This is the first comic on How to annoy people. Here Cueball annoys White Hat, a graph theory Ph.D., by calling him an edgelord.
The exact same setting, with different text, was later used in 2744: Fanservice, and 2654: Chemtrails also used the same setting except it is Ponytail that gets annoyed.
"Edgelord" is modern slang describing a brash, pretentious provocateur on social media, often provoking in a satirical way that if taken literally would be found disturbing or insensitive. The term derives from the word "edgy", which is used to describe things which are designed to be provocative. "Edgy" and "edgelord" are quite derogatory, carrying further implications of being style over substance, or having appeal only with rambunctious teenagers.
In mathematics, graph theory is the study of graphs, mathematical structures made up of nodes (points) which are connected by edges (or lines). This comic plays on the fact that graphs have edges. Calling someone with a graph theory Ph.D. an 'edgelord' (a master of edges) is somewhat analogous to calling an engineering student a 'forcelord', an astronomy Ph.D. a 'starlord', or a pharmacologist a 'druglord'.
In reply to being called an edgelord by Cueball, White Hat shouts "No" and clenches his fists in anger - which is ironic, as he seems to be on edge. Because "edgelord" is perceived as an insult by socially aware adults, Cueball is actually provoking White Hat, making Cueball an edgelord in this interaction. Similar situational humor is also found in 2008: Irony Definition.
The title text makes the same joke, except that the title would be hyperedgelord instead of edgelord. A hypergraph is a generalization of a graph in which each edge may have more than two endpoints. The term "hyper edge" could easily be considered stereotypically "edgy."
- [Cueball is talking to White Hat, who is balling his fists and has small lines above his head to indicate annoyance.]
- Cueball: So, I hear you're a real edgelord.
- White Hat: No!
- [Caption below the frame:]
- How to annoy a graph theory Ph.D.
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Presumably has something to do with https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=edgelord
184.108.40.206 04:37, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
What is up with the wolverine? Am I missing a joke here? Possibly a reference somewhere else? 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- That is a reference to Wolverine, the Marvel Comics character, who has retractable "claws" stowed in his forearms and come out the back of his hands. The claws of an actual wolverine, like others in the family Mustelidae, are permanently extended. Nutster (talk) 12:41, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- It seems to me like the Wolverine thing is almost a non sequitur. I think a better comparison would be "like calling an engineering student a 'forcelord'" or "calling an astronomy PhD a 'Starlord'", or a pharmacologist a 'Druglord'. -- Angel (talk) 13:02, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- Agree. Update made.18.104.22.168 13:19, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- Aww... You guys made a better comparison than me. I put in the wolverine thing just to make a point that it was silly yet technically (by the loosest definition) accurate. I'm sorry it confused you. V (talk) 22:25, 23 August 2018 (UTC) ~
- And someone studying military theory would be a Warlord? Or Lord of War? Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 06:53, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
- There is an academic title called Master of War https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/master-war-studies-8571 22.214.171.124 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
If you are actually an "edgelord", wouldn't you answer "no" anyway to provoke once again? Fabian42 (talk) 08:40, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
I feel like there should be some discussion of what an edge (or hyper-edge) is in graph theory. 126.96.36.199 10:20, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
Good that he doesn't call his plumber a shitlord. Might need one again. 188.8.131.52 11:54, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
So... is the joke just a half-working pun on "edge", or am I missing something? 184.108.40.206 14:28, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- Yes <220.127.116.11 15:29, 22 August 2018 (UTC)>
So… Does this mean that white hat has a PhD in Graph Theory? 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- It seems so. But please sign your comments. --Dgbrt (talk) 18:54, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- Well, the White Hat in this comic has one. Doesn't necessarily imply the same thing about White Hats in any other comics. 22.214.171.124 08:19, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
Nothing to do with the Doctor who is a Time Lord? --126.96.36.199 20:16, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
- That's where my mind went as well, but I have no way to make that connection. (P.S. I love Alton Brown's description of himself on Twitter as a "Thyme Lord". I almost wanted to add that as a "calling a chef" example above!) 188.8.131.52 14:41, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
Hehe "Starlord"--184.108.40.206 03:52, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
About a week before this comic, SlackWyrm posted this one: http://www.joshuawright.net/slack-wyrm-329.html Does that help? 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Nice comics and the edgelord theme runs until #335. Not sure if Randall knows this because he mentions many others at xkcd but not Joshua Wright. Nevertheless it's funny and maybe worth for a trivia section. Opinions? --Dgbrt (talk) 15:18, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
I trolled my friends with this comic, saying that they are a hyper-edgelord. I had a lot of giggles from that.Boeing-787lover 07:28, 6 October 2018 (UTC) -- Xkcdreader52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
In Russian, word "graph" is also used to mean count's title.
18.104.22.168 11:52, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
- So they borrowed the German word? Nitpicking (talk) 00:52, 31 July 2022 (UTC)
It looked as if someone "reverted" a future edit that mentioned "Time Lord". ConlangGuide (talk) 07:21, 3 March 2023 (UTC)