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Eric: A Problem Statement

At my day job, we do things through Problem Statements. These are tools that let us work out exactly where the problems are, define them clearly, and brainstorm solutions. They sometimes mean nothing gets done -- or at least not done in any kind of timely fashion -- but they also mean we can truly identify where the core of an issue is and work on it, instead of ancillary or symptomatic concerns.

So, it's about time I apply the methodology to Websnark, because I'm having a definite problem, and it's not getting any better.

At first, I thought the problem statement would have to deal with the (sometimes vociferous and almost always loud) complaints that I'm not writing the specific things people would want me to write. Snarks on webcomic strips. Snarks on specific webcomics. Snarks on the letter writer's favorite webcomic. Or alternately, that I am writing things people don't want me to write. Snarks about my cat, or my comic strip, or my philosophy, or DC comics, or word processors. And always, the ever present fear that I'm not writing enough. That people will be disappointed. That I'll lose readership. That....

...well, whatever.

But those are symptoms, ultimately. It's taken me a while, but I've come up with a problem statement, finally. And I'd like to share it.

Problem statement: Websnark is not my job, but I feel like I'm being locked into a position of accountability and responsibility for generating the content people want at the rate people want, instead of doing what comes to mind when it comes to mind and -- most of all -- actually enjoying it.

Suggested solutions:

1. Set up a schedule in advance of what I'm going to snark and when, to ensure a mix of the stuff people want to see while maintaining a level of the things I want to write. Rejected, because that's insane. I don't want to do this. So I'm not going to, period.

2. End Websnark. Rejected, because I actually like Websnark, even if there are days I want to remove my brain through an eye socket with a spork because of it. I like all of you. I like having a forum. I like writing.

3. Remember that Websnark's mission is now and always has been "write about what catches my attention, when it catches my attention, and move on," and write what I actually want to write. And if that means that people abandon Websnark in droves, decide that honestly, that's okay.

We're going with 3.

Websnark has never been defined as "a Webcomics blog." Not by me. I talk a lot about webcomics because I like webcomics, and I'm interested in them, and because I think they matter. However, in trying to drive myself to exclusively write about webcomics -- or at least kick the balance so high in the majority that I feel guilty when I write about anything else -- I've been learning to dislike webcomics intensely. And that serves no one.

Does that mean "no more Webcomics coverage?" Of course not. I put a huge amount of each day into reading about them, doing stuff with them, and thinking about them.

But I'm done with trying to come up with artificial reasons to snark them, coupled with finding the energy to write those snarks.

Inevitably, this will produce another flock of letters on how I'm losing folks, or essays on the same. And... well, that's honestly okay. Let's be frank -- there reaches a point of pinnacle on the Web. You're new and interesting and exciting and avant garde, and then you become mainstream, and then you become old hat and someone else is new and exciting.

The likelihood that Websnark will continue to grow, given that, is negligible. The likelihood that it will shrink is almost certain. So, the question is, does this become about stemming that, or do I just write what I want to write, when I want to write it and if I lose readers, that's life?

It has to be the second option. It has to be. If it's not, then this whole exercise is pointless.

Does this mean I'll have an increasing number of public declamations about how I've gone downhill? Probably. That's life. If I devoted myself to doing exactly what those people want, then a different constituency of readers will begin talking about how I've lost my spark and sold out to the lure of readership.

Does this mean I'll lose the respect of the webcomics community? I honestly don't think so, but I could be wrong. On the other hand, if I'm only doing this to get the respect of others, I don't deserve that respect in the first place.

Does this mean I'll continue to open the Movable Type window with a sense of obligation and dread, instead of the excitement and pleasure I've always associated with writing here?

No. I think the moment you declare it doesn't matter if I lose readers, so long as I don't lose myself, you free yourself from the burden of expectation and obligation.

And the thing is, this is not a change in policy. Let me quote from the "About Websnark" bit that's sitting over in the corner of the main window:

What the Hell is all this?
This is Websnark.com, a commentary blog. I comment on... well, stuff. Usually the stuff I find on the web, though not exclusively. Essentially, I write about whatever interests me at the time of writing.

[...]
Why all the webcomics stuff?I like webcomics. A large percentage of the stuff I read online are webcomics. So it's the stuff I'm thinking about, which means in turn it's the stuff I'm writing about. You see? Of course you see.

Wait -- I come here for the webcomics stuff. What's all this about Astronomy or pop culture or fandoms or crap like that? Isn't this a webcomics site?
While webcomics make up the (vast) majority of what I talk about, this isn't a 'webcomics blog' so much as it is a place for me to snark about whatever I want. If that's TV instead, or fandom stuff, or pop culture, or the Astronomy Picture of the Day, that's what it is.

I'm sticking by that. And I'm serving notice I'm sticking by that. What you see come across here is what's going to come across here. If that means I never mention Greystone Inn again, then so be it. (Even if it deserves it, mind. I'm not singling GSI out.) If that means I never actually get around to reading Perry Bible Fellowship, that's what it means.

If that means some of you find other stops on the web to spend your time on, I understand. And I thank you for the time and energy you've put into this, and I hope you've gotten something out of it. I like all of you. I like debate. I like the community that's arisen. I like the Snarkoleptics. I like all of it.

And yeah, it jazzes me to have Scott Kurtz or Maritza Campos or David Wright or Shaenon Garrity acknowledge what I've done. These people are giants to me -- they've given me tremendous amounts of pleasure, and asked nothing in return but that I keep reading. But I can't write Websnark for them, either. I can only write it for me, ultimately.

So no, we're not going to end Websnark (though I've been tempted in the last seventy-two hours), we're not going to end talking about webcomics, and we're not going to start forcing snarks that we think will be popular.

(And by we, I mean me -- I don't speak for Wednesday, here. What she choses to do is always her decision.)

What we -- what I -- will do is write what I want to write, bring as much integrity to it as I can, and as much passion to it as I have, and trust that someone out there will want to read it.

I'll keep showing up. I hope some of you will too. In either case, thank you, both for the past, and for the present, and for the future. We'll see where we go from here.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at April 20, 2005 12:02 PM

Comments

Comment from: Haver posted at April 20, 2005 12:42 PM

Good move. I feel that sometimes all the webcomic stuff is alienating. I love reading about what you're up to, so just write about whatever you want to write about. You're pretty goddamn awesome at making anything seem interesting.

Comment from: Brandon J. Carr posted at April 20, 2005 12:52 PM

Eric -

In order to keep the webcomic flame alive (assuming that's what people truly want) would you consider allowing more contributors into websnark? Or would that just be going to far?

b

Comment from: Susan posted at April 20, 2005 12:56 PM

Big bunches 'o' flowers!

Keep up with what you are doing. I was happy when you started talking about things other than webcomics. I was glad to find out you had a life!

I like the comments on particularly good comics. But I also like your commentary on other things like cats, word processors, weight issues, etc.

BTW -- can anyone point me to a good (inexpensive) window's word processor for writing scripts?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at April 20, 2005 1:04 PM

Brandon--

I don't think so. I'm considering asking other people to contribute, but it would always be because I like their writing style, not because I hope they'd bring X content to Websnark. I wouldn't exercise editorial control over anyone I asked to write on here.

Comment from: Doug posted at April 20, 2005 1:13 PM

Do it. While the webcomics has seemingly been of primary focus, you never promised anyone that was all it was going to be.

Hell, you clinched my return visits with the APOD snarks (which is part of my daily- sometimes hourly- trawl in hopes I can catch the update, followed by visiting JPL and linking out from there to see what's going on, and discovering things like that, while Huygen's wind speed experiment failure due to loss of a comm channel, isn't a total loss because they managed to measure its location from Earth during its descent by measuring the doppler shift of its radio signal, producing measurements almost as accurate as the the experiment would have produced and that they're not done yet, beacuse they still have to fold in data from a few other sites... This overlong run-on raving produced by my being forced to listen to Talk Radio by a co-inhabitant of my small portion of this planet, where I get to listen logical fallacies running up a tally faster than a gas pump's price dial instead hearing about those offhanded miracles happening almost unnoticed by most folks).

Um... Anyway... While I won't say you're the best living writer on the face of the planet, you are good. You have the same magical talent that H. Allen Smith had of making a visit to the world of your writings an enjoyable one. He wrote best when writing about his observations/opinions of things that caught his fancy, too. That quality leaves those of impeccable taste yearning for more- no matter the subject. At least it does for me. Whether I agree with what's expressed or not, your offerings to the public have been a small oasis of sanity on the web as compared to my usual haunts. What's more, the clientele seem to be pretty neat. I haven't seen a single bit of AOL-speak in the bunch. Be proud of that, as it means you're getting the upper portion of the bell curve visiting.

Unless you go absolutely nutso-Talk Radio on me, you have someone whose only problem with you going where you will be the wait for you to update us viewers on your travels.

Do what you said you'd do. The webcomics are important to many, but they're not the only thing of importance. I think if you keep doing what you have been doing, you'll find it more than enough for most people.

Oh, yes: get some sleep.

Comment from: HydrogenGuy posted at April 20, 2005 1:18 PM

"And always, the ever present fear that I'm not writing enough."

Never worry that you are not writing enough. Lord, man, it takes you 1500 words to sneeze!

Carry on!

Comment from: Milligan posted at April 20, 2005 1:26 PM

Eric said:

Let's be frank -- there reaches a point of pinnacle on the Web. You're new and interesting and exciting and avant garde, and then you become mainstream, and then you become old hat and someone else is new and exciting. The likelihood that Websnark will continue to grow, given that, is negligible. The likelihood that it will shrink is almost certain.

Does this mean this site has jumped the snark?

Ba-zing!

Comment from: Merus posted at April 20, 2005 1:31 PM

The Websnark post I liked the most - the most - was the second or third one, the cooking alchemy one.

I figure that the way it works is this: people come into your work with very generic expectations, no matter what it is; story, say, blog, comic. If they're more informed, they may come in with some genres or basic themes, fantasy, action, romance. As a piece of work tries to be distinctive, and asserts its particular characteristics, some of those people who came in with particular expectations, say, fantasy, find out that your whatever is more, I don't know, a play between fantasy and reality, and those people don't want the 'reality' part of your story. Now, this may have been the work's intention from the beginning, but they'll see it as the piece having wandered off somewhere bad. The movie 'Dogma' should not be viewed as a comedy, because it has very few laughs. However, the point of the work is not necessarily just comedy - it's as much a commentary on the Catholic church. This may put off people not expecting this, but who were expecting to see a comedy.

Anyways, you say up front that it's a commentary blog. Those who accuse you of jumping the snark came to the site with expectations they should not have had, and are not the audience your journal is going to appeal to. (It's late, so don't read cynicism into that. I couldn't be bothered rewording it at this time of night.)

You could always change the blog to appeal to the new audience, but selling out is kinda silly when you still won't get paid for it.

Comment from: John Bankert posted at April 20, 2005 1:39 PM

Eric,

Hooray!

Hooray for sticking to your guns, the whining bastards be damned.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at April 20, 2005 1:51 PM

The movie 'Dogma' should not be viewed as a comedy, because it has very few laughs.

Was I watching the same movie?

Comment from: Tangent posted at April 20, 2005 1:54 PM

I stated once that I missed the Astronomy snarks.

Really, in the end, you should write about what you want to. If there is a void in what you write, then others (such as myself) will rise and fill it.

I've wanted you to snark certain comics for quite some time. I've realized that you aren't going to. Your tastes are your own. You don't read some of the comics I do. You don't enjoy some of the things I do. Thus... you'd never /say/ what I wanted you to. *grin*

So I decided to start "tangenting" on my own site, to review and comment on comics on my own. Because you *inspired* me to do this. Everytime I write up a new tangent, I do so in homage of Websnark. In homage to you and Wednesday.

Take care!

Rob

Comment from: UrsulaV posted at April 20, 2005 2:04 PM

It's like art. Not surprising, since it's your art form.

You just do what you gotta do, what you want to do, what seems like a good idea to do. People will always say "Do more like your other one!" or "I liked your old stuff better!" or "Why don't you do more naked women/naked mole rats/naked pandering?" And doing stuff that people like gets as paralyzing as doing stuff people hate, until you eventually go "OH, SCREW THIS. I'm painting for ME!" and lo and behold, the world doesn't end.

Ahem. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything...

Comment from: jpcardier posted at April 20, 2005 2:31 PM

Posted by: Wednesday

"The movie 'Dogma' should not be viewed as a comedy, because it has very few laughs.


Was I watching the same movie?"


Nope. You were apparently watching the same Kevin Smith hilarity as me. Not the Dialogues of Catholicism as apparently Merus was. Which goes to prove that either reality or movies are subjective. I go for both.

Posted by: UruslaV

"It's like art. Not surprising, since it's your art form.

You just do what you gotta do, what you want to do, what seems like a good idea to do. People will always say "Do more like your other one!" or "I liked your old stuff better!" or "Why don't you do more naked women/naked mole rats/naked pandering?" And doing stuff that people like gets as paralyzing as doing stuff people hate, until you eventually go "OH, SCREW THIS. I'm painting for ME!" and lo and behold, the world doesn't end.

Ahem. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything..."

Hey Ursula, do more naked mole rat pandering to naked women! I really liked that!


Ahem. Really Eric, it's your blog. You write what you like. You have enough of a community to keep going without needing the influx of webcomic invaders demanding that you snark El Goonish Shive, or what not. Mind you, you should snark it. It's neat.


Second Ahem. In any case, do what moves you, and the essays will be better for it.

Comment from: Abs_of_Flab posted at April 20, 2005 2:32 PM

Eric,

To begin, I'd like to begin by saying that I've bee n reading and enjoying Websnark since the fall. It's often been more entertaining than the webcomics that I read. For that, I want to extend a hearty "thank you!"

As to what's finally prompted me to comment...

Well, I find it altogether strange that things have gotten to a point where you have to publicly restate what was stated upfront: Websnark is a place for you to write about things that you want to write about. That you should feel the need to put this up as an entry really makes me wonder about people's predispositions to see what they want as opposed to what's there...

I read the "snark" about Websnark on Nukees and really wasn't too happy about it. Where'd the sense of expectation come from, anyhow? No one's a)paying you to do this, and b)you never publicly set out to be a professional (and unpaid) webcomic critic. You wanted to write about things that you wanted to write about. And this isn't a knock on what you have written on webcomics; they've all been uniformly informative, interesting, and well-written. More impressively, you've actually developed an intelligible and cohesive lexicon and style for discussing webcomics. Still though, these were things that came about because you were writing about a hobby of yours, not because you actually set out to make either a living or a stamp on the world. It's an unfair assumption that you should be dedicated to webcomics exclusively, or for that matter, anything exclusively. It's your blog, it's always been your blog, and if you chose to snark about the finer points of post-modern satanic verse written in Yiddish, that's your right (and I'd probably still read it...).

I'm glad that you're sticking by your guns. Keep on writing about whatever you feel like; I'm sure I'll keep on reading.

Comment from: Abs_of_Flab posted at April 20, 2005 2:33 PM

One more quick comment: anyone else notice this seems like a small-scale version of fans vs. George Lucas' changes on Star Wars?

Comment from: Miles Gloriosus posted at April 20, 2005 3:03 PM

Well, personally I probably wouldn't read websnark if it were predominantly about satanism. It doesn't really interest me. But then, it clearly doesn't interest Eric enough to snark about it on a regular basis.

I do read Websnark because it tends to be about things that I tend to be interested in. And that's not because he writes what I want to read, but rather t'other way round.

When all this started, there was no concerns about content-- good stuff just jumped out, begging to be snarked. And the world hasn't changed much since then. Getting back to basics can only improve things around here.

So, Eric, for maintaining your own personal dignity and ideals in the face of brash criticism, please help yourself to a tasty, tasty biscut. And keep doin' what you've been doin'.

Comment from: eben posted at April 20, 2005 3:12 PM

So long as you keep writing, I intend to keep showing up. You're more or less on my daily trawl at this point. Bits of your lexicon have become bits of my lexicon, and I go around telling my friends to read Websnark the way I tell them to read any other internet media which I enjoy.

I suppose ultimately this particular snark is not aimed at me, because I was never upset with you in the first place. I don't mind that you don't snark webcomics quite as often as you used to, and though I have been miffed by the lightening of content overall lately I am wholly forgiving because I've started reading Gossamer Commons and I sort of assume that a large portion of your potential creative output has been directed at that project.

Also, on a related note, I laud your decision to bring Ms. White on board. I was wary at first, but her recent snark of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon had me literally aching from laughing so hard. Although she has a vastly different style from your own, she definitely seems to fit in around here. And from the sounds of things she has helped lighten the load, helped you to feel like there was fresh content on this site daily even when you couldn't find the time to snark something yourself. I would be increasingly fearful if you added further players to the Websnark roster (they can't all be gems like Wednesday) but I don't honestly think its going to come to that. This is your site, and I hope it remains your site.

And from the sounds of things, you intend to keep it your site come hell, high water, or mass disapporval from a bunch of Johnny-Come-Latelys who were, if you ask me, never truly fans of yours in the first place. I'm behind you 100%, sir.

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at April 20, 2005 3:19 PM

Preach on, sir. Preach on.

Comment from: ANT Link posted at April 20, 2005 3:57 PM

Dude. Did you even read the comments from the last time you talked about this?

Nearly every single one of us who commented there told you to do exactly what you declared you are going to do in this entry, or some variation. I didn't hear a dissenting voice in the lot. It sounds like you've been overly focused on the naysayers that show up around any creative endeavor when you didn't need to be. You have plenty of loyal fans who come here for you and whatever you want to write about, and have done so for months. I would think your readership would continue to grow, if anything.

I'm sorry to hear that you seem to have been agonizing over this decision, but please believe that you made the right one. As I said before, myself and many others will continue to read whatever you have to say.

Comment from: gothfru posted at April 20, 2005 4:07 PM

Eric,

I was lead astray, err, to websnark, by Wednesday. I truly enjoy both your writing and hers as well. It amazes me how much both of y'all know and assimilate into posts of snarky goodness. Just thought I'd toss in my two bits of appreciation.

~tara

Comment from: kirabug posted at April 20, 2005 4:28 PM

Hey, you must be successful, 'cause people are complanining! When you're not successful (hi!) nobody emails you in the first place.

Me, I'd be more concerned about being Freefall'd than what goes on in the email box. :) 'Course, being on the have-nots list, that's easy to say ;)

Comment from: Grumblin posted at April 20, 2005 4:30 PM

Eric, maybe you've got things inverted..

Snarky doesn't discuss webcomics, it discusses the craft of making webcomics.

If that leads you to snark the lack of decent writting equipment, whether cinnamon biscuits or chocolate eclairs is the best brainfood to beat that sheer wall of 2 AM writers' block, or the art of making tea, that's absolutely fine.

As far as I've been able to check you've always used particular webcomics to exemplify the principles your Snarks are about. In a style that is always worth reading, regardless the topic.

Hell you got people to defend Micro$haft products. Now that's scary.. ;)

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at April 20, 2005 4:46 PM

Like I said last time this came up, I'm interested no matter what you post. Hell, I even found the Pages snarks interesting. Really, I just enjoy your writing style. If there's going to be less webcomic snarks in the future, so be it. I'm content.

However, I do need to say one thing about this post: Perry Bible Fellowship is a comic that deserves to be read. And given that its archives are really quite small (for being around a few years, it still only has 100-120 comics in its archives total), it's really easy to blow through in a half-hour or so. You don't have to snark the comic or anything, but it's too good to not miss.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at April 20, 2005 4:49 PM

Too good to miss, I meant. What's wrong with me?

Comment from: Darren Bleuel posted at April 20, 2005 5:23 PM

The point I tried to make before is that Websnark has an expectation to it, not because of the Mission Statement, but simply because Eric did used to snark four or five strips a day, and little else. You can't just say your "mission" is one thing and then do something else entirely. If you do, people's expectations will follow your history, not your "mission."

Well, now he wants to get away from his history and "back" to his mission. It's jarring, but understandable. I think the most important thing is that there be an "About Websnark" that at least mentions the role of webcomics, since historically it's been the main focus. This recent post sums it up nicely, should the important bits about webcomics be filed with the Mission Statement.

And to Wednesday: 'Dogma' should be viewed as a tragedy for having the worst dues ex machina ending since Roman times. Kevin Smith makes great, funny movies if you leave 15 minutes before the credits.

Now to find out if this ends up as one huge paragraph or four smaller ones. If it's one huge paragraph, someone must tell me how to type paragraphs into this thing, 'cause the "Preview" ain't helping.

Comment from: Fu-Child posted at April 20, 2005 5:26 PM

Y'know you could Snark about the apocalypse and the majority of us would read it. I know I'd be there with my morning cup of joe brewed from the sweat of a thousand tortured Insurance Bankers while Hell's twisted minions toss damned souls into fiery cauldrons.
And even as my turn came around, lofted high into the air and ditched into boiling oatmeal I would shout out "Its funny, because its true!" before being swallowed in evil goop.

The fact is, you are the preacher and we are the congregation. Everytime you read from the scripture and state this site to be a Web blog not a comic blog, we all raise our hands in union and cry "Thats right!"You blog about things that interest you. It just so happens that Comics interest you.

If you're worried about giving the impression this site is centred on a certain topic, then add one of this little disclaimers like "The user must not hold the creator under duress for posts pertaining information that they deem crazy or 'totally wack' "

You wrote a snark on word document programs.

And people ATE IT UP

Comment from: Ununnilium posted at April 20, 2005 5:33 PM

IMHO, your audience will, if anything, continue to grow. You write well; it doesn't matter on what.

Comment from: Tangent posted at April 20, 2005 5:49 PM

And as I said, Gav, if Websnark starts to snark less about comics and more about randomness, others will arise to fill the void. Though my tangents will also be on what catches my attention (I'm halfway tempted to tangent on the new Pope but that's probably been snarked to death).

*sigh* Sad thing is, earlier today I had the /perfect/ idea of something to comment on... and now I can't think of it. Oh well, might as well go off to graduate class and let it return to me in the middle of the teacher's lecture... *grin*

Robert A. Howard, tangenting across the internet

Comment from: Phy posted at April 20, 2005 6:13 PM

I've been privately wondering when you'd come to this conclusion, as it's one I've come to for news and gaming posts that I do at 3DGPU.com

It's the age-old "quality vs quantity" argument.

I never actually needed to see new content every day, multiple times per day. I appreciate it when it arrives, and that's enough for me. It's always been thus, frankly.

Stick to your guns, boyo. This makes perfect sense to me.

Comment from: toddandpenguin posted at April 20, 2005 6:58 PM

Giant?! Me?

Ok, now I know you are drunk.

Anyway, write whatever you want to write about! You are an awesome writer and I enjoy all the posts, webcomic or general. I remember when you first started you stated some reluctance to be just about webcomics, and I can see why. You don't want to limit yourself when you can write so adriotly about so much! I will keep reading and anticipating entries no matter what you write about.

Of course, now I will have to edit that damned link button I made for you.

jerk!

:)

~dave

Comment from: quentin mcalmott posted at April 20, 2005 7:46 PM

Eric,

you need to remember what you always say. You don't owe us readers anything. You snark whatever you want to, as you're doing this as a hobby. And it's great to read. Keep on keeping on.

Comment from: Moe Lane posted at April 20, 2005 9:03 PM

Don't worry yourself overmuch about what others want you to create, just create.

...providing, of course, that such creation includes more and more In Nomine content.

Moe

PS: What? Actually, now that you mention it I am a bit fuzzy on this entire 'being internally self-consistent' concept. Why do you ask?

Comment from: munkymu posted at April 20, 2005 10:04 PM

You don't owe your readers anything, but your readers also don't owe you anything. You should decide on what sort of schedule you can manage, state it outright, then stick to it just like all the comic creators you admire. Consistency is the key to keeping readers. Of course, there's no reason why your goal should be keeping people happy -- except that your posts make it seem like you care about that, at least somewhat.

I don't think you should have more guest posters in. It's like picking up a book by Barbara Hambly, only to find that every other chapter has been written by Jim Butcher. It may not be the worst book in the world, but it's probably best if you stick to one author, one style and one vision. If you want multiple authors, make a site like Comixpedia and get people to write articles for it. At least people expect multiple contributors to magazines.

Of course, the above is only my opinion and nothing else. :)

Comment from: Dire posted at April 20, 2005 11:02 PM

You should decide on what sort of schedule you can manage, state it outright, then stick to it just like all the comic creators you admire. Consistency is the key to keeping readers.

munkymu, that is exactly what Eric does; his stated schedule is to post something everyday. He doesn't need to say what the contents of the posts are ahead of time just like webcomics authors don't need to post their script ahead of time.

I enjoy having a site to visit where the stuff written is intelligent, entertaining, and about a variety of things. I often find information about things that I have not heard about before, be it a cool webcomic or a new line of paper towels. I also appreciate the honest thoughts and opinions presented here.

Comment from: MrNexx posted at April 20, 2005 11:09 PM

Hey, Eric, look on the bright side: You're getting the kind of feedback most writers would kill their own mothers for. I know. I've tried. I still miss Mom on Mother's Day, but I still don't get daily feedback on how my writing is progressing.

Do I like the webcomics stuff? Hell yeah. I read Medium Large, Freefall, Questionable Content, and Gossamer Commons more or less because you pointed me towards them, then I absorbed the archives. However, the other stuff continues to be worth reading, so I continue to read. As others have said, you don't owe the readers anything, even the continuance of writing.

Until you decide to make this your job. Then your ass is ours. ;-)

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at April 21, 2005 12:17 AM

Eric, on behalf of myself and the other critics, I believe I speak for all of us when I say this:

Fuckall. Do this thing how you want to do it. We've expected nothing more, and nothing less.

Slante!

-Phil!

Comment from: Sir Loin posted at April 21, 2005 2:31 AM

Obviously you're free to do whatever you want, but by implementing this decision Websnark becomes another run of the mill blog. It looks like you'll always have this inexplicably zealous fan club though, so you're probably not particularly worried about that. You probably will end up losing quite a few readers who come here more casually, the ones not willing to kiss your shiny rump, but in the end it is of course up to you.

I'm not trying to be offensive (the term "kiss your shiny rump" was used because it made me laugh,) I just thought some naysaying would help balance out the inspirational swell. Ununnilium (for instance) may end up being right, but your audience will certainly shift.

Comment from: Michael21 posted at April 21, 2005 2:44 AM

I came to this site in the fall because I wanted to read criticism of webcomics. Period. There isn't enough good criticism of it on the web, so that's what I wanted, and actually still do.

Since that time I've read everything you've written on this site. Then I went back and read all of your archives.

When you wrote about the kid in your school finding out about your site and saying, "You can WRITE", it felt wonderful. When you wrote about how before your surgery if you fell on the ice you couldn't get up, it gave a deeper understanding and appreciation for something most of us would never have even considered otherwise. When you later wrote about falling after your surgery and how you could now get up, damned if it didn't get a little bit misty next to the monitor.

And when you went to that "bookstore" for the webcomic signing, I felt nervous with you at first hanging back, then frankly triumphant when these people you looked up to recognized you and gave you the respect you deserve.

It took me a while to realize that the posts that gave me the most pleasure weren't actually the ones about webcomics. Because you write so much from the heart, not only am I reading you, I'm rooting for you.

Judging by the other comments, I'm not alone. I still want webcomics reviews (and criminy, take fifteen minutes out of your life and read Perry Bible Fellowship) but I don't want the reviews at the expense of your enjoyment of writing. It's given all of us too much pleasure for it to become a chore for you.

Thanks for what you've written, and for what you'll write in the future, whatever it is.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at April 21, 2005 4:06 AM

Let's be frank -- there reaches a point of pinnacle on the Web. You're new and interesting and exciting and avant garde, and then you become mainstream, and then you become old hat and someone else is new and exciting.

That's why I've already started reading Webfloop.

Comment from: SK posted at April 21, 2005 5:10 AM

hy were none of the options 'cut back on Websnark'?

For example, not feeling that something has to be put up every day would help a lot. Moving to a weekly schedule, for example, or even just only writing abotu something whenever there is somethign you want to write about.

Comment from: SteveC86 posted at April 21, 2005 11:12 AM

GAK!! Another "to write or not to write, THAT is the questio-OWW my eye!"

Yeah, i poked him. Just write! got dammint! If you don't HAVE to write, then don't, because that means you are writing for someone else. WRITE/DRAW/CREATE for YOURSELF. I have to draw comics. If no one EVER reads them I still have to draw them. So shut the helm up and WRITE!

But make sure it's about web comics, occasionaly, or you're off the list!

HAHAHA

Comment from: munkymu posted at April 21, 2005 12:16 PM

"Why were none of the options 'cut back on Websnark'?"

Yes, that's it exactly. The key phrase in my post was **decide on on what sort of schedule you can manage**. If Eric has Weds come in and do posts, is considering having more guests and is unhappy enough to do a Problem Statement, then he should be carefully considering whether the schedule he has chosen is what he wants to stick with. There doesn't need to be all this drama associated with it. Life throws us curveballs, and the commitment we have to our projects changes. It's better to say "I guess I'll do it once a week" and stick to it (until the next big re-evaluation) than say "Every day! Every day!" and put out something you have no joy in any more. At that point, you suffer and your content suffers and your readers suffer.

Comment from: BassetKing posted at April 22, 2005 4:43 AM

Eric, You rock me like a Hurricane.

I'll keep reading Websnark for your writing style.

's right.

I don't read this for the content.

I don't read this because it's the "Be all and end all of webcomic knowledge".

I read this for the same reason I read Warren Ellis's blog.

I like how you put letters onto paper.

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