295: DNE

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I've seen advertisers put their URLs on chalkboards, encircled with a DNE. They went unerased for months. If you see this, feel free to replace the URL with xkcd.com.
Title text: I've seen advertisers put their URLs on chalkboards, encircled with a DNE. They went unerased for months. If you see this, feel free to replace the URL with xkcd.com.


DNE stands for "do not erase," and is commonly used on school whiteboards to let the sanitation staff and other teachers know not to erase that particular area of the board. DNE circles often encompass important information such as test dates or the teacher's name.

It is easy to see how leaving things marked with DNE can become automatic for anyone often erasing boards, so that they don't notice what the message actually says, or reflect on whether the DNE-marking is reasonable for it. Cueball's dissatisfactory note is not very subtle, but Randall notes in the title text that advertisers have successfully used the same tactic for less conspicuous URLs to their sites. He also kindly asks you to replace those messages with xkcd.com to get some free advertising.

On the bottom half of the board is a crossed out 2x2 matrix and two functions for exponential decay.


[Cueball is in an empty classroom writing on the whiteboard. In the top right corner in large print is written "Fuck This Place!". It is circled, and underneath he is writing "DNE".]

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I read this comic while taking Calculus. I thought DNE stood for Does Not Exist (as in a limit). I've actually never seen it used as Do Not Erase. Of course, this does not make sense in this context. Thank you, Explainxkcd. 02:15, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

We have the same in Danish: MIS: Må Ikke Slettes = may not be errased, when translating directley. Mis by the way means pussy(cat) in Danish. Kynde (talk) 21:24, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Such circles were always labeled "SAVE" where I went to school. But I think "DNE" would've been understood too. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 05:43, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm from the east coast of the US and we had DNE. Anyone care to give input as to other locations' uses? 21:24, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm from California and we wrote SAVE. Benjaminikuta (talk) 01:49, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm from Ohio and teachers usually just wrote a note. "Please don't erase this!" 06:07, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm from SoCal and we did all kinds of things. Some students put really pretty lines, others drew monsters inside the line that had a quote "I will eat you if you erase this" which took up half the board. Also, many teachers would put the date it was written- which inevitably lead to some student assuming it was past its expiry date and erasing the whole thing. Anything prefaced with "Homework" was erased immediately upon the teacher's absence from the classroom. 15:23, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm from Poland and I've never seen anything like that. The cleaning staff always cleared all of the board, and the teachers never tried saving anything for prolonged time. If you, as a student, want to remember your homework or test dates, it's in your best interest to write them down in your notebook when teacher announces them. 13:57, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Disregarding the DNE/SAVE/KEEP issue, what's this about "sanitation staff"? In my part of the world (UK), we just have cleaners... 16:40, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

I think cleaners, maintenance (what we call them in Michigan), and sanitation staff all refer to the same thing: a group of people employed to clean the floors, empty the trash/rubbish bins, clean the chalkboards and whiteboards, clean the bathrooms/washrooms, etc. Just in that explanation, you can see I used two words that mean the same thing but one is used in the US and one in the UK. EpicWolverine (talk) 21:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

I used to wet the chalkboard before writing on it. When it dried, it was near impossible to erase, unless you knew to wet it again. - Fox 2018-10-09 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)