Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Comic 795: Lightning Strikes Twice

 rrrrRisk! the thing of whatever

[Alt: 'Dude, wait -- I'm not American! So my risk is basically zero!']


Today's comic is pointing out that sometimes, if you are stupid, you may use statistics incorrectly. You may "abuse" them, if you will. It's territory which has proved fertile for xkcd in the past (on numerous occasions) as well as for many other comedians. For example, I remember an old joke in Mad magazine showing two people discussing a lottery - the man buying a ticket says "I figure I'll either win or I'll lose - so the odds are 50-50." There's also the well known joke about a mathematician who sneaks a bomb onto an airplane. When he excitedly tells his seatmate what he's done, the other passenger is horrified. "But - why would you do that??" he asks. The mathematician proudly explains: "Well, I figure that the odds of someone bringing a bomb on the plane are pretty low. But not low enough. So I thought to myself: What are the odds two people bringing a bomb on board? Damn near zero!"

Anyway, I'm not saying these are better jokes than the comic above. I'd call them about equal. But given that the above - both xkcds and other jokes - came into my mind nearly instantly, I'd say it's a pretty bland, overused topic. I'm not saying statistical abuse can't be fun, though I think most of the fun comes from laughing at actual examples that people give (in, I dunno, the media??) as opposed to made up ones.

I'm in total agreement with everyone who says the caption isn't necessary: The panel itself makes clear that a man is making a poor decision based on his abuse of statistics; the prospect of him being injured is what makes the comic funny. The caption doesn't add much to that concept. It's not 100% worthless, as it adds a weird, introverted statistic about a statistic, so that's why the folks who says "put it in the alt-text!" are correct.

-----------

Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert seem to have gotten a lot of traction out of this strategy recently, so I'll copy them: I have an important announcement to make, but I am not making it now (HA HA!). I'll make it in a few days, timed to coincide with comic #800. For fun! But seriously, it's going to be big.

72 comments:

  1. SPOILER ALERT
    the announcement is that you are all jerks and he hates you

    ReplyDelete
  2. I guess I agree with this review. The idea is fairly overused, although I have to say this isn't the worst XKCD comic ever. Still didn't make me laugh all that much, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Introverted statistic" - My favorite kind.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is all I have to say about the new one: http://abstrusegoose.com/114

    ReplyDelete
  5. There actually is a website for that. I read about it in the New York Times or something a few years ago, but I'm drawing a blank on the name.

    Hey Randall, next you should do a comic about how there should be some way to sell your stuff online to the highest bidder, or for a fixed price.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This one: good concept, could have been more smoothly written. As for making the caption the alt-text- that would mean missing out on the existing alt-text, which I like. The new one: I like it. I'm calling it good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. the announcement is probably that xkcdsucks is done, since enough of the people on the xkcd forums have come to recognize the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, a blog devoted on expressing your annoyance at another person's work and it extends for at least a year. You really need to move on and do something with your limited time on earth. Continually criticizing someone else's comics is rather sad. I suppose the idea of just not reading it has been made and deemed not dramatic enough.
    This will likely be my last comment on this site.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It sure is fun, though.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Chrisfs: People have hobbies. Why don't you go to a model shipbuilding forum and tell them how they should better spend their lives?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Also, wow, expressing your annoyance with a blog expressing someone's annoyance at another person's work. That makes you a meta-loser.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Actually, I kind of liked this one. It's even funnier if you pretend that the one with the stick is actually Storm Watcher Girl, from #752.

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Chrisfs: Running this blog is still less sad than looking around the internet for blogs you don't like and complaining about them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Carl's finally going to reveal that he is Randall after all.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, a comment devoted on expressing your annoyance at another person's work. You really need to move on and do something with your limited time on earth. Continually criticizing someone else's blog is rather sad. I suppose the idea of just not reading it has been made and deemed not dramatic enough.
    This will likely be my last comment on Chrisfs' comment.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Is your announcement that you hacked xkcd?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shotgun blog overlord if Carl's retiring.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Latest comic is sooo boring.

    I wish Randall would actually do something creative about how much Seltzer/Friedberg suck because that would be a topic we all agree on. And maybe then I can stop wishing that he would just get sent to a dimension of infinite suffering while simultaneously having him and all he has done wiped off the face of existence.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hopefully he will finally post those Dr. Horrible chat logs.

    ReplyDelete
  20. we already know you're randall

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ 10:47 Granted, "Scary Movie" was terrible, but Vampires Suck was GOOD. I haven't seen any of those other movies. But really, Vampires Suck was pretty good if you have a severe hatred of Twilight and are always surrounded by Twitards. Plus there was the scene where the opposing shippers beat each other with shovels and pitchforks...that's SO not even far from reality; I could have watched that scene for about 20 minutes. It only lasted a couple minutes, but I laughed all the way through it.

    Anyways, new comic actually isn't bad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. 796: Okay, I guess the idea might be funny, but Randy's delivery is just so bland. Did the set up need to be so long? And the third pael is totally irrelevant to the punchline, i.e. useless. This comic once again proves that Randall is in a dire need of an editor. Also, hello New Hat Man.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Chaos, I find it kind of funny that you're defending a movie that has been critically destroyed - it's right up there with The Last Airbender in terms of "worst movie of 2010" - on the basis that it's pandering to people who don't like twilight. On a blog that frequently criticizes Randall for pandering.

    Vampires Suck was put together as a way to make a quick buck, riding the wave of twilight hate out there right now.

    ReplyDelete
  24. So apparently wearing glasses makes you a douchebag. Good to know.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm curious as to what Randall's problems are with sex offender registries, and if they have anything to do with the (reasonable) fear that he may one day end up on one.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ugh, 796 was so bad. The first 3 panels were completely unnecessary, and after all of that the final panel was a bit of an anticlimax. The comic would have been a lot better (not necessarily good, but better) if he had just printed panel 4 by itself, maybe with a brief explanatory caption.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The caption is 100% necessary for the comic, it provides the punchline. Without it there is no joke you may know that something bad will happen to the person but that in itself is not a "joke" it's just some idiot wandering off in a lighting storm.

    Now maybe the comic could be set up differently to make it unnecessary but as it's set up the panel is the set up and the caption the punchline. You remove the punchline and your post would be saying "Randall I don't think you understand humor jokes need a punchline."

    ReplyDelete
  28. Andrew R. nailed it, Chaos.

    Also, we've been BURNED by Chrisfs. I think I'm not even going to read the newest comic, because I'll be there on the corner killing mysef out of shame. Boohoo.

    I had something to comment before reading the comments... oh, yes. Indeed, the caption works better as the alt-text: it stops being a huge joke spoiler(because it won't be so visible) and adds more humor than the actual alt for the comic. Seriously, that's stupid even for intentionally stupidity.

    Also, I'm going to point out because Carl didn't in his FAQ: even Randall called it an alt-text. In comic 45 "Schrodinger", a much better self-referential comic than the one displayed on the bottom of his site(though the art is entire superfluous). The alt-text is "there was no alt-text until you moused over", so there.

    La revedere,

    Mole

    ReplyDelete
  29. Chrisfs' comment is actually worse than this site because he acknowledges criticism as a waste of time, whereas this site assumes the interest of criticism as a hobby. So while XKCDsucks says "well, this isn't any less productive than going into my living room and watching re-runs of Spongebob", Chrisfs is clearly of the opinion "why, one could be out researching the cure for cancer instead of sitting on his computer being bitter" and then spends that very time sitting on his computer being bitter. And then he puts up his golden shield: "This will be my last comment. E.g. anyone responding to this is a time-wasting fag enjoy your wasted effort lolololitrolu" so you know he's indestructible. Damn you and your impenetrable defenses, Chrisfs.

    As for the new comic, it just sucks. Seriously, the same topic has been covered 5 million times over the past two decades. I liked it when someone succinctly said "There needs to be a carfax for women. Like some women starts chatting me up at a bar and I stop and say 'woah hold up, show me the bitchfax." In fact, that joke has now reached the status where it has both its own website and UrbanDictionary entry. So Randall here is treading on old, old ground, and the only punchline he can possibly offer is: "This guy has a goatee and glasses (clearly the sign of a douchebag) and also pop-cultural reference to something that everyone hates."

    Also he seems to be trying to make some point in going out of his way to say that a certain state should administer the service because no one else would. Is he trying to say that California excels at having people who are glad to thrust judgment upon you, or is he saying that the douchebag information delivery service (let us now call it DIDS) is some sort of welfare service, and therefore it would take a social program-loving state like CA to try to execute it? Because either one does not make much sense, and make even less humor. There is just nothing funny to the DIDS, and the buildup seems to be going in a different direction from the punchline, like Munroe had no idea what the hell he could make of the buildup and then finally said "well why don't I pull a Dane Cook and work by emphasizing the word 'douchebag'? I've always wanted to do that!" And thus the DIDS was born, orphaned of comedic parents.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Are glasses an unmistakable sign of douchebaggery now? When did I miss the memo?

    ...oh, wait, I'm starting from the middle.

    So, newest comic. First thing that poked me wrongly: white hat. Is this guy supposed to be Black Hat Man's good twin? I know this sounds silly, but we know Randall never makes any distinction between his characters if not without an explicit cause(if it's a recurrent character, if he wants to emphasize a stereotype or if it's a woman), so it stands out.

    But back to the "plot": so, guy is complaining his ex was a bitch, and he wish someone would make a notification service for that sort of thing. It's sort of pointless until now. Has there been any issues with the sex offender registry recently that ties this comic with recent news? Well, I'm digressing, let's just get to the punchline.

    California has a douchebag registry system. And apparently they travel around the country telling people the people they're dating are douchebags. Like Anon6:53AM, I also wonder why California. I'm not on par with the impact of California on popular culture, so I have no idea if it's supposed to be part of the punchline or just an useless accessory.

    And the alt-text... so, the guy has glasses, goatee and likes bad movies = douchebag. When, again, did glasses become a sure symptom of douchebaggery? I can understand goatees and bad taste on film(or, worse, possessing those DVDs IRONICALLY, oho!), but glasses aren't much of a choice(sure, you can get contacts, but... then again, not everyone can), so how can you say "oh, that guy wears glasses, total douchebag!"

    Also, glasses on eyeless stick figures = pointlessly weird. The same applies for having facial hair, but no hair on top of head. The more I look at this comic, the more it looks like a trainwreck.

    So, do widzenia,

    Mole

    ReplyDelete
  31. Whoa, I agree with Whumpus... Abstruse Goose did that one way better. (Reposting for the lazy: http://abstrusegoose.com/114)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Abstruse Goose? Real life has been doing it for at least 5 years: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DontDateHimGirl.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. The latest comic is about a joke everyone else in the universe has already made.
    Only with a horribly bad statistic. In that he roughly said that everyone who abuses statistics dies within the next six years by lightning.

    The alt text is "People who have different tastes than me are assholes". Literally. And it counts as pandering too, since "hating Epic Movie and sequels" is as common a thing as "hating Hitler".

    ReplyDelete
  34. Since the toothbrush moustache, swastika tattoo and Nazi propaganda collection didn't tip you off...

    ReplyDelete
  35. The California reference is just mimicking the language found on certain warning labels:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_65_(1986)#Warning_label

    I'm not sure what the problem with sex offender registries is. Well, there is a problem, but there's no shortage of jurisdictions wanting to run one, contrary to Randall's implication. The problem is that people can be labeled sex offenders for stupid stuff. A guy pissing on the street could get busted for indecent exposure and required to register. An 18 year old guy with a 17 year old girlfriend (statutory rape) could be required to register. Teens sending naked pictures of themselves to another teens cellphone are guilty of producing/possessing child porn. Also, sex offender tends to get conflated with "violent pedophile" in many people's minds and there may be further legal restrictions on sex offenders based on this (like not living near schools). That's reasonable for actual violent pedophiles, but not for the guy pissing on the street or sexting teens.

    ReplyDelete
  36. seeing the above makes the punchline make a lot more sense, but that basically means that Randall works the whole comic up to that really lame line. I honestly can't say if the comic is worse or better after that, because either way it's still pure shit.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm assuming Randall doesn't know how sex offender registries work, because otherwise there's no point to him mentioning them unless this is supposed to be similar.

    If you don't know that a person is a sex offender nobody comes to your house and charges you a fine for hiring them to babysit your kids or something. That's fucking stupid.

    Most laws ALSO require the sex offender to inform people in the neighborhood that they are a registered sex offender. Meaning if this "douchebag registry" works like a sex offender registry, the guy would be the one getting in trouble for not telling the girl he's a registered douchebag. Why is she getting fined for his withholding information?

    God damn this comic sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  38. So I was expecting some sort of white hat hacker mischief; some sort of antithetical behavior to Mr. Hat. I had high hopes for something clever and devious... but all I got was this terrible let-down of a comic. "Hey, that guy looks like one of my ex's and he /was/ a douche bag." GOOMRelationshipsR, I guess :(
    captch: vizor - would have been better if the date had been wearing one of these instead of glasses.
    "If the Vulcan ears didn't tip you off..."

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nobody in particularSeptember 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    The most recent comic shoves too much in there, and really only gives a payoff for one line of thought.

    We are given the following information:
    *Not hat broke up with his girlfriend
    *Said ex girlfriend turned out to be a real jerk, despite not appearing as a jerk
    *There should be a website where you can check up on people's relationship skills (Known in real life as "not being a terrible judge of character")
    *Sex offender registries are similar, but they are known to fail. (Apparently not true)
    *California is known for attempting experimental registrations. (Is that...what? I don't think so)
    *Having glasses makes you a jerk.
    *This specific guy likes terrible movies.

    Now, the first three are all that's required to tell the joke, eliminating panel three (And with it, all of hat guy's dialogue) completely. There's too much unnecessary information here and it gets in the way.


    I mean, even with that, the comic is unfunny and has been done before (better) many times. But the point is he did it poorly anyways. he screwed up at all points of making a comic.

    ReplyDelete
  40. RANDALL MONROE RELATIONSHIP WATCHSeptember 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Randall Monroe currently does....*NOT*...have a girlfriend.

    ReplyDelete
  41. http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/

    YOU HUMONGOUS FAGGOTS THE NEW COMIC IS BASED OFF OF AN OLD AND DERIVATIVE JOKE; I CAN TELL BECAUSE THIS WEBSITE WAS SET UP WITH THE SAME PREMISE SEVERAL YEARS AGO, SUCK IT RANDull SPIC HONKEY CHING CHONG WING WONG

    ReplyDelete
  42. I agree with Chrisfs's comment up there. I'm all up for giving accurate criticism, but honestly, you guys are horrible at that most of the time. Looking at the comics from a strictly negative viewpoint creates obvious bias, thus rendering anything this blog says to be invalid IMO.

    And no, I'm not an XKCD/Randall fan boy. In fact, I don't even like XKCD that much. But what I hate more than XKCD is terrible criticism.

    ReplyDelete
  43. @2:09 If you actually ready the comments, you'll find that there is plenty of objective criticism. We even make suggestions. "This comic would be better without the caption" is a common one. Another is just rearranging. Why do you think we frequently say that Randall needs an editor? We're not going "Arrrgh XKCD sucks!!!" We're saying "Arrrgh XKCD sucks and it could be easily improved with slight adjustments!!!"

    ReplyDelete
  44. http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/
    http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/

    THE NEW COMIC IS DERIVATIVE AND OLD BECAUSE A WEBSITE WITH THE EXACT SAME PREMISE WAS MADE SEVERAL YEARS AGO- IF YOU DELETE THIS COMMENT THAT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT I SWEAR I WILL DO AWFUL THINGS

    ReplyDelete
  45. http://dontdatehimgirl.com/home/

    THIS IS LIKE THE THIRD FUCKING TIME I've posted this comment and blogger ate it- NEW COMIC SUX as JOKE IS OLD AND DERIVATIVE

    THIS IS BECAUSE there already exists a website with this exact same premise I swear to god if this comment dissapears I will hate a hole in your ovaries

    ReplyDelete
  46. @Andrew R. I probably should have been more specific. Yeah, I know there's a pretty good amount of objective criticism. However, you know as well as I do that a lot of people who frequent this blog tend to only look for the negatives, not the positives.

    I find this to be in a lot of the reviews. For instance: Just because there's an ongoing theme in the comic, that doesn't make Randall unoriginal. However, this seems to be the attitude with a lot of the reviewers.

    tl;dr i know there's some good criticism but there are a lot of people here who don't know how to give good criticism (even with some of the reviewers)

    ReplyDelete
  47. @RANDALL MUNROE RELATIONSHIP WATCH:

    Ahahahaha brilliant. 10/10

    ReplyDelete
  48. Chrisfs ...

    Wow, a comment devoted on expressing your annoyance at another person's work and it extends for at least a paragraph. You really need to move on and do something with your limited time on earth. Continually criticizing someone else's work is rather sad. I suppose the idea of just not reading it has been made and deemed not dramatic enough.
    This will likely be my comment to you on this site.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Chaos however long ago.
    No. Nono. Vampires Suck was as bad at being a comedy as Eclipse was at being a drama (Eclipse being the worst of the films so far), and a hell of a lot worse at being a comedy than Eclipse was at the same.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Okay so since blogger or someone with admin privileges and a penchant for cheap thrills keeps deleting my comment this is the the fourth time I'm writing this.

    There already exists a website where girls can go online and check out a list of awful exes and serial cheats- it's called don'tdatehimgirl (url's in my name)

    it was also founded several years ago. this is a good indicator that randall's joke (as it currently stands) is SO STALE that someone's actually made it a viable service.

    i.e been done >9000 times before, and randall's iteration adds nothing to the formula.

    ReplyDelete
  51. that's not the admin, that's the software

    ReplyDelete
  52. About the new comic,

    I'm afraid many of you missed some important points. One the punchline. This comic is making a crack at California, calling it liberal and willing to do stupid things. Living in California, I wholeheartedly agree and found this comic very amusing.

    And it doesn't say sex offender registries failed, it says they caused problems. Which they did. A lot of really dumb problems. As well as violating the sex offenders rights. This idea, while not new, is similar and dumb.

    Thank you for reading.

    ReplyDelete
  53. holy christ, never before have I gotten so much horrible anger that was meant for blogger.com

    DUDE

    THEY SET UP THIS NEW SPAM DETECTION THING, IT'S WEIRD FOR ME TO GET THE HANG OF, SORRY. GOD.

    ReplyDelete
  54. re:796, Randall put a punchline as the last word/presence in a comic. So, uh, points? I smirked. I sorta forgot what the three panels were about, I don't want to re-read them, and I'm honestly okay with that.

    Re: criticism of da blog. I still don't know why people expect objectivity from a site called "XKCDsucks". I'm not saying there ISN'T objectivity, but I mean... ESL or something? Is XKCD funny in its translations? Poorly translated Russian slang is pretty awesome. "Nice wheelbarrow!"

    ReplyDelete
  55. I suppose the rather profane fellow earlier in the thread never saw Amazon Women on the Moon.

    (If you haven't, don't bother. It mostly sucked.)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hey, person who kept trying to link to dontdatehimgirl.com with increasing frustration- THE SITE HAD ALREADY BEEN MENTIONED EARLIER IN THIS DISCUSSION. Telling us about it wasn't as urgent as you thought.

    ReplyDelete
  57. holy christpunch randall is out of touch with reality

    none of this works

    at all
    fuck

    ReplyDelete
  58. Does anyone else think the guy in the 4th panel looks just like Jeph Jacques?

    Also: Amazon Women on the Moon is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Yes! Just when I was wondering how I could withstand all the suspense before Carl's big fucking news, Achewood finally updated again!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Carl is in an intimate relationship with Randall Munroe through inquisitive and endearing emails. What started as hate is now love.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I know what the announcement is... "The rally to restore comedy".

    ReplyDelete
  62. Qlink: I think if they actually invented that machine, virtually every date would immediately be fucked, since even good guys don't have a clean record for some reason or another. And the ones who do have clean records are the unconfident types who have no record at all, or guys who only dated a few girls who would get laughed at for having a tiny list.

    But no one would be more fucked than Randall: "dated one girl for 2 months, constantly made creepy comics about her. after break up, cried in the corner for half a year and proceeded to make comics about her on a high-traffic website for the next 4 years"

    ReplyDelete
  63. you could pay to have your profile changed
    making it useless if abused but whatever

    ReplyDelete
  64. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 23, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    @anon7:55 dude i do not know what you are on about

    my exes have nothing but good things to say about me

    ReplyDelete
  65. are you sure? you think none of them are spiteful or double-crossing? you don't think you ever had trouble getting it up with one of them? did you have a time when you weren't comforting enough after a pet died or she had to break it off with one of her friends? Can you honestly say you were 100% perfect every single time you were with a girl to the point where any girl should never have a moral reason to turn you down?

    because if so, your next ex-girlfriend should put "too godamn self-obsessed"

    ReplyDelete
  66. i really hate randy and xkcd. normally its like "haha this is bad" bad but occasionally its "ugh.. this is so bad i want to post on a hate blog dedicated to hating this comic" bad.

    hey randy, guess what? you're a fuckwad

    ReplyDelete
  67. Sorry 12:01 not all of us are paranoid misogynists.

    ReplyDelete
  68. UndercoverCuddlefishSeptember 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    hey guys today i learned that i am self obsessed because i am not an insecure little bitch

    there is no in between

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi, Dave Sim, fancy seeing you here! :D

    ReplyDelete
  70. @UndercoverCuddlefish

    Yeah, he's a clueless nub. "Or they'll just laugh at you for having a short list". Yeah, because girls hate it when you've had nothing but a few serious relationships. They look at that and go "wow this guy is not a player I hate him", right?

    ReplyDelete
  71. I am 100% perfect. all my exes sing my praises all the livelong day

    ReplyDelete
  72. Rob a severed head in a jar cannot sing, how many times do we have to tell you this

    ReplyDelete