871: Charity

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Charity
I usually respond to someone else doing something good by figuring out a reason that they're not really as good as they seem. But I've been realizing lately that there's an easier way to handle these situations, and it involves zero internet arguments.
Title text: I usually respond to someone else doing something good by figuring out a reason that they're not really as good as they seem. But I've been realizing lately that there's an easier way to handle these situations, and it involves zero internet arguments.

Explanation[edit]

Organizations such as Steam often offer sales where certain games are available for low prices--in order to compel or persuade buyers to make donations to worthwhile charities. Cueball is participating in one of these purchases (to fight malaria), but Megan's snide denigration of Cueball's act of charity as inadequate and self-serving has dissuaded him from any act of charity at all. Many people donating to charity are in fact buying a feeling that they are good people doing good things. If you take this feeling away, many people stop donating, which is shown on the third panel.

This also shows the stupidity of the situation: donating some of your money to charity can result in insults and arguments, while donating nothing at all does not.

However, whatever somebody's internal motivation was, charity is a good thing. Therefore the proper response is to neither care what people say about you nor attack other people's charitable giving. The action that Randall recommends here is the right one, which is to donate anyway without caring about what others say or do. Clicking on the original image leads to the website of Nothing But Nets, an organization that distributes mosquito bed nets in Africa for the eradication of malaria.

A subtext here is that the friendship between Cueball and Megan has been strained or even broken. Cueball has picked a new friend to talk to, who reacts positively to his decision.

In the title text, Randall expresses an opinion critical of "respond[ing] to someone else doing something good by figuring out a reason that they're not really as good as they seem", in part because supporting charity shouldn't cause "internet arguments."

Transcript[edit]

Cueball: I'm going to buy this $10 game I want, and I'm donating $10 for malaria eradication.
Megan: If you actually cared, you'd skip the game and donate all $20.
Megan: What's more important? Games, or mosquito nets and medicine for kids?
(Caption above the comic)
Later:
Cueball: I think I'm going to buy these two $10 games I want.
Friend: Cool; which ones?

Trivia[edit]

Following the publication of this comic, comments responding to anti-malaria charities, celebrities who raise money for charity, and charity directors in general, by figuring out reasons that they're not really as good as they seem, were posted on the discussion page for this comic. However, this did not lead to internet arguments.


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Discussion

Not sure whether this should be added to the "official" explanation but I interpret the titletext to hint at a better way to bring good into the world than pointing out where others aren't really good, is to one-up them, so to speak, by donating oneself without organizing a reward for oneself. 162.158.90.180 19:48, 11 April 2021 (UTC)

What's with the '0 internet arguments' in the title text? I don't get that part. Runxctry (talk) 15:04, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

I did add a small explain on this but I think it's still incomplete.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:16, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
Look at the posts below about charity directors, overfishing, and celebrities raising money for charity. He's saying that letting others know that you think a charity is good is going to lead to an argument online about whether you are really doing good or not. And he's clearly been proven right by this discussion page.172.68.47.48 00:58, 26 November 2017 (UTC)

Isn't he only holding one game? 108.162.237.218 17:07, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

I think that is actually a phone, so he could be either browsing a site like gamestop to buy PC/console games, or thinking about buying apps. Athang (talk) 14:44, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

How much do the directors of the charity get paid?

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 00:17, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Randall is sexist :P Vctr (talk) 21:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC) Vctr

sorry, but they destroy all fish's life: see NY times etc.: mosquito-nets-for-malaria-spawn-new-epidemic-overfishing -- 162.158.92.17 12:07, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

This point maybe valid, but it's also an example of what Randall says he used to do: Respond to someone else doing something good by figuring out a reason that they're not really as good as they seem, and thereby starting an internet argument.172.68.47.48 00:58, 26 November 2017 (UTC)
Actually, this may not be the best example of that. If the good that somebody is doing actually turns out to be, on net, worse than not doing it, then a response might be warranted, because that would mean it's better if what was thought to be the act of charity is actually doing more harm than good. Of course, it's really hard to determine the net benefits of mosquito nets. If people don't use the nets for mosquitos, and use them for overfishing instead, then there's no benefit to the nets, but there is harm. However, not all people use the nets for fishing, so you'd have to look at how many people are benefiting from using the nets properly, and then look at how many fish are being harmed. If you think the harm from the fishing is more impactful than the benefit to the people who are using nets properly, convincing somebody not to do it would be worthwhile. Jeffkmeng (talk) 17:49, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

My favorite whine is about celebrities endorsing 'causes'. They are essentially saying something like 'I have millions of dollars, and this cause is close to my heart. However, I won't give any of my money. Rather, I'll sing a beautiful song. And then you, wage-earner with modest disposable income, should donate money to the cause; while I get honors and recognition for all the money I raised." Mountain Hikes (talk) 03:46, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

This is also an example of someone responding to someone else doing something good by figuring out a reason that they're not really as good as they seem, and thereby starting an internet argument. Randall's point is definitely right.172.68.47.48 00:58, 26 November 2017 (UTC)