Title text: Collaborative editing can quickly become a textual rap battle fought with increasingly convoluted invocations of U+202a to U+202e
U+202e is a unicode control character that changes all proceeding text to right-to-left (RTL, as the title references). In the comic, Black Hat tires of Cueball's complaining and inserts a U+202e character in the middle of Cueball's speech, turning his complaints into gibberish - sentences that must be read from right-to-left. U+202c returns text back to its normal direction.
When multiple writers work on the same text, arguments can often arise with some writers resorting to vandalizing the works of other writers. The title text takes this up a level, suggesting the use of U+202e and other direction control characters in editor wars to disrupt other people's work.
- The title of the comic on the xkcd website actually has a U+202e character preceding it; when copied and pasted, the title of the comic actually reads "LTR". The page title is "xkcd: [U+202e]LTR", which causes Firefox to use "xkcd: xoferiF allizoM - RTL" as the window title. This also occurs in Chromium and Opera.
- In the version originally published there was a typo in the reverse text ("ETH" instead of "EHT" for "THE"). This mistake was corrected within a couple of hours.
- In some browsers, this page's title damages the appearance of all older entries in the archive page.
- [Cueball and Black Hat. Cueball is standing. Black Hat is sitting down and using a laptop.]
- Cueball: And that's not even the worst part! The worst part is that—
- Black Hat: U+202e
- Cueball: ...neve t'ndid yehT— (Flipped translation = "— They didn't even...")
- Cueball: ?lleh eht tahW... (Flipped translation = "...What the hell?")
- Cueball: ...uoy did woH (Flipped translation = "How did you...")
- Cueball: .elohssA... (Flipped translation = "...Asshole.")
Unicode Control Characters
|U+202a||LEFT-TO-RIGHT EMBEDDING||The following text will be left-to-right. This will not change directionality of characters, so for example Arabic letters will stay right-to-left. This character alone does nothing in an English text, since the text direction is left-to-right by default.|
|U+202b||RIGHT-TO-LEFT EMBEDDING||The following text will be right-to-left. This will not change directionality of characters, so Latin letters will stay left-to-right. Full stops, which don't have a directionality on their own, will be left of the sentence. Use this character for some little misplacings that cause big confusion.|
|U+202c||POP DIRECTIONAL FORMATTING||The following text is formatted like the text before the last U+202a, U+202b, U+202d or U+202e character.|
|U+202d||LEFT-TO-RIGHT OVERRIDE||The following text will be left-to-right. Additionally, the directionality of characters is changed to left-to-right. Used alone in an English text, this will only affect characters that are right-to-left by default, like Arabic letters.|
|U+202e||RIGHT-TO-LEFT OVERRIDE||The following text will be right-to-left. Additionally, the directionality of characters is changed to right-to-left. Use this character to completely screw up an English text.|
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