Difference between revisions of "explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals"

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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 {{unsigned|Halfhat}}
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 {{unsigned|Halfhat}}
edit 3: Another sighting [[954: Chin-Up Bar]] [[User:Halfhat|Halfhat]] ([[User talk:Halfhat|talk]]) 16:57, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
edit 3: Another sighting [[954: Chin-Up Bar]] [[User:Halfhat|Halfhat]] ([[User talk:Halfhat|talk]]) 16:57, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
== What If Comics ==
Hi, I was thinking, maybe at some point we should do the comics in the ''What If?'' section, like [http://what-if.xkcd.com/imgs/a/36/cornstarch_bitcoins.png this one.] [[User:Halfhat|Halfhat]] ([[User talk:Halfhat|talk]]) 20:01, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Revision as of 20:01, 13 January 2014

Community Portal
Dialog-information on.svg

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

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)

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)


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)

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)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)