Who are Darmok and Jalad and what is Kalenda's? (asking for an explanation of XKCD 902) was closed as general reference.

I don't understand what the general reference is supposed to be. The top Google hit, which is mentioned in the comments, is Explain XKCD. The explanation there is incomplete: it explains the reference to the Star Trek episode Darmok, which explains Darmok and Jalad but not Kalenda; and it ends with a request for more information. Other references cited in comments or answers are the Wikipedia and Memory Alpha articles for that episode, which do explain why the episode is relevant but (especially in the case of Memory Alpha) buried inside a wall of text.

So at most we have one clear but unreviewed and incomplete explanation (Explain XKCD), and one peer-reviewed but unclear explanation (Wikipedia). And no one's given a full answer (who or what is Kalenda). How is this question general reference?

  • 2
    I'd like to note that that post is now #3 on the google results for "darmok jalad kalenda."
    – Kevin
    Jan 15, 2012 at 20:57
  • it has bean reopen.
    – DavRob60
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


There were two references put forward: explainkxcd.com and "Wikipedia is general reference and is the first result for a Google search for 'Darmok'," without a link.

First, we'll consider explainxkcd, only because it is the first google result. It gives the "at Tanagra" original line and that "it was a story of two warriors that work together to defeat a common foe." That's it, no explicit interpretation of the XKCD phrase, no mention of Kalenda. IMO, not sufficient even if this were a "general reference" site. Recall that only Wikipedia, IMDB, and ISFDB can be considered general reference now.

The Wikipedia page gives more detail regarding the story behind the Tenagra phrase, and much more on how it ties into the story, but, obviously, nothing on extending the idea to "Kalanda's." Again, I don't think this is sufficient for "general reference."

So I think there was no good reason to close this question as general reference, and have voted to re-open it accordingly.

As a sidenote, I thought Jeff and Joel's concern over the general-reference close wasn't a real concern here on scifi, but this and the other old post recently brought to light for the same reason have changed my mind about that.

  • I am generally more aggressive on general reference, but I agree with the above - the XKCD questions was most certainly NOT a general reference one. +1 for both the Q, the A, and will now head to main site to vote to re-open Jan 16, 2012 at 15:34
  • "only Wikipedia, IMDB and ISFDB" can be considered general reference now". That is not true. See the answers in meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/689 - there is no "list of general reference sites". We do have a FAQ posting (meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/403) that that lists these, but it is not saying that those are the set of "general reference sites".
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 17, 2012 at 21:54

Firstly, it was closed in May. The "General Reference" close reason was only added in April, and the site was only a few months old. At that time we were still figuring out what "general reference" was.

One of the close votes is mine. I also have a comment (replying to a comment that has since been deleted). I assume I voted to close because the "Darmok" part of the question is exceptionally simple to find an answer for. The comment to one of the answers about Kalenda's was added after I voted to close but before I added my comment; if I had seen that first I probably wouldn't have voted to close (and would have undone my close vote if that was possible, which it is not).

There are three parts to the question:

  1. Who are Darmok and Jalad?
  2. What is Kalenda's?
  3. Why is the joke funny?

I still think that the first part is "general reference". Searching for "Darmok" finds plenty of places that summarise the episode of the same name. The third part of the question is tricky, because it's pretty hard to know how much information is necessary to explain a joke - it seems to me that if you know what the episode is about, you can get the joke.

The second part, asking what Kalenda's is, is not general reference, and indeed not even answered, here or on Wikipedia, or on explainxkcd.

This still seems borderline to me: to me the focus of the question is on explaining the joke, and I don't think that you need to know what "Kalenda's" is to do that, so the question is answered just by doing a web search for "Darmok".

However, it seems reasonable to say that "Kalenda's" is an essential part of the question, so I voted to re-open.

  • 1
    'the focus of the question is on explaining the joke, and I don't think that you need to know what "Kalenda's" is to do that' - While in this instance knowledge about "Kalenda" turned out to not be critical to get the joke*, it could very well have been that one wouldn't get the full joke unless one knew something about Kalenda. (*) Since it appears that Kalenda is in fact a name from the ST EU [per referenced comment], it is still possible that there is a reference there no one here has posted.
    – Kevin
    Jan 16, 2012 at 4:09
  • @Kevin I'm skeptical about the SW reference really (has anyone asked @ XKCD about it?). It seems just as likely it could be a misspelling of Kelinda (or something else entirely). Until we know for sure, my personal opinion is that the joke is explained by knowing about Darmok.
    – Tony Meyer
    Jan 16, 2012 at 8:19

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