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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Community Portal
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Proposals (+post)
Place for ideas and suggestions to improve the wiki's design and organization on general issues.


Technical (+post)
Technical issues regarding the site, including bug reports or MediaWiki extensions requests.


Coordination (+post)
Community-managed page for coordinating content editing and maintenance tasks.


Admin requests (+post)
Problems requiring assistance from an admin. User problems, changes to protected pages, etc.


Miscellaneous (+post)
Place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't fit anywhere else.

View all community portal sections at once here

This is the single-page edition of the Community portal. Conversations are transcluded here, so following this page will not follow the conversations.



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Place for ideas and suggestions to improve the wiki's design and organization on general issues can be incubated for later submission for consensus discussion. Be sure to check whether your proposal has already been submitted. (+post)

Add unexplained strips

At the moment, browsing through the explanations using the previous and next buttons is interrupted whenever there's an explanation missing.

I think adding a page with the strip fr all of those with a short message like "no one has explained this yet, want to give it a shot?" would make the wiki easier to browse through and will get more strips explained faster.

I don't think that would happen. If suddenly it was much easier for people to skip over pages that had no explanation, I think they would do exactly that, skip right over it. On the same side of that coin, If suddenly there are no longer any red links on the List of all comics then everyone perusing that page assumes that all the comics have been explained and don't need to contribute any more. It's astonishing how quickly an embedded red link gets an explanation page created simply to get rid of the red link.
Secondarily, many of the pages created recently aren't being created with their numerical and titular redirects. Without the numerical redirect, the comic template can't find that there is a previous/next comic to link to. Every once in a while somebody will go through and try to notice all the pages that don't have their redirects created but it's an unscientific process that only happens occasionally. If we could get every joe blow that comes in and vomits up a poorly done explanation to create the redirects I wouldn't be quite as annoyed at their lack of show-don't-tell-manship. But, since they can't be bothered to put the date in the comic template, I doubt we'll ever get people to create the redirects.
TL;DR: No more red links, no more work gets done on the back catalog.
--lcarsos_a (talk) 14:28, 21 December 2012 (UTC)


When I first saw this site I thought it should definitely be at xplainkcd.com or at least redirect from that url -- (talk) 12:45, 3 January 2013 (UTC) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I like that idea! --Waldir (talk) 13:28, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah! If it's possible, it would be cool! At least as a redirect. -- St.nerol (talk) 15:46, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Not technically the same thing, but I just took http://expxkcd.com. More explanation is was given on the website itself. greptalk05:10, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
We do that with explainxkcd.com as well, but yay shorter URLs! Mind if I use that for our social media links? Davidy²²[talk] 06:45, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I had no idea that you did that, but sure, go ahead! If you want, I can change any DNS records if you wish to have it go directly to you guys. greptalk07:16, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
In case you were wondering, I just did the following: ^/([0-9]+)(/large)?/?$ greptalk07:25, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Hrm. We're just matching with ^(\d+)/?$. You can keep ownership of the URL if you want, unless you have traffic concerns or whatever and you want us to handle it, which we're very capable of doing. Davidy²²[talk] 08:47, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

I have made http://www.xkcd.ga and http://www.xkcd.tk both forward to http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. Is this ok? 17jiangz1 (talk) 08:49, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Section style and usage

I am new here and I'm trying to get up to speed with the culture. I have a few questions about how and where to use sections (== this ==). I am more willing to go with (and enforce) whatever norms there are here, but I have not seen them actually discussed.

  1. Is it OK to create sections in Discussion pages? I have been told no, but there are many examples extant of this usage in this Wiki and indeed in Wikipedia.
  2. Section title case Wikipedia's style guide recommends sentence case, not title case. There are many title cased section headers here.
  3. Links I do not have a reference for this but it seems to me putting links in section code (== [[this]] == ) is bad form.

Last note -- it's understood if these bylaws have not yet been written. I can see that a few of you have made a huge personal investment to make this Wiki what it is today, and that is a credit to you all -- this is awesome! As a long-time aficionado of xkcd I applaud your work and look forward to further collaboration. --Smartin (talk) 04:15, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

As a general rule, we stick to the standard format that existing pages follow, with an optional trivia section below the transcript. Some zealous editors like to add other sections though, which tend to be for the most part unneeded or redundant. If something you want to add doesn't help to explain the comic in some way, but the inclusion of which would somehow still add to the page, *and* it doesn't fall under the trivia category, a new section is warranted. This isn't the case most of the time though, so editors usually fold the content of extraneous sections into "Explanation" or "Trivia." We have no policy on links in titles, and they're allowed so long as they are appropriate; the link is useful and can't be folded into the section itself. And we use title case for titles cuz it just makes sense. Davidy22[talk] 05:08, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
We generally do not (or at least, discourage) use sections on the talk/discussion pages for explanation pages. This is purely for looks. The comic discussion section of the explanation page looks/feels wrong if there are level 2 section breaks in the transclusion. Also, if the Table of Contents starts showing up on a page, such as on Click and Drag the sections created on the talk page also show up in the TOC. This gets confusing, and this is why we prefer not to use them on explanation talk pages. Everywhere else we follow standard wiki format and do use sections on the discussion pages.
Personally, I think that links in section titles looks wrong, but I choose not to be the dictator of style in this matter. :p
Please feel free to make edits. The worst that happens is someone reverts your edit. If it's a big enough issue and/or you don't seem to be learning from what people are fixing about your edits someone will leave a comment on your talk page. That's it. We might leave a nasty-gram in the edit summary, but oh well. We only ban for malicious intent. Honestly working to better the wiki is good, even if sometimes we grumble about it.
--lcarsos_a (talk) 07:00, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh, I just looked at your talk page. I completely forgot that that happened. Don't worry about it. Learning the ropes is part of the experience. Do make edits, and if they're wrong, we'll nudge you in the right direction. lcarsos_a (talk) 07:18, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I have been moving some trivia sections to directly below the explanation, in order to make it more consistent, and easier to survey and maintain. Often the dividing line between trivia and explanation is not entirely clear, and in articles without a trivia section the end of the explanation very often contains trivia-like information. (e.g. 1155: Kolmogorov Directions) -- St.nerol (talk) 10:13, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Title case doesn't make any sense

At first sight title case in titles just makes sense. However title case never makes sense. It's worse than all caps. Besides, only Americans and children like title case. 20:04, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

New character

As per Talk:1178: Pickup Artists, the character with hair has appeared in quite a few comics now, and he's starting to become a recurring character. Shall we go ahead with inaugurating him into our list of regular characters, and what name shall we assign him? Current candidate names include Hairy and Harry. Anyone? Davidy²²[talk] 00:07, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

I like Harry :) --Waldir (talk) 01:04, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Cos made a point in the discussion on Talk:1178: Pickup Artists that Hairy is directly descriptive, whereas Harry is not obvious to visitors. On the other hand, not all names are descriptive (Danish) and I think this wiki is entitled to create some xkcd-in-culture, and not just describe. And Harry is quite funny.
I wonder: has Randall ever called him anything at all in the transcript? –St.nerol (talk) 21:52, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, he's not named in a any official transcripts, but he's already called Harry in quite a few comic explanations. Then again, I do like having a more descriptive name for him. Shall we hold this up to a vote? Davidy²²[talk] 23:29, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I think we should wait a little for a few more viewpoints to crop up. Also, can someone link to some more comics he's been featured in? I've got 1028: Communication, 1027: Pickup Artist and 1178: Pickup Artists. –St.nerol (talk) 23:41, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
I actually like what that anon said: Curly. Second choice: Hairy (being descriptive, a la Black Hat, Beret, Cueball, etc.) While there's talk about in-culture, we've done that with the names Cueball, Beret, etc. It's my opinion that the only names that should be "real" proper names are those that are named in the comic. Megan, Miss Lenhart, etc. Danish (as is discussed below) isn't truly a proper name, but you could argue it's a meta-description (one attributed by Black hat.) So that's my vote: yes for Curly or Hairy, no for Harry. IronyChef (talk) 05:21, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
That's right, Danish is not descriptive, but 1/ that name was suggested because the character was called that way in the comic, which is a tiny bit like a name given by the author (at least more than Harry which we have completely made up), and 2/ in that case it's hard to find a descriptive term: use something that revolves around her black hair (her only descriptive feature), and you easily mix up with Megan; the only graphical difference is that her hair is long, but what kind of name can you make out of that?
For this new character, I suggest Hairy because it comes as the easy solution with every advantage: descriptive, easy to understand, and it's not ugly... I actually see no reason to resort to a made-up name like Harry.
Cos (talk) 22:29, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
Alright. So the discussion's been had, and the most oft recommended name appears to be Hairy. All in favor, say aye. If more than 1/3 of editors agree and we have more than 6 votes, Hairy it is. Davidy²²[talk] 05:58, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
  1. Aye Davidy²²[talk] 05:58, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
  2. Aye Guru-45 (talk) 06:14, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
  3. Aye to Hairy. IronyChef (talk) 15:43, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
  4. Aye. Harry would be a nice nod to the fact that he's actually hairy, but indeed it's better to avoid inside jokes. --Waldir (talk) 17:05, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
  5. Aye. I'm convinced! –St.nerol (talk) 17:52, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
  6. Aye. Hairy. lcarsos_a (talk) 20:52, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Hooray! We now have a Category:Comics featuring Hairy, with four pages already! Does anyone feel compelled to create "Hairy", with a brief description and a nice profile pic like the other characters? –St.nerol (talk) 22:58, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Ambiguous characters

I've been thinking about the problem of the ambiguity of characters. "Is this really Cueball even though he has an eye and half a nose?", "This is very likely not x." "Darnit, these arn't Cueballs, these are Randall and his friends!", and so on. The character ambiguity is standard for xkcd (not less so in the early ones), and comes from the very loose or "free" way Randall uses his characters to be whatever he needs at the moment. It's simply often impossible for us to know whether he had e.g. "Cueball" or himself in mind, when drawing a particular comic (and I'd say: probably often both).

I want to suggest that we in general have a likewise rather loose policy towards including characters in the categories for the comics. So that reasonably ambiguous cases should be included in e.g. (does she have a ponytail?) This is not because I believe this or that to really be this or that; I just don't believe in objective truth (here!). I feel that when doing research :) on a character, the borderline cases are often the most interesting ones, and you want to be able to find them through the "Comics featuring miss x"!

I came to think this through now, when I wanted to (and did) list two comics with Miss Lenhart (?) where she was drawn but not named. Any thoughts on this in general? Other case studies? –St.nerol (talk) 21:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

My take has always been that Cueball, for example, has not been a specific character. There is not a cueball, per se, distinct from any other cueball... indeed, there are several comics with several cueballs in-frame, and that is the point. I see the cueball character as a wildcard character (pun intended) ready to stand in for anybody (and not necessarily just Randall; I think those readers who suggest "this is Randall" are missing the point; he's way more META than that...) Megan, while slightly less generic, still remains the female wild-card significant-other, while Curls seems to be a not-significant-other female used to illustrate a relationship that is transient. Other characters come and go, and when it's important to visually distinguish them from others in the frame, they're given additional characteristics, to wit Hairy, Ponytail, etc.
Unfortunately, that viewpoint is not commonly held, so I daresay I'm in the minority here.
-- IronyChef (talk) 14:18, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Note at the top, about the server error

This thread was moved to MediaWiki talk:Sitenotice

I've removed "add a comment!" from Discussion heading

This does move it to above the line, and the rule stops early. Undo my change if that's more bothering than when the TOC is displayed as "add a comment!Discussion"...

I don't know how to automatically treat level 2 headers as level 3. That may be why Discussion was a level 1 heading earlier. Mark Hurd (talk) 11:16, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Actually I now noticed there was a short edit war at {{comic discussion}} over whether it should be a level 1 heading, just for this reason. User:Waldir seems to have conceeded... Mark Hurd (talk) 11:25, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
No edit war, hence no (intentional) concession. I reverted a change once, and didn't notice the change being re-implemented by another user. In any case, it is irrelevant now since we actively discourage using headers in talk pages precisely so that they don't display in the TOC for the main comic page, where the discussion page is transcluded to (see the discussion above). This might not scale well for comics that generate lots of discussion. It might be worth discussing our customs (and perhaps write them down somewhere) before performing such changes. What do others think? --Waldir (talk) 11:49, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Time: The Table

Right now on the page 1190: Time, we have a whole bunch of tables in the form image-time-hash. The tables take up heaps of vertical space and all have to be collapsed to even be remotely traversible. I propose that we aggregate all the images into one table after Time ends, like so:

The hash values aren't really a part of the comic, they're gibberish for the most part and they take up space that could be used to compact the table, as shown above. Even if we are conservative and make the table only five columns wide to account for smaller screens, we've divided scrolling time by five and eliminated much of the need for annoying collapsed tables and section headers for each day. Constructing the table shouldn't be particularly hard either, as all our current data is in nice regular tables with clear patterns that are easy enough to parse through.

I'm putting this here because the organization of the frame entries would be unintuitive and difficult to change from the edit window, which would make it a poor choice when we're still expanding it and don't even know how long the comic will continue for. It's merely a space-saving trick for after we're sure that the comic is over. Davidy²²[talk] 09:26, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Oh and it'd be really nice if other people could also upload images if you're awake and a new one rolls by. There's gaps in the image record every time I wake up, and I dun likey. Davidy²²[talk] 11:34, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
Good work so far; go ahead make it better! :) –St.nerol (talk) 08:34, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Featured Explanation, and Archival?

  • Wikipedia has featured content. Now that we are close to reaching the goal of all comics explained, I think it makes more sense to have a "featured explanation" which would serve as a sort of a marker for a complete and good explanation. Many comics, and almost all charts are not fully explained/not a good quality explanation.
  • We should set up archival of discussion of the most discussed pages, like this one. Its not very pleasing to see comments from July 2012 still lying around here. It becomes hectic at some point.

Just my 2 cents, feel free to discuss. Cheers, 13:36, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

We dedicate this wiki to explaining xkcd, and we do actually have a featured comic feature; it changes every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and we usually manage to fill out the explanation for it within an hour or so of it going up. The most recent comic tends to be the one that most people visiting the wiki care about, so we give it prime space on the front page so they can find it easily. xkcd updates frequently enough that there isn't really that big of a time window for us to feature an article on our front page. Also, we're a volunteer project with quite a bit less manpower than Wikipedia.
We do need to archive talk pages though. Some of these are getting ridiculously long. Davidy²²[talk] 14:04, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Davidy22. Archiving topics can be done by anyone, by moving resolved threads to the portal section's corresponding talk page. We could start with the threads marked "✓ Closed". Waldir (talk) 17:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The reason I asked for a "featured explanation" was because many of the comic explanations we currently have are sub-par, and we're almost at our initial goal of explaining all comics. A "featured explanation" would drive our editors towards the goal of having complete and good explanation towards all comics, and would allow us to know which explanations need elaboration.
P.S. My definition of complete explanation would be - To have a good explanation, To have all categories relevant, To link to any comics related and To explain any technical portions of the comic. 07:45, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
That message on the front page is going to link to all the pages marked by the incomplete template. If you find an unsatisfactory explanation, please mark it with {{incomplete}} Davidy²²[talk] 07:54, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
By my definition, I think all comics will be incomplete. An incomplete template will be focused more towards improving the worst explanations, while a featured one will be to improve the best ones. Since we already have the former, we should focus on the latter. Just my 2 cents. 06:55, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Split the list of all comics

List of all comics is getting larger and larger, which makes it hard to read and hard to edit. How about splitting into parts, say List of all comics/1-1000, List of all comics/1001-2000, etc., or something to that effect? --Waldir (talk) 17:39, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Done. 10:03, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Great job, thanks! Waldir (talk) 11:09, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
And I've added back List of all comics (full), which allows, for example, listing all comics by alphabetical order.Mark Hurd (talk) 17:29, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Sidebar ads

Moved from Talk:Main Page –– St.nerol (talk) 08:06, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Are they generating significant money? The ones I see are pretty sleazy looking and/or scammy - "Power Companies Hate this Device! - click here to break the laws of thermodynamics!" and "Debt relief program click here to lose more money". How much money are they generating? Can you set any selections to remove the sleazy ads? J-beda (talk) 18:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Do we have sleazy sidebar ads? Since when? Thanks Google Chrome and AdBlock, I had no idea! –St.nerol (talk) 07:47, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
People give 20$ a pop to get a bunch of clicks on explainxkcd, and Jeff uses that money to buy a faster server with a hard drive that doesn't have less space than a public toilet with an elephant in it. It'd be really nice if you didn't turn on adblock, the money is appreciated. Davidy²²[talk] 08:47, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
It's a question of me not turning it off specifically every time I visit this site. More importantly, I do think people would be more likely to click the "donate" if it weren't irrelevant ads around it. –St.nerol (talk) 19:29, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Generating money is a great thing. Getting "20$ a pop to get a bunch of clicks" is a bit unclear. Do the ads only generate revenue when clicked on? So EXKCD only gets money when someone actually falls for the sleazy ads? I know lots of people do not like Google - but at least their adsense stuff is relevant to the content of the website, which might generate some legitimate traffic for a legitimate advertiser.... J-beda (talk) 11:48, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Welllll, I didn't pick the ad supplier. You could bring it up with Jeff if you want, I think he picked the ad provider on basis of which one had a mediawiki plugin or something. If you can link Jeff to a quick and easy way to put adsense on mediawiki, he should change it quickly enough. Davidy²²[talk] 14:21, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
And I also gather then that they are only a temporary thing? -- St.nerol (talk) 08:27, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Until we can buy a server that doesn't poop itself every time a new comic is released, the ads are staying. If you want them to go away sooner, throw more money at Jeff. Davidy²²[talk] 09:25, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
The ads are crap. For sure. Wish I didn't have to run them, but I don't trust donations alone to hold up continually some better hosting. The ads really don't bring in that much $$$. I had google adsense before, but Google shutdown my adsense account for unnamed reason after 1 week. This new ad service is way sketchier. If you all think they don't have a place here, I'll ax 'em. --Jeff (talk) 16:02, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the info Jeff. How much ad money are we talking about? Is it calculated on how many ads are displayed or how many are clicked-through? How close to the goal is the server fund? How about a Kickstarter campaign for the server? $10 gets your name on a thankyou webpage or something like that. J-beda (talk) 17:32, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
It ain't much, last I looked it was $2 or $3 in 2 weeks. I believe it is based on clicks, it is not nearly as clear as Google adsense. I'm not really interested in doing a Kickstarter. I think the donations will cover the initial start up, I just want to be able to cover the monthly costs as well. A few things are still up in the air. --Jeff (talk) 16:24, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Can you find a way to show the donations and ad income on the site, to make it transparent? ––St.nerol (talk) 15:30, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
How about a donation amount that you'll take to turn it (the annoying unethical scummy ads) off for a year? Give me a dollar value and I might step up for the good of us all! J-beda (talk) 16:28, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Since Project wonderful shut down, I block ads even on explainxkcd. The adds are simple and not colourful, which I like, but being part of Google Adsense I block them for keeping my my privacy. I am sad to do this but until there is another, better way to serve them, I have to.

Economic transparency

I think this is very important: How can we make the donations and ad-income transparent, so that we all can see when and how much money is coming in, and how far we are from reaching our goal? – St.nerol (talk) 00:35, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Sounds fine to me, I think I can put something together. --Jeff (talk) 15:52, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi, may I bump this issue? Or maybe you have done something, and I missed it? Anyway, I would still appreciate it! –St.nerol (talk) 17:43, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Numberssss. I'll get on with it, just need less homework and a few more numbers. Davidy²²[talk] 07:54, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

I would like to respectfully file a complain. I find the banner advertisement of background checks distasteful. Benjaminikuta (talk) 05:10, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Hey Benjaminikuta - I am the one who approved those ads. But, since you have filed a complaint about them, I have gone ahead and removed them. Thanks. --Jeff (talk) 12:52, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I thank you. Benjaminikuta (talk) 03:36, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Using <nowiki></nowiki> in transcripts to improve accuracy

In the transcripts, [[lines]] are being changed to [lines] in order to avoid auto-linking. Why not just surround these with <nowiki></nowiki> tags and avoid the problem entirely? --Epauley (talk) 04:18, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Because it takes less time to type and single brackets are just as readable as double brackets to visitors. It's also a bit more readable in the editor. Davidy²²[talk] 09:55, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Strip Title

For someone who commonly browses explainxkcd in place of xkcd, and hence often see the strips for the first time here rather than the parent site, I find it somewhat odd that the 'Title Text' is so poorly displayed given how critical it can be to the strip.

I propose that, while retaining the given name (perhaps moving it top left), the title text be enlarged and relocated to being over the strip as originally intended. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The title text is placed very well at bottom of the image.--Dgbrt (talk) 07:20, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I would have to agree with Dgbrt, it's placed nicely at the bottom, and there is no need for it to be moved. My reasoning is that you never actually read the title text first, you read it last. Making it text-align: left; does not make sense, because the image is centered (just like on xkcd.com). I also believe that there is no need for it to be re-sized, mainly due to the fact that it is slightly larger than the title text (for me, at least). greptalk05:18, 08 September 2013 (UTC)
Plus, if you hover over the image, it's the same as on xkcd.com greptalk06:13, 08 September 2013 (UTC)
I also agree with Dgbrt and Grep. The title text is kind of a bonus and should not be emphasized more than on the original page. On the original site you only see it before the image, if you have very slow internet access (or very fast eyes) --Chtz (talk) 08:06, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Sections in talk pages

Is there a reason why there are no sections in talk pages? It is not a very big deal, but especially for longer talk pages it would make editing be much handier, especially when using the preview function (not having to find the section every time). Also it automatically adds a description to the history (thus makes it more easy to look for certain edits, or decide by just looking at the Special:RecentChanges, if a comment should concern you. --Chtz (talk) 08:01, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

When discussion pages are transcluded by the comic discussion template, section headers carry over from talk pages and bad things happen. Using ; to denote headers instead of equals signs works well, and doesn't share transclusion pain. Davidy²²[talk] 08:04, 2 October 2013 (UTC)


Any chance we can add cite.php to this wiki? Most pages don't need it, but some comics take on a life of their own and being able to add reference tags would be really helpful for those. LadyMondegreen (talk) 01:33, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Cite has been added to the wiki. Thanks for the suggestion! --Jeff (talk) 01:35, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Stylized writing

I understand that this wiki isn't as formal as wikipedia or sites like that but it seems that there are a few questionable practices:

1. The use of questions - when a non-rhetorical or unnecessary question is entered into the explanation.

2. Extremely painted/biased view points - when there is obvious bias in the tone of the explanation of the contributor, in other words; a lack of neutrality.

3. Extreme repetition/rehashing - the explanation restates things and makes for a long and tedious read when a more straight-forward explanation is possible and clearer.

4. The general informality - "This one's an easy one" "This is simple" "this one's straightforward" "You're an idiot for not understanding this one" etc.

5. Many other practices that make the explanation hard to read, difficult to understand, or plain ugly.

I know that there are disparaging view points on how a comic should be explained, but please let's clean up the site a bit, acknowledge each view point and report on all of them and then tighten up the sloppy writing. Carry out arguments in the talk section, not the explanation. Perhaps we could first try to say the majority view point on the interpretation and then write the alternate explanations, of course this would bring up the debate on which is the majority explanation. Either way, more complete, logical explanations should be given more credence. --Lackadaisical (talk) 00:25, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree with 2-5. 1, on the other hand, is sometimes useful and can contribute the to explanation, although 1 is still a very good point. I would say that you should edit it to have "arguments in the talk" be a 6th point as well. Unfortunately, though, we are not all logical, comic-understanding machines here, so minor deviations of these rules are still to be expected. But I think that overall, these are good rules, even if 2/3 are sort of part of 5.
Lackadaisical, please sign your post with ~~~~greptalk23:55, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I understand the use of questions in certain parts. And it was probably better to put the others as sub-categories to five but I wanted to show some common things that can be easily fixed. I know that some explanations require a lot of text and extensive research because of the abstract subjects Randall deals with and that it's difficult to be completely standardized but I think it would be good for us to try to come up with some general things to try to avoid to help the explanations "flow" --Lackadaisical (talk) 00:25, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Most of that isn't intentional, it's just an awful lot of labor to copy check all the explanations. I've been going through all the current articles and fixing consistency issues, the worst being wrong transcript/title text/dates and the most benign being wikilinks, spelling and trailing spaces. I'm at 682 so far, but my next pass will be on actual language and content, and it'll probably take longer. It takes a while though, and you can totally work on improving language in articles if you want to. Some explanations were pulled from the old blog, some were written and just got lost in the changelog. Copy editing everything we have so far is a very labor-intensive job, and the only way to really deal with it is to knuckle down and do it, or form a wikiproject and hope to heaven that visitors feel charitable enough to join in on it. I'd *probably* push to finish up all our incomplete articles first though, just because that's more directly related to the purpose of the site; tone and style probably comes second to having correct explanations. That doesn't mean you can't do it yourself, it's just that I'll probably only dedicate the subheader on the main page to one project at a time and our current biggest bugbear hasn't been solved yet. I could put up a sitenotice to see if that speeds the process up any. I'll do that when I get back home. Davidy²²[talk] 03:31, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Easy redirect to comic?

I've been thinking, and there is one thing that would make navigating to the explained comics easier. My method of browsing is I'll see the comic on xkcd.com first, and if there is something curious about it that I don't quite understand, I'll come here. Sometimes it can be a bit troublesome, going to the homepage and then navigatiing to the right comic. Not too bad, but I'd like an easy way to go direct. So I was thinking, what if you had a redirect such that if you typed in, for example, www.explainxkcd.com/505, you would get redirected to http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=505:_A_Bunch_of_Rocks. That would mean that you could get to the comic just from adding an "explain" to the start of the xkcd.com URL. I don't know if that is at all possible, but it would be pretty handy if it happened. Thoughts? Alcatraz ii (talk) 03:01, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

That's actually already on the to-do list. I'm testing it right now and we should have it up soon. Davidy²²[talk] 04:02, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Awesome :) Alcatraz ii (talk) 03:26, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Whoop, forgot to mark this as complete. Davidy²²[talk] 04:37, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Done! Copy this and drag it to your bookmarks bar: |javascript: var url = document.URL; document.location = url.replace('xkcd.com','explainxkcd.com');| (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The feature requested here has also long since been implemented. Davidy²²[talk] 22:20, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Increase support via prominent display of copyright and license for text submitted to explainxkcd

XKCD itself is rather liberally licensed, and gets lots of good will from that. As it says on the bottom of every page "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License." For details see xkcd - A Webcomic - License.

But I found nothing on most pages of explainxkcd about copyright or licensing, and it discouraged me from contributing or donating. Finally, as I was writing this proposal up, I found a link on the editing page here: explain xkcd:Copyrights - explain xkcd saying that "The Explain XKCD wiki is generally licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA-3.0)". That notice should be more prominent on the site, with at least a link on each page. Nealmcb (talk) 15:27, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

This should be mentioned at the main page, including a reference to the xkcd origin.
BTW: NO DOUBLE SPACES after a sentence. Are you US guys still using a typewriter? It's not rendered at a web page and stupid like Gallons, Miles, Foots, and much more unique US behaviours. But that's just a joke beside.
The licence hint is much more important, you are just correct.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:12, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Added a creative commons icon to the footer of the page, next to the powered by mediawiki button. Davidy²²[talk] 22:16, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

New Comics Bot

Would there be need for such a thing? Synthetica

Nice idea, I never thought about that before. I will do some tests on existing comics to check if this could reduce the current number of error posts for a new article. When that is ready and working I will talk to some admins. My bot account DgbrtBOT was originally intended for 1190: Time picture uploads, but I never have used it because Time was over. Creating the new pages should be easy in general, avoiding errors will cost some more work. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:31, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
If you can get dgbrtBOT to do that, that'd help us an awful lot. It'd allow us to get rid of the ifexist cases in template:LATESTCOMIC as well, since the bot could change automatically that whenever a new comic goes up. It'll also help us get new comics down almost the moment they pop up, since the bot could sample several times a minute until a comic is posted. So long as it gets the general pattern right so that we have a correct page set up, we're good. An admin can come in sometime later to clean up categories and image urls and other piddly easy-to-fix details. Davidy²²[talk] 20:54, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I will work on this next weekend, just local scripts and no updates here. I also will talk about my results before any automatic updates will be activated. My first focus is on creating the new pages in the general pattern, LATESTCOMIC and also the page "All comics" are maybe a bonus later. And of course all my scripts will be open source.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:44, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
The first version is ready and I will test it at my local wiki. If everything goes well I could activate it for Wednesday (2013-11-13). LATESTCOMIC and "All comics" are on my roadmap, but first I want produce correct new pages here. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:00, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Righty ho. Here goes. Davidy²²[talk] 20:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Even when my automatic local wiki test did fail today, just a damn wrong password, I will activate the bot here for Wednesday. It will only run from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM UTC. You will not see my possible updates at Special:RecentChanges unless you click Show bots at the top of that page. LATESTCOMIC and "All comics" are not covered, but this is at my TODO list until this test will be successful. Give me a GO or NO-GO for this test.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:49, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Easily a GO, I'll be ready to clean up if anything goes wrong. Davidy²²[talk] 22:08, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
So be ready on Wednesday for the clean up. My worst case is it simply does not work, second worse scenario is still that I could delete some contend already posted here, but I'm trying to avoid this. Huston, the countdown clock is counting. I'm joking about this because I really want to be confident about this BOT or ROBOT or uncontrolled action here.--Dgbrt (talk) 00:28, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
The bot can't do anything that I can't reverse. I can even restore a backup from an hour before the bot's edits if it manages to break the database. How quickly does it poll xkcd, by the way? Davidy²²[talk] 07:53, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

First live test here (comic 1289). Please delete this page: Simple_Answers:_1289. Since my local wiki did not provide this templates I could not see this error before. In general the bot will update pages differ to any existing pages, but when it is not changed no update will happen. I'm fixing this errors at my script and do a second test here soon. I want to see it's producing correct pages until the bot will do it's work when I'm sleeping.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:31, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Ok, test are done here, BOT is scheduled for the next update. Polling is every five minutes on Mon, Wed, and Fri from 04:00 until 08:00 UTC. Let's see how it will work.--Dgbrt (talk) 23:08, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Couldja ramp that up to once/twice a minute, push the start time back by an hour, and the end time by a few hours? Also, is it possible to terminate it once it finds a comic for a certain day? Davidy²²[talk] 01:45, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
It worked! Though it posted the comic 5 minutes past post time. We has technology now, we can afford to poll faster and closer, yeah? Davidy²²[talk] 05:32, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Uhh, it worked... I will increase the polls when I'm more confident about the release times. Today it was approx. 05:00 UTC (GMT) or 01:00 EST (Randall's time zone). Looks like he is still at daylight saving time, would have been 00:00 EDT. The polls will be increased to one minute when I'm sure about the Standard Release Time (SRT). Next steps for the next update on Friday are:

The "All comics" page.
The LATESTCOMIC template.

--Dgbrt (talk) 19:54, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

The LATESTCOMIC template is included for the next run, it just simply has to return a number. But it's still the most critical part because if it does not work the Main Page is broken. I will change this to a better solution using that IFEXIST syntax soon. The list of all comics is still at my ToDo list. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:06, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
The desired content of the LATESTCOMIC template should be just the comic number. If we can get out of having to poll multiple IFEXIST statements to find the latest comic, that would be a fantastic boon to our server performance. Davidy²²[talk] 04:43, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
OK, it did work today so I will not change this. Next step is the list for all comics.--Dgbrt (talk) 11:10, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Next run will include an update on the "All comics" page. I'm crossing my fingers. When this update is also successful I will document my Bot at the Bot user page User:DgbrtBOT. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:15, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Oh, I forgot this detail: The bot is starting at 00:00 EST (RLT - Randall local time), which is 04:00 UTC and 05:00 MET for me. It polls every 5 minutes until 23:55 MET (22:55 UTC, 18:55 RLT) the main page until a new comic is found. I do not poll the comic number because I want to avoid 404 message logs at the servers.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:30, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Something went wrong there. That's gonna need fixing. I am enjoying the looks of the apparently faster polling though. Maybe you could also set the start time to 00:00:05 EST to catch the on-time xkcd releases within ten seconds? Davidy²²[talk] 05:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Uh, what a mess. I will do some more tests at my local wiki. At the next time I will do a check against the number from the LATESTCOMIC template, only the next number will be processed. The test against my local history did fail because of some cleanups after testings.--Dgbrt (talk) 08:18, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't like mess. So the BOT got many more checks before posting here but the bot was starting at 05:00 local time for me. I'm really asleep at that time. The mess here was covered, but I do need another GO for the next attempt. Otherwise I will just do a test to my local wiki.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:35, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

No GO so far, my next test will run only at my local wiki.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:16, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

My script is here: explainXKCD_update. At my current test "explainxkcd.com" is commented out and "localhost" is active. Since I don't like mess and the bot does act while I am sleeping the next update must be done manually here. I'm hoping the bot will be ready for the next update on Friday.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:15, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Bot is ready for Friday, everything went smooth at my last local test today. The bot did find the latest comic at 04:05 UTC and all essential pages were properly created. So I will activate it for this site again. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:57, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Bot did work as expected. So I name it release 1.1337, the next planed release will be 2.1337 (beta) because of this two issues:

  • "Include any categories below this line." will be removed because it doesn't make any sense any more.
  • BETA: I want to use the full template features at List of all comics, just ensuring that the pictures are working properly. No need for this at the most comics, but the BOT doesn't cover all possibilities on corrupt file names like we have had in "Pi vs. Tau". The picture was without that dot. My bot just shows the real link it did upload here.

I'm pretty sure we will have some issues on this bot, but for general pages it should work. So the bot will be active on Mon,Wed,Fri from 0:00 EST (or EDT) every five minutes until it did found a new comic, on success the bot does not poll any more.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:51, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Aww, it's a bot. It doesn't need to rest or take time off to do other stuff. It can totally poll once or more times per minute. Also, if you set the start time to a few seconds after midnight, Randall time, when he uploads a comic on-time, you'll get it within a few seconds as opposed to having to wait for the next polling. As for the image names, maybe you could convert spaces in the comic name to underscores, compare the two comic names you have and use that to decide which version of the template to use? Davidy²²[talk] 23:08, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I have to avoid that the bot is running twice, Internet Timeouts and more. And the comics are also published later sometimes. Look at my release 1.1337, release 2.1337 will be later, Maybe I should start at 2 minutes after 0:00, but let's see right now how the bot does work. --Dgbrt (talk) 00:38, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Uhh, what a huge discussion here. The bot will get a major update soon: Scheduler does start it once and until a comic is found and uploaded it here or an other limit is reached (maybe the end of the day) the bot will poll by a small delay. But every poll is still an entire download from the main page, When a new comic is found bot stops.

Why, you could use http://xkcd.com/info.0.json, right? 07:38, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Synthetica
The BOT performs perfect and I prefer to analyze the original page. A title text like the one from today (a text showing a link) will be covered in the future.--Dgbrt (talk) 10:35, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

A great enhancement would be also covering a new comic like 1190 Time was. I'm looking forward on this, some ideas, it does require a complete analyse of the page and then finding some strange content. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:05, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Require description for 'incomplete' tags

I've been trying to fix some of the incompletes, but several explanation pages I've come across are tagged incomplete without any reason given. The reason should be a required part of the tag. -- 03:35, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

This incomplete tags are just older than the recent change of that template. Current adds require a description, but it's not easy to figure out all that old reasons. If someone does find a reason, please just add it. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:22, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Should there be a subwiki to cover the shop links that appear above the comic?

The current one (as of writing) is [1] but this is a different than the usual, and there was also a third in between these. Rsranger65 (talk) 06:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Those are very ephemeral. They aren't going to exist for very long, I don't know how valuable it would be to archive that stuff. We could probably do it, but having to figure out another naming convention and all for advertisements doesn't appeal to me at the current moment. If you can flesh it out, I'd love to see how you think we should do it. Davidy²²[talk] 07:24, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

New Character

OK, I think we need a name for the character with a goatee and glasses in comics 435: Purity, 796: Bad Ex and 964: Dorm Poster as well as possibly others. Edit: oh and I suggest Goatee and Glasses Guy, but I'm open for suggestions Edit 2: also in 826: Guest Week: Zach Weiner (SMBC) Halfhat -- Halfhat (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~) edit 3: Another sighting 954: Chin-Up Bar Halfhat (talk) 16:57, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

In the transcript, he is called "Person with Glasses and a Goatee" --Jeff (talk) 15:39, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
"Glasses Guy", "Goatee Guy" are both probably descriptive enough! --Jeff (talk) 15:41, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

What If Comics

Hi, I was thinking, maybe at some point we should do the comics in the What If? section, like this one. Halfhat (talk) 20:01, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Start creating the pages for them! --Jeff (talk) 15:36, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
I think I can start creating one or two pages for What If, if that helps... Daniel Carrero (talk) 16:14, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
If nobody has any problem with it, I'm gonna give it a try later. :) Daniel Carrero (talk) 13:14, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I thought they were already pretty self-explanatory though. Also, how are we gonna organize and present them? Davidy²²[talk] 16:31, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I totally agree with David: Read the entire What-If page and follow the links provided by Randall. No one of us can do that better in depth. But an overview page for this site is maybe not a bad idea, we just need a proper link here — a link at the main menu on the left. Translations to other languages are just another issue. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:37, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I was thinking of an overview, summarizing the contents and discoveries of each what if page. Not to mention, we could also organize what if pages by categories, such as physics/love.
Would you like me to post here an example of what I would write? That way we can decide if it's worthy of creating an actual page. Daniel Carrero (talk) 12:53, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Adding pages for What If? posts would be very helpful. Although the articles themselves are obviously self-explanatory, there are almost as many subtle references, running gags, and in-jokes in What If? posts these days as in the comics themselves.

I often visit explain xkcd when I feel like I'm missing an inside joke or a pop culture reference in a comic, and it would be very helpful to many people (especially those from other cultures/subcultures) to have the same service. For example, today's What If? contains multiple allusions to the Superman Movie, a running Citation Needed joke, and a whole comic that is a not-so-subtle dig at Elon Musk and the Hyperloop. It would be awesome if the community here at explainxkcd could tackle stuff like that. Anonymous 20:05, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree. I don't understand the mouseover text on the first image in "Snow Removal", for example. Benjaminikuta (talk) 22:57, 23 February 2015 (UTC)


The whole point of the transcripts is to have those who are unable to view images to still be able to read the comic, right?

Then why is it required to stick to strictly official transcripts, where sometimes rewriting them slightly would make them flow better or otherwise get the ideas across better? I've tried rewriting a few, but they get reverted. I think that having easier-to-understand transcripts would be more important than strictly following official transcripts; what do you think? (For a few examples, see this edit and this edit. Zowayix (talk) 17:38, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

We use the original transcript to try and deduce original author intent if it's unclear from the image. I remember one comic where Beret Guy was off in the distance and it was difficult to distinguish him from the image, but the official transcript said it was him. We don't stick to the original transcript if it's obviously wrong, or it has typographical errors: see Laser Scope. Those edits seem to be mainly targeted at language and clarity, and should be fine. Davidy²²[talk] 23:06, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Would it be helpful to have another (optional) section for expanding on the official transcripts? I too think it could be helpful, especially for complex images (such as 1079/United Shapes [2]). Or does supplemental description belong in the Explanation sections? Cheers. Karenb (talk) 23:00, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Naaah, how many people even know there's an original transcript? If the original is wrong, change it. If your additions begin to verge on explanatory, move eet to the trivia/explanation sections. Davidy²²[talk] 00:52, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

"Characters in this Comic" section

Should there be a "Characters in this Comic" section in each comic explanation? (I feel like this should be longer but don't have anything else to say.) Z (talk) 23:33, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

There is a Category section at the bottom of each comic. Just scroll down and you will see any character belonging to a specific comic. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:50, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Adding the Radiation chart from XKCD

Hi As there are already other comics with explanations even though they are not part of the number system. This one does not seem to have any yet: http://xkcd.com/radiation/ And as it is very alike the Money strip (the unexplained of the week) so I think it should be explained as well. If you agree please add it as I'm not sure how to do that.

Best regards

Kynde (talk) 18:47, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Reddit comments?

There should be a link in each comics explanation page somewhere linking to the comment section for the relevant comic on /r/xkcdcomic or reddit.

The reddit comments page isn't that close to what we do though. If this is more popular, we'll do it, though there'll need to be a fair bit of post-hoc editing since I don't think there's a standard URL scheme for all the past comics. Davidy²²[talk] 03:15, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I just came here to ask if we could do this, but I looked into it and it wouldn't be simple. Could we write a bot to run on the xkcd subreddit to post the link here? --Eluvatar (talk) 05:53, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Not insulting new users

I am writing a response to a vulnerability assessment. I have included a link to http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/936 noting that it contains a good explanation of the relative security of passwords vs passphrases. I just noticed that the top of that page contains "Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb." Looks like I'll have to find a different site to link to. --Pascal (talk) 17:33, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

I agree. While I'm sure it can seem cute or funny in various circles, that text has always seemed immature and inappropriate to me, and I'm sure to many folks we'd like to invite to the site. I suggest that it be changed. Nealmcb (talk) 19:52, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
The XKCD http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/936 suggestion for password is actually not that good. read here for some more discussion. 23:49, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
I also agree. I'm not here because I'm stupid, I'm here because I don't know something and I'm hoping this site can help. It's off putting to have that text there, and there's no benefit to it. What about just repeating the thing at the top of XKCD.com: "Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language: Explained"?
I agree, and there is actually a very long talk page started about this subject in the miscellaneous section. Eventually people voted to keep it, but the main argument on that side was that that was the way things had always been. I am fairly new to the site (this is actually my first post on it), so I don't know how these things work, but I do think that that should be changed. There were actually a large number of good proposals for replacements with the other one, and I thought it would be funny if there was a randomly selected character every time you loaded a page, with each character having their own tagline. Is there any way to try to get this changed again?
Another vote for changing it. I like the idea of rotating through a number of taglines. The world already has too many people who habitually verbally reinforce the idea they aren't smart, why try to convince them they're right about themselves when they might otherwise be experiencing curiosity? (Related: Carol Dweck) Edit: link to prior conversation 10:56, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Concur. When I link to xkcd comics, I also add a link to the equivalent page here for screenreader users. While I try to link to the transcript sections specifically, I sometimes forget or typo it, and people may check the rest of the page anyway. What are the rules for decisions here? 22:14, 21 October 2021 (UTC)
I disagree, it's a tagline and obviously just a light jibe, no reason to change it. However the main reason I'm commenting is to point out that hundreds of other users saw this proposal and didn't reply so even if there's concurrence among the minority who respond to the proposal it doesn't mean that the proposal has wide support and should be implemented --Lackadaisical (talk)
I think it would be a good idea to have the tagline link to a page explaining it, or is that a little too meta? It'd be useful to help newbies understand the phrase, at least. 22:56, 7 July 2022 (UTC)
I think it should be changed to something nice. While False (speak) 16:30, 3 October 2022 (UTC)
The Black Hat image is blurry. ClassicalGames (talk) 08:54, 3 May 2023 (UTC)

RSS feed

Is there an RSS feed (or some equivalent) of Explain XKCD available? It's helpful for those using feed readers, and superior to the primary XKCD RSS since there are explanations and the mouse over text is transcribed for the lazy. Thanks 08:24, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Why yes, we do! It's the regular new pages log that all wikis have. It's a little ugly at the moment, and sometimes junk gets in there when a bot chucks spam at us, so a nicer feed is in the works, but the linked one should do you excellently for now. When the nice one is done, you'll see it in the sidebar below the "Help" button. Davidy²²[talk] 11:31, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Navigation Pane Link - Categories

How about having a link to the "Special:Categories" page in the navigation pane?

A fair amount of effort has gone into categorising the comics, and at the moment it isn't particularly obvious how to browse by category. Is this worth doing? -- Pudder (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Space on the sidebar is on a premium. I dunno, I'd probably be against it, but I want to hear what other admins say as well. Davidy²²[talk] 16:45, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Alternate realities what if would benefit from a wiki entry

The what if entry from the end of November 2014 providing excerpts from alternate reality what ifs would benefit from an explain page. I suspect these may have been typos that have been made into jokes, but some of the humor might not be apparent to all. I doubt I have access (or maybe know how) to set it up myself.

Cheers (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Made it. Check out What If: 120: Alternate Universe What Ifs. 17jiangz1 (talk) 09:10, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
We don't actually have a structure for what if pages in general, so I'll have to take that down, but when we do we can make pages for every what if. Davidy²²[talk] 09:57, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Secondary URLs?

I have made http://www.xkcd.ga and http://www.xkcd.tk both forward to http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page. Is this ok? 17jiangz1 (talk) 08:50, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

While we probably won't advertise them because we can't guarantee the uptime of third-party URLs, and they add an additional redirect layer and lack our shortened URL features, you're free to purchase and link URLs to us independently. We are not owned by Randall and as such cannot claim to actually be xkcd, so I'm not hugely comfortable with you using the plain name "xkcd" to link to us; a url in the format http://www.xkcd.[TLD] should by rights link to the main xkcd site, but no trademark claim has been made or likely will be made, so you should be fine with doing whatever you want to do with URL redirects Davidy²²[talk] 09:57, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

LaTeX (Or MathML, TeX) support?

In the most recent comic at the time of posting, there was use of formulae, being:
Fgravity = G m1m2/d2
Fstatic = Ke q1q2/d2
There are probably many more comics using formulae that cannot be rendered properly without the use of LaTeX or something. The help page on Wikipedia says that the following should work:

Provided that one has to set
$wgUseTeX = true;
in LocalSettings.php. Is there any reason for this to be disabled? If there is, is there any alternative? — 21:18, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
The wgUseTeX flag was deprecated in mediawiki 1.18 in a move to simplify base mediawiki and move niche features into seperate plugins. I vaguely remember this being requested in the past, can't find any evidence of me implementing it. I'll try it now, see what stopped me last time. Davidy²²[talk] 01:12, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Ah, there's a bit of configuration work to it and I was busy at the time probably. I'll put it on the growing to do list on my userpage. Davidy²²[talk] 01:20, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

This problem is solved. --Dgbrt (talk) 12:03, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Merge Cueball & Rob

At the risk of posting this idea too many places and annoying everyone, I would like to propose that we consider merging Cueball and Rob and redirecting Cueball to Rob, much as Cutie now redirects to Megan. The most common name given for a Cueball-like character in the strip is "Rob". Like Megan, he is not always named. Also, like Megan, Rob tends to have distinct characteristics such as being a nerdy alter-ego to Randall (e.g. 1168: tar) just as Megan often is the appearance given to comic representations of Randall's wife (see 1141: Two Years, before hair loss). Megan and Cueball appear to have a relationship (e.g. 159: Boombox) and Megan clearly hangs out with Rob in ways not inconsistent with adventurous couples (e.g. 782: Desecration). Finally, comics that feature both Black Hat and "Cueball" seem to depict them as friends and possibly roommates. However, we learn in 1102: Fastest-Growing that Black Hat's roommate is named "Rob".

In short, I believe if 159: Boombox had called "Cueball" "Rob" we would've rewritten both Cutie and Cueball to redirect there. Because we learned that "Cueball's" name is actually Rob much later (I think the earliest occurrences are 647: Scary, and 716: Time Machine; the first time he is seen with Megan in a capacity that might indicate a relationship is 782: Desecration). Djbrasier (talk) 19:05, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

As I answered your comment on 1496: Art Project Rob is already listed as part of the category for Comics featuring Cueball: and this is listed as the first entry when going to the page for Category:Comics featuring Cueball. Cueball is such an integral part of explain xkcd that I do not think any other users wish to change. Also the 9 incidences with Rob is maybe a specific person and at the time Randall did not think to give him any features. Also Cueballs have no specific behavior as you allude to. Neither has Megan. You can always find several Cueballs and Megans that behave a certain way. But then you can find many other comics where they behave the opposite way. Thus Rob and Cueball should not be merged. Also there are several comics with more than one Cueball. And here we have this problem: It is typically the first who writes the transcript who decides who of the Cueballs (or Megans) he feels represents the "real" Cueball. However, there is no real behavior of Cueball. So who should decide. I could change all these transcripts so it becomes the other character who becomes Cueball, because I think that the first transcriber did it wrong. And this is why in a comic with more than one Cueball (where neither is called Rob or the like) neither of the two should be called Cueball. It would still be in the category with Cueball, because that is just comics with a Cueball like character no matter how many. But they cannot be named Cueball and friend or Rob and friend (unless Rob's name is mentioned!) They could be called Cueball 1 and Cueball 2, but then guy or man would be better. I know several places have comics with two Cueballs where someone has designated one of them Cueball and the other friend of foe etc. But this should be corrected so none of these are called Cueball. Same should go for more than one Megan. But this is very rare, and I have only found one other than Art project and here only one Megan had any lines. The problem with different opinions on which Cueball is which came for the first time up with Megan in Art project: The two Megan-like characters was first named (left to right) Megan and Danish. Then unidentified girl and Megan. Then Megan and unidentified girl, then two Megan like girls with short and long hair and finally you reverted it to my first change away from Danish to unidentified girl and Megan. (I can live with that as there is difference in hair length and behavior). But as far as I see it Cueball is not Rob as well as Megan should have continued to be called Cutie (but I would not like to change that now, as I have grown fond of Megan). But at the time the change was done I believe it was wrong. The same fondness for the name Cueball also makes me sure that no one else would wish to call him Rob, even if that is as much his name as Megan is Cuties... --Kynde (talk) 21:57, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
My argument is that it is inertia and sentiment ("fond of Megan") that prevents an objective, equal treatment here. Djbrasier (talk) 22:47, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Also, regarding the analogy made above to Danish. I am fine with a nickname when Randall hasn't named a character. So she was "unidentified girl" and then became "Danish". But, when we named her "Danish", we went back to "Journal 1" and other places and renamed her. My proposal is that we should go back through and rename "Cueball" as "Rob". Alternatively, we should reinstate "Cutie" for cases in which it is not clear that a character is "Megan" per se, but just Megan in her "everywoman" capacity. Djbrasier (talk) 00:00, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure how to post a poll, but I see the following options:

1) Status quo: Cueball for all unidentified males without distinct characteristics (e.g. hats), Megan for all shoulder-length brunettes. Rob only for named Cueballs. Multiple Cueballs in a comic mean one is named Cueball and others get named "Friend", etc.

2) Symmetry 1: Cueball/Rob stays as is. Unnamed brunettes get named "Cutie". "Megan" like "Rob" is reserved for comics in which a name is used.

3) Symmetry 2: Megan stays as is. Rob is the default for indistinct males. "Cueball" page redirects to "Rob" (as "Cutie" now redirect to "Megan").

4) Expunge all Cueballs from multi-Cueball comics: Basically the status quo, except that in comics with multiple Cueballs none are named "Cueball" and are just all given names "Man 1", "Man 2", etc.

I am ambivalent regarding options 2 or 3. I could live with 1 if there is consensus for it, but I don't like it. 4 is a disaster in my mind and gains nothing. Djbrasier (talk) 22:47, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

We are probably the only one who reads these post...? But anyway as is clear I'm for 4. Which has been used several places already.´I can live with 1. I think 2 and 3 are disasters. Also it would be completely confusing for those who have used this page for many years. Why do you bring this up now? Is it because of the multiple Megan comics, or have you just signed up here, and dislike that it doesn't follow the rules you would have expected?--Kynde (talk) 20:19, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I suggest instead that we create a category for multiple Cueballs, so it is easy to explain why the Cueball is not a specific character, and thus can never be Rob (except when it is clear from the text), or be expected to behave a certain way. And in reverse we make a Named Megan category so it is easy to find the few (three?) where she has been named. This by the way has nothing to do with the other suggestions, so I might just do that to get an overview. --Kynde (talk) 20:19, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
It seems more consistent to me to use Cutie for all unnamed "Megans" and reserve "Megan" for named comics. Thus, Rob is a Cueball and Megan is a Cutie. Djbrasier (talk) 13:30, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
I've read through some of your discussions (Here, Kynde's talk page, Art Project discussion), and thought I might put my thoughts forwards. Essentially we have three questions here:
1) Should we merge Cueball and Rob, and rename all Cueballs as Rob?
2) Should we rename all Megans as Cutie, except where she is explicitly named?
3) Once questions 1 & 2 are answered, what do we do where the 'same' character appears multiple times in one comic?
  • I understand the objective argument for renaming Cueball to Rob, however I'm unconvinced of the importance of being entirely objective, and I can't imagine Cueball being renamed to anything other than Cueball.
  • I think its fairly clear where the Cueball label has come from, even if it might not be immediately obvious to some. Even if readers don't make the link between Cueball's head and a cue-ball, it is quite a generic label, which I think fits well with the transient every-man nature of Cueball's usage.
  • There is something far more specific about the name Rob, which suggests that he is the same character every time. The origin of the name isn't obvious, which I think would be likely to cause confusion.
This brings me to conclude that for me, the answer to Q1 has to be that Cueball should stay as Cueball, unless explicitly named something else.
The question of changing Megan to Cutie is one where I am less confident. Following the arguments I've made above, the outcome has to be that we rename to Cutie unless specifically named Megan, however I am not entirely convinced. The name Megan has a history, there are surely lots of people who now know her as Megan, what do we really stand to gain from all the work of changing to Cutie? I would also suggest that the name Cutie may not be accepted well by those with strong feminist views.
As far as multi-character comics, I don't have time right now, but I will come back later and add my thoughts. Now that we've only got a few incomplete comics, we've had to resort to discussing renaming characters!--Pudder (talk) 15:07, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the reasons for keeping Cueball and Megan. And also that Cutie is such a loaded word, that it should never have been used anyway. This I did not immediately think about, but Cutie sounds like something from either a porn movie, or else a Bond Babe... Like the phrase from one of those movies: "Hello, I'm Plenty..." Then we should have to find a third name. And everyone here knows her as Megan. --Kynde (talk) 13:24, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
I have created the Category:Multiple Cueballs to locate them and to show how often there are more than one. Feel free to add any I haven't found yet. --Kynde (talk) 09:45, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

I think Rob is Black Hat's roommate and Megan's boyfriend/partner/husband (see above). The "Cueball" in comics such as 159: Boombox and 542: Cover-Up should, in my view, be renamed "Rob", even though he is not explicitly called that in those comics. Most other "Cueball" comics can stay unchanged. Djbrasier (talk) 00:43, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

I have left my reason to disagree also with this on the two comics talk page. --Kynde (talk) 13:24, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

In my opinion, it is quite clear that Randall has chosen to name the main male protagonist Rob, for the few occasions where he needs characters to call upon each other, in the same way as he has chosen Megan for the main female protagonist. We should therefore try to overcome our nostalgia, follow Randall, and call the common male protagonist Rob. The problem with multiple cueballs can most often be resolved by identifying the protagonist, from the first-person narration or the general perspective. Thus, in 525: I Know You're Listening Rob is the comic's "I", to the left. In 1110: Click and Drag, Rob is obviously flying with a balloon. In 610: Sheeple Rob is arguably the guy in the foreground facing us. Non-Rob "cueballs" we could refer to as "friend" "man", etc. In this way roughly half of the "multiple cueballs" would be resolved. I think I can live with a few unclear cases, like 220: Philosophy. St.nerol (talk) 12:22, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

A featureless character has been specifically named Rob in 9 comics, compared with 968 'Comics featuring Cueball'. I believe it is fundamentally flawed to assert that because a featureless character is named Rob in less than 1% of appearances, that all featureless characters should therefore be assumed to be Rob. As I've discussed above, I think that Rob strongly implies a specific person, whereas Cueball is a vague 'everyman' character. I feel it would be a huge error to change all Cueballs to Robs.--Pudder (talk) 17:37, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
The problem with that logic is that "Megan" is only named in a small number of comics (fewer that "Rob"). So we should have a different name for an unnamed generic female. Cutie is fine, but if people perceive that as sexist, then another name, maybe "Cuegirl" or "Brunette" would work. (Side note: I doubt "Cutie" would be perceived as sexist and there's history there.) What I do find sexist is the fact that there is asymmetry between male and female "everyperson"s. In sum, I would say there is at less evidence to support naming Megan-everywoman "Megan" in all cases as there is to name Rob-everyman (here called "Cueball") "Rob" in all cases. Asymmetry here ignores the fact that Randall clearly intends his name to be "Rob" and also that we are using a proper name for everywoman but a contrived name for everyman, while creating an artificial distinction between Rob and Cueball and smearing out any possible distinction between Megan-everywoman and Megan-properName. Djbrasier (talk) 13:18, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
As I put in my earlier comment (see above), I do agree that the logical conclusion is that Megan should no longer be named Megan, and should have an equivalent generic name. As an aside, I'm quite partial to your suggestion of Cuegirl. I disagree with your assertion that "Randall clearly intends his name to be Rob", and I think that is the central point of this discussion. I don't believe that there is anywhere near enough evidence to assign a specific name to what I believe is a generic character. If we want to go for formal logic, consider the syllogism "Some non descipt characters are called Rob, there are many non-descript characters, therfore all non-descript characters are called Rob". The conclusion simply does not follow. --Pudder (talk) 14:22, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Great, I vote for Cuegirl & Cueball :: Megan & Rob! Djbrasier (talk) 01:31, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Djbrasier's and St.nerol's arguments, and I too feel that the arguments against dealing with this in an objective, symmetrical and logical way seem mostly based on nostalgia. Either we agree that a few named instances of the everywoman are sufficient to generalize to the (vastly more numerous) unnamed instances, and apply the same standard to the everyman, which is only consistent (and even more justified in the case of Rob since he is named in more comics than Megan), or we decide that the extrapolation is unjustified and we revert the Cutie-->Megan merge. The alternative --having double standards and deciding things based on historical baggage and emotional attachment rather than rationality-- makes no sense for followers of the comic that literally invented nerd-sniping!

I'd also add that, as a non-native speaker, "cueball" doesn't ring any immediate bells unless the connection to cue balls is pointed out explicitly -- so actually Rob works even better as a generic name than Cueball. We have already agreed previously that clarity is better than cleverness when we named Hairy, forgoing the less obvious alliteration "Harry", so I vote we use the name Randall actually gave us, let go of our attachments to a creation he never endorsed, and honor our collective nerdiness by doing the logical thing: apply our standards uniformly and adopt Rob the same way we adopted Megan. --Waldir (talk) 06:09, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

I've already put my thoughts forward above, so I won't repeat the same ground I've covered, other than to say I believe it would be a mistake to turn all Cueballs into Robs. While I will admit to having some nostalgia for the name Cueball, that isn't a major facet of my argument. I believe that any generic name is better than a specific name. Call them Stickboy & Stickgirl if you want! I know there are a fairly significant number of contributors and visitors who do not have English as their first language, but I don't believe that is a reason to choose a specific name, rather than a generic name, even if the origin of the latter isn't immediately obvious to all. It would be interesting to know whether each of us sees Cueball as always being the same person, or Cueball *is* Randall, or Cueball is just a changeable everyman.
To me, he is a changeable everyman, who I guess may represent or be based on: Randall, his friends, family or acquaintances, famous people, someone he saw in the street, or a completely made up character used to fill a specific role in the comic. The reason I argue againt merging Rob & Cueball is that the Cueball I see is this morphing and fluid character, and to use a specific name to tie him down to being the same character all the time runs completely counter to that. --Pudder (talk) 08:31, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
Understood, and sorry for mischaracterizing your argument (the nostalgia part does cloud the discussion though). I suppose I would be somewhat ambivalent to either have Rob+Megan, or Cueball+Cutie -- Cuegirl doesn't work because she has hair :) --, in the interests of reason and symmetry. But I lean slightly towards Rob+Megan because those are names Randall actually gave us, while anything else is our own invention and thus has no claim to legitimacy other than popular support.
Particularly, while I understand your concern about shoehorning the various personality traits the Cueballs show in different comics into a single persona, that doesn't seem to have been a problem for Megan -- not to mention real people are indeed complex and multi-faceted beings (or "morphing and fluid", to use your terms) rather than one-dimensional caricatures. Heck, even Black Hat has his romantic side! :) So in light of that, I don't think we have to worry about ruining Cueball by naming him Rob -- if anything, that'd add more depth to him as a character! --Waldir (talk) 16:35, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm still very much against changing things here. Call it nostalgia, but there are many users who will never read these arguments, who one day comes back and cannot find Megan or Cueball, and will ask who the heck are Cuegirl/Cutie. I'm completely with Pudder on the problem with giving Cueball the name Rob. It just doesn't make sense. I agree that we have a inconsistency with Megan. But then everyone who uses this page a few times, becomes familiar with that name. However the main problem with all your great ideas is this. Who should correct the either 984 pages where Cueball is mentioned because he is a part of it (and all the other pages relevant to him or where he is exactly mentioned because he isn't part of the comic) and/or who should do the same for 487 comics (plus loose pages) for Megan. Unless those in favor for changing the names will do this, then the discussion is moot. It is already clearly stated in the relevant pages that these two characters are generic and that they have been named but a few times. So what more can we do unless someone is willing to use several days to change this back. I sincerely doubt you can keep the correct syntax if you just try a brute force replacement? There are so many interconnecting links etc. --Kynde (talk) 13:21, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

I completely disagree with merging Cueball and Rob. Rob has Emily and Lisa as girlfriends, and Cueball has Megan. Rob also lives a more action-filled and stereotypical life compared to Cueball. --Youforgotthisthing (talk) 13:14, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I think the main stances here are clear:

  • Keep as is
  • Rename Cuball to Rob
  • Change Megan back to Cutie/Cuegirl

Since keeping it status quo wouldn't change anything and is asymmetrical, I'll go over the others:

  • Rename Cueball to Rob - Arguments:
    • Randall gave him this name;
    • It would offer symmetry to Megan;
    • If the Cutie -> Megan logic is to be followed (as she was changed once named in the comics) then Cueball should be Rob;
    • Even though cueball is a generic everyman name, Rob seems more like a name you could give anyone and would be more recognizable to non-native English speakers.
  • Change Megan back to Cutie/Cuegirl - Arguments:
    • It would cause symmetry again, letting her have an everywoman name;
    • Nostalgia for Cueball;
    • Megan is not always the same character, so she should not always have the name Megan

I happen to agree with the idea of merging Cueball and Rob, but I'm not closed to the idea of Cutie/Cuegirl. The main problem is that these characters are typically interchangeable everymen/everywomen and there can be more than one in a comic. So another question is what we should do for multiple Cueballs/Robs. In my opinion, we should have all the comics with more than one depict them as Man 1, Man 2, etc. --Sensorfire (talk) 17:04, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Well I disagree. The users are used to refeer to these characters now by these names. It is also impractical to try to change them all. Megan is rarely twice in a comic. Maybe she is more the same like Black Hat is. But it is made clear that they are not the same in every comic in their pages. If there are muliple Cueballs but one is the main protagonist then he us cueball. If none can be singled out then Cueball like guy to the left/right can be used. I have done that for tbose cases I have found so far (49 today).--Kynde (talk) 20:58, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Well, somebody pointed out that the title text of 1783: Emails suggests that the Cueball in the comic is most certainly not Rob, and calling the main comic character 'Man 1' as above would be silly. And on top of all this, 'Cueball' occurs so much we would probably need to take a regex to every explanation in Category:Comics featuring Cueball. That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 14:50, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

Why hasn't anyone thought of the name "Hairball"? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please don't forget to sign your posts. And everybody should read this first: Characters and Rob. For short: Rob is a named Cueball. --Dgbrt (talk) 11:57, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

How to fit explanations of new classes of xkcd-related mysteries into the site: what-if, t-shirts, posters, special comics etc.

I suggest that the explain xkcd page should explain how this site is laid out, and what sorts of things are explained here besides the online numbered xkcd comics that come out three times a week.

For example, there is the A Smarter Planet series, and there are ideas for explaining some of the What-If series. I'd like to add my explanation of the XKCD Greek t-shirt, with mathematical, scientific and engineering uses for greek letters and perhaps some other t-shirts, posters and the like.

But I can't even figure out how to find non-numbered-comic-explanations, without going thru the entire Special:AllPages listing, which includes a huge set of unnumbered aliases as well as the numbered ones.

I've taken a stab towards that by editing the About page to point to some categories (and to start with a little overview), but since I'm just poking around, I might have missed some things. Nealmcb (talk) 19:40, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Link to "Special pages" on main page

I think there should be a link to Special:SpecialPages on the main-page--17jiangz1 (talk) 11:55, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Special pages is a default feature in every mediawiki installation. It's also in the sidebar of every page, and it's not relevant to xkcd. Why does it merit space on the main page? Davidy²²[talk] 18:56, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Science comic

Should the Science Magazine comic be added? http://m.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/58.full Mikemk (talk) 03:14, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

I think that would be a great idea. Could there be other copyright rules when the comic has been published on Science? It there anyway to find out if Randall also has a link to it from (or has it on) xkcd? As he has done with the other Extra_Comics. And how do we create such a page, if there can be no link directly to xkcd (at the top of the comic)? --Kynde (talk) 13:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

"what if?" section?

I would like to start a new "what if?" section explaining and discussing what if pages.--17jiangz1 (talk) 06:08, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Why does it need to exist? The main xkcd comic needs it, because Randall tends to be obtuse at times, but the what if articles are sourced and written out already. Supposedly, they're already explanations to questions sent in to Randall. Why do we need to explain explanations? Davidy²²[talk] 06:29, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Explaining them indeed seems unnecessary, but we could certainly catalog and summarize them. --Waldir (talk) 16:38, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
The images on what if? also have title texts that could further be explained, and we could organize what if pages by categories, as well as provide summaries. There are also subtle references, running gags, and in-jokes in What If? that should be explained.--17jiangz1 (talk) 08:44, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
This https://what-if.xkcd.com/120/ is a example of a what if that could do with some explanations.--17jiangz1 (talk) 08:47, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
That's one of 135 what-ifs, and it's entirely self referential and can be figured out by reading the rest of the archive. The substance of the majority of pages is going to be incredibly thin, Randall doesn't tend to leave much for explanation. Comics that are simple one-shot images are our least used pages for good reason, and the what-if images pretty much all fall into that category, or are used to illustrate Randall's point that he makes in the immediately preceding paragraph. We could archive/catalog all the what-if pages and be a second archive button for the series, though there's a little less value to that than the archiving we did for Time and Externalities because there's already an archive along the same lines on the main site. Davidy²²[talk] 19:14, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the main value we could add is a summary (TL;DR style) of each entry, in a short Q&A format. --Waldir (talk) 12:13, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

If we are going forward with this, is there anyway to find the date in which the what if was first published?--17jiangz1 (talk) 09:01, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

At the bottom of the page, there's an archive button. Click that. Davidy²²[talk] 19:14, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Well, fact is, the what if? page is much, much larger now. Nk22 (talk) 11:52, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Nk22! I've added a link from the About explain xkcd page. -- Nealmcb (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)


Hello there, just wrote a simple userscript that adds an 'Explain' button to the original xkcd.com


You can run it via Greasemonkey, Tampermonkey and other similar plugins :)

Screen Shot xkcd button.png

 -- Magazovski (talk)  (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Yeah, there's a few of these floating around. In the future, could you use an imgur link instead of uploading stuff like that to the wiki? Thanks. Davidy²²[talk] 18:02, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
So maybe explainxkcd should host & maintain one of them? --Magazovski (talk) 09:30, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Why would we host an image hosting site? Davidy²²[talk] 23:17, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
He means we could host and maintain a userscript to help our fans get here from xkcd.... Nealmcb (talk) 14:36, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
Hum, that's not a bad idea. I'll put it on the list of things to do. Although, if they're already here, why do they need a userscript to help them get here? Davidy²²[talk] 00:34, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
For people who mainly view the comics through the official site, but sometimes need an explanation of the comic. --Pudder (talk) 09:23, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
I've started collecting helpful tools like these on a new page, to hopefully make them easier for others to find. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 00:29, 8 November 2020 (UTC)

Updating the incomplete comic of the day

Currently, I think the incomplete comic of the day should be changed more often (i.e. daily), since the incomplete comics are piling up, and most users aren't seeing the notice, as it is dismissible.--17jiangz1 (talk) 11:40, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

While I agree that the comic of the day could be changed more often, I wouldn't say that the incomplete comics are piling up. Over the months I've been active here, the number of incomplete comics had fallen considerably. In fact if you check the comics which are still marked as incomplete, most of them are one where a significant effort would be required to complete them. For example the large comics (Money, Time, Congress) or dynamic comics (Externalities, Click & Drag, Pixels). --Pudder (talk) 15:32, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Yeah. Of the 15 incomplete "pages," only 10 of them are actual comics that need the attention, and the full count is still dropping. I've been keeping it on single comics as of late because the remaining actual incomplete comics have been cycled through ~3 times already, with no significant effort made on them, because they're such monumental pieces of work. Making the message dismissable is by design, we are a service first and foremost, we're not trying that hard to make visitors do our work for us. Davidy²²[talk] 23:17, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Infrequently recurring minor charachters

Should we just group all of the characters that are not of enough significance to warrant their own character page into a single page (i.e. Other Minor Characters)? --Forrest (talk)02:58, 09 May 2015 (UTC)

See comic 1000 for a sample of what this entails. Also, what value to we stand to provide by cataloging every unique character that has appeared in xkcd? Does it help us explain the comics any better? Davidy²²[talk] 11:32, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Comic page creation

Is comic page creation not automated? If it isn't, then Help talk:How to add a new comic explanation should be created.--Forrest (talk)14:19, 26 May 2015 (UTC) 14:19, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Comic explanation was, at one point, automated. However, the bot ran on a schedule, and so sometimes there would be a few hours between a new comic being posted and the page getting created. Some editors just can't wait that long, so they do the bot's work before the bot even gets going. I agree that this page should be created and be kept up to date. Historically no one has read any of the help pages I've written. ;p lcarsos_a (talk) 17:42, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
However, I think that the page should be Help:Comic Explanation Page Creation. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:43, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Re-proposing merging Cueball and Rob

Okay, so this was previously [discussed but I felt that it was worth bringing up again. Really, at this point, there's no logical reason why the two should not be merged, or Megan and Cutie should be un-merged. Rob and Cueball clearly seem to be the same person, at least when cueball appears as a specific character. In the instances where there are multiple Cueballs, we should just refer to them as Man 1, Man 2, and so on. Can we get a vote or something this time? Yes, I understand that Cueball isn't always the same character. But neither is Megan, and yet we always refer to the short black haired girl (formerly Cutie) as Megan. If that logic applies to her, it applies to Rob. It's pretty clear that Randall intended to name the character Rob, as most named Cueballs are named Rob and not Fred or something.

In short: Please don't bring nostalgia into this, it's really not relevant. Changing Cueball to Rob or Megan back to Cutie (or Cuegirl?) would have symmetry and make sense. Sensorfire (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm ok with dumping a marginal character page that only served to add confusion to character identification in new comics, but this was a subject of contention before so we probably need to see more of people's thoughts first. Davidy²²[talk] 01:03, 5 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree: let's list the arguments for both sides, ensure that everyone agrees with the objectiveness of that listing, and then vote. If there's support for this plan, and nobody does it first, I'll take a stab at producing a first draft of the summary. --Waldir (talk) 23:57, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Randall is currently on a booktour. So, how about, instead of us (without the ability to read minds) arguing about his intention or who is/isn't the same character, someone go see him and ask? Then we'll know with absolute 100% certainty. WaltG123 (talk) 04:49, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Randall never called either character Cueball and Cutie so of course this is not his names. Asking him would make no meaning at all. For any user of xkcd it will create lots of confusion to change the names of Megan and Cueball now. Regarding Rob he is already listed as Cueball in his category. And Cueballs have been called other names several times. Rob is just the only one that has been used a few times. I agree that it may have been wrong to call her Megan, (the name has been used like three times?) Similar it is just as wrong to call Black Hat's girlfriend Danish, a nick name used once. But it is actually very nice to have a real name or at least useful name when speaking of characters. And it has also been mentioned that Cutie could be perused as a sexist name, so we should not move back to that. Well recently even Hairbun has her name changed from Hairbun girl since a user thought that was a problem given it most often was a grown woman. So I think we should stick to the solution of the previous debate and leave Cueball, Rob and Megan alone as they are! --Kynde (talk) 08:56, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Adjective phrases

Overwhelmed with the need to be picayune, I am compelled to point out that on the homepage there is the sentence that begins "There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations..." This sentence contains a adjective phrase which should be hyphenated thus: "set-in-stone"

Please pretend that I have said something witty here, as I am too tired to think of anything funny. -- Gamewriter (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is it actually grammatically wrong in it's current state? Huh. I guess I'll change it. Davidy²²[talk] 20:42, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
This is long after the fact, but I'll throw my two cents in on Davidy22's question. Yes, it is wrong. If the 'set in stone' phrase were after the word explanations ("explanations set in stone") it would not require hyphens, but used as an adjective before the noun ("set-in-stone explanations") it requires them. D Miller 18:26, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Update MediaWiki

You are currently using MediaWiki 1.19.17. It's really outdated. Maybe update to 1.26.2, the current recommended stable version? There is an official guide for that. 12:03, 24 January 2016 (UTC) (PS my IP address is wrong it's not what you think it is)

Rename Hair Bun Girl

The character Hair Bun Girl was named in April 2015. There wasn't any discussion of the name at the time, so I'd like to open that discussion now please.

At present we have several other characters named after distinctive visual features: Ponytail, Black Hat, White Hat, Beret Guy, and arguably Hairy and Cueball. In all but one of those cases, the name matches the distinctive feature itself, without the addition of "guy", "girl", etc. Given the number of comics that Beret Guy is in it's probably too late to modify his name, but it's not too late for Hair Bun Girl.

Besides the consistency issue, there's also the inaccuracy of referring to a grown woman with the term "girl", particularly when the character has been presented as older than Megan. I'd really like to fix this while her number of appearances is still manageable.

The name "Hairbun" has been proposed and I think that matches really nicely with Ponytail in particular.

Jkshapiro (talk) 04:23, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

As the "guy" who created the Hair Bun Girl characther, I have no objection to changing the name. I did not think about the issue with girl/woman, probably because I'm not native English speaker. (And with the Beret Guy as an example). Jkshapiro was so kind as to ask my opinion before starting this discussion. At first I thought that Hairbun was a little weird, but then again so is Ponytail in this context. So I support the change to Hairbun! --Kynde (talk) 13:06, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote change Hair Bun to Hairbun and keep girl. Mikemk (talk) 21:02, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

OK, I'm going ahead. Jkshapiro (talk) 02:47, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Well as I said I would not mind, but you cannot say you got any other to agree with you on this though. Mimek wished to keep girl... It will be a huge job to get all the instances correct, also be careful no to change those places where the talk is of a girl who has a hair bun. You cannot just change all placed with hair bun girl to Hairbun, in case is actually says the hair bun girl about a small girl who has a hair bun! --Kynde (talk) 09:59, 25 March 2016 (UTC)
Seems no one cares, so I will remove the notes now. Great job Jkshapiro with changing the names. I like the new name now :-) --Kynde (talk) 22:35, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Mobile friendly website

Can we get a mobile friendly version of the wiki? If we already have one, what about forwarding the main site to it when viewed on a phone? Mikemk (talk) 20:59, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Ditto. And/or an app. I would like to be able to keep track of which comics/explanations I have read. Calion (talk) 13:36, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Install the MobileFrontend-extension on the wiki. Or is it more complicated than that? Dgbrt mentions "working on a real mobile version" below, under Tables vs bold text Coverbe (talk) 15:56, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

New categories

I think there may be a need to propose a standard way to decide on categories: what new ones are needed, what are the prerequisites for creating a new category, how to maintain new categories and make sure they are actually used when they apply etc. For now I have gathered all previous discussions about new categories under this section. -- Malgond (talk) 13:39, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I think that whenever there are more than 4-5 comics that you wish to refer to in a given explanation because they are of the same topic as the current comic, then having a category is much to prefer rather than listing 5, 6 or 7 comics. I have made several categories for these instances, for instance for sport including the most used sports. At the time being I keep them up to date. One of the things this site does so well is giving you an easy way to find a specific comic even though you cannot remember the title of any precise quotes etc. If you just have an idea of what the topic was you might find it based on the categories. In this way I do not think we can have too many categories. As long as they describe a recurring subject. Only fault is that there seems to be no way to search for a comic based on more than one category? That would be great. In some cases even only 3 comics in a category can make sense. For instance I would be sorry to see this one go Category:Puts on sunglasses (and I did not make it!) --Kynde (talk) 13:09, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
For instance I have long wished for categories that covered all the space probe related comics, particularly all those referencing the Mars rovers. So today I made them with 16 and 9 comics in them already. Category:Space probes Category:Mars rovers. I hope people will generally think this was a great idea! :-) --Kynde (talk) 20:42, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
And Category:The Lion King... --Kynde (talk) 21:47, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

There are a lot of category creation proposals scattered everywhere. This concentrated proposal list is really hard to find. ClassicalGames (talk) 08:54, 3 May 2023 (UTC)

Category: Protip

Anyone for adding Protip as a Comic series. I have found five so far: 653, 711, 1022, 1047 and 1156. (There are also a few comics with a protip title text.) -- St.nerol (talk) 10:25, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I think that qualifies as a recurring topic (thus worthy of a category), but not as a series, where you can see a clear sequence. In fact, My Hobby has the same limitation, for what I suggest it to be removed from Category:Comic series. --Waldir (talk) 11:42, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Seconded. Looks general and common enough to be a category. Davidy22[talk] 14:57, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay, great! Do you think that the ones with a "protip:" title text should be included? Besides, I think I might be the one responsiple for moving My Hobby from Comics by topic to Comic series. I felt that all the My Hobby comics were about different topics, but maybe i've got to narrow an interpretation of the word "topic". -- St.nerol (talk) 15:31, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Can you link to the protip-in-title-text comics?
As for My Hobby, note that categories aren't mutually exclusive. They can be in the "my hobby" topic, and each of them further categorized as appropriate: music, math, etc. Makes sense? --Waldir (talk) 03:45, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I just searched for protip in the xkcd search bar. Here: 1084, 427. And yes, makes sense. I've moved My Hobby back to "by topic". -- St.nerol (talk) 12:06, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Category: Sports

How about creating a new "Sports" category? Ekedolphin (talk) 15:31, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Well, maybe. Everyone aren't so keen on new categories here. Which comics are you thinking of, for a start? –St.nerol (talk) 20:32, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
We definitely need to reach an agreement as a community on when to create new categories. Something simple like a minimum of 3 (or, say, 5) existing comics. Since we're already at the proposals' portal... what do you guys think about that? --Waldir (talk) 21:44, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
My opinion: Five would be enough to qualify. Ekedolphin (talk) 09:31, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I vote for four. But it should also be a reasonable thing to categorize, like sports, not like "sports with Cueball containing at least three anagram words". Wich sholdn't be a problem. :) But the best name choice could be tricky sometimes. e.g. "Film & television", Film & TV", "Film", "Films", or "Movies"? –St.nerol (talk) 12:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, five should be enough to create the category without having to discuss it. - Cos (talk) 00:50, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
OK, let's start with 588, 1092, 904 and 1107. Should be able to find a few more. Ekedolphin (talk) 05:00, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a broad subject so there are probably several more. -St.nerol (talk) 12:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I found another one, sort of, in 929 (although it hasn't been explained yet). Should I get the ball rolling (no pun intended) on setting up the category? Don't wanna do it unilaterally and get yelled at.  ;) Ekedolphin (talk) 06:18, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I think you should. On a wiki, getting stuck in discussions which die without a conclusion, to the point that motivated people give up without having done anything, is definitely counter-productive, and phrases like Wikipedia:Be bold are here to remind us of that. Seems like people agreed that you could, and after a while nobody said that you shouldn't, so I'd say do it. - Cos (talk) 00:50, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I did it without looking here first, because it was obvious there were many sport comics. I have even created four under categories (only one was there before, Chess). There are 10 comics at present that are related to other sports than the five under categories. And given the way Randall thinks about sport (not very much) he still has plenty of comics about the subject. --Kynde (talk) 07:33, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

Category: Sex

I think we should also create a Sex category. There's no doubt we can find more than three examples. I'll start looking for them and post the ones I find in here; again, I don't wanna create a large category by myself without community consent. Ekedolphin (talk) 09:20, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Same as above, do it. Oh, already did; well, all the better. - Cos (talk) 00:53, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Category: Flowcharts

Hello, the line "Randall has made use of flowcharts before." in today's comic explanation made me want a flowcharts category to navigate into...

As it didn't exist, I proceeded to create it, but as the log says, lcarsos deleted such a category in November, saying "Insufficient differentiation from Category:Comics with charts, diluting the depth of comics tagged charts".

I don't agree with that, and I think we could profit from such a subcategory. I found those pages fitting it:

So? - Cos (talk) 10:59, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Weell if you're willing to take charge of the category and personally make sure it's added to all relevant comic explanations, go ahead. The usual objection to making new categories is that we admins can't remember all the categories when we're reviewing new explanations, but it's K if you're willing to take up that responsibility yourself. Davidy²²[talk] 11:17, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
OK. I did it without waiting for further replies, because I think it will be especially profitable today (to viewers).
It doesn't seem a big issue to me if the correct category is not added when a new explanation is made: a passing editor will do it later on... But hey, I'm OK with taking special care of adding pages to this category.
Cos (talk) 12:28, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I just want to add that Cos' view is indeed the appropriate way to work in wikis: there is no concept of a single author for a page, category, or piece of text, and the workload is meant to be distributed among several editors: it is not necessary that any single editor remembers all existing categories, or knows the wiki markup by heart, or knows how to work with all the features of mediawiki, etc. The reason why wikis can be edited by anyone is precisely a recognition that there *will* be errors and any page can be improved somehow. That reasoning against categories should, IMO, be abandoned, or at most only kept as the opinion of some editors. --Waldir (talk) 22:00, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Isnt there a page which lists all the categories? If not, there should be one, and it should be accessible to all. Such a page could be useful when trying to quick-add categories to comics. 13:43, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there is. Special:Categories. Davidy²²[talk] 14:07, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Of course, there's a gazillion of 'em, over several pages, so I understand any reluctance to add new categories (having just suggested a new one myself which I feel is justified, but knowing that the upkeep needed may be the key point of contention so remaining philosophical about it).
A solution perhaps to carry over from another locale that I frequent is to have a "Categories of Character" page, a "Categories of Object" one, perhaps "Categories of Event", and a "Categories of Publication". For each new comic someone can easily check the shorter Character categories list against those present, the Object list against itemsin use, Events, etc, and of course the Publication one has the "Tuesday Comic"/equivalent, and other date-based ones (although isn't that automatic from templated creation? ...never added a comic, but would imagine it is). After that it's a trawl through the miscelania categories (perhaps a meta-category just for them?). But, yeah, a lot of work to set up. Wouldn't wish it on anyone who wasn't already willing to do it, and I remain an anon-IP person right now so can hardly commit myself as volunteer maintainer of this. 17:20, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Category: (Barred/banned from?) Conferences

I come here after realising I erroneously posted (in reply) to the Main page Talk, being anonymous (or at least IP-only) and without a list of qualifying articles to support me, just yet, but still wish to put forward the above category before I forget. There's no apparent equivalent, that I found, but it's definitely a recurring meme. I should be back (named or otherwise) with my suggested list of members, if someone else doesn't get there first, but I thought I'd start with the placemarker. 16:41, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Ok, so I got the bee in my bonnet and spent a few minutes actually looking into this. Revising "Barred from Conferences" (actually more often "Banned" or even "Thrown out of"/equivalent) to just "Conferences", the subset of comics that I can easily find that are involved is *153, *177, *365, *410, *463, *541, 545, 685, 829 and 867, but I'm sure there are more recent ones that I didn't spot/recall. One alternative title to "Conferences" is "Presentations", and I'm sure if I'd searched for that I'd have found more potential candidates (less some that might exit the renamed category). The asterisked ones do deal with being barred/banned/thrown out/etc, making it still a suitable category in its own right, IMO, but I'll leave it up to your combined musings to decide. 17:07, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I add 690 to the list. --Chtz (talk) 08:12, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Great suggestions! I created Category:Public speaking and Category:Banned from conferences. I also added Wikipedian Protester to the mix, of course :) --Waldir (talk) 21:59, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Category: Wishes

Several comics now exist that talk about wishes - probably more. Should there be a category for this? Z (talk) 23:22, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't seem significant enough. If you promise to maintain the category you can make it yourself, although it will be cleared out if it gets neglected as new comics are released. Davidy²²[talk] 15:20, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Category: Artificial Intelligence

Hello world.

There are a handful of comics involving Ai - 1540, 1530, 1450 and 948 for instance - and maybe it's an idea to give them their own category -- Nk22 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The usual objection to new categories is that they get abandoned and are too narrow for other people to think of picking them up. If you're going to own it and update it with new comics, you can make it. Davidy²²[talk] 21:01, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Category: Size Comparisons

There are numerous comics comparing sizes of things. I can't get a list right now, but off the top of my head, radiation dosages, money, today's comic, and space shuttles in horses. Mikemk (talk) 19:23, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Category: Katamari Damacy

There are quite a few comics about this game. DPS2004 (talk)

Category: Mycology

6 comics so far reference mycology/mushrooms. I might be a bit biased, but there's other categories like butterfly nets that have the same amount of comics. Also, destroying angels are a huge part of the What-If chapter (book-exclusive) about losing your DNA. It should probably be a subcategory under Biology.

Here is the list (what I found so far at least):

2307 - fungi on the chart

2246 - fungi in the title text

1991 - mycology is a subject on the chart

1904 - see above

1749 - comic is about mushrooms

1664 - comic is about mycology Mushrooms (talk) 07:23, 12 May 2022 (UTC)

Eh sure if you're keen enough on it Davidy²²[talk] 08:30, 12 May 2022 (UTC)

Adding Ratings for Explanations

I found today's explanation excellently written however that is not always the case. Frequently explanations are walk through of the conversation that are too wordy without any succinct explanation of why or how a strip is funny -- while many of those low quality explanations are not strictly "incomplete" they could benefit from a careful rewrite. I was wondering if we should add a rating tool such as " Was this explanation helpful? yes/no " so as to identify explanation that could benefit from improvement without having to be tagged as "incomplete". Spongebog (talk) 17:57, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

We have a rather prominent discussion page for feedback, do we really need an additional add-on for this? I did a little research and found that other wikis use semantic rating and article ratings, which I can install if enough other users want it. Davidy²²[talk] 05:54, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

New Speculation Sections

I often see a lot of speculation and conjecture within the explanation of the comic itself. I don't think it has any place in the explanation but I know many editors enjoy speculating and interpreting the comic and the meaning behind it so I've decided to start this discussion on whether we should provide a section where we can provide different speculations.

What I am thinking would not be like the discussion page, where comments are made and discussed, but an edited and reviewed section which outlines different speculations and interpretations of the comics themselves and perhaps even the author's intent.

Of course tone and presentation should be held to the same standards of the comic explanation but I think this would be a good way to better organize a review of the comic.

I have been away too long to remember if there are any comic explanations with something like this so I have no idea how well it would work.

As an example;

This part from comic 1642: Gravitational Waves

" It seems that Randall knew in advance about this announcement because this comic was published on a Thursday, not following the normal publish schedule, to coincide with the announcement "

Is well supported, and rather likely correct, conjecture which belongs in the body of the explanation because not only is it backed by strong evidence but it provides background on the comic and the time in which the comic was released and aids in understanding the comic itself.

However, this part from comic 478: The Staple Madness

"From just reading the comic by itself, one may presume that in the last panel, Cueball has been stapled to the ceiling (as obvious evidence to Megan that Beret Guy has indeed been abusing her staple gun). According to the comic's official transcript, however, it is in fact God who is speaking."

Is almost as equally well supported and certainly a valid interpretation of simply the comic. It is only refuted by the official transcript. I believe it is important to acknowledge and may even be a more humorous interpretation than the one which is provided by the official transcript.

If we added a speculation section (or something of the sort) then we would have a place to talk about this interpretation more freely and expound upon it more.

Lackadaisical (talk) 15:16, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Problem is the whole "explanation" is actually conjecture. None of us the author, we're all just guessing. Jkshapiro (talk) 15:23, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
Many of the current explanations are conjecture, that's true but not every explanation. Providing information on the science or mathematics behind a particular comic is not conjecture. Stating whether the author intended to belittle the field or state that one field is superior over another (unless fairly explicitly stated) is. And there are many things which can be inferred without being simple speculation. Not every comic would need a section like this, and not every comic needs a trivia section, and I'm not ready to start adding this proposed section myself. But I think it should be considered. Lackadaisical (talk) 15:35, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
The intention of the discussion pages was to serve as a place for people to put their conjecture and reaching interpretations of the comics. They're presented alongside the explanation to make people's interpretations more readily visible. Some people may have trouble distinguishing an ungrounded interpretation of a comic from an explanation of it, and they will insert weak text into explanations. If you find something you disagree with, feel free to bring it up in the discussion section and edit it out of the explanation liberally Davidy²²[talk] 06:17, 17 May 2016 (UTC)


Hello everyone. I was just wondering: is there anything on http://uni.xkcd.com/. Because I was just looking and the only thing I found on Unixkcd is a mention of a bug in 1350. There is not even a mention on the April fools article.

There's nothing on this site, there's a couple of novel tidbits on the xkcd site that are at best tangentially related to the comic, as Randall originally intended to make xkcd.com his personal site for hosting his own projects. That particular one doesn't show up in any comics. Also, proposals might not be the best place to put this. Davidy²²[talk] 08:46, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
I added the unixckd information to 721: Flatland. According to Randalls Øredev 2013 talk unixkcd was the April Fools' prank for April 1st 2010. Condor70 (talk) 09:00, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

New character category for blonde woman news reporter (from 1699)

From today's comic 1699: Local News I just got the idea that there may be needing a new category for either blonde woman and/or comics with news reports. I posted this post, in the talk page of that comic. Any comments, and if agreeing that there might be one or two different character categories needed then please suggest what they should be called. --Kynde (talk) 21:00, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Agree with Blondie as new character name and with adding a category for news reports. Jkshapiro (talk) 00:47, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Agree with new character category for Blondie --Lackadaisical (talk) 12:38, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. Could be nice with a few more chipping in. One issue I just found is Miss Lenhart and ambiguous situations like in comic 59: Graduation, where I would remove the miss reference. But then miss would be a sub category of Blondie (or Blonde? which Randall cals the girl in 59) as Rob is for Cueball... --Kynde (talk) 21:07, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I think blondie is fine for a name. Miss Lenhart is another character who uses a similar design so I think treating her like Rob is perfectly acceptable. The only thing more I think we should discuss is the role blondie plays in most of the comics (Like how cueball is an everyman, whitehat is often a strawman, Blackhat is blackhat etc.) Lackadaisical (talk) 12:04, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
There are also these two that looks like Blondie: Mrs. Roberts or her daughter Elaine Roberts. I think this is part of why no one has made the category, as there are already three named women with the same hair. But there are so many other comics with this kind of woman, that I think she should be created. I hope I will get the time, but if anyone has any other ideas than just calling them "Blondie" and letting the other three be an subcategory like Rob is of Cueball then say so now before anyone creates Blondie. --Kynde (talk) 11:19, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Agree with new character category and characters with the same appearance as sub-categories Lackadaisical (talk) 18:04, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Based on the discussion she is now called Blondie --Kynde (talk) 07:27, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
And now there is also a Category:News anchor with 15 entries already. --Kynde (talk) 10:22, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

fix a page

The page Comics featuring Summer Glau is missing: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/526:_Converting_to_Metric (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Done. In the future, you can add categories yourself, just scroll to the bottom and follow the template the others go by. Davidy²²[talk] 03:56, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

New xkcd book out.

Any chance of posting a section of explanation pages for the cartoons in the new xkcd book, hopefully explaining some of the cryptic red notes? Thanks! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Business Plan category

I propose renaming Category:Beret Guy's Business into Business Plans, and adding it to 1721: Business Idea Mikemk (talk) 08:15, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

(Note I added a ":" to your category link to show the link instead of adding this page to the category. --Kynde (talk) 10:43, 10 September 2016 (UTC))
No of course not, that comic is about Cueball. This is Beret Guy's business we are talking about here. This category is not about business idea but about what Beret Guy does just like the page with Category:Strange powers of Beret Guy. Both are used in the explanation of who he is. --Kynde (talk) 10:43, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Comics with header text

Several comic have some header text, such as 851 or 1052. Shouldn't there be a category for them or something? I think it is quite a notable feature. Jaalenja (talk) 15:23, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

I feel like it's not a particularly defining feature, it feels like making a category for comics that have frames with no borders or something, it's just a technique Randall uses. Davidy²²[talk] 07:35, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
To me it feels more like a second title text. It is not technically part of the comic itself, but is a separate piece of information included with it on the xkcd website. There is a category for comics without title text, this is the same, only reverse, in my humble opinion Jaalenja (talk) 07:13, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

purpose of detailed transcripts

There are two styles of comic descriptions in the transcripts. Some are fairly terse, giving only the information required to understand the comic (e.g. "Cueball is talking to Megan, who looks excited"). Others give lots of graphic details, as if one should be able to reconstruct the picture from the description (e.g. "Cueball, on the left, is talking to Megan, on the right. His left hand is pointing to her. Megan's arms are raised above her head and her excitement is shown by short lines around her head..." and so on). The former style used to be the norm, the latter has become increasingly common in recent months.

Being visually impaired, I am extremely pleased with the terse style of transcript, and have no interest in the verbose style. To me it is useless and sometimes fairly annoying. Of course, this is a community and I can happily live with it if others find it useful.

So, I'd like to know who needs detailed, graphical transcripts, and for what purpose? Were they requested by some users, or did those writing transcripts just decide to adopt this new style? If there is a clearly identified reason for describing pictures in detail, fine. If not, I vote for switching back to the old, terse style.

Zetfr 14:10, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Sorry we did not see this at the time. As we can see you finally found ears for you comment after 1798 and a new discussion has begun on my user page. (Should probably have been here?) But anyway I'm responsible for your problems, and I will try to write less in the transcript and add "other important" either below in the trivia or below the main comic (as maybe - Detailed image description...) It was meant as a way to search for any thing in the comic if you needed it. I guess most people do not read the transcript, so of course annoying if it is not useful for those who always need to read it. --Kynde (talk) 16:21, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Rename Science Girl "Jill"

Following the Precedent of "Megan" and "Danish" (but oddly enough not Rob), I propose that we rename Science Girl Jill, as per 1662. This could serve to give her an easier name and to use in cases where the character doesn't have a connection with science but seems to be the same girl. Sensorfire (talk) 18:19, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

The only time she's called Jill is in Jack and Jill comics (of course), and the only reason you'd want to do that is since Randall displays them similarly. In some cases Science Girl is even clearly older. We might do that if there was a Child-Blackhaired-Ponytail character, but these characters are always either Science Girl or Jill. Also, Jill has very, very few appearances anyway. Jacky720 (talk) 21:37, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Make an official transcript site

I've already taken the liberty of making {{transcript}}, and think we, together, can do better- which is why I'm implementing this site, in order to display the official transcript in its intended format. However, it is bugged, and could do better if moved to explain xkcd. Is anyone in on this? Jacky720 (talk) 21:36, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

The transcript site doesn't seem to be accessible. Is the project dead? If it's not I can try to help. Errpell (talk) 21:06, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

HTTPS Links Back to XKCD Interfere with Random Button

The Links back to the comics that are present just above the comic itself on the wiki pages (and adjacent to the next and previous links) provides an HTTPS link back to XKCD. However, this interferes with users who want to click that link, and then click `random` - because `c.xkcd.com` does NOT support HTTPS, and thus clicking 'random' after returning to xkcd from explainxkcd does not work. These links should be switched back to HTTP.

--9000 volts (talk) 21:15, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Rearrange for our visually impaired friends.

I have a great friend who is blind and he uses this site to "read" XKCD so we can talk about it. However, there are two things that he finds frustrating. The first, while it means no harm and most readers gloss over it, when listening to the content of the page every day it can become demeaning to hear "it's because you're dumb" every time. I certainly agree, I use explain XKCD because I am significantly dumb-er than Randall, but my friend uses it because he's blind. This is not that big of a deal, but a friendly suggestion.

The second suggestion is to move the transcript section to the top before the explanation so as not to spoil the content of the comic with user explanation right away--in the case that those listening to the article are in fact smart enough to get the joke before needing an explanation.

Thanks for your consideration.

Incomplete in spotlight

The incomplete comic in spotlight should be changed more often, the current one is not even incomplete. Dontknow (talk) 16:52, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Duplicate Navigation tools at bottom of page (please!)

I'm enjoying revisiting xkcd canon through the lens of Explain, but frustrated that after studiously reading through the explanation and discussion, I have to scroll back up to the top to get to the Next button. What would the harm be in duplicating the buttons at the foot of each page? Thanks for considering this. Regards

That would be nice, would help a lot. Also, please sign your comments with four tildes. Dontknow (talk) 19:46, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

I really would like this. And it seems simple enough to add, without seriously degrading the existing interface. 05:13, 10 January 2024 (UTC)Murray/NJ

JSON endpoint

There is a endpoint to retrieve information about the comics on the xkcd website. However the info there is not complete, specially when it comes to the transcripts. explainxkcd should provide a similar interface. It would be very useful specially for bots/scripts. The commmunity could help completing the information on the xkcd website and/or provide a new interface. The transcript are already retrieved from this website and a copy can be found here. If there isn't already a complete file or databse with all the information, this file could help building it. However, this document has been compiled by scraping the html of explainxkcd, so there's some errors in it. These errors can be avoid with a clear and easy to access interface like JSON, similar to what is available on the xkcd website. Errpell (talk) 20:43, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Maybe there is a mediawiki addon to support a JSON file. Any ideas? --Dgbrt (talk) 19:08, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Suggestion for small improvement to interface

Am I the only one that wishes the Previous / Next buttons were repeated at the bottom of the page? After reading the explanation, I often want to go to the next one in sequence. (Obviously, I don't check this wiki every day :) Scrolling back to the top isn't hard, but having the buttons near the bottom would make navigation easier.

Hope you agree! Murray in NJ

PS: Aha! I see others have suggested the same thing :) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

This was also mentioned before. I don't agree because the layout is based on the original xkcd site. Protip: Do not "scroll back", just use your keyboard. The magic key is called "Home". --Dgbrt (talk) 19:14, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Category for The Little Prince?

How many comics need to feature/mention a certain thing before we need a category?

I think there are enough featuring the Little Prince to deserve a Category of its own.

mediawiki things

could admin please update to the latest version of mediawiki and add the timeless skin, thx. also would help if you added line-height: 1.5em to the edit box (#wpTextbox1) while making it taller to compensate, or added the 2010 code editor to aid readability. 11:50, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

The state of "incomplete" explanations and an unified policy

Hello, everybody. Recently I went through the "incomplete" explanations and I saw several problems... I think I better split this into sections.

1) Many seemingly old and complete explanations are marked either with various creative variations of the auto-generated tag or something along the lines of "rough draft". I have personally removed several incomplete tags during the last days, sometimes adding few information before doing so, but usually not. But there are so many of them and it just would not feel right to take it upon myself to reap them all, so, if anyone can spare a few minutes to quickly scan them and remove (or update, in some cases) the tags, it would be nice. Here is a list of explanations with this particular problem, for convenience: 1874, 1906, 1908, 1912, 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1937

1940 and 1941 also seem complete IMO, but given how recent they are, they could be given some time.

2) Some incomplete tags seem like abuse of the feature. 1909 is probably the best example of this. Table might be nice, but it is not necessary to explain the comic, it would be just "gilding". There is nothing wrong about perfecting complete articles, but marking an article incomplete because someone got an idea how it could be done (and is too lazy to do it themselves) should be discouraged IMO. Other examples: 1904 - here I actually disagree with the proposal - why should information that does not represent percentages be represented using them? - but that's my personal view. 1895 - this one is asking for further perfection of a perfective information. 1688 - a huge example, asks for something that would require quite a lot of effort without helping anyone understand the comic, a cool project, but not needed for the article to be complete. 1701 - I really don't think this is necessary and the explanation is already twice the size I'd expect for such simple comic (*obligatory personal opinion disclaimer*).

3) Some tags are just... vague. 1856 and 1733. "Someone could maybe improve this" applies to pretty much everything in the universe, sorry.

4) A policy proposal. Here comes the second half of the topic title. There appear to be two conflicting schools of thoughts among editors. Some seem to prefer long, meticulously detailed explanations. Others, including myself, prefer short and concise explanations. On more than one occasion, this has led to mess, so I think there should be some official policies about what kind of information should be considered considered necessary, useful, and superfluous. Obviously, every comic is different, and defining hard rules for this is impossible, so maybe "guideline" is a better word than "policy" here. Here are some suggestions about what this guideline could contain (please, take this as a "sub-suggestion", if a guideline gets accepted, but will end up containing nothing out of this, I will still be happy):

  • NECESSARY: named people, groups, organizations, websites, works of art, geographic locations etc. should be briefly introduced, unless they can be presumed to be universally known (e.g. Google, Shakespeare, New York). Obscure words should be defined. Scientific and technical terms should be explained.
  • SUPERFLUOUS: recursive explanations - an explanation that mentions concepts that themselves need explaining, but were not relevant to the comic itself.

I guess that's it. Maybe a little disclaimer that I don't have much time now, so I may not be here to further lead this discussion. Maybe I should have waited with posting this when I do have time, but that may not be for a long time, so for what it's worth, here it is. --Jaalenja (talk) 12:16, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

Your "policy (or guideline) proposal" is that what's widely excepted here. There are some overwhelming explanations and you are welcome to help on more precise writings. But in general there is no censorship here, less important content may be moved to a trivia section below the transcript. Irrelevant content (who decides that?) may be moved to the talk page with a given reason. I'm also a fan of "short and concise explanations" but who will judge what this really is? Further more I really dislike many of those tables, it's bad layout. But changing this takes a lot of work. Dgbrt (talk) 13:51, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
The main reason why I want there to be an official policy is so the process of marking explanations as complete can be more straightforward. There would be a community-approved list of things an explanation needs to contain, if an explanation has all that, it is complete. Of course there would still be lot of room for interpretation because every comic is different and coming up with rules that fit all is impossible, but I believe this could still be a massive improvement over the current state.
Also, please, when I say something is merely a sub-suggestion, I mean it. Your reply gives me the feeling you understood my proposal as something along the lines of "We should make it an official policy that explanations should look like this:", whereas it was more along the lines of "There should be an official policy about what explanations should contain. Here is an example of what such policy could maybe look like:" Jaalenja (talk) 06:49, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
In general I don't think this is a big issue. The vast majority (99%) of the comics is not marked as incomplete and those you are citing here should be discussed at the corresponding talk pages. Thus I don't see a massive improvement anyway.
However we can enhance the proper section at the Editor FAQ by one or two concise sentences. But when you say "There should be..." nothing would happen; that's why I say: "We should make it". --Dgbrt (talk) 09:36, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Tables vs bold text

There are many, many, many comics with several things mentioned in the comic that need to be individually explained, and there are two ways we can do it, one being tables (for example: 1930: Calendar Facts), the other being using bold text to separate paragraphs into sections (for example: 1972: Autogyros). The thing is for the most cases, it seems like we should be using tables, but then using bold text to seperate paragraphs looks better, and is also easier... So when should we use tables, and when bold text? Herobrine (talk) 12:20, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

IMHO we have far too much tables - a structured floating text is much easier to read. Consider this:
  • A List of all planets in our solar system with a few columns for distance (in km, mi, and AU), size, and temperature. That's a classical table.
  • The table in 1930: Calendar Facts contains far too much text in many cells. Try to read this on a smartphone. And furthermore on my Google Chrome for Android all the tables from this comic are not shown at all when using the Simplified View.
  • Or compare this: 1363: xkcd Phone and 1549: xkcd Phone 3. I prefer the floating text and even more when I'm using a mobile device.
But that's only my opinion.
Nevertheless I'm also working on a real mobile version of this Wiki (similar to Wikipedia) and that will require some restrictions to the layout to get it properly rendered. But this will not happen before the FIFA World Cup 2018 is over ;) --Dgbrt (talk) 13:17, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. Narrow columns with simple facts are ok, but longer text should not be put in a table. --SlashMe (talk) 10:15, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
I second this. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 11:22, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Please check also this new Editor FAQ and the belonging talk page. --Dgbrt (talk) 13:04, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Any updates? (Why) is it not just a matter of installing the MobileFrontend-extension? :) (See also above: Mobile friendly website) Coverbe (talk) 16:01, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

Add the comic to the edit page

While editing the explanation, it would be nice to be able to see the comic on that same page, especially for the transcript. (it's difficult for mobile editors to see two pages at once)

Please sign your comments, and that’s not possible from what I know, considering how this website is set up. (I can still edit fine on mobile) Netherin5 (talk) 13:49, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Dark theme/night mode

Should I explain this?

It's for all of us who edit the wiki at 1am and like our retinas.

Firefox has a Dark Theme Extension, and it looks pretty good on the Wiki. Chrome does too, but I haven't tried it out.

Change dates to match ISO 8601.

Can we change the timestamps to match 1179: ISO 8601? I'm surprised this hasn't been suggested earlier 9yz (talk) 20:33, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Add bookmark

I have used some simple javascript to create a bookmarklet that automatically opens the wiki-page of the xkcd page that you are reading. I would like to provide it on the wiki. It works as follows.

1. Make a bookmark, give it a recognizable name. 2. For the url, enter the following: javascript: document.location = document.URL.replace('xkcd.com','explainxkcd.com'); 3. Create the bookmark. To use it, open any xkcd page and click it to go to the corresponding wiki page.

Thanks for considering. Kwonunn (talk) 18:27, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Thanks Kwonunn! I've started collecting these helpful tools on a new page, to hopefully make them easier for others to find. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 01:30, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Regarding using facebook like and google captcha - Privacy concerns

Considering that they track users across various sites, it is not in the best interests of the users' privacy.

https://complianz.io/google-recaptcha-and-the-gdpr-a-possible-conflict/ - This article explains the issues better than I can.

Especially the users who use VPNs affected more - it takes noticeably longer and more tries to pass the google captcha. Preventing/dis-incentivizing new contributors from behind a VPN. There is anecdotal evidence (in the form of reddit posts) that google captcha discriminates firefox users and allow chrome users to get simpler challenges or none at all.

The Facebook like button is an iframe. Users visiting this page(s) have not explicitly consented to being tracked by facebook and google.

I am speculating here, but from the amount of data these two items are gathering, it seems possible to de-anonymize the users who are behind a vpn. I don't trust either of these companies to not grab the free data. In the article listed above, it seems captcha alone can capture a screenshot of the pages without users' (explicit) consent. I haven't read through all the privacy and terms.

Captcha is necessary for avoiding spam. There are alternatives. Anything but google one should suffice. Regarding the facebook like button, I think that should be replaced by a link to the facebook page. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think this can be done only by admins, who are currently absent from this wiki. However regarding the Captcha, there is an easy fix: Register here, and log into your account (an one-time e-mail address is sufficient, if you are worried about your privacy). Also please sign your comments to talk pages and other discussions (such as this) - It will not show the IP related to you/your VPN, but one from cloudfare, so it will also not hurt your privacy, but automatically put a timestamp, etc.
A different CAPTCHA is definitely needed. In my harded version of Firefox Google ReCAPTCHAs won't even work, so I need to open a different profile to edit Explain xkcd. CyanDinosaurDuck (talk) 22:21, 31 January 2022 (UTC)

Removing unnecessary 3-comic categories?

I count eight categories on explainxkcd that satisfy the following properties: 1. They have only three comics in them. 2. They aren't really a comic series; they just feature or reference a comic theme. 3. They aren't Featuring some person or character. In short, they seem to have no real reason to exist. (They're thesones.) So my proposal: remove them. -Account (talk) 20:37, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

In addition, there are thirteen more four-comic categories that also seem rather in need of deletion.
Shouldn't the community at least have some time to expand on these categories, in case they're currently incomplete? For example, Category:The Matrix is on your list and now contains 7 strips, and Category:Tournament bracket got its 5th entry after your post. Even if they're not, a theme category can save some typing in the search box (and is probably also cheaper in terms of server resources than all the searches it'll eliminate). Promethean (talk) 22:43, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
So what do you think the limit should be for categories? Should we create a category when two comics mention the same topic? Three? --Account (talk) 16:28, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
Three seems reasonable to me, and I could see a case being made for two. Categories aren't expensive. Promethean (talk) 00:17, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

New transcript

The transcripts in the comic pages are quite inconsistent, especially in the brackets where you have to describe what happens in the panels. If I understand correctly, the transcripts are for people to copy the text in the comic without having to type them out. If that's the case, then I think propose a new transcript. This transcript should have the comic with the words erased, and then the copy-pasteable words on top of that. Such a transcript would have no room for error, which would let anyone contribute to a seamless transcript.

The aim of the transcript is to provide a text-only version of the comic that would allow someone who is visually impaired to use a text-to-speech converter to understand the comic and also in a machine readable format for searching (see the Editor FAQ). Anything using mark-up, images or anything other than plain text will interfere with this and so should be avoided in the transcript. AlChemist (talk) 18:22, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Add title text and heading to transcript section

It has always bothered me that the transcript did not include the title text since it contributes so much to the humor of the comics. Also, it looks to me like the comic heading is sometimes included as part of the transcript and sometimes left out. I checked the previous proposals and did not see any discussion of these issues. Please consider having a policy going forward of including the heading and the title text within the transcript. Rtanenbaum (talk) 22:43, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

To my understanding (and also others, see discussion directly above) one of the main points of the transcript is to make the comics searchable, the other is, to make it readable when images are not an option. In both cases the comic's name and the title text mentioned above and below the image should be sufficient. I personally think this convention is fine. Lupo (talk) 08:28, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Pardon me -- (and, thanks for your patience) -- if this is too off-topic (/slash "boring") or TMI (see Information overload#Web accuracy e.g.), ...OR if this should have been posted elsewhere ...instead of here.
IMHO the term "title text" is a misnomer. I think the term is used to refer to the little (or, BIG!) pop-up -- (kinda like what is sometimes called a "tooltip", but ... aren't those usually pretty small?) -- that appears when one "hovers" his mouse [pointer] over an XKCD cartoon. ...at least, according to the "Talk:" page section Template talk:comic#The template field called .22titletext.22 which was added almost 3 years ago. I think that calling it a "BONUS text" would be even better than calling it a "caption". However, [to me], either one of those terms would make sense WAY more than calling it a "title text" ... for reasons which are stated in the [Template] "Talk:" page section mentioned (and ... LINKED TO) above.
Any Comments? . . *** Thanks! *** for listening! --Mike Schwartz (talk) 08:57, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
Hi Mike, I see your point, and yes, something like "bonus text" might be a bit more descriptive. But FWIW, I think the reason it's called "title text" is because that's the text that appears in the title attribute of the HTML <img> tag of the comic's image on the xkcd.com site. For example, at https://xkcd.com/2364/, the code for the comic image looks like this:
<img src="//imgs.xkcd.com/comics/parity_conservation.png"
     title="Bloody Mary is made of antimatter. It explains so much."
     alt="Parity Conservation"
     srcset="//imgs.xkcd.com/comics/parity_conservation_2x.png 2x">
In there, you can see the title text as title="Bloody Mary is made of antimatter. It explains so much." See here for more explanation about that, and some discussions about it here. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 03:11, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Wikipedia links.

I think the links to Wikipedia should have symbols, so it's not confusing which ones lead to other comic pages.

It's time to remove the HTTPS lock icon

Explainxkcd should do the same thing that browser makers have done: treat HTTPS as the modern standard, and mark HTTP as the deviation instead.

Here are appropriate replacement icons:

* https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unlock_Icon_Red_(32_bit).png
* https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unlock_Icon_Red_(4_bit).gif

- Frankie (talk) 12:49, 16 May 2020 (UTC)

New page for Randall's regular column in the New York Times

Randall Munroe has been writing and illustrating a monthly science column in the New York Times. I suggest a page in this Wiki, indexing those columns. For some reason the New York Times itself does not provide such an index. If they ever do add one, we would still have a topic article here, similar to the one we have for the What If blog, that could link to their index. --JohnB (talk) 00:47, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

New York Times column: Good Question

Good Question is a more-or-less monthly column written and illustrated by Randall Munroe in the Science section of the New York Times, beginning in November 2019. The columns give serious answers to science questions, in Munroe's inimitable style.

The New York Times website ordinarily requires registration, and its content is always protected by copyright. Most particularly it is not under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License the way xkcd is. The good news: anyone can register for a free digital subscription to the New York Times, with access to 'recent' Science articles among some others, but outside of that only five articles per month. See Free Articles.

Unlike for many of their other regular columnists, the New York Times does not provide a clickable link either on the byline Randall Munroe or on the column title Good Question. The following tables are intended to correct that omission.

New York Times columns by Randall Munroe
Column Headline Byline Date
SCIENCE What Makes a Red Sky at Night (and at Morning) Randall Munroe Aug. 13, 2019
GOOD QUESTION If I Touched the Moon, What Would It Feel Like? Randall Munroe Nov. 12, 2019
GOOD QUESTION Is Earth Getting Bigger Over Time? Randall Munroe Dec. 10, 2019
GOOD QUESTION How Fast Can a Human Run? Randall Munroe Jan. 21, 2020 / Feb. 7, 2020
GOOD QUESTION What’s the World’s Worst Smell? Randall Munroe Feb. 17, 2020 / Feb. 26, 2020
GOOD QUESTION What if Galileo Had Dropped Bobsleds From the Tower of Pisa? Randall Munroe March 10, 2020
GOOD QUESTION How’s the View From a Spinning Star? Randall Munroe April 7, 2020
GOOD QUESTION What’s the Sweetest, Crispiest Way to Stay Safe in a Car Crash? Randall Munroe May 11, 2020
GOOD QUESTION Can You Boil an Egg Too Long? Randall Munroe June 9, 2020
GOOD QUESTION Could You Make a Snowball of Neutrinos? Randall Munroe July 7, 2020
New York Times columns about Randall Munroe
Column Headline Byline Date
LINK BY LINK This Is Funny Only if You Know Unix Noam Cohen May 26, 2008
BITS Tech’s Favorite Cartoonist Enters Mainstream Publishing Noam Cohen March 14, 2014
SCIENCE He’s Glad You Asked Kenneth Chang Nov. 3, 2014
BOOKS Randall Munroe Explains It All for Us Alexandra Alter Nov. 23, 2015
SCIENCE Randall Munroe, XKCD Creator, Goes Back to High School Kenneth Chang March 21, 2016
SCIENCE Randall Munroe of ‘XKCD’ Explains the Human Body, Elevators and the Saturn 5 (Actual pages from Thing Explainer) March 21, 2016

Looks goods to me, you should probably make that an article of its own, maybe New York Times: Good Question? --SlashMe (talk) 22:58, 10 July 2020 (UTC)
Ambox notice.png I went and added the page, here: New York Times: Good Question --JohnB (talk) 02:42, 11 July 2020 (UTC)

Bring back the {{{1}}} template! please

Can someone restore the {{rw}} template? I insist on its existence. I further assure that it will be of much use. It was deleted by an admin. The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 06:10, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

nm, did it myself.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 04:15, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

Link to high-resolution images?

The wiki includes the "standard" resolution images, but would it be worth adding a link to the higher-resolution image on each page? It appears that this could be automated in at least a strong majority of cases: if the standard image is xyzzy.png, the hi-res one is xyzzy_2x.png . BunsenH (talk) 22:10, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

Please stop adding this to the explanations. This is not needed. Kynde (talk) 08:56, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
The high-resolution image was quite useful in parsing the "Amelia's Farm Fresh Cookies" comic. I'm not convinced that the hi-res images are commonly known. I've been reading xkcd for about 7 years and hadn't heard about them until I stumbled across a mention of them in one of the Discussions here. What is the harm in having a one-line link here? -- not, I emphasize, the actual image, which would take up a great deal of space. BunsenH (talk) 17:00, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
I didn't know about the high-resolution images either. While it might be a bit repetitive to add a full sentence to every comic's explanation, I agree that having some easy way to link to the hi-res image on xkcd.com could be handy. For example, maybe a "hi-res" or "2x" button before the "Next >" button above the comic in Template:comic? That's a bit extreme, but I added an example template, derived from the existing Template:comic, to demonstrate how that could work:
With those changes to the template, for all comics as of 1084 the "2x" button would automatically appear. (No need to go back and change all comics.) This assumes the images hosted on explainxkcd generally have the same filename as on xkcd.com, but there are optional parameters to override the filename or omit the "2x" button altogether for specific exceptions. I'm not suggesting we actually go ahead and implement this; but if there was enough interest, an admin would be needed anyway, to make the changes within Template:comic, which is currently protected. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 23:25, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, I like this. BunsenH (talk) 20:25, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
My proposal is that a bot should add it automatically to the description of each comic image when available so that it does not take up space anywhere and is easily accessible.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 13:49, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Proposal to replace the top section with this...

I have come up with a new design for the top section of all community portals... It’s located here... https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=explain_xkcd:Sandbox&oldid=199882 The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 14:15, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Crystal Clear app ktip.png

Ideas to improve the wiki's design and organization can be added here. (+post)

Crystal Clear app package settings blue.pngCrystal Clear teamwork.pngMop.svgInternet-group-chat.svg

I made a template for welcoming new users.

Welcome, Community portal, to explain xkcd!
Dialog-information on.svgPreferences-system.svgEdit-find-replace.svgTools-hammer.svgHelp-browser.svg
  • Be sure to give our FAQ a read so that you can learn to participate as effectively as possible.
  • If you are interested in editing the wiki, you can reduce the number of incomplete explanations and transcripts.
  • See the Wikipedia pages on editing if you are new to editing wikis in general.
  • Browse all the xkcd comics by navigating the category tree at Category:Comics.
  • Check out our community portal for general chit-chat about the site and xkcd.

Any ideas? Suggestions? Objections?The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 16:35, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

this is now in at the top of the Main Page --Jeff (talk) 16:38, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
Why? This looks like a template intended for (newly created) UserPages. And it replaces interesting data from the frontpage with something not useful for casual visitors (or even non-casual lurkers). I'd undo this change in an instant if I had authority to do so. ((The template looks good, to clarify, just obviously not intended to be in that location.)) 01:36, 6 February 2021 (UTC)
Jeff is the owner of explainxkcd you dingus. Beanie talk 13:46, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

comic groups

i think we should have a tech problems list of comics ( as there are quite a few)

We already have a category for it. Category:Cueball_Computer_Problems.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 13:44, 8 February 2021 (UTC)

Archiving interactive comics?

Has the possibility of archiving interactive comics been discussed? Of course, users can view them on the original website, but it’d be nice to have a working backup of sorts, especially considering some of the interactive comics haven’t aged too well in terms of compatibility or support (e.g. Umwelt displays a blank page for me.)

It probably wouldn’t be possible to do so directly from mediawiki, but I’d be happy to experiment with cloning a few of them on another server, or as simple PHP pages that could be embedded, if it would help. Most of the interactive comics appear to be implemented mostly in client side JS anyways, so replicating them shouldn’t be too bad.

Tague (talk) 13:12, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

Replace head shots of characters in the wiki with these new and high quality head shots!


These are not only upscaled, but are all squares and have all the features of the characters.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 03:33, 2 May 2021 (UTC)

I think you should do it (because higher quality = better) :] Beanie talk 13:42, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
There seemed to be no objections, so I went ahead and did it.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 12:40, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

Cleaning up Special: Wanted Templates

I decided to take a look at the list of wanted templates. Imagine my surprise when I see that a lot of the templates wanted were mis-capitalizations or misspellings of existing templates. I hereby request permission to create redirect pages for some of the most popular errors. I intend to do five, wait a week, and do another five as to not spam the wiki. I will not begin for a week, at which point I will only proceed if nobody has said no OR a moderator has said yes. May I proceed? {)|(}Quill{)|(} 11:34, 15 May 2021 (UTC)

"Multiple Megan-like characters" category

Since there are more than one Megan-like characters appear in the same panel of at least seven comics, I propose to create the "Multiple Megan-like characters" category. --Soumya-8974 (talk) 07:04, 1 June 2021 (UTC)

Knit Cap

Sometimes Knit cap has long hair, sometimes short. Is Knit Cap meant to be a male character that sometimes has long hair, or is Knit Cap sometimes female? I want to clear this up before I finish editing 1350: Lorenz. Beanie talk 13:40, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

Hm, in the 'Enemy Pikachu used theft' scene in 1350: Lorenz, Knit Cap's hair looks merely slightly unkempt. From this, I will assume that Knit Cap just sometimes has long hair and is always male. Beanie talk 13:10, 21 June 2021 (UTC)
Ok, the official transcripts say that Knit Cap is 'A guy in a knit cap'. I will take that to mean that Knit Cap is definitely male.

We still need to complete some explanations like this one:

I think should change the banner shown at the top of every page to show a comic that is still incomplete, like Hoverboard or something. Sure (talk) 21:32, 30 August 2021 (UTC)

Update MediaWiki

explainxkcd is running MediaWiki 1.30.0, which reached end-of-life in June 2019. There are likely security issues because of this, so please update MediaWiki to the latest version (or LTS) using the instructions here https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Upgrading Cam1170 (talk) 19:41, 26 September 2021 (UTC)

It seems like the mysql is too outdated for the upgrade Starstar (talk) 17:37, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Upgrade MySQL thenAaron Liu (talk) 03:16, 20 July 2022 (UTC)

Does anybody know how to contact an admin for this? I have no clue. Cam1170 (talk) 03:25, 13 December 2022 (UTC)

Allow Users to Edit their own talk page if not auto confimed

I can edit this page, but I can't create my own talk page! Starstar (talk) 17:34, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

Upgrade Icons

The icons look quite old fashion (the ones on the sidebar and the ones above the editing text area), could they be replaced? Starstar (talk) 23:07, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

They probably could be, but changing icons the moment they're not absolutely cutting-edge just means using new icons that are as easily edged-out (as tastes change yet again), meanwhile annoying those who prefered the first set and rather wouldn't see a revolving door of ever-evolving aesthetics.
If I had a vote, I'd say keep the simple glyphs we're used to. If any are not totally obvious (perhaps some would not be, without the text captions) consider revising, but I think you'll get less agreement on what new images to use than that which would advocate the retention of the current ones.
Alternately, it would definitely be on-theme to find Randall-drawn illustrations to replace them all. But the constraints of adapting (say) any particular stick-figure-world depiction of randonmess to meaningfully replace the current Random Page icon (at the same scale!) might be less than optimal. 01:08, 27 November 2021 (UTC)

Make searchbar not case-sensitive

The way the search bar is currently set, it only suggests comic links when what is being typed is capitalized ("Assigning Numbers" rather than "assigning numbers" for instance). Would be nice if we could make it not case-sensitive :D Wielder of the Staple Gun (talk) 02:48, 27 April 2022 (UTC)

Good idea. ⟨Winter is coming⟩ Marethyu (talk) 17:46, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

Do not allow ordinary users to edit redirects that are just numbers

This overrides the default page you're sent to when you check a comic; e.g. recently a vandal edited the page entitled "2614" so it overrode the actual page, 2614: 2 on the main page.

The problem would be when creating a new page and the overrides are needed... ⟨Winter is coming⟩ Marethyu (talk) 17:48, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

ExplainXKCD discord (or other platform)?

I'm just saying if we had instant messages, pings etc. there would be a lot faster reaction to vandals. The community portal is hard to get attention from and comments are all very well and good but conversations on Discord could get very quick response, and people could request edits, organise page re-writing etc. Idk if we can get "official" backing by anyone high up but we could make one anyways?

The problem with platforms like Discord or others is that we can't guarantee that everyone has access to them; on the wiki, anyone can edit, while some people may not have access to discord or such. A possible solution would be having a sort of service built into the wiki, but not sure how that might be done. Besides, this is a wiki, not an xkcd chat site. This is a good idea, though. ⟨Winter is coming⟩ Marethyu (talk) 17:43, 5 May 2022 (UTC)
Anyone can create a discord account like anyone can create an account on this wiki. You don't even need a dedicated client/app as it can run in browser. Just like the wiki. Just my two cents. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 11:28, 20 May 2022 (UTC)
Some user may not wish anyone to be able to contact them outside this wiki. You do not need an acount to edit this wiki... Kynde (talk) 17:14, 22 July 2022 (UTC)

So, I got a question about transcripts.

A lot of comics show links (e.g.: all the ones with a drawing of wikipedia on it), and the transcripts don't really have a standard. In the transcript, should it be an actual link or just blue text or what? 15:03, 2 June 2022 (UTC)Bumpf

I'd say that if the linked thing (presuming it's a real linkable target!) is linked in the Explanation, it doesn't need to be (re)linked in the ostensibly flat-and-descriptive Transcript.
And I know that some Transcripts are hypertext formatted to emulate the thing they are transcribed from (whether bolded, enbiggened, sub-/superscripted and and/or given the hue) but maybe primarily the "[:Text that describes the text]" should be explaining the details, in case the screen-reader (or text-searching algorithm grepping the Transcript text for "green text" or "superscript" instances can't quite work it out from the various style-tags that can be applied to that effect in so many an various ways.
But this is IMO, I don't know if there's a specific policy about it, but it is how I've seen it vaguely applied... Not everywhere quite so consistently, though. 20:28, 2 June 2022 (UTC)
We try to keep links and explanations out of the transcript. The link and the explanation goes in the explanation section above. Kynde (talk) 17:12, 22 July 2022 (UTC)

Use 2X Images

Apparently xkcd.com provides double-sized versions of almost every comic if you add _2x to the end of the image name. For instance,



Since we are in 2022 and computers can load high-resolution images just fine, and they are easier to read, I propose that this website should use the provided double-sized images. Really, I think Randall ought to be doing this himself as well. 12:22, 17 August 2022 (UTC)

While I agree with using the higher quality images which are default on xkcd.com for many people, there has been discussion about this issue already. At the moment, the consensus seems to be to continue using the 'standard' size to 'use less space,' and instead link to the higher quality image on the image page. —theusaf (talk) 14:35, 17 August 2022 (UTC)
I think I may have mentioned it on that link (or similar), but often when the 2x image is used (or even an unwise too wide image/unbreakable-line-of-content) the explainxkcd site cannot sensibly handle it and it forces the default 'page width' of stuff into a zoomed out narrower column to the left (including the margin-line normally inset a dozen or so pixels in from the right) so that browser-window can display the whole of this wide element.
While "saving space" does apply to server resources and viewer download bandwidth/quotas (e.g.53kb vs 109kb) may seem insignificant, screen-space can be badly hit by this.
The motherlode xkcd site has code behind it to (usually?) serve the right image for the right displays, but explainxkcd isn't currently equipped to do the same choose-and-provide (which would need both images uploaded to it and a revised {{comic}} implementation, once we work out the method it could use). And I've never seen any case where the 'low quality' comic is conversely too small and narrow to appreciate (though occasionally the larger one reveals minor drawing details that have been obscured by the downscaling), just when the _2x one makes everything else too small.
...this may not apply to everyone's browser implementation, but it definitely happens, and consistently, on my usual Chrome and/or Firefox on Windows and/or Android platforms (according to which system I happen to be on at the time). 21:20, 17 August 2022 (UTC)
ExplainXKCD actually does have the capability to do this. For example, see 1079:_United_Shapes. It generates multiple images, automatically choosing one based on screen size (similar to how xkcd.com does it). The bot could use the `imagesize` parameter to keep the image within the page's width by using the 'standard' image size. This does add a button labeled "click to enlarge," but if that is annoying, the comic template can be modified to hide that button if specified.
Here is what it might look like:
which is clearer than the original comic page and the same size. —theusaf (talk) 05:20, 18 August 2022 (UTC)
As specificaly implemented above, I certainly see no immediate problem (need to check across machines/devices), but I suspect that part of the mechanism here is the "imagesize = 315x317px", which seems like it would need (albeit by the page-create bot, algorithm8cally) to be tailored to the 'input' image, not always in this ratio). I'm not technically conversant with the nature of your back-end scripting and doubtless it's all possible (scripts can do almost anything... once you know that they (may) need to do them and rewritten them to catch all the contingencies ;) ), but I don't know know if that's something you've accounted for (e.g. test with a three/four-panel wide comic, or the Earth Temperature Timeline or whatever, and see if it can facilitate them all nicely). Not to mention that if theusafBOT goes offline, the manual-add instructions (as used prior to your replacing the prior functioning bot, for which I thank you) also need this extra step of user involvement to be done, whereas usually the fallback manual method needed little thought in this direction (or indeed however much carbon or silicon there is in the 'brain' involved) except for exceptional circumstances or those rare prior slip-ups by Randall.
I'm just going through the first obvious issue (to me), didn't mean to concentrate so many words on just this before even checking everything else! 09:15, 18 August 2022 (UTC)
Basically, on the backend, the bot will fetch both the small and the large images, and measure the size of the small image, which is what it will use for the imagesize. I have actually used this system in the past for this bot, but was told to revert it due to the "click comic to enlarge" text. As for if the bot goes offline, there is no problem with falling back to the small image, and if editors want to, I can also provide instructions for using the large image. I'm mostly just waiting to see what others think about this. Are there any other problems to consider? —theusaf (talk) 14:44, 18 August 2022 (UTC)

I'm making an App that collects web comics

My original idea was to use the rss feed present on xkcd, and other webcomic websites, but now im starting to wonder if there was a way to make a better service, that allowed users to maybe look at older comics, and explanations and such as well, and thats how i happened to come across explainxkcd.com. The RSS Feed for this website, would be pretty helpful, if it were like reddit's but apparently, the rss feed is only maintained for the home page. I was wondering if you guys provided that data through an API or something? Also are there wikis for other famous comics like this one? Any other suggestions and ideas for the app are welcome 🙌🙌.

Comics edited after their publication

many more comics have been changed than are in Category:Comics edited after their publication ! please add them (i already have done two i remember off the top of my head) 12:56, 7 October 2022 (UTC)Bumpf

Discord category

Do we need categories for comics that mention various popular social media clients, such as Google and Discord? 03:29, 21 March 2023 (UTC)

If there are a group of them, then list them, then they can be added. I can think of a couple of Google-related ones (well, Google search-page, not whatever Alphabet is currently doing insofar as social media), but don't have their names/numbers in my head right now. Do the search and list them here for someone to catalogue up?
I'm not sure there are specific Discord mentions. Noting that just because some unidentified headshot dialogue/notification looks Discordish, it doesn't make it a mention. Too much cross-pollination of appearance. 09:56, 21 March 2023 (UTC)

What if 2 book page creation

What if 2 has come out, but I don't know which page is to be created. There is already a comic under the same name. ClassicalGames (talk) 08:54, 3 May 2023 (UTC)

Default to 3 Section Headings for Each Explanation: Non-Obvious Info, Recap, and Background Trivia

This is a proposal that all new comic explanations should, by default, have 3 Sections:

I. Explanation of the Non-Obvious (an actual explanation of the non-obvious elements of the comic for the average reader who might not understand the references/joke/relevant science)

II. Full Recap

III. Background Trivia

Most of us can agree that Category I is where the value of this website shines.

But today, all 3 of these categories of explanation are typically merged together, making it hard to find the Category I nuggets of goodness.

If we make these 3 section headings the default on every comic explanation, then this default will helpfully nudge editors to put the juiciest stuff up top, and not to clutter that section up with fluff or trivia.


As an example, take the recent comic #2878 about Astronomer Happiness and Supernova distance.

The main thing a lay reader would want to know — the Category I information — is…

..That the shape of the graph is probably a clever reference to a Light Curve, a type of supernova graph

..why astronomers like it when a supernova is close, and what happens when it gets too close

Everything else in the (currently) very wordy explanation gets in the way of the lay reader finding out these two things. It’s a bunch of Category II and Category III info that makes it hard to tease out the Category I info. It’s not BAD information, but it’s sandpaper. It’s friction slowing down the average reader.

Obviously I could go in and edit this particular comic, and I often do this kind of edit, but I think this issue pops up for most explanations, so I think changing the standard default interface will help everyone put their contribution into the right section.

In sum, my proposal would elevate Category I info to the top of each explanation, so instead of full recaps, we get right into the explanation that is going to be most efficiently illuminating for the average, non-expert reader, answering the most common questions.

Laser813 (talk) 10:50, 12 January 2024 (UTC)

In general (if I get dibs on the edit, or think I can legitimately re-edit/rearrange), I do try to go for "hook, line, sinker" format (i.e. establish the basics, relate that to what the comic shows, move on to any relevent speculations/extrapolations), very like your setup. Though it is often much too complicated (multi-layered, cross-disciplinary, etc, so that maybe it has to be interwoven 'mini explanations' per tabulated item) so I'm not sure how easy it would be to enforce a strict structure. I think there's merit to the principle, though. Assuming we can all agree what each comic needs focus on (apply that problem to the following proposal too!), as I've occasionally inserted a sort of "first you need to know <subject>" into an established cold-start explanation ("you see <foo>" only for a later editor to consider it more an afterthought and shuffle it to later ("you see <foo>" ... "<foo> is part of <subject>"), or variations on such layouts. Especially as different people have different ideas as to what's obvious/can be keyword-wikilinked and what needs more waffle to properly enlighten readers.
Also, prosaic variation is a good thing. Too formulaic and it could be (whilst accurate) considered too robotic, so some leaway should really always be allowed as we collectively bash together a community interpretation and elaboration. Within communal guidelines, clearly. 15:53, 12 January 2024 (UTC)

FAQ Style Editing should be the norm

Simply, we should experiment with more FAQ-style explanations.

We think of the top questions that the average reader might have about a comic, and we use those as bolded headers to explain the most curious/confusing/subtle/sciency parts of the comic.

The structure would be this (using a recent comic as an example)…

Q: Why did Randall use this shape of graph? A: It’s likely a clever reference to a Light Curve, a similarly shaped graph in the study of supernovae that…

Q: Why do astronomers prefer it when supernovae are closer? A: It makes it easier to glean information because…

Laser813 (talk) 10:50, 12 January 2024 (UTC)

sidebar revamp

I think that the sidebar looks plain and it should have a new design. It could be voted on by users Moderator (talk) 02:16, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

In leiu of you telling us what you think would be better, my starting vote is that I'm perfectly happy with that 'plain'. If it has the links I might need, why does it need a reskin? Or, worse, a functional revamp which probably removes the easy to use bits I was using already.
...could you do a mock-up screenshot (or render equivalents directly in markup) of before/after side by side, at least? 03:11, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

My biggest problem is it doesn’t scroll down with you which can be a big pain Moderator (talk) 01:43, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

Don't know about anyone else, but (when not on a desktop) I read this on a tablet, in landscape, with the effective window quite short (ratio of 1:2 with width, approaching 1:3.5 with already narrowed onscreen keyboard popped up) and if I'm scrolled to the top I see nothing beyond Browse Comics.
If we assume separate scroll-control on the sidebar, setting Main Page at the top of browser pane gives What Links Here at the bottom. Now, I rarely use the next three links (or at least reach those pages using them), and separate scrolling wouldn't stop me even seeing the even lower Ad bit (but it would defeat the entire purpose of the Ad, in that position, whether or not I bother to notice it these days).
So whatever missing about you propose, I'm betting it would impact me. Perhaps not negatively, but I've seen enough awful assumptions about my screen-area in the name of scroll-free design. Including the "give us permission (or not) to give you cookies" popovers where it appears the actual buttons to confirm (or deny, or go somewhere to review and customise, if they have that option) are beyond the bottom of my screen. I can temporarily rotate the screen, of course, but often I just back out and don't bother in those cases. I wouldn't be reticent to rotate this site, on occasion, but I'd really rather not have to, if I can be so selfish and stick-in-the-mud, because websites just are not good to use (even temporarily) in narrow-portait mode. (What's worse is the websites that detect I'm on a mobile platform and redesign styles/placements on-the-fly to 'fit portrait view', assuming a vertical smartphone, regardless of my actual viewport orientation, etc.)
So, please, a hard no from me. Notwithstanding that just as solidly "always browse in portrait" people might be overjoyed at changes that would give them a better site design. But that's a tricky circle to square (or letterbox!), and not what you were suggesting anyway (now we know what it is). I just want to plea that any changes be made with a very good idea of all the knock-on effects of 'improving' certain edge-cases, especially when it comes to yet other edge-cases. 10:29, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

New Logo and Banner Proposals

I have new logo and banner proposals for this site.
They're made on Scratch, an all-ages block-based programming language, and are in the style of Right Click.
Here they are!
Logo proposal: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_proposal_for_explain_xkcd.png
Banner proposal: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Banner_proposal_for_explain_xkcd.png (talk) 01:54, 19 February 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I can't see the xkcdicity of the logo, really. The banner is certainly flavourful in the right way (does it scale down well? ...is that what your use of Scratch is for, as opposed to standard static Photoshop/GIMP image editing?), but not sure it'll work better for the current top-left-of-page xkcd (with three xkcd figurses idling away, sat on the letters).
Decent concept art for something else related, certainly. I could believe it was a Randall's-own interactive comic front-end of some kind (which would make sense of the "play button" that is the "►"-bit). Given that it's now in a programming system already, have you tried making a drag'n'click game of the idea of linking/looping the blue-trail, and animating the hanging-on characters? 13:34, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
It's an arrow, not a play button. Get it right. (talk) 01:05, 20 February 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Hold your horses... I was just trying to find a good reason for the whatever-it-is triangle to be there (gave the example of a 'play' button in my speculated usefulness of it). And it isn't really obviously any more of an arrow (c.f. "→"), either. I like your(?) banner's use of xkcd-figures, just not sure where the logo exhibits any form of being xkcd-related, except by the literal reading of it.
Perhaps if it were "xkcd font" (i.e. artfully composited from actual samples of Randall's ALLCAPS comic-writing) then it wouldn't matter so much, but I just wouldn't say it was any more on-brand than the current logo/etc. This being intended as constructive criticism, I hope you understand. And there's more opinions than mine, so maybe I've indeed just missed some point that everyone else (especially named-users) have already realised. 02:33, 20 February 2024 (UTC)


Crystal Clear app package settings blue.png

Technical issues about the explain xkcd wiki, including bug reports or MediaWiki extensions requests. (+post)

We need more maintainers

I'm moving a thread that Davidy22 started on my talk page. The gist is, we need more people with server-side access (especially mediawiki-savvy ones) so we can properly deal with several issues that have been plaguing the wiki for a while now, most notably spam, but also the image scaling problem, a possible extension for proper comments, clean urls, etc. Below is the original thread, please comment. --Waldir (talk) 17:56, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Could you set the permissions so that all anon users have to pass a captcha to edit? The spam has gotten obscene, and they've stopped posting links, so our current detection mechanisms aren't working anymore. Davidy22(talk) 08:21, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

I would love to have the ability to tweak the wiki more thoroughly, but currently Jeff's the only one with server access. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with server-side mediawiki management, so I haven't asked Jeff for access, but it's clear we can't be dependent on a single person to do all the mediawiki config (and Jeff probably knows even less about mediawiki than I do). Are you by any chance acquainted with server-side mediawiki maintenance? I think we could present a good case for having someone else with access to a dev/prototype instance of this wiki on Jeff's server so we could at least experiment and tell him exactly what needs to be done. Thoughts? --Waldir (talk) 17:40, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree that we need more people that are empowered to actively fight spam. I think that we ought to promote Davidy22 to administrator also, so that he can delete pages and block spammers/vandals as he notices them rather than letting them pile up until yourself, IronyChef, or myself notice that there's work that needs done.
What I think we should do is break out rights into more groups than simply administrator and bureaucrat. I think that's too big of a jump, and that there should be some gradiation. I think we should add a moderator (mark pages as patrolled and rollback ability (as much as it's a sledgehammer when you really only need a ball-peen hammer)) position.
I think we also need a spam fighter position, but that might not be possible to implement. It should be a position that allows the person to delete pages with 1 or 2 edits (page creation, marked as spam, maybe as high as 3 or 4 for the bots that repeat edit certain pages) and block users with 1 or 2 edits. The real problem there is how to grant those super-powerful abilities without allowing them to lose their mind and go crazy and destroy the wiki. Of course, if we don't catch it early enough there's going to be those IPs that manage to get to six edits, and those will have to be squashed by a full admin. We will also need a way of tagging those spam accounts so when a full admin passes by they will also know to ban the IP address after a spam fighter has deleted all the pages it created.
Finally, we also need a more active bureaucrat so that we don't have to bug Jeff to promote admin's as well as future moderators and/or spam fighters, and recognize bot accounts as bot accounts. We also should find someone knowledgeable to help Jeff (and maybe he has little helpers) to maintain the actual server. I've done some PHP work, but I've never touched anything deep inside a wiki (I like Ruby and Rails much more). This is my first time gaining admin status on a wiki, so I have no idea what the extra dials and levers do/mean. I look up on the MediaWiki manual and Wikipedia help pages things that I think should be possible, and often times pages exist in places about doing these things, but I'm nowhere near being called knowledgeable. After I finish up some IRL work I'm currently tied up in, I intend to set up a VM webserver on my computers and run a mediawiki install so I can learn how to work (and not break) things without putting explain xkcd in jeopardy.
Another really wordy post from, lcarsos_a (talk) 22:01, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
From what I know, a moderator user group is possible, but not the spam fighter one. Then again, too many hierarchical levels may be too much for such a small body of regulars. Implementing the moderator group is easy, mw:Manual:User rights has the details (the "ninja" example and the "list of permissions" section should be enough for putting together the configuration commands to be added to the wiki's LocalSettings.php).
As for bureaucrats, I think it makes sense but it seems to me that Jeff only takes longer to perform changes that affect the server, as they understandably may take longer or be more complex (or break the wiki!). Bureaucrats' only difference from admins is that they can promote/demote other users, and this Jeff has been doing without delay, so perhaps there isn't a need for more bureaucrats at the moment. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
We do need more sysadmins (people with access to the server), though, for sure. This is a little tricky as none of us is comfortable enough to confidently make server changes in a mediawiki install. Jeff, how about putting the wiki in source control and giving two or three people access to it, so that any wrongdoings can be easily reverted? You could setup a git repository in the server and we could fork it locally to our machines, make tests and push the commits to the server repo whenever they're ready. --Waldir (talk) 17:20, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
This is good stuff. I'm down with promoting more admins for spam fighting. If they screw stuff up we can demote them if necessary. I really haven't found a spam fighting extension that I think will be the best possible solution. I'll keep looking as it may be a combination of things. Server access is much more complicated as it is not even my server and it is shared hosting. I think that would be best to be accessed just by me. --Jeff (talk) 19:10, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the server, I understand -- your position seems reasonable. In any case, I've been looking for extensions that may help taking some workload out of server actions and make more stuff configurable via the wiki itself. I'll report back if I find something usable.
On another note, how do you feel about promoting more bureaucrats? I suggest Lcarsos who's been consistently active for the past few months. --Waldir (talk) 12:47, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Personally I'd kind of like to go and make some changes myself. Come up with a nice short url pattern and set it up. Upgrade the wiki. etc... Dantman (talk) 02:44, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

The shorter URL is being looked into, although Mediawiki strongly advises against it. As for upgrades to the wiki, monetary donations towards Jeff so he can buy better bit for the server would be appreciated. Davidy²²[talk] 03:06, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
MediaWiki does not advise against it. Half the code currently running short URLs in core was written by me. Same for the new standard for rewrite rules in the new guides. And the tool to automatically generate the config needed to apply short urls to a wiki. Short URLs are not advised against.
We do however strongly advise against installing a wiki in /wiki. Because you do not want to create /wiki/$1 style paths while your script path makes scripts look like /wiki/index.php.
In this case my plan would be to move /wiki to /w then come up with some other short url pattern like /e/$1, some other path, or maybe /$1.
And setup some 301 redirects to redirect from the old urls to the new ones.
And upgrading the version of MediaWiki so that it doesn't have security holes doesn't require server replacement. Dantman (talk) 07:09, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Ohwait, software upgrades. Uh. I knew you were talking about that. Yep. Definitely. The wiki recently had issues with running out of hard drive space, so that was all that was on my mind there.
Also, I thought you had been referring to this. Whoop. Well, you could leave Jeff a message at his talk page to get server access. Davidy²²[talk] 08:05, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I strongly support this. It's been far too long since we decided we'd want the short url scheme (/$1 seems like the best option since it would be simpler/cleaner and allow http://explainxkcd/1234 to point to the correct comic without any extra rewrite rules). While you're at it, I'm sure many would appreciate a look at the current situation with image resizing, which doesn't seem to be working for some reason. Installing Extension:Comments would be awesome, too, as well as Extension:Contribution Scores (live example). I'll ask Jeff to take a look at this thread. --Waldir (talk) 20:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Dantman (talk) email me and I'll get you set up with whatever you need. All the suggestions sound good to me. --Jeff (talk) 00:10, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Also, the Contribution Scores are up. I'm not even top 10 all time, I need to step up my game. Comments will take more work as it needs its own database. --Jeff (talk) 00:10, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Awesome! I did some styling changes to make it more interesting :) Let me know what you guys think about it! --Waldir (talk) 20:32, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Holy crud, what did you do when the wiki started to have almost double my lifetime score? Davidy²²[talk] 23:57, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Hahahah :P I'm pretty sure I cheated a little, IIRC there was an image renaming operation for which I used mwclient ;) --Waldir (talk) 03:22, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Sort by numbers in categories

I noticed that in Category:Comics all comics are sorted correctly by numbers; but not in any subcategory. (I didn't really get the explanation of how it works on the comics page.) How to fix this? -- St.nerol (talk) 10:40, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

The comics template uses a template called num4 that turns the number in the comic number field into a four-digit number. That's then passed as a parameter to the category link, and the comics category page sorts articles by those four-digit numbers instead of their actual names. If we wanted to do the same for other categories, we would have to type them all out as [[Category:Politics|0200]], or whatever the comic number is. I would rather wait for mediawiki to come out with an in-built feature to solve this. Davidy22[talk] 11:28, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Is there a reason that the template applies that directly to Category:Comics and not as a default sortkey via DEFAULTSORT? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:10, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Good thinking. Using DEFAULTSORT oughta make it work for all categories. I'll give it a try. --Waldir (talk) 15:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)


I haven't been here (to edit) for a while, but have we still not addressed the bug that doesn't allow image resizing? I know most of us don't have access to that kind of lower-level coding on the site, but I think it's a bit of a notable issue that we can't display comics smaller than their actual size. TheHYPO (talk) 14:24, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Take it up with User:Jeff, but I suspect that adding your voice to the already insistent roaring that images are broken isn't going to inspire much change. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:08, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Incidental Ads

as ive noticed i think you should check if someone has embeded some of your links with ads really annoying please fix

--TheWeatherMan (talk) 14:00, 23 January 2013 (UTC)TheWeatherMan

Do you have any specific examples of this? By the way, using punctuation, capitalization, spell check, and complete sentences are more likely to get someone to help you. lcarsos_a (talk) 18:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
There is known malware (both adware and viruses) that makes Wikipedia look like it has ads. This wiki uses the same wiki software, so perhaps that malware affects our site too? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 05:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)


Now that explainxkcd redirects straight to the wiki, could we take the /wiki/ out of the url? I'd also like the wiki's edit log to be purged to clean out the history and forget about past spam, but that's probably wishing for too much. Davidy22[talk] 04:06, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

But seriously, could the /wiki/ go? It'll screw with the spammers for a day or two, at the very least. Davidy22[talk] 11:37, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Newbie questions: Comic dates, previous-and-next-comic buttons

Just created the my first page, 220: Philosophy, but I could use a little guidance. How do I find the date that an xkcd comic was originally posted, and how do I rig up the previous-comic and next-comic arrows on a page? (Actually, I've noticed several pages that should have the arrows but don't.) Ekedolphin (talk) 11:19, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Those arrows will automagically insert themselves when you make the adjacent comic explanations. There *is* a little backstage magic that needs to be taken care of, but we can do that for you. Davidy22[talk] 11:40, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
    • OK. How about the dates? Ekedolphin (talk) 11:41, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Click on "All Comics" in the navbar on left-hand side of the site. The dates are in the form YYYY-MM-DD. Davidy22[talk] 11:56, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
The comic template checks for the existence of the numerical redirect for the comic before and the comic after. If it finds the page to exist it will display the next/previous button as appropriate. So, by creating the redirects listed on the List of all comics (third column, only worry about the number and title links) future pages will automatically get the links created. Redirect pages look like #REDIRECT [[####: Comic Title]] and that's it (here is a link to the redirect page with redirect disabled so you can look at the source to see what I'm talking about). That's all that needs to exist on the number and title redirects. If you feel up to creating them yourself, feel free, otherwise someone else goes through occasionally and mass adds all the missing redirects. lcarsos_a (talk) 17:55, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Error message

I've been getting this error message a lot the last cup'o days. When trying to access a page; when trying to save changes on a page. Any ideas on why? I'm getting it on both chrome and firefox.

Database error
A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was:
(SQL query hidden) from within function "Revision::insertOn". Database returned error "1142: INSERT command denied to user ::'dbo423085716'@'' for :table 'text' (db423085716.db.1and1.com)".

St.nerol (talk) 22:54, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Every once in a while I get a SQL error being reported, but usually I can simply F5 and the page comes up. Every once in a while it seems like the server load is just so that somebody gets lucky enough to see the server error out. I don't think there's much we can do about this, other than move the wiki onto a more powerful server. But, there are no ads on this site, there is no revenue model, just a very kind person paying for hosting that keeps this site up. I'm more than willing to overlook a few hiccups for the continuing availability of explain xkcd. lcarsos_a (talk) 07:12, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I get those too, but St. Nerol was talking about something that happened recently with the server running out of hard drive space and throwing SQL errors every time someone tried to make large edits. I had to find Jeff on twitter because I'd get SQL errors when I tried to edit his talk page. He's looking into history deletion plugins, to clear out our vast archives of deleted spam and obsoleted prototype comic templates. Davidy²²[talk] 08:10, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Install a caching reverse proxy to handle heavy load

According to returned headers, this server runs from Apache directly. I would recommend setting up a reverse caching proxy in front of Apache to handle high traffic load (like, e.g. current load). The one I use is nginx (http://nginx.org/) -- admins, drop me an email if you need help setting it up Fry-kun (talk) 21:38, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

The standard software to use is either Squid or Varnish. Nginx is a bit too much of a webserver to be configured in the way MW needs iirc. Although nginx would help with serving the static assets. Unfortunately there will be a need to switch to a proper server first. The site seems to be hosted on shared hosting. Dantman (talk) 04:59, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I had gotten burned before with both Squid and Varnish but Nginx had always kept my systems alive. It's extremely lightweight and works great to fix these kinds of problems. But, of course if it's a shared server where you can't use it, it won't help... Fry-kun (talk) 16:35, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Nginx is a great webserver. It'll serve out static pages much better than Apache. But the issue here isn't the webserver. It's PHP and all the work that the database needs to do on every request. Switching webservers won't get rid of that issue. Using squid/varnish a proper reverse proxying cache will allow complete pages to be cached and served directly to readers bypassing the webserver, php, and the database entirely on some requests. That'll reduce the load the site has to cope with. Dantman (talk) 23:47, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

A couple of enwiki features implemented

I have "imported" {{disambig}} and the related category for the one page it was needed for (to avoid having a page that was uncategorised :-) ).

I have also created {{unsigned ip}} (and converted the one use of {{unsigned}}) and applied it for a handful of existing uses of {{unsigned}}. It hardly matters, but then it's also only three more characters to type for new uses.

Importantly, however, I implore you to consider including the second datestamp parameter when applying either template -- it's actually the more useful information. I know it's a pain to convert times back to UTC, but, hey, most of you don't have to deal with a half hour timezone :-) Mark Hurd (talk) 16:19, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Urrggh, there's an option to make UTC the default display time. The template oughta be a little more automated, mebbe filling the time in automagically with five tildes if no date field is entered? The time will be a bit off when editors fill in the unsigned templates, but it'll be close enough to the actual value. Davidy²²[talk] 23:59, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
No, especially while there's existing templates to adjust, where the "default" datestamp would be way out. If someone wants to fix a lot of the existing usage, setting their timezone to UTC is the simplest option. Mark Hurd (talk) 09:14, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

I've removed "add a comment!" from Discussion heading

This thread has been moved to The proposals board.

Need password reset

Sorry to bother you all, but I seem to have lost the password to this account and don't have an email set (which requires the password). I'm still logged in thanks to the "remember me" feature but after 30 days I'll lose access. This isn't fixable at the MediaWiki level; someone with access to the server mysql or whatever will need to change something. Is there such a person I can email with? Splainr (talk) 03:05, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

I assume your browser isn't remembering it for you? Mark Hurd (talk) 03:08, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh wow that was fast. Nope, neither Firefox not OSX keychain access know what it is. Splainr (talk) 15:18, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to solve that problem, but I know account usurpation has been done for the single-login transition in Wikimedia wikis, so technically it should be doable. --Waldir (talk) 23:04, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

See mw:Manual:Resetting passwords. --Mormegil (talk) 11:59, 15 May 2013 (UTC)


Recently I found out about WikiApiary, an interesting site that collects analytics from mediawiki wikis. I added explain xkcd. Check the stats that have been collected so far: http://wikiapiary.com/wiki/explain_xkcd --Waldir (talk) 00:03, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

"External" hotlinking enabled to confirm issue with other car.jpg

FYI I have enabled "external" hotlinking to this wiki's own images to show File:other car.jpg can display correctly. See further notes about that issue here. Mark Hurd (talk) 14:32, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

If the problem is lack of thumbnail generation, it should display correctly even without hotlinking, simply by using the original size, e.g.
other car.jpg
I'm not sure why it doesn't. In any case, this image hotlinking thing reminded me, would it be a good idea to use the images hosted at XKCD.com and only upload variants to the wiki (e.g. those at Category:Helper comic images) and images Randall for some reason deleted from the server (e.g. images with typos)? This would reduce the load on the explainxkcd server and provide a better experience for viewers since xkcd is already optimized for high loads and actually openly provides the image urls for hotlinking. --Waldir (talk) 15:01, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Seeing as User:Daddy's upload has fixed the wiki always attempting to display the thumbnail version (which still don't work), I have disabled the "hotlinking" again.

Mark Hurd (talk) 11:32, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Redirect from explainxkcd.com/1234

It would be really cool if http://www.explainxkcd.com/<number> redirected to the explain page for that number. That would allow people to get to the correct explanation by simply adding explain to the comic url.

If you are willing to do this, all you would need to do (assuming you run apache with mod_rewrite enabled) is put the following in .htaccess in your web root:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(\d+)/?$ /wiki/index.php?title=$1 [R,L]

-Sionide21 (talk) 22:28, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Yeah! I'm waiting for this. But admins seems to be rare here.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:44, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
And it seems we both could help...--Dgbrt (talk) 22:47, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
There are several admins here (in fact, I am, too), but what you are looking for is the sysop, the one with access to the server. Admins can delete/protect/undelete pages and block users etc. Jeff is the only one that can change MediaWiki configuration or url rewriting... --SlashMe (talk) 17:08, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your information, so I will try to talk to Jeff. BTW: Can you edit the main page? I still miss a link to the incomplete comics on the top.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:52, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
At the top of the main page, there is a section that says "We have collaboratively explained 1189 xkcd comics, and only 33 (3%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!". The word remain is already linked to the list. --SlashMe (talk) 19:16, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
I was talking about the 97% comics. There are still many incomplete pages and we have a category here on that.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:36, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Just did it; everyone: feel free to change the sentence, I'm not a native speaker. --SlashMe (talk) 21:07, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
THANKS! I'm also not native English, I'm German. But this wiki is a great challenge to get more practice, even much more as if talking to common English natives.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:27, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
This is something I want to do, so I'm putting this on my page, so I remember to add it to the .htaccess. I'm not super familiar with the .htaccess rules, can I have this along with the other rules I have in my htaccess file? --Jeff (talk) 15:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that rule will work alongside other rules --Sionide21 (talk) 19:28, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
I've fixed this on our new host. (I actually had the rule in there already, I just had it in the wrong order.) I'd love to promote this feature a bunch. Any ideas how? --Jeff (talk) 02:33, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
A sitenotice oughta do it. Davidy²²[talk] 03:43, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Woohoo, finally!!! Now if we could just have clean URLs too, that'd be swell! ;) --Waldir (talk) 05:02, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Incomplete – motivation

Is it possible to fix (or is there already) a way to add a motivation with the "incomplete"-tag? I tried {{incomplete|the title text needs explaining}}, which made "edit it" in the banner link to the uncreated page "the title text..."... ––St.nerol (talk) 12:16, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

You can use the {{notice|Your text...}} template:
Ambox notice.png Here is my notice.
--Dgbrt (talk) 17:30, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! I think that ideally most incomplete-notices shold carry a note on what's missing, but we aren't there, so this'll do for now. ––St.nerol (talk) 10:21, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Unable to Edit

I cannot edit this latest comic's page. When I hit edit a screen appears which says "This page has been protected to prevent editing." I've never edited before, but I'm annoyed by the improper use of the word candid. "It would be candid and unrealistic" would be better off in that sentence if candid was removed. How do I make it so I can edit the page, so I can remove this affront to the English language?

I believe you are trying to edit the main page. You can click "Latest comic" in the left sidebar or the "Go to this comic" button in the top right corner of the grey box to go to the actual page for today's comic. Davidy²²[talk] 16:42, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
That was the problem, thanks.--Holcma01 (talk) 17:07, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

On iPad and iPhone browsers, the banner ads obscure the top of the page. This covers up some of the useful buttons up there, like LOGIN for example. The workaround is to refresh the page. Because the banner ad is the last thing to load, you have a brief window of maybe three seconds to find and click the link you need. Gardnertoo (talk) 20:24, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Fixed. --Jeff (talk) 21:12, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Bookmarklet for jumping to explainxkcd.com from xkcd.com

I wrote a short bookmarklet for jumping from xkcd.com to explainxkcd.com. Bookmarklet form:



javascript:var match = window.location.href.match(/\d+/);
var suffix = match ? '?title=' + match[0] : '';
window.location ='http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php' + suffix;

If you're on a numbered xkcd page, it will go to the accompanying explainxkcd.com page automatically. If you're on the xkcd.com home page, it goes to the explainxkcd.com wiki home page. Mattflaschen (talk) 17:30, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

To add this bookmarklet to your browser:

  1. Copy the bookmarklet javascript (*not* the decoded version)
  2. Using your browsers bookmark manager, create a new bookmark
  3. Give the bookmark a meaningful name -- e.g. ExplainXKCD
  4. Paste the javascript in for the bookmark URL
  5. Save.

( -- Tomh (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~))

Thanks Mattflaschen and Tomh! I've started collecting these helpful tools on a new page, to hopefully make them easier for others to find. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 01:33, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Database Error

I have NO IDEA where this should go, but http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=1011 has the content

Database error A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: (SQL query hidden) from within function "SqlBagOStuff::set". Database returned error "1142: INSERT command denied to user 'dbo423085716'@'' for table 'objectcache' (db423085716.db.1and1.com)".

Just thought I should report it.

OOPS forgot sig. 00:13, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit: This has been fixed randomly. Never mind then. :X


Could we maybe enable this? It would be helpful for some of the programming-heavy comics' explanations, e.g. today's one.PinkAmpersand (talk) 17:02, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Done, PinkAmpersand. --Jeff (talk) 19:57, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

It's not taking me to the main page

If I type explainxkcd.com, it redirects me to http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki which just shows a directory listing, rather than taking me to the main page (as I assume it's supposed to). chridd (talk) 02:07, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Thaat's not supposed to happen. I'm on it. Davidy²²[talk] 06:49, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Is it fixed for you now? Davidy²²[talk] 06:55, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes chridd (talk) 14:46, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Logo in upper left corner missing

The logo in the upper left corner is missing, probably because of a wrong redirect. The logo should be at http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/skins/common/images/explainxkcd.png, but this link takes me to the main page. The icons in the edit toolbar are missing, too, probably the same problem. You should exclude all \.png$ queries from redirects. -- 10:09, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Fixed that. Sorry about that, it was an overzealous htaccess. Thanks! --Jeff (talk) 15:45, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Sidebar ad overhangs content in Firefox 25.0

The sidebar ad on each page overhangs the content frame slightly when I view this site in Firefox 25.0 on a Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit pc. I have started Firefox in safe mode with all add-ons disabled and it still happens. Site looks fine in IE 11. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Have you tried hitting control-shift-R, or clearing your cache? That sounds like Firefox is disregarding part of our CSS for whatever reason. I'm running a very similar setup and I'm not getting these problems. Try giving it a wee bit of time and trying again. Davidy²²[talk] 17:27, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
What's your monitor resolution and size of your Firefox window (maximized, 50/50 split, etc)? lcarsos_a (talk) 18:24, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm really sure that scaling isn't the issue, I made the sidebar width definite. I'll check it again. Davidy²²[talk] 19:06, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
The sidebar has a fixed width defined at the CSS style sheet. Press F5 or CTRL-R to reload this style sheet. This happened to me in the past too. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:14, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I changed the defined width to pixels instead of em, in the annoying edge-case that a browser uses a weird default font width. Davidy²²[talk] 19:24, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
It looks fine now.-- 06:08, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Sidebar ad overhangs content in DuckDuckGo for iOS 15.4.1, on iPhone 12. aka 'Your sidebar ad has been crushed into a cube. You have fifteen minutes to move your cube.'

Connection problems

Whatever the new hoster does cost, you should get your money back. Sometimes the page doesn't load at all, or the menu is missing after the browser did finish after one or two minutes. The performance here is still annoying. That cloud seems to be a dead cloud. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:33, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

It's easily more performant than our old service, and it holds up far better to traffic. I am inclined to say that it's a region specific issue, and I'll submit a ticket for that, but they've worked far better than flat shared hosting for the time that we've been using them. Davidy²²[talk] 00:01, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
More detail: The message is an Error 522 (Connection timed out).
  • You (Browser, Working) <-> Amsterdam (CloudFlare, Working) <-> www.explainxkcd.com (Host, Error)
In December the CloudFlare did belong to Frankfurt. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:35, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm having still major problems to connect, only this this silly error message. ...and then it does work again. Still strange.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:58, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Today I've been getting a lot of these errors with Cloudflare. (London-based CloudFlare, in my case.) "Error 522 Ray ID: 2587581d8b8a350c • 2015-12-21 23:25:22 UTC" is just one of the IDs. Not sure if you'd prefer another bit of the page info, instead, but the Ray ID looked unique enough to pinpoint debug info in the background.) The suggestion is made that the web server is too busy at something or other. Anyway, just so you're aware.
I had a look here, first, to see if anyone had mentioned anything (and found the above), so apologies if I'm not posting in the best bit of the best page. 23:44, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
It seems to be an occasional regional issue that cloudflare has with us. When I go to our server directly our site is still up, so something between us and cloudflare is failing. Not sure what though. Davidy²²[talk] 03:40, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Yesterday (and day before?) Cloudflare London insisted that the server was not responding. Not sure if that was an actual explain-server issue (not seen mention of it anywhere else, in a brief dig), only Cloudflare London being refused by the server (detecting and blanket filtering rogue traffic via my gateway) or some other issue. Meant to check for update timestamps on the latest comic article that coincided with my being unable to visit the site at the time. But FYI, assuming the cause isn't already sorted out with no further actions needed and/or possible... 16:02, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Wrong IP address shown

All edits by IPs (well, at least all I checked, including my own edits) are recorded using IP addresses of CloudFlare (, and some other ranges), i.e., it's not the address of the client, but of the server. This seems similar to [3]. -- 09:05, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

That's something we're working on, but current limitations with our provider are making things sow for us. When they give us what we need, we can do it. Davidy²²[talk] 16:59, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Hmmpf! I just noticed this twelve months later and it's still the case... Mark Hurd (talk) 01:59, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Uurrrp a couple of holdups happened, I need to do this at some point. Davidy²²[talk] 04:54, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I just noticed it as well 04:20, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
CloudFlare is already providing the Real Ip address -- there are mods for Apache https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/203656534-How-can-I-set-up-Apache-mod-CloudFlare- and Nginx https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/200170706-How-do-I-restore-original-visitor-IP-with-Nginx- or you can just pull it from the X-Forwarded-For HTTP header which proxy servers (like CloudFlare) typically puts the client IP address. 04:25, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

1337 leads to...? =

Current and latest comic page, 1337, unusually has a "Next" before there's even any 1338 page. (It points to 1337.) As a lowly IP, I don't feel I ought to delve too deep to see if it's a page template issue (possibly because "1337" is both a past title and the current number, maybe, although not too sure if that'd work out) or just because of manual editing. But bringing it to general attention. (It may of course be an issue that does not even last beyond Wednesday, and comic number 1338's arrival, even without intervention.) 13:40, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

D'aww, and I wanted to be lazy too. I'll get to fixing it, an IP took it to himself to add stuff to the comic template and he removed the auto-hiding buttons. Imma fixy. Davidy²²[talk] 17:42, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I did revert some edits on that issue here, so for the first point it should work again. In general: The main page should not be affected like this and the test environment is called: Sandbox. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:43, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
The issue was fixed three hours before your autorevert. This is getting excessive. The next time you autorevert a large edit without testing or making an attempt to fix things yourself, expect a three-day ban. Davidy²²[talk] 22:41, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

No confirmation email?

I requested an email for confirmation when I registered. I got nothing, not in spam filter, not in trash, and definitely in not my inbox.

Today, I requested another confirmation email. Again, nothing has appeared.

Is it me? Is it my shampoo??? Enquiring minds want to know.... Thanks. Karenb (talk) 22:45, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Confirmation emails? What, are we a five-star hotel now?
Jokes aside, is this a thing you really need? You should be autoconfirmed after editing for a while without getting blocked, but if you can put forward a good reason why we should add this in, I'll do it. Davidy²²[talk] 00:54, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Not blocked! Trying to authenticate my email, which I thought was an automatic process. Does that feature not work? That would certainly explain the lack of autoresponse.... Cheers. KB Karenb (talk) 01:35, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm having the same issue. I've requested several confirmation emails over the past few days. I have also tried changing and then resetting my email address. Nothing has worked so far, and it's not in any of my filtered inboxes. I can edit most pages. Will this fix itself even if I don't get an email? DownGoer (talk) 18:16, 26 June 2023 (UTC)

Because the people visiting here are probably the people that should see this

After the server upgrades mentioned in the sitenotice, de.explainxkcd.com should exist. I'm not publicizing it yet, just want to get it up and work out implementation details before it goes fully live. Pls dun test during the downtime, there'll be plenty of time for that after it's live. Davidy²²[talk] 01:14, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

Ok, so our server doesn't actually have the required dependencies to complete the upgrade, so that was slightly fruitless. Sorry about any downtime or inconvenience caused, I didn't add the German wiki again because I'm looking set up the parallel wikis on an up-to-date base. Sorry again for any inconvenience that may have caused, I'll make sure to be better prepared next time, and maybe actually succeed in performing the upgrade next time. Davidy²²[talk] 02:02, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Does anyone have image of Black Hat saying to Cueball "It's 'cause you're dumb" ?

Guys, does anyone has this image? I'm hosting Russian xkcd fanpage here - vk.com/xkcdoff and if someone would post it it would be very helpful. --KOTYAR (talk) 22:40, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

I actually can't find it either. Shame, I liked that old thumbnail. I could probably photoshop up a new version if you really want one though. Davidy²²[talk] 04:53, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
explain xkcd blog header image.png
Just going to the explain xkcd page and following the first historic (internet-archived) link allowed me to extract the requested "header-image.png" (the corresponding image URL on the current site gives nothing anymore... thank you, Internet Archive!). Which I uploaded to the wiki here, for convenience and because it's part of this wiki's history, in a way, and also, cool. Smile - Cos (talk) 10:39, 16 April 2014 (UTC) (PS: also, facebook.com/explainxkcd/photos/10150144122985214; but JPEG.)

expxkcd.com redirect not up-to-date

By adding "exp" at the beginning of the URL one can easily switch from xkcd.com/1234 to expxkcd.com/1234, which redirects to the corresponding explanation here, and that's nice. But right now, expxkcd.com redirects to 1355 (at least for me), instead of 1356, the latest comic. Wouldn't it be better if expxkcd.com redirected to the Main Page instead (as does correctly explainxkcd.com)? - Cos (talk) 10:55, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

expxkcd is actually a thing that user user:grep was so kind to purchase and handle for us. I can forward this on to him for him to resolve, and give him the rewrite rules we use if he needs them. Davidy²²[talk] 11:12, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Nice, thank you for the quick forward to the right place. - Cos (talk) 11:31, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, the reason for that is that right now, I update it manually, which is obviously a really bad idea. I plan to change this pretty soon. I don't want it to go to the main page because the main page doesn't show the discussion, and comes along with all the other, regular main page stuff. Any rewrite rules wouldn't hurt, Davidy22. greptalk12:04, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Hrm. Ours rules point towards the main page. We have no automatically updating page that always redirects to the latest comic, but you can use Mediawiki hooks to append the contents of the page Template:LATESTCOMIC to the end of our URL. Davidy²²[talk] 23:44, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand. My BOT will upload the next comic on time, unless it's some new chaos by Randall a BOT just can't handle. The LATESTCOMIC template is updated and so it seems only be an issue on that damn Cloud Service Cache. Even Randall's pages are affected. At "What-if" I still have to use <CTRL+R> to get the latest content. --Dgbrt (talk) 00:26, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
We're talking about a different thing related to shortened URLs. Davidy²²[talk] 02:24, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
That is an interesting idea, however I just made a script that automatically adds 1 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I could have it grab the number from your page and do this once a day at something like 00:10 EST (because Randall sometimes does things on other days), that's a possibility as well (other times / intervals may also be done if you wish/want). greptalk04:34, 02 May 2014 (UTC)
Our LATESTCOMIC page and Randall's xkcd json page should both have up-to-date comic numbers for you to pull. Ours is probably the better one to pull since your site is linking to us. Davidy²²[talk] 06:30, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
The script now checks Template:LATESTCOMIC every 30 minutes to see if the comic has changed or not. If you wish, I might be able narrow this down to 11PM->6AM (for 30 minute checking) and then have it check every two hours at other times or something similar to that (if systemd.time has a way to do it) greptalk12:13, 09 May 2014 (UTC)
I still do not see that problems. Please touch this wiki as less as needed, this is still the best choice. But there is still a big problem on the cache, an update on a picture lasts many hours. Some statements in "LocalSettings.php" should work, if not this wiki version is buggy. Problems should be solved at the cause and not be overridden by some additional scripts. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:51, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
We have ample bandwidth for a bot that only checks once every half-hour. The image caching issue is irrelevant to the current topic. Davidy²²[talk] 03:45, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Explain xkcd upgraded to version 1.19.17

Woo! Davidy²²[talk] 17:59, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

The header seems to have broken, there is no longer a link to the explanation in it. 22:00, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Which header are you talking about? All the links I can think of still seem to work. Davidy²²[talk] 02:13, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
It fixed itself shortly after I mentioned it. It was the incomplete explanation, the link to 428 was bold, but not a link. 04:48, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

One of the ads is broken.


0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 04:33, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Ooh, thanks for catching that. Should be fixed now. Davidy²²[talk] 17:08, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Nice :) But is this update a preparation for an upcoming update to one of the latest versions, or are we limited to 1.19 for some reason? I'm asking because 1.19 is only supported for a few more months, and also because with newer versions we'd have access to some niceties -- for example, after version 1.20 the PAGESINCAT magic word accepts parameters, which would allow the count of explained comics in the main page to work using less hardcoded hacks. --Waldir (talk) 16:08, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Prior attempts to update the wiki have been prevented by the realization that Lunarpages doesn't give us quite as much control over our server share as we thought we had. Checking again, they seem to have upgraded the version of PHP on our server since we last attempted and failed to run one dumb update script, which should mean that it'll work next time we try it. The wiki also has quite a bit of user effort invested into it now, and I'm a little less ready to jump into .0~.3 releases than I would normally be on my own machine, so I upgraded down the LTS path that I knew would be safe. After the first ill-planned attempt, I've been eyeing the 1.23 LTS line for the next major jump, but I'm certainly not stepping into it while it's still relatively fresh. Davidy²²[talk] 17:08, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for the details. I'll be looking forward to the next update :) --Waldir (talk) 18:52, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Just wanting to offer, I use ARP Networks for hosting, you should check them out if you want more control. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Hum, there's an option. I'll keep that in mind. Davidy²²[talk] 04:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It wasn't me that posted that comment. But surprisingly enough anon and I have the same first two bytes in our IP addresses. Congrats on the version upgrade. lcarsos_a (talk) 05:31, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Why does the site say I'm blocking ads when I'm not? I do use AdBlock Plus, but it's turned off for this site. Screenshot here. And while I'm here, that "unblock us" text has an error- the first "and" in the second sentence shouldn't be there. NealCruco (talk) 01:51, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

The text only appears when the ads fail to load. The error message actually says noscript, which means that the Javascript that the ad box uses to fetch images isn't running. How long has this been happening for you? Davidy²²[talk] 04:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It just started. I came over here as soon as I noticed it. NealCruco (talk) 19:07, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Have you recently made any changes to your browser? Does the problem persist when you hit CTRL+SHIFT+R? Davidy²²[talk] 12:43, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Nope, no recent changes. And yes, the problem persists when I hit Ctrl+Shift+R. NealCruco (talk) 14:04, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I am genuinely puzzled. The message tells me that something is causing your browser to fail to load/run the Javascript that makes the ad render and report stats, so the problem could be anything that can cause that: noscript, outdated browser, experimentation. I don't know anything about your setup, and it works on my test machines, so I can't tell currently what's wrong. Davidy²²[talk] 03:10, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Do you have privoxy installed on your machine? (this is a long shot) lcarsos_a (talk) 00:24, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

If anything broke, complain here.

There's a banner that says: The wiki has been updated to stable mediawiki version 1.19.17. If anything broke, complain here.


The following have broken: Cars My previous computer A railroad train Condoms Etc.

None of which has anything to do with this website.

The banner should be made more specific before Randall sees it and does a comic mocking it.

Or not. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Well, there's always that one guy. Fixed. Davidy²²[talk] 05:05, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how you could have fixed that one guy. Throttled, eliminated, insulted, blocked, etc. But not fixed. Walenc (talk) 16:29, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
See sense 6 here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fix#Verb :P 02:13, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
i bet you think yer so clever. just watch me take the site down. Davidy²²[talk] 04:35, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Misc Request... (|< < Prev Comic Next > >| format)

I usually browse in a very small window and the menu buttons split kind of strangely (http://i.imgur.com/wPE7szZ.png). Would it be possible to replace the spaces with nonbreaking spaces? -- 15:13, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Annoyingly, the spaces that are giving you trouble can't be changed because they're text string inputs, and Mediawiki has no regular expression markup yet. Every other instance of formatting-critical spaces has been changed to non-breaking spaces though, thanks for the heads up! Davidy²²[talk] 18:13, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
I think I fixed this by adding a space between the buttons. Unfortunately, this only works as long as the comic is not as wide as the button bar. I guess this is because of the surrounding table. --SlashMe (talk) 20:15, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Not receiving password reset emails

I've forgotten my password, and password reset is not working for me. I went to Special:PasswordReset, and had it send me a reset email. However, I have not received the email. I am sure that I have an email associated with my account, and it's confirmed. 08:38, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Tested, password reset emails seem to work for me. Have you checked your spam folder? Davidy²²[talk] 18:04, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I checked in Gmail in "Mail & Spam & Trash", and it still doesn't find it. I tried a fresh reset, so we'll see if that comes through. No luck after a minute or two. 04:59, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

TOR Captcha

Hi, I use TOR. To access your website, cloudfare has made it such that I have to enter a captcha. This is very inconvenient, as your site is not the only one doing this. Can you please fix this issue? You should be able to see a guide here: https://tor.stackexchange.com/questions/599/cloudflares-captcha-screen-insurmountable . Thank you for taking the time to consider this. 11:34, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Is it better now? Davidy²²[talk] 13:06, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, no. I still get the captcha. What did you try doing? 22:09, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Set the threat level threshold way up. Any further steps into cheap botnet territory. For your security, you may want to reconsider the nodes through which you're operating through. Also, why do you need to use Tor to visit us? Davidy²²[talk] 04:17, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, okay, thanks, now I'm not getting the captcha. As for why I'm using Tor, I don't need to, but I'd rather do so just to be anonymous. I wouldn't have written if it were just your site, but since Cloudfare has made captchas the default setting for Tor, the internet is starting to become near unusable. So that everyday people aren't scared away from using Tor due to the perceived complexity of daily browsing, whenever I have to enter a captcha, I try to contact someone at the site to ask them to change the setting. 06:52, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Upgrade to the latest MediaWiki version?

I think we should start trying to maintain a regular upgrade schedule of some sort. 6 months ago was the last time we've upgraded, and I think we should upgrade again. The impetus for this change would be for translation features, plus other multilinguality efforts that require the new versions of MediaWiki. Localization efforts should be put into place, and the translate feature would work well for that. Chess (talk) 01:53, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Plans to upgrade only include LTS releases. That said though, the recent and unintentional server downtime was actually the result of a setup for a coming mediawiki upgrade, among other things. The plan is to upgrade to 1.23 sometime in the coming months, during the weekend after a satisfactory number of bugfix releases. We're very interested in setting up translations, although mediawiki in it's current form already supports translation; the extensions you linked are mostly quality-of-life additions. It's been delayed because the plan is to eliminate all incomplete comics first so that translators have a solid base to work from. Davidy²²[talk] 02:42, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Can I just be nitpicky and say that we last upgraded about 3.5 months ago, not 6? Thanks. NealCruco (talk) 03:17, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Fix HTTPS access

explain xkcd is using Cloudflare which recently enabled HTTPS for all users, but when accessing it via HTTPS it returns error 521. In order to fix this in addiction to the solution steps proposed by CloudFlare check if SSL settings are correct. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

On it Davidy²²[talk] 18:51, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

HTTPS is working now, there just some mixed-content warnings, mostly on style tags which being active mixed content are blocked, but it's still a good improvement as it's possible to have more privacy when browsing explain xkcd. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Whoever has server access, can they try changing $wgServer (Manual:$wgServer) to use a protocol relative url? As the manual page says, you may also want to set $wgCanonicalServer to a fully-qualified url (hopefully defaulting to https). Behrat (talk) 04:17, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Done. How's it now? Davidy²²[talk] 08:42, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Much better! The styles and scripts are loaded now, and the page looks good. It's still not completely green https because it's loading some images over plain http, but my browser at least appears to be allowing them for now. If you want any more suggestions on technical issues, let me know. I currently maintain my own mediawiki installation with full https, cloudflare, and short urls. Behrat (talk) 20:27, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Huh. Is it the ad images? The comic pictures *should* be also done over https, no? Davidy²²[talk] 07:10, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, one of them is the ad images (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/lunarpages_160x600.jpg). Most of them are from MediaWiki:Common.css, so you could just change all the urls on that css page to protocol-relative. The only other one I see is http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-sa/3.0/88x31.png, which I think is set at $wgFooterIcons, but I'm not sure. All of them appear to be accessible over https, so just changing the links should work. Behrat (talk) 01:13, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

If I replace xkcd with explainxkcd I get a very ugly CSS-less page in Chrome on Win7. If I change the https to http, the page works 06:07, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Can you provide more information about your setup? Test a different browser? Unable to reproduce. Davidy²²[talk] 11:56, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I can reproduce in Firefox. This is due to the mixed content blocker. Usually, it should only block active content (scripts) and maybe warn about passive content (stylesheets), but at least in Firefox, it is configurable to block both. But I cannot see why the stylesheets shouldn't be served via HTTPS.
Currently, the styles are referenced absolutely (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/...), but they should rather by referenced domain-relative (/wiki/...) or at least protocol-relative (//www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/...). --SlashMe (talk) 16:29, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

RSS feed issue

When attempting to access the feed for this wiki I'm told "Sorry. No feed found." Is there some way that the feed can be restored to the satisfaction of Feedly? Could it be due to some validation issues, or should I consider changing my news reader? Pmw57 (talk) 23:08, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Huh. The feed updates automatically with a script that I wrote a while ago, I'm very sure it passed more than this the last time I checked. Fixed a few things, left the one about the date because that's a pain to fix, and one that I can't figure out for the life of me. I think I fixed the line that was causing the actual problems though. Should update on feedly now. Davidy²²[talk] 01:52, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Hallelujah - the feed was mixed in with other geeky material and it only took me nearly 8 months to notice that nothing was coming through from here anymore. I'm premature with my thanks though. The RSS link in the navigation pane to the left still doesn't want to be understood by Feedly. By contrast, other feeds such as for latest changes can be picked up. Pmw57 (talk) 02:04, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Hrm. Sent an email to feedly about it, Just tested and I'm having similar issues with feedly. Davidy²²[talk] 02:17, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
It seems it's not just Feedly. When I use Chrome's RSS Feed Reader, that too also tells me "No posts here yet" followed by the an ever helpful "Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp" Pmw57 (talk) 02:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Could it be that it's just not valid XML? I see that it ends at line 236 with </item> with no other closing tags, for example. Pmw57 (talk) 03:18, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Ohwait a minute, the auto updater rips old entries off the bottom and that's where there's supposed to be a closing channel and RSS tag. well. Davidy²²[talk] 07:19, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

It's good to know that the cause is now known - I'll let you (or someone else with the authority) get on with fixing things up :-) Pmw57 (talk) 07:46, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Hullo. It's not perfect that only one specific formation of the URL works, but it's a start. Davidy²²[talk] 08:01, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
You sir do God's work - and that coming from a Dillahunty-following Atheist is saying something. Pmw57 (talk) 08:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

My reader has been refusing to process the feed for the last few days. I finally un-busied enough to poke into why. When I looked at the source at /rss.xml I saw:


	<title>1561: Water Phase Diagram</title>
	<pubDate>Thu, 06 Aug 2015 21:51:11 -0700</pubDate>
	<guid isPermaLink="true">http://www.explainxkcd.com/1561</guid>
	<description><![CDATA[<h2>1561: Water Phase Diagram</h2><p><a href="http://www.explainxkcd.com/1561">http://www.explainxkcd.com/1561</a></p>]]></description>

I'm thinking that the script is broken. I could pro'ly come up with something workable, given the access. --Ericm301 (talk) 16:50, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

What on earth is happening here I don't even know. The script seems fine, I repaired the RSS file again manually. See if it malfunctions again today. Davidy²²[talk] 01:22, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Script is behaving very strangely. Today's update warped the feed file in a weird way, this doesn't usually happen. I'll test it on my machine to see what's happening. Davidy²²[talk] 13:56, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

It was fine for a minute (that must have been your edit), but now it's broke again. --Ericm301 (talk) 19:53, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Alright, I figured out what was going on with the feed. There was a bit of code I had in the update script that trimmed off the last entry of the RSS file and when I recreated an empty file for the feed after the inexplicable wipe, I forgot to turn it off so it was still shaving off the end of the file. This time it should be working. Davidy²²[talk] 07:34, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

"Known appearances" character infobox fix?

Currently, "Known appearances" in the characters infobox is broken as for some pages, when the character's category serves as it's own info page. (e.g. Category:Red Spiders, Category:Sharks, Category:Squirrels, Category:Barrel etc.) Can this be fixed?--17jiangz1 (talk) 11:21, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Fixed it myself. Just use template "Infobox character 2" instead of "Infobox character" when the character's category serves as it's own info page.--17jiangz1 (talk) 14:55, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Comic 1505 (30 March 2015) isn't properly showing up, I think?

Excuse me if I'm being a n00b, but 1505 is posted, and the page is extant, but it's not showing on the Main Page yet. Is this supposed to happen, i.e. waiting for someone to put some content on the page, or did something break somewhere...? Again, sorry if I've just committed a massive derp. 04:38, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Should be showing up now. Davidy²²[talk] 09:38, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

rendering problem ?

To me, right now, with Windows Firefox 37.0.1, 625: Collections looks like this:

communityportal technical 1504 collections.png

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the source text.

Here's the Main Page in Internet Explorer 8:

communityportal technical 1504 mainpage.png

This is affecting everything? Or just me? Pesthouse (talk) 03:31, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Okay, somebody was messing with Template:w. I reverted it to the previous editor's version, seemed to fix things. Pesthouse (talk) 03:46, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

On that note, they made a similar template that links to rationalwiki, but didn't use it at all in any pages. Huh. It's not even a very significant site. Davidy²²[talk] 05:52, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
The IP preferred the Rationalwiki article on Poe's Law to the Wikipedia version, I guess.
User:452 did not approve. Pesthouse (talk) 07:57, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Given the fact that he broke Template:W, and didn't seem to know what he was doing, I undid his other edits, sorry if this was inappropriate. -452 (talk) 17:51, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Main Page

When categories are added to the latest comic, the Main Page is also categorized in those categories.--17jiangz1 (talk) 13:42, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

The most obvious solution would be to put the categories inside <noinclude> tags, on every page. -- 143 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
That's ugly and labor-intensive though. I think there's something we can do with string matching to fix it in a better way. Davidy²²[talk] 03:35, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

#cscore doesn't work with #expr

I can't use cscore with expr on my userpage.--Forrest (talk)10:30, 01 May 2015 (UTC)

1545 page severely broken?

The very tail end of the raw page source (using Internet Explorer) is


...and then stops, obviously unfulfilled. (I also snipped everything up until that unique-looking Redirection data, for brevity.)

Compare that with the equivalent snippet from an adjacent page:


...and then continues with a working rest of the page. (Also snipped, but this time both before and after. I've kept it short while imagining I've given enough to ID the precise breakpoint though.)

Same problem encountered when using "Next" link from 1544 or "Previous" link from 1546. Page http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/List_of_all_comics itself suffers the exact same error. (Last wgVariable listed in LoaC page is "wgSearchNamespaces":[0], instead, but still similarly ends after apparently the same close-script and open-script flagging point.)

Does not go wrong in Mozilla-based browsers also on this machine (Firefox, Seamonkey). Page sources for 1545 look exactly like the above 1544 snippet, as expected, with no obvious funny characters or 'Little Bobby Tables' anomalies, SFAICT. In case it's a spurious downloading error that has ended up being cached, I've also "shift-refreshed" in my browser to force download.

Utterly Baffling me, but FYI in case it's something someone needs to know about, although I'm hoping it's just local strangeness and not anything actually of significance. 04:33, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Opened in Internet Explorer 11, it seems to appear for me. Are any site features being impacted by this bug? Davidy²²[talk] 15:44, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Nothing I was previously familiar enough with to spot an adverse effect. Note that http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1545:_Strengths_and_Weaknesses - the link I tried to get from the LoaC page (but only just now tried in non-IE!) works perfectly. Even while the "/1545" (i.e. 'RedirectedFrom') version of the page continues to be truncated. I can only assume that (despite attempts to force things anew), it's buggily-cached iteration.
Hang on, that gives me an idea. Which works. I changed the 1545 page (change labelled as "Troubleshooting" in history) and... it opens perfectly. Removed change (should probably have self-reverted, in hindesight, but suspect it'd be fixed anyway) and no further issue. "List of all Comics" page still as broken (because I haven't forced it to update, and am not inclined to 'interfere' with it), but I shall check again after 1547 forces its own changes upon it. Otherwise, consider this closed. Sorry to bother you.
TL;DR; problem solved. Pretty much proven to be not even a site issue, I now think. 21:38, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Ok, FYI, once 1547 'Solar System Questions' finally appeared, I check "List of all comics" page. First of all a lot of "Waiting for page..." (uh oh), but then force-refreshed page (in the way that didn't work previously) and it loaded correctly. C'est finis. 15:02, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

881 loads as "database error"

With this content: Database error A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: (SQL query hidden) from within function "SqlBagOStuff::set". Database returned error "1114: The table 'objectcache' is full (db423085716.db.1and1.com)".

No other page gives me this error, just 881.-- 19:42, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

I just got this on 564 22:44, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Database error

I can't see Category:Interactive_comics (1114: The table 'objectcache' is full (db423085716.db.1and1.com)). 00:18, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

RSS missing

Hey it looks like there's an issue with the rss feed, when you browse to the url on the right it just displays an empty page, not sure what's going on. Eluvatar (talk) 14:19, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Huh, in the last few hours the rss file was inexplicably wiped. I've restored the base of it, the bot should start populating the feed with new comics, but old ones are gone. Davidy²²[talk] 16:49, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Extra Comics

In extra comics, the header of the comic has "Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "{"." such as in The Rise of Open Access. Forrest (talk)13:32, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

 Done - It was because 0 was created, so the logic that #ifexist:0 should be false failed. I changed it to default to -2 when number is not present, which will work as long as no one creates -1! Mark Hurd (talk) 11:15, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Explanations for all -4 comics!

The main page header now contains this text:

We have an explanation for all -4 xkcd comics, and only 23 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

I'm assuming this is a bug. -- Okofish (talk) 01:00, 15 September 2015 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

 Done It was a temporary artifact due to recent categorization changes. It's now fixed. Thanks for the quick report :) --Waldir (talk) 01:14, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Discussion pane missing on comic 1592?

After checking the Discussion tab to make sure there was a Discussion, I thought that someone had removed the {{comic discussion}} tag, and went into full-page edit to put it back. But it's there. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just temporary, but FYI in case it isn't. 15:06, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

Fixed. --SlashMe (talk) 16:21, 19 October 2015 (UTC)


Captcha not appearing at all. Can't edit pages without turning off security settings (which were set to default). Chrome and "Edge" on Windows 10. Both yell at me about some components of the page being insecure. 15:48, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Same issue with other browsers. reCAPTCHA won't load from an "insecure" resource when the wiki is accessed over HTTPS. TisTheAlmondTavern 15:07, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Oooh, I see. Alright, I'll get to fixing it now I know what the problem is. Davidy²²[talk] 01:00, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Slight bug in the editing panel, when asked what webcomic we're talking about, it cannot be in all caps, it must be strict lowercase, despite appearances on xkcd.com. Could someone take a look at it? 00:54, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

It took me several months to figure out that "this wiki" is named "explain xkcd" and not "explainxkcd". I spent those months answering two questions every time the "what's this wiki's name" question appeared (when I missed the answer, a different question appeared).--Jojonete (talk) 09:06, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
I was sure both answers were correct, but never attempted to type explainxkcd, just in case. 12:44, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

wiki server clock has drifted - about 13 minutes fast

As I type this, it is exactly 07:42:45 UTC. Pesthouse (talk) 07:55, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

And thus timestamps here are 12 or 13 minutes off. Pesthouse (talk) 07:59, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

I see the same thing: 15:41:00 UTC now.... Nealmcb (talk) 15:54, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Huh. I'll look into it, when I get back home. Davidy²²[talk] 23:19, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Currently it's 20 minutes fast. It's 21:00 UTC and it shows 21:20 (UTC). Xhfz (talk) 21:20, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Sorry bout the delay, was busy for a long bit, should be fixed now. Davidy²²[talk] 21:44, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Currently it's 8 minutes fast. It's 20:56:00 UTC and it shows 21:03 UTC. 21:03, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

do we not have ntp on the server or something, gonna reset the clock again when i get back home. Davidy²²[talk] 00:33, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

Happening again: it's 11:33 UTC and the server has 11:48 UTC. 11:49, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

Fixed again, and I'm gonna have to check our NTP installation. 06:37, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
Alright, changed some things, this shouldn't happen anymore. Davidy²²[talk] 06:38, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

The clock is about 13-14 minutes off again. It's currently 13:49 UTC. –TisTheAlmondTavern, 13:36, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Discussion template resources apparently missing

As co-header (right-margin hugging text) to the Discussion section on all pages (or at least as many as I've just visited - and on multiple browsers, just in case...) I'm getting the following, with the <>-tags being my own descriptive additions:

<redlink>File:comment.png</redlink> <validlink>add a comment!</validlink> ⋅ <redlink>File:Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif</redlink> <validlink>refresh comments!Discussion</validlink>

Looks like the PNG and GIF files concerned have been removed, or the links in the Discussion template broken/incorrectly redirected.

(Sidenote: The character between the "add a comment!" and the "File: Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif" that I've copied here verbatim (so doubtless appears correctly for everyone else who reads this) is an 'I don't have this character on my machine' character, for me, which is obviously entirely my fault for not downloading additional fonts that I'd need. From cursory investigation, it appears to be essentially the same as "·", Alt-0183, or HTML code '&middot;', which would render on my machine and yet (if changed) shouldn't break on those where it currently works. For your consideration, but not as vital.) 06:30, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

ETA - Delving around further, Category:Pages with broken file links seems to indicate it is a widespread problem at server-side, and not somehow solely my own (except for the Sidenote issue!). And suggests a simple way to check that the issue is fixed (when suddenly the category is nowhere near as 'full'), and then discover any related ones that might need fixing (like the special Star Trek Into Darkness alternate version of the Discussion template). 06:57, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Huh. I have a feeling I know what caused this, I'll get right on it. Davidy²²[talk] 16:23, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
I've seen some more of these cases, e.g. on explain xkcd:Community portal. I think these images are from Wikimedia Commons, maybe that integration broke somehow? --SlashMe (talk) 16:33, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
i don't know what is even happening, the images seem to be fine now but they still show up as broken file links Davidy²²[talk] 02:04, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Update captcha text?

The text above the posting captcha says “type the two words” but reCaptcha often doesn't use two, and they're often not words. Example: http://i.imgur.com/TdM5n5O.png

Maybe we could change it to something like “type the text”?

P1h3r1e3d13 (talk) 23:44, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

So, the reCAPTCHA captchas are entirely provided by Google. If there's an error in it, it's likely Google's fault and a bug report should be sent in that direction instead. Davidy²²[talk] 00:23, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
I noticed that before. It's not a bug in recaptcha, but rather in ConfirmEdit, file ReCaptcha/i18n/en.json to be exact. --
Oh huh, hadn't thought of that. I'll fix that up then. Davidy²²[talk] 19:45, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Stylesheets not working?

It doesn't look like any of the site's CSS is loading for me. I have tried purging, adding useskins to the URL, and clearing my browser's cache, and webpage content remains in Times New Roman with no special styling. Headers and bold spans of text are bold, list items are bulleted, buttons are button-y, templates and my signature display with HTML-style-attribute-level CSS, and so on, but that's the extent of it. Is this a belated April Fools' joke, or has something gone horribly wrong between the servers and my eyes? ~AgentMuffin

I made a similar post earlier -- it seems to have vanished down a black hole. I linked these screenshots: [4] [5]
Note that there are no ads either! This could get to problem-level very fast. KangaroOS 01:28, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
There are actually still ads, they're just shoved right at the bottom of the page. mysqld is clocking in at 40% cpu load, and mediawiki seems to be going into fallback mode and skipping stylesheets which is about what I'd expect from an april fools comic. Davidy²²[talk] 01:31, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Ah, figured it was some sort of server overslow. For a while there I was getting a 503 error. KangaroOS 01:36, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, perhaps you don't need another note about this, but I noted the 'stylesheetless' appearance myself, just now. Except that it is styled, partially. (When I choose to view by Style "No style", it's even more not-Styled!) Could be because a subset of styles aren't being loaded (so that the ones that are still loaded can only be identified from their enforced absence), but looks like you have this as much in hand as can be expected, so just FYI... 04:13, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Have you tried switching the server off and back on ? ;-) Jokes apart, are there really so many users continuously polling ? It could be just a case of stale open connections. Really, a reboot might not hurt (although it may kill-off few sessions and you may get some angry posts, but at this point, it might be worth the try) Edit: Sorry, I was messing up the formatting while replying. I'm trying to fix it. But at this point, does it really matter? :P 04:21, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Alright guys, still having trouble with the load, but I've put a quick temporary hack in place to get the css working again for now. Fonts are a little off, I'll deal with that soon. Davidy²²[talk] 08:09, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Did a little more work on things, styles should be working again but it's not great on the back end. I'm going to do some rooting around to see what went wrong. Davidy²²[talk] 00:07, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
Cool.. This is pretty good. We're almost there.. The only things I can notice that are off are - (1) Category list at the end of the page (2) Contents block at the beginning of the page and (3) Edit buttons for individual sections. By the way, I'm curious, what exactly was broken ? I didn't expect you'd have to fix things here. I expected that since the issue was caused by excess server load, it would return back to normalcy automatically once things settle down a bit in couple of days after the offending comic was more or less explained. 03:32, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
A script responsible for picking user preferences and integrating css from pages like Mediawiki:common.css was failing to complete because of server load, so I gave it a helping hand and just had it insert a static stylesheet instead. I almost certainly missed a few spots though, because the wiki does not look right. Davidy²²[talk] 04:43, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

(resetting indent) Yes, things are still off. The text "Jump to: navigation, search" is at the top of every page, but it's useless because it links to stuff already at the top of the page. Edit summaries aren't italicized, the edit boxes don't use the whole window width, links are underlined, section edit links are too big, etc. I put the Wayback Machine to good use, and found the below set of archived pages, all using the proper style. Compare them with the current appearances of the pages, and you should see most, if not all, of the issues I've seen.
Main Page | My contributions | The "edit" page for comic 1486 --NealCruco (talk) 21:50, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

Is here nothing to be done about the missing styles? The tables still look horrible and there is not help when editing, for instance for signature etc. Colapsing of tables etc. also won't work which is a mess for some of the long explanations and tables Kynde (talk) 11:56, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

HotCat also seems to be not working for adding categories. Forrest (talk)13:18, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, load.php is failing so all gadgets and user scripts are unavailable. :-( Mark Hurd (talk) 14:42, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
Alright, figured it out. It was a deal with file permissions, not sure how those got changed on April 1st. Davidy²²[talk] 18:59, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Comic navigation buttons

You know, the buttons that look like the ones on the xkcd site. Shouldn't they also highlight like the xkcd site? I thought maybe it was due to the above CSS issue, but the links to archive.org make it seem like it's just never worked.

It just seems to me that, if we're going to go that far in mimicking the actual buttons, we should probably also mimic their a:hover settings. Shut off the box shadow, change the background to white, and the link color to #6E7B91.

I've tested the following CSS, and it appears to work:

li.plainlinks:hover, .no-link-underline > li:hover {
 	background-color: #FFF !important;
	box-shadow: none !important;
	-moz-box-shadow: none !important;
	-webkit-box-shadow: none !important; 
li.plainlinks:hover > a > span, .no-link-underline > li:hover > a > span {
	color: #6E7B91 !important; 

Trlkly (talk) 09:14, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Seems like a decent addition. Thanks! Davidy²²[talk] 18:52, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Captcha trouble

For about an hour, I wasn't able to edit a page or create an account when I was trying to, because the captcha was missing. I'm not sure if it was problem on this site or captcha but I thought I'd mention it. --Anqied (talk) 08:34, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Recaptcha appears to work for me currently. Does it work now? It seems like they may have just gone down temporarily. Davidy²²[talk] 20:52, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm not certain this is the same issue, but I was just having a problem with the captcha for unregistered users trying to edit a page. I figured out that it's because you were trying to serve the captcha through HTTP even though the page was on HTTPS, so my browser was blocking the captcha. Changing to HTTP "fixed" the issue, but that shouldn't be the solution. 16:45, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

wrong IP

My edition was attributed to, whereas my real address is according to [6]. Wikimedia sites (Wikipedias, Wiktionaries...) recognize my IP address properly. Someting strange is going on here. 22:40, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Just a heads up that your website is incorrectly identifying the IP address of visitors as being from the CloudFlare server that is serving the page content to them. It would be best practice if you could explicitly look for the field "REMOTE_ADDR" rather than "X-FORWARDED-FOR" as the former is unaffected by the use of intermediate proxies. PS My IP address should begin with 131.111. IP addresses beginning with 141.101 belong to Cloudflare London. 21:08, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

  • FYI I just created this account and the "email address confirmation" email I received said the account was created by a Cloudflare IP (, not my own. ExcarnateSojourner (talk) 15:09, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

Captcha does not appear

I am not a registered user (I just haven't bothered to make an account), so I have to complete a Captcha before saving any of my edits. However, I've found numerous times that the captcha does not show up when I hit [Save page]. The line of text introducing it ("To help protect against automated edit spam, please type the word you see in the box below:") shows up, but the no actual captcha and thus no saved edits. Is this a known issue with Chrome? I managed to circumvent it by using IE (I assure you, it was the only other browser available), but I would much prefer to be able to edit explain xkcd pages in Chrome, my usual browser. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What plugins do you have installed on chrome? Do you have Javascript enabled? I'll see what can be done if you have them off. Davidy²²[talk] 20:45, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I just figured out the problem and successfully edited a page. I too tried IE after Chrome but still encountered the issue... to my consternation I noticed a new icon in the address-bar, 'Blocked content'. (Apparently recaptcha is treated similarly to a pop-up.) Interacting with this new button made the captcha appear. I am in Chrome adding this comment, and after finding the similarly-functioning/corresponding button here, all is well 18:39, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Hmph, I am likely a completely different user from the foregoing, but our IP addresses are similar and both reported as from Cloudflare in TX. 18:42, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
I would like to address this and also point out this is the only site where I've run into this problem; other wiki-based sites can load captcha fine. According to Chrome it's blocked because it's an "unsafe script". 08:54, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Wanted files

Special:WantedFiles: 41 file is linked but nonexistent.

Some on talk pages, user pages and project pages, but here is a list of those in main namespace:

  1. File:Apatosaurus scale mmartyniuk wiki.png
  2. File:Apidae - Eucera sp. (male).JPG
  3. File:Louisae.jpg
  4. File:Wet kookaburra 6674 Crop Edit.jpg
  5. File:MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.jpg
  6. File:Bee orchids, Aller Brook Local Nature Reserve - geograph.org.uk - 833516.jpg
  7. File:Synhalonia nest 1.jpg
  8. File:Butterfly Voters View.jpg
  9. File:Fusca estacionado.jpg
  10. File:Ophrys apifera flower1.jpg
  11. File:Galilean moon Laplace resonance animation.gif
  12. File:PalmCellTower.jpg
  13. File:746 telephone in red.JPG
  14. File:Candidate Higgs Events in ATLAS and CMS.png
  15. File:Tommy Wiseau.jpg
  16. File:Google maps auto.jpg
  17. File:Velociraptor dinoguy2.jpg
  18. File:Acrocanthosaurus skeleton (1).jpg
  19. File:Vraptor-scale.png
  20. File:Alces alces elan trophee chateau Tanlay.jpg
  21. File:DBCooper.jpg
  22. File:Rick Astley - Pepsifest 2009.jpg
  23. File:Anonymous emblem.svg
  24. File:Eas new.svg
  25. File:John Cage and Michael Bach in Assissi 1992.jpg

I could not find why they were deleted and it's hard for me to argue for their presence in the articles. Being a newbie here, I would like to ask those who knows better to either undelete files, or upload them again, or delete file mentions from the explanations. Thanks --Ата (talk) 15:47, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

I tend to clean up after myself, don't recognise these file names. I believe these happen when files get moved, feel free to cut dead file links wherever you find them if you find them unnecessary.Davidy²²[talk] 02:38, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

827/1721: Business Idea

See 1721#Trivia. Randall has accidentally named both 1721 and 827 "Business Idea". He fixed it by renaming 827 to "My Business Idea". I tried to reproduce by renaming the file and wiki page for 827, but it now shows the old comic on both pages. Maybe CloudFlare caching? And idea (that's not a business idea) to fix this? --SlashMe (talk)

Cloudflare takes a little time to update changes to an image. For immediate results, you can create an image under a different name and use that while you wait for the old one to update. Otherwise, it should update within a few hours. Is it good for you now? Davidy²²[talk] 14:48, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it was resolved after a few hours. --SlashMe (talk) 20:25, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Mobile CSS

I've accessed this Wiki on my mobile device more often than previously and I couldn't find any discussion about this. Honestly, 50% of the reasons I'm adding this topic is about the discussion, the rest is about making it easier for people with narrower screens. I understand that I am a new member on this Wiki and that altering Mediawiki:Common.css has site-wide effects (and I'm sure that there are some templates that won't agree with some of the options we have, even some tables, such as the one on 893: 65 Years#Trivia, will break a very narrow design).

OK. Let me just ramble on about this, then. =) There are some obvious (but not necessarily easier) options for mobile devices. MediaWiki lists a few Skins and Extensions. Not having ever had access to a Wiki's server, I have no idea how nerve-racking that is (or if it even makes sense for this Wiki). Even more obvious to some - and even harder to implement - is a mobile app (that I wouldn't use anyway).

So, to bridge the time until maybe something more effective comes along, we could try to add some CSS ourselves. I'm no expert. But here are my thoughts.

  • This is about all devices with narrow screens, not just phones. Let's say anything under 600px width is considered narrow.
  • Most obviously, the font size should be affected. This has negative consequences for anything with fixed font size. And anything we forget. Basically, the sidebar, the search and anything else on top of each page can be massively smaller depending on the screen and fixing that won't be as easy.
  • Of course we could disregard the sidebar, or rather, push it to the bottom (which is easy, it's artificially placed on the left instead of the bottom). There are a number of reasons why a lot of people wouldn't want that. One of those reasons is that the ads would basically disappear for anyone who doesn't scroll down. We would have to figure out where else we can put it, on the top maybe. On the plus side, we could have the entire width of the screen just for the article.
  • Another thing that breaks the design regularly: comic images. We could make them fit. The navigation might be more challenging.
  • There's a whole lot of paddings and margins to get rid of.
  • Maybe make the search box a lot bigger?

A short snippet for the comic images and for the font:

@media handheld,screen and (max-width: 600px),screen and (max-device-width: 600px){ /* because some mobile browsers like to work with a higher resolution than the resolution of the screen */

font-size:initial; /* resetting font to full size */

td > img{ /* maybe add a class for the table in Template:comic */
max-width:100%; /* make image fit into box */


I don't know... What do you think? Oh, also, Mediawiki says this can be added to Mediawiki:Mobile.css but I guess that is for extensions? We'd probably have to add that to Mediawiki:Common.css if we ever want to add it. Ret Samys (talk) 16:21, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Getting on a plane soon, but I'll take a look at this when I get off and get moved in again. Davidy²²[talk] 14:07, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

HTTPS Links Back to XKCD Interfere with Random Button

(I've moved this from "Proposals" to here, now realising this is the proper location.)

The Links back to the comics that are present just above the comic itself on the wiki pages (and adjacent to the next and previous links) provides an HTTPS link back to XKCD. However, this interferes with users who want to click that link, and then click random - because c.xkcd.com does NOT support HTTPS, and thus clicking random after returning to xkcd from explainxkcd via the button on a comic's article does not work. These links should be switched back to HTTP.

--9000 volts (talk) 22:53, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

What makes you suspect c.xkcd.com does not support SSL? It features a perfectly valid wildcard certificate from GeoTrust (currently valid from Dec 14 00:00:00 2016 GMT, so it should already have affected you), although it's different from the multi-site certificate from Fastly used on the comic and what-if.xkcd.com and, yet again, different from the Let's Encrypt ones used on the blag and store.
On the other hand, there is a compelling argument for HTTP links: Most interactive comics break with HTTPS. –TisTheAlmondTavern, 14:19, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
I can't reproduce the issue with random comics, but the benefits of using SSL for links to a site that stores no user data probably don't outweigh the issues that some people seem to be having. Changed. Davidy²²[talk] 22:34, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

"Retry for a live version" and stuff not responding

Every now and then, I'd just be browsing around the site, then all of a sudden I'd run into an issue with it saying that there was an error with the explainxkcd.com host and that I would need to wait for the servers to restart. This is happening rather often for me, but goes away quickly. Sometimes, it happens on my own wiki pages too... weird. Other times, things would just freeze. Is it something on my end, or is it with the site? --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 14:05, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Support for timezones?

I live in the timezone PST, and because of that, the clock seems to be ahead of my time by about 7 hours and 40 minutes. Can someone add support for different timezones? For example, at my time of posting, it is 7:56 PM on March 8, 2017. The time the wiki thinks it is is shown on my signature: 625571b7-aa66-4f98-ac5c-92464cfb4ed8 (talk) 03:40, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

You can actually set your own time zone. Go to Preferences->Date and Time, and there should be a time offset option for you to pick your time zone. Davidy²²[talk] 07:36, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
The thing is, I do have my time zone set to PST, but on the wiki it is still showing up as the wrong time. 625571b7-aa66-4f98-ac5c-92464cfb4ed8 (talk) 15:24, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh, the timestamps recorded in signatures are in UTC for everyone. That doesn't change, because it makes it easier to follow the timeline of a conversation in a talk page. Davidy²²[talk] 17:24, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Uhhh, the timestamp isn't UTC at all. My latest BOT upload was 06:02, 8 March 2017 CET or 05:02, 8 March 2017 UTC and it is recorded here as 04:45, 8 March 2017. So we still have an offset 17 minutes to the past. That's an old problem.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:33, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
It is UTC, server inaccuracy doesn't change the time zone, it just makes it inaccurate. Davidy²²[talk] 19:13, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
And even if you don't like me for this: The server time is currently UTC-00:17 and not UTC. This odd offset confuses users. But I know nobody can change this.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:36, 9 March 2017 (UTC)


I tried to reset my password today, but there is a problem with your mail-server: The sender-adress of your password-reset-mail is [email protected], but the (sub-)domain vps.explainxkcd.com does not exists, and so the eMail is rejected by my mail-server (and most others too). Could that please be fixed? Thank you very much. --DaB.

When did InstantCommons get disabled?

I was just about to add some photos of the ISS transiting the sun to today's explanation, but saw that it's no longer possible to just enter the names of Wikimedia Commons photos and for them to render. I know of at least one explanation—1400—that previously had such images, but now just has redlinks. I presume that at some point someone must have disabled $wgUseInstantCommons in the config settings. May I ask what the reason for that was? And is there any chance that that could be reverted? Obviously there aren't a lot of articles where it makes sense to have Commons images up, but IMHO it's a useful feature to have for the rare occasion where it makes sense, like with today's comic. PinkAmpersand (talk) 21:20, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Solved. You now can embed pictures from Commons like local files. The link [[File:DBCooper.jpg|thumb|Cooper]] shows the picture from Commons because it doesn't exist here. There is no need to use a template. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:57, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia template stopped working

Some time ago the template used for links to Wikipedia stopped working correctly. If you see here link to Halloween on Wikipedia, it works again: Halloween. --JakubNarebski (talk) 22:21, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

Known issue, there's currently an anon doing boring vandalism. -- 22:37, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

CAPTCHA does not work for HTTPS visitors

I am a fervent believer in encrypting everything (I am the crypto nut in 1269: Privacy Opinions), and have configured the NoScript plugin to force the use of HTTPS instead of HTTP for all sites that aren't on a special list in my configs. Hence, I tend to visit sites on HTTPS that most people visit on unencrypted HTTP, discovering all the bugs in people's HTTPS implementations in the process...and this site is not exempt from the bugfinding.

In order to edit pages, you need to enter a CAPTCHA. However, the script that makes this captcha work is fetched from Google over unencrypted http (the src tag in the script specifies http: not https:). When I visit this site over HTTPS, the use of active content served over unencrypted HTTP onto an encrypted page causes Firefox to have a spasm and block the script. Since Google fully supports HTTPS, the script's src tag should just be changed to say https: instead of http:, and that SHOULD fix it. Better yet, omit the protocol at all, and do something like:

src="//www.google.com/recaptcha/(rest of url)"

Most modern browsers will interpret that as "fetch www.google.com/recaptcha/(rest of url) over the same protocol used to serve this page."

(Sadly, NoScript is not smart enough to fix this by itself and just change the script's src to https: client-side...) 11:12, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

The CAPTCHA also doesn't work for https while using Chrome. 01 September 2017

Deprecation of reCAPTCHA v1

The wiki currently uses reCAPTCHA v1 to validate users as human, which beginning in November will show public deprecation notices and stop working altogether on March 31, 2018.

Are there already plans to migrate to reCAPTCHA v2 or a different CAPTCHA algorithm? –TisTheAlmondTavern (talk) 20:05, 31 October 2017 (UTC) (wiki clock is several minutes late again, BTW)

I do intend to update the CAPTCHA, I got the email notice from Google. I've been away from the site for longer than I'd like, been busy but it looks like a bunch of stuff has piled up while I was gone. I'll try to fix what I can with the time I have. Davidy²²[talk] 03:38, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Any update on this? It has <6 weeks of life left, and the user messaging has just got angrier. 09:22, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
10 days left. I wonder what happens then. Right now, it just says "V1 SHUTDOWN ON 2018-03-31" and expects me to type it as an answer. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
You can hit the refresh button and it will display an actual catch. 4 days before they shut it down. TheMageKing (talk) 12:22, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

Either the kludge of simply typing the message about shutdown still works, or the Captcha system is just not working: I'm not autoconfirmed here but I was able to edit today, 9 days after v1 presumably went "poof". Yngvadottir (talk) 18:12, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

The new reCAPTCHA v2 is now online. I apologize for the delay but many updates were required and I tried to keep the server downtime as short as possible. Dgbrt (talk) 12:53, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

RSS bot stopped?

The master RSS feed only goes up to 1912, although the wiki is already up to 1914. -- 11:20, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, been busy, the feed should be up and running again. Davidy²²[talk] 03:38, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Captcha doesn't work on my browser

I can't make any edits to the comic pages because the captcha simply doesn't appear when I'm trying to edit the comic pages. -- WilliamBrennan (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please check your add blockers and activate JavaScript. Dgbrt (talk) 12:53, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

Hi & Thanks heaps! I finally created an account after years of pleasurable & enlightening explanations. It took me over 5 minutes to get past the Captcha, and I've seen a few in the last week registering for sites such as XDA-developers and the like. Not sure how it all works but it feels like it's set to "ultra-difficult" or some-such...and this is the place where things are *easy* for *stupid people* like me ;) Cheers & thanks again -- Munchywok (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The Captcha is from Google (Big Brother...) and based on an sophisticated software in which you sometimes even don't have to solve it at all when it is convinced that you are a human. But it depends on your browser installation, especially your add ons. My best experience is using Google Chrome without any extensions. Firefox with extensions is the hell. --Dgbrt (talk) 09:25, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

New High Resolution comics

I've noticed Randall has been making the comics higher resolution to look good on HiDPI/Retina displays. But the copies on ExplainXKCD are the old low resolution copies.

Perhaps we'll have to go through at some point and update these? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I am aware of this. Randall started to provide two different resolutions at standard comics more than a year ago, and he also provides the larger resolutions to older comics since than. Technically the image tag provides links to two pictures and the browser decides based on the screen resolution what is shown. Since this wiki is now at the latest version the use of $wgResponsiveImages may be possible. But this has to be tested first. Stay tuned... Dgbrt (talk) 12:53, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

Should the HTTP urls redirect to HTTPS?

Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but shouldn't the HTTP urls be redirecting to HTTPS? Right now, the HTTP and HTTPS endpoints seem to have different login states, which is possibly confusing. I was stumped for a long time on why I couldn't login to my account, because I kept getting the error message "There seems to be a problem with your login session; this action has been canceled as a precaution against session hijacking. Go back to the previous page, reload that page and then try again." And then I noticed the "Use secure connection" button, and when I clicked it, it took me to the HTTPS site where I was already logged in! But even now, if I go to an HTTP url, I'm still logged out there. Ahiijny (talk) 00:43, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

Of course HTTP and HTTPS are different endpoints. Login via HTTPS and your credentials are encrypted and this will be never converted into plain text for HTTP. And I just successfully tested both connections with Google Chrome. Maybe we should redirect always to HTTPS like xkcd does, right now it's just your choice. --Dgbrt (talk) 14:46, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I see. If I log in from the HTTP site, I'm logged in on both the HTTP and HTTPS sites. But if I login from the HTTPS site, then I'm only logged in on the HTTPS site, and not on the HTTP site. Furthermore, if I'm logged into the HTTPS site and I try to login from the HTTP site, I get the error message that I quote from above. Fair enough.
I guess one contribution to my confusion was the fact that the HTTPS site doesn't have the green padlock in Chrome. That would have made the difference between the HTTPS and HTTP site a bit more obvious. (I rarely type in the entire URL directly; I usually just let the Chrome address bar autocomplete do its job... and unfortunately that autocomplete takes me to the HTTP site, and I keep forgetting about that.) Right now, on any HTTPS page here, Chrome still says that it's insecure: "Attackers might be able to see the images you're looking at on this site and trick you by modifying them." Firefox says something similar: "Parts of this page are not secure (such as images)." Perhaps someone should look into that? (I think it might be the ad image.) Ahiijny (talk) 03:09, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your remarks. I'm aware of this but the site isn't insecure, only a few local images and some from wikimedia are hard coded to a http link. It's not much so I'll fix it soon.
In general every http request should be redirected to https, but that's not trivial at our current environment. --Dgbrt (talk) 14:35, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
It took some time to find all the places of hard coded images via http (insecure) but now you should see the green secure remark in your browser when logging in via https. --Dgbrt (talk) 13:50, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
in my holy opinion at least the login page should only be served securely. people are notoriously bad at not-reusing-passwords. //gir.st/ (talk) 12:23, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Just noting that basically every major site out there redirects from HTTP to HTTPS (including http://en.wikipedia.com, http://xkcd.com, http://stackoverflow.com, and even other wiki communities like http://wiki.puella-magi.net, http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Touhou_Wiki, and http://wiki.documentfoundation.org). So it would really cool if we could get that redirect action happening on this site, too :) I was browsing the site today and I was just struck once again by how odd it was that I wasn't logged in, until I remembered that I was on the HTTP site, not the HTTPS site. A real user experience annoyance, if you ask me. Ahiijny (talk) 21:34, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Of course you're right. I still have other issues but this will be done soon. Stay tuned... --Dgbrt (talk) 19:08, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

Captcha too picky

I just had to solve the "select all street signs" Captcha at least 10 times in a row. I never know when/whether to include slivers, backs of signs, sign posts, walk/wait lights. Captcha already doesn't follow my definition of street sign (I only call the sign that has the street name a "street sign", but I realize what I call "road signs," Captcha also calls "street signs" and I can adjust for that. But I haven't figured out the other issue yet, and I suspect Captcha is dinging me on choosing slivers. But that's only a guess, since it never tells you what you got wrong, it just gives you another Captcha. -- Thisisnotatest (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My advice is installing Google Chrome and it works fine. Since that Captcha software is also from Google (Big Brother...) I believe that's on purpose. Firefox is the hell as you described; I'm not sure how it works at MS IE/Edge. In general you have to select not less than three and not more than four squares. But on Firefox, even when it seems definitely to be correct, the chance of getting an error message is more than 80%. You probably use FF. Nonetheless right now there are no other adequate Captcha tools supported by Mediawiki, the software this Wiki runs on. --Dgbrt (talk) 12:57, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
I second this. Big Brother's Captchas on Firefox are nearly unsolvable (granted, I'm browsing with JS off and blocking 3rd party cookies). And recaptcha requires 1) JavaScript and 2) a connection to google. //gir.st/ (talk) 12:23, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Cannot create a user page

i have tried to make a user page for myself and cannot seem to do it, i'm sorry if this has been addressed already, but i couldn't find it. User: Nintendo Mc (talk) 13:07, 28 September 2018 (UTC)

New user don't have the rights. Do some more edits and wait a few days until you can create new pages. Your user page is created by me for now. --Dgbrt (talk) 15:00, 28 September 2018 (UTC)
Good Question! is there some place that everyone [who is cool] can find, that explains how many edits one has to do (and/or, how long one has to wait) in order to cause the
[...] but you do not have permission to create this page.
[error] message to ... "no longer" appear, when some limitation or rule is no longer blocking or "preventing" allowing creation -- by that user -- of his own "User:" page? (OR ... of her own "User talk:" page?)
I have done very few edits here, but ... a couple of them were almost 3 years ago.
For what it's worth (FWIW), I did not plan to say much on my "User:" page here. Probably something like:
This user is not a frequent flyer here on this Wiki (at "explainxkcd"); ...but he has done a 4-digit number of edits on other Wikis ...mainly English Wikipedia ("See also" his "User:" page there.)
Any comments? Thanks for listening. --Mike Schwartz (talk) 07:43, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
According to here and explain xkcd:Autoconfirmed users, you need to accumulate 10 edits (as well as your account being active for at least 3? or 7? days), then you become an "autoconfirmed user" and gain the right to create pages. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 02:09, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Accessibility issues

[First post - hello, everyone!]

I have 15 years of experience of using MediaWiki, and have been heavily involved in some of the accessibility work on Wikipedia.

When we use colons (:), semicolons (;), and asterisks (*) to indent dialogue, discussions, etc we actually cause MediaWiki to generate HTML lists.

If we leave a bank line between indented lines/ paragraphs, we cause the start of a new HTML list.

Since the start of each list is read out by the kind of software used by (for example) people with severe visual impairments, this generates barrier to their use of the site.

The solution is to not leave blank lines; to always indent replies by just one step; and to maintain consistency in the type of character used.

You can see examples and more explanation at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility#Lists

Please consider adopting Wikipedia's recommended best practice for such lists, on this site. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:20, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for your input and welcome here. At first you should know that this Wiki doesn't follow every Wikipedia standard, but there is a --relatively new-- FAQ and we should talk at that discussion page about any enhancements. And please consider to keep it short, a typical editor here isn't a Wikipedean and doesn't read tons of manuals.
There are many ugly layouts here, most written before the FAQ did exist, but when I and others see them the explanation or transcript gets an incomplete tag for that reason. And the biggest problem in the past was the use of overwhelming tables.
BTW: Using a new-newline for each sentence isn't also a nice layout. Never mind... --Dgbrt (talk) 20:54, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

suggest adding info to pages

I see "Title text" here on explainxkcd, but not on the comic itself.

Eg. https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1313:_Regex_Golf shows "Title text: /bu|[rn]t|[coy]e|[mtg]a|j|iso|n[hl]|[ae]d|lev|sh|[lnd]i|[po]o|ls/ matches the last names of elected US presidents but not their opponents."

I don't see that anywhere on https://xkcd.com/1313/ Why not? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

First of all: Please sign your comments
Second: I am not sure this is the right place for such a question, so please do not wonder if someone removes it.
And finally: the "title text" can be seen by hovering the mouse over the image on the "regular" xkcd page. Here it is made more visible by mentioning beneath the picture additionally. More details can be found at the page about the title text :) https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/title_text Lupo (talk) 15:09, 12 November 2018 (UTC)

@Lupo, no honest comment will be removed here, even if it should be posted at the Miscellaneous section. @IP, the proper internal link is here: title text, and I see that this wiki needs a simple page to explain all the terms and characters used in a general short way. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:43, 12 November 2018 (UTC)

Mediawiki exception on some pages

I get the following MedaiWiki exception on some of the pages:

MediaWiki internal error.

Original exception: [0beebcc3efaec7ded86aea14] 2018-12-05 23:25:16: Fatal exception of type "MWException"

Exception caught inside exception handler.

Set $wgShowExceptionDetails = true; at the bottom of LocalSettings.php to show detailed debugging information.

See for example sites https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2034:_Equations or https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/User:Dgbrt

Sztupy (talk) 23:29, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Also having this. Seems to happen when “math” in Preferences-Appearance is set to “MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools)” DrMeepster (talk) 08:01, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
New error: If that math option is set to “Latex source” than an error relating to the page-ruining setting replaces any latex code: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension can not find Restbase URL. Please specify $wgMathFullRestbaseURL.") from server "invalid":): <LATEX CODE HERE> DrMeepster (talk) 07:50, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for my late reply. I will check and solve this issue soon, right now only the plain PNG image setting does work. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:15, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
The problem appears to not be solved. In addition to the above pages (which are still broken), I've noticed it on the following: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2292 and https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2311. The workaround of configuring my account to render math as PNG works, but someone with the knowledge and access to fix this needs to do so. Shamino (talk) 13:43, 3 June 2020 (UTC)

“All 2126 Comics have an Explanation”

There are 2127 comics, and the main page seems to update automagically, so I’m not sure what the issue is. “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 15:58, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

I think you posted this before the "new robot" comic came up? keep in mind that the number 404 is not linked to any comic. (There is an explain page for 404, but no comic 404. Therefore it is actually 1 comic less than you might think based on the number. On the other hand there are I think 2 or 3 additional special comics (not numbered), such as the latest entry to the 5 minute comic series, or the one about open source, etc. Lupo (talk)
I posted after it came up. I know about the unnumbered comics, so assumed they didn’t count, but I always forget about 404. Accounting for the non-comic, all seems right in the world. Thanks Lupo. “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 14:01, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Just checked and they just subtract 1 in the source code??????? “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 16:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)


Hi, I'm working on a project focused on docs, and wondered if there's some API or database I can access to pinch some of the tagging info from this site? Even something like Randall's /json.html data from each page would work. User:Toonarmycaptain (User talk:Toonarmycaptain forgot to sign this edit at 03:50, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Unwanted Link

In 1467: Email, there are two links in the title text that should be normal text. It has happened several times in other pages, and it's annoying. How do I change links like that into regular text? Herobrine (talk) 07:41, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean. Maybe it is a browser issue on your end? on my computer neither chrome nor internet explorer or edge interpret anything inside of "My New Year's resolution for 2014-54-12/30/14 Dec:12:1420001642 is to learn these stupid time formatting strings." as a link... Lupo (talk) 08:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Just checked. iPad misinterpreting part of them as phone numbers, appeared as link. Herobrine (talk) 09:29, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Captcha not working?

I've been experiencing some problems when trying to solve captcha when posting comments and topics. It's gotten much harder than before, I fail a lot more often, and occasionally, when I finish it, it reloads the page with an "Incorrect or Missing Captcha" error, and forces me to retry. Has anybody else experienced this problem? Am I the only one with Captcha issues? Has it been working properly in recent times? 18:40, 8 November 2019 (UTC)


The bot seems to have been down since December 13, 2019, and Dgbrt hasn't made a single edit since March, 2019. He hasn't responded to the comments in DgbrtBOT's talk page, either. Is there any way for an someone to contact him? Herobrine (talk) 13:12, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

The bot has resumed its extremely helpful work again this week, but no word yet on why it was MIA for a solid month. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 14:06, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Google seems to have changed something in AdSense again, and the ads have been appearing in random positions again since December, 2019. This page might have a solution? Herobrine (talk) 13:20, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

Links to xkcd pages sould be withoult "www." part

There is an issue with loading resources on pages, that are opened with "www." part in URL. For example commic 1975. If viewed from https://www.xkcd.com/1975/, comic is not interactive. On the other hand, https://xkcd.com/1975/ works like a charm.

Page failes to load resorces from https://xkcd.com/1975/alto/root with error caused by CORS policy:

  • Access to fetch at 'https://xkcd.com/1975/alto/root' from origin 'https://www.xkcd.com' has been blocked by CORS policy: No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. If an opaque response serves your needs, set the request's mode to 'no-cors' to fetch the resource with CORS disabled.

All links to commics in headers (button Comic #1975 (April 1, 2018)) include "www." part, for example this explanation: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1975:_Right_Click

IMO links in headers (buttons Comic #xxx (date)) should be updated to exclude "www." part.

Can't create my userpage

I just registered, and can't seem to edit/create my own userpage. I've been editing MediaWiki wikis for a very long time and it's currently part of my career, so I'm pretty sure I'm doing everything right. Is there a prerequisite number of edits or something before I can create my userpage? Equazcion (talk) 22:18, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

I do not know the answer to that, but ... if one of us finds out "sooner" than the other, then, let's "share" the answer. Yours might appear here, and mine ... might appear about eleven "sections" up, in this same "Technical" portal ... at the URL in the section "Cannot create a user page." (see the DIFF listing...)
Maybe I should have "seconded the motion" here, instead of adding my own question, -- which is very similar! -- to a different section, up there? Pardon me ... --Mike Schwartz (talk) 08:15, 7 April 2020 (UTC)
explain_xkcd:Community_portal/Admin_requests#Permission_request might help. AlChemist (talk) 11:06, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
Yes, according to that page, your account must be at least one week old, AND you must have made at least 10 edits. There's a new page, explain xkcd:Autoconfirmed users, which says it's three days (rather than one week) and 10 edits – after that, you become an "autoconfirmed user", and gain the right to create pages (among other things). – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 02:01, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

List of all comics incomplete/overflowing

The List of all comics and the full list are incomplete, stopping with 2289. Taking a look at List of all comics (full) nets that it belongs to the category 'Pages where template include size is exceeded', so I'm assuming it just hit the limit. I'm sadly not well versed in MediaWiki, so I have no idea what a workaround would look like

2138 page issues

This first came up when following a link from on of the other Code Quality pages.

when you go to https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2138:_Wanna_See_the_Code%3F you get a blank pag that says "No input file specified."

however when you go to https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2138 you get the actual page via redirect but when you reload the page it goes back to "No input file specified."

not sure what causes this but i tested in chrome (incognito mode to avoid extensions), old edge (not chromium) and chrome iOS via mobile data. all test had the same result.

sorry if this is the wrong place for this but not sure where else to put it. TomW1605 (talk) 14:44, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

This problem seems to be common to all comics ending with a question mark: 2236, 2138, 2065, 1841, 1205. My best guess is that the url is being interpreted as a query, but since there is nothing after the question mark this results in an error. Whether this is a new error or just hasn't been noticed before I don't know. Renaming the pages without the question mark could work, but would require every reference to these comics on the wiki to be updated. AlChemist (talk) 10:07, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
i think it is new, i recently (not sure when but after 2138 was released) went through the Code Quality series using the links and it worked fine then. i don't think it is being interpreted as a query because the question mark is encoded. i would amazed if it would still interpret this as a query because that would completely defeat the point of encoding the url in the first place. TomW1605 (talk) 09:35, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
here is a full list of broken pages: 58, 111, 259, 1205, 1705, 1841, 1913, 2065, 2138, 2236. i wrote a quick javascript to extract a full list of urls from List of all comics (full) (then added the recent ones manually, see above). then ran a python script to get the content of each page and check if it is broken (with a 2 sec delay to minimise server load) and saved the list if broken ones. TomW1605 (talk) 13:34, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
Note that you can view the comic by changing the URL from index.php/... to index.php?title=... (example). —Galaktos (talk) 13:03, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

"All comics" from left sidebar is not updating



Attention needed to some List pages

I just (mis)clicked on "All Comics", and thought it looked odd. DGBRTBot needs a prod, or something, given the current months-old state and commented prediction in https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=List_of_all_comics&action=history

(Oh, and the List of all comics (full), which I then checked has a redlinked Category of "Pages where template include size is exceeded" and seems to have been previously given a badly-included "...and everything before #501". Not sure if the first problem is easily solvable, but as I'm here I thought I'd mention it, and you could properly add 1-500 and 501-1000 to sort the Include Size issue, maybe?)

I could be way off-piste, but as it looks like nobody has noticed anything yet I thought I'd at least raise the issue, and then leave the fixing to someone with a bit more Wiki-Fu..? 20:48, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

For List of all comics, looks like DgbrtBOT is working again, and User:Btx40 already went back and added the missing entries, so that should be all good now.
For List of all comics (full), not sure if I correctly understand what you mean by "you could properly add 1-500 and 501-1000 to sort the Include Size issue"? But I think the "badly-included '...and everything before #501' " you mentioned wasn't so much badly-inluded – its code looked correct to me – rather, the inclusion makes the page so big that it causes the page to exceed the "template include-size" limit. See the following Wikipedia articles for more about how this "template include-size" limit works in MediaWiki:
So as a result of exceeding the limit, the parser excludes the template that caused the limit to be exceeded (i.e. it excludes the 1-500 list at the bottom of the page), so as to keep the page under the size limit; and instead of the actual content, the parser just inserts a link to the content. And it so happens that in this case, the content includes the control-characters for constructing the table rows – so because those control characters are excluded along with the content, then the link shows up in the last existing cell of the table, and appears to be badly-included.
I'm not sure how to fix it, but some options could be:
  • Somehow reduce the content of the page so that the full list of #1-to-#current doesn't exceed the limit.
    • Each "row" of the table produces about 700 characters in the resulting HTML; around 200 of that is the hidden "create" link (from Template:comicsrow) that I think would appear if the comic's page didn't exist yet. I would say that at this point, since all the comics already have pages, then that "create" link is only useful for the most recent comic, and could probably be omitted to significantly reduce the size of the page.
      • (Actually, it looks like DgbrtBOT might automatically create the page for each new comic, so the "create" link might not be needed at all anymore.)
    • There are some other elements that could be removed from each table row to save space, such as the title attributes of the links, etc.
    • Not sure if all of that would create enough headroom for the 1-500 list though?
  • Increase $wgMaxArticleSize on the server? (See here.)
    • Not sure of the risks of that; and in any case, it's only that one page that currently exceeds the limit, so may not be worth it.
For now, I've added a note to the page explaining that 1-500 are missing and why, and I've tweaked the bottom of the table to make the link to 1-500 a bit more presentable in the meantime.
Yfmcpxpj (talk) 06:41, 3 October 2020 (UTC)

Strange error—maybe edit conflict?

I happened to be looking at my edit history, and I noticed that something insane happened back in June: I made an edit to 2319: Large Number Formats, and it somehow combined my edit with someone else's. The entirety of my edit (as I crafted it) was confined to the article's categories; I added one and put the set in alphabetical order. But the edit, as it was logged, is a massive alteration, with all sorts of questionable changes. It was (rightly, I think) undone by Jkrstrt a couple days later. Did I somehow overlook an edit-conflict error and accept some (now anonymous) users edit? I can see myself making some kind of oversight at that time of night, but it seems antithetical to the wiki process to have an edit misattributed in this way. (I certainly don't like having that change connected with my name, but I also wonder how this intersects with important issues of public ownership integral to wiki communities.) I'd appreciate any insight fellow editors could provide. jameslucas (" " / +) 22:24, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

As I'm passing through, I shall note that I'm the IP that added the "(The 1971 transition[...]" paragraph you see 'added' there. It was actually part of a larger edite that was later (than my edit, earlier than yours) understandably removed for being irrelevent. During this 5-day-earlier revision. But I had absolutely nothing to do with pretty much every other change in your above-logged diff, SFAICS from a quick skim, so honestly don't know why it features there. But hope this info is useful. 23:05, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
That's actually quite helpful because it caused me to go look at older versions of the article. It looks like my edit a very early version as a starting point (thereby reverting all changes made later). My best guess is that I had gone back to an old version because Randall changed this comic after it was published and was trying to convince myself that I wasn't crazy. No, not crazy, but spacey. Wikipedia puts a big red warning across the page when you're ending an old version, and this wiki uses only a bit of bold text—that apparently wasn't enough to draw my attention. Thanks! jameslucas (" " / +) 01:33, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Unable to view "what if?" page

The link to the page for the what if? blog displays an error: "No input file specified." JBYoshi (talk) 03:38, 21 August 2020 (UTC)

This also happens to me on 1205: Is It Worth the Time? Must be something with the ?s in the titles. 15:46, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
I've noticed that as well. I made a page in my userspace that redirects to the what if page, and for some reason that seems to work. (here is the link to the page) Blue screen of life (talk) 20:09, 31 August 2020 (UTC)
I have also noticed this but it is not just on pages with questions marks. Both 259 and 1705 show the same thing. A full list (as of 22 June 2020) of the ones i found is in the last reply to my report found here #2138_page_issues TomW1605 (talk) 12:20, 22 September 2020 (UTC)
Both 259 and 1705 have an (e-with-accute-accent, Unicode U+00E9) in the URL, so for those pages, I wonder if that has anything to do with it?
For the "what if?" page, I had recently added a redirect from what if (blog) to get to it, and the What If disambiguation page has been updated with it, so at least we can get to it that way; and for the comic explanations, at least we can get to them by linking to their number-redirects (as 58 instead of 58: Why Do You Love Me?); but not sure how to fix it overall. At the following page, it suggests tweaking an Apache rewrite directive in .htaccess (or a CGI setting in PHP if it's running on IIS):
So maybe something about that has changed recently? Documentation:
Summarizing a few points from this related discussion:
  • Only one of the site's 10 administrators has made recent edits (SlashMe).
  • Neither of the site's 2 bureaucrats (Jeff and Lcarsos) have made any edits recently.
  • For admin access to the server itself, my limited understanding is that Jeff might actually own the server, but may have also given admin access to Dgbrt; however, neither of them have made edits recently.
But "most recent edit" might not be a good indicator, so I wonder of some of these folks are still involved in the project?
Yfmcpxpj (talk) 05:10, 29 September 2020 (UTC)
Looks like it happens for any page that has a percent-encoding in the title. PoolloverNathan[stalk the blue seas] 16:32, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Known broken pages

(Redirects work, whereas links to the actual page are broken.)

Title containing e-accute-accent:

Title ending with question mark:


I moved the what if? page to the what if (blog) page which I then changed to simply what if to fix this issue and because anyone new to this site would type that any way to see it.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 06:47, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Still trying to wrap my head around it – so just to summarize, we currently have:
For completeness, we also have...
...and the disambiguation page...
...and these troubleshooting pages from User:Blue screen of life:
Given that the actual content of the "what if?" article now lives at what if, I've started updating pages (except for Talk pages) to link directly there instead of the other redirect pages. All that's left to do are pages that link to the what if? redirect-page (which is broken). Its "What links here" special page is broken too, so it's difficult to find what pages link there – but now that it redirects to the what if page, you can see them indirectly from that page's "What links here" special page. These are the pages that still link there. There are still a lot of them to go.
Also, should the following redirect-pages be simplified to have them redirect straight to the new what if page, instead of redirecting through the intermediate what if? page (which itself redirects there anyway)?
Yfmcpxpj (talk) 17:20, 29 September 2020 (UTC)
Fixed the double redirects, don't ask me why we have so many pages for the same thing. PoolloverNathan[stalk the blue seas] 16:29, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Discussion not displaying with comic

I am using FireFox on a Win10 machine. When I come to the site I can see the comic, explanation and transcript. But the discussion section is hidden. Even when logged in.

Any ideas?

You say "when I come to the site". If the address bar says you are on Main_Page and you see the heading "Latest comic", then it's simply working as designed. Above the comic, click on "Go to this comic explanation" and you will see the comic plus discussion.
Also, Steve, please sign your comments every time, with four tildes. That expands into your user name and a timestamp. Like this -- JohnB (talk) 10:10, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Random page sometimes takes me to an invalid address

Sometimes, when clicking on "Random page" in the left sidebar, the site will be blank apart from the text "No input file specified. ".

An example of such an URL is: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/111:_Firefox_and_Witchcraft_-_The_Connection%3F

I've noticed this happens for all URLs to comics that end in a question mark (or possibly any special character). Interestingly, this doesn't happen if you go to the comic from the search bar. Danish (talk) 23:04, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Bug on the main page

Bug Enviroment(Might work on other enviroments): Ubuntu 20.04LTS Firefox85.0 2021.2.7

Bug: The front page reads: `Welcome, Main Page, to explain xkcd!` with `Main Page` formatted as a username,can someone fix this?

Xkcdjerry (talk) 09:48, 7 February 2021 (UTC)

Occasional error via Cloudflare

Just a note that I'm getting Cloudflare errors of "origin not reachable" (sounds wrong to me, in my head it should be 'destination', but never mind) three times now in the last ten to fifteen minutes - of maybe a dozen general site-requests.

I've also been getting seemingly .CSSless formatted pages over the past few days, which I've been putting down to slightly dodgy wifi at my end (not unknown) but if I'm getting Cloudflare's error cleanly then perhaps it's been entirely upstream/downstream/however-you'd-describe-the-Explain-server. (Obviously CSS resource requests, as with images, are additional HTTP calls, but I still lump it into the single site-request per page in my 'dozen' estimate above. No obviously lost images, though, in incomplete pages - not that can't be explained by .CSS non-following, anyway.)

I had copy-buffered some of the exact info, but due to incompetence I recopied over it before coming here. If it happens again, I'll try to bring it over here. But (the way these things go) maybe it won't. FYI, though. 12:04, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

Not a Cloudfare error (looks like an error of the actual explainxkcd server) but every now and then (like just a few minutes ago) I get an error page that generally goes away if I immediately refresh. To whit:
Service Unavailable
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Additionally, a 503 Service Unavailable error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Not really a problem (occasionally happened while submitting an exit, and I have to confirm to the browser that I wish to repost the data, but this particular copied instance was through a more 'read-only' link-click, like most of the instances) but... in case someone finds this to be new and useful information... here you are! 03:45, 12 March 2021 (UTC)
OP, here, of the above 503 error report/casual mention. Obviously this is the same message that happened for an extended period of time over a number of days, but I've only just happened to find the site responding again and have not yet looked to see if it is explained as the same or different cause to the old intermittent issues (at root). I hope things are resolved from the major outage (server quota? bill payments? renewal/reconfiguration blips?) but wonder if I should report any future minor outages? I'm still smarting from the total loss of the fora.xkcd.com platform, a few years back, and while I'm not active enough here to consider a proper login (lurking as a freeloading anon-IP is good enough, usually, for my intellectual enjoyment, with all due apologies) I did have a slight pang of emptiness while it was out-of-order. 15:48, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

Add TemplateData

Add the TemplateData extension to allow setting data for templates. This will help editors because they will be able to see the data of templates.

MediaWiki 1.30.0?!

This wiki is currently on MediaWiki 1.30.0 (release notes), the first of three releases of a version of MW that reached end-of-life in June of 2019 (mw:Version lifecycle). It's thus missing multiple important security updates from 1.30.1 and 1.30.2, not to mention the two years' worth of security updates since 1.30.x reached end-of-life. Even 1.31.x will be reaching end-of-life in just over a month.

If the sysadmins here update to MediaWiki 1.35.2 (release notes), that version will be maintained till September of 2023, with only a few security updates in the meantime. I would strongly encourage y'all to update to 1.35.2; to promptly update if there's a .3, .4, etc.; and to make sure you switch to the next LTS release (which will presumably be 1.39) well in advance of September of '23. (Note that this will also require updating to PHP 7.3.19 or later.) PinkAmpersand (talk) 07:17, 30 April 2021 (UTC)


Did the website just go down? Beanie talk 13:06, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

It was definitely down this weekend! https://www.reddit.com/r/xkcd/comments/nxrm65 ProphetZarquon (talk) 16:21, 15 June 2021 (UTC)

Comic template lappend breaks for standalone comic links

For example, https://xkcd.com/blue_eyes.html is changed to https://xkcd.com/blue_eyes.html/ which isn't valid 15:51, 13 October 2021 (UTC)

Template here, I think it needs to be changed to solve this https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Template:comic

exkcd page here https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Blue_Eyes

May not be your problem, but FYI.

My typcal setup: Android tablet, with Chrome for Android (latest update), but also Firefox for Android (ditto), using default Gboard (likewise) for input.

Occasionally (notably within the last few weeks/maybe a month or so), when going in to edit an explainxkcd page through Chrome (it's how I divide up my browsing), I'm getting the cursor in the textarea box which can be used to Cut/Copy/Paste (as applicable and useful), but the on-screen keyboard isn't popping up. Page is fully loaded (can be refreshed, doesn't have the "stop loading" alternative), can go back (page viewing) and try to go back to the page editor (often to same result). Sitting and waiting doesn't pop the keyboard up, either (sat there for minutes). Happens both on home wifi and mobile connection.

If I transfer my attentions to the page to Firefox (copy URL, to use there... but I don't use that by default for expxkcd stuff) there's no problem, but then if I come back to Chrome again it seems to start working again anyway so not sure if it's just avoiding/flushing a transient problem that would also initially crop up with Firefox if I used that more.

Because editing is a different (mobile-optimised) process on Wikipedia and I can't be sure about any the equivalence of any other wiki out there (and it doesn't happen with anything else I regularly key into on Chrome) it's not something I've reproduced outwith this site, and of course desktop page-editing doesn't require touch-screen keyboard because there's a physical one.

Not getting much feedback with Chrome (really can't get on with their bugrep processes, it's too huge a project to make headway, IME), not even tried to pester the Gboard team and I've not seen anything said on here about this being a site-issue (not sure how it could be, as it's outside the remit of the core web-page rendering process and more an Android or App level of incompetence), but I thought I'd make a note of it here for future reference. Make of it what you will. Annoying but not game-breaking. And I just wanted to vent a little. 16:54, 25 December 2021 (UTC)


where'd it go? 05:07, 7 January 2022 (UTC)

Please update MediaWiki + AbuseFilter

Seriously. Many scripts and such built for modern, supported versions of MW do not work here because it is so unbelievably undated. PinkAmpersand above basically covers the reason why. I also highly recommend adding the extension AbuseFilter (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:AbuseFilter) as it immensely makes removing vandalism easier (by straight up disallowing or blocking those that do, esp if it's like the current formulaic massive-replacement vandalism.) CRLF (talk) 00:48, 21 May 2022 (UTC)

Ditto. I feel like the main problem is that the sole person who has access to the backend either doesn't have time to update, doesn't have interest, or doesn't have the technical knowledge necessary. But yes, I agree - updating and installing an extension to help control vandalism would help this wiki tremendously. Obwankenobi (talk) 20:09, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

↑ ?

Why do some pages have ↑ at the very start? They can all be spotted by searching ↑ Is it a technical thing, vandalism, some sort of glitch? Maybe I'm just uninformed or being an idiot.

Edit logs tell me that an IP user manually reverting vandalism somehow inserted one or more extra characters while manually reverting vandalism. Davidy²²[talk] 13:59, 22 May 2022 (UTC)
Should it be removed? It's not necessary and might be confusing for screenreaders... Mushrooms (talk) 09:00, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
Maybe not en-mass, I'd say. But I've dove in to delete a rogue leading <br /> tag left from a part of a prior vandalism (likewise, just before the {{comic}}-element) and I've promised myself that I'll remove any more that I spot (and now that arrow) in any future whole-page edit I make. Plus a small shopping-list of inessential but useful edits like making {{Citation needed}}s flow better when they're mispunctuated/etc.
But that's my solitary opinion. I'm sure hunting out and squishing this isn't a problem at all. I'm just balancing my own peculiar brand of OCD with what is somehow my also my own version of casual apathy towards other details. (Also, it probably looks better for a named account of recognised good standing to start editing potentially hundreds of pages in a session, rather than myself... potentially indistinguishable from the IP who seems to relish worn out memes in a general page-trashing.) 12:20, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

Is there anything else we can do to prevent vandalism?

There's been quite a significant uptick in vandalism recently, and I don't feel we have any effective tools to combat it. I believe one of the biggest issues here is due to the way logged-out editing works on this wiki. Blocks are completely ineffective at slowing vandals, and IP editors can vandalize with basically nothing we can do to thwart them other than revert-warring. Is there a better way?

There's been some discussion of installing AbuseFilter, but I'm not sure anything became of it. We could disable logged-out editing, but that would likely be counterproductive as we get lots of legitimate contributions from logged-out users. If there's a way to switch to location-based IPs, we could rangeblock problematic users as well as proxies. Does anyone have any ideas? 16:11, 1 June 2022 (UTC)

I'm sort of making server side changes via telegraph so an extension is probably going to take a while to get installed. Takes a bunch of emails and followups to get single variables changed in the mediawiki settings file. There is an email verification option, and some edit frequency variables that could be set to make spam more time consuming. Don't love range blocks but wouldn't mind getting the CDN IPs dealt with so we can actually use the IP bans again. Davidy²²[talk] 17:16, 1 June 2022 (UTC)
I'm very grateful that you're working on changes under the hood. What do you think is the best way to deal with disruption in the meantime? Vandalbane (talk) 17:19, 1 June 2022 (UTC)
Could borrow a patrol bot like the ones people on main wikipedia have, could ask around. Davidy²²[talk] 18:53, 1 June 2022 (UTC)
There's not really a drop-in solution that you can use, especially since the server's MediaWiki version is not in sync with Wikipedia's (so a lot of the APIs etc have completely changed; when initially reverting vandalism I tried importing some scripts from enwiki but they failed as a result), but also because the bots have gotten pretty complex (using machine learning provided by the Wikimedia Foundation, for example). CRLF (talk) 03:56, 2 June 2022 (UTC)
Oh I do notice mediawiki hasn't been upgraded in a while. Looks like new version of mediawiki should be dropping extremely imminently, would be nice timing for an upgrade Davidy²²[talk] 04:45, 2 June 2022 (UTC)


Does the rollback permission exist on this wiki? Vandalbane (talk) 17:00, 1 June 2022 (UTC)

The rollback permission of course exists but there's no group called "rollbacker" like you'd find on Wikipedia (limited to admins). You'd need the sysadmin to change the configuration to add one, which as established is not really an option right now. CRLF (talk) 03:58, 2 June 2022 (UTC)

What happened to custom JavaScript?

I put some code in User:Some user/common.js, but it is not alerting 'hi' every time I load a page. Why can't we execute JavaScript anymore? Is it in response to the crapping incident? Some user (talk) 21:16, 27 June 2022 (UTC)

Entirely because of that, yeah. Davidy²²[talk] 04:51, 28 June 2022 (UTC)


Why is my IP address a Cloudflare address in Norway? Is this a joke of some kind that I'm missing?

Other wikis like Wikipedia are showing me my actual IP when I go to Special:MyContributions, so I suspect this is a wiki misconfiguration. It changed again while I was typing this. 16:55, 19 November 2022 (UTC)

All IPs (as this one will be) are from Cloudflare gateway IPs, because that's the default IP that the Wiki understands as the source. Cloudflare mediates all the traffic, and perhaps to some advantage (not being privvy to the logs, I can only guess how much it insulates the true server from extreme problems, but I bet it does in some way).
There have been suggestions before to change some setting (in the MediaWiki implementation? ...can't recall exactly) to have it pick up and use the IP that the gateway reports (in its meta-request) was the origin, but that's not been enacted for Idunnowhat reason.
Because the black-box that is the Cloudflare traffic shapes in various ways, you will find that a single user will jump around 'apparent' IPs, and I've also been in the relatively embarassing situation of replying to another IP's info and finding that I've registered on the exact same IP so that it looks like I'm stooging myself, or something.
On the whole, though, it's a harmless quirk. And given the trivial nature of deliberately spoofing origins (even on top of assuming you get an effectively static NAT from your ISP in the first place) I don't personally see it as a problem to 'solve' this. But neither would I complain if the 'fix' were implemented if this query reminds someone that they were going to try and do the necessary tweak.
As a lay-answer, I hope that fills you in a little. If those who have more knowledge/control of the process want to add anything or correct me, I'm sure they'll do so as soon as they can, but here's a reply to keep you going for now... 01:19, 20 November 2022 (UTC)

Main page in categories

Ambox notice.png This discussion is marked as duplicate. See this discussion.

Main_Page was found wrongly appearing in some newly-created categories, such as Category:Cosmology. Could you fix it? --ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 17:49, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

Never noticed this myself, but I'll take it as read. Before checking myself, I'm wondering if this could be when the main page 'inherits' tags from the Current Comic that it features. And thus solve itself (whilst gaining others) upon a newer Current Comic. (Must surely inherit "Monday Comics"/etc, on schedule every week.)
If it is that, perhaps the solution lies in the details contained within https://m.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Categories#Categories_and_templates_(transcluded_pages)
Or maybe I'm wrong about it. But I have no rights to edit (thus at least examine the 'code' of) the Main page, to check my snap theory, as with most people. 19:21, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

This happened again in Category:Airplane banner. I27.O.O.I (talk) 09:00, 28 February 2023 (UTC)

Yes, and it lasted as long as the latest comic was still one with particular categories. I don't intend to worry about it. If someone goes to a category that interests them and looks at the main page, as temporarily advertised, they're likely to find (as part of it) a comic which is indeed in that category. Doesn't sound like a big problem to me, except for determinin why some cats (e.g. Friday Comics) don't link to the Main page when they might be expected to...
(PS, I know for sure that I27.O.O.I isn't the same person as ColofulGalaxy (and various others, beyond even those with the bloomin' obvious "CG" initials or other recent spoofs on the RFC1918 addresses), and I don't think I mind too much, but faking disagreements between your various IDs isn't helping, anyone... smells too much of trying to establish alibis in advance of your next attempt to vandalise the site with stupid stuff. And doesn't impress me, so I doubt it impresses anyone else either. As long as you're just doing sane things, however, I'll accept your little idiosyncracies.) 19:37, 5 March 2023 (UTC)
(PPS: You left your fingerprint on this latter attempt to 'rescue' this page. - Spammer a few minutes before midnight, my IP reversion happened shortly after. A little later "Elisabeth" then re-spammed (modified), then another IP immediately jumps on it to restore it but with the modified undo-summary line clearly indicating that some sort of a game is being played. Please don't, it's not clever.) 02:22, 7 March 2023 (UTC)

This doesn't happen to date categories, but it happens in manually added categories such as Category:Statistics. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 21:49, 27 March 2023 (UTC)

Cannot create user page

It says: There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, or search the related logs, but you do not have permission to create this page. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 22:56, 26 March 2023 (UTC)

(Removed alternative text in the link involved, to not hide behind trickery.) I think you know that there's no problem with 2659: Unreliable Connection itself, except that it had become one of several pages targeted for spamming, the only one then locked down, then finding that the spammers just retargeted to its Talk page, etc.
I'm torn between "not assuming bad faith" and "don't feed the trolls", as competing principles, so I'm spelling out the situation. However much a tribute you might think it could be, I don't think there's a future in having a new username that's directly referencing a comic which has become so frequently seen in the recent history of this wiki's edits.
Obviously any genuine contributions are more than welcome. So prove me wrong, why don't you? 03:20, 27 March 2023 (UTC)
Could you help now? 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 09:13, 29 March 2023 (UTC)
I've created your talk page. I guess that what you intended is to have a backup or mirror page for comic 2659. Am I right? ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 20:16, 2 April 2023 (UTC)

Fanmade comics

A fanmade comic appeared on xkcd. Could you edit the template? 07:21, 28 April 2023 (UTC)

You're going to have to say more about it, at least for me. Apart from the Sandbox attempt to make a page, I haven't seen the comic you're describing anywhere. Certainly not anywhere official. Link, for our benefit? 10:04, 28 April 2023 (UTC)

Why doesn't this code block work?

Does anybody know why the code block at the end of this page doesn't work? I've tried everything and it still looks like plain text

Can't add RSS feed because of pubDate value on 27 Nov 2015

When I try to add the RSS feed in Nextcloud News feed reader I get an error Impossible to convert date : Fri, 27 Nov 2015 17:24:34 Pacific Standard Time.

W3C Feed validation says that pubDate must be an RFC-822 date-time and points "Pacific Standard Time" portion as the cause of the error: <pubDate>Fri, 27 Nov 2015 17:24:34 Pacific Standard Time</pubDate>. Can you please fix the timestap for this?

Admin request posted here because of vandalism

I can not currently access the admin requests page because it has been vandalized... can someone please protect the latest comic page (2805). There is some pretty childish vandalism going on there right now. Thanks!

It's not the latest, seems like ALL. I went back to 2804, 2803, jumped back like 15 comics, all the same thing. To me the most offensive part is doing it with a nonsensical image. And why pipe it through Archive somehow? NiceGuy1 (talk) 02:33, 24 July 2023 (UTC)
UGH. the vandals are back at it again... we need to lock xkcd pages @NiceGuy 00:59, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

Way to contact the site hosters?

As many have pointed out the software this wiki runs on is horribly outdated. WikiEditor also isn't here for some reason. Quite a bit of messages here have seen no action. Is there some kind of contact form to reach the hosters? -- Aaron Liu (talk) 00:36, 10 October 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

There are various levels of admin who do intervene, as and when jecessary, but I understand that the (active) ones closest to the actual hosting level of intervention are not really ready to do the (increasingly greater) degree of uprooting necessary to get a "working" system to be "marginally better working", by way of that very dangerous middle-ground of potentially being ruined entirely.
I appreciate and anticipate the counter-arguments regarding letting it go totally unupdated, of course, just I've personally seen enough failures (participated in some, or been the actual invokee, myself) to be very sympathetic to the "if it aint (too) broke, don't fix it" tendency. But that inertia is not the only factor, of course, and the full motivations (or lack of them) of those involved is not for a lowly IP like me to explain, even if I think I know... 01:24, 10 October 2023 (UTC)
Have they posted some sort of statement? It also is most definitely not “marginally” better working, compare the source editor to that of Wikipedia and look at topic subscription etc features. Not to mention a lot of security fixes haven’t been added and this version has reached EOL long ago. Updating also would not ruin this entirely…Aaron Liu (talk) 17:22, 12 October 2023 (UTC)
Some have also said that quite a bit of assistive scripts for modern versions don’t work. Visual Editor, while horrible, is still easier for new people to get started with. Aaron Liu (talk) 17:23, 12 October 2023 (UTC)

I've found a new reason: This wiki doesn't even allow loading userscripts! Aaron Liu (talk) 01:34, 9 December 2023 (UTC)

That might actually have been a conscious decition, after a 'certain user' caused chaos here, not so long ago. 19:01, 9 December 2023 (UTC)
It was about a year and a half ago. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that. 06:41, 10 December 2023 (UTC)
Huh? What happened? Is there a place to request gadgets then? Aaron Liu (talk) 02:04, 10 December 2023 (UTC)
"What happened" involved automated vandalism (from someone who been doing it manually, then found the "better way") though I couldn't tell you the exact details, there were automated 'unvandalism's made in response, and theusafBOT/etc does some of that still, in response to non-automated(/off-site scripted) vandalism/errors that it can actually catch before ordinary users (or IPs like me) can. But certainly a certain brand of scripting was turned off to curtail the 'high intensity' vandalism phase.
You're more or less in the best place to request things, right here. Whether updates, (re)adding functionalitu or tweaking site settings. Can't tell if those who can do these things can't or won't do them... Or are actually absent, instead of just not replying. The cavalry has been known to come running in when necessary (e.g. when "what happened" happened) so it could be any manner of non-response (until you get one). Not necessarily the best state of affairs, but better than being confirmed absentees.
I ran a bot to mass-edit pages by replacing their content with the word "crap" repeatedly. I was 15 then, and I thought it was funny. It wasn't. 06:41, 10 December 2023 (UTC)
As an occasional but infrequent actual-Wikipedia editor, too, I must say that if the Visual Editor is what I currently have to use for that (at least as an anonIP when using a mobile device, which tends to be when I get the urge most) then I like the unaugmented editor here more. Straight up, honest, un'wizarded' interface, where you only have to get used to markup details and not a WYSIWYG editing environment (as well?). Not sure I'd be happy with an even more 'assistive' script imposed upon me, like I dislike modern generations of Windows (and 'user friendly' linux dists). So can I just ask that functional/visible changes of the kind you seem to be asking for, if made available, aren't overimposed/left as options rather than the default (or only) choice...? Ok, so I can (or would have to) adapt, but I'd rather not. Of course, I have no weight to pull in this matter, it's just an afterthought (even as I wish you good luck with raising an admin's eyebrow, in some useful manner). 05:14, 10 December 2023 (UTC)
I am not asking for VisualEditor, which no one likes on Wikipedia either. For some blasted reason they made it edit HTML instead of Wikitext and it’s clunky and loads for a very long time.
I’m asking about the WikiEditor, aka Wikipedia’s source editor. In VE, click on the pen next to the publish button and click on “source editing”. That editor makes this one look like freaking Stone Age, syntax highlighting is especially a game-changer. Aaron Liu (talk) 16:03, 12 December 2023 (UTC)
There’s also the annoying ReCaptcha v2 every single edit… it seems like it would be relatively easy to switch to v3 which only makes you do the challenge when you’ve visited a bit too much. Aaron Liu (talk) 16:32, 12 December 2023 (UTC)
Unfortunately, that would make things easier for someone who wanted to do mass vandalism like I did. If it didn't do it every time, someone could still edit quite quickly. 18:32, 12 December 2023 (UTC)
Well, I can tell you that it doesn't always demand that I fulfil more than a tickbox (most trouble I have is when it fails to connect to give me the tickbox (or respond with anything useful when I do), for which I'm forced into one or more Previews until it will. When it does ask me to do something about it, I do often get forced through two or more request to identify traffic lights, motorbikes, stairways, bridges, hills, tractors, buses, etc, etc, etc... But I think that's more the Tesla-training Algorithm being nust greedy for my attention than the Robot-sentry having a less casual attitude to my attempt to edit. (I believe I'm on a usually untroublesome source IP/Cloudflare gateway, but it could also depend on how many others try to do things via (part of) the same route. Very, very rarely I get Google Search requesting something similar of me ((It: "You have made a lot of searches", me: "Of course I'll have play your little game, but this is my first lookup today...")), which I'm sure isn't Cloudflared, so it might reach back to my ISP's gateway and what fellow users are currently getting up to.)
As for the guy above (and you, Liu), can't speak for how well or badly others on your own 'choice' of gateways behave. Or yourselves. Luck of the draw? For the first part, at least. 20:31, 12 December 2023 (UTC)
MediaWiki 1.40 automatically tags all edits that remove over 90% of page text with "mw-replaced". You could block all edits in mainspace with that tag, either if MediaWiki has it or through the AbuseFilter extension. While I can complete the CAPTCHAs, it's very annoying to need to Captcha every edit on a place where the main focus is edits. Aaron Liu (talk) 03:06, 13 December 2023 (UTC)
Plus, v3 doesn't just do nothing. It tracks how your cursor moves to see if it's robotic, while v2 annoyingly gives you the challenge every time. Aaron Liu (talk) 20:01, 8 January 2024 (UTC)
Presumably for touchscreen control (like mine, right this moment), it does something else than track a nonexistent mouse-pointer's passage across the monitored elements of the display... ;) 12:26, 9 January 2024 (UTC)
There are a few MediaWiki plugins that help keep vandalism/spam under control without requiring users to solve a Captcha every time they make an edit. I use https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Moderation on the wiki I maintain, and it works very well. However, it does require that there be enough active moderators to approve edits, as it basically requires every single edit to be approved before it's posted. Thus, it also introduces some "lag" between when stuff is written and when it can be seen by others. I think it could work if the extension could be installed (I'm not even sure if it's supported on this version of MediaWiki) and if a good list of moderators could be put together. Obwankenobi (talk) 20:02, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
I disagree with requiring edits to be approved. Unless we have extremely high vandalism, just filtering out the above tags I mentioned and using ReCAPTCHA v3 would be enough. Aaron Liu (talk) 23:16, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
Ok, fair point. However, that wouldn't stop human vandalism, just vandalism from bots. I'm not sure how much human vandalism there is, though, so it might not even be a problem. Obwankenobi (talk) 12:35, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
It's hard (for us 'civvies') to know how much bot-vandalism is stopped but probably a lot, most of which we never see, with occasional ones we might see having be dealt with. (I'm guessing these things are rare (temporarily-)successful 'bots, because flesh-and-blood vandals wouldn't be occasionally doing essentially the same insta-reverted thing on a thematically-small set of pages, over several years without moving on. It has to be a lucky unattended script-based effort that just keeps trying the same things over and over with an easily revertible but tangible result happening only infrequently.)
More obvious human vandalism tends to rumble on, with occasionally a spate of it as someone gets short-term kicks for it. Though some of them seem may repeat themself after a break. Friendly humans and friendly 'bots both tend to provide the main anti-vandalism responses fairly quickly, though, depending upon what kind of a mess they caused. I've seen worse places, definitely, and it's by no means a losing battle against chaos, just regular skermishes.
Not wanting to tempt fate, of course. I guarantee that there'll be some fool that takes all this as a challenge, so I just have to trust to the Good Guys keeping on keeping on. 14:21, 22 February 2024 (UTC)


Crystal Clear teamwork.png

Community-managed page for coordinating content editing and maintenance tasks intended to aid communication, understanding, and coordination between the explain xkcd wiki community. (+post)

Issue dates

Hi Jeff,

As i'm creating pages I struggle with the issue dates of comics. I've added a comment to all pages that contain the (unknown/incorrect) dates. Is there a way to research those dates? --Rikthoff (talk)

[7] if you mouse over the comic name, it will have the date. --Jeff (talk) 18:26, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

- if you mouse over comic name in "Archive" section of xkcd.com. Older comics(1-44 or so) might be found in livejournal archiveB. P. (talk) 18:35, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Should we consider using "2012-08-03" style dates and letting localization "do the right thing"? Most pages so far use "August 3, 2012" style dates, with a few incorrectly doing "August 3rd, 2012"... Presumably the template could do the localizing/localising...--B. P. (talk) 18:39, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

The date is also available with the JSON API, which I'm going to use for the import. I use {{#dateformat: year-month-day}}, MediaWiki should figure out the correct way to display it based on your preferences. --SlashMe (talk) 18:47, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:15, 4 August 2012 (EDT)


How do I find the date a comic was first posted (to put in the comic header here?) TheHYPO (talk) 12:26, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from Talk:Main Page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:43, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Original posting date is listed on xkcd's [archive page] as hover-text for each post. The first 44 comics are all listed as 2006-01-01. Many of these were previously posted on the [livejournal site], and some dates can be found/inferred by checking there.--B. P. (talk) 17:49, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

To do list

I suggest a todo list to be added here so newcomers will have an idea of concrete things they can do to help. I'll start by moving some items I've been collecting on my user page. Feel free to add more :)

Things to do

  • Complete all entries from the List of all comics
  • Special:WantedPages lists pages that have links to them but haven't been created yet.
  • More topics that could be covered here besides the comics themselves:
    • our twitter account
    • the xkcd irc channel (and its wiki)
    • the xkcd blag
    • the xkcd forum
    • other sites explaining xkcd ([8], [9], [10], [11], maybe invite members+content of the other wikis in once we're established?)


There are more maintenance reports at Special:SpecialPages, for inspiration :) --Waldir (talk) 06:45, 6 August 2012 (EDT)

I'd love one of these "To Do" lists for admins as well! :) I'm always forgetting what I need to do! --Jeff (talk) 02:35, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
There actually isn't much to do that needs admin permissions around here. Right I can think of only a handful of admin-specific tasks:
Maybe others will have other items to add to the list, but for the most part, the things that need to be done are available to all editors: adding the missing comic explanations, describing characters, categorizing, etc. --Waldir (talk) 19:13, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Checking the above lists, here are the current stats:

Just a FWIW or TWIMC. :) -- 16:11, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

The time-related pages can be fixed trivially. The wanted categories are kinda impossible to clear up, as userpages are typically off-limits to everyone except the owner of the userpage, unless they're a spambot. We've made pretty good progress on everything else though. Davidy²²[talk] 16:43, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
The wanted categs can be cleared up by creating them, and adding them to the categ hierarchy. I'm just not familiar enough with said hierarchy. -- 17:09, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Date categories

I'm not sure the "Comics by month", by weekday, etc. Will be much useful, unless for those interested in running some stats. It might be more interesting to have specific months, such as Category:Comics from May 2011 and so on. What do you think? --Waldir (talk) 06:45, 6 August 2012 (EDT)

That was actually next for me: #time:year-month, but I wanted to study the globalization implications. I prefer over-categorizing rather than under-categorizing, since it's comparatively cheap. The assumption is that categories are the same as tags on the old site, and that mediawiki affords us some extra ways to automatically categorize pages in addition to the manual forms starting to emerge (by character, by subject, etc.) To paraphrase an old prof: you can't study what you don't measure; I've been wanting to see if, for example, Monday comics deal certain subjects, while Friday comics deal with another, etc. Not everybody's cup of tea, but of value perhaps to some, and insanely cheap to support both mentally and for the software. -- IronyChef (talk) 13:51, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I also used it to find some date typos for Saturday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday comics, which should usually be empty - except for some early entries from livejournal... --B. P. (talk) 21:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

It does make it look a bit messy down by the categories... maybe we can skip one or two of these date categories, if people don't still find them useful? St.nerol (talk) 21:22, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Page names

I think we should use the comic number and the title as the page name. Like so: "112: Baring My Heart". This would allow comics to be sorted by order in categories, but the pages would still have human-readable names for those of us who don't memorize all xkcd comic numbers ;) Thoughts? --Waldir (talk) 07:23, 6 August 2012 (EDT)

I agree, for another reason: for instance YouTube could be either the title of a page explaining how YouTube is referenced in xkcd, or the title of the explanation for comic #202 (titled "YouTube"). I don't know if I'm being clear here, but as we do not control the titles of the comics, that could create confusion with other pages. So using something like 202: YouTube would ensure disambiguation without being really complicated or awkward... And actually prefixing the comic title with its number seems quite relevant to me.
Additionally, that would solve potential problems such as Exoplanets: comic 786 or 1071?
Cos (talk) 14:33, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Beat me to the punch; agreed. Numbers are unique and sequential, but not altogether that meaningful. Names are meaningful but (as we've seen) not unique. Some combination of both would be called for. We'd need to have the plain numbers redirect to the new topic (some double-redirects would need to be fixed up?) and the names would too (with at least one disambiguation page for now, and who knows: maybe more to come?) -- IronyChef (talk) 13:55, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Following up on the YouTube discussion above, I'm wondering if we should leverage namespaces more: main:topic is implicitly xkcd:topic (ie main:YouTube discusses the xkcd comic, while ref:YouTube is the place where the pop-culture reference of YouTube is discussed.) Either that, or some other name decoration, such as YouTube Explained, or ... -- IronyChef (talk) 13:59, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Number and the name together. --Jeff (talk) 16:08, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Looks like we have consensus. I'll move the pages (I've been meaning to learn how to use mwclient anyway :D) --Waldir (talk) 18:01, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
 Done, all current pages have been moved. However, I am not sure whether we should keep a space after the colon. What do you guys think? Should it be "112: Baring My Heart" or "112:Baring My Heart"? --Waldir (talk) 18:20, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, I just realized MediaWiki doesn't allow colons in image Filenames. One solution could be using something like File:786. Exoplanets.png or File:786-Exoplanets.png, but then perhaps we'd have to change the pages name too, for consistency? I'll try to investigate what is the reasoning behind this restriction. --Waldir (talk) 18:50, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Ok, it seems like it's a matter of setting $wgIllegalFileChars = ''; in LocalSettings.php (because it is set as $wgIllegalFileChars = ':'; in DefaultSettings.php). Jeff, could you do that please? --Waldir (talk) 19:13, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Nevermind, we will probably use a different naming pattern instead. --Waldir (talk) 20:05, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I guess this is my bad for not ciming in on this discussion earlier, but I frankly think that the #: Name is a worse way of doing it just for the reasons of system resources. #:Name is fine from a user standpoint with the caveat that # and Name both redirect to #:Name. The problem is that this requires 2 redirects minimum for every comic, and the redirect itself takes a bit more time for each article to load, and (as I understand from wikipedia and its dislike of double redirects), every redirect adds to the system load. So if every article lookup by users (who will undoubtedly type either the number or the name, but rarely both) is a redirect, the system load is going to go up.
As an aside, assuming Jeff is able to install the Cite Extension to add citation referencing (and even if he doesn't), I was expecting to try to create some sort of template in the concept of {{cite comic}} where you could basically pass a single variable (e.g. the comic number) and it would create a proper citation for that comic. Similarly, this naming format will perhaps require a template something like {{comicno}} with a comic number field just to create a quick link that is visibly appealing and links properly to the comic with that number. (ie: {comicno|18} would produce a link like "Snapple" or something). I'm wondering though if anyone has any coding ideas for how we might accomplish this other than the hardcode all the titles into a template. TheHYPO (talk) 19:26, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
PS: I did some mild digging on another wiki, Star Trek's Memory Alpha wiki, and although all of its episode articles are now titled "episode title (episode)" to avoid disambiguation, which allows you to an episode template by calling the title (which template appends "(episode)" to every entry), they DO have a title-display template: Template:Titles - with a template subpage for every single episode setting out how the mouseover text should be displayed. It would be possible to do such a template for xkcd just so that comic numbers can be crossreferenced to titles... TheHYPO (talk) 20:30, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
(Hoping this is the right number of colons for proper indentation... ;-) Redirects are one thing, and while probably resulting in possibly two page serves (isn't it really just two hits to the db?) they're natively supported by mediawiki. Even so, if performance is proven to be a real (not just conjectured) problem, can we do something clever, perhaps, with transclusion? Either the number transcludes the title, or vice versa? Might be a case of pre-optimization, though; in the back of my mind, it seems that the rendering engine puts as much effort into transcluding to expand templates as it would to expand a redirect in situ: either case is just a query to the DB to expand the contents of said item. (Enough rambling; anybody have any concrete metrics on this?) -- IronyChef (talk) 06:23, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi folks. Just thought I'd state that redirects are completely safe. They don't add any noticeable loading time for the users and the extra resources used by the server are so minor that it's akin to the resources used to type a character in notepad. Pages are also aggressively cached (by default, anyway). If you're interested, the way redirects work in Mediawiki isn't like most other sites handle redirects. It's not loading a page that makes you load another page. Rather, all content is stored in an SQL database. The content is stored under a certain name (eg, "#: Hello World!"). A redirect simply tells Mediawiki to look for the content under a different name. Slightly more work for the server (don't worry, they can handle it), but the page is delivered to the user in roughly the same period of time (if we want to be technical, the page will be slightly larger, due to the "Redirected from whatever" line added to the page (which is mostly there for the purpose of making it easier to fix incorrect redirects). I don't have metrics, but can assure you that it's almost no difference in the end result. Omega TalkContribs 09:11, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

I've been thinking about this some more, and I believe we should choose a different pattern for the page names.

  • First, use another separator between comic number and name, since colon is forbidden in files. A simple alternative would be "Comic title (number)", as in Michael Phelps (1092). This would additionally allow us to use the pipe trick when linking to a comic, since content in parenthesis is automatically stripped out: [[Michael Phelps (1092)|]] results in Michael Phelps. Another effect of this is that by dropping the colon naming scheme we would remove ambiguity with the namespace system, which also uses colons to separate namespaces from pagenames.
  • Second, we should probably follow IronyChef's suggestion above and move them to a specific namespace, such as Comic:Michael Phelps (1092). Other namespaces could be added for more topics, such as Character:Cueball, xkcd:Randall (or Meta:Randall), Topic:Velociraptors, etc. Not only we would be able to generate lists of pages without resorting to categories (which have to be added manually), but we would get lot's of "Random X" for free (random comic, random character, random topic, etc.)

What do you guys think? --Waldir (talk) 14:29, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

P.s. - Proper category sorting of the comics would be dealt with by the {{comic}} template, which would also pad the numbers with zeroes to ensure 100 comes after 2, etc.
+1 on the parens... (but does that mean my recent double-redirect-fixups have been for naught? (grin)) ... I couldn't put my finger on it and didn't articulate it earlier, but the fact that colon needed special attention by the software left me a bit uneasy (there must be a reason for them doing that, like namespaces perhaps) so using parentheses-es-es (as long as we close them properly) seems more the mediawiki way. -- IronyChef (talk) 15:03, 9 August 2012 (UTC) (I know you folks don't like my propensity to (over?)categorize, but [[Category:Parentheses]] is just too irresistible... ;-)
I think, that all of this seem unnecessary complication to me. I don't see any problem with the current system. I think something like 1092: Michael Phelps flows well, is quite readable and easy to insert "as is" in the text (see the links to other comics in 1048: Emotion for instance). As I understand, we would want the image files to be titled exactly the same way as their corresponding article; why, where is the need for that? (to me the simplest way, and most relevant maybe, would be to name them exactly as they are on xkcd.com; maybe with a prefix, like "xkcd - ", so that it cannot mess with other existing images such as from Commons).
I don't see the point of creating namespaces such as "Character", "Topic", etc.; what is the problem with Beret Guy, Randall Munroe, Velociraptors, and such? with namespaces one will have to put each topic in one box (and one only), where will you put things like Stick figure or My Hobby or any other thing that will pop up without clearly belonging to one of these boxes? just give up! :-)
About the "Random X", I like the idea that on xkcd.com, you can get a random comic (because that's all what is there), but in here you can get a random whatever: you may get a comic explanation, a character, a topic or anything, because in here there is all that.
I don't think the colon in the comic page names will pose any problem, it cannot mess with anything as long as it is preceded by a number only.
In the end, I think that adding the number in the comic page names was a good choice, because there would have been real issues otherwise, but for now I would say : "don't fix what is not broken", KISS, and "just give up". :-)
Cos (talk) 16:14, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with this. The existing page names are fine in my book, and I don't see any benefits of renaming them all (again). Concerning the random, though, I mentioned an extension in proposals that would allow us to choose a "random page in a category". I don't really care one way or another about character topics. Seem like a lot of maintenance when we don't even have a quarter of the comics explained yet, but whatever. Concerning the image names, I think that simply using the same name as it appears on xkcd is fine. Images are a bit of a "backend", that people don't usually search for (rather, they'd search for the comic and find the image on that page). As well, since all images are hosted on xkcd, they won't be any file name conflicts amongst the comics. Omega TalkContribs 18:04, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Good points (and puns!), all of you. I'd like to address a few specific points (I'll highlight the key takeaways for your convenience):
  • I still prefer parenthesis for the simple reason that colons mess with the concept of namespaces (not that it has any effect on the software, which can cope quite well; I'm speaking from a user point of view). Besides, one of the reasons I proposed for having the number first was automatic category sorting, but that backfired (cf. #2 vs. #100).
  • Re rationale for having image files titled like the comics is that it would allow automatic image inclusion via the {{comic}} template. However, having the prefix is not crucial for that (hadn't thought of this before), so I'll go ahead and remove my suggestion above to allow colons in filenames.
  • Note that there's no problem with "conflicts" with Commons images: an image uploaded here simply takes precedence regarding an image uploaded to commons under the same name (e.g. File:Irony.jpg vs. commons:File:Irony.jpg). That said, while external conflicts aren't a problem, internal ones are (e.g. Exoplanets). That, coupled with the "it's just a backend" point made by Omega, is a good argument to use the original filenames (also, less overhead when uploading a new comic)
  • I understand the argument against a single primary way to classify a page using namespaces. The category system is more flexible as it allows many-to-many relationships. However, I must point out that the examples you give are no problem at all: Meta:Stick figure and Topic:My Hobby ;) So I'm still not convinced that using custom namespaces is a bad idea or a lost cause or that it won't scale up well. Besides, it makes it very clear what a reader will find on that page (explainxkcd.com/wiki/Topic:Velociraptors is a pretty self-explanatory url). And again, it allows us to use the random feature that is natively implemented on mediawiki, rather than an extension. And "random whatever" is still available, of course :)
  • IronyChef, by all means, please create Category:Parentheses :D
--Waldir (talk) 20:05, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
If we're going to use the numbers in the titles, it seems logical to have the number come first so that comics are essentially sortable by number rather than alphabetically by title; although this probably can be taken care of by changing the sort title, thoug this could be tedious.
I don't support new namespaces for comics and characters and whatnot. I don't see what it adds to the wiki, and it just makes the links to each comic page even longer (no one will EVER correctly search for Comic:Snapple (18) on their first attempt).
I am not claiming to be an expert on redirects. My comment was based on wikipedia pages like Wikipedia:Double redirects where it clearly suggests in the lead that double redirects "waste server resources". I assume this applies (at to a lesser degree) to single redirects. They may not be needless waste like double redirects, but they they do use resources. Granted wikipedia has far larger servers and much more traffic, so it may be more relevant to them than here, but it still would appear to be a resource issue; Database queries are still resource hogs, even if they are simple ones. Not suggesting they aren't safe, but if every comic load is basically a redirect, that is still two queries every time instead of just the occasional one. I'm fine with it; I'm just pointing out the issue. TheHYPO (talk) 16:20, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
The reason that double redirects are bad is that linking a redirect to another redirect (a double redirect) causes the first redirect to simply display the content of the second redirect (rather than actually redirecting the page). This appears as simply an arrow and a link (a soft redirect). It uses more system resources because an actual page has to be loaded and displayed, forcing the user to manually click the link and display the proper page (whereas a single redirect would load the correct page and display it). So in other words, a double redirect forces two pages to be loaded, while a single redirect only loads one page, more or less the same as if you went to the actual page title. Omega TalkContribs 21:35, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, regarding the sorting argument for using numbers first: I was the one who originally proposed that, but I overlooked the fact that sorting won't work unless we use padding (e.g. "0001: Comic title"), which is kind of a hack. MediaWiki supports category sort keys natively, so we should be taking advantage of them rather than relying on a specific page title format to achieve the same effect.
As for the namespaces, I think I've presented my arguments for that above; let me know if any of them are unclear. I accept that one may disagree with them, but not that there aren't any benefits. Note that nobody will correctly seach for whatever page title we use, unless we use only the numbers as the final title, which I think we all agree is not desirable. --Waldir (talk) 11:25, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the double-redirect explanation, Omega. To Waldir; I think people would also correctly search for Comic Titles, at times. Some more than others, for sure. But if you are on XKCD reading a comic that has a title printed, and you want to come here and read the explanation, You would most likely search for either the number or the title that is displayed at xkcd.com. That said, if it's not a resource hog, and we can find a GOOD way to create links to comics easily (ie: I can type in {explain|123} and actually get a proper looking link to that comic's page, I'm cool with that. I really think it will add a lot of time to the edit process to have to manually type in 123: Title for every link to another comic. TheHYPO (talk) 14:32, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Comic Display - another new template

I see that the latest comics have changed over to {{comicbox}} from {{comic}}. This might be in response to today's tall narrow comic. I don't see any recent discussions about the {{comicbox}} template. We really need to come to some form of consensus on the comic display issue. I am really not a fan of the {{comicbox}} template, as I arrive at the homepage today and I don't understand what I'm seeing. There is no indication that the text on the right is the Explanation. I wasn't sure if part of it was title text or not. I figured it out, but it's not the easiest thing to see. I also don't think the navbuttons jutting right up against the top of the comic display box looks good.

Eithe way, where I'm going with this is that I think we need to come to a consensus on the form and template used for comic pages. If we choose comicbox, or comic or some other template, it's all good; but we should be editing ONE template to get it working and looking the way we want; rather than bouncing between many templates and creating new ones. TheHYPO (talk) 16:26, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, I was really confused at first, and scrambled through the discussions trying to find what happened. To be honest, I'm more of a fan of the {{comic}} template, with the explanation under a header explaining so. Not to mention with {{comicbox}}, I'm suddenly unsure of what to do with the transcripts. For comparison, here is the {{comic}} template, while here is the {{comicbox}} template. At any rate, no matter what template we're using (I personally prefer {{comic}}, but don't really care that much provided all comics use the same template), I agree that we need some kind of consensus to determine how we're formatting the page. Omega TalkContribs 21:31, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Ditto on the confusion (augmented by the confusion of finding where the pertinent discussion has gotten off to; they seem to slip from page to page between visits... ) Anyway, I'm guessing this is a de-gustibus matter, but regardless of the respective virtues of either template, to my eye the template today's comic was changed to has a couple cosmetic shortcomings:
  • The typeface is larger than normal. Just a personal preference, but it should be scaled 100% vs adjacent normal wiki text; readers can change the level of zoom if that's too small. Also,
  • the image is vertically centered, so in the case of a disproportionately long explanation (like today's) it appears too far down the page; it really needs to be top-aligned, with the title text close underneath it. Further,
  • for this vertical layout, there's a lot of wasted vertical space when the explanation is so much longer than the image. Rather than having two rigid columns, have we considered float:left or float:right style attributes on the image, so that whatever text is left flows to fill the entire space below the image?
Finally, to tie this all up with a bow, (and perhaps raising an issue that may have been raised before; I don't recall, because of the shifting locations of discussions hereabouts) ... Is there a need for images to always be shown at 100% size, especially for the more extremely sized ones? Seems to me that the images here really only need to fulfill a refresher role, and clicks through the image should take the reader to the full-sized image on xkcd.com. Legally, I know we have the right to host the images here. But morally, it seems like we shouldn't be taking too much traffic away from xkcd.com as it is RM's bread and butter. Our value-add is the in the form of explanations: long as we can visually tie these explanations with the comic (by having something bigger than a thumbnail, but somewhat smaller than full size, especially for odd-shaped ones) I think we're on the positive side. Thotz? -- IronyChef (talk) 05:23, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you on all points, although I'm really not a fan of having the text either beside or under the comic. I'd rather it be the same in all cases. In which case, having the text beside the comic won't do, as wide comics wouldn't be very supportive of that. Also, if the explanation is considerably longer than the comic, it just looks a bit strange to me. Float left/right would fix that, but would be a bit harder to implement with the title text (eg, if the title text and image are inside a float left div, does that div have a fixed width or does a long title text push it over?). All in all, I'd rather the text always be below the comic. It's consistent and less problematic. Regarding the size of comics, I'd rather we use the full size in all cases except the "large" comics (defined as the comics that are shown at a reduced size on xkcd itself, such as 1079: United Shapes). Why? Because when I'm reading an explanation to a comic I don't understand, I'm constantly referencing the explanation with the comic itself. Having to open a new tab each time would make that a bit less convenient. Omega TalkContribs 06:38, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
For visual experimentation, I've made the theoretically uncontroversial changes of text size (it's now expressed as relative percentage rather than absolute px) and I made the image top-aligned, so comics like xkcd 1093 show the image near the top of the explanation, despite the explanation being many multiples of that image's height; we can change that back if we don't like them. There are other changes I'd like to make (see above) but I'll wait for general agreement on that (not to mention which template to use.) -- IronyChef (talk) 15:39, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
To respond to all of the previous comments; I echo IronyChef's thought - I built into {{comic}} an imagesize attribute because I believe that the comic should be a managable size on this site; generally not more than say 400px; this creates a "click to enlarge" link which takes the user to the imgae's page. Although I previously thought that a balance needs to be kept because people may start coming to the wiki to read xkcd in the first instance instead of xkcd.com, I also agree with Omega's point that it's potentially unfair to Randall to entice traffic away from xkcd.com. This strengthens my belief that larger comics should be kept to a reasonable size.
Not sure if I said it in this thread, I think we have to look at the purpose of the box itself. In my eyes, the box is designed (like an infobox) to basically show the user the basic facts. Not user-added material or encyclopedia text. The box, in my view, is there to present all of the info about the comic that actually comes from xkcd. The image, the alt text, the title, date and number. Adding the explanation in the box basically makes the explanation look official as part of the comic. The primary content of this site is the explanations. If anything should go under proper wiki-format headers, it's that (in my opinion). The transcript is technically official content, but as I've said elsewhere, in my view, the transcript is secondary info that the comic already contains; it doesn't need to be in the infobox. IronyChef has indentified and fixed a lot of my minor cosmetic issues with the comicbox template, and there are others I don't like either (the title font is a little too weak and the top of the box is touching the bottom of the nav buttons. Don't like those, but again, easily fixable).
I also think while there may be instances like the "Forget" comic which is a list-form comic where having a long vertical list explanation works, a long vertical list is often harder to read and follow than a full-page-width explanation. (even "Forget" has each line of explanation end up being several lines long in {{comicbox}} format.) Worse, the potential to want to fit in the box may limit users from adding to explanations which we shouldn't encourage. If the explanation is twice as long as the comic, there's nothing wrong with that, and it shouldn't look bad by going inside the template. I appreciate the attempt that the verticle comicbox makes to not waste space (using the two-column method) but I don't think this is the way to do it. I think shrinking the comic (and accepting that there will be space on either side) is the best way. As I say, 375px or 400px seem like logical limiters for most comics. This is explainxkcd, so you shouldn't have to scroll way down to get to the explanation. I too sometimes like to view the comic and explain at the same time to check notes as Omega suggests, but I can do that by control+click or shift+clicking the image to enlarge, and comparing in separate windows by tiling them or just switching back and forth - with a larger comic, you'd have to scroll up and down to read both the comic and the explanation anyway. I find I lose my place in the text when I do that. alt+Tabbing for me generally is easier to keep my place in both windows.
The one thing from {{comicbox}} that I do like is that the box is shaded slightly bluegray. I like the separation that creates; on the other hand, xkcd.com has comics posted on white; does it hurt the integrity of any comics to have them posted on blue-grey instead of white? I'd consider changing the background of {{comic}} to a blue-gray (though perhaps lighter than the one on comicbox) if people like that. That's my thoughtsTheHYPO (talk) 15:10, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── {{ComicBox}} just got a major redesign. It looks more like {{comic}}, but with the addition of a vertical comic mode. Also, bear in mind that {{comic}} doesn't use white for the background. For comics like "Forget", take a look at Forget comicbox. Looks ok?  greptalk 15:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

As noted on explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals#Comic Templates, there is no need to start a new thread there there there is already a thread on the topic here (which you've posted to). Also, if your post was "which template should we use when?" it's not really a "proposal" for the proposals page, and better fits here under coordination.
That said, I thought this topic was fairly well resolved. Jeff endorsed {{Comic}} in the #Header_template discussion on this page, and this subsequent discussion seemed to resolve as well with no real consensus that a change from {{comic}} was necessary or beneficial. I don't see the benefit of continuing to build new templates that basially duplicate existing templates with one extra function (vertical mode). That could have been built into the existing template, if it were deemed necessary.
I personally think there are still pluses and minuses to doing things vertically; It looks a little cluttered to have the comic up on one size and the explanation on the other. If you don't have a high-resolution desktop or you want a non-maximized window, there may not be much space for the explanation which may end up with two or three words per line and be hard to read and annoying. "Forget" was a comic featuring a long list; this made for a very long listed explanation. Most long comics will not have explanations longer than the comic, and we'll have a lot of whitespace to the right of the comic. It just looks cluttered to me. I like having the navbar centered above the comic, not the page (and also in the enclosed comic box). That's personal preference though. I think the better design for vertical comics (is just to reduce their size and put them in the standard box. They otherwise take up too much space. TheHYPO (talk) 16:48, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I am not a fan of the discontinuity that comicbox creates as the explanation runs longer than the image. I also feel that we should focus on improving the existing {{comic}} instead of further developing new templates. - Shine (talk) 21:38, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Template for New Comics

To clarify, I'm not talking about a template like {{comic}} or {{comicbox}}, but rather a form to cut/paste for new comics. I'm rather new to large editing of MediaWiki pages, so I'm interested in learning of better ways of doing things.

Recently, I've been copy/pasting User:Blaisepascal/newcomictemplate to set up the basic form of the page, then editing the various sections. This ensures I get the major bits. I still have to copy/paste the transcript from xkcd.com, fill in the {{comic}} template, and make the number and title redirects by hand.

Is there a better way? Is there anything my template is missing? Blaisepascal (talk) 14:06, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

I've created a ruby script that can be given a comic number and it will spit out a text file with the comic template filled out, the transcript, and the comic discussion template. I've finally gotten it to the point that it is usable, so that's why I'm talking about it. It still doesn't pull explanations from the blog, but that's a whole ball of wax in and of itself. I'm on Linux so it's easy to run it and have it spit out files, I assume on Windows if you have ruby installed there is a way to run ruby scripts from the command prompt. Can't tell you where things will pop out, probably in the directory you run it in, but I haven't tested it on Windows yet. I'm also continuing to work on it, so don't assume that any version you download is the final product. Oh, it also spits out the redirect line you put in the number and title pages so you can just copy/paste that.
I made it because I was going to drive myself insane making hundreds of pages without some kind of automation. lcarsos (talk) 07:24, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
{{create}} was created as a template for the comic list so that it could be autoloaded into comics by linking from List of all comics. That functionality doesn't seem to be working, unfortunately. For that reason, I added a "transcript" of the create text as documentation on that template. If you goto {{create}}, you will find a template for new comic creation. TheHYPO (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

The name of the ponytail character

I remember the community having a name for the female ponytail character (I don't recall if there is a male ponytail character, but in the interest of being complete). Was it simply Ponytail?

In any case, she seems to recur enough to deserve her own Category:Comics featuring ... page. But I don't want to go create it without knowing what we can agree on is her name. So, pony (wow, didn't intend that pun) up your 2 cents. lcarsos (talk) 17:28, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

This comic http://xkcd.com/322/ calls a ponytail'ed female Joanna. Is this the same character as ponytail? She might be different. Community input please. lcarsos (talk) 01:26, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
It sounds plausible. Few of the characters are named, and it looks like Ponytail (compare, for example, Elaine Roberts as an adult, who has light hair, but doesn't wear it in a ponytail). The one concern is that in 322, she is clearly acquainted with Black Hat, and in 405 she appears to be friends with Danish, yet Black Hat and Danish don't know each other -- unless he tracked her down via Joanna... Blaisepascal (talk) 04:41, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

The name of Black Hat's girlfriend

Black Hat has a girlfriend, introduced in 377: Journal 2. She has thicker hair than Megan, and is seen (in 405: Journal 3 to be friends with Ponytail. Is there community-accepted name for her?

No, not yet. She seems to have a personality similar to Black Hat himself --Jeff (talk) 15:48, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't really want to create a "Category:Comics featuring Black Hat's girlfriend" if there is a better solution, that's all. Blaisepascal (talk) 15:57, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
In my own head I've been calling her Summer because she looks like how Randall draws Summer Glau (not a good argument, granted), and in some of the comics she shows up she reminds me of Summer's characters. lcarsos (talk) 17:41, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Or we could call her Dearest or Darling or Danish http://xkcd.com/515/ lcarsos (talk) 20:32, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've gone with Danish. Blaisepascal (talk) 22:18, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
P.S. I love you for that. You have my eternal respect. lcarsos (talk) 22:35, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Also, now someone needs to update the Characters nav box to include Danish. lcarsos (talk) 22:51, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I found the template on my own (aren't I a grown up professional?) and updated it. lcarsos (talk) 22:53, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Can we turn off page creation for non-logged in users

I'm not very familiar with mediawiki, so I don't know if this would be hard or not. But, it would stop the drive-by spam attacks (the ones that don't create accounts anyway, such nice bots).

My secondary goal in doing this would be to get ‎ and ‎ to make accounts so that there is a way to get a hold of them, give them some feedback, and have them stop adding/spamming spurious categories. Both of them are creating pages with poor/non-existent explanations, sections for the transcript but missing the transcript, haphazardly adding pre-existing categories and adding tons of one-off categories which do nothing to enhance explain xkcd.

lcarsos (talk) 19:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Tag any such comics with {{Comic-stub}} and you or someone else can fix it ^^--Relic (talk) 00:01, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I guess you succeeded then ;) I have learned from my mistakes that I made as an anon (take a look)
Why didn't you post on User talk: or User talk: (IPs have talk pages too)? I would have noticed it on either of them. It made me think that this community was more hostile than Wikipedia, which I also have an account for --Btx40 (talk) 21:14, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Tagline categories!

It finally struck me that there's that great line sitting top-right on the xkcd site. Yes the tagline. So, I've created pages for Language, Romance, Math already existed. But, I don't have time right now to go hunting down examples of Sarcasm. Can I enlist the help of all the beautiful editors here to go tagging crazy? (Ok, not crazy like insane, but please do comb through everything for these) lcarsos (talk) 19:47, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Image updates on xkcd

Once in a while, Randall changes the image of a particular comic (usually after someone here spotted an error!); for instance, that is the case for xkcd 1122 on Electoral Precedents. It would be nice to still be able to see the original image(s) here as well as the updated version, as the discussion usually references the previous version(s) and therefore sometimes doesn't make sense without the original image in those cases. Also, consider this as a mild suggestion to update the mentioned image on its explanation page. Sorry if I've put this in the wrong place... --Jay (talk) 14:54, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

For these most recent comics, someone usually uploads the version that goes public at midnight, and then corrections are uploaded on top of that. As part of the MediaWiki software, you can click on the image, which will take you to its file page, which allows you to see all the versions of the image back to its first creation. I, personally, am not sure if it's possible to link directly to a previous version, but it is there at least.
Unfortunately, due to an image resizing bug, (that we all hope is being worked on, but it's been months with no progress and no word of work or progress, so hope is dwindling) for larger images you won't be able to see it, until you click on the broken file link which will just take you to the image.
Hope that helps some. --lcarsos (talk) 16:35, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

The Great Spam Attack Of Thanksgiving 2012

I believe I have now dealt with all the spam that has accumulated on the wiki. I've gone through Recent Changes and personally checked every anonymous edit since 5 this morning, and looked through every new page created. If I've missed something, please edit the page and put {{spam}} at the top. Thank you to all the new editors that stepped up and went to work in the trenches while the rest of us were off stuffing our faces. I think special thanks goes out to St.nerol and TheOriginalSoni. I believe what happened is, the first major attack was met with a tepid response of about a month's temp block for all the IPs. But this time, for the flagrant vandalizers they are now on an indefinite ban.

Please, as you continue to notice spam or vandalization, use the {{spam}} template, or add Category:Pages to delete to the page (in the event that it's a newly created page). Leave a comment in your edit summary about vandalization clean up and someone with the power to, will deal with it.

--lcarsos_a (talk) 06:38, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Marked a wee bit that you missed. Typical, I take a day-long trip into China and an unholy mess of spam happens. May I suggest captchas for all anonymous edits for now? I would also like to get all the explanations done, or at least the ones from the blog, so that we can get the /wiki/ out of the URL to throw some of the spammers. The wall-of-text spammers all seem to include links to spam on other poor abused wikis, and I've noticed that all of those wikis also have a /wiki/ somewhere in there URL. It probably won't stop the new anon spammer, but we could probably restrict page creation to registered users only once we're done filling in all the old XKCD pages to cull those twats out too. Davidy22(talk) 09:27, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I have again dealt with the second wave of spam this Thanksgiving holiday (in the U.S. It's the only thing I can think that would be the cause.) and protected a few pages that seem to be repeat targets. If this is any indication of what major US holidays are like we need to get the administration (*ahem* Jeff) to delegate more controls to more users, and more A.I. spam fighting than we currently have (none). There has to be tricks that Wikipedia is using to fight spam. If we get this much, I can't imagine what the wikipedia servers have to daily stand up against, they must have spam fighting tricks, and not just hordes of people that can delete new pages that anonymous spam bots create. lcarsos_a (talk) 07:13, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia has cluebot, which looks at page blanking and text insertion by anonymous users and reverts suspicious behavior automagically. I could ask cluebot's creator if we could lift the code for use here. It'll be like XERXES.ai, except it'll look for spam instead of spelling errors. Davidy22(talk) 07:16, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Aight, so Cluebot runs off a core engine with a dataset of previous vandalism to work from. We can set the files up on a raspberry pi or something, leave it running and connected to the web and feed it a backlog of past spam to teach it what to look for. Gonna do it after this hellish pile of work is over, unless someone wants to ninja me again. Davidy22(talk) 07:50, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Cluebot sounds like a wonderful thing to have around here. When I have free time I might try to develop a basic bot that catches the basic kinds of spam and vandals we see here. (Spammers create a user account, create a random page and link to a random page on the internet; Vandals almost always leave an 18 character mixed lower/upper alphanumeric comment and are anonymous, that's unique enough it should be easily catchable)

Trivia and transcript placement

The placement of the trivia sections are not consistent on the wiki; sometimes they are placed above the transcript and sometimes below.

The trivia sections are often fun to read, and a good complement to the explanation. On the other hand I have a hard time imagining people coming here to read transcripts (I remember someone suggested collapsable boxes for them). I'm afraid trivia sections below the transcript "disappears" and sometimes won't be noticed at all (especially if the transcript is long). Therefore I propose that trivia sections should follow the explanation, and that the transcripts should be at the bottom of the page.

Another reason for this is that the dividing line between explanation and trivia is not always clear. The end of the explanations tend to accumulate trivia-like information. The natural thing is to just "crop off" a trivia section, where deemed appropriate, and not to move stuff to and fro around the block of transcript. –St.nerol (talk) 15:15, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree that trivia sections, if present, should come before the transcript. By the way, I think this thread would be more appropriate for the Coordination section of the community portal. If you agree, please move it there. Waldir (talk) 16:32, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Moved from Proposals to Coordination! –St.nerol (talk) 23:02, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
If an explanation contains trivia, that's an issue with the trivia being in the wrong place. Trivia is supposed to contain information that's only tangentially relevant to the comic at hand, and should be kept to the end of the page to keep the rest of the page free of clutter. Also, the comic discussion is at the bottom of every explanation page, but that doesn't seem to have deterred anyone from finding in. We could fix up some kind of collapse box for the transcripts though, since they do tend to be unneeded for most comics. Davidy²²[talk] 00:16, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, I've done a mockup for what the transcript collapse box could look like. It's in our sandbox, like?Davidy²²[talk] 01:16, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
It looks good!
I'm not sure it is so easy to differentiate between tangentially relevant, more relevant, and explanatory information. I think there will always be a hazy zone of borderline examples. (By the way, should the explanation/trivia division be based on how relevant the information is, or on how explanatory it is?)
Now that we're getting a collapsible box; where should we place it? I still don't think it is logical to have it between explanation and trivia (if present), but it will matter less. Maybe we should move it up to the top again? –St.nerol (talk) 10:24, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
Trivia in most wikis is reserved for all the junk that doesn't add value to the main purpose of the article. In our case, that would be information that doesn't serve to explain comics, which is what people who visit the site come here looking for. The transcript is useful for cases where an image is ambiguous or easily mistaken, although it's not entirely needed for every comic. If the trivia section ever contains anything that enhances the comic explanation more than the transcript does, it's in the wrong section.
The transcript template is probably going to have to get OK'ed by all the other editors round here before we make it a thing. It's quite a big change to make, and we'll have to change every existing page if we want to add it. We'd probably put it where we usually put the transcript if we do add it in though. Davidy²²[talk] 10:44, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I hope that the other guys turns up and says something too. Still, the trivia/transcript placement is not standardized, so we need to decide together what's more natural.
  • Do we want the transcript in a box?
  • Do we want it on the bottom of the page, or directly below the explanation, or on the top of the page?
It is a borderland between explaining a comic and giving background information, connections to other comics, etc. There's no borderland between those and transcript. Also, all trivia sections I've seen so far has enhanced the explanations more than the transcript. (Probably because I didn't feel need to read it). –St.nerol (talk) 16:10, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
If one actually needs/wants to read the transcript, one presumably wants to compare it directly with how the comic looks. That would be the good reason to place the box close to the comic. –St.nerol (talk) 16:12, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
Sorry I dropped off the face of the planet for a while there. The run up to Spring Break nearly killed me (that's not as figurative as you'd think). I'll write a proper response in the morning, or late afternoon, after I've had enough sleep to recover from ~2 weeks of ~3 hours of sleep a night. lcarsos_a (talk) 08:58, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
I think that Trivia belongs at the bottom of the page. We didn't start with putting transcripts on the explanation page, so there isn't a law passed down from the founders to let us know how to slaughter our sheep as sacrifice (wait, that's something else). However, in keeping with Wikipedia's tradition, we put tangentially related information into its own category at the bottom of the page.
What defines tangentially related? Well, most of our editors seem to have a good grasp on it, so I didn't think it was necessary to spell out hard and fast rules. I think the group of people that read xkcd frequently are also prone to become draconian, pedantic, rules lawyers, so I hesitate to suggest that we need to impose too much more structure than what we can glean from Wikipedia's many years of existence. This is how I categorize it:
  • The explanation, which is the main point of the site, should explain all cultural, technological, mathematical, scientific, visual, and linguistic gags that Randall includes.
  • The transcript, which helps to ensure that people aren't mis-reading the comic. This is also valuable for accessibility, as blind people cannot read images (not yet, OCR isn't that good), which is why I think Randall should publish transcript data as he posts the comics. So, I support the creation of a transcript when the comic first posts, but about a week later someone should go back and replace it with the transcript that Randall publishes so that anything we interpret incorrectly will be corrected.
  • Discussion. Since we transclude the discussion onto the explanation page anything that comes up as a result of the comic will often be commented on here. E.g. "Did you guys see Reddit blew up after Randall called them out in this comic? [link]"
  • And lastly trivia. My template test for this one is "Is this really important trivia, but it doesn't add one hoot to the explanation? Then it should go here." What jumps to my mind every time I think of this is Click and Drag. That is a prime example of a trivia section. It doesn't explain the comic, but it is meta-information about the comic.
Why last? Because if the community cares about the points of trivia someone will bring it up. So that content already exists on the page. Duplicating that and putting it up higher makes no sense. What's even worse is having an Explanation, content directly about the comic; Trivia, an interlude with some information that's fun to know and you can stump people at xkcd meet-ups but otherwise useless; and Transcripts, which is directly about the comic again.
I would say that Trivia should actually go at the bottom of the page, but the transclusion of the discussion page makes that ugly to my eye. But it should go underneath the Transcript. Not all of the world are "fully functional" "Average" (capital 'A' Average) and "Normal" (capital 'N' Normal) humans, and consideration needs to be spent on them. And the transcript is more relevant information about the comic than any trivia is. If there is trivia that is more relevant than the transcript, it should be worked into the explanation. If a transcript gets long and you believe scrolling is a tedious, laborious task that only proto-humans had to deal with, then add a __TOC__ (the TOC is ugly because of the comic discussion template, which is another discussion) underneath the comic template.
--lcarsos_a (talk) 12:02, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the transcript could be integrated into template:comic, instead of being a separate template, and use a softer and more neutral color (light gray, for example) in the heading. Apart from these details, I agree with the collapsing of the transcript, and being collapsed, its placement isn't really problematic. Right under the comic sounds ok to me. --Waldir (talk) 02:04, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
I think this would be a good option. If the transcript were in the comic template, such that it was comic image, title text, transcript, this would be a good option for screen readers, so that the explanation would be read after the transcript. I am quite in favor of this. lcarsos_a (talk) 12:02, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I made a couple of halfhearted attempts at doing that box integration, but it's not as easy as copypasting it into the right place. Will get it done when I'm less busy. Davidy²²[talk] 13:29, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Trivia section for the early comics?

I noticed that the early xkcd comics that were posted on livejournal sometimes have no real explanation (since there is really nothing much to explain), but feature a separate trivia section that mentions the original order, an alternative title text and/or a quote by Randall. Number 7 is a good example for it. I was wondering if it were not more practical to integrate the trivia section into the explanation text. Of course, it is strictly speaking not an explanation of the comic's contents, but other explanations give meta information about the comic as well. As somebody in the section above has already mentioned: It is a thin line. I think, a separate trivia section only makes sense when there is 1) a full explanation of the comic that would otherwise be cluttered and 2) the trivia section contains technical meta information that does not add to the understanding of the comic (see 1110 for example). I think it more to the point to remove the trivia sections for the early comics altogether, but I thought I ask before anybody has to revert everything ;) -- LotharW (talk) 12:40, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

That's still trivia that should probably stay in the trivia section, although the explanations for those comics do need work. Even if it's just to inform that reader that the earlier xkcd comics were more doodle-y than modern xkcd. Davidy²²[talk] 22:53, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

To all Admins: IP User pages

Since IP addresses are often dynamic the IP user pages should stay empty. If a user wants a user page he just can sign in here and there is no problem with links to former IP posts. Editing IP user pages produce just chaos.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:44, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

You're assuming that because some IP addresses are dynamic, we should bar IPs from creating userpages. For one, that's not true and User: has been editing from the same address for a good half year. We cannot force IPs to do anything; see WP:HUMAN. IPs necessarily forfeit admin candidacy and the ability to edit semi-protected pages because of security concerns, but that's the extent of their restrictions on this wiki. User: is a rather good example of an established IP with his own userpage on mainline Wikipedia. Also, WP:PAPER can likely be applied here; the disk space that a single redirect page takes up is insignificant, and mediawiki is designed to still perform well with many pages in it's database. Davidy²²[talk] 18:15, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
I did know you would do an answer like this. But I still fully disagree on this, an IP user is still dynamic and if those users don't like to sign in here they should not have user privileges.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:58, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
The only answer I have to that is WP:HUMAN. Our IP users are just as valuable as our registered ones, and they are privy to all benefits that regular users receive except ones that could become problematic with shared IP addresses, like admin candidacy/privileges. That IP has edited from their address for longer than many registered users stay active. IPs are human too. Davidy²²[talk] 19:22, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
As someone who prefers not using an account here, I fully agree with David. 08:17, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

"Its Cause Your Dumb"

I'm interested in moving away from this tagline. Originally it made sense in our old blog logo in which it was Black Hat saying it, but now out of context it sounds way more condescending. I know people like it, but I don't think it is necessary to sit on the top of every page. --Jeff (talk) 16:38, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Adding the thumbnail of Black Hat back in would be trivial. We can either add it back in, or cut/change it entirely. I'm fine either way, though I did enjoy the old tagline. Davidy²²[talk] 19:54, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb. is still great. Black Hat is just telling the truth. But this and the "explainxkcd.com/X" should be moved to the bottom of the header.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:29, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to see Black Hat saying it, but maybe at the bottom of the logo instead. Halfhat (talk) 20:40, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Now the black hat image is rather blurry.

Transcript Section

I've not been able to find any real sort of guideline which says what we do and do not include in the Transcript. From the explanation for Strip 1322: Winter, how much "action" should we be notating in the Transcript. There comes a point when the Transcript becomes a Script and can be used to reenact the strip. If this was the original intention, then perhaps we should state that somewhere. I suggest any text, in English or otherwise should be included either verbatim or described, and other symbols which are not directly related to the actors, such as music notes, charts, graphs, and other objects which significantly affect the plot of the strip. Obviously some good judgement should be exercised and there may be exceptions which crop up. I'd like to hear other comments and views, thanks. Jarod997 (talk) 14:00, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

The transcript should be detailed enough that a blind user can tell what happened in the comic. It's there to tell people what happened in the comic image if they were otherwise unable to tell without the transcript. Davidy²²[talk] 16:35, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Aha! Thanks for clearing that up. Is that posted anywhere? Jarod997 (talk) 21:05, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
It‘s somewhere in the old discussion where the standard page layout was determined. If you dig through old community portal topics, you‘ll probably find it. Eventually. Davidy²²[talk] 06:35, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

We need a name for the "Total Douchebag"

I did say it [here] but I think it was the wrong section and I got no responces any way he appears in and [435], [796], [826 (guest week)] and [964] possibly more. I got a good pic of him too.Halfhat (talk) 19:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Something smug sounding like Beyond Hat would be good.Halfhat (talk) 19:41, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
If he shows up in another comic, I'll start a vote to add him. The name "douchebag" has been contested and changed in the past by various anons for justified reasons and I'm sure there's less judgmental names that we could give him, like Goatee. Davidy²²[talk] 22:44, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Undocumented Feature

Why is the daily incomplete explanation still 1305: Undocumented Feature? At this point, the explanation is complete, and it's been the daily incomplete for several days, if not weeks. Z (talk) 18:52, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Oh, damn, I've been a bit busy recently. I'll get that started again. Davidy²²[talk] 20:20, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Should we have a category for comics with secret messages?

Should we have a category for comics with secret messages? Like 1005: SOPA. Ausr (talk) 16:32, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

How many of them are there? Categories need to apply to a decent number of comics before we make them. Davidy²²[talk] 22:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Incomplete explanation of the day - Template changed?

Has the template of the "incomplete explanation of the day" box changed?

I'm sure the title of the incomplete page used to be a link, but now it appears in bold, and not a link... -- Pudder (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

It'll look like that if you're on the page that it links to, or if mediawiki messes up. Davidy²²[talk] 16:42, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Incomplete Explanation of the Day needs updating

For the last few days, the IED has been set to 887: Future Timeline, when the page has already been set to complete. Is there a specific person in charge of IED, or could I just go ahead and change it whenever I see that the page has been completed? I'm not entirely sure if this is the correct section of the Community Portal for this question, but I would like to know. Kirdneh (talk) 18:05, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Uh, I do the changing there. I don't do this usually, but I actually think the tag should be readded; the original reason if I recall correctly for the tag being there was that the big ol' table of predictions listed in the comic wasn't complete, and the roots for each one aren't obvious to everyone reading; see the one on 32 bit timestamps, which means little to people unfamiliar with Unix timestamps. Davidy²²[talk] 21:28, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Requesting a Third Opinon on 1317: Theft

There are two competing interpretations of 1317: Theft (see the end of the discussion for details), leading to its being marked incomplete. Could some other editors take a look? 14:15, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Two unresolved questions. First, is the character in the comic Randall or Hairy? Second, is the character show the victim of identity theft or the perpetrator? Djbrasier (talk) 18:51, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Most character pages are missing infoboxes

Please add them if possible. There are two types of character infoboxes currently, "character infobox" for when the category page is "Comics featuring Name"; while "character infobox 2" is for when the character page serves as its own category page. -- 17jiangz1 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)


Philae has woken up!!! Randal has updated 1446: Landing as a result. I'm about to go out, but can someone please start recording any new comics! --Pudder (talk) 15:11, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm on itDavidy²²[talk] 11:05, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Image issues

Can someone fix File:radiation.png? Forrest (talk)15:54, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Wait a little bit, cache takes time to update. Davidy²²[talk] 16:58, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, it's okay now. Forrest (talk)10:20, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

New comic, not on the main site.

http://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/XKCD-Marks-the-Spot It's about Polio eradication Halfhat (talk) 13:45, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

The page already exists, at World Polio Day. Not a fan of doing these supplemental comics personally, but the page is there for you to improve if you want to. Davidy²²[talk] 17:19, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

Manually added 1678

Hello, I manually added comic 1678, since the bot didn't seem to. I think I did everything, but since I'm not familiar with the process someone might want to double-check. SG 01 (talk) 15:21, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Title text in transcript

Not sure if this has been asked before, but why don't we include the title text in the transcript? -misterblue28

Probably because the transcript is for people who can't see the image, but the title text isn't part of the image - it's in plain text underneath the image. Danish (talk) 23:07, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Category syntax

How do you put pages in a category? I tried inserting links manually and it said "this category has no pages or media." Some user (talk) 04:06, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

Hi Some user, it's a little backwards, but to add a page to a category, you have to instead add the category to the page. In other words, for the page that you want to be included in the category, edit that page and add a [[Category:Example Category]] link to the bottom of the page (where Example Category is the name of the desired category); after you save it, the page will magically appear in the category. See here for more info. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 02:42, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

2475: Health Drink

I believe that the "simple country nanoenzyme developer" comment refers to the Simple Country Lawyer trope. Elizium23 (talk) 19:32, 15 June 2021 (UTC)

Citation no longer needed?

It seems like the inclusion of the [citation needed] tag is getting less popular. Should these be removed or should they be allowed? Cwallenpoole (talk) 14:56, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

[citation needed]... Less popular? I've just seen a retro-edit that added three (or four) CNs in a very old article. I don't think it has lost its popularity. It could be argued that it has lost its clarity (but only through overuse). I see no need to purge this feature, though of course anybody could hunt down and purge those instances they considered to be in excess (YMMV!) and anybody else could splurge them out again (with personal opinions again being the driving force).
If you are indicating a personal opinion that CNs should not be being used, anywhere, say it straight. I think you'd be outvoted on the issue, but it would be more useful than just proclaiming it isn't used (clearly wrong).
Overuse is bad, removing it isn't practical or desirable (you'd be reverted in an instant). Welcome to the complications of collaborative editing from a diverse group of fans. 15:45, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
oh, I find it absolutely hilarious, but I have also seen people removing them. I just want to make sure it's still OK to add them. Cwallenpoole (talk) 16:56, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Some people have less tolerance for them, definitely. If "The sky is blue**, water is wet**, fire is hot** and cats meow**" is marked up in each (or most) of the **-points then I would not be surprised or disappointed to see that de-CNed. If you ask me, the balance would be once used for every two or three articles (and in the best one of those two or three, nothing actually contentious or even not-always-true like the blue sky statement, but of course they could bunch up at times by looking wider around for each set of 'best's), but don't ask me to judge the best examples. And that's still an awful lot of total uses! Others would have differing thresholds/tolerances. 20:03, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

New admins

Been skimming around edit histories to see what I've missed and now I have candidates in mind for promotion to admin. I've linked a bureaucrat to this section who can promote any of the following who consent to promotion:

  • User:Jacky720: Contribution log going back to 2016, heavy contributor in recent anti-vandalism effort
  • User:Theusaf: Creator of the current comic update bot
  • User:Kynde: Editor for a decade, although may want to stay regular user

Davidy²²[talk] 02:06, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

I consent. I'm not super active, but I visit explainxkcd multiple times a week and maintain the bot. —theusaf (talk) 07:29, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
done theusaf Jeff (talk) 19:02, 8 May 2022 (UTC)
I want to be clear that with the exception of the anti-vandalism script (which I did not write) I haven't been very active lately. Maybe I just find a lot of pages in an already-acceptable state. Still, I'm reading the wiki. So if the requirement is only presence and judgement rather than activity, I'll take the post. Is it? That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 11:25, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
I sought out a fair number of people so that the load would be more distributed. The duties that adminship adds are just things like banning users and protecting pages, regular users can already fix content related things and vandalism. Davidy²²[talk] 13:41, 10 May 2022 (UTC)
Slow as hell, but i did it. User:Jacky720 and User:Kynde Jeff (talk) 17:36, 22 May 2022 (UTC)
Thanks Jeff. Kynde (talk) 13:56, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

I will accept being an admin. But I would like to know how to get hold of for instance Davidy or Jeff, so we can contact someone with more knowledge or power over this site, when it breaks down or is attacked again. Any way this can be arranged? And then I would also like to know what being an admin means here. Which powers do we get? I have not tried being an admin of anything before ;-) Kynde (talk) 12:13, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

I've always contacted jeff via twitter, which is linked via his userpage, though we've been in contact over email too. I don't use my twitter account for anything else otherwise, and I'm mostly dead on a lot of social media but I have the same username on github and I do use that site a fair bit if you want to contact me via alternate means. You can see the full set of rights each role has here, but the ones that'll come up the most are probably the rollback button, bans and page protection/deletion. Davidy²²[talk] 13:41, 10 May 2022 (UTC)

One-click undo script for reverting vandalism

I've made an extremely crude script to expedite vandalism removal at User:CRLF/OneClickUndo.js; basically, it changes all "undo" links to work without the confirmation screen. Simple as that and hopefully helpful for cleaning up this mess!

I'm hoping to also make something that can work on contribs pages, but my scripting skills aren't that great.

Also, if you are aware of any scripts that do this better (I hope there are), please share them here. CRLF (talk) 02:20, 21 May 2022 (UTC)

Update: I have added the functionality to have this on contribution pages; it should create a link "[revert]" next to each page name that allows you to similarly revert in one click. There is one known glitch though, that it doesn't really work if a user has edited the same page multiple times, so to alleviate that I recommend ticking the "Only show edits that are latest revisions" box on the contribs list. I hope this tool will be helpful in combating future vandalism.
I almost forgot to mention, the way you install this script is by adding the following text to the bottom of Special:MyPage/common.js (sorry, only for autoconfirmed users):
mw.loader.load('//www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=User:CRLF/OneClickUndo.js&action=raw&ctype=text/javascript'); // [[User:CRLF/OneClickUndo.js]]
Hope this helps! CRLF (talk) 03:04, 21 May 2022 (UTC)

Semi-persistant gambling portal ads being attempted...

There have been a number of link-insertions made over the last few weeks (some returning to where they'e previously reverted out), seemingly of various groups of sites under the name "<two letters>+portmanteau(C A S I n o & s i M I L E)", here written slightly obtusely to diffuse giving them any of the SEO credit they seek, but anyone interested should be able to get enough of the gist to then find examples of their spamming. Usually the two letters are for AUstralia or New Jersey, but I think there have been others.

A quick search seems not to give any 'core' business name precursor to the state/country regionalisation part, they seem to have just gone straight to the localised domains. And searching for them indicates they're popping up in many an odd place 'out there'. Like a site reviewing walking(/zimmer?)-frames, or (strangely, as it's the AU-branded site) "looking for developers in the Chicago area", so they're poking away out there. But we're just as busily poking them back out again by reverting, both myself and (I've noted) other major contributors/maintainers.

But making an official(ish) note. If anybody gets an automated content de-publishing mechanism up (e.g. for the C R A P style of stuff) then maybe they can figure out this one enough to also counter its reappearance.

As a direct example, dive into what occured to cause this pairing of edit/undo-edit... (Easy enough to check, by clicking things, but I'm not giving an easily search-spiderable link that promotes their site like they might want!) 14:50, 13 June 2022 (UTC)

Unlike the SEO spam that gets stopped normally, I suspect this is a human solving captchas to insert links, so automated measures would have to be cat and mouse blacklisting link insertions probably, if we got an auto reverter bot up. Davidy²²[talk] 02:48, 14 June 2022 (UTC)

Transcript standards

I was just wondering, what is our policy on formatting in transcripts? Tables, text size, color, italics, etc. Char Latte (talk) 23:35, 7 September 2022 (UTC)

The idea is no tables, IIRC, though I know of exceptions that do use them. Other in-situ formatting should be allowable but (if important) actually stated in the :[Description] tags, or somehow.
One of the ideas is that a screen-reader should be able to reliably inform someone of what they might not be able to see. And, depending upon the reader can probably read "½" accurately, may be able to read "1/2" at least in an understandable manner, could perhaps handle "1/2" without (much) more confusing, yet may find something like "
" (<table style="display: inline-table; line-height: 0.6em; vertical-align: middle; font-size:7pt; text-size-adjust: none;"><tr><td><u>1</u></td></tr><tr><td>2</td></tr></table>) makes for something of no real sense to the reader or the listener to the reader or both.
Secondary is that maybe a search for "red text" should reveal all comics with red text (not easy to do on digging ingo HTML style formatting alone), though I'm sure that the relevent transcripts are so standardised.
Not the expert on the issue, just how I've seen it posited elsewhere (but inconsistently, at that). 00:47, 8 September 2022 (UTC)

What is Category:Meta for?

I've stumbled upon Category:Meta, and it seemed so random. Three of the 4 books were on it, but I removed them because there already is a category for Randall's books. There are also pages like Browser extension, Characters, the Countdown in header text... what do all those pages have in common? (The category description doesn't help.). FaviFake (talk) 10:49, 3 July 2023 (UTC)

2765 has been completed, you can change the "incomplete explanation" thing now

Maybe change it now?

What's going on with the incomplete comics?

I've noticed a the number dropping rapidly, and I'm worried people/someone is just removing incomplete tags randomly from pages. If not, it's great that these are getting done, but I remember some very large/complicated comics that couldn't just be finished quickly. The edit history is pretty spammy, it's hard to find the source. Mushrooms (talk) 08:49, 11 January 2024 (UTC)

People have been removing the Incomplete tags from pages. Not so much "randomly" as actually removing them from some of the latest few. Even going so far as to remove such a tag from an article not yet a day old. (Really too soon, IMO. There are always going to be people who take at least a day to check in to discover the latest comic's item, and then produce some personal take on it that makes what was there "not yet complete" to reasonable eyes.)
The whole Incompleteness thing has developed, anyway. Originally, it was even a matter of whether a page existed for a comic (catching up/backfilling with earlier-than-the-wiki comics) until at least placeholders/blank explanations for them all were created by users and Bots. Then "incomplete" was a tag used to identify the created comics that hadn't been properly filled in with intelligent (or sufficient) explanations.
Even that era is now over, as it is rare that someone doesn't rock up with an explanation for a new comic within an hour or so of it being editable. The Incomplete tag has co-evolved as a community side-joke as to what (other than a Bot) created this particular page. Which some people seem not to have realised as they (in good faith, no doubt) de-Incomplete a number of recent pages at a time.
Not that I think one should never remove the tags, but my opinion is:
  • If someone has just edited (more?) info into a page, they shouldn't have the hubris to consider it now complete thanks to their own 'final' work, let someone else have that say; assuming they don't have more to say (or a revert/back-edit/correction of their own), having their own ideas of how 'complete' it became,
  • If the comic is less than a week old, many people may have been familiar with (and happy with) the thorough explanation... but that occasional guy or gal who only checks in every Wednesday/weekend/whenever, when they have time to browse all their favourite webcomic metasites, could bring along an insight that everyone else missed - technically, they could do this (and do?) for even more ancient examples that they've yet to notice, but "giving the 'regulars' (<= those that are not also hyperfrequent) a week or so" a shot at working on an Incomplete page seems like courtesy,
  • As the developed joke is that an early editor adds the 'community comment' about which non-BOT entity/process created the page, give everyone familiar with this the chance to have seen each prime example, this includes the once-a-week individual(s), from the above point, even if they have nothing new to add,
    • ...as a meta to this, generally one of the first editors to discover the BOTted page (or maybe the one that did the temporarily tardy BOT's work!) will make their mark on it by so editing (I personally consider it poor form to only "first!" a page by editing this tag and then doing nothing more to fill in even just the Transcript, BTW, but YMMV). Obviously, not all such spontaneous jokes are top-notch funny (to all people), but one need not go in later and 'rejoke it' just for one's own ego (at least as much as the "first!"er type). It loses its cultural impact if (as per one recent page) it becomes a competition to keep on changing the tag indefinitely. Respect the joke that you may find there (spelling/formatting errors aside?), enjoy it, feel smug that you "would have done it better" (more smug than actually doing it, only for your "better" to be in turn bested/wiped by someone else soon after). There are some very clever BOT-replacements that have been done (I've tried a few, myself, but can't/won't claim to be the genius editor of any of the good ones) and I have an offline list of many of these, but that's perhaps a little too meta for explainxkcd...
  • Finally, the editors who go through 'wiping' a series of Incompletes at a time (even as recent as with the present day's released comic) tend to show willing and eager wiki-editing capabilities, but are clearly 'new' to not realise the value (beyond the original intention) placed upon the tag. The kind of people who might not yet realise that the Citation Needed has an explainxkcd 'twist' to it (or, having realised the twist, think that they're the first person to consider how funny it would be to use that tag at least twice a paragraph, or even multiple times in a single sentence.... I welcome fresh editors, but I know what some of them feel. I remember being annoying to the 'old guard' on a BBS during pre-Web era... even back then, the best advice really was to lurk, observe, contribute sparingly... even now, in fact, I still tend to be oververbose, but at least I don't overdo the same thing (addition or removal of things) to ridiculuous degrees like I did practically a third of a century ago.
...not that I expect the above to match everyone's feelings (even a majority?), nor to claim authority (far from it, I like being an occasional commentator without the pressures of responsibility). And anyone who might benefit from this exposition is unlikely to read it (soon) anyway!
But I can definitely provide my insight on the original question (yes, they're being removed, not really randomly). And, if there's anything particularly likely to draw my attention to there being 'something wrong on a somewhat historic xkcd explanation' then it's someone removing the Incomplete tag and getting me to read it "for old times' sake" (to find obvious typos, grammatical mixups, broken links or just plain awkward/missing elements). Occasionally, I'll even restore the Incomplete tag because, whatever subsequent fix I might or might not do myself, it's not my call to say that it's "perfect".
Though obviously edits can (and do) still occur with-or-without. Which leads back to my valuing the tags as these days more cultural than a strict tally of completeness/lack-of-it. There's no reason why they shouldn't be removed, but generally not a batch at a time. Barring long and still not fully resolved 'megacomics'/interactives, perhaps around a fortnight or a month before (at the rough rate of three a week, to match the new comics gaining the tags) might be sufficient and not excessive. Leaving on the order of 5-10 'recent' Incompletes, plus any hangovers that are still potentially expandable (Gravity-like, or Umwelt).
Can't stop the eager editors who have much more slimline ideas, and could displease those who think the meta-joke trumps the actual Incompleteness marking and should hang around indefinitely, but this is my own broadly happy middle-ground. Not that anyone asked. 15:14, 11 January 2024 (UTC)
I apologize if this goes off-topic, but I recently made an early BOT replacement "joke" that was unnecessarily crudely worded and I just want to say I wish I hadn't done that. If I'm in a rush to add the first draft of a transcript, basic category details or alike, and want to act quick to avoid potential edit conflicts, from now on I'll let the BOT field be untouched if I can't spontaneously think of anything worthwhile to type there. Asdf (talk) 13:18, 14 January 2024 (UTC)
Something that's funny at two o'clock in the morning (but not even necessarily then, nor need it require alcohol/sugar/etc) is often not quite so much after some thought. But sometimes it is, so we can't blame you for having a go. ;) I suppose I'd say that if it hasn't already been squished by a more savvy future editor, you should just take the first opportunity to improve (or roll-back) your not so good ideas, once you're in a more objective/critical mindset.
On-topic, one also shouldn't "decide to de-Incomplete comics" without much thought. And if you're doing several at the same time you should at least have been monitoring them; not just choose one to remove it from, then click "Next/Previous" and wipe that one off, rinse-and-repeat. If I see multiple removals in the Recent history then I'm inclined to believe it's an ideological act, not from any considered review. If you really want to, save up the 'next' one for the day after (at least make it look like you slept on it), etc, and you're still capable of expunging seven of them a week, as opposed to the usual generation of them at three per week. You can still 'win', without looking like a total jobsworth. 16:28, 14 January 2024 (UTC)

Admin requests

Admin requests

Welcome to your mother's basement! Problems requiring assistance from an admin. User problems, changes to protected pages, more user rights etc. (+post)

Convert to real X-Forwarded-For IP addresses?

Can you admins do the https://serverfault.com/a/526551 thing so you can block by real IP addresses and ranges? 15:45, 22 July 2022 (UTC)

That is out of my league. But maybe some of the other clever admins may know what if that can be used? Kynde (talk) 17:07, 22 July 2022 (UTC)

Install anti-spam programs

I think it’s time to install some sort of automated anti-spam programs that can catch these spammers fast. 06:30, 24 July 2022 (UTC)

I don't want to be disrespectful, but it seems that the current set of admins lacks the collective time or ability to upgrade Mediawiki/MySQL and install widely available anti-vandalism and anti-spam measures. But you have perhaps the most technically inclined, supportive, and motivated audience you could hope for here. Why not use the main page top banner to ask for expert Mediawiki volunteers or if that doesn't work, funds to hire such a consultant to upgrade blocking and filtering tools or a new hosting solution if needed? I believe you'd be surprised with the extent of community support you can muster, and manually chasing vandalism is becoming tiresome. 07:28, 24 July 2022 (UTC)

I've been chasing jeff for months now because he's the only one with access to the server. I know he's alive and still active online, but he clammed up partway through the previous wave of heavy spam and the email chain is just 20 of my own emails, I'll get through eventually. y²²[talk] 18:10, 24 July 2022 (UTC)
@jeff_underscore tweeted four days ago. Would it help if we launched a Twitter campaign to get him on board with a server update fundraiser, or something? 03:36, 25 July 2022 (UTC)
Anyone with the skills and experience should tweet him to take him up on his offer, IMHO. 04:12, 25 July 2022 (UTC)

Basic punctuation standards

Can we please have some agreement that ." is better than ".? 07:08, 24 August 2022 (UTC)

That would depend.
When asked "How do you deal with endquote punctuation in quoted speech?" he answered "Yes," with a definite nod of his head, "I would always try to put the punctuation before the quote."
...that is how I was taught to do it, <mumble>fumphty-fumph</mumble> years ago, and when it is clear quoted speech (with 66s, 99s) then that's probably best. Except when it might confuse, but then a rewrite (or clearly indicated paraphrase/part-quote) might be useful. You'll note I example-quote 'wrongly' in some places below, to accomodate other factors. Like an exclamation point as a feature of the holding sentence that makes no sense at all to be translated to within the quoted sentence(-fragmant).
On the other hand providing "a set of words", with no clear quotation to them, ellicits no such compunction.
...it gets a bit hazy, because a partial quote of a real full sentence (or an incomplete/incompleted quote) could go either way. But I would not consider "a set of words," to be sensible.
If you give a "list", "spread" or "set" of singular terms then no, or even compounded ones if they are ultimately the "be-all" and "end-all".
...noting that I might personally single-quote in this case (I know not why I have adopted this principle, exactly), though I've often seen such things changed by others and it may be more contested than even the terminator punctuation. I might say that the 'true' difference is whether it is a definite "literal", insofar as meaning, or somewhat 'ad hoc', 'foreignish' or just plain constructed.
But this is just my opinion. And, regardless of my preference to quote-punctuation ordering, I've seen several recent occasions where paren-punctuation ordering was totally off (IMO). Either "...at the end of a sentence (an aside.)", which should have been "... (an aside)." instead, or "(As a whole aside of its own)." for which it must surely be "(As ... of its own.)"
Now, obviously too much ()ing is awkward, especially if nested, but I prefer the clearer in/out indication than other methods — like the mdash — which seem to be the favoured method by some editors — and, even more confusingly, often without spacing both sides. (Like "...by some editors—and, even more confusingly..."! Looks more like a hyphen, despite "—” and "–”-users changing hyphens-used-as-dashes to one or other of the dashes to try to differentiate them.)
Ultimately, though, the people here will have learnt (or redeveloped) their own typographical standards over a wide range of educational eras (or under teachers/mentors whose own learnt-preferences might themselves be several decades passed into history) and with additional localisation/localization complications as well. I tend to agree with you (with caveats as mentioned) but it won't be universally acceptable. 21:34, 24 August 2022 (UTC)
Better? No. Correct (at least in American English)? Yes. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 13:25, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

Propose block of (an?) IP user(s?) and suppression of their edits

I don't mind being insulted but I think it's clear they're bad for the community:

--NotaBene (talk) 14:15, 12 October 2022 (UTC)

As the IP who subsequently reverted those back out of existence (wasn't sure you'd seen it, but was clear to me it wasn't a useful/good-faith commentary, and now I find that you had and had certainly ignored it in-situ) I have mixed opinions. I could not have done my (good faith) edit if somehow restricted, in a way someone had previously gotten around. Bearing in mind the idiotic vandal(s) we have had before, and always ended up dealing with through sheer force of the more righteous and honest userbase, I think that drastic actions aren't necessary. But I can think of a few minor tweaks that maybe the current adminship can still hold in reserve and occasionally employ, without preventing the likes of me (long time contributor, but not yet decided to make it 'official') occasionally poking registered users' Talk pages with genuine queries or comments under most circumstances that may actually warrant it.
That said, we have indeed had a spate of vandalism, recently, which I'm inclined to believe is 'our old friend' who probably decided he(?) was bored again. A few novel tricks (nonsense 'cat on keyboard' edits with no clear pattern to the nonsense or what it replaces) but in association with some of the old ones (global word replacements throughout an article). Quickly recorrected in all cases, SFAICT, so not a big problem.
The above insertion (...insertions... seeming to care about punctuation typos!) I might have left for you to blue-pen out of your own Talk page (whatever the intent behind it) except for my spidey-sense saying it really was just trolling and that you had no reason to even consider a dismissive reply, never mind argue your defence against such an accusation. (But could always restore and reply to it if you really wanted to!) 17:57, 12 October 2022 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not proposing a site-wide restriction of all IP users, just those specific addresses. --NotaBene (talk) 18:41, 12 October 2022 (UTC)
Understood, but that'd mean inconveniencing even legitimate readers routing through the same Cloudflare gateways. Which are in bunches, such that any given region of the world is served by not necessarily contiguous IP ranges, thus false-positives and false-negatives. Until you blanket-ban enough to just make for a whole lotta false-positive blocking for a segment of real users once the instigator of the mess just moves on (or enjoys the mess he made, if self-aware enough of it).
I won't even know, until I submit this, if I'm this time listed even in the same IP/8-block as the above (, but if it turns out that I'm a 141.* this time (or maybe 142.*, I forget what I occasionally show up as) then obviously had you reason to IP-block me because of my own actions then you'd have accomplished little by even banning the whole 16-/24-block of my original. And that's without any conscious intent to bypass the default allocation system...
So, not that you should take my own opinion as gospel, just thought I'd mention this. 20:23, 12 October 2022 (UTC)


I cleaned everything up. You should probably restore the newest 3 topics.

It could definitely do with a cleanup (not the only page like this!), but in a positive and considered manner, not just wiping and expecting unwarrented deletions to be restored after your removal. Archival sub-pages (restricted/fully-protected) should be involved, perhaps, for reference/history (on top of the History view itself).
Not just wiping by an unisigned contributor, as you did. I'm a hairbreadth from just reverting it all back again, on principle, and maybe someone else will do that anyway.
But defering to known named users (esp. the admins) and their decision on how to procede. (Please do delete this contribution if you see fit to do any restoration and make my opinions moot.) 20:26, 23 October 2022 (UTC)
I agree that it needed cleanup, and also agree that wiping everything was not the best way to go about doing it. I've moved most of the deleted content to the "talk"/archive page, and put back some discussions. theusaf (talk) 23:22, 23 October 2022 (UTC)

Complaint transcluded from user:ArthurGreenham

(Ok, so, the above transclusion is subject to change at any time, as proven by While False going in there and 'wikilinking' everything since I first saw the transclusion inserted here, so perhaps a little less ephemeral explanation is needed..?)
Point the first: I have no issues with While False, in general. Seems to be a good editor in general. As I recall, did a lot to counter that particularly recurring bad-faith editor who the current expanded admin set will recall. And regular editing from you, mate..? As good as anyone else, I would say. No bad-faith detected in you at all.
Point the second: You do seem to be a bit too gung-ho with new pages, and similar experiments with markup. Just because you can, it seems. If those with the power to remove pages choose not to, then I'm not complaining, but I still think it's a bit... self-indulgant. Not that a mere IP like me can rightfully complain.
Point the third: Clearly, among the mass of newly registered users (who never then contribute) there is a large cohort generated by some external script(s) for the intention of SEO/propogation of linky-links. I suspect that they're set to do this on any wiki that they can create accounts upon, mindlessly and with the initiating 'intelligence' not bothered how well they do it (economies of scale, as per spamming/etc) because some will do it and fulfil whatever purpose.
Point the fourth: But, back a long time ago, our chief admin here (and his then current peers/etc?) set it up so that new users just did not so easily create brand new pages. Without overly restricting the spamming of user-registration (or, more importantly, legitimately interested actual contributors) it stymied the scripts that were creating users that then could not create (and write their spam upon) the pages they were programmed to create.
Point the fifth: But if someone who is an autoconfirmed user looks at the accounts created (I'm guessing here, so corrects me if I'm wrong) and decides to make the pages that new and heretofor uncontriutive users cannot create for themselves, there are times (at least two, that I know of) that the mindless spam-script has not given up and moved on from putting their random link-spam upon RandomNewname's user page. And as RandomNewname has a page, it does its preprogrammed stuff.
...and the world does not stop turning, if that happens. But it does just marginally increase the benefits vs costs of the spam-engine technique (which are probably already breaking even and more, across all speculative spam-destinationa) and I'd suggest we shouldn't be helping with that any more than we already have to.
Maybe theusaf could add to their own bot some sort of detection of a suspicious level of linkspamming upon a user's own pages (to neuter these that leak through, like the ones that it deals with in other circumstances), but that'd be difficult without having false-positives upon genuine new users with (once they can) a genuine reason to populate their userspace with various external links.
Instead, perhaps hold back upon feeding the spambots the fresh ground that they seem to like to make use of. Perhaps a page for "please create my userspace!" if we want genuine users (or at least ones that can find and read instructions) to get a userspace more quickly than the normal limits apply, so any established (named) editor can give them their Welcome-templated editspace.
We can't so easily protect against conscious bad-faith editors (we will just have to deal with them, as we have done), but we seem to have sufficient anti-bot defences. If misguided editing doesn't open up cracks in the walls.
...Ok, that looks like a rant, but was just intended to cover (much of) the issue as I saw it in a way that explained my accumulated thinking on the matter. And I clearly think too much. This is not a diatribe against anybody (except the spambot originators), just a plea for action (or, rather, inaction) in a key way. And perhaps some moderator-level cleanup, so that the above transclusion is now effectively red-linked (then delete/archive this horribly overblown entry). Leaving it up to you lot. Have fun! 10:34, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

2696: Accuracy and precision

This is my first edit/post here. Could someone please include the Wikipedia link to "Accuracy and precision" [12], which is a separate article from 'accuracy' and 'precision'? Thanks! unsigned ip||16:04, 9 November 2022}}

If someone else hasn't done already, it's trivial enough to do yourself in a similar way to how you edited here, in any one of a number of ways.
  • By bare URL (shows the URL, like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision but not really suitable here)
  • As you did it above, with [] around the URL, giving a 'reference'-like link. Occaisionally useful, but a little impersonal in most cases.
    • Or use URL and alternate text in the []s (space-separated) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision like this], which looks like this and is most useful for non-wiki links that you can describe well, or associate into the flow of text.
  • An internal wiki link is defined like [[2696: Precision vs Accuracy]] and renders as 2696: Precision vs Accuracy, which is common site practice (you could alse link to 2696 or Precision vs Accuracy, in most cases, which are redirects) but doesn't help in the above link's case.
    • If you wanted to internally link with other text then using [[2696: Accuracy and precision|other text]] is the way to do it (use the pipe delimiter).
  • When it comes to wikipedia links, though, we have a nice template for it. By using Accuracy and precision}} (or with the underscored version of the title, if you wish) you get a link to {Accuracy and precision}}, with the nicer aesthetic. Probably what you wanted. You can lowercase the "A" and it will still link (usually... always good to check) and linking to something like a w|noun}} can generally be written as |noun}}s should you wish the flow of text to seemlessly render the link as being for multiple noun}}s, thanks to a little more background trickery.
    • If you want to use more Accuracy_and_precision|replaced text}} then you get aAccuracy_and_precision|replaced text}} rendering. Another possibility for what you'd wish to use, here.
    • Similar templates exist for linking the likes of emplate|wiktionary}} and evenemplate|tvtropes}}, should you need them.
    • ...noting that the latter needs the NoSpacesVersion of the title and because tropes|TVTropesWillRuinYourLife|TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life}}, it has a slightly more forboding format, even though it isn't really that much worse than 214: The Problem with Wikipedia. ;)
In case that's of any use to you, or anybody else. There are a few more tips and tricks, but this covers a lot of the usage-cases.
Also, in discussion pages and ones like this, it's useful to sign your contribution with the four tildes. But it's easy to forget and there are templates to mark unsigned contribution. As I did above. Don't worry about it. It just lets you datestamp and demarkate elements of conversation in a useful manner. As a first edit, you can be forgiven, but just so you know for future! 18:21, 9 November 2022 (UTC)
    • "'it's trivial enough to do yourself in a similar way to how you edited here'" Those options do not seem to be open to me if I do not set up an account; I'm not ready to take that step, so it looks like I can only edit behind-the-scenes pages, not comic pages. Thanks for the advice! I do enjoy the site when I check in! 18:35, 9 November 2022 (UTC)
    • Never mind. I found the option. I didn't realize the new comic page was separate from the main page. I was trying to edit the main page. Thanks! 18:39, 9 November 2022 (UTC)
...I must say, I never thought about that, or I might have not concentrated on the link-formatting stuff (which I hope was just as useful, in its own way).
As you see, I'm also not 'ready' to set up an account. But I rarely go via the main page, which is locked against trivial vandalism, plus know that the useful editing occurs only in the transcluded source page anyway. And now so do you, happily.
I don't know if that confusion catches out many potential editors, but at least now you know yourself. And, from one IP to another, Welcome! I hope you now find yourself productively editing away in the future, if you have anything else useful to include. No obligation, of course, except to play nice if you do. ;) 19:20, 9 November 2022 (UTC)

There's a lot of vandalism going on

See the page history of any recent comic page. Not sure what to do about it. Equites (talk) 00:57, 19 November 2022 (UTC)

Ban and, they seem to be the perpetuators. Starstar (talk) 02:15, 19 November 2022 (UTC)

As of the 22nd, the users ChuddyCobson and CobsonTheGemson are responsible for a large amount of attacks and image vandalism, most of them NSFW (inappropiate and/or gore). Can something be done about them? Gyozaplanet

I noticed the image for 1460 has been vandalized. But, in looking at the history it shows an old vandalism that was fixed. But following the link in the alleged fix gets the vandalized image. I'm out of my depth for fixing this, but couldn't find a better place to report it. It's getting too late and I'm far too tired to do more... (As an aside to what I came here for, are the above two things vandalism here? That's a rathole I'm not continuing down.) MAP (talk) 09:37, 22 December 2022 (UTC)

A few hours ago I decided to visit this wiki, and got quite the surprise on the front page, in that it was heavily vandalized. Decided to make an account after looking at recent changes and saw how much there was.

The accounts involved seem to be these;

  • CobsonTheGemson
  • ChuddyCobson
  • Cobson
  • Stinkycobbypoopoo
  • Chud
  • GotTheJakkyDoe

Kinda confused since they don't seem to be bots but I assume they're using a script or something to automate their vandalism. As far as I know, A few other people and I reverted more or less everything those accounts have done but it's possible some stuff fell through the cracks.

Also some of the gifs I reverted (most notably the gif for 381) seem to still have the same image so I'm hoping that's just a cache thing that'll sort itself out in time.

I left the above weirdness since I don't know the etiquette for deleting stuff in this section and it would remove some context to the above person's post. Hope I didn't break anything while cleaning up. Neerti (talk) 10:24, 22 December 2022 (UTC)

Cleaned up some accounts Color|#707|David}}y²²[talk] 16:38, 22 December 2022 (UTC)

Opening Certain Pages causes mediawiki errors

For example Proposals and this user page Starstar (talk) 02:10, 19 November 2022 (UTC)

Apparent abuse of multiple accounts

For a few weeks (mostly the last few days) 51 accounts with the same soon-current name have been created. To me it looks like preparation for abuse of multiple accounts. —While False (museum | talk | contributions | logs | rights | printable version | page information | what links there | related changes | Google search | current time: CURRENTTIME}}) 11:44, 16 December 2022 (UTC)

Now, they’re 195. —While False (museum | talk | contributions | logs | rights | printable version | page information | what links there | related changes | a late contribution | current time: CURRENTTIME}}) 17:24, 19 December 2022 (UTC)
With the exception of being 'topical', these are quite typical of numerous other "<commonroot><randomchars>" sets of never-ever-used usernames. It is good to be aware of them, but I think this 'common root' was just randomly grabbed by the algorithm (or its master) without any particular view to be used any more effectively than before.
I leave it to those who can actually do something to decide whether to actually do something, but I'm currently not so concerned. 01:06, 20 December 2022 (UTC)
Addendum - alongside "SadSanta...", we're getting a lot of "Natasha"s, while around this time last year (as the first time glanced back at) we had "PellGync" and "Snawlrab" as the common roots concerned. Which ultimately came of nought.
I get the impression that the limited-success script (as being used to create spam-accounts, but overwhelmingly failing to then exploit them) is set up to randomly apply two such common roots at a time (or else there's two copies of the code running, wherever, each switching out 'exhausted' roots for the next enqueued one in their own list ...as and when necessary). A quick poke into other 'recent' historic points in the Account Creation log highly supports this, but it could do with a far more rigorous analysis to be more definite. 01:31, 20 December 2022 (UTC)

There also used to be a lot of eight-letter usernames. Too many usernames are being created every day. --ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 22:03, 2 January 2023 (UTC)

Current troll(s)

There's trolls posting extremely obscene stuff on the homepage, and frankly I'm appalled. The Admins need to take several steps to lock down the main page so that it's not possible for readers to view such obscene content (for example, why are arbitrary images that don't come from xkcd.com allowed???) Why are random users allowed to post arbitrary images that are not filtered/scanned in any way? (bkayes)

It's been like this forever. It's rare enough that the admins leave things fairly open, but lengthy stretches lead to the lockdowns you're asking for, usually for about a week which is usually sufficient. Mixed feelings. There are a lot of tools that could help a lot, but we can't get User:Jeff to upgrade because his hosting deal depends on some ad stuff that won't port to newer versions. :( Liv2splain (talk) 04:45, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
Image uploads being open is usually nicer for everyone, except in the scenario while children decide to use it as an avenue for vandalism. I got enough on my hands already to be dealing with but this probably demands some attention Color|#707|David}}y²²[talk] 16:38, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
(Rerationalised under a new header, as a different issue, though also related to a prior section's 'insertion/revival' in response to the idiot concerned, too.) Appreciated, David. Noting that the inability for me to correct the account-led vandalism, last night, is the one factor that might eventually push me to establish a non-IP presence. But we had other volunteer accounts reacting fairly well to the trouble, and I knew we'd settle down soon enough. Anyhoo, Merry Christmas to you and the others on the side of stability, while I'm here and chatting away. 17:00, 22 December 2022 (UTC)
I find it unfortunate that "rarity" is any sort of excuse for allowing this to happen. XKCD is a fantastic source of quality STEM entertainment, and thus is a great resource to get younger audiences interested in such fields through humor. Many high school age and younger people regularly view xkcd content. However, some of the comics are quite obscure or contain a lot of depth, which is why explainxkcd has been such a great resource for everyone to learn things that are outside of their depth (including younger audiences). The knowledge that someone can open explainxkcd and have the slightest chance that they see extreme gore/porn is absolutely absurd and unacceptable for a wiki that is serving solely family friendly science content. I can no longer recommend explainxkcd to people I know (and especially not younger people) because of the lack of modern anti-trolling tooling, and that really sucks. I understand the issues surrounding locking down the text explanations, but the images should be a trivially solvable problem. Compare a checksum between the image found at *.xkcd.com and the image uploaded and reject an image that doesn't match, or better yet *use the official xkcd RSS feed* (https://xkcd.com/rss.xml) to download the images directly, and don't allow any user edits of the images. Then you can deal with vandalization of the text some other time, locking down the images is really the highest priority here I think. (bkayes) 04:17, 23 December 2022 (UTC)

2659: Unreliable Connection

Could probably do with some page protection here. Thanks. 23:41, 29 December 2022 (UTC)

If you mean for the thing that gets reverted very quickly, I think that's already dealt with quite nicely. And it isn't the only page that is targetted, so where do you stop? Whole-site lockdown, when the occasonal automated spam is equally automatically reverted? 00:05, 30 December 2022 (UTC)
Over the past couple of weeks, the edit history of this particular page has consisted of nothing but vandalism and it's subsequent reversion. The vandal doesn't seem to be targeting (m)any other pages, so protection should make them go away. 21:43, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
Nonetheless, the same tactic has been seen (and reverted, promptly) on other comics, like #976. edit: ...and #2503 suffered this vandalism/reversion, again, on 15 Jan 2023. Block 2659 and 976 from editing and someone may easily change the config for the script and hit any othe page they please, not really reducing the ultimate change/revert frequency, just where it is happening.
I'll accept gradual locking down of progressively more and more of the site, if it happens, but I'm not sure it'd be of any real benefit to do so. Not my call, so just giving my POV... 23:47, 14 January 2023 (UTC)

Someone pointed out that the spams are more likely to occur on pages with "Connect" in their titles. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 10:49, 31 March 2023 (UTC)

The user talk page with the same name got spammed. 06:18, 28 April 2023 (UTC)

Announcement: online chat with Randall January 31

Admins: would you please consider adding this blurb to the end of the MediaWiki:Sitenotice just for this month?

Register to attend an online chat with Randall Munroe January 31 at 11am Pacific.

Thank you for your consideration. Liv2splain (talk) 06:23, 2 January 2023 (UTC)

Done —theusaf (talk) 23:29, 4 January 2023 (UTC)
Thank you! I'm very much looking forward to the well-attended zoom chat, let alone what should come from the large pool of questions from international fans. 14:04, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

Archive of livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAEutGwIQ9c 19:03, 31 January 2023 (UTC)

All community portal

Would you mind semi-protecting this and that page? They don't seem to need edits. --ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 17:55, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

Brief(?) and limited spate of vandalism.

It may be a flash in a pan, but there's some misuse of multiple accounts going on here as of this timestamp (with ColourfulGalaxy having mostly had to correct matters on their own, so far). FYI, on their behalf. With any luck the idiot involved will get bored soon, if not already, but making a note anyway. 20:15, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

He edited my user page just now. --ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 20:17, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
I tried to help them, but failed. I had to turn to you for help. ChristmasGospel (talk) 20:24, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
EDIT: By the way, don't call him "idiot", or he may be angry.
Given that someone seems to be stalking you, and even snuck in some activity before my post, above, I'm starting to suspect something more. I leave it to those who can do things to sort it out. As an IP, I don't think I have any say in the matter, but I'll let others consider the possibilities. (You've got to be an idiot to clearly log in with the wrong account, though, and then fail to pick up the changes with the 'right' one. And I knew While False wasn't truly finished trying to do stupid things to the site... You're not impressing anybody, WF.) 20:28, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
That’s not typical WF behaviour at all. — 19:38, 27 January 2023 (UTC)

The online chat s over

Please revert https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=MediaWiki:Sitenotice&diff=304122&oldid=239894 18:45, 1 February 2023 (UTC)

Users involved in spamming.

There are at least three 'people' involved here, using trivial character differences/substitutions:

(...in case not obvious, especially in sans-serif, the second two use capital-I (i) instead of small-l (L), and the s/z difference should be obvious. No obvious signs of anything like using cyrillic look-alike characters, yet.)

There may be others, or will be, but these ones have just recently popped up in spamming (and then obfuscating? ...hoping to be reverted back into the spam version?) the redirect pages Drama‎‎ and Google Maps (see here and here), though they are currently fully reverted. 04:33, 28 February 2023 (UTC)

One of these also interacted with a differently named suspicious-looking/acting account:
Could be a coincidence, but... For reference. 13:18, 28 February 2023 (UTC)
And now User:ElisabethPacheco (do not ban me). AndroidTheLucario (talk) 03:54, 19 March 2023 (UTC)

Can someone block User:Email Trial 1? They're repeatedly adding comments on spamming other people's emails. Thanks! ~ Megan she/her talk/contribs 16:25, 24 March 2023 (UTC)

Ongoing image vandalism

by this user (contributions). ~ Megan she/her talk/contribs 02:50, 11 March 2023 (UTC)

I suggest we raise the threshold for image uploads. After all, there's no reason for most editors to upload images. ~ Megan she/her talk/contribs 03:13, 11 March 2023 (UTC)

Fix obnoxious typo on the Editor FAQ

This page contains a typo and I can't edit it out: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/explain_xkcd:Editor_FAQ

It's highlighted in this sentence:

"You can use the Math markup <math>...</math>. The other known code from Wikipedia <chem>...</chem> is not supported yet. It's based on LaTeX syntax and a general overview can be found at it's Wikipedia help page. Don't use it unless you actually understand what you are doing." Edit: Whoops, forgot to sign: FaviFake (talk) 09:04, 1 May 2023 (UTC)

Update MediaWiki

The current MediaWiki version is 1.30.0 which ended support mid-2019, please upgrade to 1.39.x or something due to security concerns. Instructions here https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:Upgrading Cam1170 (talk) 20:55, 29 March 2023 (UTC) Make sure to upgrade to 1.35 first, from the Check Requirements section. Actually, 1.31 then 1.35 then 1.39 for the smoothest transition. Cam1170 (talk) 15:15, 5 July 2023 (UTC)

I would like to add that this is still an issue. I don't know a better way to bring this to admin attention. Cam1170 (talk) 21:28, 9 November 2023 (UTC)

user edits someone else's comment

https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=Talk:2760:_Paleontology_Museum&diff=309970&oldid=309964 09:51, 8 April 2023 (UTC)

That word is not spelled "Ye". It's "Þe". Omg Oriental Music Group (talk) 00:49, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
That would depend. We all (FCVO 'all') get your point, but is spelt (or, if you wish, "spelled", but I would like to use the other form) that way by the original commentator. And it was a signed Talk post, not an Explanation page that needs to be standardised(/standardized) by success revisions.
Can you also say for definite that it was not intended by the original author to be the second-person plural personal pronoun (nominative), correctly or otherwise, rather than the definite article (under a standard reduced typeset)? No reason to change it, not even if an actual tyop. 11:56, 9 April 2023 (UTC)
Yeah, bad practice, except where correcting clear mistakes or otherwise sanitising something best not left up in the open (for whatever good reason). Like if I'd misapplied a style "colour" tag, by accident, but not if I'd openly written "colour" in a Talk entry.
But not necessary in this case of language-geek hyperconnection. I think a revert/re-edit to restore the original would be not an issue, but I won't do it myself.
The best way to look smart with the "thorn" character would have been to say "You have 'Ye Olde blah-de-blah', but I hink you meant... [etc]" and own the joke and the smugness rather than try to 'improve' on the original in-situ. As one who has made typos (but also said exactly what I wanted to, perhaps deciding not to over-egg the pudding) I would prefer even a snarky "did you mean.." reply over an invisible 'improvement' that may not even be properly focused any more. Each to their own, but my suggestion, if the editor wants to revise their edit. 15:54, 8 April 2023 (UTC)

Deletion of wrongly-titled pages

Could you please delete this redirect? 2503: Memo Spike Connector (talk) 06:18, 17 April 2023 (UTC)

Could you delete this page? ClassicalGames (talk) 03:29, 15 June 2023 (UTC)

Usertalk:Billstz turned into a redirect. It should have been deleted. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 21:10, 25 June 2023 (UTC)

Repeated spam in user talk page

The page User talk:ClassicalGames got repeatedly spammed. Could you semiprotect it? 02:07, 12 May 2023 (UTC)

Hmmmmm, I think he really deserves the spam. He spammed in someone else's user page without permission. 03:56, 15 May 2023 (UTC)
Easily reverted, to restore legitimate conversation. (Perhaps more such attention should go to where some people are repeatedly making entirely useless and gratuitous edits...) 08:59, 12 May 2023 (UTC)
Those spammers probably knew the CG rules, and appeared to have welcomed every CG group member with a spam. 09:57, 12 May 2023 (UTC)

The relevant xkcd comic from not xkcd

https://thomaspark.co/2017/01/relevant-xkcd/ This comic. A reference to xkcd, in the style of xkcd, about xkcd.

Can I make a page about it? Please? :)

What's a "comic incarnate"?

User:Memo Spike Connector seems to have a friend group of users with the names of various comics. E's been changing their user pages and signatures to match the comic pages and titles. Is this some sort of cult? It sounds fun! Where do I sign up? --Your favorite aura doggo (talk) 03:18, 10 June 2023 (UTC)

To answer the title, "incarnate"=="made flesh". Reincarnation is when you're given a new body, again, incarnation can therefore be taken as when the 'spirit' first assumes a tangible (or visible) form.
To ponder on this fad of creating comic-related user accounts... pretty much unnecessary and has no reason to be encouraged, I suppose. 03:52, 10 June 2023 (UTC)
How do I join? I wanna be cool like them! --Your favorite aura doggo (talk) 03:59, 10 June 2023 (UTC)
I think this needs to be taken more seriously now. User:Memo Spike Connector has had their page added to the *category* of Cursed Connectors, despite not being an official comic. It's starting to feel like a very unusual case of vandalism, but I'm not sure. Tsumikiminiwa (talk) 19:37, 14 June 2023 (UTC)
Addendum, User:Unreliable Connection has their page added to the Internet and Social Interactions categories. Everything else I said before still stands. Tsumikiminiwa (talk) 19:41, 14 June 2023 (UTC)

Main page in phones category

The Main Page is now in the Category:Phones category. ClassicalGames (talk) 03:25, 15 June 2023 (UTC)

Surely because 2789: Making Plans, currently transcluded there, is legitimately given that category. I'd be more surprised if it wasn't. (Until Wednesday's new comic release changes this, if it does.) What's the problem, and how is it related to 'your' issue, above? 10:04, 15 June 2023 (UTC)
I moved this to its own section, but you can change the section title if you want. --Your favorite aura doggo (talk) 19:43, 15 June 2023 (UTC)

please block u|Vandal (and many more)

cf. Special:Contributions/Vandal 11 page blankings today. Thanks. JohnHawkinson (talk) 21:24, 4 July 2023 (UTC)

Actually, looking at Special:Log/newusers is pretty ominous. Nearly all of the last 500 (within the past 4 days), and also the next few thousand, are suspicious. The CAPTCHA probably needs to be replaced with something more difficult that is perhaps not as trivially automatable? And all those users blocked? Not sure. JohnHawkinson (talk) 22:05, 4 July 2023 (UTC)

As a regular checker of such things, I know for a fact that you get hundreds of 'suspicious' accounts created every day, and most of them 'go nowhere'. The account creation speedblocks may not be very good. Or, possibly, tens of thousands of accounts are tried to be created, with 'just' a small percentage of them getting past the CAPTCHA/etc to get noticed by us - the actual top-level site admins will have access to the 'failed to register fully' logs. But, the actual page vandalism is very rarely any of these 'mechanised spam accounts'. I presume because the CAPTCHAs throttle down the 'lucky' accounts' abilities to do anything they were programmed to do once registered. And, no, the accounts aren't blocked (i.e. disabled accounts, except on very rare occasions when an Admin gets annoyed with a conspicuously used spam-login), if the actual Block Log is to be believed, but so many get created and never used so it looks like the "new user early posts" precautionary checks do a very good job.
We're also getting that idiot (I presume the same idiot as we've had for a year or two now) who manually creates accounts, such as you have been dealing with (and me, and others) over the last 24 hours or so. As a stupid human rather than a 'smart' bot, the CAPTCHA is no block to him/her/them. And the occasional IP gets used in that way, too (and I mostly successfully revert vandalism as only an IP; usefully, I hope) which might just be lazy vandalism, on top of the baseline stupidity. But the precautions against them are different. As with the 'Eric's ("Hi, I see your website needs improving - Eric"-types of message), which also seem to be handled by the community (and/or our automated blocking/reverting).
I don't see increasing the severity of the CAPTCHA to be a solution to much, honestly. Not from my perspective, certainly, though I know there's no reason to take my own unattributable word on that.
Instead, we should keep on keeping on. The community handles these things as they need to be. The admins know the 'hidden fight' going on in the background, but won't (and shouldn't) reveal too much about the extent of the first-line defences against bad faith 'automated' edits and the rest. 08:13, 5 July 2023 (UTC)

Vandalism appeared again in 2800. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 20:07, 11 July 2023 (UTC)

Ban fake IP

Could you ban User:172.68.102.XXX? His edits sound suspicious, and he seems to be fighting against us. ColorfulGalaxy (talk) 19:41, 11 July 2023 (UTC)

Vandalism by

Large number of extreme vandalism, which ThatoneU is valiantly yet inefficaciously fighting:

example from https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=1193:_Externalities&action=history

(cur | prev) 01:04, 24 July 2023‎ (talk)‎ . . (6,765 bytes) (-15,000)‎ . . (Undo revision 318344 by ThatoneU (talk)) (undo)
(cur | prev) 00:47, 24 July 2023‎ ThatoneU (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (21,765 bytes) (+15,000)‎ . . (undo)
(cur | prev) 00:46, 24 July 2023‎ (talk)‎ . . (6,765 bytes) (-15,000)‎ . . (undo)

Vandalism on page 2805

The latest comic page (2805) is currently being vandalized. Can an admin please look into it?

Problem with new accounts and IPs

So I'm sure many of you are well aware of the vandalism happening recently. But what concerns me the most is that all the edits were done by many, many different IPs, meaning that we can't just block one, and this site could get overrun by systematic IP vandalism. Also, the new accounts being created seem very suspicious. For such a small community, there's no way that there can be around 100 new users each day. The actual usernames of the users seem to follow a very repetitive pattern (generic first name + generic last name + random number). 18:44, 24 July 2023 (UTC)

As a fellow IP (and not a vandal myself, at least by intent) I find that the advantages of being able to leap in and correct (often 'named') damage outweigh the relatively small amount of IP-led vandalism. And the details of how the IPs represent the (limited, but geographically distributed) Cloudflare gateways has been noted before a number of times, together with what can be done about/with them.
About the new accounts... Look back for years, and you'll see the same (or similar) patterns. Almost all the truly rogue (presumably automated generation/'registering') then do nothing else as the site blocks the (still automated) attempts to do something with them.
The worst danger this site is threatened by is the actual manually-posting individuals who (IPed or named) can do what they like so long as (like us legitimate editors) they are prepared to be sat at the keyboard and spend/waste the time in navigating the initial CAPTCHAs/etc to set down their changes. And there's not much more anybody can do about them without ruining everyone else's experience to a similar degree. Perhaps there's some adjustments possible, but none seem necesary to address the account-spam and other precautions are intercepting/reverting the lion's share of the edit-spam (with or without accounts).
Not up to me, but I trust in those who it is up to. To continue with what is happening right now or to respond in new ways to anything that needs a new approach. Not saying that I don't have ideas of my own, for if I were able to intervene, but I doubt it'd be useful to voice them. 21:12, 24 July 2023 (UTC)

Large amounts of vandalism involving disturbing imagery.

Page 2805 has a huge vandalism problem. Vandals (it seems to be the same few people over and over, or maybe one person with multiple addresses) keep covering the page with weird, disturbing photos and way-too-bright colors. A few people have been valiantly fighting back but that doesn't mean this isn't a problem. I would like to please request that the page be locked to prevent further vandalism, and that you please ban all the people that have vandalized it in this way before (and/or take some other action to prevent future vandals) . Thank you very much! (insert name here) (talk) 01:20, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

There also seems to be a parser problem where instead of vandals replacing the page source, the vandalism is appended to the end, even though it isn't in the source. 03:39, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

The optimal way to go would be to add bots that automatically replace questionable content like divs and detect image/word spam (like the one in Wikipedia). They would always be on so the vandals would get overwhelmed. Similarly I'd suggest monitoring the constant stream of IP addresses and created accounts. Most editors are IP addresses though, so you might want to watch out for that. Does ExplainXKCD have semiprotection capabilities? You would definitely want to do that, especially the important articles like xkcd, Randall Munroe, Cueball, 1:_Barrel_-_Part_1, and ALL of the templates (the vandals were targeting those the most). 84596Gamma (talk) 11:53, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

I agree that the important pages (primary pages, plus all templates) need to be protected somehow so that this can't happen again. It's nice to have a low threshold to editing; it's nicer having a resource that can be depended on and doesn't require random volunteers jumping in to save. (Let's be honest; the images the vandal posted could have been much, much worse.) -- Dtgriscom (talk) 12:28, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
What the heck is 'Explain XKCD Administrator' doing? He seems to also be doing some weird div BS, making it so that it's impossible to scroll or click on templates or some comics. Blocking would be heavily advised. 84596Gamma (talk) 12:39, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

Becoming an admin?

Hi. I've been contributing occasionally for eight years now, and I think I've been helpful. But, almost half of the edits were last night in that wave of vandalism. It was very frustrating knowing that I had the same tools as the (14-year-old?) vandal, and the only end-point to the fun would be one of us throwing in the towel, and it was probably going to me (bedtime).

I don't have the time and/or commitment to do regular moderation work, but I (think I) am a reasonable person, who deals with conflicts rationally and could help out in a pinch. Is there a chance I could be given some more powers to help out if (when) such a crap-storm happens again? Thanks for your consideration... -- Dtgriscom (talk) 11:14, 25 July 2023 (UTC)

I saw your efforts, early on in my own day, definitely looked to be amongst the helpful editors. I later picked up several cases (might have missed a couple, that others IDed before me) after I got online, and undid that latest form of vandalism in both templates (agree with above, they probably should be semi-protected) and pages. A simple Undo even at my level was sufficient to revert practically everything. What might have been handy was one of the top-moderators being around to use the mass-revert tools to streamline that, and keep on top of the account (or accounts, as the problematic one would definitely open new accounts - we've seen them do this before) deserving to be blocked and banished. Unfortunately, the freedom of a wiki (which I value) doesn't really work well with over-administration. But that's a discussion to be had by those already at the top levels. I don't envy them. 18:08, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
Well, the 14-year-old is back. I'm losing interest in fighting this mud-fest without real admin tools. -- Dtgriscom (talk) 20:11, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
We really need to stop this wave of persistent vandalism with protection. When will the admins notice our suffering? 84596Gamma (talk) 20:23, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
I feel your pain. I caught (and had to recatch) a few of them as he turned up whilst I was browsing/considering proper edits. nd then I noticed you had appeared and were also retroing them, just as I thought I was barely keeping pace. But he's slackened off, so maybe you arriving here has made the difference. (And I'm fed up with pictures of fire hydrants!) 20:20, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
Me too... I'm coming to help. Hopefully we can fight that manchild off. Also I call death and destruction to Captcha. 84596Gamma (talk) 20:22, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
It's frustrating to watch the same few IP addresses wreak all this havoc. Being able to ban them would be a joy; why can't we have that power? -- Dtgriscom (talk) 20:31, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
OK: 2/3 of my contributions have been in the last 24 hours fighting Bozo-Man in all his flamboyant IP addresses. Without further powers, I'm done, because (unlike Bozo-Man) I have better things to do. Sorry... -- Dtgriscom (talk) 22:39, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
What powers do you need? --Jeff (talk)
I'm not looking for Super Duper Guru™ powers, just something that would even the battle a bit. No, that's not true: I'm looking for something that would make the battle unfair by making it easier to clean things up than it is to vandalize them. For instance, of the 123 vandalisms I reverted over the pat 24 hours, a third of them were from the top four IP addresses, and two thirds were from the top ten. If you only look at the first three quads of the IP addresses, half came from just two subnets. Block a few IP addresses, and the moderation load would go way down. (And that ignores the work the other users did.)
It makes sense that you wouldn't want to be handing out Thor's Hammer indiscriminately, but (IMO) something needs to change. If MediaWiki's moderation permissions aren't selective enough for your tastes, I'd be happy to follow your guidance (e.g. no blocking people for more than 24 hours). -- Dtgriscom (talk) 01:16, 26 July 2023 (UTC)
Congrats, you are promoted, thanks for helping out. See me in a week if you still want the powers. --Jeff (talk)
Thank you. Any guidance for the newbie admin? Or should I just "moderate moderately"? -- Dtgriscom (talk) 01:33, 26 July 2023 (UTC)
Block and move... block and move. Great power / great responsibility and all that. --Jeff (talk)

Preventation of vandalism

I'll bet the entire budget of the Death Star II that the vandalizer is going to strike again in a few hours. We should be more prepared - I've already cut links to templates, and we should be vigilant about the pages they are going to attack: the current comic, templates, important pages. 84596Gamma (talk) 00:06, 26 July 2023 (UTC)

What do you need to help? Let me know. --Jeff (talk)
Semiprotect all the templates. 84596Gamma (talk) 00:52, 26 July 2023 (UTC)

Username request

It looks like an impersonator registered an account under my name. Is it possible for me to get that username? Randall Munroe 2 (talk) 04:41, 30 July 2023 (UTC)

To ask an obvious question: who are you? And, if you say you are the Randall Munroe of XKCD fame, how can we be sure? -- Dtgriscom (talk) 12:41, 30 July 2023 (UTC)
May I have your attention, please?
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Randall Munroe please stand up?
I repeat
Will the real Randall Munroe please stand up?
We're gonna have a problem here...
(...but, in my assessmemt, Randall would have actual more direct ways of introducing himself to; if he suddenly decided to muddy the water by descending to our level when his interactions even with the forum were minimal; if he hasn't already been here/there/wherever all along, incognito and with/without the administrators knowing this. But Randall's technical and connected enough to not need to ask the above the way it was asked.) 15:36, 30 July 2023 (UTC)

user page

how do i put stuff in my profile? others have done it but for mine it says that i don't have permission to create that page An user who has no account yet (talk) 16:01, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

Don't know why you couldn't, but I now have created your user and talk pages; let us know if you now can't edit them. Dtgriscom (talk) 16:08, 5 September 2023 (UTC)
There appears to be a rather restrictive page creation policy (it may be dialled up fairly high to age of account, possibly more so than any mere contributions-count), at least in regard to User-typed namespaces. Many account-creators have noted this, and had to be helped out. I suspect it's just their making that An User was ever prevented from. After all, even I can add things to User (and, more correctly and politely, User Talk) pages. And I'm not even a usernamed person. 20:28, 5 September 2023 (UTC)

Unable to edit

For the last two months, I was unable to make any edits. Is my account secretly locked? Also, I couldn't even post tweets. Did I offend you? ConlangGuide (talk) 23:38, 27 September 2023 (UTC)

Also, I tried to post on ClassicalGames's talk page but it was messy. ConlangGuide (talk) 23:43, 27 September 2023 (UTC)

cannot create user page

Like all the other instances of this, it just says "There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, or search the related logs, but you do not have permission to create this page." At least it isn't just me someone, i guess (talk) 16:43, 17 October 2023 (UTC)

Created your user and talk page with placeholder text (".") -- Dtgriscom (talk) 19:20, 17 October 2023 (UTC)
much thanks! now to wait until i can make my own custom css page someone, i guess (talk) 19:38, 17 October 2023 (UTC)
I didn't want to create yet another discussion topic for the same issue, so I put it here. Could someone create my user page as well? Thanks. Obwankenobi (talk) 20:14, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

Small css-related changes to two templates

I've explained what changes I want made in the talk pages for Template:Comic and Template:Comic discussion already, but I think I might need to mention them here too. Changing the templates shouldn't cause any adverse effects, and allow for more versatility for users who create their own CSS. someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list)

You should sign your comments with "-- ~~~~", which will insert your username. And, there's a very low chance that anyone with the power to change the CSS to wander by; we've been on our own for a while. -- Dtgriscom (talk) 22:01, 20 October 2023 (UTC)
Added the class names. —theusaf (talk) 15:39, 1 November 2023 (UTC)
THANK YOU!!! The face of pure shock and excitement i felt when seeing this was beyond my wildest dreams ˶ᵔ ᵕ ᵔ˶ someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 15:46, 2 November 2023 (UTC)

Math Module breaks all pages with it

2070 and 2034 appear to be broken for some reason. They wont load at all with the following reason:

MediaWiki internal error.

Original exception: [ZUPRak3GkbeSokPCcKIp8AAAAJI] 2023-11-02 16:42:18: Fatal exception of type "MWException"

Exception caught inside exception handler.

Set $wgShowExceptionDetails = true; at the bottom of LocalSettings.php to show detailed debugging information.

someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 16:42, 2 November 2023 (UTC)

2295 also broken. Must be related to the Math module. someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 16:44, 2 November 2023 (UTC)
Full list of broken pages:
On further analysis, it seems to be related to the MathML setting. someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 19:23, 9 November 2023 (UTC)

Way to contact the site hosters?

I have tried posting at Jeff's talk page to no avail. Maybe yáll admins have a red phone hotline to Jeff? See reasons at explain xkcd:Community portal/Technical#Way to contact the site hosters?. Aaron Liu (talk) 01:34, 9 December 2023 (UTC)

Escape speed is no longer incomplete

Can you delete the text at the top of every page except the main page that says "We still need to complete some explanations like this one: 2765: Escape Speed. All incomplete explanations are here."? Escape speed is no longer incomplete, so that is wrong.B for brain (talk) (youtube channel wobsite (supposed to be a blag) 14:03, 27 December 2023 (UTC)

Vandal Issue

we've got vandals all over 2875: 2024, and they're getting persistent someone, i guess(talk i guess|le edit list) 16:50, 2 January 2024 (UTC)

At least one vandalism per minute. Even with Someoene and I both reverting, it's showing the racist message most of the time. Can Explainxkcd protect a page? Nitpicking (talk) 17:54, 2 January 2024 (UTC)
Deleting the vandal's ignorant... let's call it "self-defense" to be generous. What exactly is supposed to be "not racist" about a derogatory term for black men - which features prominently in the edit summaries is left as an exercise for the reader. 18:35, 2 January 2024 (UTC)
Preferably also rev-del the revisions and summaries. 18:40, 2 January 2024 (UTC)

XKCD Browser

I made a XKCD browser in python with pygame and think it could be useful to others. The idea was to popup a comic the morning after it was published from a crontab. There could be a hotkey to point to todays discussion on explainxkcd. I wonder where/how would be the place to advertise it ? Kbenoit (talk) 15:36-40, 20 February 2024 (UTC)

Here's a good start. Perhaps on the comic discussions for similar things (unixkcd, etc). As and when you get a User page here then you can perhaps expound on it there (assuning you aren't leaving the explanation to the github webspace. 16:01, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
You (other IP, in the 160s.*) meant well, but the person who linked my text was not me and that link isn't directly useful for K's purpose. Maybe indeed I should have pointed at UniXKCD, or Talk:UniXKCD, but I wasn't sure that was even the best place on here. Look around the Category:Interactive comics, and/or ones featuring browsers lrominently, maybe.
I repeat that you (Kristian, with our help at bumping the contribution here) have already now made it known/knowable, at least to those who browse this site widely, but once you get a Userspace page you can perhaps do a little bit more in your own free space and also push people there through subtle pointers or signature-links in further on-context contributions. This isn't really a place for random advertising, but definitely contextual links to offsite xkcd 'fandom' is not something I'd personally have issues with (certainly compared to some other things that might get snuck on here). 13:43, 21 February 2024 (UTC)



This is a place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't fit anywhere else. (+post)

The Community Portal's design

{{Community portal}} looks too Wikipedia-ish (because that's where I got it). Someone who can design things should probably fix that. It isn't protected for the time being, though it probably will be in the future (high-visibility template). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:54, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Common mistake

This affects all pages that ever say "alt text" in reference to the TITLE text on xkcd images. "Alt text" is incorrect; Alt text refers to the text that is shown as an alternative when images are not displayed. Title text is what xkcd uses and is shown as a tool tip-like bubble when images are hovered over.

I would correct this myself but I saw no way to edit the main page. --Jillysky (talk) 14:21, 6 August 2012‎ (UTC)

You actually don't need to edit the main page to fix it, as what's there is just a mirror (transclusion) of the actual content from the comic page, at Curiosity, which is open for editing by anyone. Then again, the "alt-text" in that case is generated by a template, {{comic}}, so that's where we should fix this. The template's code, however, is currently a terrible mess (sorry!), so I went ahead and took care of it. Thanks for catching that! --Waldir (talk) 16:24, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Ah? So it's wrong, for instance, on http://m.xkcd.com? because of that I took it for granted that we could call it the alt-text... - Cos (talk) 17:38, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes. If you look at the page's html source, you'll see:
 title="As of this writing the NASA/JPL websites are still overloaded. Trying CURIOSITY-REAR-CAM_[256px_x_256px].torrent.SwEsUb.DVDRip.XviD-aXXo.jpg instead."
(line breaks added for clarity) --Waldir (talk) 23:54, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
That was my error in the template. I knew "image text" that has been commonly used by Jeff was not techically correct, but I didn't actually go back and confirm it was alt text before I included that tag in the template. That's to Waldir (I believe?) for correcting the template. TheHYPO (talk) 14:14, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

When the "official" transcript is wrong?

I did 903: Extended Mind. Interestingly, the transcript on xkcd.com is missing the bottom line "When Wikipedia has a server outage, my apparent IQ drops by 30 points." I assume we want a complete transcript, rather than whatever xkcd.com says it is...? Stevage (talk) 04:10, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

We're focusing on the actual transcript of the comic, not the xkcd.com transcript. The official transcript is usually right, but even Randall makes mistakes sometimes. Davidy22(talk) 04:24, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Milestone: half the comics explained!!

Hi all! I'm pleased to announce that we have just broke the 50% mark for xkcd explanations! The page that balanced the count (568 explained, 568 to go, at the time) was 877: Beauty, created 01:31 UTC, 21 November 2012 by User:Davidy22. Congratulations!! :D --Waldir (talk) 03:10, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

The caterer's been called! The punch will be arriving soon! Go Davidy22! lcarsos_a (talk) 06:53, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
freedom.png Punch is served! Davidy22(talk) 07:11, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

But the Main page says 407 explanations, 731 to go! What's up with that? --St.nerol (talk) 21:00, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


Why in the Archive why are all the thing up until "Heatmap" in Reverse? Can someone please answer? Tmack3 (talk) 08:28, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Archive? Can you provide a link or screenshot? Davidy22[talk] 04:43, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

http://xkcd.com/archive/ Tmack3 (talk) 08:28, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Ah, that's because the comic right after that, rtl, has a right-to-left character in it that flips all the proceeding text. Davidy22[talk] 00:13, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Ah, ok, i see that now. When I 1st saw that RTL I just thought that it was random letters, thankyou for explaining it for me. Tmack3 (talk) 08:28, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

It also depends on what browser you are on because on Google Chrome it was normal. Tmack3 (talk) 09:08, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Do you think this question was asked by one of the xkcd people?

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090301060752AAtYugc Tmack3 (talk) 08:38, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Matthew Reilly

I would just like to tell everyone that I asked Matthew Reilly (the author) if he is ever scared that a velociraptor is going to attack him, and he said NO! He clearly needs to start worrying about them! Tmack3 (talk) 10:45, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

What can we learn section

First of all I love your work. I believe deeper understanding of each XKCD can make a world a better place and I thank you sincerely for starting this webpage. I wanted to ask what you think about "What can we learn?" section I've been adding to some of the pages. Thank you - E-inspired (talk) 13:27, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

This site is actually the work of multiple editors working slowly and steadily to fill in explanations for all the old comics. Some of the xkcd comics are incredibly deep - comic 956 is such a poignant comic that digs into the DRM issue on so many levels. Your reflections on many of the comics are very much warranted and you're helping us create talk pages with high-quality opening posts, which is great for future discussion on this wiki. It'd be nice if you could refrain from putting headers in talk pages, technical limitations of the wiki make long explanation pages choke when headings are in the discussion page. Other than that, keep up the good work! Davidy²²[talk] 13:42, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
I've put in my 2 cents to comic 956, and thank you for teaching me how to comment and link to other comics - E-inspired (talk) 13:58, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
FYI, you can always make pseudo-headings using a horizontal rule and a bold "header", but honestly I think a simple standard opening sentence would suffice. --Waldir (talk) 12:14, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and the guy who draws xkcd is called Randall Munroe. So many glowing things to be said about him. Davidy²²[talk] 13:44, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I can't thank him enough for simplifying complex issues to funny stories, I think it's exactly what our generation needs - E-inspired (talk) 13:58, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm in favor of a Mr. Rogers style of 'what lesson can be learned' on the talk page, but make sure your comments don't come across as sanctimonious and holier-than-thou as that can be really off-putting. lcarsos_a (talk) 19:06, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
You are absolutely correct, I have not thought of that, please trust me I did not do it on purpose. Thank you Mr. Lcarsos - E-inspired (talk) 19:55, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Thank you David, and I apologize that I've not made it clear that by your work, I do mean your collective work (the wiki is only as good as all the people behind it). I was trying to put the headers to allow others to find the section easier in case they start looking for it, perhaps I could make a suggestion to make it a standalone section so that others would be encouraged to contribute their own understanding of lessons they have noticed from each comic. I know the lessons I've seen, but I would love to learn from others as much as I hope they can learn from me and Mr. XKCD, thank you. - E-inspired (talk) 13:48, 28 February 2013 (UTC)


Hello fellow editors. Do you remember the last time we were hit by a surge of automated spam? Neither do I. ConfirmEdit has really done a number on the volume of spam that we're eating - one spam account has been created since we finished configuring confirmEdit, and zero anon edits have been spam. Zero. Can you say happiness? Can you say party? Davidy²²[talk] 14:41, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Hehe, I'm glad! Thanks for being so relentless on the spam-fighting all this time! Maybe we should make up a new reason to make Jeff remove the /wiki/ in the URL? ;) –St.nerol (talk) 18:11, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Awesome news! Finally the patrolling feature will be usable: Unpatrolled changes by registered users / Unpatrolled changes by anonymous users :) --Waldir (talk) 12:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

1000th comic explanation!!

Hi all! It apparently went unnoticed that we have recently surpassed the mark of 1000 comic explanations! Some calculations based on Category:Comics and Special:NewPages led me to the conclusion that the 1000th explanation was 681: Gravity Wells, created by User:AlexRNL just yesterday! Yay! This calls for a celebration, no? Congrats to everyone who made this happen! I'll edit Mediawiki:Sitenotice with a congratulatory message. Way to go, guys! --Waldir (talk) 16:04, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

ps - I also took the opportunity to flesh out our about/history page. Please take a look and fix/add any details I might have missed. --Waldir (talk) 16:06, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Style guide

Is there a style guide for this wiki? --PeterMortensen (talk) 20:14, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Oh, sorry, I did forget to answer here. A guide on this is not easy, many individual comics do need special layouts because they have content never can match to a style guide. But I will give a try Help:Style Guide.--Dgbrt (talk) 21:18, 15 August 2013 (UTC)


I've whitelisted the site in adblock, but the ads are still blocked. Anyone know what' going on here and how I can fix it?--ParadoX (talk) 04:34, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Huh. I was wondering why our impression counts weren't rising. I thought it was just because this site had high turnover. I've changed the webpage that the word whitelisting links to, try the instructions there instead. Project wonderful is our ad provider, and they've been pretty good to us so far. Also, thanks for helping to support the site! Davidy²²[talk] 04:40, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Great! I don't really mid ads as long as they aren't intrusive. Works now, Hope everyone else does it as well.--ParadoX (talk) 05:16, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I saw you wrote "the webpage that the word whitelisting links to" so I went to the search box and typed whitelisting. My search didn't yield anything useful: [13]. I don't know how to create the missing page but there oughta be a link for someone like me who searches for whitelist or whitelisting, to take them to the instructions you refer to. SaxTeacher (talk) 10:59, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
We already have this linked somewhere, but this is the link you want. Davidy²²[talk] 13:41, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

I normally access this site through the android app "xkcd browser". That app only links to the content part of the site and doesn't show the side bar, so the adds aren't shown either. Might be worth discussing it with the author. 08:06, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

We support those avenues completely, you don't need to feel bad if you use an app to browse this site. We're only really concerned when we put up ads and our impressions are less than half our page hits, because that essentially means more than half our readers aren't contributing to server costs. That's really hard to deal with. We have enough daily page hits to qualify as web publishers at very big ad agencies, but we've had to settle for relatively low rates at the smaller Project Wonderful because 60% of our users were using adblock, so the agencies rejected us because our valuable "paying" audience was too low for them to consider us. That's been the difference between us using dedicated servers to host the site and hiring a contractor to set it up, and the (admittedly somewhat decent) shared hosting plan that we have to settle for now. We can only afford the shared hosting, because the small-scale advertisers at Project Wonderful don't even pay for full days of advertising; most of the time, we make less per day than the posted $3.90 price. That said, we're grateful that Project Wonderful would take us as a publisher when no one else would, but it really feels like the difference between being accepted to community college and being accepted to an ivy league school. For a similar reason, the Google ads route was not sufficient to satisfy our needs; not a large enough proportion of our users were looking at ads, so we either needed to spam them and degrade the site, or we needed to make them refresh, which makes pages slow and causes needlessly high traffic for a lot of users. We didn't want our ads to make the site worse, because that would drive away users and defeat the purpose of us being a public resource for xkcd readers. We actually decided to go the agency route pretty early, because adsense takes a massive cut of revenues and gives us little control over what ads or advertisers actually showed, which was not okay with us. Whoah, I wrote a lot. I hope it was coherent. Maybe someday I'll collect my thoughts and write a proper summary on how and why we advertise. Also, if you have any questions about anything ad-related, you can always ask us at explain xkcd talk:Advertise Here. Davidy²²[talk] 11:15, 27 September 2013 (UTC)


Feynman (both in living and zombie form) probably deserves an entry in the character navbox template doesn't he? 02:21, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

That's two comics out of 1200+. Three if you count the song. Not quite enough yet. Davidy²²[talk] 02:27, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
If that's the criterion, then we need to get rid of Brown Hat. Djbrasier (talk) 19:30, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Potentially, we could create a very minor character category with these two, and other characters with less than 10 appearances. User:tplaza64

Job Interview (Atomic Soup)

The soup is clearly being poured out of an atomic socket. This "atomic soup" is probably not a reference to the alcoholic brew favoured by Scottish tramps, but more likely to the virtual nature of the company. -- Sulis (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Hey, go here Talk:1293: Job Interview‎ for discussions. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:58, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Is there a similar, transcripted service for The Oatmeal?

Hi everyone - this site is a real gem, I've sent it to a friend of mine who can't read XKCD because she's blind. The transcripts on this site are a real boon!

Does anyone know if there is a similar service for The Oatmeal? I've searched and searched, but found nothing so far.

Thanks :)


As far as I know we are kind of unique in the web comics world. I think we get away with it because Randall publishes all his comics as Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial. We liberally link back to xkcd, and we don't make a penny (The ads are just to cover server expenses, because wikis and the databases that support them get big when you're covering a body of work like xkcd). I haven't looked into the copyright Matt uses for the Oatmeal, but he seems like a cool enough guy to not kill a community transcripting effort of his comics. lcarsos_a (talk) 20:32, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

what if 103: Vanishing Water - comics

Please explain the 2nd and the 4th comics from http://what-if.xkcd.com/103/

"Just tried to sail my boat over land, because I didn't learn from that kid in the Zephyr." (who's the kid from Zephyr?)

"A third time?" (maybe whales were dropped twice before in other what-ifs?) Daniel Carrero (talk) 21:57, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

"A third time?" is a reference to a whale falling twice in "Hitchiker's guide to the Galaxy". Been a while, so I don't remember the details of how this fit in, but the second time it happened to the whale, he thought "Not again" or something along those lines. Djbrasier (talk) 18:49, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Actually, it was the bowl of petunias that thought to itself "Oh, no, not again." 00:48, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

Raises the question of if we should explain jokes imbedded in What If comics. Djbrasier (talk) 18:49, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Discussion usage

Am I being a killjoy in feeling that the discussion section should be mainly limited to discussion on improving the explanation, gathering consensus and that type of thing. Specifically, the discussion for 1418: Horse is quickly turning into every man and his dog posting a sentence in the style of the comic, which doesn't really add anything to the page other than clutter.

Personally, I'd just delete most of them, but I think I might be turning into a grumpy old bugger... --Pudder (talk) 20:32, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

The discussion is also there for just talking about the comic. Those guys aren't wildly off-topic, there's no need to clamp down on what they get to talk about. Davidy²²[talk] 17:44, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
Yep, I must just be grumpy and draconian! Lesson learned --Pudder (talk) 20:32, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

2014 Christmas header

Since the header for the site current contains a graphic link to the store that promises that Randall probably won't ship you a bobcat, it seems to me that probably ought to be preserved and explained somewhere. 17:45, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

XKCD at LanguageLog

Arnold Zwicky (of the well-known linguistics blog Language Log) has put together a list of linguistics-related XKCD strips, here: http://arnoldzwicky.org/the-language-of-comics/comics-lists/xkcd-cartoons/ I thought it might be appropriate for a copy of the list (maybe a category) to be created from it. 03:48, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

Category:Language Davidy²²[talk] 04:39, 28 December 2014 (UTC)


Hello there, I've created a little bookmarklet (https://ginkobox.fr/shaarli/?a77vQw) and I thought it might be useful for someone out there.

When launched, it adds the 'explain' before xkcd.com and the browser loads the explainxkcd page. I've tested it only on Firefox.

(Contact @ https://ginkobox.fr/wiki/doku.php?id=about) ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Thanks! I've started collecting these helpful tools on a new page, to hopefully make them easier for others to find. – Yfmcpxpj (talk) 01:36, 29 September 2020 (UTC)

Is there a RSS feed for What If?

Is there a RSS feed for What If?--17jiangz1 (talk) 11:59, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

No, because we cover the comics. Davidy²²[talk] 18:57, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

My User Page

Can someone help me with my user page? I can't seem to remove the large spaaaaaace on top.--17jiangz1 (talk) 07:43, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

The only solution I've found is to remove the contribution scores (data6=...). Not sure what exactly is triggering this bug. --SlashMe (talk) 21:02, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
I am receiving "Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "?"." for
{{#expr: {{formatnum:{{#cscore:17jiangz1|pages}}|R}}/{{formatnum:{{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}|R}}*100 round 5 }}
--17jiangz1 (talk) 05:46, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
Bump?--17jiangz1 (talk) 06:48, 14 April 2015 (UTC)


In What-If 150, "Tatoonie Rainbow", http://what-if.xkcd.com/150/ the first image title-text says: "Vowing not to reference that video any further anywhere in this article, on principle.". What video is he talking about? slmiller (talk) 14:29, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

It hasn't updated for 2 weeks. why?--17jiangz1 (talk) 06:50, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Looks like they're on hold for a few months (Until July 14th). Too bad, I enjoyed them. (Look at the top of the What-If page) --Zman9600 (talk) 20:24, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
What is so special about the date and time? Seems very specific: July 14th, 2015 at 7:49:59 AM EDT. -- 12:48, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Looks like it's set for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz mission launch. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What If updates will resume on July 14th, 2015 at 7:49:59 AM EDT. By that time New Horizons will have it's closest approach to Pluto. See here: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/ --Dgbrt (talk) 20:34, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

thanks for having a working website

the search function on xkcd.com was taken off, and now the random function seems to be having issues, but it's nice that here both work 19:09, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

We do our best. Davidy²²[talk] 22:27, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Ada Munroe

The latest what if? number 139 has a question by "Ada Munroe". Is she related to Randall in any way? --Forrest (talk)06:57, 09 August 2015 (UTC)

Out of curiosity

I notice that whenever someone links to tvtropes.org in an explanation, someone changes the link to the matching page on allthetropes.org. I'm curious as to why that is. Is there some kind of terms of use conflict at play here that an editor should be keeping in mind? 06:33, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

TVtropes does not restrict links to their site, and if this has been happening there are some time-outs that I need to be handing out. Can you point me to some of the edits where this is happening? Davidy²²[talk] 08:24, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
The specific example I had was, um, 1468: Worrying. On Jan 3rd the links went to tvtropes.org, and on March 18th they were all changed over to allthetropes.orain.org. I just found it curious, I wasn't sure what the reason for it was 10:32, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Reverted. Typically, the reason people change perfectly good links to specific, obscure links in wikis is usually self-advertising. I'll be watching that guy's edits in the future. Thanks for the heads up. Davidy²²[talk] 18:00, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Sightless readers offended by the "It's 'cause you're dumb" tagline.

I'll admit, every now and again the comic is over my head. ...because I'm dumb in that particular field. However, blind users who enjoy xkcd must do so through explainxkcd. They are NOT dumb. They are *blind*. Without explainxkcd, they would have no idea what is in the comics panels.

Explainxkcd is a great site. There is no question it provides a service to the internet community.

Please see this thread (last paragraph) on Userfriendly.org. Keep in mind, the end user is sightless and explainxkcd is "viewed" through a screen reader. http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/read.cgi?id=20160207&tid=3930989 (Anonymous)

The guy on that other site is complaining about that XKCD does not work well in a screen reader -- that is not our problem, but a problem for Randall to solve on his own site. We cannot be the catch all for everything on the internet that Randall broke Spongebog (talk) 15:37, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Agreed --Kynde (talk) 19:28, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Honestly, I never even noticed the tagline in question. Humorous to sighted folks, sure. ...but obviously offensive to those who have no choice but to access xkcd through explainxkcd.

I'll leave it to the administrators or the community to figure something out, if anything at all. Maybe no one cares? I didn't come here to make any suggestions, only to point out how offensive those 4 words are to some users of the website. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Alright, put a link here in the site notice. What does everyone else think? I'm open to changing it, it's something people complain about fairly periodically and our identity isn't completely tied to the tagline, I feel. Davidy²²[talk] 09:16, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, we definitely shouldn't change anything because that particular guy is upset. It's one thing to be offended, but he's also attacking both this site and Randal Monroe. I don't think that sort of behavior should be rewarded. I actually have a rule online where, if someone acts like a jerk to me, I will be kind, but I won't give them what they want. I think a lot of the problems with people being jerks to others is that they still get what they want, so what reason do they have to stop? If he wants us to change it, he should address us like an adult and ask us himself.
But you claim this is a common complaint. Then I would say we need more info. My instinct would be that people don't understand that it's a joke. But then my solution would be to do what the site is designed to do and explain the joke, rather than take it down. If there's actually something about it that's offensive to an entire class of people, that's different. I am unaware of a stereotype that blind people are stupid, but I'm open to the idea that I don't know.
I'm not particularly married to the tag line. I actually didn't even notice it was there. But I'm loathe to take it down over a misunderstanding. I can't think of a similarly humorous replacement that would not be offensive, but I can at least suggest "Because nobody knows everything." --Trlkly (talk) 09:42, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
I've gotten these before. There's a slowly growing section in the main page discussion page and a complaint buried somewhere in my talk page and they're usually quite unhappy. I pegged it up this time round because there's special needs involved, and a good part of our intended appeal is the transcripts for the blind. Davidy²²[talk] 10:45, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
I like your reasoning, what if "It's 'cause you're dumb" was follow by "[citation needed]" and make the whole thing a link to a page explaining the header. It would be in character of the page, and xkcd. 00:28, 13 February 2016 (UTC) Sam
Great idea, Sam! That's the funniest suggestion ever [citation needed]. 19:29, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
Is he one of those people who are so self-centered and 'entitled' that just because they have a disability they assume that everyone is constantly trying to offend them, even in the most unlikeliest of cases? Does he actually believe that the tag line was written with the intention of offending blind people? This is ridiculous. 11:04, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

"Just in case you feel dumb"? "Some comics may be funnier than they appear"? 09:55, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

How about simply removing it? At least until we find something that isn't offensive to anyone - which might be very hard to obtain. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 10:34, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Because you're crippled... That's worse I guess.
But before considering the "you're dumb" tagline, one must think about the name of this wiki. It is called Explain xkcd, not read xkcd, and explaining is for dumb people, not blind people.
Maybe one thing we can do is add a "(unless you are just here for the transcript)" subtext, with a link to the transcript section, which has the advantage of both taming offended blind readers (maybe) and provide a direct, "spoilerless" link. --GuB (talk) 10:40, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I need explainxkcd for two reasons: being visually impaired, although I can see most of the comics I often miss crucial details that I find only in the transcript; and as a non-American, I lack many cultural references (books, movies, songs, sayings...) that are given in the explanations. I don't think either of these reasons makes me "dumb". However, I never found the tagline offensive. It was immediately obvious to me that it was meant as humor. Who could seriously think that someone is dumb just because they haven't read the specific book that Randall is parodying in a given comic? Or because they're not familiar with a specific programming language or Unix command? IMHO the tagline *is* funny precisely because very few people can actually "get" all the comics without an explanation. Suggesting that anyone who isn't part of the 0.1% of the population who share all of Randall's abilities and references, is dumb, can't be anything but a joke. Adding to the lot those who can't get the comics because they're blind doesn't make the joke more offensive. It's a sad world where political correctness kills all forms of humor.

On the other hand, the tagline is not an essential part of the site and if a significant number want it removed, so be it. Zetfr 10:46, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Well not everybody's mind works the same way, and some people legitimately cannot grasp humor very easily. They may come to read the explanations precisely because they can't recognize what about a given comic is supposed to be humorous, and they likewise may not be able to tell that the tagline is just a joke. Besides, the tagline is equating a lack of knowledge with a lack of intelligence, which also makes it inaccurate and kind of kills the humor for those who stop and think about it.
I personally agree with the above "Because nobody knows everything." approach. I would suggest something along the lines of "Because you won't always get the joke." -- 11:06, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
This sounds like a bunch of dumb people coming together and suggesting that the rest of people should be more like them (joke intended) Spongebog (talk) 15:33, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
+1 on this. Keep. --SlashMe (talk) 20:15, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote removal Mikemk (talk) 11:01, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Mostly agree with Zetfr, it is a rather obvious joke, and this is a website about a webcomic which is mostly about fun, it would be different if this was some serious news portal, but it isn't, and in my humble opinion people who can't take a joke shouldn't even be here. There will always be ranters and people who get offended, we should not let them make decisions for us. I sincerely believe vast majority of people, blind or otherwise, understand it. Jaalenja (talk)

I agree with Zetfr. If a user doesn't understand that it is a joke, then he won't understand XKCD's jokes, either, no matter how much explaination he can get.
--Lou Crazy (talk) 12:12, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
I also agree with the above, and like the part of Zetfr about because you need a reader to use the page you do not need to be offended by an obvious joke --Kynde (talk) 19:28, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

if i had a vote i'd say change the "because you're dumb" from text to a picture with alt text of something slightly less rude. "because you're using a screenreader," perhaps. although that would show up on mouseover. meh. whatever. --13:01, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

and someone isn't "entitled" because they get annoyed about something that doesn't annoy you. as a sighted person i don't even look at the headers on the page. i would imagine that since the text in question is at the top of the page he has to listen to it every single time the page is refreshed. which is annoying enough if it's not insulting. -- 13:06, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
It is bad to have the alt-text saying something differently, but since the current tagline is not offensive to non-blind people then why would it be offensive to a blind person. Spongebog (talk) 15:24, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote keep -- Blind people do not have to come to this site, they can just use xkcd.com directly and if that is not working for blind people then that is Randall's problem not ours. The tag line has been there for years while I have noticed it before and used the site and I have never been offended, if a blind person is offended maybe they should stop using the internet. 15:18, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I second that -- the tag line does not appear to offend non-blind people, it should not offend blind people either Spongebog (talk) 15:24, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Voting KEEP -- the tag line is a joke, and who is to say that blind people cannot be dumb Spongebog (talk) 15:24, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote keep as well. I don't see any reason to change it; it's not a jab at disabled people, blind or otherwise. The site is called explainxkcd, and everything here centers around explaining the comic, not being a transcription service. (If that's not the case, then maybe other things need changing too.) I always thought the tagline fit nicely with the "sarcasm" part of xkcd's own tagline. 15:26, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote KEEP and satisfy both sides. If you examine the HTML, or use Fangs (free screen reader), you may notice there is a jump-to-nav div element that lets people with screen readers jump to various parts of the page. The jump-to-nav div is only a few HTML lines below the tagline. I'd recommend:

  1. Moving the jump-to-nav div to before the tagline
  2. Adding a "Jump to Transcript" link in the jump-to-nav div.
  3. Test it with Fangs in Firefox to simulate a screen reader.

This way, screen-reader users can jump to the transcript and don't have to hear the tagline every time they visit an explainxkcd.com page. -- Hat (talk) 15:44, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Consider "Do you get it now?" 16:09, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote keep: it's reasonable and no change is warranted

I like the suggestion of keeping the current tagline, but changing it to an image with alttext saying something like "because you're using a screenreader". I also vote to move the link to the transcript to above the tagline. Rileysci (talk) 17:32, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Great idea, but here's an even better one: Keep the tagline for visual browsers, but add code such as CSS { speak: none; } and aria-hidden="true" that prevents it from being spoken by screen readers. -- Frankie (talk) 15:31, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

I get the joke and I'm not offended by it, but it seems to me that it really sticks out on this site and it doesn't seem consistent with Randall's sense of humor. Everyone on this site is very inclusive and eager to share all perspectives and points of view. I come here both to see the humor that I have the knowledge to understand and to learn more about the world the way Randall sees it. In short, I come here to be one of the lucky 10,000. In fact, I would suggest that as the tag line, "Congratulations! You're one of today's lucky 10,000!". Inside joke that can link to the comic (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1053:_Ten_Thousand) and it is welcoming. 18:44, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

+1 on this. Change Jkshapiro (talk) 03:45, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote keep. In case it is not kept then it should be changed to something completely different. Te idea of making a title text to an image I really dislike, although I even more dislike adding anything to the existing one to either refer to people coming for the transcript or making excuses for the obvious joke. This has been a part of the page forever, I have seen it almost every time I come here. To begin with I did feel dumb sometimes, but I was never offended by it, just amused. But of course an explain page is for those who did not get the joke. And there are other pages that explains the comic. I do not know if they have a transcript? But I'm happy to know that some people must really enjoy the detailed transcripts that I usually try to provide. I had just not though about the blind perspective. I more use the transcript to make sure every one agrees on what is seen in the images of the comic. Having said all this, I must admit that the best suggestion for a change so far is the one posted above my post (about the lucky 10,000). :-) --Kynde (talk) 19:28, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote keep, for exactly the reasons explained by Zeftr above. Changing it to an image with alt text would be OK also. Miamiclay (talk) 20:45, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I vote Change it because it is too easily mistaken as an insult instead of a joke. At least change it to Because you are stupid.... Ah, maybe instead Because xkcd is far beyond common knowledge or Because hardly anyone gets everything or Because it is usually nerdly esoteric even for geeks. 21:39, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
I vote Change. I have never been a big fan of the tagline. I don't know everything, but I am certainly not dumb. Also, I echo the reference to (http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1053:_Ten_Thousand). This comic has always been about expanding knowledge, not making you feel guilty for not knowing something.
Change: I realize the "It's because you're dumb" tagline follows the sarcastic nature of Randall's humor, but there are enough people who don't get or appreciate that sort of humor and are likely to be more offended by it, special needs or no. Here's my suggestion: "For those of us who don't get it." KieferSkunk (talk) 21:59, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

At what point is "enough" people offended? I've only seen evidence of several (https://xkcd.com/1070/) visually impaired users actually offended by the site, along with a couple people who didn't specify their visual ability. I don't know the traffic on this site, but I would expect it to be on the order of 10^4 or higher. So is this discussion about changing something that a handful of people find offensive? Or is there an actual problem of something inappropriate on the site. If this is all about a couple people finding something offensive, I imagine a few christians might take issue with (https://xkcd.com/709/). Should we start an