Sunday, October 25, 2009

Comic 654: Disrupted

UGH xkcd is being stupid right now. Why is it so stupid? i don't know. this is just so i can let out a massive internet groan about what xkcd is doing right now. i know he is trying to be annoying on purpose but that does not make it ok.
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So a lot of people have been troubled by what I wrote up there, so now I'll explain why I didn't like his Geocities redesign, and then talk about the comic itself.

Visitors to xkcd on Monday were greeted with this (click for a big version):

ugleeYou can see that something is a little...different, no? Eventually the scrolling red text informed you that this was in honor of the last day that Geocities, home to a myriad of crappy websites that middle schoolers made in the 90s, was going off the internet. Tear, tear. So, to honor it, Randall made a crappy geocities style website.

Lots of people thought it was funny, so I am going to go ahead and admit that maybe my hatred of xkcd is getting in the way of me enjoying this. But all I could think was "this is so OLD." Lots of people make fun of that style of crappy website. Strong Bad was doing it years ago, that is the example that I first thought of. Here, watch his explanation of how to make a website, or just see the website he made. Basically the same thing. You could also see H*R's april fools "under construction" page, which I feel is related.

Ultimately, this is just playing to his fans nostalgia for their own crappy old websites, or their friends'. But it's just annoying. The fact that you are being annoying on purpose does not make it not annoying. Not in the least.

Lastly, I would have, if not enjoyed this concept, at least appreciated it more if it had not been connected to Geocities' demise, just done as a random prank. Like when Pictures for Sad Children was sponored by Long John Silver's. (ps if you know of a better picture of that or even a whole mirror of the sponsored pfsc site, do send it to me).

Anyway, let's move on to the comic itself.

yum, i will give you that
At first, I thought that this comic, the centerpiece of the crappy website redesign, was being deliberately obscure and strange. But I gues I was wrong. I thought it was supposed to be an unholy amalgam of all those xkcd tropes - megan, gaming, internet service, nachos - that we have come to love so well, but apparently not. Apparently "my wifi signal!" is how people react to losing their internet service in Randall World, and "She's gaming" is how you say "she is playing a game" or just "she is busy."

Anyway, I guess the idea is that she gets him to use the microwave in order to fuck with the wifi signal and beat her opponent. Clever, I suppose, if we were told how the hell she knew which ingredients he had and if a microwave in the other room would actually mess that stuff up, or if a serious gamer relied on crappy wifi.

The whole thing is just so obscure and random and concolvuted, and hard to figure out what is happening, that it really seriously fails.

238 comments:

  1. At least the Geocities redesign looks better than the original design.

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  2. It's funny because it mocks the shitty web design of 1990s Geocities websites!

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  3. You know, I can't even actually tell if you're being sarcastic anymore, Carl.

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  4. I'll probably get shouted down for this, but I thought that the Geocities redesign was one of the funnier things xkcd has done recently.

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  5. You know, the more I look at it, the more I think that it actually is pretty funny.

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  6. I think it's the details that add the most humor, like the list of fake web site awards he put in near the bottom of the page. Little things like that used to be all over crappy web sites.

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  7. The layout change reminds me of comic 647 since it sort of continues that whole "remember when..." mindset. I'm proud of Randall for not letting go of his youth and putting forth all of the extra effort necessary to remind of things we much rather would of forgotten.

    I actually am proud of him for doing the layout actually, it must have taken a good bit of effort even if my eyes are dying right now...

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  8. Oh God, I just noticed the netscape comment. I miss netscape. Firefox just isn't the same...

    And lol to the webrings. This actually is pretty funny once you stop letting the flashing gifs distract you.

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  9. I thought it was well done.

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  10. Very, very realistic. The fake syntax errors are funny! The flashing gifs are annoying, but they fit the nostalgia. Overall, the page itself is much better than the comic for today (which reminds me of Delicious Cycle and does not stand the comparison).

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  11. Carl, most of the time I agree with you, but not today. I chime in with most of the others to say that I thought this was sweet, well done, and humorous.

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  12. Read the HTML source of the page. It's classic.

    LANGUAGE="QBASIC" :-)

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  13. The comic itself is kinda stupid but I like the layout.

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  14. And the font is Comic Sans, of course.

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  15. Anyone else think that microwave looks like a toaster?

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  16. lol, the strip is contrived, but the redesign......... ah the memories

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  17. Randall clearly put more effort into this site layout than he has into any comic (including the current one) in months. I think it's funny. Actually, the fact that the comic itself sucks is kind of better: it makes it more like an authentic geocities page with worthless content.

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  18. The layout is cute and made me smile. The comic really really sucks but.

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  19. I liked this comic more than the last 5. It made me think "hey, it's, um, mildly entertaining!"
    Now, the geocities layout, that was hilarious.

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  20. Eh, I found the redesign chuckle-worthy at the very least and arguably the funniest xkcd-related something in a long long time.

    The comic itself took around 5 read-throughs to understand and generally failed to amuse. The idea is sort of clever in a non-clever way I suppose, but the delivery is so botched it might as well not be. Am I making sense?

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  21. zOMG, Font tags. Blink. Marquee. My old friends how I missed you. Hit counters, lycos, the only thing missing is the ubiquitous bgmusic or embed tags.

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  22. Randall did the redesign because of Geocities shutting down which is happening today, october 26.
    I just realized it even shows it in the marquee at the top.

    It'll be back to normal by week's end probably

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  23. Why so serious? Have you had any sex recently? Or ever? Aren't there thousands of better ways to spend your time? Get off of the internet for a while and do something fun that doesn't involve being a spiteful prick.

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  24. Tom Bob Jones Carl Frank Randal Ike Steve Van SteenisOctober 26, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    The XKCD layout is comical and if you do not find it comical you should not be a good judge on comical things.

    Sadly the comic on the page is less than.

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  25. Honestly I thought the comic was pretty decent too. I wasn't aware of the effect microwaves had on wi-fi, but I didn't find it confusing at all. And usually the ridiculous dialogue hurts the comics, but for some reason the guy's enthusiasm works for me in this one.

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  26. Time for a Nerd Complaint!

    In the HTML of the new design, look for the section <script language="Scheme">. The code is literally copy-pasted from Abelson and Sussman's excellent textbook Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, with the final error message changed.

    I guess it's because it's a relatively famous piece of code, but seriously - nothing better than that? Just reproducing the metacircular evaluator isn't really funny or clever or anything. I'm intimately familiar with that bit of code - hell, I have that page bookmarked in my own copy of the book - but it's not funny.

    (SICP is used in an elementary computer science class at my university, and I am familiar enough with it to recognize that particular piece of code anywhere. It doesn't make it funny.)

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  27. I like the fact that it says he only has 36 views. If only...

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  28. I don't know what's worse, the "redesign" of xkcd.com, which is totally unoriginal (even such non-nerdy site as punknews.org did a similar joke on April 1) or today's comic which involves Randy's sexual fantasy of watching Megan play with her blonde female friend.

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  29. So yeah, I've seen redesigns like that dozens of times, but I still thought this was pretty funny. And at least he thought of a better reason than april fools to do it. Also, the attention to detail he put in it is great. The awful, artifacted title image. The webring. The crappy awards. The borders around images in links. The only thing missing is that fire animated gif. I say good job to Randall for putting some effort in an idea and actually executing it properly for once.

    Hey, even the comic is moderately funny for a change!

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  30. "Why so serious?"

    Memetastic!

    "Have you had any sex recently?"

    ... whoa, wait a minute, since when is Randall actually posting in here?

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  31. Anyway, I liked the redesign. It's quite possibly the only truly funny thing he has done in several months, and it shows he actually put EFFORT in it (which couldn't be said about most of his latest strips).

    The strip itself? Why do the characters speak like complete imbeciles? I think this would really pay off if Randall spent a little more time fleshing out the scenes and dialogues, to make the thing at least a LITTLE bit believable. When my computer messes up, I don't spell out the problem loudly so my hidden audience can understand; if "Megan" said something like "Hey! Turn that thing off, it's ruining the signal!" or something like that, it would have been spot on and wouldn't spoil the pace; the way it is, it flows like a shitty Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the 60's.

    But then again, complaining that Randall can't write dialogue is like complaining that Stephen Hawking can't rap.

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  32. Website redesign > comic

    I think the 'redesign' is absolutely hilarious and better than anything else xkcd has done in many months.

    The comic, however, is retarded on so many levels. I don't think anybody would ever shout out 'MY WIFI SIGNAL OMGWTFBBQ1$!1#!4'. There's the obvious factual error of microwaves not affecting wi-fi (although I willing to suspend my disbelief for that) but the whole premise of 'trick housemate into making nachos so the wi-fi connection will drop out' is a failure. What if he didn't have the ingredients for nachos? What if he didn't get nachos ready within the 5 seconds as depicted in the comic? What if the two people on computers didn't look like they were sitting at the same desk with the same chairs?! SO MANY QUESTIONS

    I will also note that this is yet another comic with the girl being the smart one and the guy being the 'hurr durr' one.

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  33. Fernie, Stephen Hawking can't rap?

    You've obviously not heard of http://www.mchawking.com/

    Also the comic sucked but he did put in a fair bit of work on the layout but I don't go to xkcd to look at layout I want a good comic. It's a comic site not a homage to geocities.

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  34. Also once again it is on boing boing.

    "T sez, "I know you folks follow xkcd as good alpha-geeks should..."."

    I don't often rage but I mean for fucks sake.

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  35. Yeah, I also just wanted to chime in and say that the redesign is one of the funniest things Randy's done in a long fucking while. If only he'd put that much work and attention to detail into his comics...

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  36. "complaining that Randall can't write dialogue is like complaining that Stephen Hawking can't rap."

    YO, SHOUT OUT TO LIL' KIM:

    BOOTY'S MASSIVE, I'LL GO

    EVENT HORIZON

    AND IN HER BLACK HOLE

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  37. also someone already said this but it bears repeating: the font is comic sans (although it breaks halfway through). Funny. Which is even more tragic, really, since he apparently knows that you can be funny without pointing out blindingly obvious things like that, he just... doesn't.

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  38. Anyone else remembered google's April Fools of this year?

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  39. Wait, you mean it isn't a toaster... ?

    Jesus. But he's just pulled the little slider down and everything!

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  40. Angelfire was here, Geocities is a LOSER

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  41. ... sorry for Randall giving a tribute to one of the largest, yet infamously horribly rendered, websites in history on the day it goes offline for the final time...

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  42. "Why so serious? Have you had any sex recently? Or ever? Aren't there thousands of better ways to spend your time? Get off of the internet for a while and do something fun that doesn't involve being a spiteful prick."

    What an adorable cuddlefish :3
    You'll be back.

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  43. I thought the redesign was funny. I actually chuckled at the comic a little bit too though. Nonetheless, I thought it looked more like a toaster oven than a microwave (which btw is the superior way to make nachos)

    "The only thing missing is that fire animated gif."

    For some reason using my google account is failing to post. I am marsman57. I have only posted here a couple times before.

    I disagree with this. Under construction gifs were lacking too.

    Actually, an under construction gif above the comic with the comic simply saying "Coming soon" would have been funnier.

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  44. I am too young to know Geocities, really. So this webdesign is just a meh from me. The comic is kinda terrible.

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  45. Carl, you've jumped the shark with your knee-jerk condemnation of the quite funny and well-observed Geocities tribute redesign.

    You've jumped the shark, man!

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  46. Then you all know what time it is. It is finally upon us.

    xkcd sucks ... sucks.

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  47. Only thing missing is the scrolling text in the status bar... definitely the best thing coming from xkcd in a while.

    GOTO 10

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  48. Speaking of scrolling, a horizontal scroll bar would have been nice.

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  49. How do you even make nachos without a stove? How would you sautee the peppers and onions?

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  50. I agree. Carl, you've finally lost it. You refuse to even begrudgingly admit to a clever and amusing redesign, that in many ways harks back to oldschool XKCD; you long ago passed a funny "accentuate the negative" style and into, "Fuck you, Randy. I hate you and everything you'll ever do because you have created it, so it must be shit!" style, and this simply confirms that the change is permenant. Even when there is a good comic now, all you do is make a short post about how it's "not as shit" as other ones. If we're luky, you might just comment on the fact that the panel wall isn't fucking straight or something. I've been following this blog for quite a long time now, and I've noticed something of a decline in the last couple of months (funnily enough, as XKCD, with the exception of several steaming piles of shit, seems to be getting better), and this just seals it. I miss XKCD: Overrated. Time for me to move to XKCD Sucks Sucks, I suppose...

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  51. I didn't find the redesign amusing in the least. It's an unoriginal and overdone joke.

    On the subject of the comic, it took me a while to understand what was going on, but that may be due to me being really fucking tired. Was there even a joke in it? "Haha, microwaves affect wifi signals?" This is reaching CAD levels of utter shit. This has all the humor of the TGIF comic, but with less genitals.

    Though, the graph comic didn't have a joke in it, either. Perhaps he's just trying to see what happens when he makes sequential absolutely godawful comics?

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  52. "OH MY GOD GUYS XKCD IS LIEK SO DUMB IT'S REALLY DUMB IT'S ALSO GAY I WON'T SAY WHY BECUASE IT'S SO DUMB I CAUGHT THE DUMB AND NOW I CANNOT BRAIN"

    It's good to see that xkcdsucks.blogspot.com is still living up to it's high standards of quality criticism.

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  53. "OH MY GOD GUYS XKCD IS LIEK SO DUMB IT'S REALLY DUMB IT'S ALSO GAY I WON'T SAY WHY BECUASE IT'S SO DUMB I CAUGHT THE DUMB AND NOW I CANNOT BRAIN"

    It's good to see that xkcdsucks.blogspot.com is still living up to it's high standards of quality criticism.

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  54. There's another downside to the latest comic: it made me want nachos really badly, and I just got to work. :(

    I chuckled at the Geocities redesign though.

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  55. xkcd surprised me today over how good and clever it was.

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  56. ohdear @ 10:20 a.m. -- thanks for that.

    carl, meanwhile, remains speechless and too arrogant to admit that xkcd had a very good day.

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  57. The design was funny. I do not understand the comic.

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  58. The toaster (obviously) interferes with Megan's wifi. That is the sum of the "joke". Randy, you cad!

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  59. i jumped the shark like 15 months ago. I will go into more detail later about why I don't like the redesign. In short - not that original, very fan-servicey. It looks like a lot of people disagree with me on this, so it may be one of those places where I have to admit that my blind hatred of xkcd seems to be interfering with my ability to judge it neutrally.

    again, more detail when I post about the comic.

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  60. Just as xkcd, xkcdsucks goes downhill...

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  61. I looked at this comic's art and... OH EM GEE IS THAT A FINGER???

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  62. YEAH CARL YOU SUCK!
    RANDALLS WEBDEISIGN WUZ TEH OSSIM!
    the comic was lame...
    BUT TEH RED3S1GN!!11
    UBER-!337 HILARIOSNESS!!!

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  63. Guys I overdosed on semantic satiation and the words xkcdsucks are sandblasted from my mind!
    That was my last instance!
    ...What blog?

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  64. Today, xkcd made me happy. The whole GeoCites thing was well done, I thought, and the comic was, while terribly unfunny, something I relate to on a daily basis.

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  65. The only part of "fan-service" I saw on the redesign was the unnecessary, out-of-context "Easter eggs" on the source code. Maybe Randall just came up with it as he was doing it, in the heat of the moment, but, gee, isn't that just there to reaffirm the geek superiority of those who deem themselves fit to look into the source code? Just the visual jokes themselves were already more than enough.

    And I still think the strip sucks and is bad and Randall should go to jail.

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  66. It seems as if xkcd's quality is inversely proportional to xkcdsucks' quality, and vice versa.

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  67. 3:42 anon: no shit.

    Fernie: the Easter eggs in the source code (and please stop using scare quotes) are the sort of thing I've always appreciated. It's easy to say it's catering to a sense of superiority, but really it's just "hey, here's an extra joke for you." Whenever I'm making webpages I usually throw jokes in the source just because I am bored.

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  68. It's almost like the redesign equivalent of a comics alt text.

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  69. Your opinion is bad and you should feel bad.

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  70. I miss that blog. They never even got to Questionable Content. Or to webcomics I actually read and enjoy like Erfworld and IrregularWebcomic.

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  71. "It's easy to say it's catering to a sense of superiority, but really it's just "hey, here's an extra joke for you.""

    The problem I have here is with the context. It's one thing to have that trick on strips that are already openly geeky, like those Height and Depth ones for instance, or the Map of the Internet and so on. But here, those programming jokes are completely out of place; they don't work at all as an extension or a complement of the joke. This is pretty much what I think of as fan-service: a very artificial way to please the fans.

    It's not like I've turned completely against the joke because of that -- I still enjoy the redesign. But yeah, those source code tricks left a bitter aftertaste.

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  72. P.S.: I don't think those were scare quotes. They were absolutely unnecessary, though.

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  73. Scare quotes are basically any quotes used to indicate something besides a quotation.

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  74. Lighten up, Carl, at this point you're just making yourself sound like you're comitted to lambasting anything Randall does. And I know you're not.

    This is well-done bit of nostalgia, and it is funny, that's all. We had forgotten what the web was like back then, and it's not bad to be reminded a little.

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  75. nice post, anon lapdog, I love the "Carl making himself sound like he's blindly committed to lambasting anything Randall does..." with your lick-Carls'-balls "And I know you're not."

    Yeah, he's totally not. You know, because his critique of today's comic was, basically, "uhm, i really have nothing clever to say, but, uhm, i'm going to let out a really big roar on the internet saying that xkcd sucks even though it didn't really suck."

    and then he disappeared for hours and hours while everyone else said "huh? it was actually pretty good..."

    then he reappears and says "well, uhm, i still have no funnies, but uhm, i'll get back to this later. just give me like another 48 hours to type something that might make one of my lapdogs laugh..."

    god i hate you Carl. please go eat shit covered in cat litter and then disappear.

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  76. What would you do if I told you Carl was into that? ARE YOU CARL?

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  77. I really like the 'HOW DARE YOU NOT BE NOSTALGIC OVER SHITTY WEBPAGES FROM THE GEOCITIES DAYS???' reaction. Seriously. I'm not nostalgic about lots of things most people my age are.

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  78. if Carl is into eating shit-covered-in-cat-litter then i have nothing more to say.

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  79. The geocities parody was nostalgic and witty, but I'm not all too sure about funny. I liked it, but there was no driving force of laughter, maybe I'm too young.

    Rob; What's wrong with using scare quotes? They seem to add character to what you're reading, like having a tone of voice lent to the subject.

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  80. Well, I don't oppose scare quotes in general. I use them myself a lot of the time. I oppose them in situations where they read like you're afraid of your language. Putting "Easter egg" in scare quotes makes it sound like you find the term really distasteful. But if you take issue with the term in person I will tell you to stop being an idiot.

    Scare quotes can be a wonderful thing. This is why I complain when people use them to be stupid.

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  81. Rampant use of italics is much more effective than silly things like scare quotes.

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  82. Another shout to say I kinda liked the redesign, reminds me of the days when I used to do HTML marquees and shit on my mum's eBay listings when I was ten and scrolling "BUY IT NOW" in Comic Sans was the height of programming ability, as far as I was concerned. Shame about GeoCities in one respect, good fucking riddance in another.

    I also quite liked the comic. I think it's better than most of the xkcds recently. Sorry guys.

    Carl, you've been a bit...off lately, I must say. If you've become too enveloped by your hatred it might be worth taking a break from this project, else this wonderful blog and community you've created could break down and I would not like that.

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  83. Dan: I thought all of his guest-posting weeks were his time off?

    Carl, maybe you should meditating, counting to ten, followed by 10-12 hours of reflection on each comic after it's been written. Then, you'll be in the right state of mind to exercise your anger about XKCD, and maybe levitate a bit after.

    On the serious note, ultimately it's difficult to read XKCD and not think about XKCDsucks, probably even moreso if you write the blog for this place. But, getting rid of prejudice was never easy.

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  84. "carl, ... worth taking a break from this project, else this wonderful blog and community you've created could break down ..."

    "wonderful blog and community" lol, wow. how many licks-per-night does it take to get to Carl's pea-sized tootsie roll?

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  85. one lick, two licks, three licks, nothing. shit. he's all out of ideas. the critic can't critique.

    xkcdsucks: the end.

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  86. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  87. You bunch of 'spergers are 'sperging at Carl before he's fleshed out a complete post. You might want to count to 10 blah blah condescending comment.

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  88. Have we, as a society, really come to the point where "she's gaming" is analogous to "she's busy"? What kind of person can't be bothered to stop playing a game for a second to take a phone call?

    Also does anyone really call it "gaming" and not "playing a game"? Has this generation overtaken me?

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  89. Anon 10:04: I don't think so. It's just Randall.

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  90. Hey Carl....If you hate XKCD so much, why do you take the time to read it, then spew venom about it? One would think that if you hated it you'd ignore it and spare the web of a venom-filled blog

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  91. Thomas: That was sarcasm that wasn't even directed at Carl.

    And if you did read the entire comment, and still thought it was condescending, you have to re-evaluate your definition of condescending.

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  92. Actually, yeah, the kind of person who would call it "gaming" is EXACTLY the kind who wouldn't stop playing to take a phone call (especially if they knew it was their opponent). They're also the kind who use a wireless frequency known for being interfered with by microwaves and cordless phones just to reduce network latency. Whether you would consider such people as being part of society in that sense is entirely up to you.

    And Chris: read the FAQ... http://xkcdsucks.blogspot.com/2008/10/frequently-asked-irritating-self.html
    It's the first and most common offense to logic on that list. You can't miss it unless you intentionally try to.

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  93. no guys, chris is right - this blog is hereby CANCELLED because chris pointed out that it is not needed. THANKS, CHRIS!

    i can finally have my life back again!

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  94. TheMesosade: That was sarcasm that wasn't even directed at you. :)

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  95. My pc is broken, so I missed it. Shame.

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  96. Ah, looks like the site design was loosely based on this;
    http://hammerandsteele.com/?u=http://aram.xkcd.com/gop/

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  97. Anon 10:04:

    Yeah, "gaming" is something one's into, more of a gerund than a participle, "any gaming this month?" and this is just Randall talking weird.

    But not stopping a game to take a phone call is pretty reasonable: it's a real-time, competitive, probably short game against a live opponent. If it's not an emergency, you wouldn't stop in the middle of a ping-pong game to answer the phone either - you'd finish the set first.

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  98. There, Chris, you broke it! Are you happy now? Are you? Huh? HUH?

    ...Seriously, though, I think Carl's finally losing it. I don't think i can actually blame him for it, he doesn't work with blogging(like a certain webcomic "artist" we all know), but that does not make me happy at all. =/

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  99. Well, he changed it back to the regular format.

    Back to work, Carl.

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  100. So now the site has changed back everyone will be able to concentrate on how dull the comic itself is. Right?

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  101. I really really hate the last panel. I mean, I know that it's the game saying "BOOM! HEADSHOT" but aaaargh aargh! It's just a really stitled way of conveying what's happening. Couldn't he have, like, drawn it or something?

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  102. URRRRGHLGHLEGHLEURGHLE

    (that's supposed to be an onomatopoeia of angry growling)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeoCities#Closure

    xkcdikipedia vandalism makes me ANGRY!

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  103. Yeah, anyone so into gaming that they won't take a phone call while doing it is either going to use a wired connection or at least adjust their AP signal/location so the microwave can't fuck with it. Trust me, I know. Former WoW addict. *shiver*

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  104. But you can't do that, Aloria! Otherwise Randall can't make his HI-LARIOUS jokes featuring you! And that would mean you're not a REAL nerd.

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  105. Okie dokie, I actually went ahead and deleted the xkcd reference on that article. It really had nothing to do with the chronology presented by that section, and the event was nowhere near as notable as everything else mentioned.

    We'll see how long that lasts.

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  106. Ann Apolis, I have a feeling the "Boom! Headshot!" is also a reference to pure pwnage.

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  107. Oh, well that's alright then.

    CAPTCHA: resspee. Hehehe.

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  108. Pure Pwnage is surprisingly good. It is not made entirely of references unlike something else that I can't quite remember the name of...

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  109. I missed it. Ah well.

    Mustn't be a real geek. Don't check xkcd obsessively as soon as it's published. In fact, often forget which days it's published.

    TRiG.

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  110. Hey TRiG, I missed it too. I was kinda bummed I missed something actually funny but then I found a screenshot and... Meh.

    By the way, I missed it because I was busy getting ready for a molecular genetics exam. Does that make me less geeky or more?

    Also, get out of Randall's head, Megan!

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  111. So are Randall (or, Anonymous Male Protagonist [but let's be honest: Randall]) and Megan now living together? Or are they brother and sister or something? (Ewwww...) And there's that name again. Dear God.

    I thought it was nice that Randall put that much effort into creating a one-day-only joke. If only he put more effort into the actual comic instead of semi-humorous one-off shit. If only.

    And, as usual, the xkcd fanboys are out in full force. If I was Carl (AND MAYBE I AM, EH?) I'd intentionally trash the design just to irk the rabid fanboys.

    Also, the dialogue. "And I've got the ingredients too!" not only sounds amazingly phony, but we can see he's holding the chips. You don't need to tell us, Randall, we can see it ourselves, thank you. It's an infodump... but only with useless and unneeded info.

    The art was below average, as usual. How does Randall spend his day, I wonder? I mean, he only makes three comics a week, and all those comics have very minimalist art. (And maybe that's what he's going for: minimalism.) A microwave is just a box with a handle and a string coming out the box? Really? And that phone is just a plain ol' rectangle? Really? C'mon Randall, take some pride in your work.

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  112. Obviously he spends hours every day working on such brilliant lines as "and I've got the ingredients too!"

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  113. Add to the list: people hovering over chairs. =)

    All in all, this was a pretty okay comic for me.

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  114. Hrvatska

    We may be able to see he's holding chips, but the girl talking to the dude can't see through the fucking phone.

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  115. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  116. Could it not be that the guy on the phone is a serious gamer, which is why he would call it 'gaming', and Megan is a more casual player, which is why she's gaming on WiFi?

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  117. This comic totally confounded me. The dialogue is pretty unrealistic, and the premise is contrived, but it doesn't strike me as particularly funny in any way. I think situations like these tend to rely a lot on having consistent characters with distinct personalities, and of course, xkcd has none of them. I don't care about anyone in the strip, therefore I can't appreciate these sorts of antics in a wider context. In many senses, it's the sort of thing that would be funny in real life... and get this, Randall, because it is important: things that are funny in real life are not always funny when presented in other types of media.

    Another issue is that this comic seems as if it's less trying to be clever and more just stating a fact, namely, "microwaves interfere with wireless signals". Everyone who has ever used a wireless connection before (i.e. everyone who reads xkcd) knows just how unreliable and fiddly they can be, so the novelty is almost totally gone. Maybe I'm being a little bit cynical, but the situation just feels so unrealistic that I can't help but feel like he's forcing his square humour-peg into a round humour-hole (ew).

    Oh, and did you get the not-so-subtle reference in the last panel? Yet more geek cred by way of dated Internet phenomena! You know, I was alive in 2006 as well, Randy.

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  118. Today's comic is an astoundingly old joke that name drops Facebook to get nerd cred.

    Blech.

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  119. Yes, microwaves do interfere with wifi signals. No, Carl does not know this. No, this ignorance is not going to deter him from criticizing the comic.

    Carl, you have many things right, but you are too kitchen sink-ish about this whole enterprise. Not every feature of every comic can be effectively criticized. Not even every comic can be criticized.

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  120. I have never head of a microwave interfering with wirelss, signals. And in fact I live in a small apartment so my WiFi router is NEXT TO THE MICROWAVE and it has yet to experience any negative impact from that. So... yeeeeah

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  121. One of the problems that could have plagued this comic is that Randall is so awful at drawing characters interacting with the universe that a joke which relies on a visual communicating spatial relationships would be severely strained. I mean, if Randally can't even comfortably draw someone sitting on a chair or having a head attached to his body, what hope does he have of pulling off a basically visual gag like this?

    Well, it turns out it's not really that awful, so, dodged a bullet there. Actually, his crappy art helps--in real life, the fakery would be really obvious just because you simply don't pose the same way on a real climbing wall as on a horizontal surface, and so Randall can just gloss over that.

    I think I've spent entirely too much time writing about a fucking joke whose entirety is a guy fakes visuals of a vertical surface by turning the camera sideways come on, man, this was old when Strongbad did it.

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  122. oh yay i wasn't the only one who missed it, good i don't feel like such a loser now

    anyway carl i tried to google for the permalink john campbell provided back in the day but instead got this post as a result. feel famous

    what is with the horribly shitty alt-texts randall has been churning out as of late?

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  123. This is the worst alt-text ever. Normally he reserves the stilted language for the comic itself.

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  124. Old floor climbing gag that's actually helped by Randall's over-minimalist art style. And by helped, I mean we can immediately tell he's using a real rock-climbing wall, but we can't see any of the telltale signs that would normally give away a floor climbing photo. Stealing a rock-climbing wall instead of climbing it just for those fake shots is actually funny in a "Why? Because it was easier." way. But then he thinks we may not figure that out and wastes the alt-text treating his readers like morons.

    If this was xkcd in its prime, that last panel would have been zoomed out to show that SHE REALLY WAS STANDING ON THE WALL, just to make the poor guy's rock-climbing photos look fake.

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  125. I agree that the fake GeoCities page has been overdone, and I also thought the comic was intentionally retarded and random to fit with the GeoCities thing. GOOMH CARL.

    Today's comic... doesn't seem like a comic. If this were referencing a recent event (perhaps someone's photos being outed as fake), then I could see a reason to giggle. But really, this just seems like an old, simple gag turned into a comic. For no reason.

    Also the alt-text. UGH. I'm not retarded, you know. You don't have to explain the joke like that. Randall may as well have just put "The joke is that he took a rock climbing wall and lay it on the ground, then crawled along it and took photos so it would appear as though he were actually climbing up a real wall!"

    Mmhmm.

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  126. I thought todays one was actually kind of funny/clever until I read the alt-text. There are approximately 5 million things he could have put there that would have been funnier than spelling the joke out in excruciating detail.

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  127. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi#Channel_pollution

    Yes, microwaves interfere with wifi signals. No, Anonymous didn't bother to look that up in the most obvious imaginable place before rushing here to defend Carl and display its own ignornace.

    Proptip: Fanboyism isn't any cooler just because your idol hates on someone who has more fanboys. Carl can be dumb, and here he was dumb.

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  128. I actually thought the stick figure was being pelted by pieces of meat, following which he began to climb up a ladder. And then, a girl who is too cool for gravity told him that she was no longer impressed by his facebook photos because he was so bad at food fights/using ladders.

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  129. Wasn't the floor-climbing joke done by Jean-Paul Belmondo in that film where he played a stuntman? (Google, google... "L'Animal", 1977)

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  130. @Anon 12:16: That's not how you use the protip meme. I know you learned this from Randall, but he was doing it wrong, too.

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  131. Today's comic is absolutely awful. The floor climbing joke is the oldest joke since the invention of the camera, and the girl's appearance does nothing other than reveal the joke. Facebook is thrown in just because it's not geeky otherwise. The alt-text's only purpose is explaining the joke. "Remember kids, he has to STAND IT BACK UP. This means it is lying down right now. He's not actually climbing, he is using camera trickery to give the illusion that he is climbing!"

    Horrible. Not A Nonymous makes a good point: in the good days of XKCD, this would have been more along the lines of Mr. Hat going to extreme lengths (using a harness, metal soles and some sort of massive electromagnet outside or something) to make somebody's actual rock-climbing pictures look like they're faked.

    The great thing about the XKCD forums is that I can't tell if the people who don't get it are amusingly sarcastic or incredibly stupid.

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  132. I'm wondering if Randall is just reviving old jokes and geekifying them (lamely).
    The airport one is as old as airplanes are (or if not, at least as old as 9/11, ie: 8 years), and he just added laptops as a geek element.
    The new one is old too (show someone climbing, and then revealing that they are "climbing" the floor).
    The Monty Python "climbed" the North Face of Uxbridge Road (youtube vids if searched). And Xkcd apparently doesn't like Monty Python being copied, and prefers surreal humour (xkcd.com/16/).
    But here we have the same old joke (seen countless times aside from Monty Python too) with the addition of the word "Facebook" (which is entirely removable with no effect on the joke) added to make it geeky.
    BTW: Facebook isn't geeky anymore, my grandmother and aunt use Facebook.

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  133. Goodness gracious, I could never imagine xkcd could sink THAT low in terms of absolute mediocrity. That joke could only be possibly justified by some sort of context, character background, motivation, you know, but NOT BY A GODDAMN FACEBOOK NAMEDROP. Could Randall have POSSIBLY thought that was a really good idea?

    A while ago I said xkcd was getting closer every day to making a joke about how men just won't lower the toilet lid. I'm starting to believe I made a prophecy there; really, it's just around the corner now.

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  134. I agree that the joke is a pretty tired one, but I don't think that the Facebook element is entirely gratuitous. It at least alludes to the ridiculous culture of constructing a false self online, posting all sorts of photos for the sole purpose of drawing attention to yourself/boasting. It's thematically similar to the Foliage photoshop comic. Particularly with the advent of social networking sites and digital cameras, we as a society sometimes seem more obsessed with getting the perfect photo or some sort of photographic proof that we did something, rather than actually having 'real' experiences.

    This doesn't really make the comic much funnier, but I don't think it's accurate to say that the Facebook reference is only some flippant 'geek lipservice'.

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  135. Yeah.. that whole facebook/false identity thing seems like way to deep an observation, but who knows.

    Anyway, I never understood why men should lower the toilet seat. Raise it, sure. But why demand that men lower it after they're done, and not that women raise it after they're done?

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  136. "Lint of Death said...

    Okie dokie, I actually went ahead and deleted the xkcd reference on that article. It really had nothing to do with the chronology presented by that section, and the event was nowhere near as notable as everything else mentioned.

    We'll see how long that lasts."

    It's filled with other references to people talking about Geocities' closure, yet you go ahead and delete the xkcd part? Might as well just go around Wikipedia and edit out other things you hate.

    And don't say it has nothing to do with the article. I'm not a huge fan of xkcd myself, but like it or not it IS popular. I usually enjoy reading comments from the people in this place, but that was just retarded.

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  137. "Remember kids, he has to STAND IT BACK UP. This means it is lying down right now. He's not actually climbing, he is using camera trickery to give the illusion that he is climbing!"

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  138. The "false identity on Facebook" is a great thing to be explored, but in the case of this comic, the whole execution was geared towards the wacky visual gag thing, which makes the Facebook thing seem tacked on. If Randall intended to make a commentary on Facebook fakery, there are tons of better ways to do it.

    "It's filled with other references to people talking about Geocities' closure, yet you go ahead and delete the xkcd part? Might as well just go around Wikipedia and edit out other things you hate."

    xkcd has lost pretty much all hopes of being relevant for Wikipedia with the on-going rampant wikivaldalism by xkcd fanboytards. It's safe to say that the reference wasn't there for encyclopaedic reasons, but for mere publicity.

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  139. "UGH xkcd is being stupid right now. Why is it so stupid?"

    Christ, this blog is getting shitty. That has got to be the most juvenile thing I've ever read here.

    "Lastly, I would have, if not enjoyed this concept, at least appreciated it more if it had not been connected to Geocities' demise, just done as a random prank."

    That is bullshit. Geocities' demise is the only thing that made the redesign relevant. If it weren't for that, you would've just bitched about the Strong Bad stuff.

    "I am going to go ahead and admit that maybe my hatred of xkcd is getting in the way of me enjoying this."

    It has. You've lost the ability to objectively criticize xkcd. You're the other side of the xkcd fanboy coin, and it's just as bad.

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  140. I'm shocked he didn't mention Batman.

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  141. Re: xkcd on Wikipedia

    Sorry dudes. While the xkcd reference on the Geocities article may have been relevant, fanboys have ruined it for themselves by blindly linking to xkcd in EVERY tangentially related article.

    People who take Wikipedia seriously are REALLY sick and tired of having to clean up this sort of thing, to the point that articles are becoming auto-protected when their topic pops up in a comic. I'm sorry, but just because Randall decides to mention q-tips one day does not mean that a link to the comic needs to go in a "In Popular Culture" section on the cotton swab article.

    That is why there is a knee-jerk reaction to deleting xkcd references out of Wikipedia now, because some of its fans have ruined it for the rest of you guys who only want to link to it when it is truly of-note. I really did think the Geocities instance was passable. It may not be a fair reaction, but it is pretty understandable.

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  142. @Fred Yes, that is how one uses protip, you prescriptivist fool. What do you think, that this is defined in a Dictionary of Internet Usage somewhere? People use it for precisely that purpose all the time. I don't know if Randall uses it that way commonly or not, because if he does, it's not at all unique or characteristic of him.

    In conclusion, give up on defending Carl. He is still stupid, and you are not helping his case by turning into little xkcdsucks fanatics.

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  143. Oh shit, "prescriptivist." Fred, you got fucking SERVED.

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  144. Prescriptivist! I can do nothing but hang my head in shame. This is like being called out on Godwinning, or indeed of 'just not getting the joke'.

    And he has a point: many people use it for that purpose all the time. So I concede to you, anonymous, that yes, that is indeed how one uses the protip meme, if one is a dickhead.

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  145. The thing about calling people prescriptivist is it only works as an insult if you are not intending to be prescriptivist. If I say "don't use the word 'irregardless,' it makes you a dumbfuck," and you say, "ah, but it is a legitimate word," I will say "yes; a legitimate word that only dumbfucks use." QED.

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  146. Protip: use protip incorrectly on blogs and forums.

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  147. "What do you think, that this is defined in a Dictionary of Internet Usage somewhere?"

    Wow, you surely RICKROLL'd him!

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  148. Has Randall ever acknowledged the existence of this blog? I don't see any mention in his own blog or his comics. It's like he really could give a shit less what each and every one of you think. I find that pretty funny.

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  149. ahem

    also, ahem

    I mean, shit, insulting people is cool and all, and encouraged. However, you might as well take 5 seconds to verify that what you're basing your insult on isn't, you know, DEMONSTRATIVELY FALSE.

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  150. i stand corrected. side note: i did start that post as a question.

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  151. Rob: You seem to miss my point. Not a surprise, as you regularly contribute to this blog by missing points.

    Your example doesn't work, because we have dictionaries that define the usage of words like "regardless," and clearly exclude the bastardized form that you highlight. My point is that being prescriptivist about Internet terms that aren't even real words makes you look like a fool, because the only parameters that define the correctness of Internet terms are common usage.

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  152. @Fernie

    That made me LOLcats

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  153. Oh please, the whole "it doesn't matter how you use an internet phrase because it's not in a book" argument is nonsense. That's like saying "It doesn't matter that they're at TGI Friday's, because it's a comic and anything is possible in a comic."

    If you really don't understand it, look at Fernie Canto's and Sherlock Holmes' examples. They're screwing up the memes, which makes their posts look idiotic, which makes them look idiotic. The only difference is that when they screwed up their memes, they were joking, and you were not. You should feel bad about that.

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  154. By the way, having to spell all that out is pretty tedious, but I suddenly understand why Randall has that constant tendency to overexplain his jokes.

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  155. I came by to just ask a question, but after scanning the thread I have to make two comments as well:

    1. The term "gaming" is used by my teenage son and all his, ahem, gaming friends in exactly the way the comic shows. "What are you gonna do this weekend?" "Probably nothing but gaming." or "Not right now, I'm gaming." So that seems legit, for that group of people, at least. (I have picked up the usage simply by virtue of hearing it over and over and over, even though I don't game.)

    2. Until I read the alt-text on the rock-climbing comic, I assumed the guy was just crawling along on the *ground* with the camera tilted. This may be because I live in a desert area where you could probably do something like that and (at least try to) get away with it. *shrug* There are different levels of obvious, I guess.

    And finally, my point and reason for being here:
    3. My son asked me to find the "proposal" xkcd comic. He swears there was a comic that consisted of nothing but a white screen, black text, "Megan will you marry me" or some variation of the theme. I can't find anything, and I think he's just imagining it. But comic #404 is missing, which makes me uncertain - if a public proposal was turned down, he'd probably have deleted it, right? But on the other hand, having comic #404 redirect to a 404 not found page is about what I'd expect.

    So: Anyone know about a missing or hidden proposal comic?

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  156. You talk with your son about xkcd what

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  157. anon, honey, the point is that if you don't care that you are telling other people how to use words, then you don't care that you are telling other people how to use words.

    Also: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/irregardless

    bitch

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  158. you really suck at being a descriptivist, btw

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  159. If you want to really resolve the issue about the proper definition of "protip", you could just google it.

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  160. Elayne: He was probably thinking of Penny Arcade. There's never been an xkcd proposal strip, but there was a PA proposal strip.

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  161. Fred: Still wrong, not getting any righter. If protip even rises to the level of a meme, it is a meme which is practically without content. All it is used for is to indicate sarcasm and a sense of superior knowledge. There's no incorrect way to use it, so long as one follows the basic format of following it with some piece of snarky mock advice.

    You know this, of course. You latched onto that innocuous element of the post because you like Carl, and you don't like it when people point out his ignorance. Now you look foolish and fanboyish.

    Rob: Still not getting it. The problem isn't that Fred was prescriptivist, it's that he tried to prescribe, failed to prescribe correctly, and wound up looking like an idiot. For the reasons explained above, you can't correct someone in their usage of protip. Thus, the prescriptivism frame was an awful way to attack me and express Fred's loyalty to Carl. It was that problem of inappropriate tactics to which I responded, and not any problem with prescriptivism as such.

    And read your own link. Irregardless is listed as nonstandard, and the usage note explains how it was probably formed by a brain dead analogy to words which don't already have negative suffixes built in. They included it not to sanction its use, but to point out a common error. It only confirms my point that most English words have standard meanings which one can prescribe, while most Internet terms do not, which makes prescribing their usage foolish and impossible.

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  162. i am the world's foremost expert on xkcd and there is no proposal strip. The missing 404 was so he could make a "404 not found" joke when you try to find comic 404.

    Re: Micro waves - check this article that a whole 8 seconds of googling found me. Or just read the key quote: "In my house, the favorite place to use a WiFi enabled laptop is the kitchen counter and it typically involves snacking at the same time, which may mean using the microwave. I don’t know whether or not I’m “typical,” but it works for me." There's absolutely no way we could know how close the wifi point and the microwave are to each other from the lack of visual information we are given in this comic. Hell, we don't even know if the microwave did cause the wifi to stop working, it could just as easily have been that she has sucky wifi. And before you say "but then there's no joke!" let me just add "there isn't one now."

    Re the "protip" language controversy: If "protip" just means "tip," ie, you can use it anytime you are giving a tip to someone, why not just say "tip" ? the answer is that they don't mean the same thing; "protip" is to indicate that you are giving wildly obvious unhelpful advice. See?

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  163. Anon you are probably one of the dumbest Cuddlefish we've ever had. That is an accomplishment I guess (?) so congratulations!

    Anyway. Let's go back to your original post, yeah? Here is what you said: "you prescriptivist fool"

    Now, there's a curious little property of insulting phrases like this: the whole phrase is used pejoratively! You weren't just saying "you are a prescriptivist, just saying, no value judgement at all." Nor were you saying "you are bad at being a prescriptivist." You were saying "you are a prescriptivist, and foolish because of it." You then proceed to use the standard Internet Idiot's Attack Against Prescriptivism: it doesn't have a dictionary entry, and people use it that way all the time.

    Notice how Fred has no reason to care if "people use it that way all the time." He is saying "people who use that word are fuckheads."

    And again, you're a really terrible descriptivist. Just because a usage is nonstandard doesn't make it "incorrect." Indeed, it is entirely correct in many circumstances to use the word "irregardless." It just makes you an idiot.

    But that is really beside the point. The point is that a prescriptivist's claims w/r/t slang are, in fact, even stronger than one with regards to a word that is already established enough to have made it into a dictionary. Undefined slang is fuzzy and easy to get wrong. Like you did! Because you are an idiot.

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  164. I am going to start calling a cup of coffee drank on a frosty Ohio morning a "cleveland steamer." I can do this because "cleveland steamer" is slang, so I can use it in whatever context I like.

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  165. protip aloria, that's not how you use "coffee"

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  166. aloria wins the prize for awesome.

    her comment is totally 4chan (that means "hilarious," in case you don't know). Every time she posts a comment, i think "TCIAL" ["the cake is a lie," ie, "awesome comment!"]

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  167. protip: rob is a dirty human, get the hell off my blog rob.

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  168. protip: HH98sydhfN98NCD98N9ASHC9Nan9uindcj

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  169. aloria

    How the fuck is he supposed to easily verify that? Google heisnotrandall.jpg? I'm probably not thinking hard enough, but the fact is that there are few places to verify this. This isn't some fucking widely known fact.

    More importantly, he wasn't even insulting anything. He was asking the question of whether or not Randall knows about this blog, and commenting on how it would be funny if he didn't give a shit about this blog. So, why don't YOU take five seconds and read his comment to verify what you're saying isn't, you know, DEMONSTRATIVELY FALSE.

    Also, in your screenshot, Randall is saying that even though he knows this blog exists, and it makes him feel like shit, he has a cool job, so it's all good. In other words, yes, he knows about this blog. Yes, it makes him feel bad. No, he does not care enough to read this blog, and he views this blog as the price of his fucking amazing life.

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  170. Um, those links are in the FAQ, conveniently linked in the sidebar. Maybe I'm just really, uh, out there, but that's the first place I'd look to see if there was any information on if Randall knew about the blog or not.

    So yes, he knows about the blog, and yes, he really does "give a shit," enough that it bothers him so he doesn't visit anymore. Which was the entire basis of Anon's post.

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  171. And yes, I know, expecting people to look in a FAQ about a something before making statements about it is COMPLETELY insane and unreasonable.

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  172. I think I'm in the weird place of liking both XKCD and this blog. For one, I can see where this blog is coming from the vast majority of the time, just a lot of the time I think y'all are being a little hard on Randall.

    Strips like the one this post is about (post, not comments) remind me of the one with Randall at the post office visualizing fight scenes happening around him. They are things that are completely implausible, or at the very least highly unlikely, but it's a "wouldn't this be fun." As a guy who does that plenty of the time, it gets a laugh out of me.

    For days like today, I laughed at the girl wrecking his fun. The fact that it's an old joke doesn't really bother me, although, I do think that this could have been executed 20 times better if instead of the chick it was Mr. Hat doing something like using a crane to lift the wall 30 feet in the air so that he ruins the pictures, and forces the guy to use the muscles he would actually have to use in rock climbing.

    Also, anonymous is using protip wrong. You're a fucking idiot who has no idea what you're talking about so can it.

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  173. Yes, you've selectively found one example of protip that appears to be narrower than the way I used it. Then you've done a bunch of nonsensical protips in an attempt to mock me, while ignoring the format (Protip: snarky advice which is obvious) which I noted above, and which contains the sole content of the meme.

    Whether or not protip was originally used to humorlessly give totally valueless advice (which you don't know, of course, since these terms rarely have verifiable histories), it has pretty obviously evolved into simply a way to suggest that the remark that follows is obvious, and that the person who it is directed at ought to have known it already. I would link to urbandictionary, but the lack of copy/paste dissuades me, and I don't see any purpose in demonstrating what all of already know but are pretending to find entirely novel and absurd.

    Microwaves/wi-fi: as with many complex technologies, there is sometimes interference and sometimes not. The point is: sometimes there's interference! Potentially, this interference could be exploited by a devious FPS opponent! That was the premise of the joke in the strip. It wasn't a very good joke, but Carl's ignorant rhetorical questioning of something which is quite plausible made him look dumb.

    Rob: You can interpret the remark that way. You can also interpret it as me calling him a fool who happens to be a prescriptivist. Even if you interpret it your way, does it matter? Pretty obviously, the insulting connotations of "prescriptivist" were meant to appeal to people who are not prescriptivists. If you call me an "atheist fool," is it intelligible response for me to say OH NO BUT WHAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IS THAT I AM FINE WITH MY ATHEISM AND THAT YOUR INSULT IS DEFLECTED OFF MY PSYCHE AS WATER IS DEFLECTED OFF OF A DUCK'S FEATHERS? No, it is not. Obviously, you included "atheist" as a pejorative to express your own disapproval for that quality, and perhaps to invoke the disapproval of your presumed audience.

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  174. "humorlessly" should be "humorously."

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  175. LEAVE the Anonymi alone or deal with I!

    William Monty Hughes has spoken you wretched dogs of discontent!

    -William Montgomery Hughes, ESQ
    Intelligence Quotient: Two Hundred and Twenty Four
    Cogito Ergo Sum

    Captcha: Antic. Your retarded antics are beginning to irritate me.

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  176. Um, yes, if you called me an "atheist fool" I would say "all right, that's cool, I'm just going to go ahead and keep being an atheist and let you think that calling me that is an insult." That is generally what I do when I am called an atheist fool. It hasn't happened in a while but I have a pretty lengthy history of it, actually!

    It only works as an insult if the person cares that it is insulting. You need to make a better argument against prescriptivism than "you are a prescriptivist." I know that it is the only word longer than "chicken" that you know, but you can use your words to talk about other things.

    Unfortunately you are an idiot.

    Your interpretation, by the way, is some pretty poorly executed back-pedalling. That's just not how insults are formulated. Especially if you don't intend it to be insulting--why even bother pointing it out?

    Here's a few others for you to try on. "You liberal fool!" "You communist fool!" "You Republican fool!" "You fascist fool!" "You atheist fool!" (THAT WAS YOUR EXAMPLE I AM INFRINGING YOUR COPYRIGHT) "You socialist fool!" "You bleeding heart fool!" "You Objectivist fool!" "You creationist fool!" "You fundamentalist fool!"

    Now, these are bereft of their context, but let's try to imagine them, shall we? In every one of these, the situation in which you use them is more or less universally "You hold to the philosophy or political or religious belief that I just identified, and you are foolish because of it."

    In all of these cases it's entirely ineffective. You are just saying "You are dumb because you disagree with me." That is not an effective argument--it just doesn't work as an argument. You can attack a premise of someone's beliefs, but you have not done so here. You have basically just said "you're a prescriptivist, and you're wrong because here's a descriptive view of its use."

    Use those two lonely brain cells.

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  177. Protip has a fucking obvious history--it comes from the GamePro magazine, which had a history of giving useless retardedly obvious advice in the "PROTIP: To defeat the Cyberdemon, shoot it until it dies" format. So, yes, "Protip" isn't just slang for "Obvious statement" but "Obvious piece of advice."

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  178. i gotta stay up late tonight, anyone know where i can get a tasty cleveland steamer?

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  179. In the specific case of prescriptivism/descriptivism, it's especially common for "prescriptivist" to be used as a pejorative, especially by people such as yourself, who are idiots from the internet who think they know something about linguistics. It is sort of like Christians who, when they encounter a liberal, say "I really question your faith in Jesus," making the assumption that the liberal in question cares.

    I could come up with other examples (there are lots!), but the point is there's a specific, stupid history of your particular pejorative. So: yes, I am being a prescriptivist. IT IS DELIBERATE.

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  180. Maybe if you and your insultee are locked in a hermetically sealed, soundproof vault, the insult only works if the insultee cares that it's insulting or agrees with the basis for the insult. But in a public setting (like this one), insults and pejorative language are often used to expose another to ridicule, or to declare one's own views. This is evidenced by the fact that all of the epithets you use as examples are in common usage, and that their purpose is only occasionally to inflict actual psychic harm on their targets, and far more often to rally one's fellow travelers in hatred of or contempt for one's target.

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  181. how come no one has shouted "AD HOMINEM" yet

    i kind of miss seeing that term

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  182. Psychic harm?! OH SHI-

    Maybe you meant mental?

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  183. Because yelling "AD HOMINEM" is very beta, and we're all alphas here.

    Maybe Gamepro is where the thing originated, and maybe the humorously obvious format was the sole original usage. Guess what? The sole original usage of "decimate" was "to reduce by one-tenth," or perhaps even "to punish a legion for disobedience by killing every tenth member." Is that what decimate means anymore? Would you call the usage to mean "reduce by a large, unspecified portion" incorrect? It's pretty obvious that protip is just used generally for snarky pieces of mock advice now, so how does it conceivably matter to current usage how the term was used in Gamepro in the 80s?

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  184. Nope, meant "psychic." See, e.g. http://www.merr-iam-webster.com/dictionary/psychic

    Definition 1.

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  185. Correct URL is http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychic

    Is there any reason for the no copy/paste thing?

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  186. man you are not a very bright one.

    The point is that it is not an effective argument. But it's not even an effective insult, really. I mean, I know you like to imagine yourself as a demagogue shouting an insult at your foe--probably in an arena, no doubt--and it is so incisive that the crowds turn against him and start cheering you on and jeering, and then he feels the weight of public pressure and is SHAMED by his views. Good luck, I guess?

    A pejorative is only an effective insult if, well, the person you are insulting finds the term offensive. Occasionally you could argue that if they find the sentiment behind your words offensive they'll take offense, but that really only works if there is some profound social stigma involved--race, sexual orientation, gender--where the language used is a linguistic testament to the person's status as a second-class citizen.

    But sure, if you can round up a lynch mob of descriptivists, go nuts.

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  187. *meekly attempting to sidestep all the prescriptivist protips*

    Anonymous 12:34, thanks! Penny Arcade is one of his favorites, but I can't get into that one; that probably is exactly what he's thinking of. Thanks again. Now maybe he'll shut up about it, heh.

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  188. Rob: You're still stupid, and now backpedaling. No arena, just public discussion of an insulting nature. We can observe effects in this very thread where the use of insults serves as a signal for social coordination. The fact remains that while you CAN use an insult in an attempt to wound another person's pride, you can also use it in an attempt to expose him as ridiculous or worthy of contempt to others, EVEN IF the original target disagrees with the basis for your judgment. You're waging a valiant battle against common sense to suggest otherwise, but it's not getting you anywhere in terms of monster-barring the type of insult at issue.

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  189. I'm just saying that's (a) super ineffective and (b) indicative that you are kind of a dumbass.

    Not sure how I'm backpedaling though. I've pretty much kept a consistent stance here: you are a dumbass; your insults are ineffective; you are bad at being a descriptivist; you are sad and will die alone.

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  190. It's pretty obvious that protip is just used generally for snarky pieces of mock advice now

    That's exactly what I'm saying it SHOULD be used for, and what the dumbass descriptivists are saying is no longer the necessary usage.

    The fact remains that while you CAN use an insult in an attempt to wound another person's pride, you can also use it in an attempt to expose him as ridiculous or worthy of contempt to others, EVEN IF the original target disagrees with the basis for your judgment.

    Who the fuck else is gonna get riled up because you called him a prescriptivist?

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  191. aloria

    I acknowledged the fact that I'm probably not thinking hard enough to find this information. It is, however, only in the "this blog sucks FAQ", so I did not see it when I read it yesterday. So, actually, I did read the correct corresponding FAQ before posting this. I did not have the foresight to read the wrong FAQ though.

    Yeah, it's COMPLETELY insane and unreasonable for me to look in the FAQ not meant for me.

    You are conveniently overlooking the fact that Randall thinks he has a great life, and this blog is a price to pay for it, so it's fine that there is a blog out there criticizing his work. So, yes, he does give a shit, but not that much becase he says he loves his life. I find it funny how this blog nitpicks every fucking trivial detail of his comics, and all it amounts to is a small price he is paying for a job he fucking loves, and has fun doing. In the end, he is a huge winner.

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  192. Rob: Broadly, you have been stumblingly and misguidedly consistent. But you backpedaled inasmuch as you realized that your original position that it isn't really an insult was untenable, and you then adopted the position that it was a bad insult. There's no accounting for taste, so we'll treat the point as conceded on your part and move on.

    Femalthoth: That is exactly how I did use it. Perhaps we agree that protip cannot be used to introduce a noun with no context, as whimsically suggested above. Perhaps we also agree that it can't be used to introduce a simple declarative statement as: "Protip: Burgers are delicious." Perhaps the usage is actually evolving that way. Most any other use that vaguely follows the advice format is clearly encompassed by the term as it is used commonly, which is all that matters when it comes to terms like this.

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  193. Projecting for fun and profit!

    So, maybe you can understand: something which is not insulting is a bad insult. This works both ways! A bad insult is not insulting. You could say of something that is not insulting: "it's not an insult." Because it's not insulting! An insult is something which is offensive, or insulting, if you will.

    You'll note that I've always called it a pejorative--that means insult! Again, "words longer than chicken." Learn them. It is just not an insulting one. That is to say, "is it only works as an insult if you are not intending to be prescriptivist." Which is the first thing that I said. Literacy!

    Now, since you don't seem to understand basic words and phrases, we'll break down "only works as an insult." Let's focus on "works." Work means "act or operate effectively." I am suggesting that this particular insult only acts or operates effectively (ie, is only insulting) if the person you are insulting cares that you are insulting them.

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  194. Nope. "Works," in context, means "exists as an insult." You meant to suggest that if it didn't insult Fred, it wasn't an insult. But it was--and it was an insult even if Fred is proud to be a (misguided, stupid, incorrect) prescriptivist. And now you've backed off your contention that it wasn't, and it's fine--no one will love you any less.

    Pejorative: Ctrl+F. Gee, who has been using it throughout the thread, in addition to you? You're a bit of a desperate loser. I can assure you that you don't know a single (English, non-technical) word that I do not. And I reached that amazing conclusion with only a brief sample of your writing.

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