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We already have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-10}}''' comic explanations]]!</big>
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== New here? ==
 
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Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com xkcd] web comic, it should be here.
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|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 [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
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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, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
 
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== 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.
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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.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;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 posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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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, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
 
If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
 
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Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1671 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Full-Width Justification
Gonna start bugging the Unicode consortium to add snake segment characters that can be combined into an arbitrary-length non-breaking snake.
Title text: Gonna start bugging the Unicode consortium to add snake segment characters that can be combined into an arbitrary-length non-breaking snake.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: hasty & impatient placeholder. Still an early draft; needs citations, fact-checking, and it also needs the Wikipedia links to be fixed.

The comic refers to an irritating problem in laying out text in narrow spaces, as in newspaper columns or some web pages: the problem of justification. Sometimes, as before a long word like "deindustrialization," there's no universal good way to make the typography work. It is a difficult problem to make text look good and be easily legible in a narrow space, with the biggest issue being how to handle words that are too long or too short to fit nicely.

The comic shows several solutions to this problem, some realistic and others less so, but each unsatisfying. "Giving up" is ugly, leaving a line break which doesn't fit with the rest; hyphenating is visually confusing and hard to read ("deindus-" looks like an independent, unfamiliar word, pronounced "deign-duss"); stretching is unnatural, probably hard to code or render, unfamiliar and quite ugly; adding "filler" words, a radical solution, makes the writing worse (in the case of the example, making the tone too informal); and adding a meaningless snake image, just long enough to fill the extra space, is a novel (and quite bizarre) solution which probably wouldn't actually be used by a serious typographer.

The title text suggests that in order to facilitate this last method of "solving" the problem, the Unicode consortium, the organization in charge of the common text standard Unicode, should add "snake-building characters", similar to the ones already available for constructing boxes [add note about that here?], allowing variable-length snakes to be used as filling. This suggestion is quite ridiculous; the Unicode consortium is very specific about which characters are added [citation needed], and always require a good reason before adding a character or set of characters to the standard. Thus, while humourous, Randall's suggestion would likely be rejected.

Note that in Arabic, it is common to stretch the lines connecting letters as a relatively elegant and satisfying resolution to this problem. This trick is called "kashida" (كشيدة) and is explained and illustrated here.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

Strategies for full-width justification

[Below this headline is a column of boxes, each showing a different "strategy" which is annotated beside it.]

Giving up

Letter spacing

Hyphenation

Stretching

Filler

Snakes

Trivia

The full text (with alternate changes) reads:

...their famous paper on the relationship between [crap like]/[ 🐍 ] deindustrialization and the growth of ecological...



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, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

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, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

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