1485: Friendship

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
The only other Wikipedia vandalism that I would feel zero remorse about is editing the article on active US militia groups to replace "militia" with "fanclub".
Title text: The only other Wikipedia vandalism that I would feel zero remorse about is editing the article on active US militia groups to replace "militia" with "fanclub".


A "Bromance" is a modern slang term for a strong non-romantic relationship between two male humans. It is a portmanteau of the words brother, meaning a close male friend (aka "bro"), and romance.

Although current in popular media, some commentators have criticized the implicit homophobia in the term, suggesting that it denotes cultural discomfort at relationships of emotional closeness between men.

In this comic, Randall is implying the Wikipedia page for the word "bromance" should more accurately represent what most bromances actually are: friendships. This could be a joke to reference the fact that some males prefer to not call friendships as such, for fear of looking unmasculine, or being confused as a gay couple. The comic makes light of the fact that the word bromance and friendship are interchangeable, and should be treated as such.

The comic later contains parts of the edited article, mocking the use of "bromance" in popular culture, implying that "friendships" can be used just as easily to describe platonic male relationships.

Despite supposedly vandalizing the "bromance" article, the article is titled "friendship", giving a similar result to word-replacement browser extensions, as in 1031: s/keyboard/leopard/.

The title text implies Randall does not agree with Wikipedia vandalism, except in the case of bromance/friendship, and also militia/fanclub, possibly to make light of the harsh sounding word in a negative light. This is probably because many of his comics include fake wikipedia entries, and many people, inspired by the comic, actually make the edit happen.

A later comic called 1746: Making Friends, was also not so much about friendship, but rather about vultures...


[A Wikipedia style layout is shown for extracts from an article titled Friendship.]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Friendship is a close non-romantic relationship between two (or more) men, a form of affectional or homosocial intimacy.[1]
Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
2 Characteristics
3 Portrayal of friendship
3.1 Celebrity and fictional friendships
3.2 Historical and political friendships
3.3 Gay-straight friendships
4 See also
5 References
Friendship is a portmanteau of the words friend and ship. Editor Dave Carnie coined the term in the skateboard magazine Big Brother in the 1990s to refer to the sort of relationships that develop between skaters who spend
Portrayal of Friendship
Celebrity and Fictional Friendships
A number of celebrities have engaged in friendships with fellow celebrities. Examples include Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, described as "perhaps the pioneering friendship in showbiz history"[9] which led to a hit off-broadway play
Friendship on television has also become more commonplace, with some critics tracing its origins back to shows such as The Odd Couple.[14] In October 2008, TV Guide placed Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and James
The Japanese and Korean music industry actively encourages friendship among male celebrities (particularly members of boy bands) as part of the fan service to please the audience.[19][20]
In fiction, what had once been called buddy films have to a degree been rebranded as friendship films, although
Historical and political friendships
Politically, the relationship between Bill Clinton and Al Gore has been called a precursor to the friendship.[6] The relationship between George W. Bush and former press
[Below the extracts is this caption:]
How to improve the "Bromance" Wikipedia article


In the wake of this comic, several Wikipedia pages were vandalized, among them Bromance [1], Militia organizations in the United States, Militia (United States), and Friendship. All these pages were semi-protected by an administrator against further attempts for a week after this comic was published.

The day this comic was published, a vote to delete the Bromance article was initiated on Wikipedia.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


In the article, Randall wants to make us believe friendship is a rather new phenomenon or trend and its "early" occurrences are something special, which may be true for bromance - at least for the term - but not for the concept. Sebastian -- 07:44, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I think you totally misunderstand the intentions of the cartoon. I think the point is a very simple one. It is similar to Liz Feldman's argument that people should not call it 'gay marriage': it's marriage. "You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it" [[2]} Or in this case: Call it friendship - marking the fact that it is between men as if that is in some way abnormal is a homophobic thing to do. Andries (talk) 15:14, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
In my experience, the term bromance is used to describe a particularly strong and close friendship, one which exceeds the normal bounds of simple friendship. In the same way that two close but non-related males might call themselves blood brothers. Noting that the term is almost exclusively used for male-male relationships (due to the use of 'bro') is entirely valid, and personally, I don't see any suggestion that friendship between men is abnormal in Sebastian's comment. --Pudder (talk) 16:39, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Pudder here. 16:53, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm afraid I'm not currently up to doing it, but I feel we need further details of, and definitely citations for, the articles that have been vandalised. Maybe we could even have graphs showing the view, edit, and vandalism spikes. Davii 11:18, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Why am I not surprised that this lead to Wiki-vandalism? 12:25, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

The explanation currently seems to suggest that this is the page for "Bromance", trying to bring it into line with "Friendship". But with the "Friendship page" being the target of the comic, "How to improve the Bromance page" title text and the "Portmanteau of 'Friend' and 'Ship' (i.e. romantic linking)" bits, I read the comic as "If Bromance is being used for non-homosexual same-sex associations, then Friendship 'obviously' now means for homosexual same-sex (indeed, it appears male/male-only!) relationships. This is similar to complaints (which I personally have sympathy for) about the word "Guesstimate" being an unnecessary neologistic portmanteau in common use, as someone using it often actually means "Estimate" in its normal state of the term and thus must imagine "Estimate" is something far more strict. (Or else they invoke the term when they actually mean "Guess" in the first place, either to make it sound 'better than a guess' or with the same 'shove over attitude applied to that word, e.g. guess is "only ever out of thin air" rather than often-as-not based upon a semi-educated hunch if not more.) So, anyway, as it currently stands, I don't agree with the way the explanation goes. But I can't actually say it's wrong either! We now return you to your regularly scheduled programme. 14:03, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Completely off-topic for the comment, but a guestimate is an estimate without the math, using intuitive averaging, and thus, more kin to a guess than an estimate.Seebert (talk) 14:45, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
A 'guestimate' is of course already either a 'guess' or an 'estimate', depending on your personal dividing line is between "not using maths" and "using maths". "Intuitive averaging" would probably be "estimation" in my eyes. "Fermi estimation" (as seen in the What-Ifs) definitely would. Even if the limits to "guessing" and "estimation" are not equal, "guesstimation" would likely be the intersection on the Venn Diagram of guessing/estimation (i.e. it's both, not 'in-between'), and we'll be arguing over the exact position of two boundaries, rather than just the one.
But I really came here to say that I go with the "Change the Friendship page to improve the Bromance one by proxy" idea, and didn't really want to quibble over semantics. 00:52, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Additionally, I meant to add that I'm surprised that Randall didn't "Bluetext" the word Ship, indicating a link to Shipping_(fandom). But then the fictional Wiki editors he's emulating are notoriously inconsistent with what they do link and what they don't link (upon the first appearance in an article), so it's accurate enough. ;) 14:10, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
(Although, to reply to me, given the inclusion of the phrase "There is also something called 'friend shipping, or a 'BrOTP' (a portmanteau of the terms bromance and one true pairing).", there'd be some weird recursiveness that arises if all the competing claims for word-origin are true!) 14:16, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I used the FoxReplace plugin to see what this would look like, with some hilarious results:

The first legislation on the subject was The Fanclub Act of 1792 which provided, in part:

    That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age 
    of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is hereinafter excepted) shall severally and respectively 
    be enrolled in the Fanclub, ... every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with 
    a good musket or firelock....

During the nineteenth century, each of the states maintained its Fanclub differently, some more than others. 16:53, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Pretty sure this isn't the first WP-related comic that then led to vandalism of the pages in question, and I'll be damned if it will be the last. Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 22:19, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Yep. I can find Wood (446: In Popular Culture), Spark Plug (903: Extended Mind) and Star Trek Into Darkness (1167: Star Trek into Darkness) after a quick check, and considering how bizarre edits some vandals make, there's got to be a lot more. - 10:51, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Anyone notice this edit? Well, not so much the edit, but the edit summary... 10:40, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

I'd prefer a slightly more modern method, but I fully agree with the general idea. - 10:59, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Greetings. Longtime, now ex-, lurker here. As I read this entry, I developed a notion that perhaps only Sebastian has touched upon: that Randall was imagining a Wikipedia derived solely from knowledge and events from the last 30 years (or roughly twice the age of WP itself.) With the exception of the "Odd Couple" mention, that seems to be the case. (Despite Damon & Affleck being childhood friends, they didn't come into prominence until the early 90s). These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 00:01, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

I agree. 00:16, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

I believe the {{DISPLAYTITLE:Friendship}} wouldn't work, because I have looked at the Wikipedia page, and it can't change actual text. Jacky720 (talk) 16:16, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

I found a website to do it for me[edit]

https://www.wikiprank.org/index.php?word=friendship&url=bromance and the reverse https://www.wikiprank.org/index.php?word=bromance&url=friendship