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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Brains aside, I wonder how many poorly-written xkcd.com-parsing scripts will break on this title (or ;;"''{<<[' this mouseover text."
Title text: Brains aside, I wonder how many poorly-written xkcd.com-parsing scripts will break on this title (or ;;"''{<<[' this mouseover text."

[edit] Explanation

In programming, punctuation is often used to mark sections of code. Paired punctuation marks must always be matched up with a corresponding closing mark, otherwise a so-called syntax error occurs. The programming language Lisp (also featured in 224: Lisp) is known for large numbers of nested/paired parentheses. Even in literary works intended only for human consumption, the absence of a matching closing parenthesis, (as appears in this paragraph) or other "balanced" punctuation sets creates a mental expectation of eventual closure and completion that remains unfulfilled even long after the unmatched mark is encountered.

There is also reference to 312: With Apologies to Robert Frost which could contain the missing paren...

It can also be interpreted as a metaphor, which compares the reader with a Lisp interpreter. The interpreter looks for the parenthesis until the end of the file, where it eventually halts, and prints out the error. The comic claims that if you read an unmatched parenthesis, you will look for it for the rest of the day too.

It also refers to this awkward feeling when you see something (like an unmatched parentheses, speling error or a randomly-placed, comma.

The title text refers to the same issue as already highlighted in 327: Exploits of a Mom: if your scripts trust external input, you sometimes will be surprised. At the time of this comic, there were quite a few websites that would grab the latest xkcd comic three times a week and publish them on their own site. This comic likely broke at least some of the websites because of either the unmatched brace or the extra unmatched markup that is in the title text.

[edit] Transcript

(An unmatched left parenthesis creates an unresolved tension that will stay with you all day.
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Discussion

) Here you go, you're free now. --199.27.128.150 01:55, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

In saying: "The programming language Lisp (also featured in 224: Lisp is known for large numbers...", a closing parenthesis was omitted. Was this intentional?

Maybe. >.> <.< lcarsos (talk) 03:21, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
You would need to check the source to be sure... --B. P. (talk) 19:08, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
(Muahahahahahahahaha! 108.162.245.8 02:04, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

If this comic bothers you, #312 can help. Joey (talk) 03:07, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

I do not think it's productive to explain the joke using the joke itself without clearly indicating that such is happening. So, It also refers to this awkward feeling when you see something (like an unmatched parentheses, speling error or a randomly-placed, comma. does not explicitly indicate the reflexive usage of the joke. I hope I'm not being overly pedantic, but my first instinct was to correct the spelling error. An an example the passage is fine, but it should be made to stand apart from the "real explanation" in some way, maybe in a callout or italicized as I have it here --Smartin (talk) 03:36, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

This reminds me of when I used to program the TI-83. It would automatically close any parentheses at the end of a line, and all the programming guides told me not to close them, since it would save a tiny bit of memory. I must have annoyed my teachers a lot when this bled over into my homework. I know I've gotten graded down for it. 70.102.89.181 04:17, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
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