Monday, May 10, 2010

Comic 738: Incisive Comedy

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that, after writing this, Harrison died a tragic death, murdered by a swarm of cuddlefish. In honor of his noble sacrifice, please join with me in enjoying Harrison's final words.

cutting words

Maybe they're right. The cuddlefish, I mean. Maybe I do just hate xkcd and discriminate against it unfairly. 'Cause after last Friday's train wreck of a comic, this one is, by any objective standard, pretty good. And yet it leaves me feeling... meh.

My initial reaction (after "meh", anyway) was that this concept might actually make a pretty damn good SMBC. It's the sort of recontextualizing joke Zach Weiner does best, after all, since it's obvious what's going on in the panel. (Or at least it's obvious that "Operation" is somehow involved.) And the alt-text mirrors SMBC's dark streak pretty exactly.

But, as usual when Randall tries to rip off SMBC, it just doesn't work. Again, part of this is overreaching: With one panel and no facial expressions, you can't get the same oomph as, say, Sunday's edition. But most of it is, how you say, fucking bad jokesmanship. All humor is based on an element of surprise: you're led to expect one thing, but instead you get a swift kick in the balls. (See what I did there?) And the gap between what the panel leads you to expect, and what the caption says is actually going on, just isn't wide enough to provoke more than an "eh."

To be honest, I can't even imagine how Randall thought this was funny, except maybe as anti-comedy. (If you look at it as a deliberate subversion of your expectation of a joke, though, it fucking kills. [Okay, it's not that great even then, but little Randy needs to build up his self-esteem somehow.]) There's a classic Steve Martin bit, from back when Steve Martin was funny, which goes as follows:

"I guess I'm kinda thinking about my old girlfriend. We were together about three years, and uh... sometimes when I get on stage I think about her, because she'd travel with me, and I'd be performing, and I'd hear her laugh... I guess I kind of miss her. And, uh... she's not living anymore, so... [laughter] You think that's funny? I guess I blame myself for her death. We were at a party, we were fighting... And she began to drink. She ran out to the car, I followed her, I guess I didn't realize how much she'd been drinking. She asked me to drive her home. I refused. We argued a little more, she asked me again to please drive her home, and I didn't want to... so I shot her."

That's funny shit, and of course it's even funnier when you hear it delivered by the master instead of in black-on-white on the Internet. But imagine for a second if the punchline had been replaced by: " she got in the car, drove off, and was hit and killed by a drunk driver."

Way less funny, right? Yet it still technically subverts your expectation of how the story's going to end -- it's just so close to those expectations that it doesn't work as a joke. Because I have a constant hunger for newer and ever more mixed metaphors, second only to my craving for pure uncut Bolivian marching powder (damn STRAIGHT I'm making fun of addicts now, ISHMAEL), I'm going to describe 738 as a paint-by-numbers duck. It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, but it's still not a real work of art. I think my meaning is pretty clear.

Unorganized thoughts: 1. A number of you have said that this would only work if the kid swallowed batteries, too; I've never taken an "Operation" gameboard or whatever you'd call it apart (or seen one in the past 10 years), but aren't the batteries contained under the buzzer? Anyone wanna do some science and get back to us? 2. This is disgusting; hat tip to Bangs Cheese (eww) for pointing it out. 3. Why does it take place in October '04? Like on Friday, I have only conjecture: Either he's appealing to his Bostonian fanbase -- October 2004 being of course the month the Red Sox toppled the Yankees in the greatest series of all time -- or he pulled a date out of his ass. 4. Your deja vu is justified.

P.S. I only just thought about this now, but I wonder if last Wednesday's comic had something to do with the "marathon post-ROFLcon epitaph session" that led to this far superior Dinosaur Comic. If so, maybe Randall should talk to funny people more often, as it doesn't look like the relative success of last week's first two comics is gonna be repeated anytime soon.

P.P.S. This is the last comic of my guest-posting run, and I just wanted to thank y'all for being as active and often hilarious in the comment threads as ever, as well as for not finding my home address and mailing me bombs and/or rotting foodstuffs. (They haven't come yet, anyway.) AFAIK, Carl will be back on Wednesday, but I thought there should be some way to repay you for your support/patience. I've been thinking about some advice my father gave me in my younger, more vulnerable years, which I've been turning over in my mind ever since and which I want to share with you guys tonight. It's relevant to the purpose of the blog, too; I think we can all learn something from it.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that robot bacon can has Christopher Walken."


  1. This was so mediocre when I read and I couldn't figure out why. And now, the truth is revealed. Good work, Harrison.

  2. You capture my views perfectly, It's a nice try, but damn it fails so fucking hard. I mean has he even played the game...I doubt the surgeon has his tools all attached to a wire attached to the buzzer attached to wires in the patients bodies, unless...Oh god randall what the hell! (JK it sucks)

    And, I mean honestly, you don't choose BZZZZT, the phoneticization of the noise a saw makes when cutting into someone.

    Oh haha he removed three organs out of four...Wait...why isn't that FUNNY AT ALL!? Maybes it's because it's stupid. A better joke would be a) "by force of habit he removed the Adam's apple, leading to unfortunate lifelong trauma." or b) a reference to one of the bajillion other versions of the game (make the damn brits feel good by referencing the doctor who version maybe?). But those jokes are far beyond Randall's puny grasp.

    Randall honestly needs to take a good look at what he's doing. Right now he is the Airplane food comedian of nerd dom.

  3. "And, I mean honestly, you don't choose BZZZZT, the phoneticization of the noise a saw makes when cutting into someone."

    I don't know, I can't think of a better sound for a buzzer.

  4. This is a nice comic I think. It's like being tortured for 3 years and then being given a plate of lettuce. Sure, it's not that great, but it feels good.

  5. This was bad, but not horrible. And I guess I'll be the first to point out how the art is especially distracting here.

    If I remember correctly, the last time Randall has drawn a doctor with a mask on he used colors. It looked pretty good. In fact, I wonder why he doesn't color his comics more often... unless my theory of "Randall is submitting things on the last minute" is true. Otherwise, it's pretty lazy. But as I was saying, every time I look to that panel, the first thing I see is freaky owl-men with huge sunglasses and weird hats doing an operation. Only after checking the context I notice those are doctors with surgical masks.

    I know there'll be Cuddlefish still saying "but this is a stick comic, yadda, yadda, there's no point in criticizing the art" well, if it wasn't distracting me, I wouldn't care, but it is! It's bad, and comics ARE a visual medium, you can't just ignore the art and have a mediocre writing and suppose people won't care!

    All in all, good job, harrison, That was a cool week with you! :D

    τυφλοπόντικας έξω

  6. Wow, that wikipedia entry was so horrendous (how horrendous was it?) that I googled the term "XKCD vandal" and found this site: devoted to cataloguing abuses of wikipedia by XKCD fans.

    I'm not sure if it's been mentioned on this blog before but it does mention xkcdsucks

  7. holy shit i just finished reading the great gatsby GET OUT OF MY HEAD HARRISON!

  8. wait what does the great gatsby have to do with anything

    from the grave,


  9. any objective standard, it's pretty good...and still worth writing a page about how much it sucks?

    I mean, I come here after reading each new XKCD for about the same reason I read Slashdot comments: It's fun to see other peoples' opinions, and argue at random.

    But you really can't expect SMBC-style production or editing quality out of XKCD. I's a comic with stick figures. Stick figures. What did you seriously expect? Of course a joke with stick figures is worse than a joke with real art. Kind of like a lot of garage bands are shit and know it, they're still fun to listen to, and XKCD takes what, thirty seconds out of your day to look at?

  10. Anon 8:05, the problem with XKCD is that many people think it's "TEH BEST" when, in fact, it's really not that great, as you say. Hence the blog to point out "Hey, look guys, XKCD sucks."

  11. Anon, I expect a stick figure comic to try and stay within the boundaries of what a stick figure comic can do. At least for the most part; it's okay to shoot for the moon every once in a while, but xkcd is more like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

    wv: heriason, my Greek alter-ego.

  12. Boy gotta love that garage band diversion!

    Here's where the analogy flops:
    1. Garage bands are amateurs who only rarely practise and don't have the time to perfect what they do. Randy draws comics as a full time JOB.
    2. Garage bands often sound rough because of a bare bones recording setup, not because of actual musical limitations. Randy can draw whatever he wants and there'll be no appreciable degradation of quality when it comes to digitizing his doodles.
    3. 'Garage band' as an aesthetic style sacrifices elegance or clarity or artistry for the sake of some alternative goal - authenticity maybe, or vibrance, or personality or intensity. Randy is sacrificing elegance, clarity, artistry for...uh. Hard to say. Consistency with his initial style?
    4. Garage bands are only in it for kicks, if the music stops being fun they just stop playing. Randy made a decision to go professional with his comics, and now he needs it to pay his bills. He can't claim that he's just dabbling and playing around with this stuff (or if he wants to do so, he should commit his time and resources to some other more worthwhile project...say maybe, an Illustrated Picto-Blog?)

    S'fun to smash things.

  13. Your paint-by-numbers ducks quack like ducks? You should probably lay off that powder.

  14. This was another case in which a germ of a comedic idea-- "what if an actual surgeon experienced what Operation players do?"-- was made much more unfunny by a ham-fisted execution. It's like Randall will come up with that germ of an idea but then expend the minimum effort necessary-- both in writing and in drawing-- to turn that germ into a web comic.

    Here's my off-the-cuff rewriting of the caption: "The necessity of health care reform was made clear once Milton Bradley took over the regulation of surgery."

  15. Ew. You got your American politics in my webcomic, Eric.

    Also, re making money off things that suck: Look at McDonalds. XKCD is the McDonalds of geek webcomics.

  16. Strange, I liked last Friday's comic better than this one.

    There's no accounting for taste I suppose.

  17. Odd, I usually like XKCD and this was my least favorite in a while. I guess it's because the joke was there, it was just buried under text. Why did you have to explain the joke, Randall?

  18. I thought these surgical masks looked weird, so after some doodling I had two Tuxes operating on the guy. Here's the result. (it took me quite a while to come up with a decent punchline. I think it's better than the source xkcd, at least)

  19. Anonymous: Yes, before me XKCD never even mentioned Ron Paul or turning congress into a ball pit.

  20. Anon 5.57 called it. I think this would be better if the fact he'd swallowed an "Operation" buzzer came before the buzz. Then we could excise the caption before it metastasises.

  21. Speaking of Wikipedia, I'm incredibly pleased to see this:

    Yeah, Randall worked for NASA for a bit, but is a gig for 6 months after college really so important that it has to be in the opening sentence of the xkcd article? Obviously it gives him geek cred, but it really isn't enough to define Randall personally, let alone xkcd.

    Randall is also a former college student, may well have had a job flipping burgers, and has done plenty of other stuff that isn't worth mentioning. I swear, if this "former NASA contractor" shit shows up again in the xkcd article I'm going to make it my mission to change it to "former grade school student"

  22. @sepia one of the later edits of the xkcd article references xkcd vandalism and how it is always deleted due to not being notable.

    The edit was reverted due to not being notable.

  23. Timofei: Thanks - that made me smile. Much better than trying to figure out why the doctor is alarmed by what seems to be a normal operating room sound.

  24. The Cuddliest FishMay 11, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    I really don't see how or why the Operation buzzer is making noise. When I first read the comic it struck me as odd, because in the game, the buzzer buzzes when you're trying to remove the pieces (with tweezers), but here the doctor is just beginning the surgery by making the incision, presumably with a scalpel. This dissemblance threw me off the "joke", though admittedly, it might be hard to show someone trying to remove something surgically, especially given the limited capacity of xkcd art.

    Then, after reacquainting myself with Operation (through its now vandal-attracting Wikipedia page), I recalled that in the game, the tweezers are attached to a wire and the buzzer buzzes when they touch the metal sides of the holes in the game, completing the circuit. I assume the doctor's medical instrument (scalpel, I guessed earlier) is not connected via wire to the buzzer, and also there's no metal plates right inside the child's skin, so there's no circuit to create to cause the buzzer to buzz. Although, I guess it could be due to the natural conductivity of the human body (Note: I am not a doctor or biologist; I do not know), but in that case, wouldn't the buzzer just be buzzing constantly?

    I know I'm probably overthinking this stupid comic, but I assume Randall's fanbase is mostly made up of the kind of people who like to overanalyze things like this. If it was any other situation, they would vocally point out everything wrong with a statement, but for xkcd they turn a blind eye, because Randall is God and he can do no wrong.

  25. I smiled.

    I almost laughed a little, even.

    Then I saw the alt text. What the hell.

  26. @6:42

    XKCD lesson 45: If you liked the comic, don't read the alt text. If you didn't like the comic, read the alt text so you have even more reason to dislike.

  27. new comic's up. It sucks, but that goes without saying

  28. SO the new comic is Randal literally begging his fans to go make a wikipedia page. In fact, when I just checked, the page had already been made and deleted. For once, I'm actually agreeing with the wiki-admins.

  29. I didn't like this one, but I don't hate it, either. Its point(we can call it "joke", but I won't, cause it fails to be really funny) is that wikipedia loves "portmanteau" and "neologism"? Maybe "malapropism"? That doesn't make for a good joke -- unless, maybe, you're a wiki-addict, in which case you'll probably laugh because this is a reference to something you like. And let's remember the xkcd average fan tendency to wiki-vandalism...

    Also, Malamanteau doesn't exist in wikipedia. YET. Let's see for how long...

    aluniţă afară.

  30. I don't get the new xkcd. And every wikipedia entry on malamanteau is deleted vandalism. WTF?

  31. My god. The art on the Wikipedia logo is horrific.

  32. New comic is super shitty and they've already created a wikipedia article devoted to the malamanteau. Seriously, fuck those guys, do they really think that they're clever? We all saw this coming a mile away. If this awkward word ever becomes widely used I will scream.

    I think it may honestly be the worst XKCD I've ever seen (that was trying to be funny, the angular momentum one doesn't count). There's not even a joke, it's just a fake wikipedia page devoted to some word that three people used once or twice a few years ago. He didn't even make it up, he plagiarized a shitty injoke that didn't even make it off the thread that spawned it.

  33. @ Professional Mole: it does exist. It was deleted within a few minutes of its creation though and some cuddlefish (is that the appropriate term here? I'm not entirely clear on the definition of cuddlefish) put it back up and tried to defend it by pointing out that it was used "at least once" before this particular XKCD. I deleted it again but someone's probably put it back up by now.

  34. and this is why i fucking hate xkcd fans.

    well, not all of them, but the few that do shit like create wiki articles because randall mentions a work made all of them look bad.

    also the "comic" is terrible and anyone that laughs at it should probably be rendered infertile.

  35. So, according to a quick web search, this word was seemingly used on exactly one page before xkcd got it hands on it, causing it to spread like internet herpes.

    So, the joke is supposed to be that Wikipedia editors overuse "malapropism", "neologism", and "portmanteau"? I've certainly never noticed that, but thanks for the horrible stand-up comedy set-up line. "And what's the deal with people deleting unnotable Wikipedia pages?"

  36. That Wikipedia logo is absolutely terrible. The words look absolutely terrible. It is, in every way, inferior to 446.

    In other news: xkcd now has a tank top in the store and you can now also buy a selection of shirts from ThinkGeek (which I've noticed charges even more for shipping than xkcd).

  37. it's things like what Lester posted that make me die a little inside. The hardcore wikipedia editors are in the right here, Randall mentions some word in his comic, that doesn't mean it actually deserves mention in articles and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean it deserves its own article.

  38. Oh god, do you see how stupid the people who are supporting the article are? They seem completely convinced that the article was only deleted because XKCD referenced it and don't seem to realize that it only exists because XKCD referenced it.


    This is what an XKCD fan looks like (stolen from Mr. North)

  39. Also: some statistics!

    Instances of "malapropism" on Wikipedia: 225
    Instances of "neologism" on Wikipedia: 1,403
    Instances of "portmanteau" on Wikipedia: 2,023

    This is out of a total of 3,290,074 articles.

  40. So... this comic doesn't even make sense then. (Eh, what else is new?)

  41. Lester RoquefortMay 11, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    With regards to the comic itself, I really don't think the observation it makes is that funny or clever. I mean, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with links in the text to other articles. When an article uses a term that somebody doesn't understand, they can click a link to the explanation of that term. When that's the case, I don't see a problem with using certain terms a lot when they're the most accurate terms to use, especially when it's something that can't be explained in a very simple manner.

  42. 'Malapropism', coined by Richard Brinsley Sheridan's in The Rivals, in 1775.
    'Portmanteau', coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass, in 1871.

    "The articles cites [...] an obscure manuscript from the 1490's."

    I can't remember...I'm sure it exists...guys is there a special word for when you try and look learned, but anyone with any real knowledge of the subject knows that you must be some blatant bullshitter to be making such claims?

    That was my negative comment.

    Here is my positive comment:
    This is a bonafide comic about language.
    Now now, no let's not get hung up on quality.
    It IS a comic about language.
    So let's give Randy a clap for that.

  43. Lester RoquefortMay 11, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    Oh man, they're starting to get pissed that they can't see the revision history of the page, as if there's some conspiracy against xkcd users. What they think the history will tell them, I have no idea. I do know that the article was created, completely unnecessarily, six minutes after the comic was posted, and that the contents of the page vacillated between being a definition of the term with a link to the comic, and a redirect to the article 'xkcd.' It's unnecessary for there to even be a redirect on that page.

  44. Having 33 citations means nothing if they are all referencing the same source or a number of different copy/paste sources of the original. The fact is, wikipedia is usually wrong and few folks regard the site as a credible source of information.

    The satire of wiki is only unfunny if you previously held some respect for wikipedia. (heh .. tools) The joke is supposed to be an eye-opener to the general cuddlefish--reminding them that it takes effort to be learned. You will never become informed by relying on a single source. And no matter how many references a wiki article has ... it's still only one source. The joke is to remind folks that you must references multiple sources before clear information is gleened. Without said effort, you are simply another drone in the majority of the misinformed.

    The strip is not so much exaggeration as accurate--meaning it's the purest form of humor--the satire. It's not a simple joke and it is hilarious to the well-informed.

  45. What an admirable exegesis of the title text. What about the entire rest of the comic?

    Also could you please learn English spelling and grammar a little better? I'd like you to be more well-informed on that. It'll probably be more useful to you than vague platitudes about well-sourced knowledge. (Can you provide multiple sources that attest to the necessity of multiple sources? Otherwise, I must count Anon 12:01 as...still only one source.)

  46. Jesus some people are stupid. "Is too a valid word! Look, someone mentioned it once on Metafilter and that's pretty much it! See? VALID!".

    If nothing else, if the article had actually existed at any point, that would make the comic really, really, really, really awful.

  47. "Ever notice how Wikipedia has a few words it really likes?"

    No. No I didn't.

    That's about all there is to be said about that.

  48. You know what word Wikipedia really likes? "The." Seriously, try to find one article that doesn't use the word "the." Bet you can't.

    (Unlike "neologism," "malapropism" and "portmanteau," which never show up)

  49. The joke could work. You just need to see a guy who's swallowed a bit of metal. Zoom out to show guy operating (clearly nervous), plus wires joining metal. Zoom out further to show wires connected to Operation game, connected to scalpel, and the familiar sound as he touches the metal plate.

    You'd think the guy who created a circuit diagram would understand how the Operation game works. I guess not.

    As for today's... the thing about observational comedy is that people generally need to have observed whatever you're talking about, unless your delivery is exceptionally funny.

    When your method of delivery is a stick-figure comic, you shouldn't do observational comedy. It just falls flat.

  50. Also: Ever notice how the term "confimation bias" crops up everywhere online?

    (No sign of the words on that page.)

  51. anonymous get out of my head I used the word confirmation bias the other day

  52. While we're on the subject of Wikipedia, did anyone else notice how full of filler the XKCD Wikipedia article is? I mean it is BLATANT filler!

    For example, on it's article about Characters:
    'The family name "Lenhart" recurs, as a "Mrs. Lenhart" appears or is mentioned in "Substitute", "Zealous Autoconfig", "Scantron", and "Principle of Explosion".'

    In seriousness though, it really needs to be cleaned up.

  53. I don't get what the joke is with 739. Malamanteau isn't a real article, so it's the comedic equivalent of a straw man. "If wikipedia had this article that I just made up, that would be silly!". But it doesn't.

    Seriously, 739 contains so many elements of previous XKCDs (wikipedia, lazy single panel, lame "observational" humor) that it's like the haggis of XKCDs: all the leftover bits crammed into one disgusting, highly derivative package. The only way the unoriginality could be more complete is if the caption contained "my hobby" and maybe made some reference to having sex with quirky women ("My hobby: Making articles of neologisms on wikipedia in order to impress girls").

    Seriously Randall, XKCD!=urbandictionary.


    Second: I have never seen the word "malapropism" used anywhere on Wikipedia, and I used to be an active Wikipedia admin. I never noticed that Wikipedia has a few words it really likes either. What the fuck does that even mean?

    Third: Randall Munroe sucks.

  55. I have noticed "portmanteau" seeming to be a popular word... but only when I'm on TV Tropes, or looking up stuff about anime.

  56. Lester RoquefortMay 12, 2010 at 2:33 AM

    I mean yeah, if you go to an article about a word that is a portmanteau, you're going to see the word portmanteau in its description. Until somebody comes up with a better, more concise way to describe a portmanteau word, you're going to see it described as a portmanteau.

    If there are lots of words that are portmanteaus, then you will see the word 'portmanteau' often. Is there something wrong with a word being used accurately and when it is called for?


  58. Leonard:

    I have seen portmanteau a number of times, but like Lester pointed out, it's not exactly avoidable when dealing with portmanteaux. Malapropisms are only used when people misspeak, so I don't see how it could pop up very often on Wikipedia.

  59. I think today's comic is another good candidate for the picto-blog.

  60. The one good thing about this drawing (it's not really a "comic," since that would imply the presence of comedy) is that there's at least an attempt to make a fresh observation on the subject of wikip. As angry as you are now, imagine your mental state if the punchline was "some articles on wikip are longer than other, more important articles! For instance, the xkcd article is longer than the one for Kristopher Straub, who is apparently so unnotable that his comics don't even deserve their own pages!"

    Actually, wait, I think that might've been funnier than this malapomato junk. Hmm.

  61. "Thank you so much. I was genuinely not expecting to wake up to this; I figured someone would probably try to make the article, someone else would delete and protect it, and that would be the end of it—Wikipedia has gotten pretty good at handling that kind of potential abuse. I had no idea I'd wake up to this cavalcade of hilarious opinionating, but it's definitely brightened my morning.

    Yes, I made up the word (although I didn't Google it until moments before the comic went up; like many nonsense words, it did have one use in a discussion thread somewhere). No, it shouldn't be an article. Yes, a clarifying article would be helpful. No, you shouldn't be helpful in this situation, because it's not your job.

    Apologies to all the editors who are trying to keep this discussion under control. I know you have better things to do (like carefully documenting every public mention of Wikipedia, even offhand ones, in the Wikipedia article). Also, just so you know, nobody used the word 'disambiguation' until you people showed up. <3 --Xkcd (talk) 14:53, 12 May 2010 (UTC)Randall"

    From the malamanteau discussion.

    If that actually is Randall he's a bigger douche than I thought. Fuck him.

  62. Man, what was that "carefully documenting every public mention of Wikipedia" line all about? Randall or not, that's some real douchebaggery.

  63. Anon 1:20, I'm golf clapping for you right now.

  64. also AUUUUGGGHHH that talk page makes Baby Jesus cry.

  65. Somebody deleted my "Yes Randall, you do still have power over a legion of mindless fanboys, no matter how many bad comics you put out. I don't know what else you could have expected. Anyway I know you have better things to do like add a shirt to the xkcd store." :(

  66. It seems to be back. Wiki doesn't generally get rid of flames (sorry, that was a flame). Still though, wow. The talk page is stupid.

  67. Nice apology, you wanker Randall. Your drooling moronic excuses for fans who (A) thought the evil wiki police deleted an actual article and (B) whined and complained even after this fact had been pointed out in language a 3 year old could understand and your apology for wasting admins time involves precisely thirteen words before you launch into a vitriolic and bitter collection of unwarranted nastiness about harmless voulunteers who have to deal with bullshit you do nothing to stop.

    I'm glad you had a giggle over how fucking retarded your fanbase is, oh wait you're laughing with them aren't you. Not that you'll ever read this Randy boy, but I'm channeling WMH and enjoy addressing you directly on this beelzeblag.

    I used to think this blog was too harsh and perhaps the book (which your pussy arse pretended not to read) went too far but after that charming comment you can go fuck yourself Randall. I hope Carl slams the shit out of you in his next pictoblag for this doucebaggery, you smug pompous narcissistic condescending arsehole.

  68. Oh snap. From Randall's Wikipedia talk page:
    We would appreciate it if you put a stop to this nonsense. I love your comic, Randall, but you're basically commanding an army of fans akin to 4chan. The article didn't exist when you made the comic, and now your fans are flooding in to try and get it created and re-created. ALI nom nom 13:58, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

    Eh... I'm not sure we can really compare those disparate groups of fans. Jclemens (talk) 16:45, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

    Right. One group consists of socially-stunted children who get excited about hearing words and memes that they can use to garner attention and praise from their peers, and act as a nuisance to Wikipedia in general. The other is 4chan. (talk) 17:16, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

    Ohhh snap.


  70. Taken from the XKCD discussion site-

    "No, the actual joke is that "Wikipedia," although no one remembers due to its prominence, was originally a neologism made of a portmanteau of "wiki," a general term for websites that could be edited without review by a relatively large group of people (like a class, or a company, or, in this case, the planet), and "encyclopedia," a compendium of information (and if you didn't already know that, I weep for you), yet it bans neologisms, many of which are portmanteaux."

    Clearly only a very very very select few are going to get the joke, but it's clever. Personally, I'm indifferent.

  71. What? So how would that be funny? Aside from the fact htat it doesn't ban neologisms, their "neologism" page actually links to different pages on neologisms.

  72. Lester RoquefortMay 12, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    There is nothing to indicate that 'Wikipedia' being a portmanteau is the joke. If anything, the joke is just that Wikipedia uses lots of fancy-sounding jargon. That's it. Randall didn't add any sort of deeper meaning, and if he tried to, then he failed, because there is absolutely nothing to connect the name of Wikipedia with any sort of perceived irony about its policy toward neologisms.

    You would have to assume a lot about the line "Ever notice how Wikipedia has a few words it really likes?" to get that meaning from it.

  73. Dan (the new guy!)May 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    I dunno... if you ask me, it seems like Randall just wanted to test the waters of his fanbase... he's likely noticed by now (as I'm sure everyone else has) that his fanbase loves to edit wikipedia articles to incorporate mention to XKCD...

    Anywhoo, I figure Randall purposely just made up a word with the intention of seeing if and how quickly he could get others to make a wikipedia article about it (and see if the artivle would stick).

    He really could have made up any word for a non-existant article, and the fan reaction would have been the same.

    Like I said, I'm sure he fully expected this reaction, and in fact anticipated it. His comments on the Wikipedia talk page are just him pretending to not have expected this (i.e., him trying to seem like the good guy in this situation).

    Anywhoo, sorry for the long post... :(, feel free to openly reject this theory, but to me it seems pretty valid.

    -Dan (the new guy!!)

  74. I think "Incision" is proof that Randall is now writing comics with goatkcd specifically in mind.

  75. "But, as usual when Randall tries to rip off SMBC"

    But he didn't? You suggested that it would "make a better SMBC" and then accuse Randall of ripping it off. FAIL.

    (And if this doesn't get posted, I accuse you of accepting only your own "cuddlefish" for criticism.)

  76. I love when you fucktards are all like 'OMG IF THIS DOESN'T GET POSTED YOU CENSORRRRRR' as if the comment threads aren't full of stupid shit by people who criticize every possible aspect.