185: Wikifriends

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It's crazy how much my gut opinion of a movie/song is swayed by what other people say, regardless of how I felt coming out of the theater.
Title text: It's crazy how much my gut opinion of a movie/song is swayed by what other people say, regardless of how I felt coming out of the theater.

[edit] Explanation

The comic's title refers to the well-known online encyclopædia Wikipedia. Since it has been started, the project has become the de-facto authority for facts and opinions in all sorts of fields (at least for non-professionals). Many people tend to readily accept any statement as true just because it was mentioned in a Wikipedia article.

In the comic, this phenomenon is linked to the habit of adapting one's own opinions to those professed by friends. The influence of social environment is called peer pressure, often with a negative connotation. The term "Wikifriends" is coined in the comic as a label for people who adjust their views in order to incorporate into a group. As an example, the comic shows a discussion about a movie in which one collocutor entirely veers in his opinion when he hears what his friend thinks.

Wikipedia was often advertised as "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit", thus wikifriends could be seen as "the friends that anyone can edit", in other words: They will be influenced by your opinion rather than having one of their own.

The comic also references the act of using sock puppets or Meat Puppets on Wikipedia in order to gain more votes and win a argument, which is one of the most frowned upon actions in the eyes of the community.

The title text suggests that Randall also observes himself to be frequently influenced by others.

[edit] Transcript

[Two people are talking to each other.]
Cueball: I really liked that movie.
Friend: I hated that movie.
Cueball: Me too.

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I thought this was a reference to the WikiFriends group who defend WikiLeaks. I figured it was about intimidation. 02:52, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

That's impossible. The comic came out before Wikileaks even existed. 22:01, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

I have a completely different understanding of this comic than what's in the explanation here. Wiki is a site where anyone can change content and it's instantly visible - I think Randall meant that wikifriends are wiki because anyone can change their opinion on movies because they instantly adapt what others say. 14:52, 3 September 2014 (UTC)


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