1871: Bun Alert

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 1871)
Jump to: navigation, search
Bun Alert
Since buns range from crepuscular to nocturnal, it's recommended that you enable the scheduled "Do Not Disturb" mode on your phone to avoid being woken by alerts about Night Buns.
Title text: Since buns range from crepuscular to nocturnal, it's recommended that you enable the scheduled "Do Not Disturb" mode on your phone to avoid being woken by alerts about Night Buns.


The comic opens with Beret Guy identifying a "bun", an informal term for a rabbit also used in 1682: Bun. The title text of that former comic specifically refers to sending out a "BUN ALERT" to friends and family with location and photographic evidence of the bun, so in this comic, that concept appears to have been elevated from a simple mass SMS/MMS message to a standalone application.

Upon seeing the bun, Beret Guy uses his phone to send an alert about the "Bun" with a push notification. He is still looking for investors, though such an app would likely not appeal to a wide market.[citation needed] In response to Ponytail's confusion, he explains that bunnies are "like loaves of bread that hop" making a pun by comparing rabbits to bread, as "bun" can commonly refer to a small loaf of bread. Beret Guy is known to be fascinated with bakeries, as shown in the comics 434: xkcd Goes to the Airport, 442: xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel , or 452: Mission, so it makes sense that this sort of comparison occurs to him. It is known that the word "bun" is similar to the word "pun". Beret Guy has a history of misinterpreting statements and phrases (and often making said misinterpretations correct through some strange power of his), so it is not implausible that he actually genuinely thinks that these "buns" are bread products that somehow behave exactly like rabbits.

As Ponytail leaves, apparently to remove herself from the situation, Megan hurriedly approaches, excited to see the "bun". This serves as a punchline as, despite Ponytail appearing to be the voice of reason, it seems that Beret Guy's inane bun alert system has gathered a dedicated following after all.

Megan's question "Is it small?" and her amazement when she finds out that it is parallels the idea in 1682: Bun where the bun's size is said to be inversely correlated with its status; smaller buns such as the one in this comic are thought of as higher-ranking "king buns" by the characters in both strips. In real life, smaller rabbits are more likely to simply be young. It is also possible that she simply thinks smaller buns are cuter, which might have been the motivation for the whole bun-ranking system thing in the first place.

The title text refers to buns being crepuscular and nocturnal animals, meaning they are primarily active at twilight and night, respectively. This means that someone with the app would get a lot of notifications while they would most likely be asleep. Many smartphones have a "Do Not Disturb" mode that can be activated so that only select communications (i.e. direct calls) will actually set off the ringer/vibration, and all others will simply be added to the device's notification queue; such a function can be scheduled to automatically activate during the period when the user is asleep. The title text unironically points out a prime example of the need for such a function: if something is likely to notify your device late at night, then you should make sure that those notifications are silenced by the Do Not Disturb function.

The bun alert reappears in 1903: Bun Trend, where Beret Guy receives the alert.

After this comic was posted, someone has created a Bun Alert website and app. It does exactly what Randall's portrayed Bun Alert app describes.


[Beret Guy and Ponytail see a rabbit sitting in the grass; Beret Guy points to the bun.]
Beret Guy: Bun alert!
Ponytail: Oh, yeah! Cute!
Beret Guy: Gotta document this. I'll notify everyone, send out a push alert.
Ponytail: ...to who?
[Zoom in on Beret Guy and Ponytail; Beret Guy taps on his phone.]
Beret Guy: Everyone subscribed to the alert system.
Ponytail: Alert system?
Beret Guy: Yeah! We built it over the last few years. It's pretty small. Still looking for investors.
Ponytail: But...why are you alerting people about rabbits?
[Zoom out; Beret Guy puts away his phone, points at the bun.]
Beret Guy: I mean...look at them. They're like loaves of bread that hop.
Ponytail: I see.
Beret Guy: People need to know.
[Zoom on Beret Guy in a frameless panel.]
Beret Guy: They need to know:
Beret Guy: There are buns.
[Ponytail walks off, Megan comes running towards Beret Guy with a phone in her hand.]
Ponytail: Okay, uhh, I'm gonna go.
Megan: I got the alert! Where's the bun? Is it small?
Beret Guy: Extremely.
Megan: Oh my God.


  • In 1682: Bun, it was Ponytail who was infatuated with "buns", while Megan was the incredulous one questioning the situation. In this comic, the roles are reversed. This is a strong indication that the characters represented by Ponytail and Megan in this comic are not the same characters from 1682: Bun.
  • On August 6th, 2017 a real-world Bun Alert was created by a developer following inspiration from 1871: Bun Alert. The project was shut down by the developer on January 29th, 2018 and no longer sends out alerts, although the webpage is still accessible.
  • On August 8th, 2017 an Android app was created by a developer also following inspiration from 1871: Bun Alert
  • On October 5th, 2020 an update to the Android app, along with an iOS app was published. The website is available here.

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


There are apps in Australia to report sightings of rabbits. E.g.FeralScan Pest Mapping. 00:25, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

I think it's about Ponytail realizing she's opened a can of worms in that she was the one who taught these people about the bun, and now everyone's infatuated with them. 00:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't think it's the same Ponytail from 1682. She is one of the characters who doesn't play the same person every time. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

This is basically the title text from 1682. Is it just me, or has Randall been running out of ideas lately? Jaalenja (talk) 13:31, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

In all fairness, Randall has been known to play the long game. There might be a thread to pull here. (talk) 13:44, 2 August 2017‎ (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Yea, Randall has built on earlier ideas before. E.g. 1818 being built on an idea from What-If 141. It's non-indicative of a lack of ideas. But the notion that ideas are a finite resource is silly anyways. Watch the talk he gave at Google in 2007, it's on YouTube, and there's a bit in there where he talks about how he comes up with his comics. 13:49, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

No idea why he's picked bunnies specifically, maybe that will become apparent in a future strip. Considering just this standalone comic, it seems to be a parody of apps that increasingly swamp the user with notifications about pointless things that one might imagine nobody would ever care about. In this instance, it might be imagined that few people would care about notifications for bunny sightings, but in the last pane it appears that someone truly does. This might compare with notifications for rare pokemon sightings in Pokémon Go (not provided in-app but there are groups on facebook etc. that alert users to rare pokemon / legendary raids) - with the difference that bunnies are extremely common. Also, is it significant that he specifically uses the word "buns" instead of "bunnies"? There may be a connection with the observation that they are just like little hopping loaves of bread. 14:45, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I mean, that's pretty much what twitter is for. 15:11, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Cf. memes such as "anatomy of the bun". 19:37, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Agree with the idea that it may be reference to people overreacting to trivial things and using technology to alert others about it e.g. Starbucks unicorn locations, PokemonGo, etc. No idea about the title text though, he is basically saying people may be alerted at night? Maybe some recent trend that focuses on night gatherings? 20:58, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I think this may just be an extended example of dadaism. If he carries on with the theme I think it is as likely to make less sense as it is to make more sense. 15:12, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

+1 Dada hypothesis. 06:33, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Beret Guy's comment about investors and building the alert system could be a reference to 1493: Meeting. Is the "loaves of bread that hop" line just a pun on the word "bun"? Is "Night Buns" a reference to something? -- 20:13, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

WARNING: your captchas aren't working well at all. In firefox your captcha gets crushed somehow underneath the formatting tools bar where you can do text entry when editing. I was only able to pass the captcha and get this comment posted by viewing the html source of the webpage and tracking what link the captcha was supposed to go to. I suggest you try setting up some sort of formatting on the webpage to place the captcha elsewhere on the page one sees after editing a comment-box/wiki-like page. Thanks162.158.154.91 23:25, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

They also disappear entirely if you try to log in with HTTPS (and Firefox rightfully shows a warning when you use regular HTTP). Honnza (talk) 02:40, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Just checked out that captcha problem since I never noticed it at work where I cant log in and now here at home the captcha is showing fine nothing hidden or combined with the format bar or the comment box this on Firefox 54.0.1 (64-Bit) current window size 1279x929 01:20, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

I believe with each new comic I am getting lazier and lazier with editing (any editing, old or new comics). Thank God for Dgbrt and the rest of you. --Lackadaisical (talk) 13:12, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for removing this NOT FUNNY ANYMORE Citation needed templates. And please do not thank God for my few edits, I don't belief in those creatures. My first edit on this comic was more than 24 hours after release and my focus is more about standards. E.g. there is no need to add categories like Comics from 2017... and the trivia is below the transcript.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Maybe the more sporadic customary userbase of this site is a bit less jaded than the top editors. 20:22, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I adore the Citation needed joke, where appropriate, it must refer to a blatantly obvious phenomenon which does not need a citation. Such as, "The sky is blue" or "squirrels way less than a moose," and that statement should flow naturally and not be obviously put in there just to set up the joke. The joke comes from What If? and this seems to be how Randal uses it. --Lackadaisical (talk) 22:08, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I must concur, I love the silly "Citation needed" jokes, they're one of my favourite parts of reading this site! :) Sorry, it's permanently funny. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:37, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
My problem with the "joke" is that it always links to the protest comic. In the What-ifs, Randall links to something that looks or sounds vaguely like "citation". 11:55, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Actually I hadn't realized they led somewhere really, I figured the link would be to a page explaining what "citation needed" means. I never follow it because I have no citation to give! LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:31, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I just realized i spelt "weigh" as "way"--Lackadaisical (talk) 12:15, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

It's a common colloquialism where I'm from, said without religious intentions. I was more commenting on your work on the site rather than this particular comic, though I can see why that may have been confusing. Next time I will reserve praise for your talk page. --Lackadaisical (talk) 19:55, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I was raised without religion, only going to churches and whatnot for weddings and such. I firmly consider myself as not having a religion. I feel we'd all be better off without religion (though I recognize people have a right to their religion). But even I have been known to say "thank god". It has become a saying, and it doesn't really have a non-religious equivalent ("thankfully" isn't used the same way, "thankfully for" is grammatically incorrect, "I'm thankful for" feels more wordy and formal). Ignore the religious aspect. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:37, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Massachusetts has an informal "French Toast Alert" system for grading winter storms. I wonder if the allusion to alerts about "loaves of bread that hop" could be related to that. Gmcgath (talk) 00:07, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Other people know better than I where Randall lives, but I don't think it's Massachusetts, and this French Toast Alert System (why french toast?) sounds like one of those things only locals know. I think it's just conflating their silly use of "bun" with the normal use of the word. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:41, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Is it possible that the line about investors is a dig at startups focused entirely on creating a single app that nobody even needs? 12:57, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

A little grammar Nazi thing I picked up, in the first panel Ponytail says, "to who" instead of "to whom." ChromoTec (talk) 15:24, 4 August 2017 (UTC)ChromoTec

Please enter new comments at the bottom. And as a German I don't like the phrase grammar Nazi because Nazi means fascism, I'm sure that's not your intention. But you're right, and even not a pedant, because "to whom" sounds much better. Maybe the picture will be updated in the future. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:42, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I think that "to who" is pretty much standard, especially in spoken English - e.g. see the "usage" section here [1]. I can't imagine anyone saying "to whom" in normal speech unless they were making a joke, being overly formal. 16:09, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I didn't know that (oxforddictionaries): "The normal practice in modern English is to use who instead of whom...". And the English I've learned in Germany was called Oxford English. LOL... --Dgbrt (talk) 17:13, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Please don't take offense at the phrase "Grammar Nazi". As I'm sure Urban Dictionary will confirm, it has become the standard term for someone who the speaker feels is too strict about language rules, at least here in North America. And there is no other term for this as far as I know. But actually yes, it essentially must have come from wanting to label someone as being a "fascist", at least about language. "Who" vs. "whom" is exactly the kind of topic which inspires someone to use the phrase, people who are not vigilant about language (which is most people) usually feel that "who" can be used in all cases, and that insisting on using "whom" is being too strict.NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:44, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I know that phrase for a long time and I know it's widely used in the described manner, but it downplays the meaning behind the word Nazi. Just sayin' --Dgbrt (talk) 18:52, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Am I the only dirty old man that thinks that this has to to do with taking pictures of people's behinds - as in "buns of steel" kind of buns? and on alerting friends on social media regarding some particularly picturesque, ahem, tight, small, buns? 02:40, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

You are surely not the only dirty old man but gladly Randall is a little bit younger. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:53, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I totally missed the bread thing until I read the explanation here. Figured the cartoon was supposed to be some play on callipygian. [Thanks Frazz for adding that word to my vocabulary.] 06:24, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I love that my iPad can define words for me on the fly. That's a good word, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:44, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I probably would have had that thought (and might be old enough, 44 in a couple of weeks), if I didn't remember the previous comic. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:44, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Bun App[edit]

I am amazed that nobody has yet created a "bun alert" app or website. Its honestly a bit disappointing ;) I can't code, but if someone who can sees this. I'm begging you, the world needs a bun alert.--Apollo11 (talk) 11:03, 11 March (CST)

Ignore what I just said, there is in fact a Bun alert website!!!! (for all those interested) https://bunalert.app --Apollo11 (talk) 11:03, 11 March (CST)