Title text: Things were better before the Structuring and the Levels.
Facts become distorted as time moves forward. What do we know about the Elizabethan times? They spoke strange English. What will 400 years from now think of the first twenty years of the Internet? Crazy people said crazy things online. Will we even say "online" 400 years from now? Won't the internet be everywhere, and everyone on it all the time in their retinal implants that being "offline" will seem absurd?
Particular facts that this reenactor seems to have confused are:
- "battling roving bands of trolls." Trolls in fantasy refer to monstrous creatures that are often antagonists who do battle with heroes. However, online trolls refer to disruptive members of discussion boards.
- "The generation's finest minds meeting on comment threads, […] and holding the great dialogues of the age!" As Randall has pointed out in other comics (202: YouTube, 301: Limerick, and 481: Listen to Yourself), the discussions that take place online are often very poor examples of intellectual discourse.
"Ren Faire" is short for "Renaissance Faire", described as "an outdoor weekend gathering, usually held in the United States, open to the public and typically commercial in nature, which emulates a historic period for the amusement of its guests."
While Cory Doctorow is not in this comic, the character is cosplaying him. This comic inspired several xkcd readers to give Cory Doctorow a red cape and goggles when he won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award. Cory Doctorow's balloon is featured in 482: Height.
The title Blagofaire might be an amalgamation between Blogosphere, Medieval Faire, and Blag, Randall's way of referencing his blog.
The title text is probably the future cosplayer referring to the state of the future internet, indicating some organizational structure that constrains and stratifies it, and his preference for what he perceives as the wild and unfettered internet of the past.
The "festival" the cosplayer references is later referenced in 771: Period Speech.
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: Hey, it worked!
- Cueball: What? Who are you?
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: I'm from the distant future.
- Cueball: Wow. Hi!
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: Are you a blogger? I play one of you at our festivals!
- Cueball: Huh?
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: Like the Ren faires of your time — I do reenactments.
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: We relive the days when the internet was new and free. The days of risky sharing, Slashdot, the Myspace music renaissance. The generation's finest minds meeting on comment threads, battling roving bands of trolls, and holding the great dialogues of the age!
- Cueball: Is that how you—
- Man in Red Cape and Goggles: We're fuzzy on some details. Did bloggers really wear red capes and goggles and blog from high-altitude balloons?
- Cueball: No!
- Cueball: Well, Cory Doctorow does. But nobody else.
- The same topic is mentioned in the title text of the second image of what if? Facebook of the Dead displaying "An elderly Cory Doctorow cosplaying by wearing what the future thinks he wore in the past."
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