0881: "Probability"

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Kaelri
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Kaelri » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:09 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Okay, so let's suppose that Randall has a case of cancer in his family. He must definitely be feeling it , and it must hurt. So what does he do? Take a break to dedicate himself to his family? Leave a blunt announcement and cut xkcd from his life for a while? ...

Does he really want to share his feelings, or is he really such a loser that he can only count on his webcomic to receive the empathy he needs? Or does he think that everyone needs to be informed, in the most melodramatic and saccharine way possible, of his situation? Or is he -- oh, the horror! -- just using the illness to attract more attention to himself?


Look, not to pile on here, but I get the sense that if Randall had done any of those things, you'd be in here throwing the same accusations at him, and with (relatively) stronger justification. An explicit announcement, or an interruption in the comic schedule, would attract a lot more attention than a single ambiguously-topical strip. Other than the knowledge that Randall has been dealing with a family illness, this comic comes with zero context, nor any openly self-referential elements. Really, it doesn't distinguish itself from many other sober and personal strips that made some of us fall in love with XKCD in the first place.

As a consumer of art (free art that nobody is forcing me to read), I don't particularly care what Randall uses as his source of inspiration, as long as the product has some value to me. And that value - whether it makes me laugh, or cry, or think, or feel - doesn't have to meet anyone else's standard, nor should anyone else feel the need to answer to mine. I value this comic. If you don't, you know where the Back button is. End of story.

He draws a comic about it, with the sole objective of attracting sympathy...

How can anyone demand another to feel empathy for a person like that? Seriously? How the Hell is a comic like that cause a positive effect? For him? For his sick relative? ...

In all honesty, I'm incapable of empathy in a situation like that... If Randall can't take the consequences, then he should just get the hell out. Nobody is obliged to care about his personal life, nobody is obliged to have empathy...


Why are you ripping into this guy for a bunch of things he didn't do? He has made no statement regarding his motivation for drawing this comic. He has made no "demand." He has expressed no expectation of any positive effects for himself or his family - not that it's any of our business if it has any. The concern and empathy of his fans in this forum have been given to him unsolicited. Do you have a real complaint here, other than he used personal experience to inspire art (heaven forbid)?

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby TheScientist019 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
TheScientist019 wrote:There are so many logical errors in Ashtar94's post that I have to point out the dumbest of the dumb.
Well done. Now everyone knows you're an idiot who doesn't understand satire.


Then I guess I'm just too dumb to see through his parody.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby MIMP » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

The emotions drawn out by this comic are amazing. Randall, your ability to express your musings, in a public manner like this, is fantastic! I love when your usual approach becomes useless, it's an opportunity for adventure and an escape from the norm. Normal is boring, no one cherishes the memories of the boring moments of their life. Live, create memories you'll cherish and please, keep up the good work!

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby userxp » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

Shit. Now I'm depressed again. :cry:

Also could everyone ignore SirMustapha please? Thanks.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby donaithnen » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:57 pm UTC

Tsuna wrote:Alright, so there are about 8 million people every year dying from cancer, that's one death every four seconds. If you live in the US, one out of every 200 people you see in the streets every day suffers from cancer. Do you care? I must confess I don't; otherwise I'd long ago died myself from caring every four seconds.

Now there's a comic about one cancer case with possible death implication and possible real life equivalent, and practically everyone except the trolls goes crazy with empathy and My Prayers Are With You. Really? One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic, one unlikely and possibly fictional death is...


One of the main points of art in all its many forms is to allow the viewer to empathize with the abstract. As others have pointed out it is impossible to empathize with a million statistical cases. You can empathize with an individual case, whether it's someone you know or an individual case (fictional or real) that's being related to you. The empathy for the individual can be the gateway to caring about the larger group. Because people can't care about 8 million dying every year in the abstract they need to hear about the individual cases in order to create an empathic response.

You seem to be confusing the solution with the problem.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

TheScientist019 wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
TheScientist019 wrote:There are so many logical errors in Ashtar94's post that I have to point out the dumbest of the dumb.
Well done. Now everyone knows you're an idiot who doesn't understand satire.


Then I guess I'm just too dumb to see through his parody.


Or maybe his "parody" is completely baseless and false, therefore not qualifying as proper parody. I mean, "moral obligation"? What kind of moron underestimates his fellow forum posters so much to the point of using such a blatantly meaningless term?

Kaelri wrote:Look, not to pile on here, but I get the sense that if Randall had done any of those things, you'd be in here throwing the same accusations at him, and with (relatively) stronger justification. An explicit announcement, or an interruption in the comic schedule, would attract a lot more attention than a single ambiguously-topical strip.


Well, anything Randall does attracts attention. The question is whether Randall bothers about that. If he just made an announcement and stopped updating, certainly there would be a huge fuss here, but the attitude would indicate that Randall has more important things to worry about -- i.e., his family. But just look at the huge comic he did to explain the family illness the first time it happened, in 818! Are you saying that doesn't attract attention? Are you saying Randall really doesn't care much about his fans, to the point of searching his old notebooks just to have something to post on his self-imposed strict schedule?

Kaelri wrote:As a consumer of art (free art that nobody is forcing me to read), I don't particularly care what Randall uses as his source of inspiration, as long as the product has some value to me.


I usually am like that too, but the difference here is that it was Randall's own choice to expose himself like that. If I was digging around his personal life to find these facts, then I would unquestionably be the ultimate asshole in this story. But it was Randall who blew open the whole thing!

Kaelri wrote:Do you have a real complaint here, other than he used personal experience to inspire art (heaven forbid)?


My complaint was actually about the attitude of the fans who seem to think that Randall is faultless and anything he does is automatically justified: everything he says in regard to his family illness is deserving of absolute sympathy, and anyone who criticizes anything is a heartless monster -- or, in more specific terms, a "horrible person".

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:14 pm UTC

userxp wrote:Also could everyone ignore SirMustapha please? Thanks.
Most of us already do, at least in the individual comic threads. Everything xkcd does is somehow wrong, and SirMustapha will find the stupidest, most asinine possible ways to criticize the comic and the people who like or defend the comic, pretty much every single time.

I've never seen him add anything worthwhile to one of these discussions, so yeah, we pretty much all ignore him.
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby feldgendler » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

This is a brilliant, touching strip. Other commentors have said most of what I was going to say, so I'm not going to say it. I'll just post an essay I wrote about death and our attitudes towards it.
http://my.opera.com/feldgendler/blog/achilles-and-death

ACHILLES AND DEATH

Although Achilles is the son of the goddess Thetis, he is not immortal. Predestined are the day and hour when the moira Atropos shall cut his life-thread. But until that happens, Achilles still has some time for his feats, and he shall not die until he lives all to the last of his remaining days. When he has a year left, he has to live through the first half of the year first. When it's only a day, he won't die without living through the first half of it. Even when just an hour, a minute or a second is left, he still has at least half of that time to live.

From his friendly chat with Zeno of Elea Achilles knows that he cannot live through all of his remaining time without living through half of it. Even if he knew precisely when he was going to die, his remaining time, a seemingly finite duration, would be nothing but an infinite series of periods, diminishing but never coming to nought. Since Achilles cannot experience the very moment of death because there will be no mind to realize the fact afterwards, he is immortal as long as he lives. Maybe it's a shadow of his mother's immortality?

One should live as if there will be no death. Don't think of the death, live the life. What would I do if I knew I had only a few years, months or weeks to live? I'd live on as if nothing happened (or at least so I think now), since as long as I think, I won't die, and when I die, there will be no me to realize that I've died.

Even if there's only a minute left to live, let's live through the first half a minute first, and then we'll see.
Last edited by feldgendler on Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:everything he says in regard to his family illness is deserving of absolute sympathy, and anyone who criticizes anything is a heartless monster -- or, in more specific terms, a "horrible person".

Generally speaking, comments towards individuals who are dealing with family illness should be ones of sympathy, and comments that deviate towards the 'you're a raging asshole and i hate you because you wanted to share your family problems', are, yes, the mark of a horrible person.

I seem to recall you throwing a fuss when he posted the 'I'm having family problems' comic, and a similar fuss when he posted the 'Here are some rote sketches I did while dealing with this family problem'. So, yes, I'm inclined to believe your simply enjoying getting on a baseless Randall hate bandwagon.
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Kaelri » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:18 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
userxp wrote:Also could everyone ignore SirMustapha please? Thanks.
Most of us already do, at least in the individual comic threads. Everything xkcd does is somehow wrong, and SirMustapha will find the stupidest, most asinine possible ways to criticize the comic and the people who like or defend the comic, pretty much every single time.

I've never seen him add anything worthwhile to one of these discussions, so yeah, we pretty much all ignore him.

Ah, I regret that I was unfamiliar with his résumé before posting. I shall heed this counsel in threads to come.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:21 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:a baseless Randall hate bandwagon.
Yeah, I fail to see how it's somehow more acceptable to join SirMustafa's "Randall can do no right" bandwagon than it is to be part of the (alleged) "Randal can do no wrong" group he's accusing the rest of us of being part of.

And incidentally, it probably only looks like we're saying Randall is always faultless because we simply think he's not as bad as most of SirMustafa's cunty complaints make him out to be. There is, in fact, a middle ground, full of people who think Randy mostly makes a pretty good comic that sometimes falls flat and is sometimes kind of dickish but is usually funny and enjoyable. It's just that, from one idiotic extreme, this middle ground is hard to distinguish from the other idiotic extreme.
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby mmark9094 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:46 pm UTC

My reaction:

"Oh nooooo, aww..... :cry: " My best wishes for Randall and his family.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Generally speaking, comments towards individuals who are dealing with family illness should be ones of sympathy, and comments that deviate towards the 'you're a raging asshole and i hate you because you wanted to share your family problems', are, yes, the mark of a horrible person.


I didn't know that family problems gave people complete immunity to any kind of asshole attitude; I thought that, even while going through a rough time, one can still be an asshole.

Izawwlgood wrote:I seem to recall you throwing a fuss when he posted the 'I'm having family problems' comic, and a similar fuss when he posted the 'Here are some rote sketches I did while dealing with this family problem'. So, yes, I'm inclined to believe your simply enjoying getting on a baseless Randall hate bandwagon.


Yeah, isn't it strange that my criticism is interestingly consistent? As if I actually have a strong base for this opinion and I honestly think Randall is being a complete idiot in this affair? If I want to jump in the bandwagon, I would simply be making Megan jokes on xkcd sucks every day. THAT is bandwagon jumping. Instead, I seem to recall commenting that the "Lamp" comic had a flawless execution, and I didn't make a single disparaging comment towards it. And just notice how many people bashed that one comic!

But no, I cannot be given credit when it's due, I have to be labelled a "troll" and a "bandwagon jumper". It's more comfortable this way, and it saves Mr. Moderator a lot of time.

EDIT: I've just read the comment above. Hmm, wasn't there some talk about today's comic having nothing to do whatsoever with Randall's family, and that was just something I made up just to have reasons to criticise Randall? Is there some sort of hive mind going on here, or is the guy above also a moron and a troll?

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby RevWaldo » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

This one hit home. Thanks.

Depending on the particular circumstances, getting numbers like this could be considered *good* news. I hope that's the case IRL. Good luck!

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby windadep » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

I've been a reader for years, but because of this comic, I finally made an account and felt I had to post this.

This comic just happen to be released on the anniversary of a very scary moment in my life. I celebrate this day every year because I can. But it is everyday that statistics like this haunt me. And many other people, I am sure. So good luck Randall Munroe. I hope all goes well, because nobody can truly ignore the statistics, no matter how brave of a face they wear.

Thanks for reminding us we're not alone.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby CloudDog23 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:11 pm UTC

Having been through the exact same emotions as this the last two weeks with my wife,the strip was a kick to the stomach and made me realise the full impact of what is happening hasn't even begun to bite yet and I'm currently on auto-pilot so I came on the board, for the first time, to try and make a further connection to the strip.

To the poster who came up with the "never tell me the odds", +100 points, it's our motto from now on.

To all those with the best intentions, do yourselves a favour, never argue with an idiot, all they do is drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby CloudDog23 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

Do yourselves a favour, never argue with an idiot, all they do is drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
Last edited by CloudDog23 on Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:15 pm UTC

No, the whole thing just came full circle.

LOL, I remember when you liked all the comics.
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Dauthi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:29 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Okay, so let's suppose that Randall has a case of cancer in his family. He must definitely be feeling it , and it must hurt. So what does he do? Take a break to dedicate himself to his family? Leave a blunt announcement and cut xkcd from his life for a while?

No.

He draws a comic about it, with the sole objective of attracting sympathy, drops a reference to mathematics and makes a reference to an older comic.
SirMustapha wrote:I didn't know that family problems gave people complete immunity to any kind of asshole attitude; I thought that, even while going through a rough time, one can still be an asshole.
SirMustapha wrote:But no, I cannot be given credit when it's due, I have to be labelled a "troll" and a "bandwagon jumper". It's more comfortable this way, and it saves Mr. Moderator a lot of time.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about your posts is that you speak in absolutes most of the time---if not literally than rhetorically. You are typically so polarized and so pleased with your position that it is nearly impossible to do anything but hate you because you are, quite simply, grating on the nerves and ever-present in your negativity. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that your frequency in the Individual Comic forum is your own way of masturbatory trolling---I have yet to see any sort of significant fan following to encourage you; therefore, you must get a personal thrill from placing yourself against so many people on a pretty much daily basis. And sometimes even winning. A lot of the time it's only small rhetorical twists where you score your marks; you do choose your battles wisely. You ignore a lot of valid criticism and hone in on the weaker prey, the ones that clearly aren't paying attention to who you are and what you're doing. They made the mistake of challenging you with failed logic or emotional pleas or downright weak personality. And then you're there. A flash of sarcasm, a sprinkle of disdain, and usually a heaping handful of passionate rhetoric. It's a great---and effective---recipe.

In a way you remind me a lot of me...ten years ago. When I was an angst-filled teenager who was so starved of intellectual stimulation and so angry at the world that I got off making a reputation for myself online. I can take comfort that I was mostly trolling trolls and not just flaming forum-goers, but hey!: to each their own. I'd do the whole impassioned plea thing, where I express that I truly hope that you have more to your life than this, that this is just an exercise of douchbaggery, but the fact is no one really cares about me or you. In the end, I am the sociopath someone accused you of being, and that insincere appeal would just be another rhetorical device. One that places me on the slightly more benevolent side of self-righteous condescension, but no less douchey. One that you don't seem to have mastered yet. Maybe someday.

Kaelri wrote:As a consumer of art (free art that nobody is forcing me to read), I don't particularly care what Randall uses as his source of inspiration, as long as the product has some value to me. And that value - whether it makes me laugh, or cry, or think, or feel - doesn't have to meet anyone else's standard, nor should anyone else feel the need to answer to mine. I value this comic. If you don't, you know where the Back button is. End of story.

QFT. While I understand and value constructive criticism, most of the time it seems like the naysayers are just bashing the comic or Randall as a whole. There's no recommendations, no formal critique of what worked and what didn't. No, it's usually just the pointless criticism of book and movie reviewers who can find nothing good in anything unless it is perfect. Or pretentious enough that it dwarfs their own pretension.

gmalivuk wrote:And incidentally, it probably only looks like we're saying Randall is always faultless because we simply think he's not as bad as most of [the] complaints make him out to be. There is, in fact, a middle ground, full of people who think Randy mostly makes a pretty good comic that sometimes falls flat and is sometimes kind of dickish but is usually funny and enjoyable.

Yep. And this is the shit that's going on with politics these days. If we polarize each side enough, if we reduce things to a purely black and white perspective, then we can more or less force people to pick sides, eliminating the need to generate meaningful debate or address real issues. In a society that so undervalues critical thinking these days (insofar as America; can't speak of the rest of you), this sort of attitude & strategy is a bigger threat to our sociopolitical "dominance" than anything else. Oh well. I can always just move.
Last edited by Dauthi on Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby dracolytch » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:30 pm UTC

bokonon wrote:I actually took SirMustapha seriously enough to go visit its webpages. I won't be making that mistake again. This entity claims to be a musician (I listened to the mp3s published there, I say that's debatable), and tries to rationally argue that music is incapable of transmitting emotion. It'd be cute if it wasn't so sad.


I disagree wholeheartedly. For himself, and his music, he's quite right. What I heard did not transmit any emotion whatsoever. I found it very reflective of the poster.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Timefly » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:35 pm UTC

On xkcd Randall is God. It's his strip, his life, his art. I just wish assholes would remember that and leave it alone. Everyone needs some support sometimes, or to just get some emotion out to people they call friends, which in this case seems to be the xkcd community. I love that Randall is so open and really respect that he's not afraid to share his feelings with the world. I say good on you Randall and thank you so very much for creating such a raw, vibrant, emotional webcomic which is a glimpse into your roller coaster world. Thankyou for sharing your soul with us all and thank you for the great privilege which is to consider the xkcd community as your friends. Love you forever man. Don't stop what you're doing. You do a great job everyday, keep with it. :)

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby hofmic » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:00 pm UTC

Reading through five pages, I decided against continuing this discussion. I'll just sit in my corner and cry. :cry:

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby SlippingStar » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:03 pm UTC

If this is real, what is the illness?
The only certainty is uncertainty itself.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:07 pm UTC

gooley wrote:
Mahou wrote:
gooley wrote:Seriously, Randall. Nobody cares about your personal life, we just want entertaining comics. Please keep it professional.


Screw you, I care. And sometimes I like a serious comic.

Fingers crossed that it is just a comic?


You just like to pretend that you're friends with Randall, when in reality he wants nothing to do with you. Stop idolizing him.

You be trollin'

To SirMustapha (there's too much text to quote):
An important consideration here is that we are not sure if today's comic reflects something real happening in Randall's life or if it is completely fictional. If it is, my sympathies to him, and if not, well, okay.
As for the recent events with Randall's family troubles interfering with the comic, I don't have any factual evidence here, but I get the impression that your reaction was one of displeasure and that you thought it unreasonable for him to fail to update.
If this thought is incorrect, never mind the following.
If this thought is correct, however, I have to question you on that reaction. Is it unreasonable to falter in your work when family matters turn for the worse? Do people not take time off from work when a family member becomes severely sick, is hospitalized, is diagnosed with a terminal disease, or dies?
For comparison, picture the following hypothetical scenario.
You have a day job in an office, and in your spare time you film a video series that updates regularly and has a notably large following. One day, after work you drive home to find that your house has burned down. You do not post a video that day, or for the next 3 days, and your viewers react angrily. Are they justified?
Last edited by SpringLoaded12 on Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:21 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Nurseferatu » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

As a nurse (NOT an oncology nurse), I can state that the probabilities are usually based on variables given by the oncologist when treatment is being discussed, such as:
*Successful completion of a course of conventional treatment x (i.e some form of chemotherapy)
*Successful completion of x with possible additional treatment y (i.e. radiation, oral medication, etc)
*Successful completion of x or y alone
*Inability to complete any of the above (such as partial treatment that must be stopped due to side effects)
*No treatment or Palliative treatment only
My patients descriptions of some oncologist visits sounded like they had seen their bookie! The good doctors brought it down to something that folks could understand, and the not so good ones often did not offer any options at all - "my way or the highway" sorts of docs.
Hope this helps :)

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Xof » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:20 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Yeah, isn't it strange that my criticism is interestingly consistent? As if I actually have a strong base for this opinion and I honestly think Randall is being a complete idiot in this affair?


Given that you have expressed this opinion repeatedly and loudly, and yet Randall still sees fit to draw comics which draw your harshest disapproval, it might be time for you to return the comics to him for a full refund and find a new Daily Humor Provider who will not cause you to write long, vitriolic posts on an Internet bulletin board.

Unless, to quote the old joke, "This isn't really about the hunting, is it?"

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Nurseferatu » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:20 pm UTC

ykcd wrote:I dont know if you are missing this, but the subtext clearly refers to http://xkcd.com/55/ . Wouldn't it be plausible to assume that the topic is Love-related rather than Illness-related? The chart at the beginning could also be the probability of having a healthy child given she becomes pregnant. And the dashed line could be the probability density of having a child in the next n years.


Unfortunately, that is an IV pole and setup in the frame next to them. This suggests something a bit more medically related.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby mewshi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

I find Robin Williams entertaining pretty much no matter what he's doing -- just as good in Dead Poets' Society as he was in Patch Adams, I think. He has no "moral obligation" to do happy-happy-feel-good movies at all, let alone most of the time. Same thing here.

If you only listen to music because it sounds nice, you're missing half the point; if you only watch a movie for the action, you're missing half the point. Art is not, and never has been, about making you happy. I don't think the author of Questionable Content got this kinda of crap when a certain character's past was revealed (anyone who reads it probably knows which character I am referring to). Granted, xkcd and QC have different structures and audiences, but the point remains -- just because it's depressing, doesn't mean it's not just as beautiful.

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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:22 pm UTC

TheDoctor wrote:You know an author or artist or musician or whatever has suceeded when a 4 panel comic strip with only 2 sentences creates this much controversy. Well done. Excellent comic as always. :D
Lots of comics have sparked tons of discussion, but since we've instituted the policy of mods needing to approve every user's first post, I think this is the comic that has inspired by far the most new people to go ahead and register for the forums.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

septic_tank
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby septic_tank » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

SirMustapha:

From what I understand, your argument is roughly: "Randall is an idiot because, during what is assumed to be an emotionally difficult period for himself and his family, he doesn't either: a) 'take a break to dedicate himself to his family' or b) 'leave a blunt announcement and cut xkcd from his life for a while'. Instead, he chose to draw a comic about it with, "...the sole objective of attracting sympathy."

The first part, concerning how Randall should act in this situation, is entirely your opinion. That's fine. You are free to believe what you will about how people should handle emotionally difficult situations. That said, it's entirely his and his family's choice to handle the situation the way they choose. As you have no knowledge about the specifics, your judgments are baseless. Maybe the family member is optimistic and doesn't want people doting on them or acting differently because of their illness? That's the way my grandfather went. Or maybe Randall is expressing himself here because when he's with his family he has to be that unflinching pillar of support? When internally he's fractured to his core?

Now we get to your second point, that this comic was purely fishing for sympathy. I've yet to read your basis for this, other than again it being your opinion / perception. You don't seem to give any credence to the notion that he's simply relinquishing some of his emotional burden - a "catharsis" as several posters have labeled it. This is a fairly common practice. Not just among artists - among anyone for whom creativity is a means of channeling complex emotions. No different than a Blues singer that writes a song after they lose their job/wife/dog/house. You don't have to care. I'm sure he expects that not everyone will enjoy the departure from his "norm". But he's not doing it for us. He's not even doing it for his family member(s). He's doing it for his own emotional well-being, and there's nothing wrong with his making that decision within the confines of his own creative sandbox.

Finally, that some (or many!) of Randall's fans are sycophants should have no bearing on your judgment of him or his art. Any person/group/etc. with a sufficiently-large fanbase is going to have some isolated core that take it to an extreme. And you shouldn't be surprised when they're some of the more vocal ones on a forum such as this. That doesn't mean they are representative of Randall's audience as a whole. I'd guess that, like me - until today - the average reader does not post on these boards or share the idolization of Randall expressed here by some.

Waladil
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Waladil » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:34 pm UTC

...Does this mean Randall won't be at MoCCA?

Aside from my (intentional) asinine above comment, I do kinda wish he'd tell us if this is a real problem or a purely abstract one. I don't have the right to infringe on his personal life etc. etc. but I think if you disseminate information that could be true or false, it should be clear whether it is or not (Like those blurbs at the beginning of novels that say "This is a work of fiction..."). Most of the time it's not a problem with Randall's work.

If it's real, my condolences,
If it's not, then I hope it never becomes real,
In either case, fuck trolls.
Or, in Java form! (My coding is rusty, sorry)
If(comic==TRUE)
{
system.out.print("My condolences, Randall");
}
else
{
system.out.print("I hope you never have to face this in reality");
}
system.out.print("FUCK TROLLS");
return 0;

P.S. does anyone know if Randall is planning on attending MoCCA? I'm gonna be there and want to see as many awesome artists as I can.

orentago
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby orentago » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:53 pm UTC

Bah, SirMustafa's just jealous he doesn't have his own webcomic with legions of loyal fans. I sense some serious issues under that angry exterior.

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drixoman
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby drixoman » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

I don't know if that's been mentioned here before...(thread too long) but tor those who wonder why the y-axis is cut off at 70%, maybe the scale is not linear so there's not enough room to show the rest due to mathematic constraint.

(idk ... I'm not good at math at all so it's just a guess...)

Hypercube
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Hypercube » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:34 pm UTC

Invertin wrote:My girlfriend has cancer. They've given her months, not even years.

I'm staying hopeful... but every now and again I see something like this comic and I feel like someone just punched me in the chest.

This comic is a great big raincloud. It makes me feel bad, and it makes it wet and slippery so I can't hold on to the hope that she'll be okay.

:(
I hope so too. Best of wishes.

RowDaBoat
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby RowDaBoat » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Lots of comics have sparked tons of discussion, but since we've instituted the policy of mods needing to approve every user's first post, I think this is the comic that has inspired by far the most new people to go ahead and register for the forums.

So true.

Randall: I won't say 'be strong', you already are.
Thanks.

Hypercube
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Hypercube » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:41 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:Okay, so let's suppose that Randall has a case of cancer in his family. He must definitely be feeling it , and it must hurt. So what does he do? Take a break to dedicate himself to his family? Leave a blunt announcement and cut xkcd from his life for a while?

No.

He draws a comic about it, with the sole objective of attracting sympathy, drops a reference to mathematics and makes a reference to an older comic.

AND YOU FOLKS SPEAK ABOUT EMPATHY??

How can anyone demand another to feel empathy for a person like that? Seriously? How the Hell is a comic like that cause a positive effect? For him? For his sick relative? Does he really want to share his feelings, or is he really such a loser that he can only count on his webcomic to receive the empathy he needs? Or does he think that everyone needs to be informed, in the most melodramatic and saccharine way possible, of his situation? Or is he -- oh, the horror! -- just using the illness to attract more attention to himself?

In all honesty, I'm incapable of empathy in a situation like that, and I feel horrified that a person has to be crucified for expressing a contrary opinion, like it happened in the first page here. Does Randall need his whole legion of sycophantic fans to defend him from the "cold-hearted bullies"? For chrissakes, Randall is an adult, he knows what he's doing and he CHOSE to expose himself like that on the Internet. If Randall can't take the consequences, then he should just get the hell out. Nobody is obliged to care about his personal life, nobody is obliged to have empathy, and more importantly: nobody is forbidden the right to express his opinions in here, as far as I know. Is it possible for people to accept that?

You are a horrible person. That's all I can say.

Hypercube
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Hypercube » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:43 pm UTC

kryton wrote:I cried reading this comic.....

This stick figure hug is the best rendering of a tender intimate sharing empathetic moment I've ever seen in a comic.

And I'm jealous and envious of anyone finding themselves in this situation, where there is a warning, where there is time to make the most of life in the days immediately ahead, where an opportunity to make the most of what is truly important can still be made. Where affairs and paperwork can be put in order, plans made, saving those left behind the insanity I had to endure..

I didn't get that chance, my beloved was betrayed by a weak heart and left this mortal world without warning, while we were still planning the wedding. So much regret of what might have been that will now never be, so much lamenting to god with the question "WHY?" and despair and depression over why we didn't do this one little thing or that little thing, or taken advantage of this other little opportunity, . and the insanity that followed immediately because paperwork was postponed, affairs not put in order.

It is a tragedy to face that which this comic represents, but it is a blessing to have the time to do something with that time remaining, compared to the devestation of unexpected loss.

I'm going back to bed and cry myself to sleep. Bless you Randall for giving me this opportunity to find and embrase my grief once again, to feel the depth of love once again I had for my beloved who is now an angel.

My condolences.

Mjauti
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby Mjauti » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

realbart wrote:What... no 3d?

http://3d.xkcd.com/881


Well, have you tried clicking "next" when viewing the last comic in the 3D version?

Spoiler:
http://xk3d.xkcd.com/880/?teapot

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davean
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby davean » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:57 pm UTC

realbart wrote:What... no 3d?

http://3d.xkcd.com/881


Make it and submit it.

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mewshi
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Re: 0881: "Probability"

Postby mewshi » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:23 am UTC

So, basically, people hate this comic because... it is an attention grab, supposedly? Wow. Maybe if you didn't just assume that every person talking about shit in their life is doing so for attention, you would get this.


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