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__NOTOC__{{DISPLAYTITLE:explain xkcd}}
 
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
 
  
We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-10}}''' xkcd comics]],
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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:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
     as well as [[List of all comics]] and [[List of unexplained comics]], which are obviously not comic pages. -->
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     as well as [[List of all comics]] and the pages it has been split across, which are obviously not comic pages.
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[[:Category:Incomplete articles|extend incomplete descriptions]]!
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== Latest comic ==
 
== 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.
  
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
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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 missing explanations are listed [[List of unexplained comics|here]]. 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.
 
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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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.
 
If you need assistance from an [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
  
 
[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[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 11 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Message in a Bottle
I tried to send a message back, but I accidentally hit 'reply all' and now the ocean is clogged with message bottles.
Title text: I tried to send a message back, but I accidentally hit 'reply all' and now the ocean is clogged with message bottles.

Explanation

Cueball experiences a moment of non sequitur while walking along a beach, when he finds a message inside a bottle saying "unsubscribe".

If you're part of an Internet mailing list, it's a common experience to come across random posts by users who may not be very tech-savvy, saying "unsubscribe". This is their attempt to unsubscribe from the list, accidentally broadcast to every other person on that list instead of just to the mailing list admin (who is either a person or an automated program that manages the list). Another common modern experience is that "unsubscribe" links don't always work (perhaps intentionally, for spam e-mails). In desperation, someone has tried to send their "unsubscribe" request in a bottle, hoping in vain that it will have its intended effect. Instead, Cueball receives it. (A darker interpretation of the message could indicate the sender is unhappy with the world or life in general and wishes to leave it.)

A "message in a bottle" is either a fun activity or an S.O.S. from someone stranded at sea, where one places a note in a bottle and throws it into the ocean. It then gets carried on ocean currents, possibly around the world to be picked up by some unknown other person at a point in the future.

The title text extends the joke to another common technological faux pas. It further mixes the metaphor of a message in a bottle with an e-mail list. It states that when he "replied all" ("reply all" is an option in most email client programs, but obviously not an option when one receives a message in a bottle), it sent a message in a bottle to everyone to whom the original message was sent - in this case clogging the ocean with bottles.

This mistake is often made when a person intends to send an email to just one recipient of a message that's been broadcast to a whole list of people, but they accidentally hit "reply all" instead of just "reply". In some cases, if the mailing list is sufficiently large, amplification effects can completely overwhelm mail servers (by analogy, "clogging the ocean"). For example, an employee may send a simple message like "does anyone speak Russian?" to the whole company address book. Several people are likely to reply using the "reply all" button by mistake, causing the whole company to receive the reply. Then, automatic "out of office" notifications and people complaining about the flood of emails will further worsen the situation.

This strip was probably inspired by the recent news of the world's oldest message in a bottle having been found last year, after over 108 years of being at sea, thus setting a new Guinness World Record.

Transcript

[Cueball walks along a beach with six seagulls flying behind him over the sea. There is a small surf, and in the far distance, two mountains.]
[Cueball stops and looks down at a bottle lying in the sand just outside the surf. A letter can be seen inside, and there seems to be a stopper at the top.]
[A frameless panel shows Cueball (beach and sea not drawn) as he pulls out the letter from the bottle that he has now picked up.]
[Cueball holds the bottle behind him in one hand and the letter up in front him with the other hand. The text on the letter is written above him in curvy letters, looking like those often used to depict the writing of a dying or seriously injured man:]
Unsubscribe


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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.

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.

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