202: YouTube

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 21:00, 15 November 2023 by Whoop whoop pull up (talk | contribs) (Explanation)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
I pray GunPistolMan never learns the word 'sheeple'.
Title text: I pray GunPistolMan never learns the word 'sheeple'.


This comic is pointing out the fact that many of the comments on YouTube videos are insipid and poorly informed, being pointless arguments over some minor topic or factually incorrect position (conspiracy). At the time of this comic, YouTube was fairly new, and the comic's observation about the inanity of YouTube comments was novel. Since then, this observation has become a widely accepted truism about the Internet. In this case, the Moon landing hoaxers are at the receiving end of Randall's pen.

  • The comment by Rocckir just states that the video is obviously fake, with no evidence or explanation.
  • The comment from GunPistolMan claims that the video is fake due to the mistaken belief that the Moon would have no gravity, whereas in reality, every object in the universe that has mass has gravity, including the Moon, comets, asteroids, moons of other planets, even yourself, and so on. The gravity of the Moon is approximately 1/6 the gravity of Earth.
  • The comment by CrackMonkey74 names Louis Armstrong, a famous jazz musician, who may have waxed lyrical about the moon, but never went there. The ill-informed commenter actually means Neil Armstrong, who was the first person to walk on the Moon. The dare to accuse Armstrong to his face may be a reference to an incident where moon-hoax conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel confronted Buzz Aldrin and called him "a coward, and a liar, and a thief." Aldrin responded by punching Sibrel; Sibrel's attempt to bring charges was dismissed on the grounds that he had provoked Aldrin to the point where the punch was a justified response.
  • The user SimplePlan2009 is likely mocking the other commenters. While the conspiracy theorists frequently claim the Apollo footage was shot on a "soundstage", the poster takes the ludicrous position that the Moon shot was faked by actors filming the scene on Mars, a planet that at its closest approach to Earth is over a hundred times farther away than the Moon. Landing humans on Mars (much less landing enough people and equipment to set up a soundstage) is a feat that has still not been accomplished, and if it had been possible during the Apollo era, the landing on the Moon would have been a trivial task in comparison. In other words, why go through all the trouble of faking it, if doing it for real would have been no trouble at all?

The reputation of YouTube comment threads as cesspools of abject stupidity and blatant trolling is revisited in 301: Limerick and 481: Listen to Yourself.

The username CrackMonkey74 appears again in 406: Venting and 574: Swine Flu.

The title text is the first reference to Sheeple, which appeared a few more times in xkcd comics.


[Caption above the panel:]
The Internet has always had loud dumb people, but I've never seen anything quite as bad as the people who comment on YouTube videos.
[Below shows a still of a 44-second video of Moon landing. An astronaut is seen at the center of the still with an Apollo lunar lander at the background.]
[Below the video shows a list of comments, top to bottom:]
Comments & Responses
[The name of the commenters and the time when the comment was posted is shown above each comment in a gray background.]
rocckir (48 minutes ago)
this is so obviously faked its unbilevable, why r people so gullible??? morons
(reply) (mark as spam)
bigmike133 (35 minutes ago)
ive seen the space shuttle ass hole it definetly landed on the moon do some research...
(reply) (mark as spam)
GunPistolMan (22 minutes ago)
if it was real why is their gravity? americans r fucken sheep
(reply) (mark as spam)
crackmonkey74 (17 minutes ago)
u dont think we went to the moon why not tell louis armstrong to his face
(reply) (mark as spam)
simpleplan2009 (5 minutes ago)
it was a soundstage on mars
(reply) (mark as spam)


In July 2009, a restored video showing Neil Armstrong's first moonwalk was uploaded to YouTube. User Michael Huang copied to that video's comments section all the sentences in this comic. Then, after some other users took some of his comments seriously, he later added another comment stating, "This entire comment chain is from the famous webcomic, xkcd." The comments are copied verbatim, including typos and grammar errors. The only mistake is in the first comment: Michael Huang included only one question mark when the comic has three of them.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


In the transcript, it says simpleplan2009's comment was posted 3 minutes ago. However, in the image, it clearly says 5 minutes. Caagr98 (talk) 19:01, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

I agree. In theory a 3 and a 5 could be hand-written to be hard to differentiate, but here it is clear. Changed. (And added the first line.) Mark Hurd (talk) 10:56, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Changed it back, as the actual transcript on the comic page (as seen in the webpage source, and upon which the comic searches are based) says "3". I've added the reasoning in the explanation. NixillUmbreon (talk) 15:31, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
The image is the first source for the transcript here. Randall's transcript simply doesn't match the image.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:11, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

On Gunpistolman's comment, is the heavy boots story worth a mention? B jonas (talk) 16:31, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Not needing a mention in the explanation, but thank you for the link. Richard Feynman would be glowing in his grave at the state of science education in this country. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Frankly, oh God that is TERRIBLE. The PHYSICS STUDENTS thought that light items float on the Moon but heavy things don't? That... That's worse than the Flat Earth Society! That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 23:17, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

The British sketch comedy TV show That Mitchell and Webb Look has an excellent Moon Landing Sketch with similar humor to this joke. Beolach (talk) 22:18, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

I think that it's possible the video is the Astronaut music video by Simple Plan. Led to believe it by the username simpleplan2009 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

American sheep are very offended by this. if sheep could read. --Dalonacueball (talk) 17:27, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm with GradeAUnderA on this one... FOR YOUTUBE! http://www.prdaily.com/Uploads/Public/exclamation-mark-yelling.jpg FOR YOUTUBE FOR YOUTUBE FOR YOUTUBE. I'm way too much of a 'tuber

All of the comments in the comic are actual YouTube comments, taken from the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vml7pZJujF0 (although the usernames were changed, presumably to protect the stupid). Should that be mentioned in the description? HiddenWindshield (talk) 20:44, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Might the last comment be in reference to the SMBC comic http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=120 (which came out a few years before this xkcd)? 20:44, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

The comic did not copy the YouTube video comments, rather the other way round. I updated the explanation to add this.Jojonete (talk) 23:29, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Do we really need a citation for "humans haven't landed on Mars"? Seriously? -- 17:45, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Citation needed is a recurring joke. 18:03, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Since the very first time I read this panel, I have wished that the alt-text gave a reply to the 'Americans are Sheep' comment: "I did not have sexual relations with that sheep! -BillClintonPOTUS" 03:56, 16 November 2016 (UTC) 03:53, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

I have observed that the Lunar Module in this comic looks like a butt. This is very important information. 09:41, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

As a frequent YouTube user, I can clarify that the comments have gotten better over the years. (Not sure about 4chan though.) ([[User talk: |talk]]) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

No. Just, no. PoolloverNathan[talk]UTSc 17:56, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

Would it make sense to list the specific grammar errors made in each comment? I think this is an important part of the joke 07:05, 2 September 2021 (UTC)