970: The Important Field
|The Important Field|
Title text: I hear in some places, you need to fill one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting to see who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.
It is common for online interfaces to force users to type certain details twice, as a form of redundancy checking to ensure that the user really has entered the correct details and hasn't made an error. Some forms even go the extra step of preventing the user from copy-pasting into the second field, which would render it useless as a redundancy check.
This is usually done for email addresses and passwords, which are used to identify and authenticate users, and are therefore important to get right.
In this comic, Green Hat is using an online web interface to launch a missile at a target. The joke is that even though the interface only asks him to enter the target coordinates once, it asks for his email address twice, even though the coordinates are by far the more important detail to get right (launching the missile at the wrong target could result in a disastrous loss of life or property damage).
In the title text, Randall suggests that the presence of redundancy checks can give you an interesting insight into what things people deem to be important. He gives a (supposed) real-life example of a merchant that requires only one form of ID in order to buy a gun, but two forms if you want to pay for it by check - suggesting that the seller is more worried about the safety of their money than the potential danger of giving a lethal weapon to someone untrustworthy.
This is the only comic so far to feature Green Hat. It appears that the green hat means that he is part of the military. The color code of his hat is #123E0E.
- [Green Hat sitting at a computer.]
- Computer: Welcome to the missile launch web interface!
- Computer: Enter the target's coordinates.
- Type Type
- Computer: Enter your email address for our records.
- Type Type
- Computer: Enter your email again, to ensure you typed it correctly.
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