285: Wikipedian Protester

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 285)
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikipedian Protester


Cueball holds up a sign reading "[CITATION NEEDED]" during a political speech. The sign text is based on the Wikipedia template that can be placed next to statements that need citations, usually because of questionable validity. Cueball is using this template to challenge the politician's speech.

The title text below the comic, “SEMI-PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION”, represents an alternative sign the protester could be holding. It is a pun on an occasionally-heard phrase “protect the Constitution”, which urges politicians to pass and enforce laws in a way that preserves the rules and rights set down by the U.S. constitution. “SEMI-PROTECT” references semi-protection, a protection measure applied to some articles on Wikipedia, which basically protects some articles from being edited anonymously. Constitutional amendments cannot usually be proposed anonymously[1][2], meaning that in effect, all articles of the Constitution are semi-protected.


[There is a politician speaking at a podium, which sports an American flag. There are four red stars on the side of the platform. The politician is raising or wagging his pointer finger.]
[In front of the speaker, there is a crowd of people listening. In the middle of the crowd, Cueball is standing up and holding a sign reading "[CITATION NEEDED]" in blue underlined text, as in Wikipedia articles.]


  • The xkcd store sells a sticker pack of "Citation Needed" stickers.
  • This comic is available as a signed print in the xkcd store.
  • Protestors in real life have made "Citation Needed" signs for the last few years.
  • It is a running joke in the what if? series (and this Wiki [citation needed]) to put "[citation needed]" after statements that are trivial or blatantly obvious. For example, "The Sun is really bright, and its light illuminates the Earth.[citation needed]" Such statements are considered general knowledge and do not require citations.[citation needed]
  • All [citation needed] links on explain xkcd redirect back here.
  • "Semi-protection," as mentioned in the title text, is one of the lowest forms of page protection on Wikipedia. It protects the page from being edited by unregistered users and users with very new accounts or very few edits. Semi-protection is also known as "the grey padlock."
    • Funnily enough, the US Constitution is now a semi-protected article on Wikipedia due to excessive vandalism.
  • Randall re-licensed this comic under the CC-BY 2.5 license so that it could be used on Wikipedia. (By default, xkcd is licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.5, which is considered too restrictive for Wikimedia content.)
  • This comic was posted on Independence Day in 2007.
  • This comic featured as the Wikipedia picture of the day on November 23, 2018.

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


Does this need a citation? --Dalonacueball (talk) 16:30, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

No.[citation needed] Just some random derp 03:54, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

My favorite [citation needed] joke was the fact that the Wikipedia article for "List of Whales" used to have "Cetacean Needed" if it was missing an image or scale diagram of the creature in question. -Pennpenn 05:11, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Still does! Thanks for pointing that out. Zeusfaber (talk) 18:41, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Checked last week, there's still a cetacean needed for the page to be complete. ChessCake (talk) 22:20, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Some anonymous wikipedia editor was enjoying themselves far too much when writing that wiki. Its so genius that no-one has changed it yet! Wikipedia is normally maintained pretty well for the big pages[citation needed]. sam0fc 14:49, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Is it just me or does the politician in this comic (from almost nine years ago) look suspiciously like Mr. Trump?-- 22:09, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Nah, this one has better hair. 00:25, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Plus, this came out a long time before he became...big.[citation needed] Dontknow (talk) 19:42, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Don't know how you define "big," but by most definitions Trump has in fact been "big" since *long* before this comic. [citation needed] Abcasada (talk) 22:20, 25 September 2018 (UTC)

Huh, in my memory, this comic specifically included the phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident". I guess not - but I wonder if some Wikipedians would consider a [citation needed] for that one? Cosmogoblin (talk) 19:42, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

[citation needed]. AnonymousSub61 (talk) 15:32, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

  1. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution
  2. constitutional amendments are proposed by Congress, which isn't anonymous.[citation needed]