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== Latest comic ==
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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>
 
<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>
  
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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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.
  
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
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*If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
  
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*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the [[explain xkcd:Community portal|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! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
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*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete explanations|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
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*We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go [[explain xkcd:Advertise Here|here]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
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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.
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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 [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
 
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[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 21 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Go to this comic explanation

Misinterpretation
"But there are seven billion people in the world! I can't possibly stop to consider how ALL of them might interpret something!" "Ah, yes, there's no middle ground between 'taking personal responsibility for the thoughts and feelings of every single person on Earth' and 'covering your eyes and ears and yelling logically correct statements into the void.' That's a very insightful point and not at all inane."
Title text: "But there are seven billion people in the world! I can't possibly stop to consider how ALL of them might interpret something!" "Ah, yes, there's no middle ground between 'taking personal responsibility for the thoughts and feelings of every single person on Earth' and 'covering your eyes and ears and yelling logically correct statements into the void.' That's a very insightful point and not at all inane."

Explanation

Cueball is complaining that people are mad at him again because of misinterpretation. And since he is being perfectly clear it cannot be his fault that 'everyone is misinterprets him (hence the title).

However, the off-screen voice sarcastically points out that communication is an activity that only involves one person. Hence the speaker makes it clear that "real" communication involves work on behalf of both the speaker as well as the listener. Cueball claims that he is being “perfectly clear”, but if there is room for misinterpretation on behalf of almost everyone that reads his comments, then he is not.

In the title text, Cueball then answers that with seven billon people in the world he cannot possibly consider how ALL of them interprets his comments. Today his messages could potentially reach the whole world, and his claim that there will always be someone that would (intentionally) misunderstand something. The reply comes once again sarcastically, deriding his point and saying that a middle ground between taking up such an effort and entirely avoiding it must be reached.

This avoidance is phrased using a simile as “covering your eyes and ears and yelling logically correct statements into the void”, implying that no one would understand the logical sentences (thus the void), and would instead read them more naturally – and also that ignoring the appalled reaction of listeners to their own interpretation of the sentences is similar to covering your eyes and years. This action makes communication more difficult through the popular[citation needed] means of speech, text and sign language. If the hands are occupied with covering either part, then Braille communication is also impossible. Therefore, the action of “covering your eyes and ears” is a metaphor for deliberately making it more difficult to communicate with oneself.

It is clear that Cueball is acting as a straw man to further Randall's point, and the off-panel character is portrayed as the (sarcastic) voice of reason.

Randall returns to a recurring theme in his comics, regarding, in contexts of communication, the responsibility of the speaker for how they are interpreted, which again is a part of the larger category of comics about problems with social interactions. Having gradually gotten less subtle, this theme is now laid bare, there being no joke other than the sarcasm. What follows is a chronological history of this theme.

  • Much earlier than the other comics below, but related, 169: Words that End in GRY is a surreal reprimand upon people who act smug when their bad communication is misunderstood.
  • The title text of 1028: Communication notes that “Anyone who says that they're great at communicating but 'people are bad at listening' is confused about how communication works.”
  • The title text of 1860: Communicating also asserts that the responsibility of a misunderstanding lies with the speaker, not the listener — a theme explored in the comic via the character Humpty Dumpty.
  • The comic 1911: Defensive Profile implies that a person who boasts of having “no filter” in their (social media) speech is actually merely insecure about making people mad with their statements.

Transcript

[Cueball is sitting in an office chair at a desk in front of a laptop with his hands raised above the keyboard. An off-panel person replies to his remarks.]
Cueball: Ugh, people are mad at me again because they don't read carefully.
Cueball: I'm being perfectly clear. It's not my fault if everyone misinterprets what I say.
Off-panel person: Wow, sounds like you're great at communicating, an activity that famously involves just one person.


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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.

  • Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the Community portal. Share your 2¢!
  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. 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.

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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.

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