970: The Important Field

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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==Explanation==
 
==Explanation==
This comic is a joke about data validation. One form of validation is where a program asks the user to provide duplicate inputs to confirm that they entered their data correctly. In the comic, the program only asks for the man's email address to be validated when a more important item of data, the missile target, is also entered, but not validated by duplicate entry.
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It is very common that online input forms demant that one's email address is typed twice (and also quite common that pasting into the second field is disabled, so that there is no escape). If a form asks for some information that is really much more crucial, and this standard routine thoughtlessly isn't used for those fields too, it would comically seem that the form-makers consider your email address to be ''hideously'' important. In the comic, the impression is that it is less important that the wrong city is not accidentally wiped out, than that the boss  knows who to blame afterwards.
  
The title text is also an illustration of a mistake going undetected, albeit only a grammatical one (not nearly as catastrophic as, say, a missile landing on an unintended destination.)
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The title text suggests a real world parallel to this. [[Randall]] ''has heard'' about differing priorities of identifying who is purchasing a firearm (the state/locality requires 1 form of identification) and ensuring the payment (the store requires 2 forms of ID, to properly document the person, in case the check is fake or is rejected by the bank). The point is that people often care a lot about money, but a gun in the wrong hands is a potential disaster bigger than a few hundred missing dollars.
 
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The title text refers to the differing priorities of identifying who is purchasing a firearm (the state/locality only requires 1 form of identification) and paying for it with a personal check (store requiring 2 forms of ID to ensure and properly document the person paying for the gun in case the check is fake or is rejected by the bank.)
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==Transcript==
 
==Transcript==

Revision as of 00:23, 25 February 2013

The Important Field
I hear in some places, you need to fill one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting to see who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.
Title text: I hear in some places, you need to fill one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting to see who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.

Explanation

It is very common that online input forms demant that one's email address is typed twice (and also quite common that pasting into the second field is disabled, so that there is no escape). If a form asks for some information that is really much more crucial, and this standard routine thoughtlessly isn't used for those fields too, it would comically seem that the form-makers consider your email address to be hideously important. In the comic, the impression is that it is less important that the wrong city is not accidentally wiped out, than that the boss knows who to blame afterwards.

The title text suggests a real world parallel to this. Randall has heard about differing priorities of identifying who is purchasing a firearm (the state/locality requires 1 form of identification) and ensuring the payment (the store requires 2 forms of ID, to properly document the person, in case the check is fake or is rejected by the bank). The point is that people often care a lot about money, but a gun in the wrong hands is a potential disaster bigger than a few hundred missing dollars.

Transcript

[Man sitting at computer.]
Computer: Welcome to the missile launch interface!
[Click]
Computer: Enter the target's coordinates.
[Type Type]
Computer: Enter you email address for our records.
[Type Type]
Computer: Enter your email again, to ensure you typed it correctly.
comment.png add a comment!

Discussion

In order to purchase a firearm in the United States from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) you have to submit an official government photographic identification card (State ID or State Drivers license usually suffice), complete a Form 4473 Firearms Transaction Record to include such personal data as name, address, height, weight, ethnicity, age, birth date and Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number and submit the previous personal data from the Form 4473 to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is administered by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and receive a "PROCEED WITH TRANSACTION" from the NICS in order to take possession of the firearm.

To pay for your firearm with a check you only need show two forms of identification one of which may just be your Social Security Card.

To take possession of the firearm actually requires more stringent checks on identity then to pay with one by check.

But other than that your right. 211.40.37.62 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please enter your name and address, so we know who to blame when New York disappears. Davidy22[talk] 04:22, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
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