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Eric: Comics Nation -- no news here.

Hey all. I'm up to my throat today, but I've been getting some mail so I figured it'd be easiest to respond to it over the PA system instead of individual phone calls. So! Here we are!

Apparently, Comics Nation has vanished -- their URL suddenly redirecting to a placeholder page. As a good number of people first heard about it from me, they're wondering if I know anything.

I don't. In the wake of the controversy that erupted around it, and some of the things said then (and I really don't mean to rehash it), I ultimately decided to use other methods of backing up my reading list and take the time to rebuild my Safari Tabs. So I haven't been using it. Looking at it, however, it seems to me that either the domain was allowed to lapse, letting someone snipe it, or that they're having significant account problems and their hosting service has redirected to a placeholder in the meantime.

If someone knows or finds out more, and passes it to me, I'll pass it to you.

Peace, y'all.

EDIT: Taking a couple of seconds to run a Whois query shows the domain expired two days ago. I suspect that has something to do with it.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 27, 2005 10:53 AM

Comments

Comment from: John posted at October 27, 2005 11:33 AM

Are these the guys that were linking to authors who didn't want to be? If so, this could be very good news.

Comment from: John posted at October 27, 2005 11:37 AM

Also, in case they were thinking of shifting over the very similar (and, really, more accurate) domain name comics-nation.com (note the plural)...

Well, it looks like somebody just bought that too. *cough*

Not a great day for the Comics Nation guys.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 27, 2005 12:54 PM

The site has been back up as of this morning (8:00 A.M. EDT). No explanation on the front page, but my comic list is still there. Good. The other services I've tried (Comic Alert, The Webcomics List) just don't do it for me. No offense to Aerie et al.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 27, 2005 1:09 PM

someone came over to my site via them this morning... which implies that the site was up, but when i checked just now i got the same page as you eric.

I just messeged the two moderators. I'm sure we'll get their story in a few hours.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 27, 2005 1:20 PM

Michael -- it's not resolving for me, still.

This could be DNS propagation related on one side or the other, of course.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 27, 2005 1:20 PM

Michael -- it's not resolving for me, still.

This could be DNS propagation related on one side or the other, of course.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at October 27, 2005 2:09 PM

The site should be back up by tomorrow at the very latest, I believe. DNS propagation probably the main reason it would take a while, but that's just a guess.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 27, 2005 2:48 PM

According to Meeowth, one of the admin folks at COMIC-NATION

"It should be all back by tomorrow, or sooner."

I got that message from him earlier this morning. So, now there IS news, I suppose.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at October 27, 2005 3:01 PM

Lucas, Lyndon = meeowth.

Just thought that should be cleared up.

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at October 27, 2005 3:56 PM

Domain name renewals can be pesky things, says the fellow who has to deal with them all day as part of his job at a web hosting service. Even people who should know better can get confused by the way a website requires two different, separately-purchased services to be maintained. They get a domain name renewal warning and think, "Wait, didn't I already pay for this? Must be a mistake." And add to this the fact that allegedly automatic renewal can sometimes not be, and you've got a recipe for trouble.

The most annoying thing about domain name registration renewal lapses is that by the time you find out they've happened, you're still going to be down for 24-48 more hours even if you renew right away.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 27, 2005 6:01 PM

Are these the guys that were linking to authors who didn't want to be? If so, this could be very good news.

Ah, so you believe that no-one has a right to freedom of speech online? Excellent. I suggest you give yours up first. Voluntarily. To demonstrate your support of the cause.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 27, 2005 6:36 PM

Are these the guys that were linking to authors who didn't want to be? If so, this could be very good news.
Ah, so you believe that no-one has a right to freedom of speech online?

Read the relevant previous snark and comments here.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 27, 2005 6:37 PM

Technical foul, ten yards. Keep it civil, gang.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 27, 2005 6:50 PM

I am keeping it civil. John broke that rule, and didn't get so much as a warning. Never mind that he's now cyber-squatting. My point was that linking does not require the permission of the recipient, just like saying anything else (truthful) about someone. (Barring official secrets acts and such) Restricting linking requires abolishing freedom of speech, which John apparently supports.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 27, 2005 7:05 PM

Gang was collective, Egarwaen, not singular. ;)

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at October 27, 2005 7:34 PM

So, since people seem to be coming here for updates:

Apparantly the issue is complicated, and involves renewing the domain through a different hosting service than we originally used, since responsibility for the domain wasn't transfered when we switched hosts. Hopefully the site will be up by Friday, but it might not happen until Monday. In any event, there's really nothing to worry about, excepting webcomic withdrawl.

Comment from: iconoclast posted at October 27, 2005 7:38 PM

but my webcomic withdrawal is SEVERE, cthulu!

i hate not remembering the urls of some of the comics i read every day. :(

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at October 27, 2005 7:47 PM

I'm experiencing mild withdrawal myself, but at least I practice by occasionally leaving my computer alone for a few weeks...

Comment from: iconoclast posted at October 27, 2005 8:08 PM

heh, i should leave the computer alone. but the internets flow through my veins now, it would seem. i am addicted!!!11one

Comment from: lochinola posted at October 27, 2005 8:11 PM

Hey, y'all still have an IP address, don't you? If you post that, some of us can still get to you the old-fashioned way :)

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 27, 2005 8:41 PM

wow, lochinola, I would never have even thought of that. but personally... i am going through a bit of withdrawel myself.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at October 27, 2005 9:08 PM

Well, we all looked around a bit but, surprisingly, none of the admins actually has the old ip on hand. You would think someone, somewhere, has to archive these things, but apparantly that's not the case. I'm afraid were all stuck until the DNS thing gets sorted out.

Comment from: kilthmal posted at October 27, 2005 9:32 PM

I think this was God's way of telling me to do the four different projects due between friday and tuesday. Sorry, guys.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 27, 2005 10:32 PM

Egarwaen: You seemed to me to be unaware of the context of the comment which you commented on. If you were aware, okay. If you weren't, and aren't interested, okay. If you weren't and are interested, now you have a link. That's all I meant.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 27, 2005 11:39 PM

^ or maybe he just agrees with the comic-nation guys.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 28, 2005 12:04 AM

Technical foul, ten yards.

Mixed metaphor! That's a yellow card for high-sticking for you, bud.

Comment from: Rakishi posted at October 28, 2005 12:31 AM

Egarwaen: YouĖre free to link to anything you want, you my simply be acting like an a** if the person you're linking to doesn't want to be linked to (especially if they have compelling reasons for it). From a PR point of view, annoying the people on whom your service is based is never a good idea especially if what they say can influence those who actually use your service. For example, almost all search engines and archive.org can be blocked from caching/spidering your site using a robots.txt file. That is freedom; just because you can do something doesnĖt mean people canĖt complain when you do it. When people abuse the freedom they have itĖs quite often the case that said freedom isnĖt going to be there for much longer.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 10:01 AM

When people abuse the freedom they have itĖs quite often the case that said freedom isnĖt going to be there for much longer.

How is saying "There's a webcomic called Bar over there" abusing one's freedom?

you my simply be acting like an a** if the person you're linking to doesn't want to be linked to (especially if they have compelling reasons for it)

What compelling reason would they have? I can see no compelling reason to restrict my freedom to say "He's over there." It's not endangering anyone's lives, it's not costing anyone money, it's not telling lies, they're not deep-linking, they're not bypassing advertisements, they're not violating any copyrights or trademarks...

For example, almost all search engines and archive.org can be blocked from caching/spidering your site using a robots.txt file.

Yes, as a matter of politeness. However, these are bots that can consume a substantial amount of bandwidth, as they crawl and index the entire site, unlike CN's bot. This is also necessary as, otherwise, the operators of these sites could be accused of copyright infringement, as they copy and retain data from other sites.

From a PR point of view, annoying the people on whom your service is based is never a good idea especially if what they say can influence those who actually use your service.

How could a link be annoying to someone? Well, I suppose, if you don't want traffic, but there are better ways to accomplish that.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 28, 2005 10:36 AM

How could a link be annoying to someone?

This is where the context of the initial comment applies.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 28, 2005 10:36 AM

It's like if Something Awful linked to my site. I don't hugely want Something Awful visitors, and if Something Awful was linking me it's probably because they think I'm crap.

Are you saying that I shouldn't be upset that I'm apparantly associating with a site I don't want to be?

Comment from: John posted at October 28, 2005 11:03 AM

Egarwaen: I was simply asking for clarification. The problem was not with the linking; it was with the way Comics Nation treated an author who asked to be removed. Their behavior was outrageous, and I'm happy to be a thorn in their side where possible.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 11:06 AM

Are you saying that I shouldn't be upset that I'm apparantly associating with a site I don't want to be?

And that's the misconception right there. You aren't associating with anyone. Do you have the right to require that only people in the top 25% of income wearing business suits give direction to your store? Do you have the right to prevent movie critics from saying things about your movie? No and no. If the bum down the street gives directions to your store, are you "apparently associating" with him? Nope!

So why does this magically change when you move online? What is, fundamentally, different about me linking to a website that doesn't want me to link to it and directions to a store that doesn't want People Like Me giving directions to it?

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 11:15 AM

Egarwaen: I was simply asking for clarification. The problem was not with the linking; it was with the way Comics Nation treated an author who asked to be removed. Their behavior was outrageous, and I'm happy to be a thorn in their side where possible.

Even if you break the law in the process? Unless you actually put comics-nation.com to use for something directly related to the name, your purchase of it to prevent someone else from owning it could be construed as cybersquatting, which is quite illegal, and could get you in quite a lot of trouble.

As for how they treated the author... They apologized. Very loudly, in public. And got flamed for daring to apologize. More than they did for the initial comment even! That was what disgusted me. If the individuals involved had accepted the apology, I might've ranked them in the right. But since they flamed the comic-nation people for apologizing...

Of course, now I know not to do business with your employer, seeing as you used your work address to register the domain.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 28, 2005 11:52 AM

They apologized. Very loudly, in public. And got flamed for daring to apologize.

Were they? The flames I recall - and the requests not to be linked to - were for the behavior that was apologized for, not for the apology.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 28, 2005 11:58 AM

It's worth noting, just for the record, that all I'm being convinced of in this debate is that even mentioning Comic Nation on Websnark is a bad idea. It seems to grow acrimony in response.

(Not that I think Lyndon's been in any way acrimonious in this discussion.)

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 12:09 PM

Were they? The flames I recall - and the requests not to be linked to - were for the behavior that was apologized for, not for the apology.

If they were flamed after apologizing loudly in public, the only reasonable conclusion is that they were being flamed for the apology. Otherwise, why would you flame someone for behaviour they had apologized for very contritely? That makes no sense.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 28, 2005 12:13 PM

Egearwen:

How is saying "There's a webcomic called Bar over there" abusing one's freedom?What compelling reason would they have?

It doesn't matter what their reasons are. If a comic creator says "hey, please don't do that" then you don't. It's not abuse of your freedom if you link, unknowning of their preferences. It's an abuse of the freedom to link by continuing to do so after they ask you not to. It's just.. rude, as well.

If I were rich and famous (yeah, right), and a paparazzi camped outside my home for 3 days to catch a photo of me doing something that'd sell big, say, nursing my baby or makin' whoopie with his daddy, well now. It's a free country, right? They wouldn't be violating any laws, but they would be, in my opinion, abusing their freedom. Would it matter why I didn't want them to take my picture?

I'm not saying that the creator in question is a starlet, or that Comic Nation is paparazzi. The point is, if someone says "please don't" and you do anyway, because you can, it's just rude. My 3-year-old has better manners than that, at least most of the time.

Like it or not, the fallout from one moment of hasty rudeness has, as is evident here, forever smeared Comic Nation with bad PR. A shame, really, and hopefully a good business lesson for the future. They seem like smart people; they've been smacked about the head and face enough on this issue.

That said, it's just as rude to continue beating them up about it as the original instance was, don't you think? After all, it's not like the problem has continued. If I screwed up and spoke hastily (not like that's *ever* happened {insert sarcasm face here}), I would hope that the black mark would eventually be worn away by the good things I'd done in the mean time. Wouldn't you?

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 28, 2005 12:14 PM

Holy crap. I screwed the pooch on that html. sorry! Don't kill me, Wednesday! ... especially not with the fourteen marital aids! Death by Dildo is not in my life plan!

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 12:26 PM

It doesn't matter what their reasons are. If a comic creator says "hey, please don't do that" then you don't. It's not abuse of your freedom if you link, unknowning of their preferences. It's an abuse of the freedom to link by continuing to do so after they ask you not to.

So it's abuse of my freedom of speech if I say, to pick an example out of thin air, "Harriet Meirs is unqualified to be a supreme court justice" after she's asked me not to say that?

It most certainly is not abuse of anyone's freedom. If it was abuse of freedom of speech to say something someone had asked you not to say, and such "abuse" was just cause for censuring someone, no-one would be able to say anything at all.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 28, 2005 1:24 PM

It's a minor abuse, subject to proportionately minor censure. Wait, I already had this discussion this year.

Comment from: Freak posted at October 28, 2005 1:35 PM

From Egarwaen:
If they were flamed after apologizing loudly in public, the only reasonable conclusion is that they were being flamed for the apology. Otherwise, why would you flame someone for behaviour they had apologized for very contritely? That makes no sense.

ONLY reasonable conclusion? Isn't that a post hoc fallacy? Personally, I think the flaming was more related to Aerie's post.

Up to that point, the comment was viewed solely from one side; outsiders had no idea of the context. (For all they knew, Aeire may have been obnoxious enough to warrant that response.)

Shortly after the apology, Aeire posted her side; the CN guys acknowledged it as correct, and most readers thought that she had been reasonable and the CN ops were not.

(And being rude may be protected speech, but it's still rude. I don't think there's any legal cause for a person to block CN from linking to them, but if CN ignores those requests, they shouldn't be surprised at any hostility they receive.)

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 28, 2005 3:17 PM

So it's abuse of my freedom of speech if I say, to pick an example out of thin air, "Harriet Meirs is unqualified to be a supreme court justice" after she's asked me not to say that?

Nope. You can say whatever the heck you want to say. Voicing your opinion is a bit differentfrom being someone who provides a service, and having someone opt out of your service. Yes, using a link to someone's page who has specifically said "dude, no thanks" is.. well, it's akin to saying "nyah nyah, you can't stop me." Which, by the way, is a bit abusive by its very nature.

Private individuals get to do things that business entities don't. I, as an individual, for instance, can verbally smack people for stupidity anytime I feel like it. If I do so at *work,* however, I'm inviting censure, at the least, and termination at worst. It's a harsh reality; if you want good PR, you've got to give out better than you get to the world.

There's a reason that it's hard to find good customer service reps, and even harder to prevent them from experiencing burnout. People are often jerks, which is fine (icky, but not exactly WRONG).... unless you're representing something bigger than yourself. If you're at work, or trying to promote an organization, or otherwise part of something you want to be seen in a positive light by a community, you don't act like an ass. You just.. well, don't, if you don't want to experience the drama that's going on in this very post over this top.. again.

Perhaps, and we'll never know, the Comic Nation guys didn't act like buttheads. My point is that even the implication of this kind of thing can damage a company's reputation. Further, one real instance of poor business practices will forever slant public awareness of future events. C'mon, if Enron opened its doors again, and 10 years down the line someone said "they cheated!"... the knee-jerk reaction of most would be to name them guilty until proven innocent. Right?

As for rudeness... well, just because it's not illegal, or even because it's widely accepted (particularly in the demographic of Young Hothead Male who often populate the Internet), doesn't mean it's a good thing. It certainly does not promote good feeling or the willingness to help one another out; rather, the opposite is true. Which is a shame, given that the webcomics community really doesn't need any more devisiveness, or drama.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 28, 2005 3:34 PM

Nope. You can say whatever the heck you want to say. Voicing your opinion is a bit differentfrom being someone who provides a service, and having someone opt out of your service.

Totally wrong. The webcomic artists aren't the ones consuming the service, readers are. You opt out of the service by not using it to store your list of comics.

You're still sidestepping the basic point: links aren't what you think they are. Your argument relies on the linked-to is an active participant in the link; this is not the case. There's a reason why I can put in a link to a page without having to modify that page. It's no different from an employee of one store telling you you can find a specific item at another store. So unless you think you can ban that, or that that's rude, you have no case.

ONLY reasonable conclusion? Isn't that a post hoc fallacy? Personally, I think the flaming was more related to Aerie's post.

They apologized again after Aerie's post. And got flamed for it.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 28, 2005 3:55 PM

The thing is, the right to free speech doesn't cancel out consequences of one's actions, and whether those consequences are just or legal doesn't bear on whether one must deal with them. The people who continue/d to flame the Comics Nation guys were/are exercising their right to free speech too, you know. And Egarwaen's verbal support of the first set of guys is consequence of the second set's doing so, and so on, until everyone gets satisfaction or gets tired of it. Welcome to the internet!

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 28, 2005 3:57 PM

Motion: Whereas this thread is clearly going nowhere and is merely rehashing the arguments of a few months ago, with much of the attendant lack of civility

Be it resolved that this thread be closed.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 28, 2005 3:58 PM

Welcome to the internet!

Ooo! Is there porn, too?

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 28, 2005 4:32 PM

"Welcome to the internet!"

"Ooo! Is there porn, too?"

Sure is, but unfortunately I have a... personal problem preventing me from... properly appreciating it. If only there was some easy way to get medicine for it...

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 28, 2005 6:10 PM

Michael Nehora: I agree. I keep forgetting that trying to talk about rudeness on the Internet is.. well, insane. This thread has reminded me of it.

I should know by now not to comment on threads like this one.. and yet.. augh! It always turns into a case of someone saying "you're not listening" when we're clearly talking about apples vs. elephants, and not speaking the same language to boot.

That said..

Welcome to the internet!

Ooo! Is there porn, too?

Had me snorting out loud. thanks, Eric!

Comment from: iconoclast posted at October 28, 2005 7:23 PM

yay, porn!

*huzzah*

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at October 28, 2005 8:31 PM

Welcome to the internet!

Ooo! Is there porn, too?

. . . "too"?

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at October 28, 2005 10:18 PM

In my more cynical moments, I sometimes think porn is the only good thing about the Internet. But then I wise up.

And yes, I realize I'm commenting on a thread I'd suggested be closed, but since that ain't forthcoming, what the hell. :-)

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at October 29, 2005 1:31 AM

Gah, can't we all just get along? Or agree to disagree? Or have a few quick duels to the death and be done with it?

Eh, probably not. I never get to use my machete...

Honestly, though, no need to start arguments on our behalf. Really, if we wanted arguments about it we'd have them ourselves. We're argumentative people. I mean, if you want to argue about the fine points of hyperlink etiquette, fine. Just don't bring us into it. Please?

Anyway, sorry about the drama and such, Eric. At least you got a T-shirt idea out of the deal, right?

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 29, 2005 1:48 AM

Anyway, sorry about the drama and such, Eric. At least you got a T-shirt idea out of the deal, right?

I've been meaning to mention for a while now that I just about fell down an escalator at the Marriott during Dragon*Con when I saw someone wearing an "I Aggro Drama" t-shirt.

Comment from: lucastds posted at October 29, 2005 5:32 PM

Dragon*Con?

How many more cons exist in the world?

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 29, 2005 8:19 PM

Dude, I know of at least 60 anime cons in the United States alone (I myself staff one). I'd probably guess that fan conventions of all stripes number over 200 at least.

That figure, by the way, was pulled from the Department of Semi-Reasonble Guesses.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at October 30, 2005 12:33 PM

It's gotta be more than that, even. Scores and scores of Star Trek cons, handfuls of cons for Buffy and the like, plus at least one con for just about every TV show that was ever described as "cult".

And that's just TV.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 30, 2005 2:03 PM

My impression is that there are more general-interest sf cons nowadays than there were when I was a congoer in the 80s, just the fan-run ones. Why, then, there are none in Omaha - not even, as near as we can tell after three years, any fandom except Magic players - is a question that bothers me on more than one level.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 30, 2005 3:01 PM

Well, not that I not anything about Nebraska, but Omaha's Nuke-Con does seem to have lots of things besides Magic going on. Lincoln has Anime NebrasKon, I've found references to a sci-fi con in Nebraska called Concussion, and beyond that...

Wow, I actually know of more cons in Alaska than Nebraska. Nebraskan fandom has to get their act together.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 30, 2005 8:30 PM

32_f: Thanks for the leads. I'm not into anime or gaming, but this ConCussion looks promising.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at October 30, 2005 8:43 PM

Dragon*Con?

How many more cons exist in the world?

I'm not quite sure what you're saying here; but Dragon*Con, FWIW, is roughly three to four times the size of all but the very largest Worldcons.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 1, 2005 1:07 AM

So, on the off chance anyone is still paying attention to this, and remembers the original reason for Eric's post, CN is back up now.

That is all.

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