Wednesday, September 9, 2009

xkcd book EMERGENCY POST

Well it is about time. Or, to be more accurate, it is 87 days past time. No matter. The xkcd blog brings us news that they are finally about to release the xkcd book. Actually other than that there is no news; we knew it would have, as Randy writes, "strips chosen by me from the first 600 xkcd comics," along with various other little notes and things. That was all in the NYTimes article about this whole mess that we have known about for months.

Now here's what actually interests me - which comics is he going to pick? As I see it, he can hew mostly to the first 350 or so, and come up with a good book, or he can choose ones more evenly spread out (or, god forbid, have mostly later ones), and have a crappy book. The problem is that if he goes for the former, it's basically admitting that there aren't as many good comics later on, ie, the comic is getting worse. So I don't think he'll go that route - because I know that Randall doesn't think his comic is getting worse.

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So there are also going to be some release parties (In New York and California, the only states that matter) for the book, which will in part raise money for some good causes. But that's actually where things get a little weird.

The goal of the fundraising is to build a school in Laos. Good. I'm all for that. The school will be called "xkcd". Uhhhh....I'd like to say I'm kidding but the way they phrase it is:

The goal is to raise at least $30,000 to build a school named after xkcd in Laos. (Yes, the poor kids in Laos will have to pronounce that.)
As in, they are trying to make a joke, but it's about pronouncing the school's name, not the fact that they are doing this at all.

Luckily, they are not being idiots about the way they sell tickets.

Though by the way - if any of you are going to be at any of these events, please do send me an e-mail about it. I want to have a secret source on the inside!

God, the whole site is full of shit like "HANG OUT WITH RANDALL!" and "You’ll not only get a chance to meet and chat with Randall, but blah blah blah" those are actual quotes. talk about a cult of personality. christ.

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As Randy's blog post makes clear, there will be at some point some kind of interview thing, where they ask him the questions that are most popular on reddit. There's a whole reddit channel (is that what they are called? god I am so old) for this.

Guys. We have to influence that. I for one started my own reddit account just for this. You all should totally upvote my question, but go through the whole list of them, and vote for the ones that are way more challenging ("Are you aware that you have a very apparent need to tell people you're getting laid?") as opposed to the fucking idiotic ("Of all things on the internet that you influenced, which one that you're most proud of?").

1500 of you read this blog every day. We can do this.

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I guess this means that my "the xkcd book is ___ days overdue" clock can come down. Thanks again to John for making it; I am quite certain that its existence is what forced Randall &co to finally publish this book, even though they said it would be out in "mid june." I'll miss you, clock.


update: Oh god, it looks like the page numbers for the book are in binary. oh, fuck that.

221 comments:

  1. I like to think the count up clock hurried it along

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  2. Okay, damn.
    There was no full blog post. I click to read the lone comment and there it is.

    Either my iPod hates me, or that was great timing on my part.

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  3. I would like to point out that this would work out much better if, instead of everyone slacking off and not actually creating a reddit account (as it usually pappens), people actually did.

    I mean, seriously, you don't even need to supply an email or do any verification crap. Pick a random user, a random password, enter a (gasp) actually readable CAPTCHA, hit the pretty button, and start up/downvoting like crazy. It's about the least annoying a registration procedure as you can possibly get. I already did.

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  4. Let's do this.

    Also, that school naming idea is godawful.

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  5. This seems less like trying to help the needly and more like "LOL wouldn't it be cool if their was a school named after me????".

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  6. Well, I'm slaving away at up/downvoting stuff, but it's kind of discouraging to see ASCII art of Mr. Hat get 331 points when all the interesting ones have 4 or 7. It's also a bit discouraging that XKCD panders entirely to the reddit community, so even if those 1500 visits are all unique, we don't stand a chance in hell.

    Favorite questions:
    "what happened to the money your parents gave you for art lessons?"
    "Are you aware that you have a very apparent need to tell people you're getting laid?"
    "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
    "Are you ever going to get over this Megan chick?"

    Most pathetic question:
    "now that you are a celebrity of sorts, do you think you could get a date with Summer Glau? What do you think are the chances she's read xkcd and knows who you are and thinks geeks are cute?"

    Most prepostorous comment:
    "I went as the hat guy to a party once. Good times."

    So.. you wore a hat to a party? Damn, those -are- some good times.

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  7. Also upvote mine:
    http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0cyzor

    CAPTCHA: Reddist. THE CAPTCHA KNOWS YOU GUYS!

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  8. Actually, you can technically still leave the clock up until the book is actually released, because it'll still be overdue until then.

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  9. Fred's++. Me likey.

    Also, I would like to again point out that this would work out much better if, instead of everyone slacking off and not actually creating a reddit account (as it usually pappens), people actually did. You know, just in case someone missed it.

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  10. I REALLY hope he gets help from a charity already working there. My parents are working in one and some many times US Americans just come to an area with great ideas but want to do it their own way not caring about culture, other charity organizations, but just come with a bunch of people build their thing feel proud and go again...

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  11. It strikes me as a perfectly good method for setting the price...but then I've been in a real life auction where that principle was used (10 copies of a book to sell; the auctioneer called out higher and higher prices until the number of people with their hands up was only 10). Also, I'm even more intelligent than Willy Hughes, so it would be easy for me to follow.

    But yeah, calling the school 'xkcd'? Ugh, obnoxious.

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  12. xkcd is actually Laosian for "place of education". Guys, do the research.

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  13. and @LeonardQuirm: that's called a "Dutch auction". Yeah, yeah, I'm all about the knowing stuff.

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  14. Dude... Of all the questions you could have asked, you didn't ask about one involving Megan!?

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  15. I think I'd rather go to a school named "Dinosaur Comics" than "Xkcd".

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  16. Or not go to a school named after a webcomic at all. What ever happened to naming schools after crappy poets?

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  17. This one
    "Are you aware that you have a very apparent need to tell people you're getting laid?"
    might actually win. It's at +52.

    Carl's is at +11, which is not great.
    Guysssss.

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  18. From the comments on Carl's question:

    "I don't think czwheeler would ask interesting questions in his interview, as it is my opinion that he is an asshat, therefore he remains downvoted. Good day."

    What are the chances that this guy wears a fedora?

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  19. One of the 'questions' hidden from so much downvoting:
    "He should of used jaw breakers instead of balls for his ball pit, plastic ain't got shit on the taste of multi-coated sugar goodness."

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  20. Trying to do anything on reddit will be a losing battle, since, like much of the internet, people have a predisposition to treat Randall as the next Jesus.

    Also can't Randall answer questions like a normal person instead of having some bizarre competition to decide what he gets asked? (Although maybe I am being too stupid with this seeing as I'm sure Randall would respond to most questions sent to him by fans via e-mail)

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  21. I wrote one! I like to think it looks innocuous enough :D
    http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0cz7sl

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  22. I liked these comments amongst the buried:

    RiggenBlaque: "HAHA HE MADE A JOKE INVOLVING DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS!!!"
    thetallestpaul: "Differential equations are no laughing matter"
    RiggenBlaque: "neither is XKCD, coincidentally"

    I have also noticed that most of the buried comics are those speaking bad of xkcd.

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  23. A quote from the xkcd blog (or blag, if we must):

    "There’s a possibility we’ll get to name the school; I wanted to name it ‘the xkcd school’ because of how confused it would make the kids who are trying to learn English phonetics, but I think they’re vetoing that idea."

    So at least someone involved with the project has some sense.

    TRiG.

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  24. High-res stickfigure scans?

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  25. I still have to create a Reddit account to vote, but I'm too much a lazy and busy mole to do that now. I'll get to do it some of these days, swear...

    But what saddens me is: Fred and Carl's questions(which are awesome, Fred's one outstandishly so), just for starters, are 3 and 8 votes up. The most voted "question"(actually a stupid ASCII art stickman) is 372 votes up. Considering fans are apparently downvoting Carl's question, I'm thinking we don't stand a chance...

    Still, voting up. FredSansWomen FTW, peoples!

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  26. http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0czalt

    upvote please

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  27. I work in NYC so I might as well show up at this thing, if only to provide some more fodder for the blog. That is, if the price is right.

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  28. I doubt those 1500 are all people who agree with you .

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  29. reddit is essentially xkcd's fan club. hell, they even cross pollinate with merchandise and advertising. no way anything any question less than "Some say xkcd is the best comic ever. Other's say it is the best distinct thing ever. Why are ballpits/you so awesome?" will get more than 2 votes.

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  30. Two of the good questions have a serious chance of getting in the top ten. I'm impressed.

    Started an account, sifted through all the questions, did my part.

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  31. The questions are mostly completely awful.

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  32. http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0cwq90

    Randall wants this downvoted as it is too scary for him. Seriously. Last line in his blog.

    UPVOTE!

    Also Aloria you have to go and get a picture of Randall holding an xkcdsucks sign.

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  33. dont forget downvoting is just as effective as upvoting

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  34. So who wants to have a meetup around the San Francisco one?

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  35. Solution to romanian problem: go to beach with girl, have fun, go home.

    Alternate solution: agree with girl to use dice/dartboard to pick from a selection of agreed-upon destinations. Big deal averted.

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  36. "Clearly you have some writing ability, have you ever been proposed to write for anything big and if not do you have any aspirations to do this in the future?"

    From what I've read of the comic, he's more of an ideas-man re: his dialogue is subpar.

    "This may seem cynical, but whatever - do you have a buffer? As in, if you die today, how many more comics will we see?"

    Creepy. I hope Randall doesn't read this one.

    "Do the people in the comics represent people from your life?"

    Megan!

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  37. "This seems less like trying to help the needly and more like "LOL wouldn't it be cool if their was a school named after me????"."

    Just because doing something for another human being, and not for your own gain, is inconceivable for YOU, doesn't mean everyone thinks that way...

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  38. I don't have the time to fake-argue with this sockpuppet.

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  39. i declare T_A to be a troll.

    Anyway - do we know they are reading the top 10? I missed that detail but it is good to know.

    Also, do we know what the deadline is? That is, at one point to they actually look at the thread and take the questions which are on top at the time?

    I should state that I actually really do like this vote-for-the-questions-you-want-answered concept; I was hoping that those presidential youtube debates last year would be like this (they weren't, but a website called 10 Questions did basically this, and got answers from a few of the major candidates).

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  40. Yes of course, I'm the troll here, makes perfect sense...

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  41. I bid on a spot at the NYC event-- I will definitely try to get a picture with Randall and a sign if I end up winning a ticket.

    And preemptive: I'm sure I'll be called out as pathetic or whatnot for being willing to pay money to meet a dude whose work I dislike. However, the money IS going to charity, not in Randall's pockets, so at least I'm helping the little chilluns. Plus, I consider this no different than the time I paid to watch Snakes on the Plane for the epic lulz.

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  42. Oh, and this one is my favorite: http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0czepq

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  43. $100 for this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJOS0sV2a24

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  44. Also, the top serious questions:
    "Who is the most surprising person that has revealed to you that they're a fan of xkcd?"
    "Of all things on the internet that you influenced, which one that you're most proud of?"
    "What is it like having to tell non-geek people you're famous?"

    AKA: Please tell me how much you and xkcd rule. Which I already know, but I would like you to tell me in a quirky way.

    I don't get this mentality. Even if you lurv xkcd, wouldn't you want to take this opportunity here something insightful? I don't know, something like "Do you see xkcd changing or evolving?" or "Where do you get your ideas?" or "Who are your biggest influences?"

    But no, all they want to hear is "RICHARD STALLMAN'S KATANA WAS EPIC WIN."

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  45. Aloria,

    If you do get a spot, and Randy quibbles about the sign, Tell him that this blog will give more money for the charity.

    I'd be sure to pitch some in.

    "What is it like having to tell non-geek people you're famous?"
    "I'm famous! On the internet! Wait, where are you going?"

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  46. @Danny "What is it like having to tell non-geek people you're famous?"

    I totally upvoted that question. It's amazing. Really, if there is ONE question besides Carl's that I want to see up there, it's that one.

    And some punks downvoted my question. What!! >:(

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  47. Yeah, I don't think the xkcdsucks crowd is going to get many upvotes, but at least some of the discussion may go beyond "what's it like to be so awesome lololol".

    This is not a question so much as part of the debate on the thread regarding this blog, but I love this defense of, er, for lack of a better way to say it, close-mindedness:

    If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out.

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  48. Carl interviewing Randall might go something like this, compared to what Reddit's upvoting:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/20/

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  49. "Yes of course, I'm the troll here, makes perfect sense..."

    He's starting to see reason!

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  50. "Drawing technical things has always been a closet love of mine for a while now, but I'm absolutely horrible! Do you have any advice that you could share with someone like me on how to improve my artistry skills, and could you share said advice?"

    http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0czpvt

    I feel like I just entered some kind of dimensional warp.

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  51. @Asher

    Wow, he talks in the exact same douchey way that I always expected.

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  52. It takes him 6-8 hours to do his piece of shit comics? He considers himself a perfectionist? He plans everything out to excruciating detail? I WOULD HAVE NEVER GUESSED.

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  53. 6-8 hours on the punnet square one? I don't buy that for a minute. He's most definitely lying about that. I bet he does consider himself a perfectionist, it's just that his idea of perfection isn't quite spot on.

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  54. More like 1 hour of futzing around the house while half-thinking about ideas for an xkcd strip, 3-4 hours of heavy drinking trying to come up with dialogue for the strip, 1-2 hours of trying to sober up enough so that he can hold a pen/pencil/stylus to draw the comic, and 30 minutes of actual drawing/scanning/cleanup.

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  55. my guess:
    1 hour: check 4chan, reddit
    30 minutes: shoehorn idea into 2 person conversation format
    30 minutes hour: drawing strip
    1 hour: 4chan, reddit
    30 minutes: scan, upload
    2 hours: check email

    i do love the image of randy knocking them back, though. he's such a little turd, it'd be like a drunk, mopey hamster.

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  56. I wonder if there will be alcohol at the NYC xkcd gathering. I wonder if I can get Randall Munroe drunk. I wonder if I can get Randall Munroe drunk enough to call me Megan.

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  57. What if...
    What if Randall Munroe performs cunnilingus on you?

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  58. ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew

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  59. Just don't accept his invitation to the ball pit :-)

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  60. agreed with 12:01. I mean, talk about ew.

    Also will be creating a reddit account when I am in class and sifting through the questions, I need to eat first. In the meantime lemme say that madducks is pretty cool.

    where exactly is the thing in cali gonna be? i might be able to go but i think i am not strong enough to withstand the onslaught of xkcd love i am sure to encounter. i mean even that thing asher posted made me feel ill and i only watched like the first minute of ass-kissing "every generation or so an artist comes along, and is a genius," etc. barf.

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  61. When the fundraising thing comes to NYC, it's going to be at at Tribeca penthouse.

    How glamorous. You can wear your xkcd tie!

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  62. Dare you to wear a shirt with "xkcd sucks" on the front and "no, I am not being ironic or sarcastic, it does" on the back.

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  63. look at the response to the comic 631: why? question:

    For a more intelligent sounding question, how about:

    "Is there anything you are not willing to show in your comic? If so, how do you limit yourself when it comes to content?"


    what a dick

    captcha: seben. heeheehee

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  64. Monday, September 21. There's a 7 PM thing for $30 or you can get a SUPER ELITE THING an hour earlier for $100. I was just thinking of doing a meetup at the same time at one of the many nearby bars (like Thirsty Bear which is like three blocks away) and not giving a crap about Randall himself.

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  65. That being the San Francisco one, I mean. The "Silicon Valley" (lolwut) one is the next day at some unspecified time at "the Y combinator headquarters" which I guess is such a major landmark I'm supposed to just know where it is? Anyway the Internet says it's in Mountain View.

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  66. oh dude that's really soon. Hmmmm. I am not sure I am willing to pay 30 to immerse myself in xkcd fanboys.

    but it'd be fairly easy for me to get there, it's pretty close to the bart station. mayyyyyyybe.

    p.s. i am not old enough to go to bars

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  67. Come on, fluffy, anyone who's anyone in the douchey Silicon Valley startup circle knows where Y combinator is!

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  68. also is anyone still on the irc channel today or was that a one-time thing

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  69. How exactly not-old-enough-to-get-into-bars are you? I don't want to be the creepy old person who is hanging out with teenagers on a Monday night.

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  70. she is 15 and will TOTALLY win her high school debate class this year

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  71. oh man i just realized i am still a teenager

    i turn 20 in a month and a half, i don't know if that's borderline creepy?

    are you a 30-year-old comic writer

    omg are you randall

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  72. dammit rob stop giving away my secrets

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  73. @rob

    I work for a technology company that actually makes real products so I don't pay attention to that crap

    @amanda

    I am a 31-year-old comic writer who self-portrays as a genderless plaid critter and I probably should not be trusted.

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  74. @fluffy

    have i ever mentioned how much i fucking detest the startup culture?

    the types of people who like it are all randall munroe

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  75. @rob I had not noticed you mentioning it but yes I goddamn hate the startup culture too. We can be STARTUP CULTURE HATER FRIENDS.

    I also like how there's self-loathing startup culture people like Ted Dziuba who make fun of startup culture but are also completely immersed with it and fail in the same ways.

    I also hate when startup culture spills over into respectable companies, like one of the guys in the UX group rides a fucking Razor Scooter around the office and it's just so pathetic but also distracting and like I'm trying to WORK. okay so I'm just posting comments to a blog about how bad a shitty webcomic sucks but it looks like working and that's what matters!

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  76. What is the startup culture.

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  77. From my experiences with it back in the dot-com days, it's mostly people thinking they're rock stars and that what they're doing is super amazing and innovative and is going to CHANGE THE WORLD YYYYEEAAAAH even though, most of the time, it's a half baked rip off of something else that is hemorrhaging money and doomed to failure.

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  78. It's okay ya'll I'm not old enough to get into bars either. Which I guess makes it douchey for me to give advice to a mid-20s comic writer, but whatever.

    Hey, it just occurred to me there will probably be high schoolers at this xkcd event. Huh.

    Anyway, I know I'm reiterating what everyone already said, but this is the last thing Randall needs right now. Also with half of those questions on reddit they might as well have written, "would you describe your dick as large, or extremely large?" because that's basically what they amount to.

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  79. yeah i really wanna bury that stupid "what is your favorite thing you've influenced on this here internet, o wise and great randall munroe" question. and then punch the author in the gut.

    but as much as the die-hard-leave-randall-alone fans want to stop it, they can't keep the megan questions from popping up everywhere.

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  80. @Jay

    The xkcd event page (at least the one in San Francisco) specifically says it's a 21-and-up thing.

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  81. oh I definitely did not read that

    jay you and i can party it up with other haters so we don't feel too left out

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  82. what, that is bullshit.

    clearly they are trying to keep me out.

    me specifically.

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  83. person who organized it was autodidact, exacting his revenge on you

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  84. man, 9 more months and i would be on it like white on rice. so close to a bart station, yet so far away...

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  85. (9 more months to 21, i meant)

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  86. You guys are making me feel old and immature.

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  87. I'm 27 so you're not the only old geezer here.

    GRANDPAWWW

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  88. Aloria, I'm 27 too. Wait are you me?

    31 is way old though.

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  89. so, uh, did the abbreviation "czwheeler" make anyone else immediately think "Cheeze Wheel" ?

    No?

    Well, I'm still disappointed at the sycophantism at reddit. I mean, holy crap. They're like the people you see at rallies. I guess I should be thankful I live my cloistered life at college.

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  90. ""This seems less like trying to help the needly and more like "LOL wouldn't it be cool if their was a school named after me????"."

    Just because doing something for another human being, and not for your own gain, is inconceivable for YOU, doesn't mean everyone thinks that way..."

    The point, Mr Autodidact, is not that most people have a problem with him sponsoring a school. That is indeed a laudable, and lauded, goal. People have a problem with him trying to have school named Xkcd, which is both dreadfully impractical and sickeningly self-aggrandising. If his main purpose is truly only to help other people, he would simply give them the money for the school. If you give money to charitable causes and then go around telling everyone about your enormous altruism, it is an ordinary and understandable inference that your motivation is this praise, rather than doing good. It is certainly admirable of Mr Munroe to pledge the money to charity, but his gesture would be severely diminished if he were to insist that the school be named after him. If he were to inist it be named after the comic itself, that's much worse.

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  91. Indeed, even naming it the Randall Munroe School would be less narcissistic than naming it XKCD. If you go to a school bearing a name you don't recognize you just assume it was either the founder or someone who is in some way being remembered by the school. Naming it XKCD is just begging kids to say "but why is our school named XKCD?" and then they will have to explain that it's named after the webcomic of the man who raised the money to build the school. He is making sure that every time these kids think about their school they are thinking of how generous, not just some guy named Randall Munroe was, but how generous the Randall Munroe who writes the webcomic XKCD was. He is forcing them to realize that they owe their education to some narcissistic douchebag who spends all of his time on 4chan.

    Way to be a dick, Randall.

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  92. That sounds an awful lot like a corporate sponsorship, Rob. When I have kids, I think I'm gonna send 'em to Doritos High.

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  93. GUYZ XKCD HASN'T UPDATED YET WHAT DO I DOOOOOOOOOOOOO


    hurr durr

    WV: sucks. Awesome! what do i win?

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  94. Doritos are awesome when you're high.

    xkcd still sucks, though.

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  95. Also, new comic is up. It's, uh...wow. You know that whole period where I tried to impress upon people the difference between observational humor and simply making an observation?

    The latest comic is the poster child of this sentiment. Wow, Randall. Really? "Ha ha, wow, what Ender's siblings did was kinda like a blog, let me slap 'powered by wordpress' on there and it'll be HILARIOUS."

    No it won't Randall. It'll be shitty. And terrible. And unfunny. And just-HOLY FUCKING SHIT YOU LAZY UNCREATIVE COCKBITE PLEASE GO DIE IN A FIRE

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  96. I've felt weirdly grateful for this run of incredibly mediocre comics, if only because I'm so grateful that GIANT CARTOON TITS AND CUNT aren't in them.

    It is an observation, and a legitimate one, and he SHOWED why the blogging idea was stupid rather than just having a character SAY "Wow, man, how dumb was it that Peter took over the world through blogging?"

    But still. STILL.

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  97. THE ALT TEXT

    OH GOD THE ALT TEXT

    How much more frakking narcissistic can Randy GET?

    This was actually in some ways better than a lot of recent comics (not just the CARTOON VAGINA one) because neither the concept nor the execution are terrible, both are just incredibly mediocre. Oh, except the alt-text makes me want to gouge his eyes out with a spork.

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  98. also, hey Mal, sorry for stealing "incredibly mediocre" without realizing it. we cool?

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  99. Peter's blog seems to be melting, What with the sides bending in and out all over the place. Randy could really use a straight edge.

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  100. My hobby.

    Posting "Obligatory xkcd" to Slashdot and other fanboy websites. With a link to http://xkcd.com/631/

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  101. god. now randall hates open discussion of politics. you know, i read many political blogs regularly. they provide a useful product. randall does not.

    maybe this is funny if you've read enders game? i doubt it is, though, since i think i got the reference from context.

    randall's thought process:
    -these idiots keep posting their political views. morons.
    -how do i work in a nerd reference here?
    -i guess ender's game involved... a guy trying to do stuff to save the world/universe
    -which is kind of what these guys are doing!
    -but, they are idiots
    el fin

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  102. http://webupd8.blogspot.com/2009/03/alternatives-blogger-default-comments.html

    just throwing that out there. for the love of god.

    ReplyDelete
  103. "He is making sure that every time these kids think about their school they are thinking of how generous, not just some guy named Randall Munroe was, but how generous the Randall Munroe who writes the webcomic XKCD was. He is forcing them to realize that they owe their education to some narcissistic douchebag who spends all of his time on 4chan."

    Not to mention that it's not even immortalizing how generous he was, but how he managed to get a bunch of other people to donate money in his name.

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  104. In Ender's Game, the "B" plot was that two kids decided to save the political world by building up their reputation by posting in online chatrooms so they could become political figures.

    Somehow, it worked.

    It's not FUNNY if you've read Ender's Game, but it makes more sense than "Blog + Ender's Game = Whuuuuuuut"

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  105. I know that the whole "hand-drawn thing" is a big part of xkcd, but that is the worst drawn scroll bar I have ever seen. Drawing a goddamn straight line isn't hard, Randall.

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  106. Corporate sponsorship? It's a school in Laos for poor kids. I don't think they're going to go running out of class to buy one of his ties afterwards

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  107. oh, that is actually significantly better. then it's just that randy is rather obnoxious, not totally hacky (this time).

    ReplyDelete
  108. oh, but actually it is very hacky. he summed up the B plot in the second panel for no reason. either you get the reference right off the bat, or you don't and so the explanation is just more whuuuuu.

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  109. See, you thought the second panel was a PARODY of some book thing. No, it's a completely accurate recap.

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  110. Oh goody, I've never read any of the Ender books (or whatever the series is called), so I get to skip this comic. I'll just assume it's not that funny even if you get the reference.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Why is the scroll bar inside the post? Is that a Wordpress thing?

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  112. It's a "Randall doesn't actually know what the fuck a web browser looks like despite not knowing anything outside of one including the feeling of being hugged by one's own mother" thing.

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  113. Uh, not sure if you all got this or not but I think the joke was supposed to be that none of the entries have any comments.

    It's not exactly side-splitting but I wouldn't call it just an observation.

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  114. It's not much more than an observation. "Look, no one pays attention to a kid's political blog!"

    I mean, there's not really a punchline in there.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Well, it's a parody and all parody is ultimately based in observation. It's more, "in Ender's Game, people pay attention to a kid's political blog! This would not happen in real life! The plot of Ender's Game is extremely stupid!" Ha!

    Which I thought was sort of funny. But then I really hate Ender's Game, so it's possible I'm just inclined to laugh at it. Don't know about you.

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  116. daniel daniel, you have won my heart.

    poore, i am so glad you are back. <3

    and i never read ender's game. i kind of wanted to for a bit, but now i kind of don't want to. guys my life is so interesting

    ReplyDelete
  117. I'd say the latest is okay. Could be better, but I definitely get it, and the idea is fairly original (well, outside of being based off of an existing book).

    ReplyDelete
  118. The alt-text references reddit, and sure enough, this comic is right there on the front page. The comments are truly stupefying:

    "Maybe if we upvote enough, Randall will get put in charge..."

    "Awesome comic. Illustrates a major bullet point in my laundry list of Reasons Why Ender's Game Is Not A Good Book."

    "Frist off, the xkcd comic is awesome. I truely hate how good some of it is but.."

    But there are also tiny voices of dissent:

    "OK nerds, what is the fucking punchline?"

    "am i the only person who thinks xkcd is as unfunny and overrated as it gets?"

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  119. I am sort of surprised to learned there are multiple people who are under 21 here. Glad I'm the only one.

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  120. i bet people would believe me if i said i was like 50.

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  121. wow and I even took that down from my blogger profile.

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  122. Oh lame.

    I didn't even realize I'd gotten it from somewhere :(

    ReplyDelete
  123. Wait hang on a second does Randy even read political blogs? Because I'm sure they get a lot of comments.

    ReplyDelete
  124. I have absolutely nothing to say about this "comic". Really.

    So I'll just post to report my age, since everyone else is doing that. I'm twenty-six (with a mental age of roughly seven, I think). Good to meet you.

    TRiG.

    ReplyDelete
  125. 18 here, which is totally legal drinking age down under

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  126. First comment on the reddit thread for this comic:

    "Maybe if we upvote enough, Randall will get put in charge..."

    This is how people like George Bush win elections.

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  127. Yeah! Let's all HAUNT THE CREATOR OF A FREE WEBCOMIC AND ASK HIM STUPID QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WEBCOMIC HE DOES FOR ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY.

    Let's pick at the smallest of mind-numbingly boring details about how his comic is bad or whatever the fuck, while denying questions from actual fans. (that's right, you people are not the only ones that read it and then laugh at him because he sucks. There are people that read it and still love it.)

    So yeah, let's do that! It's not like I have a life, do any of you? No? Great! Gooooooo

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  128. Anonymous, I was not going to make a Reddit account to upvote anti-xkcd questions, but your small motivational speech has inspired me to.

    On the very-unlikely chance that you were being sarcastic, let me tell you that no one here gives a fuck and your criticisms are the same thing we hear from every troll. Bonus points for trying to get us to sympathize for actual xkcd fans. I really do feel sorry for those mindless, humorless bastards.

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  129. Randall does xkcd for "ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY"? False. He ears cash selling T-shirts, ties and other crap.

    Congratulations, troll: you're WRONG.

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  130. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  131. Orson Scott Card is a douchebag homophobe. I don't care how awesome Ender's Game is, everything that bastard wrote became dead to me when he said "Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society."

    EAT ME, ORSON SCOTT CARD.

    /endrant

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  132. Anyway. Today's comic is not funny. Repeating what essentially happened in a book (except with a blog this time instead of chat,) does not a joke make.

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  133. I'm 28. Unless I missed a comment from some thirtysomething, that makes me the grandpaiest of them all.

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  134. Ender's Game is one of my favorite books. I can even appreciate that Peter Wiggin is depicted feeding a squirrel. While I can see where the joke is coming from, it's terrible. Hell I'm so motivated I just might submit my own writeup later today.

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  135. Also: as stupid as Orson Scott Card may be, he wrote the insults for The Secret of Monkey Island, so he still wins.

    That's right, comedy is more important than homophobia.

    ReplyDelete
  136. but homosexuality is such a big part of comedy

    THINK OF THE BUTTSECKS JOKES, PEOPLE!

    ReplyDelete
  137. Yeaaaaah, let's stop denying questions from actual fans... We might as well as have an interview full of "How awesome xkcd is?". 10 times. My bowels are angry with that thought, by the way...

    So, upvoting questions right now. And up for the Romanian problem, he's asking for it.

    ReplyDelete
  138. He probably *wants* the Romanian problem upvoted. As much as a tool as Randall is, he knows how the Internet works.

    ReplyDelete
  139. i'm sure he is prepping a graph right now for his eventual hi-larious answer. perhaps a flowchart, with cunnylingus at the end. also, furries.

    ReplyDelete
  140. ...So he's actually "asking for it". Sneaky bastard!

    Also, a little harmless question from this mammal here: http://www.reddit.com/comments/9ihy8/ask_randall_munroe_xkcd_anything_hear_him_answer/c0d0pzf Up/Downvote as you wish.

    Today's comic... reeeeeally didn't get it. Obscure reference again? Wikipedia for the rescue!

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  141. Guys, you do not seem to get this:

    The joke is that if the events of the novel--published in '85, I believe--were to actaully take place, Locke and Demosthenes would probably enjoy essentially no success as the internet is absolutely choked with political blogs. It's not great, but judging from the comments here it seems very few of you understand what it's about. If you're going to criticise XKCD, you should do it properly.

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  142. "(that's right, you people are not the only ones that read it and then laugh at him because he sucks. There are people that read it and still love it.)"

    ARG.
    You fucking moron. Just because someone likes something DOES NOT make it good. This is obvious.
    Dominic Deegan? CAD? Eragon? Twilight? VGcats?

    Also, like most uber-hypocritical xkcd fanboys, all your arguments can be used against you in ie 'people like this blog, other people do not like this blog'.

    I think this guy's killed my brain.

    ReplyDelete
  143. oh noes, we're doing it wrong.

    Really, though-- if the joke is so subtle that most people are missing it, is that REALLY the readers' fault? IMO, no, it isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  144. But Aloria, the only people who don't like xkcd are the ones who don't understand the jokes. Smart people are xkcd's target audience. He's not catering to you.

    ReplyDelete
  145. i maintain that no matter what the joke is, recapping the enders game B plot is unnecessary and weird. take out the first two panels and have "Ender's game in 2009" as the caption and it is improved tenfold. it's still not funny, but at least it's not so repulsive.

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  146. "Guys, you do not seem to get this:"

    Hey, that sounds familiar. Let's check what I wrote last night:

    It's not much more than an observation. "Look, no one pays attention to a kid's political blog!"

    That's right! You're the idiot here.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Do we have an xkcdsucks commenter bingo card? And If so, is "you just don't get the joke" on it?

    ReplyDelete
  148. Most people on the blog got the reference (Ender's Game), and the observation (Peter's plan would never work in today's internet). But most of us are trying to figure out where in that mess of a drawing is the punch line. Is it the lack of comments? I don't think so, as that is just stating the observation, there is no punch to it. I guess the alt(title) text is the joke, but jesus Randall, you need to keep the joke in the comic, and use the alt text for extra content. How will your book sell if you don't have half of your jokes without the ability to mouse over?

    Anyway, the adding of fivethirtyeight in the corner of the screen sorta defeats the observation Randall is making. Fivethirtyeight is a political blog that was so popular that it pushed its creator into mainstream popularity (he is a constant commenter on MSNBC, along with other media appearances). The point learned from fivethirtyeight is that if you are able to provide a unique product, you will gain notoriety even amongst a sea of competitors.

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  149. I agree with Just Joe, the comic is subtle and nerdy enough to work. The blog drawing is a shit drawing, but it doesn't really take away from the comic too much. Its not a paragon for hilarity, not a classic, but it is a solid original joke and not sexkcd. Its based on Ender's Game, which is requisite geek reading material and not http://xkcd.org/50/ .

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  150. As a follow-up, I think the joke is the zero or one comments on all of the blog posts. I hope so at least, but then again I'm a sucker for subtlety.

    ReplyDelete
  151. "That's right! You're the idiot here."

    Wow. I feel really bad about myself now. I had intended to steal your thunder by explaining the joke, but, Adam, it looks like you're just too much of a hardass for me to pull it off. If only I'd known you were ready to point out my clearly intentional and darkly-intended comment!

    By the way, what do you mean by "here"? That implies that I called the rest of you idiots. Which is greatand all, except for the fact that I didn't and all.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Last one for now (I need a fucking edit button):

    Taking Asher's suggestion from 7:50, and removing fivethirtyeight as per Kirk, would probably make a better comic.

    Captch: rehun, like rerun ... my comments three more times.

    ReplyDelete
  153. i'll admit i didn't get the joke until it was explained in detail.

    but even then it's pretty bad.

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  154. Oh, screw, I repeated "and all". And then I pointed it out.

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  155. Watch your fucking language Joe, this blog is affiliated with another well known blog: http://weareafraidofnails.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  156. Nail-Watch 24/7 is the most useful weblog of the modern webworld.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Sadly, Nail Watch is neither 24 nor 7. He needs someone to update for him.

    ReplyDelete
  158. WELL AT LEAST HE'S MORE TIMELY THAN CARL AMIRITE

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  159. I never read Ender's Game, so I didn't get today's joke. Maybe I'm too biased to comment it, because even after understanding the "joke", I think it's extremely mediocre and executed very badly.

    Yeah, and I'm not A PROPERLY QUALIFIED geek (thank goodness!!).

    (never read Ender's Game, never watched Star Wars -- not a single film -- nor Star Trek, never read Tolkien or Terry Prachett... yeah, I'm pretty anti-geeky alright)

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  160. Having read the book years ago, I think I can safely say that the joke is not funny no matter what.

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  161. Word, Fernie. I only read Ender because my 11th grade literature class (which I took as a senior) made me.

    And I didn't watch STAR WARS until I was 21!

    AND ALSO

    I watched them in order of episodes 1,2,3,4,5,6!

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  162. Oh, sorry. Never read the book, heard very little of it and not even sure if it was published down here(Brazil). Thus, I lost the reference. That must be my bad for not being a "qualified geek"...

    ...but it's Randall's bad to rely ONLY in such a reference. I'm not against references, I like them, but as a comic of "Romance(Sex), Sarcasm, Math and Language(where?)" it sounds as if he'd try to convey some humor independently of such device. I guess it's my fault to expect is, eh?

    ...and this comment box truly sucks.

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  163. Hey, I actually liked today's Xkcd. First time in a long while.

    Mostly, I liked it because the joke was somewhat subtle. I mean, it took me a whole 10 seconds to realize that the point was the incredible lack of comments.

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  164. is it me or was the scroll bar draggy thing at the top earlier today?

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  165. I did find the bit with Peter feeding the squirrel funny actually.

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  166. where the hell has hatebottles been anyway

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  167. Not bad for an xkcd, surprisingly.

    But that blog drawing is hilariously awful. Look at the borders and scroll bar. I guess that's intentional, but still, it's bad.

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  168. maybe the joke is that if you go back and read the book with a modern perspective, the whole idea is kind of stupid? that would mean randy's little summary is actually mocking how implausible the whole idea is. in which case it is be a much better comic than i thought.

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  169. But the Peter and Valentine subplot *isn't* stupid from a modern perspective. They didn't just start up a blog like some yutz, they actually went about it extremely intelligently.

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  170. maybe the joke is that if you go back and read the book with a modern perspective, the whole idea is kind of stupid?

    Yes, we've agreed, that is the joke. So this is a decent xkcd. The problem is that the topic is so, so narrow--a B plot in Ender's Game which hardly matters until some of the (inferior) sequels--that this joke can't stand up to the classics.

    The hackish quality of the joke, and the fact that it was a little late in updating, might mean that this strip is simply evidence of deadline problems.

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  171. beating a dead horse, but i see that there are two possible sources for humor in this joke:
    1) the ender's game subplot was silly
    2) internet blogger's are retards, they'll never have the success they dream of

    imo the two are distinct "jokes", and randall meant one or the other

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  172. But the Peter and Valentine subplot *isn't* stupid from a modern perspective. They didn't just start up a blog like some yutz, they actually went about it extremely intelligently.

    No, it's still really stupid. And they didn't go about it "extremely intelligently." They posted essays (who knows how intelligent they are or not? Card never quoted more than a paragraph, and it was stuff like "Beware of Russia they are dangerous" and "Bad stuff happens sometimes") anonymously, through pseudonyms. So they're namefags posting political rants on 4chan. Completely extremely intelligent.

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  173. I'm pretty sure they were posting to newsgroups. (They're the pre-WWW equivalent to message boards, if you're not into "geek culture.") Newsgroups were a big thing back in the '80s, and the fact that they were relatively limited in number made their more plausible back in the day, since they'd be able to get exposure more easily. Blogs have a higher signal-to-noise, meaning the scenario in 635 is more likely nowadays.

    None of this makes 635 funny, though, even under the best circumstances.

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  174. As someone who follows this blog, I too made a reddit account specifically so I could uprate Carl's question (and a few other good ones) as well as downrating some of the more stupid ones.

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  175. One thing that bugs me is that, IF the joke is that nobody paid attention to the blog, then the comic's alt-text is a blatant contradiction, since the logical conclusion to that supposed joke is that they don't achieve anything at all. But the alt-text suggests Peter becomes "president of the world" via Reddit, which implies that his blog was actually successful.

    Huh?!

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  176. Fernie, I'm pretty sure the alt text is sarcastic.

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  177. I posted this in response to some cockpouch xkcd fanatic

    http://www.reddit.com/r/comics/comments/9jexj/xkcd_locke_and_demosthenes/c0d1s2h but it probably works better if you read it in context (it was in response to that "what was the punchline?" comment but commenting on the faggot who was trying to look cool by telling us to get out and read books)

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  178. I'll be honest man, I found myself agreeing with him when he said to use paragraph breaks.

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  179. eh, I went overboard no doubt about it, I think he's just butthurting because someone actually responded to his response outside of a simple "it was never funny" and he claims I wrote too much and then we look at his response, which I believe was longer than my post.

    CAPTCHA: moincer soooooo close to moniker

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  180. @Femalethoth (Mal from xkcdsucks)
    I thought they didn't just post essays, but rather frequented a wide variety of discussion websites, and gradually built up the pair of personalities until they were well-recognized across the Internet and even started getting published in newspapers? It sounds plausible to me.

    And to those of you using "fag" and "faggot" as derogatory terms, that's just downright offensive.

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  181. it's a hard habit to break because it's something I hear every day, and every day since I was about 6 years old (granted the people saying it, myself included some times, still have the mental capacities of 6 year olds)

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  182. I thought they didn't just post essays, but rather frequented a wide variety of discussion websites, and gradually built up the pair of personalities until they were well-recognized across the Internet and even started getting published in newspapers? It sounds plausible to me.

    It's still basically the equivalent of running a political blog and posting in newsgroups about your theories. While there are, like, two bloggers that have seen offline notability, it's still a frankly ridiculous turn of events.

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  183. But they did end up getting published, right? I think they had details about how they got opportunities to speak to political figures and eventually attend webcasted meetings for said figures?

    In any case, it's revealed in later books that the US government (or was it rather the governing body for space?) was aware of who Locke and Demosthenes really were the whole time, and so likely gave them an edge in some ways. As the Shadow series details, by the end of their "B" plot, all they had really achieved was that Locke and Demosthenes had become popular - in part because they had been not merely insightful but outstandingly prescient - and there was a whole lot more real work to do before Peter was entrusted with any real authority.

    Also, remember that the position he earned through his web efforts was, in reality, very near powerless.

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  184. @Cam:

    That guy sounds like a prick. I hate nerd elitism (which is why I hate xkcd).

    ReplyDelete
  185. And to those of you using "fag" and "faggot" as derogatory terms, that's just downright offensive.

    Wouldn't that be the point?

    ReplyDelete
  186. we're talking about our reddit friend right? Because I'll admit, I was a bit of a prick too.

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  187. @Adam:

    You know damn well that he's saying it's offensive to people other than the person you're trying to offend.

    Why are you pretending to be a moron?

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  188. I'm not familiar with the Ender's Game series, but from what I understand, Mr R Munroe is doing one of two things, leading to a disappointingly un-humourous outcome. As I understand it, he is focusing on a plot point of the novel in which a character(s) gain influence by posting on newsgroups, or something.

    1. He is saying that the plot is implausible. That may or may not be true, but the way he does it is particularly unsatisfying. Several Xkcd supporters attack this blog for criticising things like dialogue from a 'real life' context, when it supposedly 'works' in the context of the comic's world. Randall is guilty of this. He seems to judge the events of the novel through the prism of the modern day. In other words, he recontextualises the events of the novel and criticises it from that perspective. He seeks to prove the plot's deficiencies by drawing an analogy between newsgroups and blogs. This is specious, because newsgroups, as I understand, were more limited and restricted to more intelligent commentators, so it is more likely that one would be able to develop reputation and influence in that context.

    Now I'm not saying that the novel's plot sounds particularly plausible in any case, but to point out that a plot would not work in a different historical context is not particularly intelligent or funny.

    Also, while I don't think that being late to make an observation/joke automatically makes it poor, Mr Munroe appears to do very little apart from make an observation (the plot is silly!) which has been made and pretty much accepted it seems for about 24 years.

    2. Alternatively, Mr Munroe is perhaps suggested that the author of the novel was 'hilariously' wrong in his prediction of the future. Something along the lines of 'he thought the internet would lead to reasoned debate, but actually no one cares about political discussion - ha ha!'. It should be fairly obvious that pointing out that a sci-fi author was wrong about the future isn't a particularly significant or humorous observation.

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  189. Carl: you've pretty much won an internet argument when your opponent starts criticising your lack of paragraph breaks.

    also none of his jackass replies answered anything. all they were were eye-roll-heavy-sigh, seven times over. or was it eight, i don't remember.

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  190. @Anonymous 1:51
    What do you mean pretending heh heh heh

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  191. oh man there's some pretty intense upvoting downvoting going on in reddit man

    man man yo yo dude

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  192. Completely off-topic, but, just the other day, I noticed that the Online Communities Poster in the "Xkcd" store has a horrible typo as far as portmanteaus go: "Blogipeligo", the problem of course coming from that last "i", which should be an "a".

    ...Um, it was a lot funnier to notice than to describe?

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  193. Also, my question totally got downvoted back to 0. BASTARDS!!!

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  194. You know damn well that he's saying it's offensive to people other than the person you're trying to offend.

    Wouldn't that ALSO be the point?

    You're really not thinking this through.

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  195. @Amanda
    I think you were referring to me and I think if I were to look at his reply again (no I won't, once was enough) I will see that the 1st thing to say why he is superior to me is my lack of mechanical skills (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc) and his 2nd gripe was "why do I get the crazy ones?" and if I were in any mood to respond to him (soooo not worth it) I could just call him out for making silly posts, but I'm not that mean ;P

    Captcha: pleshe, it's like a plushie but not

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  196. Guyze!

    "We are extending the xkcd auction deadline by 23 hours to Monday, Sept. 14
    at 11 p.m. local time. (We expect some media coverage of the xkcd book on
    Monday, cross fingers.)

    We will still be sending out notices of the successful bids at end of day
    on Monday.

    If the late-day notice will complicate your planning for Saturday night,
    please email us at xkcd@breadpig.com, and we can try to provide guidance
    as to whether you should keep your night free.

    Remember you can freely edit your bid at
    http://auction-bot.appspot.com/xkcd-ny up to 11 p.m. on Sept. 14. Also, in
    case we have to break a tie, we will favor those bidders that came in
    earlier.

    Here is to an xkcd school in Laos!

    The xkcd/Room to Read team"

    ReplyDelete