Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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!
Go to this comic explanation
Title text: 'What was the original problem you were trying to fix?' 'Well, I noticed one of the tools I was using had an inefficiency that was wasting my time.'
This comic is clearly remarking upon whether or not the benefits of the mentality "If it ain't broke, break it and fix it" are outweighed by the massive waste of time that can result from trying to solve any problem. As Cueball attempts to solve whatever computer issue he feels is causing him to be less productive, he creates more problems along the way. Attempting to solve all of these problems results in more time wasted than he was likely already wasting by using the inefficient tool described in the title text.
This comic is remarkably similar in thesis to Efficiency and Automation.
Relevant comics include Perl Problems, where using regular expressions causes more problems than it solves, Success, where Munroe comments on the goals of a project decreasing in optimism as a project goes on due to more and more problems distracting from the original, and Tech Loop, which shows that attempting to fix one problem in a piece of software can force a developer to delve into seemingly irrelevant parts of the relevant tech loop that the software in question is trapped in.
- [Single square panel]
- [Cueball sitting in front of a laptop]
- Off-screen person: What are you working on?
- Cueball: Trying to fix the problems I created when I tried to fix the problems I created when I tried to fix the problems I created when...
Is this out of date? .
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.
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.