285: Wikipedian Protester
Title text: SEMI-PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION
Cueball holds up a sign reading "[CITATION NEEDED]" during a political speech. The sign text is based on the Wikipedia template that can be placed next to statements that need citations, usually because of questionable validity. Cueball is using this template to challenge the politician's speech.
The title text below the comic, “SEMI-PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION”, represents an alternative sign the protester could be holding. It is a pun on an occasionally-heard phrase “protect the Constitution”, which urges politicians to pass and enforce laws in a way that preserves the rules and rights set down by the U.S. constitution. “SEMI-PROTECT” references semi-protection, a protection measure applied to some articles on Wikipedia, which basically protects some articles from being edited anonymously. Constitutional amendments cannot usually be proposed anonymously, meaning that in effect, all articles of the Constitution are semi-protected.
- [There is a politician speaking at a podium, which sports an American flag. There are four red stars on the side of the platform. The politician is raising or wagging his pointer finger.]
- [In front of the speaker, there is a crowd of people listening. In the middle of the crowd, Cueball is standing up and holding a sign reading "[CITATION NEEDED]" in blue underlined text, as in Wikipedia articles.]
- The xkcd store sells a sticker pack of "Citation Needed" stickers.
- This comic is available as a signed print in the xkcd store.
- Protestors in real life have made "Citation Needed" signs for the last few years as a joke..
- It is a running joke in the what if? series (and this Wiki ) to put "" after statements that are trivial or blatantly obvious. For example, "The Sun is really bright, and its light illuminates the Earth." Such statements are considered general knowledge and do not require citations.
- All  links on explain xkcd redirect back here.
- "Semi-protection," as mentioned in the title text, is one of the lowest forms of page protection on Wikipedia. It protects the page from being edited by unregistered users and users with very new accounts or very few edits. Semi-protection is also known as "the grey padlock", because pages that are semi-protected have a gray padlock (like the one below) to the right of the article name.
- Funnily enough, the US Constitution is now a semi-protected article on Wikipedia due to excessive vandalism.
- Randall re-licensed this comic under the CC-BY 2.5 license so that it could be used on Wikipedia. (By default, xkcd is licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.5, which is considered too restrictive for Wikimedia content.)
- This comic was posted on Independence Day in 2007.
- This comic featured as the Wikipedia picture of the day on November 23, 2018.
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- constitutional amendments are proposed by Congress, which isn't anonymous.