Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia with content developed and submitted by volunteers around the world. In fact, its slogan is "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Most articles on the site can be altered by anyone with access to Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has set some standards for its operation, which it refers to as the "Five pillars of Wikipedia". One of these pillars is titled "Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view."
Pro-life and pro-choice refer to two opposing viewpoints in the debate of the moral and legal rights concerning abortion. For many on both sides, it is a very emotional topic.
Black Hat has decided to prove that you can create an article which fundamentally cannot remain neutral. Since his charitable donation is determined by the word count of the article, any submission to Wikipedia must result in supporting either pro-life or pro-choice. And with a reward of one million dollars, it is unlikely that either side would allow an article to remain unedited which supported its opponent.
The title of the comic references an old (read, "pre-Internet") meme, possibly of Yiddish origin, known as shm-reduplication. The speaker replaces the initial consonant cluster (have it 0, 1 or even 2+ consonants) with the cluster "schm", read /ʃm/, and says the new word after the unadulterated word, as in the title where it is "N" that has been replaced. This denotes an active apathy or an intentional disregard of the authority (for it is usually an authority or someone in a similar position) being mocked. In this case, Black Hat is disregarding Wikipedia's neutrality doctrine with his word count dependent donation rule.
The title text is a statement from the Wikipedia author in an attempt to assert the neutrality of the submission, claiming no word count was performed before posting (an unlikely scenario).
- [Above the frame:]
- Trivia: It's possible to create events
- which Wikipedia cannot cover neutrally
- [Black Hat is at a press conference in which he is making an announcement in front of a large crowd mainly of Cueballs but also some Megans.]
- Black Hat: In a week, I will be donating $1,000,000 to a recipient determined by the word count of the Wikipedia article about this event. If it's even, the money goes to pro-choice activists. If it's odd, pro-life.
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What if instead of word count, it was determined by letter count. so insert a word with multiple spellings like "colour/color" and people will repeatedly edit and re-edit the word over and over until the servers crashed ? --ParadoX (talk) 09:01, 26 June 2013 (UTC)ParadoX
- Yea, it doesn't matter either way; let the sheeple have fun herding cats while I camp in the banquet for the last snipe.Pacerier (talk) 12:54, 4 March 2016 (UTC)
I think that the idea is that the edit and re-editing would overload the servers without it being a change to a single word. Theo (talk) 21:06, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
- If Wikipedia's aim is to take a neutral stance, and Wikipedia is being exploited to determine which of two opposing sides receives a donation, Wikipedia's correct action would be to prevent the article from being written, thus enforcing Wikipedia's stance on neutrality. Thokling (talk) 20:17, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
- If there is no article, the word count is 0, which is an even number, so it goes to pro-choice activists. :) 220.127.116.11 13:03, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
- No: if there is no article, the word count is undefined. You cannot determine anything about something that doesn't exist. rvighne (talk) 04:50, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
- if the article existed, it would be deleted as not notable. Chess (talk) 00:42, 30 December 2014 (UTC)
Lock the article mid-edit leaving a single word unfinished. That becomes a fraction of a word which is neit- 18.104.22.168 16:02, 2 December 2013 (UTC)BK
What the hell is Schmeutrality? Schmeu... looks very German to me, but I still have no idea about its meaning on this portmanteau. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:39, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
- An old (read "pre-internet") meme, probably Yiddish, is to say a word, then replace the initial consonant cluster of the word with "schm" (read "shm") and say the altered word. This denotes an active apathy toward the subject, that is, the speaker is deliberately disregarding the authority (for that is usually what is "regarded") and doing their own thing, as Black Hat is doing here, disregarding the authority of Wikipedia's stance on neutrality. If you were skipping school, and wanted to justify, you would say "School, Schmool". If you were disobeying you're Aunt Josephine, you would justify, to a confidant, "Aunt Josephine, Schmaunt Josephine". Other examples include "God, Schmod", "Copyrights, Schmopyrights" and "Feds, Schmeds".
- While I was familiar with this before him, Lemony Snicket's third book of a Series of Unfortunate Events, The Wide Window, explains it better than I do.
- Anonymous 04:56, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Easily fixed. Lock the article just before the deadline, flip a coin in a meeting of lots of Wikipedians, broadcast live. 22.214.171.124 14:36, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Another idea. Include a fragment of a word at the end of the article and full-protect it indefinitley. Jake (talk) 13:46, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Also, what about hyphenated compound words where it can be debated whether or not they're a single word? Just some random derp 23:49, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Maybe Black Hat is avoiding donating the money because he knows there will be a constant edit war. I am not quite sure enough to put it in the explanation. Jacky720 (talk) 10:39, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
What if another speaker at the event (or afterwards) were to donate $1,000,000 at the same time as Black Hat, but the other way round based on the word count? 126.96.36.199 12:04, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
...and 0's an even number 😆SilverMagpie (talk) 04:02, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Even if the article wasn't created or was deleted, it would remain true that Wikipedia couldn't cover it neutrally, because it wouldn't be covered. 188.8.131.52 19:22, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
There is a way to circumvent notability: If the article's wordcount is neither odd nor even (i.e. zero, i.e. the article does not exist) then the money will be given to a terrorist group or neo-nazis or some other concievably evil group. 184.108.40.206 09:22, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
0 is even 220.127.116.11 19:53, 29 November 2017 (UTC)