Talk:2791: Bookshelf Sorting

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Oh wow, literally 14 captchas to save my edit? Sorry if someone else was working on it too, apparently someone added transcript while I was doing captchas, and when it finally went through it might have overwritten something. 22:05, 19 June 2023 (UTC)

I fixed a lot of the typos, but should we use color or colour? Trogdor147 (talk) 22:11, 19 June 2023 (UTC)

Because Randall is 'Merkin, full Webster-inspired leftpondian spelling tends to be the norm. (Including people editing correct-for-the-author Discussion contributions... which they really shouldn't!) But I'm happy to see "colour", "centre", "aluminium", etc for as long as nobody has yet decided to normalise(/normalize) everything. ;) 23:06, 19 June 2023 (UTC)
Have no idea what the previous means but Randall is American so this page uses American English spelling. So color, center and aluminum etc (and Normalize) --Kynde (talk) 06:03, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
I just said what you said, but additionally putting in my oar in about non-standard (to me!) English spelling occasionally forced on us by them damnyankees. :P 09:29, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
The usual slur for the country is 'Murica, so by "Merkin" I assume you would write 'Murican. :) (I'm amused my spell check is fine with 'Murica, as highlighted by it NOT liking 'Murican). Which I say as a Canadian, THE foreign country with the most exposure to them, LOL! I glory in using Canadian/British spelling (for which we only disagree on "aluminum" in that list), and just assume someone might eventually "correct" me. :) But, yes, typically accepted and understood is to go with the American forms NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:23, 24 June 2023 (UTC)
I used "'Merkin" mostly because of a hangover from an old tradition on a BBS I used to frequent where the word 'merkin' was commonly used to refer to our resident 'Merkins (in a good-natured, and fully reciprocated way). I imagine it was independently developed (with or without more intent to be derogatory) elsewhere, as being so obvious, but I know where I got it from - and the nostalgia of that era sometimes leaches through even several decades on. I always try to make it obvious that I'm not being vicious in my use (at the very least, bring it up in ridiculous circumstances), and would never use it in a heated exchange, much as I may (and have) used "damnyankee" with obvious disregard of the Mason-Dixon line, "rebellious colonials" even though we're talking of so few actual full-blooded descendents of those people (in amongst many other more recent immigrants/much more native lineages) or other epithets. (If I'm ever actually angry, I'm far more likely cool and precise, but even something like "USAian" isn't often going to be a flung insult. Just distinguishing those who (mostly) sit between Canada and Mexico, non-inclusively.) Of course, if I have to explain all this then I'm probably open to having had some misinterpretation already happen. But what was said and done still was said and done, and here's just my account of why for you to take on-board however you still so wish! 14:18, 24 June 2023 (UTC)
Ahh, I KNEW I knew the word "merkin" from somewhere. NO idea how I've heard it, but yeah, as a lady's er, hairpiece. (Maybe even in this context, as being amusingly similar to "Murican"). Since it seems like an unreal and unused concept, it seems weird to have a word for it, LOL! (Maybe more in hairier times like the 60s, where maybe follicly-challenged ladies may have felt embarrassed, I guess?) It's hard for me to imagine women wanting hair so badly to use a merkin and not just wait for natural growth. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:52, 25 June 2023 (UTC)
I understand it's far older than that, originally. Centuries-old measure to disguise the ravsges of STDs/'cover back up' after aggressive anti-lice practice. (As per head hair, and wigs, but a different set of lice.) 15:29, 25 June 2023 (UTC)

Does the mirroring of the order of the covers mean that there is a secondary sort order? The longest book is first. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Good eye that the small books are nested inside the large. Should go in the explanation imo. 00:47, 21 June 2023 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure, that the total length (in pages/sheets) is the secondary order. In fact, I find the first half of the paragraph with all the discussion of other possible choices that obviously don't match the drawing a great distraction before the actual ordering is disclosed. I would just delete that stuff, or move it to a following paragraph with a "Other orderings that _could_ have been used..." lead in. MAP (talk) 18:58, 21 June 2023 (UTC)

It looks like all of the front covers are at the left and the back covers are sorted by the number of pages in the book.

It looks like each group of pages is sorted randomly. Note that each book has a unique height. You can see the height distributions change as books end at their back covers and are no longer included in clumps. The books seem short? A careful eye may be able to identify the location of every page. 01:53, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
To me it looks like the longest books are really really long and that it doesn't match the size of the front. --Kynde (talk) 06:03, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
The last "pages and rear cover" is obviously the real thickness of the end bit of the last book (where it is the only representative). The penultimate pages section is therefore 2x the thickness of the pages from either book which has such pages (give or take paper-quality/weight), and so on until the first paper-bundle is eleven times the thickness of the books that all have pages one-to-whatever.
Which means it should be 'easy' (...FCVO) to reconstruct the uncollated and re-bound individual book widths from pixel measurements alone (and use the visibly cyclic nature of the initial 11-collated page 1s, 2s, etc to estimate the 'page density' to even get a good approximation of page-counts). But I must admit that there seems a lot more paper there than eleven books would normally have. Unless peculiarly short-and-fat.
In fact, I'm glancing at a bookshelf unit opposite where I'm sitting. It looks narrower than the drawing (just measured: 750mm, or 2'5½" internal to its sides; I reckon the comic bookshelf is the traditional 3ft/yard length, though obviously less the end bits where unobtrusive bookends could be for an 'open' version like that) and yet it has thirty books crammed in on one of its levels, and some of those being 'mighty tomes' (830 pages, 469, 454, 944, 778... just by 'last numbered'). Thinnest book in the sequence is 122 pages. The whole lot is a mixture of hardbacks, paperbacks and those intermediate 'card-bound' types that I forget the name of. If they were all hardback, I'd have to lose at least one (maybe two) of the thinner ones, but can't account for anything above a dozen of the difference, that way. Similar for the other levels of shelving, and I've got more (and thicker, at first glance) books on other shelves in this room and elsewhere.
So artistic licence, probably, but I get the impression that the mix of relative proportions are probably taken from RL, just exagerated for drawability.
And an unbound book, leaf torn assunder from fellow-folio leaf, probably gains a bit of 'air gap', now that it has no spine to help 'bookend the book', the standing-power of singular hardback covers alone can't be that stable to resist all that paper wanting to domino-lean outwards, like a reasonably long book or two can to retain thinner works within the central part of the shelving. It looks like an engineering problem, in miniature, working with tolerances and margins (NPI!) to not have everything decide to schluff sideways; and possible off the shelf entirely! 09:29, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
Did you skillfully defuse my nerd snipe regarding mapping the page locations? 00:47, 21 June 2023 (UTC)
I added my observations about the order of the books to the explanation. -boB (talk) 17:10, 21 June 2023 (UTC)

Why not sort by ISO 2108? -- Hamslabs (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

By ISBN? You mean order by the publishers' registration date? Lol. No, that's useless unless you're trying to make a point about publishing industry consolidation, which you could more effectively do by sorting on parent company identity. (But making that point would be a pretty good idea.[1]) 06:29, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

There are so many drawbacks from destroying books to sort the pages and zero advantages (except to horrify book people with the destruction of books), so all the crap about the good and bad is not relevant! I will delete it. --Kynde (talk) 06:06, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

Go for it, landed gentry! 06:09, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
I agree that adding supposed "advantages" to the sorting method is probably superfluous, but I instinctively added a summary of the disadvantages, since that is what we usually do on ExplainXKCD. It can often be illuminating to actually break down the reasons why something is bad - even if it seems obvious, I often discover nuances that I'd never even considered this way. Hawthorn (talk) 13:03, 20 June 2023 (UTC)
The content of the shelf happens when somebody digitizes a personal library by cutting the bindings off books and feeding large clumps of their pages through a document scanner. You’ve already digitized them, so the loose pages are a novelty rather than the primary source for the content. 00:44, 21 June 2023 (UTC)
Oh, there ARE no advantages, that's the joke of the comic, that doing this is too weird to be allowed, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:23, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

... books? 06:51, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

There's a compromise between sorting by colour and sorting by topic. -- 14:14, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

Are there any famous books where the first line is "Aaaaaaahhhh", thereby making it first in Randall's bookshelf? 18:15, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

I don't know. But I haven't written any part of Earthly Powers. "Sorry, but we can't advertise your book."-- 21:30, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

I would think the obvious way to sort books would be alphabetically by most important word. For genre fiction, that would be the 40000th word, since that is the one that makes it eligible for a Nebula Award for Best Novel. 05:13, 21 June 2023 (UTC)

I sort my library by the product from multiplying the Dewey and LoC numbers together. I like it, but its hard to make the code fit onto those little spine tags.

Number of covers[edit]

Can someone help me....count? The number of front covers don't match the number of back covers, correct?

I count 11 front and 11 back covers. The last two books are around the same color and may look like a thicker book, but are actually one extra-skinny shorter book next to one taller one. Click on the picture (twice) for a larger version where you can see it more clearly. -boB (talk) 17:09, 21 June 2023 (UTC)
That was the one, thanks. (although, I was secretly hoping that it was a secret in-joke) 17:58, 21 June 2023 (UTC)