This is another comic in the "My Hobby" series.
Many people's hobbies involve collecting many items of the same category: Post stamps, collectible cards, painted dolls, wine, and so on. Just about anything can be collected, however, some things are collected much more often than others. Wikipedia has a page listing the most popular categories of such collectible items.
In Randall's usual style of going meta with everything, he decided to start a meta-collection—a collection of examples of different things that people can collect. He uses Wikipedia's list of collectibles for reference. In the comic, Cueball is showing to his friend his collection of various items that have nothing in common except that they're all popular collectibles. So while most people try to collect everything in one narrow category of collectibles, Cueball's collection will only be complete if he can get one item from each of the list of collectible items as cataloged by Wikipedia's list, so he has a collection of representative elements from all collections.
In the title text, Randall complains about a Wikipedia editor who keeps adding yachts to the list of collectibles, probably because it would force him to buy a yacht if he ever wanted to complete his collection of collectibles. Yachts are traditionally considered immensely expensive and the vast majority of people own zero yachts, let alone a collection of them. Note that Randall does not specify how he is trying to get the page locked, and the comic itself might be a rather meta way of doing so: xkcd fans have a history of making lots of edits to Wikipedia articles Randall mentions, resulting in them being protected or locked. The article has in fact been edited and reverted about 50 times by these fans over the course of a single day and was put in temporary protected-status on March 14th, 2019. Protection will end on March 17th, 2019 provided that no other vandalism occurs afterwards. The first addition of Yachts to this page was by a user named Xkcd2123, but it is unlikely that this user is Randall.
List of Items on the Shelf
Items are numbered on each shelf from left.
|Top Shelf, First Item
||Possibly an Urn or cookie jar.
|Top Shelf, Second Item
||Possibly a candle
|Top Shelf, Third Item
|Middle Shelf, First Item
||Possibly a book
|Middle Shelf, Second Item
||Rock or tooth
|Middle Shelf, Third Item
||Compact disc in case
|Middle Shelf, Fourth Item
|Middle Shelf, Fifth Item
||Possibly a card
|Middle Shelf, Sixth Item
||Possibly a pin-back button
|Bottom Shelf, First Item
||Humanoid Figurine or Action Figure
|Bottom Shelf, Second Item
|Bottom Shelf, Third Item
|Bottom Shelf, Fourth Item
||Salt/Pepper shaker or Chess Piece
|Bottom Shelf, Fifth Item
- [The comic depicts Cueball reading from a list to White Hat, standing next to a case filled with collectables including an urn, a model ship, a compact disc, a vinyl record, a doll or figurine, a martini glass, and a teapot.]
- Today we're looking for a lunchbox, a snow globe, a Maytag dryer, a Harley Davidson, and a stamp.
- [Caption below the frame:]
- My hobby: Collecting one item from every category listed on Wikipedia's "List of collectables."
As of 13 March 2019 at 6:44 PM ET, there was a debate on the Wikipedia talk tab about locking this page.
This has now been upheld, and the page was temporarily locked.
As of 25 May 2019 at 10:25 PM ET, the page was unlocked and yachts were back on the list.
A previous comic, 739: Malamanteau, also caused a similar situation on Wikipedia, with many xkcd fans attempting to create the fictional page. The page has been turned into a redirect to the Wikipedia page for xkcd.
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RIP List of collectables and grammar. It’s collectable. Not collectible, collectable. Netherin5 (talk) 16:07, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- You may disagree, but collectable is also correct. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/collectable 22.214.171.124 16:21, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- I think we’re agreeing here? I also use collectable, and said so in my comment. At least it should be used in this case, because it’s what Wikipedia uses on said page. Netherin5 (talk) 16:26, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- My understanding was that the words had different meanings. Something is collectible if it would have a place in a collection; a Harley is collectible because it would have a place in Cueball's collection of items. Something is collectable if it can be collected; a court judgement may be collectable if the person ordered to pay has enough money to make the payment. D5xtgr (talk) 17:33, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- Suspiciously enough, that’s the exact example I got when I googled it, but thank you for the collection. I only say this because of the article in question discussed. Netherin5 (talk) 17:41, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- Yes, I was having a hard time wording my original example - it's rather easier to show why a debt or court judgement wouldn't be collectable than to explain why one would be. D5xtgr (talk) 18:54, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- Googling "collectible define" or "collectable define", we get that both seem to be correct. https://writingexplained.org/collectible-vs-collectable-difference says collectable is typically the British spelling of the word.
First time posting here, so my format might be terrible. But looking at the list of collectables; Maytag is listed, and the reference is for antique scales, so definitely not dryers. 126.96.36.199 16:13, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
- Antique washer models to scale? Fixed it. On a serious note, it’s just one source, there are probably people who would collect washers, or, the more likely option, they just saw Maytag and thought “washers” EDIT: As a formatting nerd, it’s good. Netherin5 (talk) 16:20, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia intern: "Mr. Sanger? Randall made a comic about us again." Larry Sanger: "Godammit, what page do we have to lock this time?" GreatWyrmGold (talk) 04:21, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
- *Jimbo (Sanger left around 2003) 188.8.131.52 16:48, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
I already suggested this before that I think we can have a new collected page of xkcd Wikipedia edit wars. I doubt the trivia in 2099 is the full list, or is it? Are there not that many cases as I think to be worth it? 184.108.40.206 04:48, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
- Well, Wikipedia has the list now, so I'm satisfied. 220.127.116.11 05:59, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
As of right now, Randall has got his wish: the page is protected. Unfortunately, it's protected with "yachts" on it and, of course, it can't be reverted because of the protection. Jeremyp (talk) 10:45, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
- On the plus side, old yachts that are no longer seaworthy but still collectable are quite common on craigslist for under $10,000. Even cheaper yet, just ask any marina owner for abandoned sunken yachts you can have just for getting them out of the waterway.Seebert (talk) 13:06, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
- It's gone now. The edit history is quite entertaining though. "Added boating category" Linker (talk) 17:15, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
- Looks like one of the editors got a bit overzealous and deleted Element Collecting because they thought it was an xkcd reference. CJB42 (talk) 05:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
- That sucks. That is such a real hobby though. There is this guy who made a wooden periodic actual table and put elements on it in each of their places. He takes beautiful photos of them.
Interesting choice of username, xkcd2123. -- 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
It is disappointing that xkcd readers think it's funny to vandalize the wikipedia article because of this comic. I highly doubt that Randall himself did so, and I don't think he intended for anyone else to actually vandalize it either. Furthermore, giving these viewers any satisfaction by actually including this info in the comic discussion seems somehow inappropriate. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 13:11, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
- While I agree that Randall probably didn't vandalize it himself I don't think he is naive enough to think no one would after he posted the comic. Also, personally I don't see a big problem with a little harmless editing of a single Wikipedia article. If this was ongoing or involved more consequential edits I'd agree with you.22.214.171.124 07:44, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
I think that the second item on the top shelf may be a bottle of perfume.I prefer qwerty (talk) 20:49, 17 March 2019 (UTC)