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''Welcome to the Explain XKCD wiki''
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:All comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:All comics|R}}-1}}''' xkcd comics]],
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Latest revision as of 17:52, 5 June 2018

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 2070 xkcd comics, and only 34 (2%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Indirect Detection
I'm like a prisoner in Plato's Cave, seeing only the shade you throw on the wall.
Title text: I'm like a prisoner in Plato's Cave, seeing only the shade you throw on the wall.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a PLATONIC PRISONER. Needs details on both the subject of the social media post and further exposition on what throwing shade is. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

This comic shows an angry social media post by one of Randall's spiky-haired friends, decrying the practice of some of that person's friends -- in this case apparently some of these friends like to make jokes in poor taste about animals in animal shelters. Sometimes when posting something on social media, such as Facebook, that post can be seen by all the people you have designated as your "friends". In this case the original comment was intended to be read by the people posting the inappropriate comments, people who are not direct friends of Randall's and whose posts he therefore could not see, however because it was posted by his direct friend he could read that response to the inappropriate comments and was able to imagine what it was those other people were saying. Knowing a little about what these other mystery people are saying, through direct quotes from within his friend's comment, and having to fill in the rest by his imagination, he concludes there are some awful people out there, and reflects on how weird it is to have such an indirect link to them.

The title text is a pun comparing the shadows of Plato's cave to the practice of "throwing shade," and "the wall" could have a double meaning of both the wall of the cave and the term for someone's social media page.

Plato's Cave is an allegorical tale taking place in a hypothetical cave. The lifelong occupants of the cave cannot see the outside world, but instead see events at the cave entrance only as shadows of firelight upon the cave wall; Lacking a more complete or direct source of information, the cave occupants can only guess about the outside world by interpreting these shadows as a view of the world itself, & therefore base their other beliefs about the outside world upon the transitory appearances of these shadows. In this way, Plato's Cave serves as an allegory for our limited understanding of phenomena which occur primarily or entirely outside direct perception by our natural senses.

In the same way one might make incorrect assumptions about the makeup & chemical properties of air if one's information on the subject were gathered entirely from watching wind blow through leaves, the hypothetical occupants of Plato's Cave may reasonably be expected to produce wildly inaccurate theories about the outside world; a world which they experience only as a kind of shadowplay.

A further joke behind the pun about "throwing shade" may be that judging anything based only upon the most outrageous points of measurement available will likely produce an inaccurate assessment.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Social media post]
Everyone on here needs to stop laughing about how "adopting pets from a shelter is for losers" and "those animals should all be hunted for sport instead." It's reprehensible on so many levels! First of all...
[Caption under the panel]
Sometimes, one of my friends posts an angry response to some terrible opinion I've never heard before, and it's a weird indirect way to learn how awful their other friends must be.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk.

There are a lot of comics that don't have set-in-stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.