The Great Toilet Paper Debate

The Great Toilet Paper Debate

Updated Jul 30, 2020 at 09:06AM EDT by shevyrolet.

Added Oct 19, 2010 at 01:49PM EDT by F!tzy .

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This is right. (good) This is wrong (bad)


The Great Toilet Paper Debate is a popular discussion topic regarding the proper orientation of a toilet paper roll with respect to the bathroom wall, which can be either hung over (away from the wall) or under (close to the wall) the toilet roll holder. On forums and message boards, the debate has become notorious for its tendencies to ignite a flame war or attempts at trolling, despite the prevailing consensus that it is simply a matter of personal preference.


One of the earliest known discussions of the toilet paper orientation was published in Barry Sinrod and Mel Poretz’s 1989 book The First Really Important Survey of American Habits,[1] in which the author asserts that 68% of the surveyed Americans preferred to have their toilet paper hang over the top of the roll. One of the earliest online discussions can be traced back to June 1997, when a Purdue University student known as "Nads" created a personal homepage[12] (shown below) with a poll allowing people to share their opinions.

WELCOME!!! To the Musical Extravaganza that is The Great Toilet Paper Debate. A happy little spot on the web where you are given the opportunity to add your two-cents worth to the age old question... WHICH WAY SHOULD THE TP GO? This colorful page originated with a pointless argument amongst a few friends as to what was the proper alignment of a toilet paper roll when installed in a standard dispenser Since that time, I've come to realize that many people have a stronger opinion on which way the TP should go than their opinion on who should be the next President of the United States, and in most cases, they have a better explanation for their toilet paper butwipe decision than their Presidential butwipe decision. And now, my friend, the decision is yours. Which way does it go? Should the paper be strung over the front??? Should it be strung over the back???


On January 1st, 1998, Usenet user L.M. started a discussion on the topic in the newsgroup news.newusers.questions,[11] where it spawned nearly 20 responses of varying opinions. Sometime prior to December 2001, an Angelfire[3] poll page was created to survey people's personal preferences. In February 2004, another poll was set up on the Democratic Underground[13] forums, which generated nearly 80 responses. In February 2005, personal blogger Chris Rugen[14] published a lengthy blog post attempting to explain why letting the roll hang over was the correct method, citing advantages in visibility and tearing room.

Free Sheetage Viewing FLOATY EYEBALL VISIBLE READY T.P LINE OF SIGHT Mechanics of the One-handed Tear TEARING POINT TEAR DIRECTION End Result Lookin' good. Problem, right here.

By October 2005, the debate had made its way to Reddit[15] for the first time, although the post failed to draw any attention or comments. Since then, more than 100 posts relating to this topic have appeared on Reddit.[2] On March 9th, 2006, the debate reached Yahoo! Answers[7] for the first time, followed by similar discussions taking place on AnswerBag[9] in January 2007 and Flickr in April 2008. Between 2009 and 2012, the debate continued to spread across popular forums and message boards, including Part Time Poker Staking[16], GameSpot[8],[17] and[18] In May 2011,[19] produced an infographic breaking down the advantages of each method, which was later featured on the data visualization blog (shown below).[20]

OVER mg Force Advantages Fulcrum Easier to tear off desired number of tiles. Motion of Roll Less chance of scraping wall with knuckles/gathering germs Easier to locate and grab end Personality Traits: Likes to take charge Normal force of wall on roll results in kinetic friction with coefficient μ>0 which may be sufficient for accidental 70% of people Celebrity Endorsement: Jay Leno - Over-achiever tearing -Stays organized UNDER ng Advantages Motion of Roll Fulcrum Less chance of unravelling in an RV or during an earthquake. Less chance of cat or small child unraveling roll. ② Force ③ Tidier One Ply: 1000 total sheets Two Ply: 500 total sheets appearance. Fr-0 No contact between roll and wall. No kinetic friction occurs and roll 會會會 Personality Traits: Laid back 30% of people Celebrity Endorsement: Ann Landers Dependable spins freely. Artistic」

The Cottonelle Challenge

Cottonelle, an American toilet paper company, used the debate as part of an advertising campaign (shown below) in 2010. Titled "The Cottonelle Roll Poll," the company set up on online poll to find out which method Americans preferred, attracting more than 500,000 voters. At the conclusion of the campaign, the company found that 72% of voters chose the "over" method.[21]

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