explain xkcd:Tagline

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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On MediaWiki-powered websites such as explain xkcd, the tagline is the text that appears immediately below the title of each page. The tagline text is specified in MediaWiki:Tagline, and its styling is controlled by the #siteSub ID in MediaWiki:Common.css. Currently, the tagline for explain xkcd is Black Hat making the following statement:

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.

Numerous people have taken offense to this tagline over the years, although consensus is that no offense is intended, and the tagline was voted to be retained.

Note: This article refers to the tagline for explain xkcd – not to be confused with the tagline for xkcd.


The tagline originated in the header of the previous explain xkcd blog, and to date has remained mostly consistent throughout the site's existence, undergoing only minor changes since its first implementation in the wiki.

July 2009
Original explain xkcd blog created with header image of Black Hat explaining to Cueball that "it's cause you're dumb."[1]
July 2012
explain xkcd wiki launched, with Black Hat stating the default MediaWiki tagline of "From {{SITENAME}}", as determined by the $wgSiteName configuration setting (which, at the time, was "Explain XKCD").[2]
From Explain XKCD
August 2012
Custom explain xkcd tagline added akin to the original blog header, with Black Hat stating "explain xkcd: It's cause you're dumb."[3]
explain xkcd: It's cause you're dumb."
January 2013
Apostrophe added before aphetism of "because".[4]
explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."
February 2013
Tagline icon broken.[5]
explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."
March 2013
Tagline icon file updated (though still broken).[6]
explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."
October 2013
"Explain" capitalized. (Icon still broken.)[7]
Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."
February 2014
Broken tagline icon removed from MediaWiki:Common.css.[8]
Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."
February 2016
Tagline icon fixed with pre-shrunk 16-pixel version, and attempt to prevent screen readers from speaking the tagline by setting speak:none in MediaWiki:Common.css.[9] (Note that speak:none is no longer supported; the correct syntax is now speak:never.) Around this time a vote was held to determine whether the tagline should be retained.
Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb."


Numerous discussions have occurred regarding the content of explain xkcd's tagline.


Shortly after the wiki's creation in July 2012, it was suggested to add a tagline to the site, reminiscent of the previous blog.

August 2012


Over the years, a number of people have expressed opposition to Black Hat's offensive tone in the "it's 'cause you're dumb" tagline. The concern has also been raised that the visually-impaired using screen readers, who depend upon the transcripts, may take particular offense from it. Counterarguments include that the tagline is meant sarcastically in the spirit of xkcd itself, and that no offense is intended despite any perception of such.

June 2013
October 2013
June 2014
February 2016
This is the primary discussion in which it was voted upon whether to keep/change/remove the tagline:
February 2017
December 2017
February 2018
April 2018
July 2019


In February 2016, a poll was held to determine whether to change/remove the tagline, and a banner was added to the site notice directing visitors to vote on the issue.

February 8, 2016[10]
February 15, 2016
February 16, 2016[11]

On February 16, a majority was declared to keep the existing tagline. The poll banner was removed from the site notice on February 18.

See also[edit]


  1. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: August 17, 2009
  2. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: August 3, 2012
  3. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: August 17, 2012
  4. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: January 11, 2013
  5. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: February 9, 2013
  6. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: March 29, 2013
  7. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: December 4, 2013
  8. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: March 26, 2014
  9. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: February 16, 2016
  10. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: February 8, 2016
  11. explainxkcd.com, Internet Archive: February 16, 2016