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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font><br>
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:All comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:All comics|R}}-1}}''' xkcd comics]],
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    which is not really a comic, even though we've categorised it so. -->
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and only {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete explanations|R}}
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Don't be a jerk.
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Latest revision as of 17:52, 5 June 2018

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 2019 xkcd comics, and only 23 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Negative Results
P.S. We're going to the beach this weekend, so I'm attaching my preregistration forms for that trip now, before we find out whether it produces any interesting results.
Title text: P.S. We're going to the beach this weekend, so I'm attaching my preregistration forms for that trip now, before we find out whether it produces any interesting results.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a NULL HYPOTHESIS - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Recently, scientists have begun encouraging each other to publish negative results, where a study failed to find the intended effect, as a way of counteracting publication bias (where only interesting positive results get published), which results in false-positive results being published while negative results are not.

Cueball misinterprets the "push to publish negative results" as meaning that he should always attempt to publish the fact that he failed to find evidence of an effect, even when he didn't even try. This plays on the unspoken assumption that scientists would only choose to submit (and journals would only accept) negative results where a study was designed and executed well enough that it should have shown an effect or at least demonstrated evidence of some kind.

The comic does not specify the specific null hypothesis, indicating a reference to 892: Null Hypothesis.

Besides personal preferences, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the most recent at the time of publication, was likely chosen for its notorious length, Nintendo nerd cred, and a relevance to Nature magazine’s subject. The average time to beat 100% of the content is over 175 hours.

The title text references the practice of "pre-registration" of a study, which is one means to prevent publication bias: details of a planned study are registered with an organization before the study is conducted, so that a null result or a change in methodology cannot be hidden. The title text may be a play on words, mixing this up with registering (or booking) travel. On the other hand, it may just be playing on the absurdity of pre-registering a simple trip to the beach with a registry for scientific studies.

Transcript

[Cueball is sitting in an office chair at a desk typing on a laptop computer. The following message is displayed above him:]
Dear Nature Magazine,
I found no evidence sufficient to reject the null hypothesis in any research areas because I spent the whole week playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
I'll send you another update next week!
[Caption below the panel:]
The push to publish negative results seems kinda weird, but I'm happy to go along with it.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk.

There are a lot of comics that don't have set-in-stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.