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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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xkcd Survey
The xkcd Survey: Big Data for a Big Planet
Title text: The xkcd Survey: Big Data for a Big Planet


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: First attempt. There is probably more to come.

As the comic image states, it links to a survey created with Google Forms, containing a series of questions. The questions range from mundane typical survery questions such as "Do you have any food allergies?", to rather strange, such as "Fill this text box with random letters by randomly mashing keys on your keyboard."

The stated goal of the survey is to "create an interesting and unusual data set for people to play with". A strange data set is a ripe opportunity for a sampling of readers.

This explanation will doubtless expand when the data comes in.


Explanations after the dash.

Subsections were added for ease of editing


  • Have you ever been in a plane?
    • No
    • Yes


  • Have you ever been skydiving?
    • No, but I might someday
    • Yes
    • No

The Dress

  • When you first saw The Dress, what color was it? — Also see 1492: Dress Color.
    • White and gold
    • A color combination not listed here
    • I don't remember
    • Blue and black
    • What dress?

Popular food

  • What's a really popular food that you don't like?


  • When you look at a blue sky, do you see those swirly floaters in your vision?
    • Yes, constantly
    • I'm not sure what things you mean
    • Yes, occasionally
    • No

Running out of gas

  • Have you ever had a car run out of gas while you were driving it?
    • Yes
    • No


  • Name the first five animals you can think of


  • What's the weather like where you are right now?


Which of these can you do reasonably well?

(Check all that apply)


What word can you never seem to spell on the first try?


Do you eat condiments directly out of the fridge as a snack?

  • No
  • Yes


  • When you adjust a thermostat that was set by someone else, it's usually because you want the room to be ...
    • Cooler
    • Warmer


What color is the shirt/dress/upper-body-clothing you're wearing right now, if any?


  • Do you get colds often?
    • No
    • Yes


  • Pick a number from 1 to 100


  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how good at spelling are you? (Note that the question does not specify which end of the scale is good or bad.)




  • How many older siblings do you have?
  • How many younger siblings do you have?
  • How many twin/etc siblings do you have?


  • Do you feel sleepy a lot?
    • Yes
    • No

Movie star

  • Name a movie star
    • Text box

Time in sun

  • Do you spend a lot of time in the sun?
    • Yes
    • No


  • Does broccoli taste bitter to you?
    • Yes
    • I've never had it
    • No


  • Do you regularly stay awake much later than you meant to?
    • Yes
    • No

Keyboard mashing

  • Fill this text box with gibberish by mashing random keyboard keys
    • Multi-line text box


  • On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is terrible and 3 is average, how good a driver do you think you are?


  • Do you have any food allergies?
    • No
    • Yes


  • Have you heard thunder or seen lightning in the past year?
    • Yes
    • No

Flavor preference

Which do you prefer?

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

Number (reprise)

  • Pick another number from 1 to 100


  • When you think about stuff on the internet, where do you picture it being physically located? Even if you know it's not really how things work, is there a place you imagine websites and social media posts sitting before you look at them? If so, where is it?

Roll tongue

Can you roll your tongue?

  • Yes
  • No
  • What?


Question Possible Answers
Can you pick things up with your toes? No
How old are you? Single line text box
What color are the walls around you right now? Single line text box

Cell phone

What kind of cell phone do you have?

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Other smartphone
  • Non-smartphone
  • I don't have a cell phone


What's the last thing you ate?

  • Single line text box

Difficult words

Which of these words do you know the meaning of? has an index of difficulty (measured in pixels, with class name difficulty-indicator). We add it at the right of the words that have it. N/A means that a word isn't present in, or that it doesn't have an index.


Question Possible Answers
Please type "cat" here: Single line text box
Do you usually remember your dreams? No
Do you have strong opinions about text editors? Yes


How do you feel about emoji?

  • Negative 😠 — Unicode 1f620 Angry face
  • Positive ☺ — Unicode 263a White smiling face
  • Neutral 😐


  • Does it ever snow where you live?
    • No
    • Yes

Taste of food

Do you strongly dislike the taste or texture of any of these things?

  • Eggs
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Beer
  • White wine
  • Carbonation — Fizz
  • Red wine
  • Cilantro
  • Coffee
  • Tomatoes
  • Yogurt


Which of these do you regularly drink?

  • Caffeinated soda — e.g. Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper
  • Noncaffeinated soda
  • Coffee
  • Fruit juice
  • Milk
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Tea
  • Maple syrup — This is a joke because maple syrup in not normally drunk
  • Water

Random words

Question Possible Answers
Type five random words Multi-line text box
Are you nervous about flying? Yes
A little

Favorite number

On a scale of 1 to 5, which number is your favorite?

  • Buttons to select from the integers 1 through 5


Multiple selections allowed

Animal affinity

  • Which of these describes you?
    • Dog person
    • Cat person
    • Half-cat half-person
    • Part of a subterranean race of dog people
    • Literally named "Catherine Person"

Multiple selections allowed

Sense of direction

  • Would you say you have a good sense of direction?
    • Yes
    • No

Socks or underwear

Have you ever thrown out all your different pairs of socks/underwear, bought a bunch of replacements that were all one kind, and then told all your friends how great it was and how they should do it too?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I did the throwing out thing, but didn't talk to everyone about it
  • No, but I'm totally doing that now

See also


A search for weird correlations
Note: This survey is anonymous, but
all responses will be posted publicly
so people can play with the data.
Click here to
take the survey
Or click here, or here.
The whole comic is a link,
because I still haven't gotten
the hang of HTML imagemaps.

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

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