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[REDACTED REDACTED](From Shortpacked! Click for [REMOVED].)

Understand, I'm no fan of the reward model. Not one bit.

It does not get deployed in my stead. I had deemed this a hard and fast rule for myself, after a frivolous moment of Cheeto ideation: this is a place unto which I shall not go. I am not a baker; I am not a dispenser. The creators don't give a toss about imaginary trinketry from the common woman. Besides, I'm a partner, not an impressionist.

But I've been reading [REDACTED], you see. I do that on occcasion. And I've been having some trouble with [OMITTED] and [UNREFERENCED] and [BEHOLD THE WOOLY PANDA]. Considerable trouble, particularly around the abortive climax wherein [THE PANDA IS PLUMP AND ROUND] and we discover that [THE SOUND OF A NEARBY CHAINSAW FRIGHTENS THE PANDA]. The fact that [CLASSIFIED] took care of [UNREFERENCED] at the last possible second is beside the point; it's not as though [OMITTED] would be permitted to lose her [PANDA WOOL]. [EXPURGATED]'s given us a downright toxic view of [EEK EEK, SAYS THE PANDA]; [OMITTED] is portrayed as having largely brought about her own [CHAINSAW-FRIGHTENED PANDA], or at least as believing that to be the case (she certainly seems to have a dim general view of [EEK EEK]).

Except for that I can't really talk about that right now. (Besides, I need to devote that energy to preparing materials for the week of 16 November. It wouldn't really do to get into the subject now.)

Rewards. Yes.

It's not that I don't understand the concept. Rewards appeal in large part because they're well-contained symbols. Icons. If, as a child, you ever got any sort of small, tangible positive reinforcement for your achievements, you know they work just as well without purpose labels on them. Yeah, your trophy says you got fourteenth place for your remarkable effort at crayon herding, and that's... great... but the thing that helped was probably the shiny gold star. Or the nifty pencil. Or the bookmark. So, going on throughout life, if someone pops out and says, "Hey, that rocks! Have an [ITEM]!", it's a happy encouragement.

This can backfire, though.

A great way to do this is overplaying and entrenching the reward so deeply that pretty much everyone ends up with one at some point. The system goes from little bits of encouragement to a condescending sort of implicit (or even explicit) ranking, and it's not so special anymore. Everyone gets the badges, but some kids get red ones or gold ones. Most of them get silver ones. Ordinary ones. Not such a big deal anymore. And there's going to be at least one kid inept enough to get the brown one.

(Oh. Wait. I'm sorry. Bronze.)

So you want to keep things special. You don't want to devalue the concept simply by dint of invoking it, let alone trying to decide whether you get to use the same item, or you have to change its colour, or you have to go find another item which is Just As Good, Really, Swear to God. Honest. (I can only imagine what teachers go through, playing with this. It must be a pain in the ass to strike the right balance. "Mamzelle Nadeau gave out better bookmarks, because hers didn't come from you.")

On the other hand, eventually, there's gonna come a day where you need the symbolism -- the words aren't gonna do it, for whatever reason. For example, not being able to get into it. Or not wanting to repeat oneself in three weeks.


For today's snappy reduction and revelation of an insidious, destructive, wrongheaded message? David Willis gets a biscuit.

I'm told they're "tasty."

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at October 26, 2005 8:34 PM


Comment from: quiller posted at October 26, 2005 8:43 PM

OK, did I miss something or did that article have nothing whatsoever to do with the comic being referenced? Maybe I missed something...

Comment from: Ardaniel posted at October 26, 2005 9:14 PM

It's not so much that the article's not about yesterday's Shortpacked!, quiller, as that yesterday's Shortpacked! is about something entirely other than the current plot arc.

Despite its clever disguise.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at October 26, 2005 9:16 PM

If you've been privileged to read Weds's LJ, you'll know what [REDACTED] is, and as Ardaniel says, the new Shortpacked does seem to be a sideways comment on that particular [ITEM].

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 26, 2005 9:18 PM

OMG brilliant! or maybe I just think it's brilliant because I feel brilliant because I'm pretty damn sure I know exactly what this was about! As stated, I am only familiar with [NOTHING] from y'all, but it had come up quite recently in a comment thread, and...

telling panda stories in redactions!

poignant ideological commentary!

Weds gave a biscuit!

Oh frabjous day!

(I'm very tempted to go read [OMITTED] now, just so I can come back and read this again.)

Comment from: megs posted at October 26, 2005 9:37 PM

I finally registered on this darn thing just to say:

/Stevie Wonder

(Ok, I also love Willis and pandas and synonyms, you got me.)

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at October 26, 2005 9:43 PM

I really can't wait for it to be November fast enough, especially given that I definitely know what [HOMPH] is and that I used to enjoy it before [HUAGAGHLUAGLGHLH] and [DONGS] happened.

Otherwise, this was definitely a good writeup and a nice reference to the whole [BONGHITS].

(Yes, I know I'm not following the prescribed model for the brackets. I'm in a very Jerkcity mood right now.)

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at October 26, 2005 9:57 PM

Okay, so [THE PANDA] went [EEK, EEK!] when it [EXPURGATED] the [CLASSIFIED] [CHAINSAW]? Well, I'm [REDACTED]!

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at October 26, 2005 10:01 PM

You may or may not note that I have no idea what is going on. That, in any case, is immaterial to this conversation.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 10:04 PM

Indeed. Tasty, tasty at that.


Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 26, 2005 10:07 PM

But I knew it. I said, just before it started, right here at Websnark:

In fact, in light of Monday's installment [10/17] I have some commentary and speculation that may inspire me to discover whether non-LJers can post in the Snarkoleptic community...

I knew that when [NIXONED] wouldn't [DEANED] that [POSTPONED TILL NOVEMBER].

Comment from: Bo Lindbergh posted at October 26, 2005 10:08 PM

The Hierophant is disguised and confused.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 10:15 PM

You know, I have the sinking feeling that the [NOTHING TO SEE HERE] brackets used in such a [NOT APPROVED BY THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE] is somehow all my [JUST A WEATHER BALLOON].

Comment from: Nate posted at October 26, 2005 10:26 PM

See, I hadn't even read [18.5 MINUTES REMOVED] until I saw this. But [SHORTPACKED] still made sense without knowing about[PANDAS WITH CHAINSAWS], because lots of [SWAMP GAS] makes the same arguments.

Could we refer to what [OOK OOK] is doing as Bringing the Fundie? One would hope there's more to the characters than just [CARDBOARD CUTOUT MORAL ARGUMENTS].

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at October 26, 2005 10:27 PM

Wednesday White said:

"Mamzelle Nadeau gave out better bookmarks, because hers didn't come from you."

It's scary that you just happened to pick my former french teacher's last name. Of course, it wasn't her maiden name so I suppose it doesn't count. But freaky!

And wow, I didn't understand that snark at all.

Comment from: Sempiternity posted at October 26, 2005 10:29 PM

Ack! The Plushie Dinosaur Lovers are stealing all my Seratonin, while the Cheshire Cat's Other Face mocks my Tarot Sword of Wit (+2)! I'm doomed to gimble and gyre in the wabe, until these Phantasmal Walls, they all fall down!

Comment from: Kail Panille posted at October 26, 2005 10:47 PM

I hurt myself laughing.

The panda is plump and round, indeed.

But is it as majestic as the mighty owlpanda?

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at October 26, 2005 10:59 PM

Paaaaa~n-daaaaa~~~~! ^_^

Comment from: thok posted at October 26, 2005 11:01 PM

You know, in one panel today's Dominic Deegan hinted at the same sorts of issues as [PANDA'S MOTHER IS VERY UNHAPPY AND BREAKS OUT HER CHAINSAW IN REVENGE], while simultaneously being much more interesting and having better character development. One panel!


Comment from: A.G. Hopkins posted at October 26, 2005 11:04 PM

Bringing the Fundie is good.
How about 'Funding the Story' though?

Comment from: Polychrome posted at October 27, 2005 12:31 AM

If Justice be done...

Comment from: John W. Wells posted at October 27, 2005 1:16 AM

I'm not [PANDA-MINDED], and I do think that the segments of [PANDA, PANDA, PANDA, PANDA] where [MUSHROOM, MUSHROOM] was being cared for by [DOCTOR WHO] and [PANDAVANGELIZED] were more grating than convincing. And the current segment does SEEM TO argue rather broadly and bluntly in favor of [OMITTED]'s one-sided viewpoint. (One-sided, but understandable, in the light of past experience.)

But don't [AGENT ORANGE] and [SNAAAAAAKE] have an ongoing [DEATHMATCH], too? Are they avoiding [POST-MONGOLIAN HORDE PROFLIGACY]? If not, doesn't the fact that their [PANDA-DUO] hasn't been ruined by, say, [SNAAAAAAKE] tearing off his undershirt and going into a [QUIET, PLEASANT INTERLUDE] and severely [BADGERING] [AGENT ORANGE] suggest that even in the [GIANT PANDA] world, [POST-MONGOLIAN HORDE PROFLIGACY] may be compatible with a successful [DEATHMATCH]?

In other words, I'd rather not assume I'm being [PANDAVANGELIZED] until the plotline's over, and [AGENT ORANGE] and [SNAAAAAAKE] have had a chance to have their say.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at October 27, 2005 1:28 AM

I'm a bit confused ... not about the [NOT REALLY A BEAR], but about the use of [EXEUNT STAGE RIGHT] continuing into the comments. That isn't part of the rules of [WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET], is it?

Are we doing this because it's [FRUMIOUS]? Or because we don't want to take away any of [JANE DOE]'s thunder when [SEPTOBER THE 34TH] finally arrives?

(For the record, I never [SAW], so I can't really claim to be [GOTTEN]. Well, not that meaning of [GOTTEN], anyway.)

Comment from: John W. Wells posted at October 27, 2005 4:13 AM

It is fun to confuse people.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 27, 2005 4:43 AM

This still doesn't explain the bag of emeralds.

But I understood the snark - Weds is basically saying that she's only handin' out cookies when she really thinks people deserve them.

And I'm thinking Weds is just going to take her oppotunity on whenever that date is to do a YHMAYLM.

Comment from: Brendan posted at October 27, 2005 8:26 AM

To be fair to [ELTON JOHN MUSIC], sure, [JANE DOE] got [POLICE SIRENS], but still, "inevitably"? What about [CHAINSAWS]?

Still...gotta love that Geoffrey T. Nicholson!

Comment from: Merus posted at October 27, 2005 9:42 AM

Okay, I found Weds' LJ. Personally, I wasn't expecting [REDACTED] to be the Left Behind series.

Comment from: HydrogenGuy posted at October 27, 2005 2:27 PM

I'm sure that all of this will be utterly hilarious once I've had the surgery.

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at October 27, 2005 3:59 PM

Hm, now I'm gonna have to go revise the wikipedia entry that says Wednesday "has not to date dispensed biscuits."

Comment from: Inev posted at October 27, 2005 4:38 PM

A-a-a-and I've lost it.

Seriously. I have the vaguest, most rough-edged and incomprehensible inklings of what may very well be going on around here, and finally the strain of putting these razor-sharp jigsaw puzzles together has snapped my brain in two. And that's not to say the Pandas and Chainsaws helped. If anything, they contributed to the madness even more.

My final snap, however, came from the direction of the vaguest of hints: a mention of the Legendary and Eternally-Lost LiveJournal of Her Holiness Wednesday White, which, as multiple LiveJournal and Goole searches show, doesn't exist in the slightest. Not a sausage.

So now that I've gone off the deep end and am patently insane, unable to repeat my findings to anyone without at least a doctorate in Craziology, could someone PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL THE FIRST THIRD OF WED'S POST IS ABOUT?!?

Thank you for your time, and those lovely giraffes.


Comment from: UrsulaV posted at October 27, 2005 5:19 PM

I love the woolly panda!

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at October 27, 2005 6:09 PM


1) I question your Google-fu if you could not find Wednesday's LJ with it.

2) The reason things are being [REDACTED] is there is something that cannot be talked about on Websnark at the moment, at least not by the Head Honchos. You could probably infer that it's webcomics-related, and then try to figure out what it is on Websnark that puts a comic off-limits. It's on the front page sidebar and everything.

3) I would've had no idea myself what specifically was being discussed, except that I read Shortpacked! regularly, and had already read the SP! forum's discussion thread on the same comic referenced above.

Comment from: thok posted at October 27, 2005 6:09 PM

So now that I've gone off the deep end and am patently insane, unable to repeat my findings to anyone without at least a doctorate in Craziology, could someone PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL THE FIRST THIRD OF WED'S POST IS ABOUT?!?

Grateful as your criticism may be,
Pandas and chainsaws are an elegant distraction.
First things first, solve the riddle.

(The above hint is helpful, if you read it correctly, although some say you shouldn't read it at all).

Comment from: Brendan posted at October 27, 2005 7:41 PM

I'm going to sound like such a troll here, but it just has to be said.

Sometimes, with all the criticism of [REMOVED], I have to wonder whether you guys are enforcing your own [MUFFLED]. The example of [WITHDRAWN] and [CENSORED] seems to demonstrate fairly clearly that [UNSPECIFIED] isn't giving a universal condemnation of [ILLEGIBLE]. It's just this particular [AMBIGUOUS] that led to [OBSCURED]. To say that [WHISPERED] never leads to [HOARSE] is far-left propaganda, nothing more. Unhealthy [VOICE CRACKING] can be and have been formed many times. That she didn't lose [LARYNGITIS] is more just [AMBIENT NOISE POLLUTION] trying to cut her a [ASTHMA ATTACK] than any message. Not everything is an absolute. "Inevitably," to be blunt, is total [HICCOUGH].

That said, the doctor was just [MD HANDWRITING].

Comment from: Merus posted at October 27, 2005 7:47 PM

To that, I say [COULDN'T GIVE A TOSS].

And now you all get to work out whether than was a summary or an elaborate censor.

Comment from: Brendan posted at October 27, 2005 11:36 PM

It's immaterial now. DW specifically posted that it was inspired by more direct "wrongheaded messages," i.e., the overweight woman who gives long-winded speeches to bored twelve-year-olds whose ancestors happen to be from Italy, Ireland, or M»xico. NOT a [0x0005 EXCEPTION] story that could be interpreted that way, ignoring other details of the strip.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 27, 2005 11:45 PM

...okay, I'm totally lost.

Comment from: miyaa posted at October 28, 2005 1:53 AM

What no Panda(s) attacking Brent Sienna? (This snark is like Mad Libs on Acid. Dude.)

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 28, 2005 11:56 AM

...okay, I'm totally lost.

We had him, then we lost him.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 28, 2005 12:16 PM

I like miyaa's description. It's just so perfect for this snark.

And... I too am totally lost. But it's fun to watch the silly tag things go by!

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at October 28, 2005 4:17 PM

For a second, I thought you had a copy of a novelization of "Serenity", what with all the censoring and pandas. Then I read the comments, and it made more sense.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 29, 2005 11:25 AM

You know, ever since "Now that that's over, can we talk about [BABY PANDA] from [SNAPE IS MADE OF CHOCOLATE]?", I've actually been wondering what's going to happen next. Then in the lower left of today's it says "[SCORPION]". Maybe Eric's [Q.E.D.].

Comment from: Brendan posted at October 30, 2005 3:26 PM

You know, ironic that this is from the sequel to [DELETED].

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 1, 2005 11:00 PM

So, flipping back to see if I've missed any recent comments, I find myself re-reading this, and come out with two conclusions:

1) I still don't know what the [WOOHOO LOOKIT SECRET MESSAGES] were, and

2) I don't care. I'm afraid that if I figured out what they were, I would be disappointed. It's way more fun the way it is, what with the mystery and the game of it and all. Sort of like a puzzle "hmmmm. is this.. no, that doesn't fit, too many letters....."

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