2614: 2

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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It's like sigma summation notation, except instead of summing the argument over all values of i, you 2 the argument over all values of 2.
Title text: It's like sigma summation notation, except instead of summing the argument over all values of i, you 2 the argument over all values of 2.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by 2 squared - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This demonstrates the different ways in which the number 2 can be typeset in various scientific fields.

The dotted box represents any character (presumably a letter or bigram of letters). The number 2 preceding this character is a coefficient in regular math (algebra). The number 2 as a superscript means take the second power (i.e., square whatever precedes it) in physics or regular math, while in normal text, a superscript 2 is usually used to indicate a footnote. The number 2 as a subscript can be used, in chemistry, to show how many atoms of a particular element are present in a molecule (e.g., H2O). A subscript 2;2 shows the second element on the second row of a matrix. The number 2 in parenthesis would normally be the argument to a function (e.g., f(2)), but in group theory, the number 2 in parenthesis could indicate a cyclic subgroup or ideal generated by two or a special case of cycle notation for elements of symmetry groups used to mean an element that keeps 2 fixed[citation needed]. A symbol centered underneath another symbol is normally reserved for doing summations, where the big symbol is Σ, or some other operation applied to a sequence of numbers; it does not make sense to have a single number there, as indicated in the alt text. The prepended super and subscripts are often used in nuclear chemistry, with the superscript representing the mass number and the subscript representing the atomic number.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

[An apparently scientific expression:]

2 [superscript:] 2 [subscript:] 2 [normal text:] [an empty box] [superscript:] 2 [subscript:] 2;2 [normal text:] (2) [beneath the last 2:] 2

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Hello people. Anyone got an explanation for this? 22:59, 2 May 2022 (UTC)

dog walker in the coments section omg (shodul we replace this with a smaller version because i think whiel it is legitimite discussion and not vandaelism this time it shoudl not be so fuck god damn large) -- 07:35, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
friends romans countrymen lend me your ears previously this comment had a picture of doug walker attached to it and i was not aware it was vandalism and not a part of the comment which explains my preivous comment; thank you for reaidng -- 07:37, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
In the Java programming language, the this keyword refers to either instance fields in the object itself (as opposed to local or parameter variables), or alternatively can be used to call the parent's constructor. 8^) Mr. I (talk) 12:19, 4 May 2022 (UTC)
if by "parent" you mean "superclass" then that's actually `super` not `this` - `this(...)` is used to call another constructor *in the current class*. 09:25, 21 May 2022 (UTC)

To the person who has requested a citation that two is a number... here you go: https://youtu.be/dBVoIUASFS0?t=82. Can someone who knows how to add citations add it? :D -- 23:09, 2 May 2022 (UTC)

The [citation needed] thing is a running joke here thanks to 285: Wikipedian Protester. It's used for obvious statements of fact on this wiki as a joke (basically the opposite of its Wikipedia use). KirbyDude25 (talk) 00:43, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
I'm sorry to inform you that you probably became another victim of Poe's law (or "r/whooosh", as kids say these days). I was just playing the SMBC citation game. -- 02:08, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
And we try to limit the use to only very very funny situations or when there is actually need for a citation, so as to not ruin it by having it on every single explanation!!! ;-) --Kynde (talk) 06:08, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Hey all, the group theory thing reminds me a lot of cyclic groups or ideals generated by the value 2. Also equivalence classes (which come up in group theory) can be written with [brackets] but may be confused with <cyclic groups> or (ideals).

The 2;2 notation looks like the notation \mu; \nu that is used for covariant derivatives of tensors in physics. Also 2,2 looks like \mu, \nu that is used for partial derivatives of tensors. And as mentioned above, (2) could be a cyclic subgroup or ideal generated by two or a special case of cycle notation for elements of symmetry groups used to mean an element that keeps 2 fixed. 23:32, 2 May 2022 (UTC)

I second the point about tensors. Maybe you could expand the summation notation slightly. It's common to use index sets or rules underneath large symbols for all sorts of things, like sums, products, direct sums, direct products, unions, intersections, integrals, and much, much more. So here, the large 2 in parentheses represents one of these symbols. Rather than adding or multiplying the elements or whatever, you are twoing them, whatever that means. You are twoing over all values of 2, apparently. It's sort of reminiscent of jokes with punchlines like "for sufficiently large values of 2." There are of course, different 2s out there. Like, there is the von Neumann ordinal 2, the integer 2, the rational number 2, the real number 2, the complex number 2, the residue class of 2 mod 3, etc. All of these may be represented by 2. Perhaps we are indexing over some collection of canonical representations of 2? 00:02, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Explanation needs something about one of the 2s being cursed. Also, this should be added to the category for cursed stuff (I think it's cursed things, but did not look it up). 01:37, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Superscript or subscripts before a thing can indicate tetration and pentation. 03:35, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Did anyone else think there should have been a 2 after everything else (after the parentheses) with an arrow pointing to it labeled “sequels”? 06:09, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Damnit, I do now; yes.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 19:14, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

Damn there is (again?) some idiot that replaces the explanation with text :-/ Wish we could ban those persons! --Kynde (talk) 06:10, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

What the vandal do those edit summaries mean? 06:16, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
What do those "et tu" edit summaries mean? (The ones on all the edits replacing the text with "Friends, Romans, Countrymen...") 17:22, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

doug walker! the guy keeps chaging the image to doug fucking walker! awhat the fuck is up wiht that !!! -- 07:33, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

ok im'm pretty sure janny is soem transphobic slur (for reference the vandalism edit at 07:36's comment was "clean it up janny") did dog wlaker do a transphobic thing and now some altright pople who find it worth there time to change the Exain Xkcd page inage to Dog WAlker are nutting there balls dry???? -- 07:38, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
I assumed it was calling us, the people who clear up their mess, "janitors", i.e. menial cleaners/fixer-upperers. But I honestly don't know what dialect/culture uses that (sounds a bit Australian, but not exclusively, and it's a typical and not necessarily derogative kind of word-shortenning that anybody might use) and if they do mean to call us janitors then... I'm happy to be a janitor. It's a worthwhile occupation, and I consider that an important job that I'll willingly do in the face of such a moron.
Jannie is 4chan slang for moderator of some kind, as since 4chan is a an awful place, the people who clean it up are officially called janitors. 06:22, 5 May 2022 (UTC) 09:49, 3 May 2022 (UTC) This should probably be added to Category:Comics sharing name172.70.178.199 15:41, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

No there are not other comic called 2. The comic with number 2 is not the name of that comic. And the only other number only comics are year numbers like 2016.--Kynde (talk) 18:22, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

There should be a category: comics featuring cursed items (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Can you list at least 5. Then I will consider it. --Kynde (talk) 18:22, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
There's 5 here https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Cursed_Connectors and one here 2332 Kev (talk) 18:34, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Noting that the infamous Cursed Chair had not been labelled, yet Curse(d?) Words had, I added the former and took no additional liberties in adding all other cursed things that seemed to lie within that scope (some by in-comic or in-titletext reference, I know) that weren't already included through the Cursed Connectors membership. I web-commented each Catsgory-markuped entry (to varying degrees of directness) in case anybody needs a clue as to why it is added. Obviously I accept any community disagreement on some of the more marginal representative 'items' (words, air, and a <4th minus one> thing that is even more conceptual), but that's what a collaborative wiki is for, yes? ;) 21:17, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Who put a Ukrainian flag at the top of the page? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

i agree with whoever did that, but maybe a bit smaller or on the bottom so it doesn't interfere with normal usage of this? 18:10, 3 May 2022 (UTC)Bumpf
Is it better now? 18:19, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Another vandal. Of course it should not be there. I support Ukraine but this page has nothing to do with that situation! --Kynde (talk) 18:22, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
It’s one of very many cases of vandalism in recent days. As Kynde says, it should not be there. And of course we don’t take instructions from vandals. While False (talk) 18:31, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
On behalf of the militant centrist wing of the ExplainXKCD community, I welcome the support for Ukraine but I worry as to who decides that this website supports a particular perspective. Ukraine's right to self determination is obvious, but another contributor could suggest something more suspect. Kev (talk) 18:34, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Yeah. I guess the vandal thought he would be any less obvious if his spam was disguised as support for Ukraine. Notice that it appeared at the same time as a new onslaught elsewhere at the site, as well as on this comic. While False (talk) 18:37, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

The comment about combinatorics, in the section about the "cursed" stuff, uses superscript and subscript 2s. But that isn't quite correct; they should be stacked rather than one after the other. It *should* be possible to get the proper display using math mode, which is permitted in the main body of explanation though not in the transcript. I think it *ought* to be something like "<math>{2}\choose{2}</math>", but when I try it, I get an error: "Failed to parse (Missing <code>texvc</code> executable. Please see math/README to configure.)" -- clearly I don't know what I'm doing. Can someone who's more knowledgeable than I am fix that, please? BunsenH (talk) 18:27, 4 May 2022 (UTC)


Looks like there's some full scale vandalism happening - can anyone lock the site? Kev (talk) 18:48, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

( Nafedalbi (talk) 19:04, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Indeed, See the contributions of X. K. C. D.. While False (talk) 21:19, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

Uh, whoops. Don't mind that. Nafedalbi (talk) 19:05, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

WITW is happening now? 21:44, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
This: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/User:X._K._C._D./common.js While False (talk) 21:48, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
Crap. (no pun intended) They wrote a bot. Is there a way to stop that? 21:51, 3 May 2022 (UTC)
I don't think the bot can be stopped without an admin, but a counterbot that undos edits to any crapped pages could work. --4D4850 (talk) 01:32, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

uhh apparently linking to a category puts it at the bottom - how do I link to a category? GcGYSF(asterisk)P(vertical line)e (talk) 04:13, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

Wait you have to put a : before the name GcGYSF(asterisk)P(vertical line)e (talk) 04:16, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

Did the bad bot scare the good bot away? 05:22, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

Probably. Crap --Kynde (talk) 06:16, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

Binomial coefficient notation in HTML/CSS

I'm having some trouble getting (<table style="display: inline-table; line-height: 0.6em; vertical-align: middle;"><tr><td>2</td></tr><tr><td>2</td></tr></table>) ( 
) to work right. The digits are too small on mobile Chrome, and too large on desktop Chrome. Can someone with better CSS experience than I try to even them out please? My apologies in advance if a curse is at play. 07:05, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
The ideal solution would probably be to use "math" mode to display the symbols. There are several options: "\choose", "\binom" / "\dbinom" / "\tbinom". But I don't know how to enable that. I'm under the impression that when a "math" expression is used in this wiki, the expression is essentially compiled into an image, and I don't know how to make that happen. If I edit a page with an existing math-mode expression and make any change to the expression, the expression breaks with an error message, as I mention above. BunsenH (talk) 15:48, 12 May 2022 (UTC)
I guess we need an admin to fix mathml. I know they exist because someone finally updated the template for which explanation is still incomplete, which hadn't been updated for like a decade. 16:37, 12 May 2022 (UTC)