Talk:1739: Fixing Problems

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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This one seems relatively straightforward. It points out the rabbit hole that comes from attempting to optimize and attempting to fix earlier mistakes. -- Drewthedude64 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I agree. I added my explanation as such, and as I was doing it, I noticed that this comic seems to repeat the themes shown in past ones. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I want to build a web browser from scratch so I can load web pages on my iPod quicker. Benjaminikuta (talk) 06:45, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

I put in a mention of the fixed-point combinator. It seems like that can hardly be an accidental pun since it's the essence of recursion. I forgot to put in a summary of the change. Murray (talk) 07:19, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

The interpretation of the title as pun seems far-fetched to me. Sebastian -- 14:34, 28 September 2016 (UTC)F
I'm not so sure it's far-fetched. The fixed point combinator (called "fix" in e.g. Haskell) is the theoretical basis behind recursion.[1] If one "fixes" a function repair (say), fix repair expands to repair (fix repair) which then expands to repair (repair (fix repair)) and so on. One can hardly discuss recursion in the context of functional programming without quickly hitting fix a.k.a. the Y-combinator. This would seem to be right up XKCD's alley. Murray (talk) 19:31, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

I disagree with some points of the current explanation. Most important one: "This comic is clearly remarking upon whether or not the benefits of the mentality "If it ain't broke, break it and fix it" [...]":

1. Words like "clearly" shouldn't be used in a wiki, since they're suggesting that whoever has another point of view is an idiot. But that's not the important part.
2. Depending on time constraints for a given task "wasting my time" (as in the title text) could be the definition of a software being "broken". So fixing a problem which causes "time wasted" is not necessarily fixing something which isn't broken. The solution for inefficient software is _not_ more hardware ;) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:32, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Please feel free to improve then! --Kynde (talk) 19:22, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Usually I do, but had no time for finding the right words. The current explanation seems fine to me, though :) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:31, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Possibly related to 13:47, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned[2] yet...-- 17:50, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Agree, I was just about to enter 1205: Is It Worth the Time? when I saw your comment, so credits to you. Have added it now. --Kynde (talk) 19:22, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly … 17:55, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

What? --Kynde (talk) 19:22, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
This is part of a nursery rhyme that indicates an old woman swallowed a fly, so as a fix, she swallowed a spider. This creates a situation that is also (and possibly more) intolerable, so she needs to fix that as well. This is similar to the recursive nature of the original comic. [3] 21:17, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Many years ago I coined the adage, "The bug I fix today introduces two more to be fixed tomorrow." Rtanenbaum (talk) 14:22, 29 September 2016 (UTC)