« Small Business Administration | Main | It could be worse -- I could be discussing triple-goddess imagry between Hippolyta, Diana and Donna Troy. And no one wants that. »

Eric: This just in: Keenspot Smart and likes Money!

(From Two Lumps. Click on the thumbnail for spottishness!)

People who've read my stuff for a while know I've always been amazed that Two Lumps wasn't on Keenspot.

Two Lumps is funny. It's consistent. It's good. It has a readership. It has a great sense of humor. It's accessible. It's quality.

And J. Grant and Mel Hynes were vocal about wanting to join Keenspot, and Keenspot needed that, badly. They needed some big name signings to go hand in hand with the Blank Label Comics move. As it was, they let Blank Label control the news cycle. There was some moderate drama, but they didn't counter with "look who's coming in now!" And I think that was a tactical mistake on their part.

Okay, they did a couple of great moves at the time -- signing the Devil's Panties was a big part of that. But Two Lumps was right there, and was still enthusiastic about their desire to be spotted. They were not just a good strip to sign -- they were good press. They reminded the world that there were established webcartoonists out there who actively wanted to be Keenspotted.

I think today's strip is the proof of that. Jennie Breeden was clearly very happy to be 'Spotted, as others have been, but Two Lumps made it into an event. They're clearly thrilled. And with luck, this will be a good thing for them.

Keenspot? Doesn't need luck. This is a good thing for them.

EDIT: For reasons surpassing anything remotely resembling understanding, I'm now in the position where I have to put -- I swear to Christ -- a spoiler warning for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on the comments section of this particular post.

And people thought I was kidding with the whole "I aggro drama" thing? Hah. I say again. Hah.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at July 15, 2005 5:16 PM

Comments

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 15, 2005 6:24 PM

...'shizzle.'

Comment from: thok posted at July 15, 2005 7:01 PM

Well, this is good news to counter the fact that Keenspot just lost Errant Story.

Comment from: trpeal posted at July 15, 2005 7:10 PM

I was wondering when you were going to get around mentioning this since I read it at lunch.

I think this is great news.

Comment from: miyaa posted at July 15, 2005 9:58 PM

It doesn't register with me either way. To me, webcomics stand on their own. It doesn't change my opinion about them because they are with one clan or another. The only way a group of comics comes into my comic viewing is if you have to pay to view a comic within a particular group, such as the family of Modern Tales comics or Wirepop. I suppose this is better than to have to pay individually for each comic seen.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 16, 2005 12:04 AM

Hmmmmm.... Keep an ear out for more Keenspot news tomorrow after thier panel at SDCC....

:)

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at July 16, 2005 2:50 AM

Oh god, DJ... does this mean you're being spotted?! Say it ain't so!

Remember, WWMCD? What Would Mitch Clem Do?

He wouldn't sell out is what he'd do! Wouldn't... do...

Comment from: unliz posted at July 16, 2005 4:52 AM

Thanks Phil, now I have "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" stuck in my head...

Comment from: dreamshade posted at July 16, 2005 8:58 AM

"This is a good thing." Well, yeah, it is pretty nice, but is this going to get the comic any new readers? How many people actually go out and start reading the comic just because it just got bumped up to Spot? Is it anyone other than the people who already read other Spot comics? Do they advertise anywhere else on the web that the comic is worth reading?

Comment from: STrRedwolf posted at July 16, 2005 11:08 AM

Um... until we know for sure, Two Lumps is still on KeenSPACE, which will have it's own annoucement soon.

Comment from: Merus posted at July 16, 2005 3:17 PM

It's a good thing because Two Lumps is good and wants to be on Keenspot, so I figure that they're going to be just as happy about being on Keenspot and will in general be good PR.

And Keenspot needs good PR.

Comment from: Robin Z posted at July 16, 2005 4:37 PM

"This is a good thing." Well, yeah, it is pretty nice, but is this going to get the comic any new readers? How many people actually go out and start reading the comic just because it just got bumped up to Spot? Is it anyone other than the people who already read other Spot comics? Do they advertise anywhere else on the web that the comic is worth reading?

Well, when I was new to webcomics, I did go to the Keenspot main page a couple times to look at the other comics there. In fact, I vaguely remember finding "Zebra Girl" that way, although my memory isn't completely reliable.

So, of the half-dozen-plus Keenspot comics I read, I think I found one through Keenspot specifically. Does that count?

Comment from: Tangent posted at July 16, 2005 7:59 PM

So, anyone else want to bet that Eric is busy reading Harry Potter today? :D

I swear, hits across the Net will be massively down today. Everyone is too busy reading the new novel. ;)

Rob H.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 16, 2005 8:41 PM

The raised eyebrow, in many circles, is a sign of "you have got to be kidding." :)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 16, 2005 8:45 PM

I'd probably need to read from "Chamber of Secrets" on before reading the new one, wouldn't I?

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 16, 2005 8:53 PM

Nah. All you need to know is that a bunch of stuff happened.

(Says the girl who read the first book and got hives.)

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 16, 2005 9:00 PM

I swear, hits across the Net will be massively down today. Everyone is too busy reading the new [Harry Potter] novel. ;)

Only among those households where there was purchased a copy for everyone.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 16, 2005 9:27 PM

No no... Yirmumah is staying independent... nothing like that.

Comment from: MasonK posted at July 16, 2005 10:18 PM

You don't have to read the first three, Bro. There are movies. You can just watch the DVDs.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at July 16, 2005 10:23 PM

Wahaa! People generally disinterested in Potter, represent!

I think I know way too much about these things for someone who hasn't read page one, though. I am surrounded on all sides by crazed fans. A friend crocheted me a 12-foot Gryffindor scarf. I've kindof picked it up via osmosis.

(I also know the spoilers cos my brother almost finished it today and I demanded to know, just for the sake of it.)

Comment from: Tangent posted at July 16, 2005 11:42 PM

What I find fun is doing fake spoilers. You know, like acting shocked that Rowling actually wrote in a sex scene between Hermione and Ginny out of spite because Ron fell in love with Harry when he accidently imbibed a love potion meant for Harry. ;) Little things that are obviously fake. You know. Like Harry lives through book 6. ;)

Teasing ya :D

Rob H.

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at July 17, 2005 3:04 AM

Whew... Great. I was afraid Yirmumah! would be taken by The Man.

Comment from: Aeire posted at July 17, 2005 6:46 AM

"This is a good thing." Well, yeah, it is pretty nice, but is this going to get the comic any new readers? How many people actually go out and start reading the comic just because it just got bumped up to Spot? Is it anyone other than the people who already read other Spot comics? Do they advertise anywhere else on the web that the comic is worth reading?

...I about doubled my reader base after joining Keenspot. There are a TON of people on Keenspot that don't necessarily delve into Keenspace, and the Keenspot Newsboxes are phenominally good at bringing in a metric shitton of traffic. Now whether the comic in the newsbox is good enough to KEEP those readers there depends on the comic itself, but I have little doubt in my mind that Two Lumps will get more traffic and readers than they have currently after the announcement and that first newsbox hits.

Comment from: miyaa posted at July 17, 2005 8:34 AM

Five things I'd like to see Harry Potter encounter in one of these books.

5. He turns into a girl for a serious part of the book. Mass Hiliary ensues.

4. He uses that damned invisibility cloak of his to hide and peek in the girl's restroom/bathroom. Or at the very least let someone else use it for that very purpose.

3. Be tempted by something highly illegial and potentially addicting, like say, Magic: the Gathering.

2. Lose his virginity, deliberately or accidential. Or, again, at the very least, let him have a very romantic kissing scene.

1. Graduate. I swear it's like he's channelling my college career when it comes to his life in Hogwarts. 10 years to get a bachelors, 2 á years to finish a Masters (done this week, baby!). He'll be like 30 when he's finished from there.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 17, 2005 10:31 AM

[I want to see Harry Potter] Graduate. I swear it's like he's channelling my college career when it comes to his life in Hogwarts. 10 years to get a bachelors, 2 á years to finish a Masters (done this week, baby!). He'll be like 30 when he's finished from there.

But Hogwart's isn't a college. It's primary education, not secondary. He started when he was eleven, remember. It's the British equivalent of middle and high school. They do it that way over there. That's why it was planned as a series of seven books. He'll graduate (or die) at the end of the seventh year of study, in the normal course of British primary education (except he's attending a private specialty school for wizards).

I still don't have a bachelor's at 45. Though I did get an associate's at 27.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 17, 2005 11:55 AM

So, what the heck was the announcement? All I could find on the relevant Keen forum was stuff about 2004. o_O

Comment from: DocN posted at July 17, 2005 6:27 PM

Eric-

Apologies for the off-topic addendum, but I find myself for the moment without functional E-mail or FTP capabilities, and one site down completely. And, naturally enough, my ISP doesn't man their tech desk on weekends... at least, not with anyone who can do anything more than accept payments and write a "trouble ticket".

My piece is done, I just can't send it anywhere. :)

Things should be straightened back out by Monday afternoon.

Doc.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 17, 2005 7:32 PM

DumbleDore dies.

That is all.

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at July 17, 2005 9:21 PM

Y'know, DJ. I'd be really pissed at you if someone else hadn't already ruined it for me.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 17, 2005 10:23 PM

Why? It's blasted near impossible not to know at this point. Heck, Richard Stallman even posted about it in some mindblowingly WTF effort at civil disobedience.

Besides, he didn't say how.

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at July 17, 2005 10:47 PM

I suppose you're right.

Besides... I can't stay mad at DJ!

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 17, 2005 11:31 PM

Phil:

Y'know, DJ. I'd be really pissed at you if someone else hadn't already ruined it for me.

Weds:

Why? It's blasted near impossible not to know at this point.

I didn't know. Well, till I figured it out for myself yesterday. I mean, it's the penultimate episode - how is the hero going to face the villain at the end as The Man Alone if the mentor's around? Sheesh.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:03 AM

Snark the Tatooine planet! Snark the Tatooine planet!

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:26 AM

And having read through the comments at this point....

FUCK YOU.

I don't normally say shit like this, but djcoffman et al, FUCK YOU ALL TO HELL. What the fuck is your problem? Is there some kind of fucking high you can get from doing something like this? Maybe in the media and other circles you frequent shit like this has long been self-evident, but has it ever occurred to you that not everyone is you? What the FUCK are you thinking? Do you give a good goddamn about anyone who isn't you? Hey, ever enjoyed a surprise? Do you think it might be REMOTELY CONCEIVABLE that other people want to go into a work of fiction as blind as they can manage in order to, you know, actually experience what the author intended?

WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM?

Yeah, I didn't know. I don't give a SHIT whether I should have expected it or what-the-fuck-have-you, because you know what the difference is between "This would be likely to happen" and "This is what will happen?"

ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD, YOU INCONSIDERATE FUCKWIT.

I'm a big HP fan, as you may be able to guess, but I'm in Japan for the summer and not really a "run out and read it the first day" type anyway. I've gotten pretty good at avoiding major spoilers for things I'm interested in, but I didn't expect it here. Yeah, I may get banned and will almost certainly be reprimanded by Eric for this, because I am absolutely attacking another poster here and that is the only rule here, but right now I couldn't care less about the repercussions because I have a very strong need to tell you that YOU CAN FUCKING GO TO HELL, YOU STUPID THOUGHTLESS SELFISH BASTARD.

I know this would be pretty bizarre and I can't think of any easy way to do it, but I am BEGGING you, Weds and Eric (not that I expect either of you to be that sympathetic since I'm flagrantly violating the one and only rule here and since Weds already said she considered it practically-not-a-spoiler at this point), is there anyway to alter this comment thread to give people some warning?

I'm only typing this because I'm really, really upset. As in, I am passing through pissed off into maybe-gonna-cry, and I don't give a shit if that means I'm overreacting or a baby or whatever, because I'm not the one who decided to post a spoiler when the ONLY POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF DOING SO are that (1) people already know and therefore you've not really said anything, and (2) people don't know and you get to fuck them over, whee! Fun! I hope your fucking existence is validated, you worthless piece of shit excuse for a human being (wow, it turns out I am still angry). I know 22 isn't old (and I'll take any comments about that explaining my amazing maturity as deserved), but I've been on the internet since elementary school and I have never posted anything like this in my life. It's just that the numbered points above are actually the only outcomes I can think of, and therefore I can't help thinking this was just an asshole move, and it really hurts me that people want to be assholes. Why? Seriously, what is the point? You wanted to spare me the grief? You were making an ironic comment on the apparent widespread-ed-ness of the news and honestly thought I'd already know (and if so, damn do I owe you an apology)? What? When I ask what the fuck you're thinking, I'm honestly curious. Why in God's name would you ever want to do something that is going to hurt someone else's enjoyment of something? What the hell is the payoff? Are you lookin forward to flames like this? Do you think people shouldn't care that much about fiction anyway? (That one could be valid, I know I am a bit abnormal in my love of stories).

So here you go. Congratulations, you've claimed my internet-flame virginity. Is that the point? Do you get to laugh your ass off at the thinskinned moron fangirl now? Do you get to sneer at play the world's tiniest violin for my precious, precious recreational reading enjoyment?

Fuck. You.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:33 AM

Hmm, I said "fuck you, djcoffman et al," and that's not really what I meant. The primary rage is for him, there's only some secondary botheredness that no one else thinks it's a big deal.

Comment from: cyco posted at July 18, 2005 1:05 AM

I know, siwangmu, it does suck. I have had countless movies/books spoiled by the internet or my stupid friends, I'm lucky I read the latest HP before any serious damage was done. It also helps not to believe everything you read on the web. ;)



And DJ, it's obvious you didn't mean any real harm to anyone, but try to think a little more next time, maybe?

Comment from: cyco posted at July 18, 2005 1:06 AM

Sorry, forgot about the thing with the line breaks... :P

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 3:08 AM

Re: not believing everything you read on the web: I actually thought it was just another joke until I read the next post saying "Y'know, DJ. I'd be really pissed at you if someone else hadn't already ruined it for me." Kinda hard to go back and un-believe at that point.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 18, 2005 3:52 AM

I second siwangmu's rage. Not that I'm angry myself, having finished the book within hours of its release, but in his place I'd be killing things. Big things.

Comment from: marlowe posted at July 18, 2005 4:03 AM

First of all - this is my first post after around 8 months of following Websnark, and I'd like to thank Eric for providing the excellent content and refined critical sensibility that's kept me coming back. I'm happy, now that I've been motivated to actually get a typekey account, to be able to participate in the discussion. Unfortunately the circumstances that motivated me to get said typekey account need some addressing first.

To wit, and to djcoffman: I'm sorry, but I've got to agree with siwangmu on this matter (although I feel much more annoyed at you and much less blood-ragey). I'm also abroad (been in China for the last two months), and I attempt to avoid spoiler material for anything I'm actually anticipating, which at this point isn't much in the fantasy world outside of Harry Potter. I'm generally an early reader, but I just got the book yesterday from the Wangfujing Foreign Language Bookstore, and gave first read of it to a friend who was having a really bad day... At any rate, I certainly didn't expect having the ending, or even one of its attributes, blown (if it has been blown and we're not all making fools of ourselves) on my afternoon visit to Websnark, in a thread on Two Lumps. I realize the blowing of the ending isn't entirely your fault, and in fact I wouldn't have believed you if others hadn't jumped in to confirm, but really, is spoiler warning too much effort to put in a post about the ending of a piece of popular entertainment that was just released two days ago?

I would appreciate some form of apology, out of courtesy's sake, but won't make a fuss if it's not forthcoming. These things happen, after all. Regardless of the circumstances, though, I'm glad to be actually posting here. It's something I should have done a while ago.

Comment from: Crashlander posted at July 18, 2005 7:05 AM

That is fucking bad form. I didn't know that, and it came out of nowhere. From now on the name DJ Coffman will be synonymous with the words MASSIVE and TWAT.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 18, 2005 8:24 AM

Okay. Eric's almost certainly not up yet, so I'm going to firefight.

1) "Fuck you" is a personal attack no matter which way you slice it. While I'm sympathetic (but see below caveats), there are house rules. Second shot, thread gets the lock. Okay?

2) Yes, there probably should have been a spoiler warning on it, and there wasn't any particular need for it. It was rude and unnecessary.

2a) However, I don't believe it's our job to police for the Spock Dies and Darth's Luke's Fathers of material which saw worldwide, near-simultaneous release in the English language; it sets a very dangerous precedent. If we do it for one person, then we have to do it for everyone, for every such property. I might come back later today and Eric may have decided to take it out; I'll support the one-shot case if he does, but it's not something I'm prepared to do, and it's not something I would do for anything else.

Besides, this particular franchise has already received considerable special protection. I'll admit it, I'm really wary of playing into the mindset that lets the desire for nondisclosure play out this far.

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 18, 2005 8:29 AM

While I don't necessarily want to kill anyone.. I have to admit to a bit of shock and some major disappointment here.

Even if the whole Dumbledore thing is bullshit, even if it's not true, still.. that's the last thing I expected to see upon looking at comments for a fucking SNARK.

In my family, there's one copy of a new book. ONE. And it gets passed around by 7 different avid readers, some of whom are slow as molasses about reading the darn things. I don't go to sites that might spoil such things for me, because I opted to let the others read the damn thing first. Imagine that, letting the teenagers read the book intended for a young audience (according to the publishers) read something first.

If the information in the post above is true, then hey thanks pal you just blew a major part of the book for me.

If not, then that was still bullshit, because anybody who read it, when they read the book, is going to be saying to themselves "is this it? Is this when he dies?" all the way through the fucking book, rather than enjoying the damn thing for its own merits, and just letting it ride as it is.

The disrespect goes further than that. You've proven that you have no respect for the other avid readers in this bunch (shocking, no, that there would be avid readers in a bunch of webcomic fans.. on the internet.. where you have to, y'know, read, and there are stories and stuff?), but also, a bit for the creator of the damn novels in the first place. Posting a spoiler thumbs your nose at the artist, too, as you've now changed the reading experience for all the people who've read this thread. I won't say you've ruined it, as that may not be the case. I certainly won't allow an asshole on the Internet to ruin my enjoyment of a book I'm looking forward to reading.

But dammit, man, you will have changed the experience, and for no purpose other than to say "look what I did. I posted a spoiler." whee. whoop dee do, don't you feel like a big shot now?

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 18, 2005 8:33 AM

Oh, yes, and one more thing.

The 14 year olds kept the contents of the book a secret, and they've both blasted through the damn thing already. The 17-year-old currently reading the book is also keeping the storyline to herself, although it's killing her (she always has this trouble).

So something I've never understood here is this: if the children, the teens, the "immature ones" who are reading these books can keep the story a secret, why can't the supposed adults out there? Pretty freakin' sad when a teenager, the poster child of inconsiderate behavior, can be more considerate than some schmuck on the internet. Pretty sad indeed.

Comment from: marlowe posted at July 18, 2005 8:58 AM

Wednesday (and everybody else, too, I guess) -

Yes, the franchise has recieved a great deal of protection, and no, it's not the forum administrators' jobs to play Spoiler Police in this manner (although a warning might be a nice courtesy for a little while, so that people know what they're walking in to when they click on this thread - that's your and Eric's call, of course). In fact, it might even be argued that guidelines on what parts of certain stories can be discussed are out of place in a forum dealing, largely, with the criticism and analysis of stories. I'm with you up to there.

That said, there are accepted rules of internet etiquette (let alone life etiquette) regarding plot details for works that have yet to penetrate the culture to an extensive degree. These include posting spoiler warnings - a concept I should think would be familiar to most anybody on the 'web who deals with stories of some form or another. And saying that this or that "spoiler" is no longer a spoiler because it has already been posted on another forum doesn't really hold much water when the work in question has only been publicly available for a few days. Some of us intentionally avoid fan sites and the like while a work we're waiting for is about to come out, in order to keep the palate clear and avoid situations like this.

To sum up, I think there's been a violation of etiquette here, and I regret that the people I've turned on to Websnark might have their reading of this book tainted, in whatever degree, by what they read on this site. I'm not out for blood, but I would appreciate it (as would a lot of people, I feel) if djcoffman would tender an apology for his violation of protocol.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 18, 2005 9:15 AM

I echo Wednesday's post on this -- and no, I'm not taking the comment out. There's a solid policy about such things -- I would need permission from Coffman to remove the comment.

However, I've changed the snark to warn that there's a spoiler in the comments.

And yeah, I'm sympathetic to siwangmu. I honestly am -- but there's still a "no insulting each other" policy in effect here. Weds already gave the appropriate warning.

She also mentioned that Coffman's comment was... well, rude. And that's certainly one word for it. She also mentioned it's not really the place (and shouldn't be the place) for fora administrators to police the web for violations of etiquette or spoiler warnings, and that's true too.

However... I also think that rather bluntly spoiling what is clearly meant to be a shocking moment in the sixth book of a seven book series is a pretty mean thing to do. And I'm not entirely sure why someone would be that mean for, essentially, no reason at all. I mean, not liking Harry Potter or Harry Potter fans really isn't good enough. These books only come out once every two to three years -- we can't give those fans one weekend before we start in with Internet CynicismŮ?

I don't want to border on breaking my own rule (being banned from my own forum would be embarrassing), but I will admit this whole thing surprised me and embarrassed me, and I'd really appreciate it if it didn't happen again.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 10:39 AM

I want to apologize--in my wonderfully clear thinking, I forgot that one major effect of my rant was that I deprived anyone else of a chance to be an asshole. Seriously, though, I humbly submit to the warning and I'm sorry I made trouble. I do think that the worldwide release thing is tempered by the fact that it's a book, not a movie, but I agree that asking you two to play policeman of etiquette for released media or to remove comments is too much. I'm really just gratified that there's a spoiler warning up there now which will hopefully save anyone else wandering over it.

And... um... it felt really nice to see everybody saying they were sympathetic, so, er, thanks. (And for the record, I'm a girl--not a big thing, just funny how you forget that prose can be non-gender-marked like that)

To sum up:

(1) I'm sorry I was a dick and knowingly broke the one and only rule, forcing you guys to come and be discipline-y.

(2) I'm very, very grateful there's a spoiler warning up.

(3) I'm also grateful that you were both so understanding (and to those who posted after me and expressed sympathy)(also my sympathies to those who posted after me who are in the same situation).

Am I required to change "Aggro" to "Addto" on my Drama shirt when I get it now?

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 18, 2005 11:10 AM

Well, yes, it did have simultaneous worldwide release - about two days ago. I don't really think that's sufficient time to expect all interested parties to have read the whole thing. I may have stayed up all night reading it, but I'm sure I'm not a typical case.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at July 18, 2005 11:37 AM

Not that I care either way about Rowling's book series, mind you...

But if you can't trust random strangers on the Internet who are known for being firebrands about information on Harry Potter, who can you trust?

Also, remember that D.J. Coffman has his email up on his site if you really feel like flaming him to oblivion. There's no reason to call him nasty names publicly, when you can do it nice and privately.

I only hope people take the same consideration for me when I reveal big surprises in We Love Katamari later this week.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 18, 2005 11:47 AM

I can't believe I've gone to an Apple Store just to keep up with this thread. ^_^;;

SeanH: Well, yes, it did have simultaneous worldwide release - about two days ago. I don't really think that's sufficient time to expect all interested parties to have read the whole thing.

But I do think it's sufficient time for basic pivotal details to have hit assorted media, especially given the extent to which the secrecy has been played up all out of proportion.

And, fundamentally, DJ hasn't given an elaborate description of the circumstances of what happened, of how characters react to it, of how gracefully or melodramatically or whatever the author handled it.

marlowe: That said, there are accepted rules of internet etiquette (let alone life etiquette) regarding plot details for works that have yet to penetrate the culture to an extensive degree.

I think this is an odd way of phrasing it (not to mention slightly condescending). You can't throw a stone right now without hitting Harry Potter's cultural penetration.

Okay, that came out wrong. But you take my meaning.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 18, 2005 11:57 AM

I don't know what the solution to the spoiler problem is in the new global village pop culture, but I think you have to realize that spoilage happens even with the best of intentions. I had Citizen Kane spoiled for me when I was less than ten years old by Charles Schulz (you know the one I mean).

Not the same situation as this at all, I understand. Yes, it was a small thing for D.J. to do, just as it was a small thing for Lucy to do. Yes, it would've mattered much less except for the followup that validated it (Maybe D.J. thought no one would do that?). Yes, I was a wiseass in my followup ("Sheesh"), but I had seen D.J.'s comment when there were no followups yet and I refrained from posting my comment, till the damage had already been done.

Damage is too easily done. It sucks, but it's like what the Clarence Darrow character in Inherit the Wind says: "Gentlemen, progress has never been a bargain. You've got to pay for it. Sometimes I think there's a man behind a counter who says, 'All right, you can have a telephone; but you'll have to give up privacy, the charm of distance.'" That's the internet in spades, and it's new enough that a new equilibrium has not yet been reached.

As much as it sucks to have Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince spoiled, would you have given up the internet to keep it from happening? You may say, "I shouldn't have to," and you're right, but I suggest that's the choice you'll have to make when the last one comes out.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:02 PM

Weds, it's not that what Marlowe said can't be easily read that way, but I think it's possible that what he meant was that the plot details have yet to penetrate the culture, not the works themselves. I thinks it's a way of contrasting Darth's Luke's Father (which, at this point, is such basic cultural literacy as to make spoiler spacing it seems comical) with "fresh new leak on the set of such-and-such" spoilers.

And to continue with the Darth's Luke's Father thing, would it really make it better if someone didn't add the circumstances, reactions, gracefulness or what have you to their revelation of that fact if you didn't know it? Wouldn't you be a bit more concerned with that whole father thing? I'm not trying to be confrontational, just had thoughts.

I'm not entirely sure I understand the jokes about trusting the internet/a notorious firebrand, given that his post was immediately confirmed by two or three others.

Comment from: Black Dove posted at July 18, 2005 12:05 PM

Well, allow me to appologize for posting about Two Lumps in a Harry Potter thread, I know that is rather gauche.

That said, I'm thrilled for the Two Lumps team, and the future exploits of their nefarious feline (and the fat one, too). Few things are as good for the long term health of a creative endeavor as acheiving a sense of validation and fullfillment in your work, and these milestones can do things that no level of positive feedback from friends ever can, and so I am gratified to see this well earned recognition.

Two Lumps is one of the most consistant "hits" in my daily trawl; while only two or three times have I placed my gainfull employment at risk with outbursts, I can think of only.. 2 strips off hand which did not strike my funny bone during my trawl.

Well done indeed, Mr. Grant and Ms. Hynes (here we hope I have not place pedial appendage in vocal orifice), but please, refrain from the impulse to have Snooch eat House Hufflepuff into bankruptcy in book seven, to avoid a repeat of this debacle.

-D

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:12 PM

re: giving up the internet: sadly, the real moral of the story for me is that I better start being one of those midnight-read-the-book people (and marketing wins again), because it's either that or internet cold turkey until I've read/seen whatever, no more just judiciously avoiding the places that seem dangerous. I just hope djcoffman hasn't seen Serenity yet so I can still read websnark (River is made of chocolate!).

(I hope that doesn't come across as a personal attack, I don't want to cause more trouble)

Comment from: Mathron posted at July 18, 2005 12:13 PM

But I do think it's sufficient time for basic pivotal details to have hit assorted media, especially given the extent to which the secrecy has been played up all out of proportion.

I've managed, without any real effort, to have ignored any such spoilers thus far. Would that have held true for a few more weeks, before I borrow the book from a friend and read it?

I obviously can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. Given that there have been a number of others in this thread - just dealing with those who have spoken out about it - that have seemed to have also avoided spoilers, I don't think it is really fair to say that DJs post was justified or excusable.

Harry Potter might be overblown and widely heralded, but that doesn't mean that spoilers are commonplace or the norm, after all - especially for those who aren't seeking them out.

And, fundamentally, DJ hasn't given an elaborate description of the circumstances of what happened, of how characters react to it, of how gracefully or melodramatically or whatever the author handled it.

Nonetheless, it is a *major* spoiler. When I read the book, I'll have an overwhelming expectation hanging over me throughout. I am 100% positive that my enjoyment of the book will be lessened a great deal by this - and I am not even a hardcore fan.

I like the books. I appreciate what Rowling has accomplished in spreading a love of fiction (and fantasy specifically) in a generation of young children. They aren't anything I obsess over, but I enjoy them.

So I imagine it is magnitudes of order worse for those people that are serious fans, to stumble upon something like this. There are a lot of people who have a lot of emotions tied up in these works, and I don't think it is fair to dismiss the heartache for them over a spoiler like this.

Should you censor DJ's post? Well, no, that isn't the policy of the site. You've added a spoiler warning, which is a good attempt (though it failed in my case, as I had read the Snark earlier, and just skipped directly to the comments this morning.)

But at that same time, I don't think DJs post should be dismissed as harmless. It isn't a direct attack on a reader, sure, but it sure as hell is designed to be a harmful remark.

Its convinced me not to read Yirmumah, despite enjoying the comic on occasion (and I'm sure my loss of readership is insignificant and unimportant to DJ.)

In the end, its something that is going to be hurtful to the readership of Websnark, and potentially drive people away. I know I'm going to be much more hesitant to read the comments, despite generally enjoying them in the past. And in the end, I don't think that's something that is exactly helpful to the site.

...In further review of the comments, Eric seems to share the opinion that DJs post was pretty unkind. I suppose I'm more just lending my support that yes, there are people out there for whom this is a spoiler. Yes, Harry Potter has exloded throughout world culture - but that doesn't mean intimate details of the latest book are instantly known.

I'm not sure if it is due to personal dislike for the series, which is the sense I seem to get, but I guess I was just a bit taken aback by Wednesday's initial dismissal of DJs comments, and the continued statement that those details would already be known to all readers worldwide.

Comment from: Mathron posted at July 18, 2005 12:13 PM

---There was some quotes in the above post that didn't seem to quite succeed. The previewing system in this thing continues to thrive on my sorrows.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 12:18 PM

"I was just a bit taken aback by Wednesday's initial dismissal of DJs comments, and the continued statement that those details would already be known to all readers worldwide."

You have to remember, she's in Britain; it's probably a madhouse there for the release, and it probably follows you everywhere you look. Just guesses, really, but it would make sense to me.

Also, sorry to be every other post, here, but I think it's a sad sign of my addiction to this site that until Mathron mentioned a future reluctance to view comments, it had never even occurred to me to actually change my reading habits. Websnark: I can't give it up, even if it hurts me! There's a T-Shirt that would surely sell like hotcakes.

Comment from: marlowe posted at July 18, 2005 1:00 PM

Weds- Point taken about the overwrought prose there - I was trying to condense what I was trying to say without sacrificing accuracy, but seem to have failed to get my point all the way across. Siwangmu pretty much hit it on the head, in that I wasn't talking about the cultural penetration of Harry Potter in general, but the cultural penetration of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and its plot details in specific (I don't think we can say the newest book has penetrated the culture yet so much as splattered all over it like a ripe tomato thrown at a freshly-whitewashed house). There are twist endings with which familiarity is practically required for cultural literacy - you mentioned the endings of Star Trek 2 and The Empire Strikes Back, and I'd include Citizen Kane in there (sorry Paul!), as well as (tentatively, as modern examples) Sixth Sense and Fight Club.

But there are many movies and works of fiction with which I can't assume everybody who is culturally literate is familiar. The Usual Suspects has an awesome ending, but as a movie it's not as much a part of modern culture as The Empire Strikes Back is - thus I shouldn't assume that everyone I'm speaking with knows how it ends. Ditto with the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett, and they've been around for 30 years or so. That's why I was using such arcane constructions to make my point - I didn't want to sound like the only thing that mattered for the spoiler discussion was the fact that The Half-Blood Prince had just been out for 48 hours or so. Thanks for calling me on that and giving me the chance to explain myself.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 18, 2005 1:08 PM

In the future, if I do something crass like that, and someone wants to edit it, please, DO e-mail me. I may have considered editing my post out, if the thing I posted wasn't ALL over the damn internet and technorati (thats how I found out) -- Now, with the disclaimer, this is just a deliciously funny drama thread..

AWESOME! By the every time someone says "Fuck" to me, or calls me names, it only makes me STRONGAHHHH!

Also, being a close friend of JK Rowling, I won't spoil the TITLE of the next book for you, but I can tell you that Harry Potter dies.

That is all.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 1:32 PM

"I may have considered editing my post out, if the thing I posted wasn't ALL over the damn internet and technorati (thats how I found out)"

The logic of that statement is that your decision would hinge on whether the information is ubiqituous. You conclude in favor of ubiquity, but I submit to you the evidence of the thread full of unpleasantly surprised people who beg to differ with your conclusion.

Did you think we all knew? Either way, what was your intention when you posted? I'm honestly curious.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 18, 2005 1:38 PM

It's all over the Internet? Since the book came out I've probably spent about eighteen or so hours on the Internet, and this is the only place I've seen it spoilered (except on one forum dedicated to the discussion of the book, where it was hidden behind spoiler tags). Clearly I'm hanging around in the wrong (right?) neighbourhoods.

I don't know which areas of the Net Weds, DJC et al frequent that have given the impression that well, goshdarn it, just about every literate person in the English-speaking world knows how the book ends by now, but it's not true, as the number of annoyed people in this thread can attest. Had I let my sister read the book first, I would have had it ruined for me just now, and been a great deal angrier than siwangmu...

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at July 18, 2005 1:53 PM

If you were under the impression that it was already generally known, then why would you feel it needed to be posted here and spread it further? And I have to be honest: though I can only speculate as to your intentions, the starkness of the form in which it was posted read very much as though you were intentionally trolling.

When I'm looking to avoid spoilers on something, such as Harry Potter, I intentionally don't go looking for them: I don't read alt.fan.harry-potter, because I know some git will post "DUMBLEDORE DIES!!!" in the subject line, just like they did for Sirius Black last year; I don't read any book reviews or journal posts about it; I stick to places that I know to be "safe" until I've finished reading. Like, say, comments in journal posts that are discussing something that has nothing whatsoever to do with Harry Potter. I would expect most people of sense to do the same. When you post a message with no more content than "Dumbledore dies" in such comments, you're setting a boobytrap for those people. It's terribly impolite.

Comment from: Pooga posted at July 18, 2005 1:55 PM

I will preface this by saying that when I last read this thread, it was still all about Two Lumps and KeenSpot (STrRedwolf had posted about there being no official word on the Spotting on Two Lumps yet). Today Eric's spoiler warning was already up, so I entered the thread knowing that doing so would possibly reveal something about the latest Harry Potter book.

Mostly, I was curious as to what could have caused the warning. I've read all the books except the latest, and am something of a fan of the series, but it's not one I'm especially attached to. I had been actively avoiding most of the major news stories about the book release, not to avoid spoilers but because I try to avoid media circus events. I didn't actively avoid the fan sites where spoilers might have been revealed because I don't visit those sites to begin with. Even being in the middle of the US, and on the web a fair bit this weekend, the most I had picked up was that "another character dies in this book, only this time it's really a major character, unlike last time!" That I got from my brother who read the book. So yes, it is definitely possible for someone in the English speaking areas of the world to have not heard about this.

Actually, going into the last book, which I did several weeks after it's release, all I knew was one of the characters died. Way back when I saw Empire Strikes Back, about a month after it's release (to avoid the crowds), I knew there was supposed to be a surprise at the end, but I hadn't heard what it was, if I recall correctly. I may be mis-remembering how long after the release I saw it, but I know it was well after most of my friends had seen it, and I still didn't know going in what the surprise was.

In the past, when I've dealt with spoilers on the Internet, either it was in individual forum threads where the title made it clear that the discussion was about the subject potentially spoiled, or some form of spoiler warning was given (such as is now the case here). When those rules of etiquette haven't been followed, even minor spoilers for things with much smaller fanbases than Harry Potter have erupted in nasty flamewars.

I doubt this incident will make me hesitant to read the comments on Websnark, if only because after the backlash from this one, I think there'll be more care taken to avoid this kind of thing. I will say that Wednesday's perceived apathy to siwangmu's reaction, reinforced by her repeatedly defending D.J.'s spoiler as a non-revelation because of the prevalence of Harry Potter news in her own media sphere, has lessened my opinion of her somewhat. I think Eric had a better understanding of the situation and how to handle it. Sometimes, spoilers happen, especially in open forums. Retroactively adding a spoiler warning to the snark fits with the stated rule about not deleting entries while still giving readers a heads up as to what they might come across. Plus, while correctly scolding siwangmu for violating posting rules, he also showed more understanding for her feelings.

I'm still left wondering what D.J.'s motivation was for posting that here. With Rob's post about fake spoilers, I could see D.J. posting it as a fake spoiler, not realizing it was (or believing it could be) true. Other than that, I really can't see any valid reason for posting that here in the way he did. Unless he's already posted an explanation (which he might have, I type slow), we're left with speculation.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 18, 2005 2:04 PM

I will say that Wednesday's perceived apathy to siwangmu's reaction, reinforced by her repeatedly defending D.J.'s spoiler as a non-revelation because of the prevalence of Harry Potter news in her own media sphere, has lessened my opinion of her somewhat.

Well, it is easy to overgeneralise from your own sphere. Friends of mine are continually surprised that I'm unaware of $internet-phenomenon, whereas I remember as a twelve-year-old being amazed that none of my peers knew about Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Comment from: Pooga posted at July 18, 2005 2:07 PM

... and once again my longwindedness has put me behind in the conversation.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 18, 2005 2:26 PM

... and once again my longwindedness has put me behind in the conversation.

Do you know that, when you click the preview button, the comments below the preview are refreshed? That way before you click post you can check whether there are new comments since you started composing.

Comment from: Pooga posted at July 18, 2005 3:00 PM

Do you know that, when you click the preview button, the comments below the preview are refreshed?

Yeah, I know. The problem with that is that I don't use the Preview here, unless I'm doing a significant amount of hand-coding in a post, and don't want to miss an open tag. Since the Preview format doesn't properly show paragraph breaks, I usually rely on proof-reading what I've written in the text box. I'm not more likely to spot spelling and gramatical errors in either format, so I skip the step.

Comment from: mojofrojo posted at July 18, 2005 3:00 PM

Whats funny to me is that DJ aint the first one to spoil it for me. The webcomic "walking is still honest" Spoiled it for me THe day it came out! and even had the balls to list the darn page number. But hey, whatever. Webcomics bring up topical information on a daily basis. And it dosent take away any of the drama in the book as miss wensday has stated. Though I think think Dj should apoligise, or at least draw himself with cobra vemom in his eyes. *spak! spack!*

Comment from: Suzanne posted at July 18, 2005 5:08 PM

Dear DJ,

I &hearts you forever. Can I have your "horrible", "massive", "twat"-like internet babies?

You are most excellent.

-a fan

Comment from: larksilver posted at July 18, 2005 6:00 PM

At the risk of further adding to the drama..

Wait. I was all set to post a bunch of stuff to further illustrate just how inappropriate the spoiler was in this forum, in this thread, and on someone else's site. You want to spoil it? Use your own forum, dude. duh.

But... I find I just don't have the heart to go into it, especially as reading through DJCoffman's response to the PRIOR posts, I don't sense anything except someone sitting back enjoying the drama they've created. Oh, look. Isn't that troll behavior? sheesh. Anyway. Hope you enjoyed it, dude. Really. Hope it was worth it for you.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 18, 2005 6:39 PM

Suzanne: May I ask for your take on the situation? I'm curious as to what reading makes Dj come out seeming heroic.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 18, 2005 7:35 PM

It was delicious fun. Thank you.

Comment from: mckenzee posted at July 18, 2005 10:41 PM

For the record, as of yesterday Jennie was still thrilled about getting 'Spotted but is not sure when that will happen. Seems there is paperwork involved.

Comment from: unliz posted at July 18, 2005 11:14 PM

I don't know that I'm really able to properly comment on this, since I got bored reading the first page of the first Harry Potter book and have since never picked up another one nor watched more than a half an hour of any of the movies (and then only because my brother was watching it, I'm pretty sure it was the third one but I'm not sure. Which one had Azkaban Prison?) so that makes me pretty weird as far as internet geeks go.

I do think that DJ's spoiler thing was inconsiderate, but I also think it's something to expect from him. He's just that kind of person (personally, I think it's funny but then I already more or less knew-again, never read a book and don't seek out the information). I had The 6th Sense spoiled for me in a Star Wars chat room. The guy just said, "Hey, anyone who hasn't seen the 6th Sense leave now." then the next minute said "Bruce Willis is really dead." From that, I learned not to expect other people to keep secrets to themselves. Especially on the internet. And avoiding specific places isn't always going to be good enough. For the record, The 6th Sense still scared the unholy hell out of me.

To summarize, yeah it was a jerky thing to do, but I don't think DJ has ever made any secret of the fact that he likes being a jerk. I've never read Harry Potter. M. Night Shyma-shama-something makes creepy movies. The end.

Comment from: marlowe posted at July 19, 2005 1:20 AM

*shrugs* I just don't feel that "it's his nature to be an jerk, so don't sweat it and avoid his comments in the future" is a sufficient response. This site isn't constructed to make it obvious who a poster is before their text appears, and at any rate, people who haven't come to this site before probably don't know to expect that djcoffman would do something like that. I know that in the past, while passively reading comments, I haven't taken much note of who was the author of a particular statement unless it impressed me in some way. You're right in terms of the actual solution to the problem - I'm going to avoid reading coffman's comments in the future if there's any upcoming media event about which I want to remain in the dark, and the best thing to do about this whole affair is just forget about it and move on. It's not worth freaking out over. It's just a shame that he can't see his way clear to tender an apology when folks were obviously upset by his comments. But that's life on the internet for you, I guess.

Anyway, barring unforseen events, I'm closing up shop on this post. I hope everybody's recovered from the shock and consternation, and I'll see you all around.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 19, 2005 1:33 AM

I've posted my official apology here: http://www.yirmumah.djcoffman.com/?p=97

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 19, 2005 3:49 AM

It's funny... someone posted in response to your thing there that it's personal, at this point. If they're not misreading the situation, then I really love the fact that you are apparently the injured party here, having had all us bad people going off on you for something as innocent as--yeah, that's not leading anywhere good.

Look, I've made a good faith effort at a couple of points here to find this out, and I'm going to try again because I'm stupid like that. Drop the sarcasm net for one second if you can, please, because I'd honestly like to know what you are really getting out of this. Is it that you thought we all knew already and you are now just playing the only role that's left to you by running with the "jerk" persona? Are others right that you just hate fans of this or anything? Are you trying to Andy Kaufman us? It's pretty strange, because for a second when you first reacted to all of us blowing up it sounded like you considered it a bad thing to have done, referring to it as crass and seeming glad the spoiler warning was put up (I think), and, uh, now you're selling the T-shirt. Theoretically that won't get out until even more of the populace that cares gets to read the book, so... that's... good, I guess. I'd just really like to know what's going on for you here.

Comment from: Kris Gibson posted at July 19, 2005 10:08 AM

Before this post, your web drama had no impact on me. I liked to check in and read your posts, mostly to see how you were doing. Now I feel completely in the thick of it ; thank god I finished the book before I checked in. It's sad to realize that a few of your readers are not only cynical, but also mean.

Thanks for printing the spoiler warning....hopefully other Harry Potter fans were too busy reading to check your site before the warning went up...

Your sis

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 19, 2005 11:55 AM

Explaining myself, and you can like the explanation or not:

I'm sick of hearing about Harry Potter, and the THICK glut of over-media exposure... HARRY POTTER EVERY FUCKING WHERE... even posted OFF TOPIC in a comments section that had nothing to do with Harry Potter.

So the only thing that came to mind... "DumbleDore Dies. That is all."

And honestly, if that ONE line ruined the entire book for you, you have a SERIOUS problem and shouldn't consider yourself ANY kind of actual BOOK reader. Hell, not like I said WHO the half blood prince was, or the other DRAMATIC PLOTS in the book.

Think about what "I" did.. and how you responded in such a tone. Frankly, that makes me laugh. And I thought I'd amplify the hatred by putting it on a t-shirt. Not to make money, I may only sell like 6 to cover the order.

But like good ol' Eric Burns said... this place AGGROS Drama!

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 19, 2005 1:17 PM

I'm not an "actual book reader"? Should I get rid of all my books, then? Throw out the Philip K. Dick book I'm halfway through? What, apart from reading books, does one have to do to be an "actual book reader"? Unless "actual" referred to "book" rather than "reader", in which case: which books are "actual" books, and which books are mere shams of books, pale reflections? Can we have some kind of objective set of criteria for this, please? I'd be surprised to find out I'd been reading magazines and pamphlets all this time.

So... you don't like Harry Potter's media over-exposure (I agree that it's out of hand), so you take it out on Harry Potter fans (it being our fault; we all work in the media)? I see. Lovely.

I hated Titanic. During its heyday, and when it won Academy Awards, I refrained from kicking people who liked it in sensitive places. I think Big Brother is moronic garbage, but despite its continuing popularity and media exposure, I haven't vandalised the houses of its fans. I don't see what's so very difficult about not lashing out at people who like things you don't like.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 19, 2005 1:24 PM

DJ--

The problem is, this isn't a minor detail of one book we're discussing. It's a significant event that has been built for six books. There is tremendous emotional investment for a solid fan of a book series for the events that take place in a series like this, and there are a lot of solid fans of this series.

It comes back to pacing. Dropping back to the webcomics world, execution refers to how a specific day's comic strip sets itself up and executes its individual point -- be that a punchline or a story element. Pacing is how those story elements and punchlines progress over weeks, months or years. In particular, there is a buildup of potential through every successive strip, building to a monumental payoff.

The half-blood prince, whoever he is, isn't particularly relevant to the discussion. That's the execution of that particular book. I submit to the long time fans of the series, it's a far less important detail than the fate of one of -- if not the -- most important secondary characters from the very first book on. The fans know Dumbledore. They have expectations from him. They have investment in him.

A major character's death like this is a tremendous release of that paced energy. A blunt spoiler like yours derails that energy -- and yes, that means it gets expressed instead as hatred and drama towards you. However, it's also a monumental disservice to the fans of the series and to the writer.

I said it before, and I'll say it again -- it's a mean thing to do.

Your explanation comes down to the fact that you're sick of Harry Potter. Well, like I said up above... it's only every couple of years -- sometimes as many as three -- between book releases. It seems to me that we can cut them some slack. Especially since we all have those things that mean a tremendous amount to us, that other people think is overexposed, or played out, or even stupid.

(Yes, including you. If I remember correctly, you guys did five solid weeks of Star Wars strips over on Yirmumah. Five solid weeks.)

I personally don't much care about Harry Potter. I tried it, and I failed to get into it. But I can understand why a sudden, random spoiler of one of the watershed moments of the seven book series would piss people off. If you just think that makes it more funny, then I guess you're not the guy I thought you were.

Comment from: flemco posted at July 19, 2005 1:56 PM

I'd like to thank all those who congratulated us.

I'd also like to give a "WTF" glare to all those of you clogging up this thread with Harry Potter. I mean, seriously, do you hang out at funerals to discuss your upcoming vacation plans?

FEEL SHAME.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at July 19, 2005 2:04 PM

I'm somewhat curious as to what kind of guy you thought he was, Eric. I don't think that anyone who has seen DJ operate should be surprised by any of this.

I see where both parties have their points and their faults. To a large extent, I sympathize with DJ. Some of us, myself included, really couldn't give a flying fig about Harry Potter. We'd rather not see Harry Potter every time we turned around. One noteworthy situation came when the fifth book came out - one of the other execs on my site wanted to carry a review of the book. Again, we're a video game site - if it doesn't have anything to do with video games (and the inevitable EA POS game doesn't count until it actually comes out), we won't touch it. There's plenty of places on the 'net for HP fans to congregate - it really doesn't have to be everywhere.

With that said, it's not nice to have spoilers thrown in your face. Nobody likes it. Granted, I've learned long ago to get over it - you'd be surprised how many video game companies are willing to spoil their plot twists for me. There are plenty of ways to make it known to HP fans that they're getting annoying without resorting to them. Like casually mentioning that they've got enough of the internet to gush over Rowling's books.

HP fans didn't particularly care that they were annoying folks like DJ and myself by invading every corner of the 'net with Potter talk, just as DJ didn't particularly care that he was going to annoy folks as he posted spoilers. Sow the winds and you will reap the hurricane, as the bromide goes.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at July 19, 2005 2:21 PM

Not to tell people WHERE to post or anything, but yeah, you'd think if you could post your HArry Potter geeking out on a Harry Potter blog or forum-- not EVERYWHERE you post. It gets on my nerves.

I didn't think it would invoke such a reaction. I admit, the reaction has brought me laughter and now I know I've touched a sensitive nerd-nerve that I wasn't quite aware of.

Hell, I COULD have been making it all up, right?? I mean, did I REALLY spoil it?? Meh.

Comment from: Brandon E. posted at July 19, 2005 2:57 PM

I have no problem with what DJ did.

First of all, this is not the place to be discussing Potter. Stay on the topic of the original blog post.

Second, I doubt it will really make the book less enjoyable. If you can't enjoy the book because of this little spoiler, you really should put the book down and go do something your feeble brain is more comfortable with.

Granted, I'm biased towards his point of view, as I am forced to wade through countless pages of Harry Potter crap whenever I hop online. I know way too much about the series for never reading any of the books or seeing any of the movies. His spoiler made me laugh out loud.

I even gave the series a try. People were talking about it, I was curious. I picked up the first one and couldn't force myself to wade through the middle school social drama bullshit the book was packed with. I can see a kid enjoy the books, I can't understand how anyone over the age of 15 can stand it.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 19, 2005 3:00 PM

I don't think D.J. is going to be persuaded that he did anything wrong. I can't tell whether he's been persuaded not to do it again. I wish there was a way to know how he'd feel if it had been the penultimate of his favorite overhyped series of books, and Krahulik or Rosenberg posted here and spoilered the mentor's death.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 19, 2005 3:10 PM

After I hit post and read the new comment posted while I was composing, I realized I was missing the point just as much as those who have come out in support of D.J. are. The problem with what D.J. did, and the reason why Eric was tempted to blow his own rules in response, is that what D.J. did was unfriendly. It was worse than that, it was (as Eric has said, twice - d'oh) mean. D.J. justifies it on grounds of experience all over the internet and some agree with him, but meanness visited on you elsewhere doesn't constitute your right to visit it on others here. That's part or most of what Eric's been saying, and he makes the rules.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 19, 2005 3:44 PM

"First of all, this is not the place to be discussing Potter. Stay on the topic of the original blog post."

Hi there. My name's Eric. I pay the bills around here.

I have one rule. One rule. That rule is "don't go insulting each other. You can insult me, because I pay the bills around here. You can't insult each other."

That rule, you may or may not have noticed, does not include "stay on the topic of the original blog post."

This was very intentional on my part. See, I don't see this as a forum. I see this as a blog. An extended conversation. And, sometimes conversations drift off topic. And -- let me emphasize this -- I'm okay with that.

Note also -- I've mentioned I found what D.J. did to be mean. However, we didn't issue a warning on this topic when he did it. D.J. didn't go and rag on anyone.

People did rag on D.J. And so Weds issued a warning. "Don't insult each other," she said. She also mentioned that neither she nor I are particularly interested in being the Spoiler Patrol. I agree with everything she said.

I came on later, and I chose to edit the post to reflect the spoiler. And I'll admit -- that annoyed me. It still does. And so I expressed that annoyance, and I still am. But just because it annoyed me doesn't mean it was against the rules.

In almost every comments section -- not every one, but almost -- you'll find the topic drifts. Sometimes it stays close, sometimes it doesn't. There are natural -- and un-dick-like -- ways to steer conversation. For example, in this thread, someone who's tired of Harry Potter could have, oh, I dunno, talked about the value of Keenspot or the righteousness of Two Thumbs, or disagreed with others on them. You can also, somewhat more crassly, say something like "Hey, you have an internet full of Harry Potter sites. Can we please have a Harry Potter free comment thread here?" And maybe people will listen and maybe they won't, but still.

If D.J.'s intent on posting the spoiler was to squelch Harry Potter discussion, well, mission failed. We're up to eighty-six comments and the vast majority are Potter related. If he was just trying to rile folks up and get them mad for his entertainment, then mission succeeded. They've danced him a great little tune. But there's really no way what he did served to teach those Harry Potter fans a lesson, and there's no way it served to help suppress discussion on it.

In the end, it was just a balloon puncturing. And when it became clear that people really were upset, he made up tee shirts.

Which, by the by, is where the "he's not the man I thought he was" comment came from. See, I've seen D.J. on the internet for months now. I like D.J. And yeah, he does stuff like this. But when it becomes clear that people are honestly upset -- that the joke turned south -- D.J. generally backs off a half step and says "sorry. Didn't mean to actually cause bad feelings."

And that's a little disappointing, is all. Will he care? Probably not.

In the end, I don't care if you love Harry Potter or hate it. I really don't. And I'm not going to ban anyone or lock the thread unless there's full on insulting of each other going on. However, to be perfectly blunt, I wish this crap hadn't happened on my "Two Lumps" post. Because I didn't spoil Harry Potter, and I resent having to deal with the fallout over it.

(Oh, and for the folks who wanted to know why Weds didn't edit the post to put the spoiler warning up when she saw the spoiler -- she's not supposed to. I don't edit her posts except if I notice a spelling or grammar problem, and she doesn't edit mine except for the same reasons.)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at July 19, 2005 4:24 PM

See, Eric, we're talking about the same guy who's earned a reputation as trouble on the forums for The Daily Grind. Not saying he's right or wrong for that, but seriously, this is nothing at all new to him. Well, the shirts are, but only because he actually sees enough of a market of people like him and myself to make money, for once, off of one of these episodes (and no, I did not buy a t-shirt - the last thing I want is to attract the HP echo chamber wherever I go).

I expect there are plenty of disappointed people all around this one. I'm personally wondering how many people are disappointed in me for not coming down on one side or another (despite the fact I've taken shots at both).

Ah well, look on the bright side, Potter fans. DJ didn't ruin the seventh book for you. Ursula K. LeGuin did when she wrote "A Wizard of Earthsea." Which will invariably be shorter than the last book by at least 600 pages. Send your complaints to rhealey@geddes.bu.edu, not to the snark.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at July 19, 2005 4:52 PM

I:[M]eanness visited on you elsewhere doesn't constitute your right to visit it on others here. That's part or most of what Eric's been saying, and he makes the rules.

Eric:I have one rule.
One rule. That rule is "don't go insulting each other. [...] Note also -- I've mentioned I found what D.J. did to be mean. However, we didn't issue a warning on this topic when he did it. D.J. didn't go and rag on anyone. People did rag on D.J. And so Weds issued a warning. "Don't insult each other," she said.

I stand corrected. I apologize if it seems like I was trying to speak for you because I totally was.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 19, 2005 5:08 PM

Brandon E.: if you don't read the books, please don't tell those of us who do what we should and should not enjoy about them. I don't tell Eric what we should like about Justice League Unlimited. You calling it a "little spoiler" shows exactly how little you know about the books - it's a little spoiler like Vader being Luke's father is an insignificant plot detail.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 19, 2005 5:31 PM

If you replace "we" with "he" in the second sentence of my last comment, it will make sense. Hopefully.

Comment from: Flower of December posted at July 19, 2005 7:31 PM

If you think mentioning that series of novels in a websnark comment thread about Keenspot is excessive encroachment of it into all popular culture entertainments, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Try googling the phrase "zombie sex orgy"

Comment from: theusual posted at July 19, 2005 8:48 PM

Against my better judgement, I did Google "zombie sex orgy." I'm not sure what weirds me out more; the fact that the search turns up four links or that one of those four apparently has nothing to do with the Harry Potter thing.

Although the more often I hear the phrase "zombie sex orgy" in my head, the more I like it. I may have to start using it in regular conversation.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at July 19, 2005 10:04 PM

Look, I'm telling you, that top result is just completely unacceptable. Nothing but malicious untruth.

The MPAA hasn't issued an X rating since 1990.

Comment from: marlowe posted at July 19, 2005 10:43 PM

Okay, I'm actually laughing out loud at this one. Unfortunately the Great Firewall of China won't let me on the actual geocities site, but the description is more than enough.

Dude. Awesome.

Obviously, by the way, I consider zombie sex orgies to be unforseen events.

(Oh, and just for the record - I have recently reached what alcoholics call a moment of clarity. If the book is good, it doesn't matter if I know what the ending is. I know how Hamlet and Othello end, but that doesn't mean I love them any less. Harry Potter isn't on the level of either by a sight, but I'm going to enjoy it just fine. Doesn't mean I don't think DJ was being rather petulant above, and isn't being so still, but again, that's life on the 'net for you.)

Comment from: gwalla posted at July 20, 2005 12:53 AM

To all of the people arguing that what DJ did was mean or impolite: yes. Anyone who is capable of being persuaded (yet needed to be persuaded without coming to that conclusion on their own) has been. But DJ is not among them.

He is apparently of the "The Internets* Is A Harsh Mistress" persuasion, like the Something Awful goons and the /b/tards: people who believe that the Internet is inherently hostile, that it is imperative to have a thick skin with regards to everything, and that any sort of negative emotional or visceral reaction to whatever stimulus is a failure to be sufficiently jaded. Actually taking a positive interest in anything is strictly verboten. To people like this, "politeness" and "common decency" were obsoleted by TCP/IP, and trolling is a way of life.

*also spelled "Intarweb"

Comment from: Aerin posted at July 20, 2005 2:28 AM

Sure, it was a spoiler. It was also common sense. There was no way that Dumbledore COULDN'T have died. As someone posted way up there, Harry must stand alone against Voldemort, and that means Dumbledore has to be out of the picture. Part of the Hero's Journey is the death of the mentor. Look at two of the major fantasy epics of our time: Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Obi-Wan and Gandalf. (Even Qui-Gon, if you count the new trilogy.) 'Nuff said. Hell, I figured it out when I read the table of contents. Chapter titles are dead giveaways. Didn't mean I didn't enjoy the book, and that the way it ultimately played out wasn't shocking.

This does beg an interesting question, though: how long can a spoiler be considered a spoiler? It's a debate that came up recently when IMDb posted a truly terrible spoiler about Serenity on the trivia page. Now, the piece of trivia contained interesting information that I enjoyed as a film geek, but it was also staggeringly specific. How long should one reasonably expect to see all discussion of the book sheltered behind SPOILER tags? It's an intriguing dilemma, because there must be a point at which you assume that anyone who cares has already read/seen it.

Many people I know underwent a complete media blackout until they finished the book. Hell, I did. If you want to completely avoid spoilers, it's safest not to talk to anyone who's read/seen it, and that pretty much means no internet until you're done. Venturing to places of public discussion, whether in forums or someone's blog, is done at your own risk if you don't want the book ruined.

Comment from: SeanH posted at July 20, 2005 3:48 AM

Aerin: people are going to special effort to ruin this one for people, though. Mitch Clem had it spoiled for him by somebody's avatar on his message board, and I've seen LJ user icons with the spoiler and page reference.

Comment from: Aerin posted at July 20, 2005 3:56 AM

SeanH: Which is why I'd recommend a total media blackout. I didn't do anything online other than check my work e-mail until I finished the book this evening. No webcomics, no LiveJournal, nothing that might remotely contain a spoiler. That way the only people who might spoil it are real-life friends and co-workers, and they're much easier to beat to a bloody pulp then people online.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at July 20, 2005 4:28 AM

DJ: Thank you for responding. Even if I don't agree with you, it does help me understand where you were coming from.

"I'm sick of hearing about Harry Potter, and the THICK glut of over-media exposure... HARRY POTTER EVERY FUCKING WHERE... even posted OFF TOPIC in a comments section that had nothing to do with Harry Potter.

So the only thing that came to mind... "DumbleDore Dies. That is all."

And honestly, if that ONE line ruined the entire book for you, you have a SERIOUS problem and shouldn't consider yourself ANY kind of actual BOOK reader.

"

Okay, you're sick of Harry Potter, so you lash out at HP fans, that makes a certain amount of sense... it's expecting that, when you lash out, no one is going to feel it that confuses me. If you thought the spoiler of little significance, there would have been no point in posting it.

"Think about what "I" did.. and how you responded in such a tone." As you can most likely guess, I was responding a lot more to the spirit of what "you" (as opposed to, perhaps, your evil alter ego?) did than to the severity. You didn't kill my puppy, sure, but you fucked something up for people and that was your express intention, and I don't love that kind of thing. The severity of the spoiler was explained beautifully by Eric, so I don't feel a need to go into that. That said, others should take note that I think DJ meant me specifically when he said "you responded in such a tone"--I flipped out and cussed at him in capital letters. He probably doesn't mean those of you who merely disagreed strongly with him.

My other serious issue is displayed best here:

"

HP fans didn't particularly care that they were annoying folks like DJ and myself by invading every corner of the 'net with Potter talk, just as DJ didn't particularly care that he was going to annoy folks as he posted spoilers. Sow the winds and you will reap the hurricane, as the bromide goes.

"

I am a Harry Potter fan, enough of one to be hurt by this, and I have in no way and to no extent participated in the annoyance you describe. I have not babbled about Harry Potter... anywhere, actually, and I hadn't even commented in this thread before the spoiler business, so I think I can safely say that your statement about "HP fans" is inaccurate in being incomplete. Since I wasn't part of the annoyance, it is even less appropriate to speculate on whether I cared about the annoyance I was (not) causing, and it is absolutely meaningless to claim that I have reaped what I... sowed? What the hell is the past tense of sow? ::cough:: At any rate, I hope upon reflection it will be clear that the above argument makes sense in vague theory but absolutely fails in reality, where innocents (read: like me, until I went all flame-war and lost many innocence points) were hurt by a bomb meant for... somebody somewhere who bothers djcoffman.

More DJ:

"

I didn't think it would invoke such a reaction. I admit, the reaction has brought me laughter and now I know I've touched a sensitive nerd-nerve that I wasn't quite aware of.

"

This gets the same mildly skeptical reaction from me that the above thing about not expecting it to be a big deal did; if you had thought it insignificant, it wouldn't have made much sense to post it.

"

Hell, I COULD have been making it all up, right?? I mean, did I REALLY spoil it?? Meh.

"

I hope it's clear from the context (wherein we all explained the reasons why it was swiftly obvious that your spoiler was true) that this was never seriously a possibility and that you are just making a strange joke.

Again, thank you for being willing to explain at my request, especially since I bitched you out; I do feel closer to understanding what happened, and now the only thing that puzzles me is why you lack the "nerd-nerve" about spoilers--goodness knows in my nerd-circle we get uptight about spoilers, but we could just be weird.

Aerin: the blackout thing is pretty much what I've concluded I have to do from now on, so consider me converted.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at July 20, 2005 11:16 AM

Siwangmu, if you really want to discuss this further, my email addy is in this thread and fifty million other places on the Internet. Take it there.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at July 22, 2005 1:31 AM

I'm just glad Webcartoonist vs. Webcartooonist warned me about the spoiler in advance. And also, I shouldn't be called a crappy reader (I'm to tired to get the exact quote) because I don't like spoilers.

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?