Talk:1675: Message in a Bottle

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 12:39, 3 May 2016 by 141.101.98.84 (talk) (common trope: message in a bottle correspondence)
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The title text reminds me of the song Message in a Bottle by Police. ;-) Maybe enough that it should be part of the explanation? [[User:|Kynde]] (talk) 13:30, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Why not? Seems to fit the description. Jacoder23 (talk) 14:07, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Checked the lyrics, there isn't a line that resembles the text I'm afraid, Randall isn't making a reference here. Missed opportunity! 108.162.250.158 01:36, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Are you sure? Walked out this morning; Don't believe what I saw; A hundred billion bottles; Washed up on the shore

It may be worth mentioning that in certain mailing lists or mass emails people use "reply all" to unsubscribe or otherwise request being removed from the recipients list of future messages; meaning everyone else's inbox gets clogged with unsubscribe requests even though the message only needed to go to the originator. (The best part is the people who reply all to tell the other people to stop using reply all.) 108.162.237.242 14:14, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

We have had a run of this at work. There are really many possible recipients at work. It went exactly as you noted. The most funny was those complaining about those replying to all when complaining about the replying to all spam... and then doing so by replying to all! And the best was that after a week people getting home from holiday began it all again by replying to all on the original message that started it all ;-) Kynde (talk) 20:40, 2 May 2016 (UTC)


Isn't there another xkcd comic involving messages in a bottle? I feel like this comic might be related to that one but I cannot find the other one. 162.158.68.83 14:19, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

If we're talking about problems to do with reply to all and mailing list, this story is always a good read: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2004/04/08/me-too/ 141.101.98.54 14:22, 2 May 2016 (UTC)


Transcript: The curvy writing might also indicate that the paper was not kept perfectly dry inside the bottle. --198.41.242.240 15:39, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

The explanation of the main comic doesn't seem to provide much of an explanation. Here's how I read the comic:

This comic is about how hard it is to unsubscribe from some email lists. 'Unsubscribe' links often don't work (perhaps intentionally). In desperation, someone has tried to send their 'unsubscribe' request in a bottle, hoping in vain that it will have its intended effect. Instead, Cueball receives it. The title-text slightly shifts the premise: now Cueball is the intended recipient, an incompetent email list operator who replies in the wrong way, triggering the problem described in the current title-text explanation. 141.101.70.229 16:03, 2 May 2016 (UTC) Adam
I've added my own, somewhat nihilistic, interpretation of the original message. Despair and hopelessness are not topics that XCKD often delves in, but similar themes have appeared in some of the earlier comics. My interpretation may not be correct, but given earlier comics on the topic of heartbreak, and some news of serious health problems affecting the creator's life, I believe it is valid speculation. I did place it higher on the page than I would have liked, but I couldn't find a better place for it. I think it's worth keeping in, in some form, but if a few people feel otherwise, I won't engage in an edit war. Potato (talk) 02:48, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't think this flows naturally from the comic, I think you're stretching it a bit to be honest, but instead of deleting I've moved it after the next paragraph just so it flows better 108.162.250.158 06:25, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
correspondence by message in a bottle is, in my memory, a common trope. beloved of tom and jerry at least. i read it that this new message was personal to cueball. that the message was a response to a previous bottle and that the recipient of that wanted nothing more to do with cueball. but, then, i'm dumb. --141.101.98.84 12:39, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

So, quick story about me! I'm in charge of the email list and sending emails for the fencing club I'm in. I make sure to include a "click here to unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email, as well as instructions on how to unsubscribe without using the link (because I'm using a Google Groups to manage the list). I've even tested the link several times with my own email. However, in spite of this, every couple weeks somebody sends a "reply all" Unsubscribe request from somebody who joined the email list before I was in charge of it. It gets pretty annoying, actually, since everybody ends up getting more of these "reply all" unsubscribe requests than actual emails from the club. Plus, it's easier for them to remove themselves from the email list than it is for me to remove them. Most of the time, I just respond with an email from my own account (so there's no danger of accidentally replying to everyone) saying "Hey. If you look at the email, there's instructions on how to unsubscribe. If you can't figure out the instructions, here's my email ([email protected]___.__). Please tell me what's confusing about the instructions so I can improve them." I can relate to this comic, though. Pretty funny. End story time. Jeudi Violist (talk) 20:03, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Unsubscribe 108.162.219.79 20:40, 2 May 2016 (UTC)


Given the timing of this comic, this is surely a reference (at least a partial one) to this news story about a recently found message in a bottle. Or am I over-correlating? PabloVergos (talk) 08:27, 3 May 2016 (UTC)