285: Wikipedian Protester
Title text: SEMI-PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION
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, (that look like this) usually because of questionable validity. Cueball is using this template to challenge the politician's speech, as political speakers often throw out claims having dubious or no factual basis.
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 protects some articles from being edited anonymously. More specifically, it does not allow articles to be edited by people who have been on the wiki for less than 4 days or made less than 10 edits unless an administrator or event coordinator manually confirms them earlier. Semi-protection on an article is shown by displaying this lock on the top right of an article. Constitutional amendments cannot usually be proposed anonymously (more info)(Constitutional amendments are proposed by Congress, which isn't anonymous.), meaning that in effect, all articles of the Constitution are semi-protected.
- [A man with dark flat hair is standing at a podium. He is speaking to a crowd while standing behind a lectern. The lectern has a microphone on the top and sports an American flag in color on the side. He holds an arm on the lectern and the other arm is held up in front of him with a finger pointing upwards. There are four red stars on the side of the podium below him and behind him something that could be high curtains. There is an empty gap between the podium and the first people in the crowd followed by a stick with a red top, that indicates a fence to keep the crowd at a distance from the podium. After the fence there is a large crowd of people listening, most of them only partly drawn, only a few has hair. Three signs can be seen above the heads of the crowd, but they are all empty white signs. Except in the middle of the crowd, where Cueball has been raised above the rest of the crowd. He is holding a large sign up over his head in both hands. The sign has a blue text in black square brackets:]
- [Citation needed]
- The xkcd store sells a sticker pack of "Citation Needed" stickers. (Currently Closed)
- This comic is available as a signed print in the xkcd store. (Currently Closed)
- Protestors in real life have made "Citation Needed" signs for the last few years as a joke.
- It is a running joke in the what if? series (and thus this Wiki ) to put "" after statements that are trivial or blatantly obvious. For example, "The Sun is bright, and its light illuminates the Earth." Such statements are considered general knowledge and do not require citations.
- All  links on explain xkcd redirect back here.
- Funnily enough, "Constitution" and "Constitution of the United States" are now semi-protected articles 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 featured as the Wikipedia picture of the day on November 23, 2018.
- This comic was posted on Independence Day in 2007.
-  has been used in 759 pages on explain xkcd.
- Wikipedia uses this image in the Citation needed article, the Wikipedia:Citation needed information page, and the Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia cannot claim the Earth is not flat essay.