Everyone knows xkcd, an entertaining comic that a lot of us (you know who you are) can relate to. Given its popularity, reddit’s users try their best to repost and repost and repost every single comic just to get some of that sweet, sweet karma.
One of those reposts today was xkcd 979, a comic describing a feeling which most of the people who have looked to the internet for the solution of their problems, have come across. You are stuck on something, you search for it online and come across a forum thread describing exactly the problem you are experiencing. However, nobody ever answered it. Sometimes there is an even crueller variant where the OP just mentions “Never mind, I fixed it.”.
One redditor, RedDyeNumber4, mentions a name for these threads that I find particularly fitting. He uses the term Fermat Threads. This is a joke/reference to Fermat’s Last Theorem, a theorem conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637. He wrote in the margin of a book that he had come up with a proof, but that the margin he had available was too small to write it down. It took mathematicians another 358 years to actually come up with a proof for this theorem. Fermat was, indeed, the predecessor of the forum thread mentioned earlier.
As such, I hereby propose referring to this kind of thread as a Fermat Thread from now until we manage to somehow get rid of every last one of them.
- Fermat Thread
- noun, a term for every occurrence where someone in the past has written down the exact same problem as you are currently experiencing, without the problem ever having received a proper solution