1893: Thread

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Since the current Twitter threadfall kicked off in early 2016, we can expect it to continue until the mid-2060s when the next Interval begins.
Title text: Since the current Twitter threadfall kicked off in early 2016, we can expect it to continue until the mid-2060s when the next Interval begins.


F'nor is a character from the popular[citation needed] sci-fi/fantasy series Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. He is posting a Twitter comment (a "thread" that's only one comment long, hence "1/1") about "Thread", a massively destructive alien organism from the same series. Pern is a fictional human-colonized planet and the main setting of the series.

Typically, when starting a series of tweets (used to post content longer than 140 characters), one will start the first tweet with "Thread: " and end it with 1/X. The second tweet will read 2/X, and so on. If X, the total number of tweets, is unknown at the start, it will be listed or 1/many or omitted: 1/

Here, there is a play on the Twitter thread and the actual threat to Pern.

The use of threads on Twitter became significantly more common in 2016 and through 2017. The title text dubs this "Threadfall." In the Pern novels, Threadfall is also the name for the beginning of 50-year cyclic periods when Thread attacks the world of Pern and its inhabitants, which occur between relatively safe "Intervals" of around 200 years. Since according to the title text Threadfall occurred in 2016, it should be expected to continue for ~50 more years until the mid-2060s, when the next Interval will begin.


[A mock-up of a “tweet” from the site twitter.com is shown. It contains a mock-up of a user photo of the fictional character F’nor that resembles Hairy, including a tiny line sketch of F’nor’s brown dragon Canth flying overhead. Below the tweet are several action buttons typical of a Twitter post for comments, replying, likes, etc.]
Thread: The greatest threat to our life on Pern 1/1


On Friday, the header was replaced with a message from Randall about how he would be visiting the U.K. on the following week. It read as follows:

 I'll be visiting the UK next week! You can join me in London from September 30-October 2 (at New Scientist Live, The Royal Institution, and Intelligence Squared), then from October 3-6 in York, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Ely, Oxford, and Cheltenham.

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Threadfall on Twitter beginning 2016? I'm not sure to what that refers. 15:19, 22 September 2017 (UTC) 15:19, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Maybe it's referring to increased use of threaded tweets? I too have noticed an increase around that time; it was mostly screenshots of note-apps before.
Maybe it's a reference to Twitter stock price falling here 17:44, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
"Greatest threat" on Twitter beginning 2016 - I think that's a fairly obvious @RealDonaldTrump reference. 20:15, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I think you're correct and this is absolutely an @RealDonaldTrump reference - especially due to the threats to North Korea's President Kim Jong Un. Nuclear annihilation due to tweetstorm is a real possibility. I feel a reference to that effect should be included in the explanation. -- 20:34, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
It refers to the falling numbers of tweets on Twitter, which was reported in February 2016: http://www.businessinsider.com/tweets-on-twitter-is-in-serious-decline-2016-2?r=UK&IR=T&IR=T 22:33, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

I loved the Dragonriders of Pern series, but I'm a little bit mystified where this came from out of the blue. It's hardly a new series. Did he just start reading it and is all excited about it? Usually it's tied to some current event or topic, rather than just an excuse to make a pun about a character from an old book... Anyone know of any relevant current events that prompted this? DevAudio (talk) 15:39, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

I wondered the same things. It was a great series, so hopefully we get some more cartoons which will help answer those questions. 02:22, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure why he is suddenly referencing dragonriders, but I think the twitter 'threadfall' could connect to Donald Trump on twitter? But the timing is not right... I mean I guess he was elected in late 2016 so that could count. And 2016 was when he became really seriously engaged in politics and twitter in connection to that... not very strong evidence though. I could also be convinced that the date is arbitrary 16:32, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Was this comic posted late? I could have sworn they are usually up before 0930EDT at least I am used to seeing them in the morning but maybe I was online earlier then usual today. WJBodin3 (talk) 20:15, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Note: Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon totally used to be fantasy until Dragonsdawn retroactively turned them sci-fi. Best counterexample to any person who believes you can divide literature to genres. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:18, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

The first novella, "Weyr Search", was essentially fantasy. By the time it was revised to form the initial portion of Dragonflight, McCaffrey had decided on and incorporated the sci-fi basis of her "lost colony" setting. The White Dragon specifically introduces the colony ships (still in geosynchronous orbit) and shuttlecraft landers in terms that make it evident that Pern was colonized by space-farers, not wizards. McCaffrey was outspoken in defining her work as sci-fi, not fantasy, 08:24, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

One of the few XKCDs where I understood essentially nothing of the joke... I caught the mention of "Pern", and realized it was because I've never read any Pern books. :) Thanks ExplainXKCD! And hey, Randall will be in London? Even farther from me than where he lives! LOL! Oh well. Colour me envious of anyone who can take advantage of the opportunity. As for the incomplete explanation of "Needs more", does it? I feel like every element is explained just fine, and as someone nearly completely unfamiliar with the series and who doesn't use Twitter, I have trouble imagining anyone needing more explanation than I do. LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:47, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

I feel like the citation needed here doesn't make much sense, maybe it's just me but I've never heard of these books, so saying that it should be obvious to everyone that they are popular feels kind of silly.