Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 00:38, 4 March 2013 by Davidy22 (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1922 (38440%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

People keep telling me to use the radio but I really hate making voice calls.
Title text: People keep telling me to use the radio but I really hate making voice calls.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

Tinder is a social media/dating app. The main interface of Tinder shows photos of people using the app. Users swipe right for matches that they like, and left otherwise. The purpose of the app is to get dates, with the intent of a romantic relationship or sexual intercourse. However, in the comic, Cueball is trying to use it to request assistance flying a plane instead. If the request is genuine, this is a bad situation, because it suggests Cueball is in charge of a plane he is unable to fly, and unless he finds a match with someone who can, and is able to provide assistance, the plane will crash. Even then, unless the matched person happens to be on board, and therefore able to assist directly, providing help through Tinder messages is unlikely to be a sufficiently efficient way of solving the problem.

Alternatively, Cueball may be simply be pretending that there is an emergency so that he can get matches on Tinder. In either case, Cueball is violating the law by using a cell phone that is not in "airplane mode" (in some phones, flight mode or offline mode) when on an airplane. And even if he is either uploading the picture after the flight or using the in-flight internet service, he is still violating other, more serious laws (if he is a pilot, he is liable of negligence, and if he is an ordinary passenger, God knows what he may have done...)

The title text explains that Cueball's unwise method for getting help stems from astonishingly skewed priorities and no small amount of selfishness. He claims to strongly dislike conversing over audio-only channels, and this dislike is apparently so overwhelming that he would rather jeopardize the lives of all the passengers on the plane (including his own) than put aside his own hang-ups. Even if we give Cueball the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has a phobia of public speaking, most human beings tend to automatically suspend their irrational anxieties when experiencing the fear of imminent mortal peril, at least until after the danger has passed. For example, those normally afraid of dating Cueball would "match" with him to prevent a plane crash, which may be his secret intent after all.

Randall may be satirizing people who use Tinder (and other similar social apps) by portraying an extreme caricature of a Tinder user.

This comic is similar to 1897: Self Driving, and as well as 582: Brakes, which also is about bad ways to get help in emergencies.


[An iPhone-esque device is shown with the screen facing the viewer. On the screen is the Tinder UI. The main photo is of Cueball, in the cockpit of a plane which appears to be tilting to the left, holding up a makeshift sign saying:]
If you know how
to fly a plane
please swipe
right ASAP

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

New here?

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

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.


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

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

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

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?