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

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(Undo revision 94233 by Pudder (talk) Not a duplicate, it is a new proposal)
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Is comic page creation not automated? If it isn't, then [[Help talk:How to add a new comic explanation]] should be created.--{{User:17jiangz1/signature|14:19, 26 May 2015}} 14:19, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Is comic page creation not automated? If it isn't, then [[Help talk:How to add a new comic explanation]] should be created.--{{User:17jiangz1/signature|14:19, 26 May 2015}} 14:19, 26 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.--{{User:17jiangz1/signature|14:19, 26 May 2015}}

Revision as of 17:31, 26 May 2015

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 portals 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)
Not technically the same thing, but I just took http://expxkcd.com. More explanation is 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)


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)
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)

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)
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)

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)

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)

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)

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 butt 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)

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)

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


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)

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)