Friday, March 5, 2010

(One Of) The Reasons I Hate XKCD

I think Carl made a post about this a while back, but Carl is always wrong about literally everything he ever says and I am always demonstrably correct, so I thought I'd give this a go. This one is dedicated to my fans, who complain that my posts are too long and ask if I have nothing better to do. Written early on a Saturday morning during a bout of insomnia. Started at 2:04 AM, finished at 2:58 AM, with IM conversations in the background. Hugs and kisses!

I used to like XKCD. Like, a lot. I was embarrassingly fanboyish about some of the comics. When I first found this blog (I don't remember how this happened now; it was long ago and much has changed) I was an XKCD apologist. Unlike many cuddlefish, however, I was willing to engage in intelligent, reasonable discussion, and quickly found that many of the comics were indefensible. At first it went something like "well, he's having an off week." But that off week never went away. As is so often the case with this scenario, there's no one moment or one thing that swayed me. But in the space of a few weeks, I went from apologist to hater.

The problem isn't just that Randall stopped being talented, though, and often the posts here focus on what makes an individual comic so bad. This often misses the broader picture, and is part of why I started writing these posts in the first place. There is more than simply the details we point out, and it is in some ways part of XKCD's entire corpus. It is also why I used to like it.

The problem is basically this: Randall does not write jokes, as such. He writes inside jokes.

You see, Randall is synonymous with XKCD, far more than any other webcomic is synonymous with its creators. In almost every other comic--and I am including here Overcompensating, despite its function as a journal comic--there is a break between the creator and the created. There is none with XKCD. Perhaps it is the stick figure style, the fact that it started as doodles and notes he never really intended to share with anyone. But this is why the Megan thing feels so creepy--a phenomenon that I maintain would not happen with other webcomics--and this is why XKCD is so irritating.

I first truly noticed this phenomenon with the Tautology comic. Members on the forums started coming up with their own "tautologies" based on this. This appears to be fanboyish behavior, but I was unconvinced that this alone was to blame, because I was struck with how similar this looked to your garden variety inside joke.

Any social circle has inside jokes, and most social circles have at least one person who is the constant source of them. They are generally not, strictly speaking, funny of their own right, but to the social circle, it provides amusement which is derived almost entirely from being part of the ingroup. It goes something like this:

While getting coffee with his friends, an idea strikes a central charismatic figure for something that amuses him--an observation about something fairly mundane in the world. He mentions this to his friends, who agree that this is amusing, and come up with other examples. The next several minutes of conversation consist of coming up with and discussing examples, and picking favorites. If the idea is particularly memorable, or if it strikes the fancy of the central figure--if he really fixates on it--then this will become more than just an evening of conversation. It will become an inside joke. It will be a little game they play, where they come up with examples for each other.

This explains XKCD fairly well, but it does not, at first, seem to explain the proselytizing. However, one must recall that many social circles try to include other people in their inside jokes. They make them around others, they explain the origin stories. This feels validating. It's a form of social bonding.

Except with XKCD, the ingroup is essentially the entirety of internet culture--or rather, this is what they perceive themselves to be. XKCD is an inside joke for everyone who is into the internet; its fans do not see it as a comic but as a source of inside jokes--they are part of a massive social circle with Randall as its central charismatic figure, but which, they tell themselves on the forums, is filled with very excellent and very intelligent people.

This also helps to explain the utter shock that some XKCD fans demonstrate towards someone disliking the comic. If you express dislike for a central figure in any social circle they will react with confusion--this is not only someone they personally like, but someone who is at the core of their social lives and those of several other people. To be in that social circle and yet dislike its core is nothing short of baffling.

The problem that I have with this arrangement is not the community as such--I appreciate the internet's potential for community formation--and it is not the fact that inside jokes are not actually funny--every social circle has them and they can be quite enjoyable.

No, it is that this community, this feeling of being part of an ingroup, this sense that the ingroup is the entire internet, is a ruse. The XKCD fans think that everyone is part of the group or would gladly join it if they somehow missed out. They act as if the whole internet is their community, casually drop references or links whenever something that reminds them of one of their corpus of 700 inside jokes pops up, and then act hurt or confused when you tell them you don't like XKCD. Randall Munroe is not their friend. In all likelihood he will never be.

And so they try to proselytize and seek members for a community which does not exist, never once pausing to analyze their motives here, but always congratulating themselves for being part of such a wonderful community. And Randall Munroe cheerfully continues the deception, writing things with a formula that's pretty easy to repeat, inside-joke style, and writing about an array of things such that every member of his ingroup will have an opportunity to repeat the injokes. It is built entirely on a false premise and devotion to a concept that isn't even real.

98 comments:

  1. ...but xkcd has always been like this. It doesn't explain why it stopped being good.

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  2. Really? I read the first 75 today and they rang so strongly of a lone voice speaking tentatively to no one that the contrast almost made me break down and have a nice cry before I remembered that I am a man.

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  3. tl;dr
    XKCD is a brothel and Randall is the pimp

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  4. I find it deeply frustrating how Xkcd somehow manages to be the inside-joke authority in fields that its author doesn't actually understand all that well.

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  5. xkcd is not a religion, it is a cult.

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  6. Just don't read it. Why is it so bad it's worth the trouble of making a website hating it? Is it offensive somehow?

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  7. "[a] vitriolic and bitter collection of unwarranted nastiness about a silly and harmless comic."

    People are bored on the internets.

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  8. @Anon 5:36pm: You don't read movie critiques or book reviews very often do you?

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  9. IIRC the closest Carl did to this was when he talked about how XKCD has now premise or format and can pretty much do whatever it wants, which makes it all the more disappointing that it ends up sucking so often.

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  10. "People are bored on the internets."

    OHMYGOD WHO HACKED THE BLOG
    NONONONONO
    WHO PUT THAT THERE

    CARL
    HELP

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  11. Nah. Most XKCD posters don't go to the forum, they see the comic, then do something else. I hardly think Randall is a central charismatic figure. He does use in jokes, but they're very much just internet meme+idea+maybe maths or something.

    Otherwise, great blog. I generally read it after I read XKCD. If XKCD was bad, then this blog can be pretty funny. If XKCD was good, then it's funny to see you guys trying to justify disliking it.

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  12. If XKCD was good

    *not bad

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  13. If XKCD was good

    *not bad

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  14. You keep saying that XKCD "used to" be good. In my opinion, it has NEVER been good. Can you point out a few of these older comics that you think aren't filled with pointless science references, creepy emotional stuff, or lame inside jokes?

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  15. The early ones had a different tone, and I still find it somewhat amusing, if you understand the references. Not necessarily funny, but something to think about for a few seconds. Kind of like the 'lolcat' thing, but a little more serious in tone. Except for 709, which was just weird.

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  16. Well done, Rob. Another insightful and convincing deconstruction of the XKCD-fail machine. Keep 'em coming.

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  17. @Anon 8:28

    Your mileage may vary on whether you think the joke is any good or not (Hitler is a pretty played-out topic), however this one does fit your criteria. Also, pretty much all of the ones that are just sketches of something or other.

    http://xkcd.com/29/

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  18. Just don't read it. Why is it so bad it's worth the trouble of making a website hating it? Is it offensive somehow?

    Well...in a way, yes. Bad things aren't a problem if they don't have followers, or if they're followed by a contained (and consequently harmless) group. The problem is when something is bad and a large and influential group of people continue to believe that it's good. In these cases, it's crucial to reveal the central figure for what he is: a talentless hack being followed by little more than sheep. And, like it or not, those sheep are pushing their way into our lives (see Rob's Rants #1). Because we're directly affected by this, it's our job to put a stop to it if possible.

    Oh, and this reminds me of something. Can I make an outdated and only barely relevant rant here? Please? Thanks.

    Okay, remember how in the September 20 post, we had a video of Randall talking about this blog? Near the end, he waves it off as people thinking "someone is wrong on the internet," much to the amusement of his fans. It's like he doesn't even get his own joke! The reason that idea is so absurd is because you're trying to correct someone who, in the big scheme of things, doesn't matter one bit! You're wasting you're time for the sake of being right. That's why it's normally silly to act because "someone is wrong on the internet." However, the guy who writes XKCD isn't someone; he's Randall Freaking Munroe! He's influential (well, on the internet anyway)! He has thousands of people who think he's the next messiah or something! That's why it's so crucial to correct him, and that's why his little "wrong on the internet" joke is completely inapplicable.

    Okay, done now.

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  19. Gamer I don't think you get it. It's only people on the Internet who disagree with you who are sad and petty. If they agree with you they're obviously reasonable people who just want somewhere to express their opinion.

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  20. Except in that clip, he was referring to himself, not the blog.

    Aside from that, it's not "crucial" to correct him at all. If you enjoy criticizing it, fine - so do a lot of people - but claiming that anything about this blog comes out of necessity is just stupid.

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  21. Loved this whole essay, Rob. Continue your infallibility until you become popular and I am forced to hate you because of your rampant followers.

    Reposting this line for truth: "The problem is basically this: Randall does not write jokes, as such. He writes inside jokes."

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  22. This is a really astute way of looking at xkcd, but I don't think you're right to see it as a sham. The people who read xkcd and enjoy the inside jokeyness of it don't think that they're Randall's friends, they think that they're the friends of other people who read xkcd. So that when you say "delicious cycle" in a situation where it's appropriate, you and your friends share a moment of recognition. People don't just think that they find that enjoyable, they actually do find it enjoyable.

    In a lot of ways, I think that xkcd is the nerdy webcomic equivalent of Seinfeld (which I love). Seinfeld isn't great because it does things that are totally unexpected, it's great because it's full of clever little observations about situations people find themselves in. As such, most of the fun of being a Seinfeld fan is in finding yourself in the situations described in Seinfeld and seeing the humor in them. Same goes for the better xkcd's; the pleasure is in recognizing things that you can see and notice in your own life and realize that other people notice them too. I think that also explains why xkcd is so noxious to people who are annoyed by it; it's very nature compels people who like it to bring it up all the time.

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  23. Long time reader, first time poster.

    What the fuck is a cuddlefish?

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  24. http://xkcdsucks.blogspot.com/2008/10/frequently-asked-awesome-questions.html

    Last question

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  25. I think that xkcd is the nerdy webcomic equivalent of Seinfeld

    No, Seinfeld had characters with personality traits that were distinct. xkcd really has no characters, so xkcd cannot be the webcomic equivalent of Seinfeld.

    A lot of the humor from Seinfeld basically came from the fact that all the characters were in different ways pretty terrible people and acted like complete assholes (whether intentionally or not). But they still had defined character traits, they were all assholes in different ways, and it was those characters that made the humor. If every episode of Seinfeld starred different people but was exactly the same otherwise, the show would not be well-received because then it would just be a bunch of random people acting like jerks, instead of established characters.

    In the xkcd webcomic-verse, we have three characters. Mr. Hat fits the Seinfeld description pretty well but he shows up far too infrequently. Beret-guy really has no character traits, he seems to change in every appearance and the closest thing to a character trait is his weird obsession with baked goods. The final character is Megan who doesn't really have a personality at all except to be pined over by the other stick figures/Randall.

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  26. Giant Squid: the tv show or the stand-up comic? if it's the stand-up I agree; if it's the show I disagree.

    xkcd's humour is I think hugely GOOMH-based. The only reason people are slow to click that it's basically identical to Seinfeld's whole "ya ever notice..." style routine and call it out for the hackneyed crap it is is because the things being noticed were fairly leftfield, oddball, unusual, nerdy.

    The laughter xkcd produces doesn't so much signify "what cleverness, what wit, what humour" as it does...well, some kind of convoluted social relations.


    uh...



    Hey did you know most laughter in everyday life isn't in response to a joke at all? Typically it just pops up in casual conversation as a way of establishing rapport. i.e. "Hey Joe long time no see!" "Hahaha hey Mack!"
    or
    "Looks like the weather is changing" "Ohoho you bet it is!"

    Yeah.

    So.

    The point I'm getting at is: the type of laughter made in response to xkcd is more towards the indicating-social-rapport end of the scale than the reacting-to-humourous-humour end.




    xkcd is not actually funny.

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  27. You just summed up the behaviors of American television for the past thirty-five years.

    Self-reference and reflexive irony make it (xkcd) invulnerable to attacks because it's created this feedback loop that writes off attackers as outsiders to this tight-knit "ingroup," which has somewhere in the ballpark of 100 million readers a month.

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  28. "This is a really astute way of looking at xkcd, but I don't think you're right to see it as a sham. The people who read xkcd and enjoy the inside jokeyness of it don't think that they're Randall's friends, they think that they're the friends of other people who read xkcd. So that when you say "delicious cycle" in a situation where it's appropriate, you and your friends share a moment of recognition. People don't just think that they find that enjoyable, they actually do find it enjoyable."

    I'm not saying they don't find it enjoyable. I mean, obviously they do, or I wouldn't complain about them finding it enjoyable. The idea of people saying they only think they like something has always felt disingenuous to me.

    And I'm not exactly saying they think they are actually Randall's friends. It's more that the premise of inside jokes is based in many ways on the social circle, or the origin of the jokes. In the case of XKCD, it's essentially an inside joke where it doesn't come from inside the circle and has no real basis in anything. Does that make sense?

    Essentially, I'm saying the only reason people like XKCD is because they like XKCD, and so XKCD gives them a source of inside jokes. What I'm saying is the reason they liked it in the first place was the sense that this was a comic made by One Of Us--this false feeling that they were connecting with Randall, almost like this was something a friend drew.

    And it's fine to feel a sense of connection with an artist, but usually there's something more to it than that. I may feel a connection with my favorite band, for instance, but I have actual solid reasons to like their music; with XKCD it appears to do nothing but cultivate a sense of connection.

    "Nah. Most XKCD posters don't go to the forum, they see the comic, then do something else. I hardly think Randall is a central charismatic figure. He does use in jokes, but they're very much just internet meme+idea+maybe maths or something."

    It's not just the forumites, though. You can't throw a stick without hitting someone who references an XKCD when they think it's appropriate. The forums are I think more indicative of the problem than part of the problem itself: it's where the worst of them go to perpetuate the idea. If it were isolated to the forum it wouldn't be a problem. But this sense of XKCD as a massive internet social circle seems to stretch to people who don't go to the forums.

    "You keep saying that XKCD "used to" be good. In my opinion, it has NEVER been good. Can you point out a few of these older comics that you think aren't filled with pointless science references, creepy emotional stuff, or lame inside jokes?"

    I'm willing to admit that I may have been deluding myself, though there are a few old ones I still think are either good or close enough that it gets a pass. That is: while it's possible that XKCD was never really good, I do think it has definitely declined in quality, and it was that decline which helped me break free from the "I love XKCD" mindset.

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  29. I should clarify with the Seinfeld thing. Seinfeld is good for many reasons, one of which is great characters and great interactions with characters. Not just the main four, but people like George's parents, Uncle Leo and the like who are just amazing. On top of that, though, is the "you ever notice" sort of humor, which lets people bring up Seinfeld in all sorts of common situations. xkcd really only has the second part of this, but, as a webcomic, it also has a little bit less time to do multiple things than does a TV show.

    Rob, I agree with you that xkcd basically injects inside jokes into peoples' social circles that come from an outsider, and I sort of agree with you that it defines an extremely broad community of people who use the internet and consider themselves nerdy. I guess I just don't see what's wrong with that, exactly. Social groups incorporate outside influences all the time; pretty much every cultural medium can create inside jokes, and pretty much every "cult classic" does exactly that. The argument that this is all xkcd does is somewhat valid, but I don't think is exactly right; I think that xkcd's appeal comes at least as much from showing people how many others are like them than it does from generating inside jokes for that community. Part of the reason I started to like xkcd was that I felt an identification with some of the things Randall wrote about, like coming up with rules about what tiles to walk on or finding all the pitches you can tap on a desk. In a way, I think xkcd involves the "did you notice" seinfeld thing with the group identification thing from pluggers. Neither one is really manipulative, but neither one is all that entertaining for people who either don't belong to the group in question, or don't feel a strong emotional connection to being in that group, or don't want to have to share their group with all the fans who think they're in it.

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  30. First: I think XKCD could be salvaged from the slag pile if it had great characters. Or characters at all. I am very fond of comedies and stories which are based on excellent characters instead of relying on jokes (it's part of why I'm not really a big comedian person).

    Second: My problem with XKCD is mostly that I don't see any reason for the inside jokes to get injected. Cult classics have some things which are legitimately interesting about them. XKCD's sole quality seems to be inside jokey-ness and references. When you reference XKCD you are basically not referencing anything at all.

    I don't think it's manipulative as such, but I think it's a false premise. Maybe deception was the wrong word to use. I don't think Randall is sitting there producing comics in bad faith. But I think he's comfortable with his role as the arbiter of inside jokes. He's perpetuating a false notion. I don't think that makes him a liar or manipulative, but it does strike me as a problem.

    As much as I hate to bring up the analogy because I hate to sound like one of those atheists, but it's like religion. I don't think that being religious makes you a liar or an idiot, but I do think that if you are proselytizing you are furthering what is ultimately a false belief.

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  31. Character based comedy, so do you like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei?

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  32. @Anonymous 2:18
    This is in the FAQ, but a cuddlefish is the collective term for anonymous xkcd supporters

    or something like that

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  33. Cuddlefish means anonymous poster and since a lot of anonymous posters are not too bright XKCD fans it also means that sorta.

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  34. It's also more broadly come to refer to basically anyone who posts here, especially one who isn't a regular.

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  35. Rob is the biggest cuddlefish of all

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  36. um if you say so

    "Character based comedy, so do you like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei?"

    I'm not familiar.

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  37. I've always wanted to study the quantum mechanics of sucking, but these posts look so long...

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  38. SO LONG FOR THE WOOOOOOOOOOORLD

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  39. Ian said...

    "@Anon 5:36pm: You don't read movie critiques or book reviews very often do you?"

    No, I don't ever read movie critiques or book reviews. But that's beside the point. To me, those are in place because movies and books are something that you generally pay for, or at the very least, will often make up the night's entertainment. A comic, is free and takes a minute to read.. If you don't like the author's work, then if you accidentally come across it somewhere, just ignore it and skim passed it.

    I'm not a fanboy, in fact I don't care for probably most of his comics. It just doesn't seem worth the energy to me, and I'm just very puzzled/intrigued about this site's obsession about the comic.

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  40. "No, I don't ever read movie critiques or book reviews. But that's beside the point. To me, those are in place because movies and books are something that you generally pay for, or at the very least, will often make up the night's entertainment. A comic, is free and takes a minute to read.. If you don't like the author's work, then if you accidentally come across it somewhere, just ignore it and skim passed it."

    You're reading them wrong. Reviews are an art.

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  41. I'll never understand why xkcd, that webcomic who's fanbase claims to be all about math in science is so often afraid of analysis.

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  42. >>You're reading them wrong. Reviews are an art.<<

    Thanks for clarifying this Rob, reading xkcdsucks makes xkcd amusing (again).

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  43. xkcd is like the party. There are no characters with their own personality because everyone has the same collective personality.

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  44. once again rob fails. miserably.

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  45. Let's reverse your metaphor.

    That is, early xkcd was such that if a friend of mine brought it up as an inside joke, he'd maybe get a chuckle and it would become such an inside joke.

    However, current xkcd is such that if one of my friends made a similar joke without it being an xkcd reference, he'd get a smack upside the head.

    This is like when a comedian has warmed up his audience, they will laugh at jokes that would've tanked earlier in the act. Randall has warmed everyone up and his smack-worthy stylings are now gobbled up.

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  46. "xkcd is like the party. There are no characters with their own personality because everyone has the same collective personality."

    HOW
    ORWELLIAN

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  47. oh _the party_ not a party .. well

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  48. look I know you were here in the OLD DAYS of the web and all us YOUNG PEOPLE freak you out for being 10 years younger than you and you wear the fact that you were on Usenet when there was no way of communicating in anything but plaintext but it's 2010 and there's ways of emphasizing things that don't look completely retarded you might want to try them out because insisting on pretending it's still 1995 isn't going to make you any younger so get over yourself

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  49. Hell even if you want to pretend that technology is the same when you're a 30-year-old basement troll as when you were a 15-year-old basement troll there's STILL ways to *emphasize* certain words without looking like a total tool.

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  50. I am angry. ANGRY ABOUT THE WAY PEOPLE PUT EMPHASIS IN TEXT.

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  51. ymmd! I'm just too lazy to look up how to emphasize text here, but I'm happy that I could provide you with so much rage.

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  52. cool story bro

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  53. Good to know, I wasn't aware of how to do that that either.

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  54. R - Oh you. I was hoping someone would do that

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  55. what ever happened to WMH anyways? The thought police must have gotten him.

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  56. http://twitter.com/WHM_IQ224

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  57. The fact that even WMH has moved on to twitter truly is the testament of the internet's doom.

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  58. "Ian said...
    @Anon 5:36pm: You don't read movie critiques or book reviews very often do you?"
    There's no comparison. Movie and book reviewers review a wide variety of movies/books as they are released to help you choose whether it is worth going to see the movie, or reading the book. That is totally different to setting up a site devoted to describing in detail what you don't like about every single thing produced by one man. I'm not saying I disagree with the reviews on here, but you can't deny this whole blog is pretty pathetic, and saying it is 'no different to movie reviews' is just nonsense.

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  59. What about batman? He's kind of like supervillainssuck.blogspot.com.

    WHAT'S YOUR ARGUMENT AGAINST THAT?

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  60. There are entire websites dedicated to bloopers and goofs in media - people examine movies with a fine-toothed comb to see if someone's hand or a prop is out of place between shots, or if they can spot cables that should have been hidden.

    On the flip side, people send copious amounts of time on fansites and wikis, creating databases of every inconsequential piece of trivia they can find, and creating montages of clips backed by linkin park songs.

    You troll those websites as well, I presume, and call them pathetic for dedicating so much time to a specific activity for no particular reason aside from being entertained by it?

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  61. "This one is dedicated to my fans, who complain that my posts are too long and ask if I have nothing better to do.... Hugs and kisses!"

    <3

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  62. There *were* ways /for/ adding _emphasis_ on the Usenet.

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  63. "There *were* ways /for/ adding _emphasis_ on the Usenet."

    but the way that anon above decided to do it was retarded, and the fact that you decided to follow in his/her footsteps makes you retarded.

    And if you didn't actually notice that anon above (I won't tell you which one; consider it a treasure hunt), then you're retarded for entering a discussion without having thoroughly read it first.

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  64. @Anon720: "Character based comedy, so do you like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei?"

    I wouldn't call Zetsubou a character based comedy, just because it has lots of characters. It is more satire than anything else. Each character is meant to be a satirical rendition of a stereotype found in japanese culture. These characters (which are completely flat and static) don't really move the story forward in any way... because there IS no story. It's just these (many) characters are then put into a stereotypical (by japanese cultural standards) situation which unfolds in a satirical manner through clever observations and humorous writing. Don't get me wrong, I love Zetsubou, I think it's hilarious, but as with most satire you need to know quite a bit about the subject being discussed or you are not going to get any of the jokes. This is significantly different from character based comedy which generally do not have prerequisites to find humorous (besides having started reading from the beginning in some cases).

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  65. I also like satire, of course. Vonnegut is a wonderful writer and I was very sad when he died.

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  66. Satire is marvolous. When done well, easily the best form of humour (imo).

    I have some Vonnegut in my room right now... Slaughter House Five and Hocus Pocus. I've yet to read either of them though, I was convinced to pick them up at a used book store almost a year ago but always found myself reading other things before them. I take it I should read them then?

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  67. Your tongue-in-cheek insult against Carl is so cute! YOU'RE ADORABLE ROB!

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  68. Changing gears here.

    Rob, your post made me think back to when I first started reading XKCD. Friend of mine told me to read it, but I remember exactly which comic it was that made me respect XKCD.

    http://xkcd.com/16/

    Okay. This comic really feels relevant to this post of Robs. That comic was a bit of a shock to my system because like most Monty Python fans, I would take every opportunity to quote lines to other knowledgeable Monty Python fans. Not only was it a way of showing off my "knowledge" of a cult classic, if I was better at quoting the lines it showed that I was clearly higher in the pecking order for Monty Python knowledge. I never really questioned this behavior of mine until I read that comic.

    At first I felt insulted of course. But then as I thought about it more, I realized how right he was. The irony of the situation was brought to my attention and I felt rather foolish for not noticing it sooner. The Alt-Text described a situation that I regularly would experience and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. The very idea that there could be a Monty Python fan who could think otherwise was completely foreign to me!

    This comic was one of the instances of XKCD NOT using a simple nerd culture reference to get a laugh, and instead telling everyone to think about the foolishness of the situation for once... to stop just following the pack. It strikes me as Ironic that now, a website about how much XKCD sucks is what embodies that sentiment, rather than XKCD itself.

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  69. "You troll those websites as well, I presume, and call them pathetic for dedicating so much time to a specific activity for no particular reason aside from being entertained by it?"

    Is everyone who disagrees with you a 'troll'? Do grow up.

    Looking for bloopers is, once again, no comparison. It's possible to look for bloopers or mistakes in a whole range of films and still love the films themselves. Indeed, I suspect that most participants to these sorts of websites DO love the films they are talking about.

    Yep, I'm afraid I do find dedicating a whole site to saying that something 'sucks' pretty pathetic. Occasionally the contributers here try to justify it by saying that want to 'help XKCD improve'... but then, they also know Randall never reads this blog, so what's the point?

    Ultimately, this blog is all about getting entertainment from writing snarky articles about almost every single xkcd comic, and then watching all the xkcdsucks fanboys come on and agree. Sometimes the blogs are right, sometimes they're funny, sometimes there are astute comments about what makes a good joke. Some of the contributors here could write a great site doing general webcomic reviews with a less obviously biased stance. Nevertheless, as it stands, the whole premise of the site is just kind of sad. Sorry if that bothers you but hey, I'm just trying to make it a better site :)

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  70. xkcdsucks fanboys? no one here worships Carl. there's about one positive comment about his person and posts to every ten negative.

    unless you mean that we're fanboys because we all think xkcd sucks, which is ridiculous. it's like saying technology forums are for technology fanboys, or that science websites are for science fanboys. it's absurd.

    "Ultimately, this blog is all about getting entertainment from writing snarky articles about almost every single xkcd comic,"

    yes. that is it. so? does there really have to be a deeper reason?

    also bias is not bad.

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  71. "there's about one positive comment about his person and posts to every ten negative."
    Nonsense. Count them. Anyway, the fact is this is a community of people who have only one thing in common, which is thinking that something 'sucks'. You seriously don't think there's something a bit pathetic about that?

    Come on. Everyone here reads xkcd, and then you all come on here to talk about how much you hated it. Then, a couple of days later, you still go and read the next comic, and then, once again, scamper back here to read someone telling you why it sucks. Rinse, lather, repeat.
    Sorry, but it's just a bit sad.

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  72. IT. IS. FUN.


    why are you still here if it's so pathetic anyway

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  73. a question. what is your opinion on webcomic forums?

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  74. "Nonsense. Count them."

    why don't you

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  75. "a question. what is your opinion on webcomic forums?"

    They're mostly pretty pathetic too. I think what's funny is how similar this place really is, though.
    Still, what's worse, jumping on your computer almost every day to discuss how much you liked the latest XKCD, or to discuss how much it 'sucked'?

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  76. I don't really see any difference.

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  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. "Anonymous said...
    I don't really see any difference."

    So your point is... you're both as pathetic as each other?

    I rest my case.

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  79. And yet, you have clearly been reading this for a while...

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  80. TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING YOU LIKE IS BAD

    TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DISLIKE IS BAD

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  81. ME READING SOMETHING I DISLIKE IS GOOD

    ME TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING I DISLIKE IS GOOD

    i rest my case

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  82. (the need to be condescending has filled this pathetic individual with cognitive dissonance)

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  83. NO EVERYTHING IS BAD!!!!

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  84. Oh, poor concern troll. You could at least come up with a more compelling narrative.

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  85. "I'll never understand why xkcd, that webcomic who's fanbase claims to be all about math in science is so often afraid of analysis."

    Well said, Holmes. That sums up the whole point of this blog pretty concisely.

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  86. Who cars, they are just jokes.
    Just some dude telling jokes, not really even worth my comment time (wich makes me wonder: Why even press the "post comment" button?)

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  87. "Long time reader, first time poster.
    What the fuck is a cuddlefish?"

    A cuddlefish is an inside joke. It's Rob's way of pointing out that this whole website should be taken with a heavy dose of irony.

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  88. Except the popularity of xkcdsucks isn't entirely based on its inside jokes.

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  89. I'm not sure about the inside joke thing either. I found XKCD funny when I first started reading it (the older ones) without really knowing any 'inside jokes'. Now it's definitely less funny, but I don't think it's because it relies on inside jokes. Out of the last, say, five comics... do any of them use an inside joke? Ok, the R2D2 one I'm not sure what the hell it relies on, but I don't think it's an inside joke, just not a joke at all. The rest are all perfectly understandable by someone who's heard of maths, board games, sex dice and lie detectors, which practically everyone has.

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  90. I would like to add in support of my post the following comment from the XKCD forums w/r/t the I Am comic:

    "Or possibly Randall was trying to start a new meme. Just attach "And this is my counterpart, R2-D2" to the end of any self-introduction."

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  91. I would also like to note that the shitfuckers on the XKCD forums are all calling Yggdrasil "the Yggdrasil" and I AM GOING TO FUCKING MURDER YOU RANDALL MUNROE

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  92. I like XKCD because I have a sincere love of bad jokes and math humor. Don't read too much into it.

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  93. Interesting point Rob. Much of humor is based on observation and people can observe the things in xkcd comics on a daily basis which makes them easy to reference which makes them kind of a inside joke to readers. I also find many of the comics funny. But please don't be such a hater/troll just because you don't enjoy his comics, read something you enjoy instead and lay off the hatorate. Life is too short to waste on things you don't enjoy.

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  94. well i think xkcd is run by a bunch of stuck up nerd prick hackers. not even a phrase but since this isnt xkcd i wont be ragged on about bad grammar.

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  95. Shun the nonbeliever.

    Shuuuuuuuuuun.

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