Talk:2263: Cicadas

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Okay, now that title text is an exceptional pun. Also, First. —Kazvorpal (talk) 22:51, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

1258: First and 269: TCMP to you too. ;-) --Kynde (talk) 13:01, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

I just realized that there is a pun in every punchline, which I find oddly pleasing in this specific context. 23:48, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

Randall said in an interview that he first makes the entire comic and only comes up with the title text shortly before publishing. So either he broke his own rule or the comic is not a buildup to the punch line in the title text. Fabian42 (talk) 08:24, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

Quite sure he got the title text first this time and found a way to make a comic that fitted it. But we will never know if he doesn't make a new interview. Would really like to see a link to that interview to add it to the explanation. --Kynde (talk) 13:01, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

I think the current explanation is sufficient and complete - I'd even go so far and remove the part about why there is a 17-year cycle since for the understanding of the comic it's totally irrelevant. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 10:48, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

No that is very relevant. It is the reason why 17 seconds was chosen and very likely why Randall thinks these cicadas are so interesting that he ended up doing a comic on them. But I agree with the completeness. --Kynde (talk) 13:01, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
If it was 12 years instead it would be 12 seconds in the comic. Being prime or not doesn't matter at all neither for the comic nor the explanation. It's trivia at best. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 14:04, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Twelve years wouldn't work for cicadas as it's not prime. 17 (or any other prime number of) seconds won't work either because a second is an arbitrary amount of time. 14:28, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
And still it's not relevant for the comic. Look, I get your point but for the sake of understanding the comic it simply doesn't matter if it was 12, 17, 23 or 53 years. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 09:05, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
However, the first question I asked myself when I read the first version of this explanation (without of an explanation of the 17 years), was: why is it 17 years? what weird kind of insect is that? I clicked the wiki link and found out. Therefore it is not necessary to put in here, but very interesting, and I assue finding out about the actual 17 years cicadas is the thing most people need an explanation with. Similar things are done for almost all comics. --Lupo (talk) 09:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, that this is done with many other explanations is quite frankly a problem I'm having with those explanations. If some specific knowledge is needed to understand the comic it's fine to include that in the explanation. But if it's not needed to understand then it is to be considered trivia at most. Your question "Why is it 17 years?" leads to the question "What is a prime number?" (I know this is a bad example since it's most likely common knowledge among those who visit this page or XKCD. But what if not?) which may lead to even more basic questions. My point is: Where do you stop? In my opinion a comic's explanation should provide the minimum information needed to explain the comic. Not less but also not more. If you want to know more about a specific "thing" in the comic's explanation just click the link. That's why we provide these links in the first place, isn't it? Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 10:32, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
I fought the same fight on some comics (e.g. 2207: Math Work, where the explanation became very tangential.) I personally prefer concise explanations as well, but it doesn't appear to be the current style of the explanations. Some seem to think: "More means better." - It's really tough to decide where explaining the comic ends and where "further reading" starts. In this comic the excursion on 17 year lifespans is (currently?) quite short, so I do not see it as problematic. Much "worse" is in my opinion the part guessing about the reason of experimenting with cicadas. --Lupo (talk) 11:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Elektrizikekswerk and Lupo. The motivation for the wiki is to explain the comic and possibly help people locate and understand hidden jokes or hints. Non of this requires the information about why the Cicades have a 17 year lifecycle. It is however very interesting and nice to know (I didn't know either) which is in my mind precisely what a trivia section is for. The guessing on why the experiment is performed in the first place is completely unnecessary. In order to understand and appreciate the humour in the comic a simple "because that's what scientists do" would suffice. Bischoff (talk) 11:34, 5 February 2020 (UTC)