Monday, March 28, 2011

Comic 878: Randall Makes a Strong Case Yet Again for a Picto-Blog

[Look at all these guest posts. It's like it's goddamn Christmas or some shit. -Ed.]

Hey all, it's Gamer_2k4 again. I didn't think I'd be making another guest post so soon, but I had to say something after seeing Comic 878. Not only does it have potential, but it's clear that Randall spent more than his usual five minutes on it. The comic could have been great, but it was destroyed by none other than Randall himself. Because of that, this review won't be bile and snark, but rather a lamentation for what could have been.

If you haven't seen the strip itself, don't go to xkcd.com just yet. Let's start from the other side, by looking at the good parts before they were ruined. That means stripping out the ugly stick figure panels at the top and bottom and focusing on the middle.



Look at that! It's not bad! It's remarkably well-drawn for being in a minimalistic comic like xkcd. It conveys visually the concepts that Randall is trying to explore. It's showing, not telling. And honestly, I think it's interesting stuff. Sure, any mathemetician could tell you that recursively scaling something down will shrink it quickly. Honestly, any of us could probably figure it out in no time at all. But it's the sort of thing that never really occurs to you until you're confronted with it. Randall's confronting us with it, and he's doing it in a very compelling manner.

Let's throw out the fact that Randall was inspired by Wikipedia yet again. Don't worry that he expressed the concept simply, rather than in an excessively geeky manner like the guys at xkcd sucks reboot offered. Instead, realize that he only used seventeen words with the six detailed pictures and succeeded admirably in conveying this idea to his audience.

Carl often spoke of a picto-blog that Randall should make, where he explores his interesting ideas with illustrations and descriptions, but WITHOUT trying to force in humor where it doesn't belong. I fully agree. Want proof? Take a look at the comic again, this time with Randall's attempts to be funny included.



Okay, right away this is stupid. The basement is ugly, the stick figures add very little (especially note panel 2), and perhaps most importantly, NO ONE gets that excited about making 1/87 replicas of furniture and the like. So, in this top row, we have several staples of xkcd that give us a reason to continue this blog: poor (not minimalistic, but poor) art, unrealistic dialogue, unnecessary elaboration (the parenthesized "1/87"), and a rather notable lack of humor. And yet, these three panels could still be a strip by themselves! A joke, or at least an attempt at a joke, exists (the implied "you didn't think this through because making a true scale model would recurse indefinitely"), there's no post-punchline dialogue, and and the joke itself is implied, rather than directly stated. It's not Randall's best work, but it's certainly not his worst. For a moment I had thought those three panels WERE the comic strip today. As it turns out, they were just an unnecessary lead-in to the actual content.

The final bookend is far worse. The notion that you even have to have a rule like "no nesting" is retarded (though perhaps not necessarily unwarranted, given the characters that populate xkcd), and the
Fight Club reference is the worst sort of humor: the type that expects you to laugh in recognition rather than because it was particularly witty. (I do give him credit for subverting it to say "yeah we suck and our families are sick of it," though.) Randall is trying to salvage two things that don't need to be salvaged: a standalone comic and a standalone picto-blog entry. The three components together form an unfortunate amalgamation where the sum is less than the parts, and it's further ruined by title text that doesn't really add much and is little more that an admittance of "I'm pedantic, opinionated, and I get my ideas from Wikipedia."

RANDALL. We've been over this before. Get an editor so that someone can tell you when you're destroying something good. Don't force yourself to work and rework your comics to death, and don't try to inject humor where it's not needed. You have plenty of comics that are supposed to be interesting, not funny, so why not just go with that?

It's strips like this one that remind me that sometimes, you're a pretty bright guy. You have interesting things to say from time to time, and you're occasionally more than a creepy, unfunny stalker. Work with that!

Make the picto-blog, Randall. Please.

68 comments:

  1. shit, I'm gonna have to do a guest post if this continues, otherwise I'm not going to be a valued member of the community

    since (as all cuddlefish know) none of us have any life outside of this blog that would be disastrous D:

    Wednesday, Randall. You and me. Bring it.

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  2. oh yeah and yeah what Gamer_2k4 said was sensible and I agree

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  3. But that's not as important as our personal standings within the ranks of XKCD sucks. I may not be first here, but third is pretty good. I'm moving up in the world!

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  4. You're first, Rinnon. Ann doesn't count because she doesn't have a proper avatar.

    I feel this comic may have been slightly funnier if the guy had actually built the recursive models. That may even have lead on to a related punchline.

    Captcha: Ninon. Rinnon's wife.

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  5. NO ONE gets that excited about making 1/87 replicas of furniture and the like.

    Obvoiusly you don't understand the cuddlefish mindset.

    And A-FUCKING-MEN to the editor and/or pictoblog. Fucks sake, we make a whole website obseesed with what's wrong and how to improve it, and it's those two things. ARE YOU LISTENING ROBDALL!!!

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  6. I'm surprised that Gamer_2k4 actually tries to make quality posts, what with XKCDsucks being so terrible lately.

    Incidentally, Randall's editor should get to punch Randall in the face every time he tries to make a lame reference.

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  7. Gamer_2k4! I am enjoying your posts. Most of the time the xkcdsucks posts are irrelevant and filled with ad hominem, without really addressing why the comics are bad, etc. and even diminishing any good (if there is any to be found) about them (I was starting to think xkcdsucks was almost becoming a parody of itself.) Anyways, I do think xkcd does suck, but credit should be given where credit is due, and you seem to have a pretty balanced head! I look forward to future reviews

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  8. for fucks sake, can i have a megan joke already ?

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  9. ^^ That was Rob.

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  10. Shut the fuck up, 4:36. You have no idea what ad hominem is and you sound like a dick face for getting it wrong and thinking it makes you smart.

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  11. ^^ That was Ves.

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  12. Wow, Ves. You're kind of an asshole.

    Captcha: color -- you callin' me a nigger?

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  13. Uh, XKCDSucks usually is filled with ad hominem.

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  14. Ann, if you do not make a guest post I will beat you to it so that I can one-up Gamer_2k4 in regards to the number of guest posts in this Robtacular sequence. That, or Gamer_2k4 and I will just take over the site. That, or I let you do it and pretend you and I are two halves of a schizophrenic, and count it anyways.

    Also, +1 Sarge -- people still come here for balanced reviews???

    Captcha: stedfat. Like Rob -- firm, unchanging, but mostly as a result of a girth rather than personality.

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  15. sarge you're stupid and therefore wrong

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  16. It's cute how you think that putting "uh" before your comment makes it look like you're obviously right.

    Uh, the ad hominem fallacy is when you attack someone personally and try to use that as evidence of why their point is wrong. Nobody making jokes about Randall's obsession with breast milk or being creepy in general claims those are the reasons his comics are bad. They do that just to troll.

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  17. inb4

    "Nobody making jokes about Randall's obsession with breast milk or being creepy in general claims those are the reasons his comics are bad."

    lol i do!!!11one

    No. You're not clever.

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  18. This is a good change from the usual tongue-in-cheek Rob posts. It's good for the blog: lots of not serious posts, some totally nonsensical, and the occasional serious post.

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  19. Anonymous at 7:53 AM said:

    "...Uh, the ad hominem fallacy is when you attack someone personally and try to use that as evidence of why their point is wrong...."

    And the 'ad eminem' fallacy is when you attack someone personally for saying: "Gee Wally why must I name my son 'Shady'"?

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  20. Rob has realised other people will write the posts for him. He has no sense of responsibility.

    Also, he's fat.

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  21. Rob's corpulence notwithstanding, he shows remarkable responsibility in his effective managerial delegatory acumen.

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  22. Carl is the original Rob, except Rob doesn't make money off of this.

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  23. Does all this mean Raven & Gamer will be the next Carl & Rob?

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  24. Okay, but I'm pretty sure I lack that grotesque Hutt-like appearance that's Rob's claim to fame. People might get confused.

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  25. Hutt-like?
    Did you just make a Star Wars reference?
    Besides, appearances can be deceiving.

    Innit?

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  26. Rob is fat, is what I'm trying to say. So yes.

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  27. Gamer_2k4 is clearly Carl, because between the two of us he's far more likely to post a legitimate review, whereas I'm about 30% likely to just troll or post fanfic

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  28. Verily, verily, I say unto thee. He that believeth on fat, the fat that Rob doth be shall he be also: and greater bulk than this shall he be; because......

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  29. Having supplanted the original posters, now Raven and I just need admin rights (or at least posting rights) and the takeover will be complete.

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  30. Good luck with that Carl went off into the sunset ... and took his passwords and google adsense money with him.

    Anybody want a Snorg Tee?

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  31. Nope.

    And don't call me Shirley, kitten.

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  32. Alternately, Gamer_2k4, we can go the Kitten route and just start a new XKCD blog, linking to it every guest post until gradually we only post there.

    If I were to say "Kitten Wrangler", you'd know what I meant.

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  33. We could, but then we wouldn't get the free popularity that comes with posting here. Part the the draw of guest posting is the associated prestige, after all.

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  34. You'll get countdowns, cause you'll fail. People gravitate here.

    ...


    ...



    ...




    ...






    ....



    BECAUSE ROB IS FAT AMIRITE??!!

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  35. Only certain people are allowed to wrangle me.

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  36. Are Raven and I those certain people?

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  37. Yawny yawny cunt cunt

    Now this looks like a job for me
    So everybody, just follow me
    Cause we need a little, controversy
    Cause it feels so empty, without me

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  38. The Gamey One said:

    "....We could, but then we wouldn't get the free popularity that comes with posting here. Part the the draw of guest posting is the associated prestige, after all...."

    You are indeed a sad cuntbutler.

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  39. I GUESS THAT"S WHY THEY CALL IT WINDOW PANE (pain)

    And Gamer...

    ...

    ...



    ...



    ...


    ...only if you have a penis that can work through Skype!

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  40. Kitten of Vanity ---> Eminem.

    FACT.

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  41. Eminem said:

    "....Cause I'm back, I'm on the rag and ovu-lating...."

    Dear Mr. Mathers. If one is on the rag one is not ovulating - the two events are normally separated by between five to fifteen days. Any methodically rhythmic Catholic girl can tell you this.

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  42. @Kitten
    Guess we're both in luck.


    @Aquarians
    The only reason it feels empty here now is because the five of us are just kind of hovering here. If we wait, other people WILL show up and post comments of their own.

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  43. But Gamer, if I stop posting here I'll have to actually DO statistical analysis! The horror!

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  44. Dearest Gamer,
    You misunderstood my meaning when Eminem used the word 'empty'.
    We do not refer to lack of hovering/alighting people. We refer to the 'feeling' of emptiness brought about by the paucity of comment quality not quantity.

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  45. And if I stop posting here, Raven, I'll have to do my JOB. Man, screw that noise.

    Aquarians, I guess we'll just have to get the comments back on track. I'll start:

    Wow, this was a good guest post! The depth of the critical analysis, the use of helpful visuals, the open-mindedness and impartiality of the poster...whoever this guy is, he is one seriously awesome dude.

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  46. I don't have a job so I don't have anything to put off :D

    wait I mean D:

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  47. P.S. screw you kitten I have an avatar now

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  48. Everyone just shut up! I liked this comic, and if Robdall wasn't just a hugely obese troll trolling the trolls, you would too.

    P.S. Obvious fake-Ann is obvious fake.

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  49. More like the Kitten of COMMUNISM, amirite?

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  50. I saw 50 comments and thought maybe there was a good old fashioned cuddlefish convention going on here. But no, I see that it's just the five of you. Talking about nothing. You weren't even fucking playing Diplomacy. Biggest disappointment of my week.

    On a side note, I'd support a union of Gamer2k4 and Ravenz, unholy though it might be.

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  51. But the voters didn't vote for a Gamer2k4/Ravenzomg coalition, they voted for a Rob minority! This is totally undemocratic.

    [too obscure for the world-wide audience?]

    Captcha: Pretra. The original rock city, situated in Jrordan.

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  52. Revolution is the only way, comrades.

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  53. So your hateblog is collapsing because xkcd keeps getting better and better. I look forward to the day I can read the very last post on here.

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  54. collapsing? man, this place will keep going forever, even if I have to actually post sometimes

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  55. Getting better? The latest comic is another fucking penis joke... WITH SEMEN. How fucking low can you get?
    "LAWL WUT IF WEN U RUBBED A GENIE'S LAMP... IT CAME! LOLZERCOPTERS"

    Captcha: helsis- What the helsis?

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  56. I'm pretty sure xkcd is not getting better and better.

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  57. haha

    cum

    goomh randall sometimes I cum too

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  58. http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/8721/xkcdsplort.jpg

    CAPTCHA: corns

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  59. Well I chuckled at the latest one. Maybe I am just too juvenile for your high-brow humor, Anons.

    But it was simple, the art was sufficient, and it has a punchline. That is was more than you'd expect from Randall on most days.

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  60. The joke was "what if a lamp was a penis".

    Go nuts, Ann Apolis. All yours.

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  61. Actually, #657 was meant to be funny; look at the last two charts.

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  62. A little late to the party here, but was I the only one who noticed he just copy-pasted the text for "model train layouts" instead of writing it again? The shoddy "A" in "train" stood out both times for me, and it kind of made me do a double-take when I realized how incredibly fucking lazy Randall is.

    Captcha: Pyron. Require additional *s.

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