937: TornadoGuard

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The bug report was marked 'could not reproduce'.
Title text: The bug report was marked 'could not reproduce'.

Explanation[edit | edit source]

This is a comic with a take on an application store - the most common app stores are for iPhones and Android devices. App stores take all the reviews and average the ratings for the overall star rating.

In this comic, we see why this is sometimes a bad idea, especially with something as important as an app called TornadoGuard that should warn the user if a tornado is approaching. In this case, there are three 5 star reviews about the stability and user interface features of the app, left by users who actually never experienced its core functionality (simply because they never used it in a place where a tornado appeared since they got it); however, the only review related to whether the app really works is given the same weight as the others, and sadly for that user the TornadoGuard app failed in alerting the user to an upcoming tornado. Tornadoes are a recurring subject on xkcd. Also see future comic 1098: Star Ratings and 1754: Tornado Safety Tips.

The title text is a call back to 583: CNR. It is a note from the developer's bug report, which said they could not reproduce the error. Of course, they could only reproduce such a failure if there were a tornado coming towards their area. This is a fairly rare situation, especially in certain areas of the world. This lack of suitable testing conditions explains why the actual tornado-prediction portion of their code appears to be faulty.

Transcript[edit | edit source]

[The comic is a single panel which resembles a reviews page for a mobile phone application. Next to the app title is a pictogram of a tornado touching the ground]
----App store----
From DroidCoder2187
Plays a loud alert sound
when there is a tornado
warning for your area.
Based on 4 reviews
User Reviews:
[The first three reviews shows five black stars. The last reviews one black and four white stars.]
Reviewer 1 (Dark silhouette): ★★★★★ Good UI! Many alert choices.
Reviewer 2 (Helicopter without rotors): ★★★★★ Running great, no crashes
Reviewer 3 (White square with black triangles at the top left and bottom right corner): ★★★★★ I like how you can set multiple locations
Reviewer 4 (White car): ★☆☆☆☆ App did not warn me about tornado.
[Caption below the comic:]
The problem with averaging star ratings

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explain xkcd logo This article uses material from the explain xkcd article 937: TornadoGuard, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (view authors).