks” Community is based on the premise that xkcd was once good and has been going downhill. We just want to enjoy your comic again. Please take the time to read the book, as we took the time to write it for you. It is not supposed to offend or insult you, it is supposed to help."

    It's supposed to be a gift.

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  74. Plus it's not like she's going to barge into the gathering, shout Amy-Sedaris-style "I'VE GOT SUMTHIN TA SAY!" and vomit bilious hatred all over Randall. This isn't a case where she is breaking up the entire gathering just to go "HA HA HAHA SPOILER ALERT RANDALL SUUUUUUUUUCKS!" She's going to be normal and polite and wait until other people are giving gifts to Randall and then give hers.

    Even if it is rude, it's at least not disruptive the way you think.

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  75. I think 'crashing' is an overstatement. It's not like I am going to run in there and scream HEY EVERYONE XKCD SUCKS YO RANDALL YOU SUCK. Nor am I going to hand him the book with everyone watching, like it's some sort of bizarro awards show. If I can't give him his "present" without destroying the tone of the party, then I just won't give it to him. I mean, I'm an ass, but I'm not going to ruin everyone's night just for the sake of xkcdsucks.

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  76. I doubt it will be a big deal at all. Just approach him whenever he's not "public", give him the gift (and please ask him to take a picture with it, tell him it would make a german who put a lot of effort into this very happy)

    I doubt he will be mad, or cry

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  77. Well, then that's OK by me, then.

    And if LP can't understand that criticism can be funny and done with a positive attitude, then I guess he's just an idiot.

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  78. I'm guessing Person#1 is not being sarcastic with "nice community, just want to help you" and Carl is obviously being genuine with "constructive criticism this blog does".

    That's ridiculous. Maybe it was something like that in the "overrated" days, but today this is a community of hatred, loathing and abhorrence of xkcd and you might as well admit it. Putting a bunch of "this comic would be better if" lines does not make it constructive criticism. Just look at the tone of any blog post (much less comment), try to substitute any other person, and tell me it could ever be accepted by anyone calmly and as useful feedback.

    "Another post completely fucked up by Carl being the creepy moron that he is. First, well first he completely ruined it, but then in his douchebaggy insecurity he also decided to insult our intelligence and rape our childhoods. Shit! Shit shit shit! Fuck! It could have been better if written by Saddam Hussein. It would be more funny if he put a blank white page for today's post. Does he have to be this lame? It really bugs me. He still doesn't understand the very basics of elementary school writing. Oh look, I can say something positive: it didn't _quite_ kill me in pain and agony to read it. But it wasn't far from that!" (Illustration of point, not my actual opinion.)

    I mean what are we talking about, "Foo sucks" is supposed to be a blog/book of constructive, friendly criticism of Foo? Give me a break.

    Honestly, xkcd has declined, I'm unhappy about that and so are many other people, and Munroe should know this. But this plan will end up being only a gesture of hatred, in spite of the couple of misguided souls who might contribute a couple of genuinely well-intentioned critical pages to go in and get drowned in the buzz of "yeah xkcd sucks so bad you hear that Munroe haha we are so cool for shitting on your porch".

    Seriously, look at this place. If the book will even remotely mirror the attitudes on this blog, you will be able to pride yourself on having put actual effort into producing a "we hate you dude" book for someone. Big accomplishment. Not a lot of people can claim that distinction.

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  79. You seem to be confusing "constructive" criticism with "polite" criticism. You also seem to be confusing the way we post to entertain ourselves with the way we write when we know Randall might listen. You also seem to be parodying XKCDsucks in a way that's an unfounded exaggeration. You also seem to be an idiot.

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  80. We are not giving Randall this blog. We are giving randall customly created content for his very eyes. It will be more polite than this blog, not all of it, but ultimately we are holding back for randy's sake. Yes, I am being serious with "nice community", but I don't mean "nice towards randy" by that. I mean that just like any other community we have regulars and are all kind of a big dysfunctional family. Part of the reason that this blog has become so mean is that we know randy doesn't read it. When writing something for him, our attitude is different. Don't judge a book by it's cover is insanely appropriate here.

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  81. I'm making my first contribution to XKCD sucks for this. Why? Because I genuinely think in his own kinda fucked up way Randall is a nice guy. He's dysfuntional, but nice. Thus I deliver unto him only this:
    Firstly, I would like to mention one thing: I am a fan of XKCD.

    However, I am not like the vast majority of your fans in one respect. I don't accept the shit the good percentage of your fanbase does by attempting wrap it in shiny wrapping and calling it PURE GENIUS.

    There's a lot of things about you and the comic I can empathize with. I'm a constantly thwarted romantic who frequently borders of some level of creepy. However, when such events do occur, and such thoughts do occur, I DO NOT FUCKING MAKE A WEBCOMIC ABOUT THEM AND PASS THEM OFF AS COMEDY.

    My second complaint is the decay of your standards. Randall, you're a smart guy, and sometimes you have inspirations so genius it blows my mind.

    On the other hand, you occasionally draw vaginas and think that's funny.

    Randall, I wish to tell you one thing. Cartoon vaginas are NEVER funny.

    If you wish to explain to me how you EVER thought that was a good idea, my email is [Removed]. Drop me an email, hell I'll even listen to what you have to say. Who knows, maybe I'll see it from a whole different perspective.

    Randall, my biggest suggestion for you is this: Keep away from cartoon vaginas, disfunctional relationships and REALLY REALLY obscure pop culture referances. These things, to certain people, are funny. These people are idiots. Not literally, some of them may be very smart. However, they laugh at CARTOON VAGINAS. Look at those two words again. And once more. Hell, go ahead. One more time. CARTOON. VAGINAS.

    The one good thing I can say is congratulations on making CARTOON VAGINAS the best handrawn piece of art you have ever done in a comic since the old days of the red spiders. More red spiders might help me not hate you for that.

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  82. That'll be a great addition. Be sure to mention you are a fan of xkcd, I think having some people who genuinely like the comic over all will make him listen to it more.

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  83. Do you think I was subtle enough with my disdain for CARTOON VAGINAS.

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  84. "if LP can't understand that criticism can be funny and done with a positive attitude, then I guess he's just an idiot".

    Interesting theoretical point, Fred- read this blog much? It *can* be funny and done with a positive attitude, but there's little precedent for that here, and anyway you're missing the point, which is that his book party is a celebration and not a time for criticism, however "constructive" you may imagine such criticism to be.

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  85. it's a gift

    happy book party randy

    the xkcdsucks community pulled together and made you a gift as well!

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  86. I'll see if I can contribute something and send it tonight. I don't think I can go too far from the "I used to be a fan but I'm not anymore for these, these and these carefully explained reasons" formula, but I'll do my best.

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  87. I want a picture of Randall with the book.

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  88. I'm ambivalent about the project as well, due to the already-mentioned obvious similarities to yellow hat guy. Liefield is a jerk, but YHG is a bigger jerk.

    That said, I'm still considering submitting my account of the time when I made a correction to a "blag" post and Randall deleted my comment after making the correction. That is Grade-A jerkishness, ladies and gents.

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  89. You are all kidding yourselves if you think anyone would see this, or take this as helpful criticism. Like I said, sugarcoat it all you want. You're telling him, to his face, at his own party, "you suck." I believe you guys will be very polite and shit, but it doesn't change the reality that you are all spitting in his face. I maintain that no matter what the book contains, it is what it is.

    "But it's for his own good! We have to hurt him because we love him!"
    Give me a break.
    Randall doesn't need to do shit. Carl has given him the opportunity to take some criticism. He chose not to read the blog. Game over. Tough shit, but this lblog is for the enjoyment of Carl and us readers. Get off you high horse about improving xkcd. That ship has sailed.

    The fact that you all try and dismiss it as harmless because of how super friendly it will be is proof you know this. Rationalize it all you want, it's crossing the line.

    Aloria:
    It's not that you will ruin everyone's night OMG. It's that you stand a very good chance of ruining *randall's* night, or at the very least making him feel very bad for a while. Hell, maybe he only reads it two days later and feels bad then. I don't think it really matters, it's all over the line.

    This all just strikes me as some /b/ bullshit. A bunch of otherwise reasonable guys on the internet whipped into a lather from groupthink, who decide to cross the normal social boundaries.

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  90. I would also say there is a reason we don't have shitty "raids" or anything like that on the blag comments, the forum, etc. This is like that, but taken ridiculously farther.

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  91. "Yo Randall, I'm really happy for you, I'm'a let you finish, but Dinosaur Comics is one of the best webcomics of all time. One of the best webcomics of all time."

    Yes, I realize that you're not explicitly pointing out who does something better, but seriously it's still the same concept.

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  92. No ... because nobody mentioned a better comic. Of which there are plenty of.

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  93. "No ... because nobody mentioned a better comic. Of which there are plenty of."

    "Yes, I realize that you're not explicitly pointing out who does something better, but seriously it's still the same concept."

    Reading comprehension is fun!

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  94. It's the same concept how?

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  95. I'm the Anon from 7:16 AM.

    Femalethoth:
    Polite criticism is "I'm not sure that haircut really presents you in the best possible way."
    Constructive is "If you lose the bangs but let it grow a little more on the back of your head, it will look better."
    You can even be both polite and constructive if you care to.
    This blog is "God, did a cat puke on your head or something?"
    There is nothing constructive about that.

    Parody almost by definition involves exaggeration. I disagree it was unfounded.

    About me being an idiot, yeah, I'm beginning to wonder myself. But I'm also at this point forming something of a low opinion of you (singular). One difference is, everything I've written here I could tell to your face if we ever met. If you could tell to my face, based on what little you've learned of me from that one comment, that I am an idiot, well then... then you support every worst thought I may have had about the character of this community.

    Person#1:
    If I've really made that kind of a mistake, in my defense it was a very easy mistake to make. Your words seem reasonable, but all I've ever seen of this community's vitriolic banter speaks against them - do you have a special secret forum/blog where everybody is nicer? Online "communities" tend to be volatile, so are you sure you speak for enough of a majority of the people who will contribute to the book?

    Let's wait and see. (I hope you'll publish the book online afterwards?) I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt now, but i'm still betting on a fiasco.

    Cyberfreak:
    That's funny how your comment starts a bit like how my own might. Almost like you and I are some kind of kindred spirits. Would you not mind a little feedback?
    1) Imagine, just hypothetically, there had never been any CARTOON VAGINAS or anything else that upsets you to that degree in xkcd. Scan through your comment and mentally delete everything to do with them. Leaves very little content, doesn't it? I'm just saying this because I'm sure that as my kindred spirit you have more to say, more real critique, as opposed to "hah, did I give him a telling". You could improve that. I can't believe that if not for that one episode you would actually be happy with the way xkcd is today?
    2) Even when there is real, proper criticism in communication, being snarky (at the least!) makes people react worse to it.

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  96. Ryan North and Randall Munroe are good webcomic friends, I'm sure Randall would take the comment as a sort of "hey randall, what comics do you like?" question

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  97. We are aware that the blog is often "[a] vitriolic and bitter collection of unwarranted nastiness", which is why everyone involved is making sure that the book has a tone completely different from that of the blog.

    The blog is primarily geared towards those who read it. The book is geared directly towards Randall.

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  98. Same anonymous as posted the Kanye West imitation comment.

    To M:
    It's the same concept because you're basically shitting on someone when they are at one of their high points.

    To Kirk: You completely missed the point.

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  99. Coming to his/her own celebration to tell him/her they could be better. It's not a perfect analogy, but the point remains. People understand that there's a time and a place, and that's not it.

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  100. I like the haircut analogy. But I'll take it further. Going up to someone at their birthday party and saying "You're hair sucks! Haha, but seriously, I think you would look much better with it cut differently. Here are some suggestions." is a total dick move, ESPECIALLY if you don't know them personally. Do you disagree?

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  101. Intentionally, I like pointing out little things without dealing with the broader issue. In any case, I think it was said best that "constructive criticism is the greatest mass hallucination since the Democratic Party." If you believe something is bad, you should just say it, make a rational argument for why you think it is bad, then be on your way. There is no reason to sugar coat criticism, this isn't like a teacher grading 3rd grade homework assignments.

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  102. This is more like going up to someone who has just thrown a party in celebration of their new haircut and telling them what you think of their new haircut--and instead of it being a private friends-only party, it's a haircut party which is open to the public, and, indeed, the public is expected to show up, and he is expecting everyone there to admire his haircut--indeed, these people have paid $50 just to listen to him talk about his haircut for a bit, and then to get him to sign some haircut memorabilia at the end of the expo. Most people there will tell him that his haircut is their favorite thing ever and that they tell all of their friends about it every time he gets a new haircut. He will smile and tell them he is glad other people like his haircut as much as he enjoys getting his haircut, and probably say that it is really cool that his job is getting his hair cut three days a week.

    You used to be a big fan of his haircuts, but then you noticed that lately all he's doing is shaving his head, and it just doesn't look good. So you've taken the time to present him a polite list of grievances, and paid $50 to get in and listen to him talk about how excellent his haircut is and how wonderful all of his haircut fans are. You are not planning on creating a row, just delivering a thoughtful presentation when you get the chance, and maybe hoping for a photograph.

    Who's the dick here?

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  103. The guy crashing the haircut party, that's who. You just summarized what the xkcd party will be, which is very nice, but doesn't make any real point. I get that that is the situation. So tell me why it's ok to hand him a book that says, ON THE COVER, you suck, as does your life's work. I don't go to comedian's shows and heckle them. I don't go to rock concerts and boo. I don't go to movie screenings and ask the director why he is a hack.

    Randall doesn't shove xkcd in your face (his fans are an entirely different issue), and you don't shove xkcd sucks in his face.

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  104. I don't know why the worry of hurting Randall as a "person" if he's going to that party as an ARTIST. He CHOSE to publicise himself like that, nobody is forcing him to do it. If he's deliberatedly putting himself in the spotlight in that manner, then he's going to have to be mature and deal with attitudes like these like a grown man, since the book is a commentary on Randall as an ARTIST, not as a person.

    I get worried with the exaggerated touchiness when it comes to artists. They're not untouchable. If we were intending to hurt Randall personally, then I'd agree about crossing the line, but we're talking about art here. Now, if Randall confuses his art with his personal life, it's HIS problem, not ours.

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  105. Asher, I think YOU are being the party pooper here. This is a big thing for xkcdsucks community. This is the chance to put us on the map of the Internets. We are all waiting with excitement for the moment when wonderful Aloria could confront Randall face to face and present him the efforts of our community. And you're the one who is shitting on our efforts to make this unique opportunity possible.

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  106. Fernie, that's just not the way it works. I'm all for this blog, because I think it's the kind of thing you have to accept as an artist. The blog is the equivalent of a movie, book or album review. This book delivery is the equivalent of heckling. Like I said, there's a reason the pro's don't do it.

    I also don't think this is about sensitive Randall. It's something that would either piss off or depress any but the most thick skinned. And on top of that, it's just not done.

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  107. You seem to be using the word 'crash' incorrectly. I assume you are using it in this sense: 'to gain admittance to a party, performance, etc., without an invitation, ticket, or permission.' Yet the ticket was purchased. Good, legitimate money was paid for this. Nobody is crashing anybody's party here. This is entirely above board.

    This event is a forum for discussing XKCD. Perhaps you think that this sort of party is intended to be nothing but a narcissistic wankfest, but there are those of us who feel that the purpose of communicating with your fans is to do more than simply have them tell you how truly excellent you are all the time.

    It is entirely legitimate to go to a rock show and meet the band after the show and tell them you really disliked their latest album and hope they will return to their earlier material. This isn't heckling, or booing. This is politely and quietly telling them your opinion in a forum which was designed for people to politely and quietly deliver their opinion. No parties are being crashed, no events are being ruined. You have paid your admittance fee and politely sat through the event, which is showing a great deal of deference to the event's host. You have delivered your parcel at this public event to which you have paid admittance. Then, message delivered, you have gone your own way.

    It is never rude to criticize an artist at an event dedicated to their art, so long as you do it in a polite and civilized way. If you happen to have a strong opinion about the art being shown at a gallery show, you should let the artist know. If you happen to have such a strong opinion that you printed a book specifically to give to them in the hopes that it would help the artist improve her work for the future, then by all means, do so.

    I would be ecstatic if someone were to give me a detailed analysis on why they dislike my writing, or why they feel it has declined. If for some reason I were hosting a public event for my writing, I would feel that it was a perfect venue for them to do so: far better than an anonymous email or comment, since it means they have enough respect for me to pay money, show up, sit through my narcissistic ramblings, wait in line to talk to me, and still tell me. I'd listen to this person a lot more than I'd listen to an anonymous email or comment because of it.

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  108. in a way, its about whether xkcd is only about randall. if it belongs, in some way, to you and me too, then we have a right to go tell randall 'hey, it used to be really good, and now it sucks, which is a shame!'. but if its only randall's thing, and we don't matter to xkcd as such, then i suppose we'd be dicks doing it.

    randall makes a living off xkcd. he's launching a book and everything. i think as regular readers of his content, it does in some way belong to us and we have a right to tell him he's destroying something that used to be quite cool.

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  109. The problem is that, yes, Randall does confuse criticism of his art with criticism of him as a person, and he doesn't handle criticism well at all. We all know that; it's what got him into this mess.

    Asher isn't wrong. Randall is going to feel like crap when he sees the book. To claim otherwise is indefensible. The question is whether you're okay with that.

    My gut reaction is no. The only thing that makes me feel any differently is that any sort of criticism already makes Randall feel like crap, meaning that the only difference is that this is harder to ignore.

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  110. It is hardly the fault of the critic if the artist cannot take criticism. To enter the public sphere is to expose yourself to criticism--and if you are even more bothered by critics who are polite and respectful and pay money and wait in line than by anonymous snarky bloggers complaining about you, then that really is entirely your problem.

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  111. So you're okay making him feel like crap, then?

    Because this would probably make him feel like crap even if he weren't terrible with criticism.

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  112. "Like I said, there's a reason the pro's don't do it."

    Reason being that's not what they're paid for?

    If anything, this book initiative surely can be seen as "heckling", but I see it more as a display of courage. Think of it: if Aloria represents us all in front of Randall, then she is giving HIM the choice to beat us all to a pulp, don't you agree? We're all being frank and open, and if HE wants to hurl all the shit back to us, he's free to do it. If he doesn't, well, it's his choice. But point is, we won't be denying him the right to defend himself. I don't see why this should be "heckling" -- we're being level with him.

    To be honest, it just pisses me off to see artists seeing any negative commentary as a personal insult; and it pisses me off because many artists DO EXACTLY THAT. And they do it because they're assholes. I'm sick of the mystification of artists.

    "In any case, I think it was said best that "constructive criticism is the greatest mass hallucination since the Democratic Party.""

    I think that's bullshit. Artists are not perfect beings: they have an incomplete vision and they make mistakes, and if they're making art with a genuine intention, then they're seeking evolution. And they can NOT evolve without an external view -- okay, they might evolve just a tiny little bit, but it's an insignificant bit. An artist only denies to correct his flaws if he's a pompous asshole, and an artist only sees his flaws when he learns to see things differently -- and he can only do that with external influence. That's what constructive criticism is all about. Those who prefer to see artists as untouchable godlike entities should go and fuck themselves.

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  113. Rob: I disagree with that whole sentiment, but I guess that's just a fundamental difference of opinion. I think there's a time and a place for criticism, and it's not there.

    Some guy: I don't think xkcd belongs to you in any way shape or form. You don't have to read it, don't have to buy the shit, anything. So you don't have a free pass to do whatever you want.

    Adam: I think criticizing art is criticizing the artist in general. Randall is wimp, and will feel worse about it than most would. I think that this is harder to ignore is exactly why it's over the line. I think it's passivity is exactly why this blog is fine.

    Rob: My point isn't that he shouldn't be able to take his lumps, it's that he doesn't have to have it wherever he goes. It shouldn't turn into a cat and mouse game of trying to get him to listen to you. This blog is out there, and that's enough, IMO.

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  114. Well, that's why I had that opening word, which I have pasted above. Because I know randy is bad with criticism. I have also asked aloria (and I am sure she would have figured this out by herself) to explain to him that it's not supposed to be an attack at him, but a gesture. "Look randall. It's your book opening, and we came! We brought you a gift". Granted, he may not take it well but I, as the one who is putting the book together, have done everything in my power to avoid that. I can't guarantee that he won't feel bad, but you can't tell any of us that this is our goal. Sure, it might hurt him, but do you just want us to stop doing something which is supposed to be a nice gesture because he might take it wrong? If that's what you think is the right thing to do then all humans should instantly stop interacting with each other completely.

    Frankly, I think it's ridiculous how big of a deal you are making out of it, and I am relatively sure that if aloria delivers it in person, he will understand how we mean it and not be angry/sad.

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  115. Frankly, I think it's ridiculous how big of a deal you are making out of it, and I am relatively sure that if aloria delivers it in person, he will understand how we mean it and not be angry/sad.

    That's a pipe dream, regardless of the book's actual contents.

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  116. You are underestimating the power of a friendly, smiling face delivering something.

    Maybe I'm an idealist. I'm also partially biased beause I am basically the opposite of randall when it comes to critique (There is no way to phrase this that does not make me look an asshole, but I like critique is the point)

    But I also believe that intentions matter, and I think you do too, as you chose to completely disregard everything I said before that.

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  117. Nice gesture? "Here, here's a book of how much we hate your webcomic! :D"

    Seriously. I don't even see the point of why you're doing this. He's not gonna stop and think "Hey! Those people at some blog anyone barely heard of are right! I will try match my webcomic to their humour!"

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  118. My contribution to the book was going to be a spring-loaded pie, but Asher talked me out of it. :(

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  119. "You don't have to read it, don't have to buy the shit, anything."

    You have already lost this.

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  120. i'm in the critizing business myself and agree with Asher that this could be a horrible thing as the blog i write for has had some experience with creators who can't take critizism (or a joke).

    however, as far as i can tell, you are going to be going about it in a very classy manner. whether or not Randall laughs it off or curls up in the fetal position is not something you can control.

    all you can do is be polite and offer the book to him. whatever happens after that is up to him.

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  121. I'm in complete agreement with Asher on this. The party is a celebration of a big achievement, a print version of xkcd. You are showing up to a party with the understood purpose of celebrating this achievement, and telling Randall that xkcd sucks. It doesn't matter how smiley or nice or cute you are when you give it to him, because it says "xkcd sucks" RIGHT ON THE COVER!
    It's like really courteously throwing dog shit on somebody’s shoes. There is no nice way to do it.
    If you want to send him the book, mail it to him, give it to him AFTER the party. At most, go to the party and hang around the venue until everyone begins to leave, and give it to him then. Anything else is incredibly rude.

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  122. Endless, aloria was not planning to crash the party. She was going to give it to him rather privately.

    Honestly, he'll be in a good mood, and aloria will be in a good mood, I doubt anything bad will happen.

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  123. Endless, this is not a big achievement. It is basically being self-published, except by his friend who owns a publishing company. Everyone and their dog can self-publish a book.

    And see my previous posts for responses to your bullshit regarding criticism being like throwing dog shit on someone. It is not. It is people like you who are ruining the ability of artists everywhere to improve because nobody is willing to offer criticism anymore, even or especially when they care strongly about it. So fuck you. Fuck you and everything you stand for.

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  124. Well, I like this blog because one of the comments made a reference to One Over Zero by Tailsteak. Brilliant!

    And then I was looking up One Over Zero and found it in a list of comics which break the fourth wall. And also in the list was Boy Meets Boy by K. Sandra. Excellent fun!

    So you have brought me (indirectly) to two enjoyable comics (even though both had ceased publication before I found them, which is rather a pity).

    TRiG.

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  125. However, some of you people have dared to diss Jesus and Mo, for which you will not be forgiven.

    TRiG.

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  126. Honestly, he'll be in a good mood, and aloria will be in a good mood, I doubt anything bad will happen.

    But then she'll give him the book, and then he won't be in a good mood...

    Randall does not have a good track record when it comes to emotional maturity. Even if he's in a perfect mood when Aloria meets him, that's no guarantee he won't flip. Further, I'm certain he's already caught wind of this. He'll be on his guard if he knows it's coming. (Shoot, it might even be more stressful for him if he *doesn't* receive the book.) You're blind if you don't recognize that there is potential for disaster here, regardless of how Aloria handles things. I mean, we're talking about Randall.

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  127. I cannot understand anyone liking 'Jesus and Mo'.

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  128. Person #1, just because you keep on repeating that "it's supposed to be a nice gesture" doesn't make it so. It's not a nice gesture. It's an asshole thing to do. That's why it's seldom if ever done (can any of you name a real example?). Several of us have now pointed this out, so at least stop feigning naive ignorance about what the outcome of your actions are going to be.

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  129. Yes, you're talking about Randall, a webcomic creator that you don't really know personally aside from apparently understanding his whole personality by reading that same webcomic. Hm.

    Also, I really don't get this "your art sucks!" thing. Every webcomic creator chooses how to tell his stories/jokes/whatever with his art. He's not going to change (improve, you might say) his art style for anyone.

    Take Order of the Stick, for example. To quote it's creator:
    "Every once in a while, I get some smartass who walks up to me at a convention and says, dripping in sarcasm, "Gee, I bet your art teachers must be really proud of you!" (The implication being that I'm supposed to be embarrassed by my art on OOTS, and that my instructors would be too.) It makes me smile because every truly great teacher I've ever had the privilege of studying art under wouldn't see it that way � because art really is more than just rendering anatomy, especially comic art. Communicating the actions of the main characters is the primary goal here, not to show off how well I understand facial structure. My art communicates just fine, most of the time, though I'm constantly attempting to refine it. So yeah, I think my teachers would at least understand what I'm trying here without judging it based on the status quo for fantasy illustration."

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  130. "Shoot, it might even be more stressful for him if he *doesn't* receive the book."

    Then, at the end of the party, Aloria will tell all the pseudo-geek fans "that (*sunglasses*) is how *I* roll."

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHH

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  131. Where did all the serious and humorless people come from? Suddenly we're supposed to care for Randall's fragile ego and leave him in his own little world where he can do no wrong. It's not like Randall never makes fun of other people! And one of his most popular characters is the Black Hat Guy, who is supposed to be a lovable asshole. If Randall thinks Black Hat's behavior is acceptable, then he shouldn't be scared of a book of xkcd criticism.

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  132. You know what? Fuck you guys, I do want to make Randall feel bad. He's a douchebag and I don't like him and I think he should feel miserable about how stupid and shitty XKCD is. We need to be even more rude and assholeish than we already are. Fuck Randall Munroe.

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  133. I have explained myself in a previous post and I have no intention of repeating myself. I am not denying that randy might flip, but if you want to hear what I have to say about it, read my comment about it.

    also, I love you fernie.

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  134. Okay fine I will repeat myself but just because I care so much about getting my point accross

    "Well, that's why I had that opening word, which I have pasted above. Because I know randy is bad with criticism. I have also asked aloria (and I am sure she would have figured this out by herself) to explain to him that it's not supposed to be an attack at him, but a gesture. "Look randall. It's your book opening, and we came! We brought you a gift". Granted, he may not take it well but I, as the one who is putting the book together, have done everything in my power to avoid that. I can't guarantee that he won't feel bad, but you can't tell any of us that this is our goal. Sure, it might hurt him, but do you just want us to stop doing something which is supposed to be a nice gesture because he might take it wrong? If that's what you think is the right thing to do then all humans should instantly stop interacting with each other completely."

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  135. So did all the sensitive people here watch Mr. Munroe through some webcast as he typed his thoughts about criticism? I have no idea if he'd just shrug the book off or summon a planet-crippling emotional tsunami some people seem to think would result.

    This isn't X-Men 2 and he's not Prof. Xavier hooked up to all of his fans' brains. If Mr. Munroe has a laugh, a cry, or burns/trashes the dang book, that's on him and you have no idea what will happen.

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  136. Person #1, I did indeed read your comment. Having waded through it twice now, I feel even dumber. Your comment equivocates about whether Randall might not feel bad about it; you can throw that part away. Your second point it that you don't actually care. That's fine, it's a free country, and you can be an asshole as you wish. But this comment boggles the mind:

    "Sure it might hurt him, but do you just want us to stop doing something which is supposed to be a nice gesture [sic] because he might [sic] take it wrong? If that what you think is the right thing to do then all humans should instantly stop interacting with each other completely."

    Well said! Or to paraphrase, "if you're asking me not to kick you in the head, it's like humans should cease being ambulatory this instant."

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  137. "equivocates"
    Get out.

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  138. If your friend who used to have all his shit together has gone downhill and got into some bad habits do you worry about hurting his feelings?

    Cue the people "But randall isn't your friend so boo hoo you can't say anything to him because he might bawwwwww."

    FUCK THAT.

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  139. Also as has been said a load of times we are not barging in there and saying RANDALL YOU HACK I HOPE YOU KNOW YOU SUCK HARD which would be nasty, no we are going in and saying "Congratulations on publishing your book! But hey, you've done some wonderful stuff, but your stuff has gone a little downhill, and we would love it if you got back on form so here's what we think."

    Ok I can't write for shit so I'm glad it's not me going in to say this.

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  140. "My contribution to the book was going to be a spring-loaded pie, but Asher talked me out of it. :("

    Can't save spring-loaded pies as .PDFs anyway. Not properly supported.

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  141. actually it has a plugin for that

    LP, since you're gonna be an asshole about it I might as well be one to, so I'm just simply gonna say "fuck you"

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  142. ah, we have arrived at the pinnacle of human debate. the point where everyone just says 'fuck off' to everyone else. it is the natural evolution of any argument.

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  143. guys this xkcd sucks book is worse than the holocaust

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  144. Oh I get it. It's not about venting spleen at Randall, it's about "Damn it, you're going to LISTEN when we're talking at you about how much your work sucks! And if you won't read the blog, we'll give you a book about it! And if you don't take the book we'll come up with something else! But our voice will be heard"

    Funny how so many people here have so diverse intentions about what the book is supposed to effect. I really hope all of you are contributing material to the book.

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  145. What if we all take a XKCD comic and make it something funny to show ranDULL how it's done. Like the turtle thing a couple days ago. Imagine it as:
    First panel: I feel like a turtle. A hard exterior for the world to see.
    Second panel: But inside, hidden, I am soft and vunerable only opening up myself when I feel truly safe.

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  146. Grr. Like RanDULL no punchline:

    What if we all take a XKCD comic and make it something funny to show ranDULL how it's done. Like the turtle thing a couple days ago. Imagine it as:
    First panel: I feel like a turtle. A hard exterior for the world to see.
    Second panel: But inside, hidden, I am soft and vunerable only opening up myself when I feel truly safe.
    Third panel: I think that turtle is dead.
    Fourth panel: That's probably not a good sign.
    Alt-Text: CPR on a turtle is a bitch.

    Not ROTFL I admit but
    a) Better than the original
    b) I spent 2 minutes on it, not two days.

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  147. that alt text made me lol. great stuff (the punchline sucks, though)

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  148. Jesus, you guys all go straight from zero to sixty. I don't think I'm advocating never criticizing anything here. I'm just saying you have to draw a line somewhere. Rob, where do you draw the line? Can we go all /b/ on his ass and track him down and mail him shit telling him how to improve himself?

    "It is people like you who are ruining the ability of artists everywhere to improve because nobody is willing to offer criticism anymore, even or especially when they care strongly about it. So fuck you. Fuck you and everything you stand for."

    Golly gee, get off your lawn? Back when men were men and told each other the go fuck themselves for breakfast? I have a hard time believing it used to be some free for all. No, go fuck yourself.

    No one here is saying to stop all bad stuff out there cuz it hurts their feelings. There's just a a goddamn line that you have to draw eventually. 4chan tards don't have that line, and everyone knows it. Is that what you would like, Rob? Or perhaps you recognize that there are shades of gray here. So you draw the line differently than I do, or LP. But fuck you for saying that we're pansy asses who are ruining your precious arts.

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  149. I think you guys are exaggerating the effects of this projects, and comparing us to /b/ is just ridiculous. We're going to him, giving him something which he can choose to reject, and we will be nice about it. Sure, it's a criticism of him, but we won't throw it in his face. He has the right to simply refuse accepting it and we (aloria) will not bother him any further.

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  150. my comparison to /b/ wasn't to imply that this is comparable, but that everyone draws a line somewhere. thus trying to steer the conversation away from "is criticism ok" to "where do we draw the line?".

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  151. Well, my point remains. It's not that bad if you think about it, because we're not forcing it on him at all. We are merely offering it (with a small explanation that it's not meant to be an attack at him from alorias side, hopefully)

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  152. "because we're not forcing it on him at all"

    the minute you hand him the book that says xkcd sucks, you have forced it on him. how can he avoid it if he doesn't know what it is? you are forcing an insult on him one way or another.

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  153. giving him something is not the same as forcing it on him

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  154. i'm not going to play this game, person #1.

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  155. Does that mean I win?

    Seriously though, I don't really see how it is forcing anything on him at all. Randall is a grown man, he will not break out in tears as soon as he sees the word "sucks" in the same sentence as xkcd.

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  156. Asher is the new Dr. Horrible. Although he hasn't even talked to Randall yet...

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  157. he can't talk to randy. That would be forcing himself onto randy.

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  158. http://www.yourworldoftext.com/xkcd

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  159. Asher is not the new Dr. Horrible by any stretch of the imagination.

    Last night on the IRC I think I came up with an analogy for this whole thing: Remember when Jon Stewart went on Crossfire, in 2004, and told Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala that they were dicks? I forget the exact phrasing but I think "You are what is wrong with america" or something close came up at some point. He was a huge, huge dick. But most people loved him for it. I did. Crossfire was canceled soon afterwards; The Daily Show is still going strong.

    That was Jon Stewart, going onto their territory and embarrassing them in public. There are two differences, of course, one being that Jon Stewart was invited on the show. You might think that makes all the difference in the world, but I don't think it does. He was invited as part of a book tour (America: The Book, go read it) and those interviews are supposed to be fun for all involved, you talk about the book, you try to sell copies, you all laugh, the end. The other difference - which makes this incident way worse than our proposed one, is that it was airing live on national television. Ours will be substantially more private.

    So why do people object to this but not Stewart (asher, adam, if you DO in fact object to what Stewart did, than obviously this is meaningless) but do find problems here? Or at least, why are some people sure that that was OK but not so sure this is ok?

    I think the difference is that everyone agrees that Tucker Carlson is a dick, and Jon Stewart was right. Sure, Randall isn't as important as Carlson, but hey, that's why this is in some guy's house and not on a CNN set. I think it ultimately comes down to how much respect you have left for Randall and how much you like or dislike his work.

    In which case, I say to you: 631, the Race, Choices, 11th Grade Activities, Unsatisfied...



    That said, I also want to point out that this project was started without me. I said I liked the idea of a book, but someone was going to print it and hand it to him no matter what I said. I wrote an introduction, which says, among other things, "I do think you are a funny guy, but you've given yourself a set of circumstances under which to work that are no longer leading to quality output. Work on it, I'm sure you can fix things." And I included some of the nastier comments this blog has gotten, perhaps to show that none of us is immune from criticism.


    ALSO I think the best thing would be to make sure randall finds up we are going to hand him this book, and then never do. we have Aloria wearing a nametag that says "ALORIA" and just not do anything. We're just reenacting one of his comics!

    I am actually serious about this and will e-mail aloria to say it, just to make sure she knows.

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  160. I think the difference is that they invited Stewart onto Crossfire, which is a show that encourages dickish behavior and outlandish statements. If Randall said "Bring it on," it would be a different story. But he didn't. I guess I see it as that by inviting him, and by having a show with that tone, they kind of implicitly accept their guests giving it back to them. Their guests argue with them all the time. My Grand Unified Theory of Life isn't perfect, so I can't say that the line isn't extremely fine. I guess I just think that what Stewart was on the right side of the line (by how much I can't say), and that this is on the wrong side.

    I also believe that Stewart can get away with it since it's about politics, our country, etc. The same way civil disobedience is used for big stuff, but would seem silly to have a sit in at the xkcd event. Bad analogy, I don't mean the book and civil disobedience are even close, etc, just another possible reason Stewart gets a pass.

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  161. "Constructive criticism" is surely the worst mass hallucination since consumer capitalism, or the resurrection of our Lord, or the Democratic Party."

    Kirk, don't leave stuff out of quotes.

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  162. Seriously, Carl? Stewart's reason for lambasting Carlson is that his show was "hurting America" - a sentiment which I (and you) wholeheartedly agree. By destroying Carlson, Stewart truly did something great for his country, and for public discourse. Your little Fight Club army, however, is planning to ruin some obscure cartoonist's celebration for no good reason at all. If you have a better analogy, please do offer it.

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  163. Hey man, I didn't remember the other two.

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  164. guys i made a comic for the book.

    Can anyone format it nicely for 8.5x11? I just sent the raw png to person #1, but it'd look sort of weird... so... yeah. You'll be awesome if you can help?

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  165. OK, let's assume that, no matter how nicely you go about doing this, Randall is still going to be offended and take it as a personal attack. I personally think it's a reasonable assumption, and from the looks of it a few other people on here do too. So, going into it you know you're going to hurt his feelings.
    That still doesn't necessarily mean you should feel bad about it.
    In most circumstances, it would mean that, and my gut reaction when I first read the plan was "Come on guys, you're just going to make him upset, stop being dicks". But then I realized two things.
    First, Randall has no problem being smug, condescending, or insulting. Just look at yesterday's comic. Or pretty much any Black Hat comic that's not part of that stupid romance storyline. Taking that into account, the fact that he doesn't deal with criticism well doesn't make him a nice, sensitive guy we should totally feel sorry for. It makes him a hypocrite.
    Second, he's lazy. I don't really think I need to explain that one. I mean, surely he realizes he could have easily made a lot of his comics better, and if he doesn't like criticism he should put more effort into his work.
    So, unless he has some mental disorder that renders him incapable of realizing people could take offense to some of his comic and unable to see that he could easily do better if he tried, (which, I guess, is a possibility), I really don't see anything wrong with this.

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  166. xkcd is hurting the whole internet when its sub-standard comics are plastered across the net.

    It's a bit of an exaggeration, yes, but the sentiment is much the same.

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  167. To be perfectly clear: No, I don't have a problem with this. My position is pretty much what Ingiald said, but to rephrase:

    Randall is going to get upset by this. You have to realize that; you have to know that you're being a jerk. You have to know that and you have to be okay with it for the reasons Carl mentioned. But you can't delude yourself into thinking that what you're doing is noble or a gesture of goodwill or anything like that. It's not, no matter how nice the book turns out. You're still telling him to his face that his comic sucks.

    But you're telling him that after he drew 631. If you have to justify it to yourself, do it that way, not by saying he'll be okay with it.

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  168. But as a followup, I have to say that I wouldn't do it if I were Aloria.

    That's her decision, though.

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  169. I think randall really needs to know he's not some feckin' two million dollar rockstar.

    The guys holding a party in celebration of himself, aimed at getting money together to name a school after himself. How can he be so two-faced in terms of ideas, on one hand funding a school is an awesome and brilliant thing...then again....THE XKCD SCHOOL? Are you sure you want to give kids a reason to go look at a comic with crudely drawn vaginas and suggests stalking is cool and fun??

    REALLY?

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  170. Amanda got big brass balls.

    I hope Aloria can post a video log of it, all Richard Attenborough to fuck.

    "And here we see the xkcd fans converging. I'm going to try to get closer. Hopefully they won't see me as a threat."

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  171. listen dude just because you are too much of a pansy to give someone criticism to his face doesn't mean it is a jerk thing to do.

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  172. p.s. harrison i really enjoyed your comic

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  173. Wooh, I decided I wanted an image to go along with my name, and I have chosen.

    On topic, I feel as though you people act like Randall Munroe is a child, who can not be given any negative exposure whatsoever, lest he breaks down and cries like a baby. So, to me, you guys are being more insulting to Randall than the blog is 90% of the time.

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  174. Rob: Who are you talking about? Despite the fact that there any number of avenues to contact Randall personally, you haven't. And yet apparently it is only for his own good that the book be given to him. All of a sudden when someone else will do the dirty work, you're all gung ho. So who's the pansy? Inquiring minds want to know. At least I'm consistent.

    Also, "generalization" is a big word, but I think you can handle it. Look it up sometime.

    Kirk: I try my darndest not to judge this by how Randall will react, but by these criteria:
    1) How I think a normal person would react
    2) What a normal person would think of the whole thing
    3) What normal people do in real life
    I don't think it's reasonable to cater to baby randall, but I don't think this is reasonable to do to anyone.

    I also do not think that because Randall is sometimes a dick in xkcd, it is ok to be a dick back to him. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    I also challenge the assumption that he is lazy. I bet he works hard, but is just a hack, and ran out of ideas long ago.

    Adam: I agree with most of what you said.

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  175. I would also say that I highly doubt anyone here (except aloria, i guess) would act this way in real life.

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  176. "Despite the fact that there any number of avenues to contact Randall personally, you haven't."

    This approach has been tried before.

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  177. I think the flag is racist. I think that it is history.

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  178. thank you for your insightful comment asher it will surely enlighten us all

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  179. I was talking to Adam. He is evidently one of those irritating fucks who thinks that criticizing someone's work is the same thing as being a jerk to them. This is entirely false. Indeed, the only reasons I haven't already approached Randall in person is I only ever run into him unexpectedly and have nothing prepared to either say or give him when I do.

    Criticism is not rude. Criticizing something does not make you a dick. If you are going about it in a rude way, odds are it's heckling, not criticizing--booing a rock concert is more focused on being disruptive than providing feedback, and so on. This is not being gone about in a rude way.

    Will people take criticism personally? Sure. That's their own fault. Something is not morally or socially unacceptable merely because someone is unduly sensitive. You seem to favor some form of simpering, cowardly dishonesty, where you only complain in the shadows of the anonymous web where it will largely be ignored, and when it is viewed, it will only be seen as the works of raving lunatics.

    How it is somehow less courteous to take the time to pay money to see the man in person and present him with polite, thoughtful criticism than it is to complain about it on a more or less anonymous blog is beyond me.

    But it is never, ever wrong per se to simply criticize someone, especially a public figure (which Randall is)--if it is rude it would be rude with or without the criticism.

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  180. Asher, if the book was not called xkcdsucks would you have a problem with it? Like "No Hard Feelings" with a small attribution to xkcdsucks.blogspot.com on the side?

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  181. ps I added you on Facebook
    pps hee I didn't
    ppps the Jay in the Facebook group is a FAKE JAY people don't be fooled

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  182. there is a facebook group? wat?

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  183. yeah but it's only got like 10 people

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  184. Jay: I honestly don't know. I think it's a fine line. I am tempted to say at this point, given that the blog already exists, trying to shove the criticism at him is just needless poking, an equivalent of heckling. But I don't know.

    Rob:
    "If you are going about it in a rude way, odds are it's heckling, not criticizing--booing a rock concert is more focused on being disruptive than providing feedback, and so on. This is not being gone about in a rude way."

    Well, I disagree.

    "How it is somehow less courteous to take the time to pay money to see the man in person and present him with polite, thoughtful criticism than it is to complain about it on a more or less anonymous blog is beyond me."

    I honestly don't have a good answer to this. I just see it as crossing a line most don't, and most don't want to. I'm a little unclear why paying money makes it ok - I'm almost sure Randall doesn't think that is the deal. To my mind, it's like telling someone they're an idiot to their face, or saying it behind their back. There's a case to be made for being straightforward, but I think it works better 90% if people don't headbutt like this.

    "Will people take criticism personally? Sure. That's their own fault. Something is not morally or socially unacceptable merely because someone is unduly sensitive. You seem to favor some form of simpering, cowardly dishonesty, where you only complain in the shadows of the anonymous web where it will largely be ignored, and when it is viewed, it will only be seen as the works of raving lunatics."

    No, hardly not. Sometimes criticism is good. But I think there are boundaries. Why not a letter writing campaign? Why not flood his inbox? I don't think this is an appropriate situation (or medium/message/etc). But hey, generalization is still fun I guess.

    "But it is never, ever wrong per se to simply criticize someone, especially a public figure (which Randall is)--if it is rude it would be rude with or without the criticism."

    I don't see how you could separate out the criticism from the action here.

    "Indeed, the only reasons I haven't already approached Randall in person is I only ever run into him unexpectedly and have nothing prepared to either say or give him when I do."

    I wanted to end with this because I think that would be a far more appropriate situation to tell him your feelings. A relatively neutral setting, informal, personal. The kind of thing you would do with a friend who had a problem. So you see, I am not against all criticism, not even against all face-to-face criticism. I just think sometimes it's appropriate, and sometimes it's not.

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  185. So, it's okay to criticize an artist you randomly encounter on the street, but not okay to criticize them at an event specifically designed for people to talk to him as the creator of his art?

    I'd much rather someone criticize me while at a book reading for my work than while I am getting coffee or at a party or something.

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  186. I have no idea how often book readings are held. I assume they are somewhat frequent, though, so that the author can get the word out. Correct me if I'm wrong. So, I would say that is very different than the party celebrating the first (and likely only) book by Randall. This is his special day, like it or not. So in that respect I think it is different than your run of the mill book reading, interview, concert, etc.

    As far as the random encounter, I would rather have that happen to me than at an event. I think the informal nature of it combined with whatever kind of offhandedness would be a nice cushion. Hey, I am a pansy ass. But I don't think we are comparing a book reading vs a run in on the street. I think this is more akin to a wrap party/album release party, whatever. Not that I have been to one of those, but I assume the atmosphere is similar.

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  187. I think we will need to agree to disagree, since all possible arguments have been covered several times over by this point.

    Until Aloria hands the book to Randall we have no idea what will happen.

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  188. the only thing i will agree to is that asher sucks

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  189. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  190. rob is a meanie. why, rob, why?

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  191. Let's see if we can't get this bad boy to 300.

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