906: Advertising Discovery
Title text: When advertisers figure this out, our only weapon will be blue sharpies and "[disputed]".
On Wikipedia, a well-referenced text or statement indicates credibility. References for particular facts are linked to by bracketed blue little numbers in superscript. When faced with a statement followed by these, readers will normally believe it without further ado, since they take it on trust that there are directions on the bottom of the page, leading to a reliable source or two, agreeing with what the statement says. The effect becomes strengthened when such information often is confirmed to be correct.
In the comic, advertisers have realized that it has gone so far that people in general will take any nonsense for granted if there is just the right amount of Wikipedia-style reference tags to it. The penis pump e-commerce can suddenly flourish (again?) and the spammers won't even need to bother making up findings to cite.
Turgidax® is something Randall formed from turgid, meaning swollen. The reason that the attaching of -ax creates a typically pill-like name is simply that -ax (and -ex) are common Latin adjectival word endings, and that many drugs have names formed from Latin words. -Ax is also, specifically, the root of the -acious ending in English, as in "audacious" or (appropriately) bodacious, meaning "extra" or "especially". The idea is it makes the genitalius extra or especially turgid. Cardiovascular means relating to the heart and blood vessels.
Cueball saying "Sounds legit" may be a reference to the Internet meme "Seems legit", where when faced with a dubious proposal one unquestioningly accepts or agrees with it, which would make sense in this scenario.
The title text is about how Wikipedia users have been able to add "disputed"-tags (nowadays "disputed – discuss") after challenged facts, with this template, since the dawn of time.[disputed – discuss] (Incredible example, first sentence.) So when faced with the new advertising trick IRL, we could counter by scribbling those tags all over with blue Sharpie marker pens, and so automatically revive the critical thinking.
The comic also references Wikipedia's Neutrality policy, due to the high influx of Paid editors. Indeed, many of Wikipedia editors time is taken up by cleaning up articles with non neutral points of view.
- Advertising discovery:
- [Person sits at computer, reading an ad on the screen. The bracketed superscripts are blue.]
- Ad: Turgidax® triples your penis size overnight, improving both your sexual attractiveness and your cardiovascular health.
- Person (thinking): Sounds legit.
- Caption: Wikipedia has trained us to believe anything followed by little blue numbers in brackets.
- Randall changed the image name from advertising_discovery.png to citations.png, since adblocking extensions interpreted it as an ad and made the comic blank. He had the same problem just three months earlier with 870: Advertising.
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