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Author Topic: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism  (Read 28008 times)

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Offline Gibson

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2010, 01:10:55 AM »
It may be that DJ Coffman and Scott Kurtz are mostly kidding when they trash on each other, but I think Ran's point of trashing other webcomickers, or anyone else for that matter, on their site is valid. I agree with her, it's crass and always makes that person look small. Hollywood does it all the time, and it always leaves a stain. Satirizing someone in their comic may be different, I suppose I don't really have as much of a problem with that, but in general I think peer evisceration is bad form. Maybe they're both into it, but like I've said in another thread, don't be an asshole on the internet unless you're good at it, and most people aren't.

Offline Gar

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2010, 07:00:39 AM »
Well it still goes back to professionalism, to whit: professional courtesy.  You're supposed to be nice to other creators: if you send an unsolicited guest strip to Kris Straub, don't bitch about him in your blog if he doesn't post it. If you put someone else's characters in your strip as a cameo appearance, acknowledge where those characters come from and post a link. If you're flat out stealing someone's ideas, punch yourself in the face as hard as you possibly can and come up with something original.

I  don't see anything wrong with a little inter-comic rivalry to spice up the blog, but if it degenerates into an actual enmity between creators I tend to lose respect for everyone involved.

One of the good things about this board is that there's a lot of mutual respect. Criticism of others' comics tends to take the form of suggested improvements and links to tutorials and resource sites; nobody takes it too personally. There's been very few ad hominem attacks, and we have yet to see a proper flame war break out. Turns out 'be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes' really IS a good foundation for a society (or at least good concise forum rules).


Offline Rob

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2010, 08:01:18 AM »
Well, as is the point of the article, I think we've veered off into the land of personal interpretation.

From my perspective what goes on between DJ and Scott is funny and it doesn't make a whit of difference to me. I happen to think they are both the high water mark in assholery in webcomics and I enjoy the antics.

On the other hand when Scott took three weeks off and ran nothing but guest strips I was like "whaaaaaa?"

My point in all of this is that the cornerstone of professional webcomickry is that on time, consistent delivery of compelling content. All other things are lesser and as we've seen, of varying importance from person to person.

It's like that old expression you can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. My own personal take on that is that you can please all of your fans all of the time by delivering that on time, consistent, compelling content (exception to the rule perhaps?) but all other things are open to varying levels of personal interpretation.

I may not care about silly flame wars but it obviously puts some people completely off their feed. That doesn't make their point of view any less legitimate. Just different from mine.

I may think someone's bad art or ugly website is a mark in the loss column for the quality of their comic. Other's may read the comic, never notice the website and appreciate the clever writing.

Ultimately though that foundation of content delivery is the only thing that truly matters. And I should emphasize that this is a personal belief. If after a long period of time of delivering on time, consistent content you aren't reaching your target audience your content is probably not compelling. If after delivering  compelling content in a haphazard manner you are not reaching your target audience you have to look at the update schedule. I really do feel it is as basic as a math equation in this one instance. If not "A" then "B". If not "B" than "A".

And I think all other things, great public persona, accessibility, social networking, great merch, fancy websites; basically anything else that has anything to do with the business of webcomics are simply enhancements to that basic foundation.

Offline JGray

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2010, 09:41:43 AM »
To whit.

Many will call Harlan Ellison an asshole. Few will say he's not a professional.

Offline Gar

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2010, 10:17:22 AM »
it's nice to be able to use the phrase "to whit" legitimately  :)

Offline Gibson

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2010, 01:25:12 PM »
I don't think we've veered off into personal interpretation, I think the article itself was about personal interpretation. Personal interpretation is a great thing, it's how ideas move.

My own personal take on that is that you can please all of your fans all of the time by delivering that on time, consistent, compelling content (exception to the rule perhaps?)

Sadly no, since immediately upon posting that page someone will complain about how derivative the punchline is, delivering on time is still pleasing all of the people some of the time.

Offline Rob

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2010, 01:40:59 PM »
To whit.

Many will call Harlan Ellison an asshole. Few will say he's not a professional.

Yeah you and I have talked about this. I find the guy absolutely hilarious and love his comics. Maybe I'm just weird. But I'm ok with that.  :-\

Offline Gibson

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2010, 05:41:16 PM »
I don't think someone being funny when they sling shit is really an antidote to being unprofessional, but in itself I'm okay with someone being an asshole...I suppose I kinda have to be...what I have a problem with is someone being petty. I have no idea if the Coffman/Kurtz war qualifies as pettiness, I'm not a reader of either of their works so I've never seen it and don't care, but on the general level if I see an author engaging in petty squabbling or complaining or whining or what have you, my opinion of them and what they do tends to suffer. I think that's a big part of why I try not to talk on my comic about things that aren't my comic or what influenced its creation. I've been in many many situations where I wanted to cry and rant and bang on people's heads or call somebody's comic out for the garbage that it is, but I don't. It's not because it wouldn't be funny, I got the funny down, but because it would be really amateur if I did.

I think another thing, kind of in line with both this and the original points, is when authors make excuses about why their comics are late, or even when they're poorly done. Note the difference between a reason and an excuse. Of course it happens that people miss deadlines, it happens to us all, and not everyone has the ability to have guest strips sitting in a drawer somewhere. I'm not sure anyone would call it unprofessional when these things happen and audiences are generally understanding when they do, but it drives me batty when I see someone who hasn't updated in months and come back with a comment like "I had school and my parents were like such n00bs. O wellz LOL!"

It's not O wellz, you illiterate dunce! At least have the respect for people reading your work and the patience they show in dealing with your slow ass to apologize. Reading our work is not a privilege, it's quite the opposite. We have a contract with our fans that we will entertain them, and they pay us back by giving a shit that we exist. When we lapse in our commitment to that contract, the least we can do is mea culpa, take ownership and work to make it not happen again.

I think it might all boil down to respect. Respect for your readers, which you show by delivering what you promise and sending them a little fan service here and there and not being a stuck-up shithead when you meet them at cons and so on, and respect for your peers, which includes not spouting off petty snipes at them and showing support for their accomplishments. The more respect you have for your audience and your craft, the higher your level of professionalism is going to be.

Offline Gar

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2010, 03:45:52 AM »
...although it is sometimes fun to abuse your audience a bit....

Offline JGray

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2010, 07:03:36 AM »
I don't know what it is like to have a comic with tens of thousands of hits and a media empire. I hope that should I ever reach that point, I'll still be able to make time to reply when people send mail or post messages. Being an active part of your own community just seems like a no brainer to me.

Offline Rob

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2010, 03:06:56 PM »
Yesterday Scott Kurtz sang me a song.... about what a douche he thinks I am... during his Usteam. Background vocals by Kris Straub.

So yeah he's down with his fans. LOL.  :D

Offline Largento

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2010, 03:20:15 PM »
I'll steer clear of the personalities and their conflicts. :-)

I can offer this as far as update schedules.

A quick bit of back story first:

The idea of the Wannabe Pirates webcomic was as to act as an introduction to the characters and ongoing content to supplement a series of short animated movies. Because of the long production times, it made sense to have something to fill in the voids and hopefully build up an audience that would be familiar with the characters. McCrary could only find the time to do two strips a week and after a year and a half, finding the time to do those was becoming difficult. He wanted me to take over the art chores on the strip, but I didn't see how I could do that and ever finish one of the movies. The compromise was to put the movies on permanent hold and do the strips in 3D (so that all of the work I'd done wouldn't have been for nothing.) I also committed to taking on a 5-day a week schedule.

I started doing the 3D strip on that schedule at the beginning of November and on this coming Monday, we will have more 3D strips up than the 2D strips that took a year and a half to put up.

Although we haven't seen huge increases in our number of readers, our page views have definitely increased because new readers now have more content to pour through. This will only increase as long as I can stay on schedule and I think that's a real key.

I'm of the opinion that doing only one or two strips a week is taking the long way to having that huge archive which I'm thinking equals huge page views. The 5-days instead of 2-days means 260 strips a year compared to 104. Plus, we're doing a Saturday strip that gives us another 52 a years.

As tempting as it has been to skip a day when other things are going on, I've forced myself to keep updating. My thinking is that we won't get the full benefit if I do that and it's letting the readers down to do that.

I overheard a relatively well-known webcomic creator telling someone at a con, "You never know when I'm going to update, so you should check my site every day." I thought that was terribly insulting to the audience. Essentially saying I'll throw you a bone when I feel like it.

My belief is that you get longterm readers by becoming a habit and if they go there and there's not a new strip, then you are creating a negative that will not reinforce the habit.


Offline Gibson

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2010, 03:31:58 PM »
overheard a relatively well-known webcomic creator telling someone at a con, "You never know when I'm going to update, so you should check my site every day." I thought that was terribly insulting to the audience. Essentially saying I'll throw you a bone when I feel like it.

My belief is that you get longterm readers by becoming a habit and if they go there and there's not a new strip, then you are creating a negative that will not reinforce the habit.

This is true and brings up an interesting point. I don't read any webcomics that don't update regularly, except for the ones done by friends of mine. It'd be interesting to find out how common that is.

Offline Alectric

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2010, 03:27:32 AM »
But that's what RSS feeds are for!

One good one I can think of is Wasted Talent.  I subscribe to it, and its irregular update schedule is completely inconspicuous. :)

Offline JGray

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Re: Webcomics 2.0 Part one - Professionalism
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2010, 07:56:22 AM »
It also depends on what you mean by regular. Order of the Stick doesn't have a set schedule but does update several times a week.