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Eric: General Stark makes you feel -- he's a cool exec with a heart of steel!

As Websnark evolves, and change comes into the air, it is natural that it will come under critical review of its own.

And yet, there is no honor so singular, no dream so great, as to have the Modern Humor Authority take notice of your efforts and render its judgement.

And so it is with Websnark. And yes, I realize that Mr. Lemon's baleful glare is finding us wanting, but one must take such things for what they mean.To have a critic of Mr. Lemon's stature even show that he has read our words is a compliment of the highest order. I mean, sure. He's no Lance Sharps. But who is? Even Lance Sharps is no Lance Sharps.

The question, of course, is how one responds to such a critique. I fear to make changes -- to make a change would be to invalidate the thesis, and to invalidate the thesis would be to urinate on Picasso's Guernica. It's not like I don't have urine and it's not like Guernica doesn't invite it, but that would still make it wrong.

So, who do you have to blow to get Isobel Rai Belpheger to notice you, anyway?

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 2, 2005 4:59 PM

Comments

Comment from: John posted at November 2, 2005 5:25 PM

Eric, I hate to say it, but -- he's right.

Most of us come her for the webcomic commentary. You're good at it. Fewer of us care much about Star Trek roleplay or old radio poles in Canada (yeah, that was Wednesday's, but whatever).

You'll tell me it's your site and all that, but the fact is you've now built an audience. And audience with expectations. It's not a bad problem to have. But you do have it. Might be time to acknowledge it.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 5:31 PM

Yeah.

Thing is, I'm going to write what I feel like writing. And so's Weds.

Right now, quite a few people come and read. And that's wonderful.

If less come and read, because they're not into it... well, I'm still going to write what I feel like writing, and so's Weds. And we're cool with that. Do as you will, and all.

None of which takes away from the sublime beauty, the almost Parkeresque beauty of Lemon's commentary.

Comment from: lucastds posted at November 2, 2005 5:40 PM

I dunno. Lemon's writing was a bit too conversational for my taste.

But I suppose everyone has their own style.

;)

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 5:44 PM

Besides -- if we change now? We're urinating on Guernica. URINATING ON GUERNICA!

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 2, 2005 5:58 PM

ewwww. no urinatin'. At least, not on Guernica, mmkay?

Thing is, aye, there are lots of people who come here, at least initially, for the comic commentary. BUT... after over a year of reading, and commenting, and cross-talk, etc., it stops being so much "content" as "conversation."

Sure, the snarks are stand-alone pieces by themselves, and they're terrific. But relationships, and dynamics, form, and that's almost as much fun (ALMOST!) as the snarks themselves.

I think criticizing the site on the basis of being a site about comics misses a significant bit of what makes the 'snark special. But, well, that could be just me. I've been the odd one out before.

Comment from: miyaa posted at November 2, 2005 6:04 PM

I just come for the occasional cookies and biscuits.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 6:08 PM

It's not the peeing on Guernica that's the problem. It's fitting the funnel and tubing to the harness and getting it all safely ensconsed in the boxer shorts that's the problem.

(It's not like they're going to put Guernica on the floor for my benefit. They don't pay us to do this, you know.)

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at November 2, 2005 6:10 PM

You'll tell me it's your site and all that, but the fact is you've now built an audience. And audience with expectations. It's not a bad problem to have. But you do have it. Might be time to acknowledge it.

That's really kind of an absurd statement, you know.

I mean, it is Eric's weblog. He didn't start it to provide webcomics commentary, and if people came here, saw all the webcomics commentary, and decided that webcomics commentary was what this weblog was all about, then they are hopefully learning the very valuable lesson that they don't get to make that decision.

Comment from: Lady Luna posted at November 2, 2005 6:14 PM

I registered just to post this.

I love websnark. I LIKED the bits about the pole, and hearing about Gossamer Commons and John Stark. But, at this point, I wonder if it might be more appropriate to have two blogs -- one for general websnarkery, and one just for comic critiques and critical essays.

Or that might be too much work.

It's up to you guys, this is your blog -- and if you want to write about Ethan Allen hating Statues? Your blog. You wanna write about projects you're working on? Your blog. You wanna write about webcomics? Your - well, you get the picture by now.

As far as I know websnark is a labor of love, so its up to y'all what you guys do with it.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 2, 2005 6:17 PM

I love Modern Humor Authority to an almost frightening degree.

Comment from: Will "Scifantasy" Frank posted at November 2, 2005 6:26 PM

Well, you can't please everybody. And if you try to, you end up pleasing nobody.

I have a number of friends whom I met through a USENET group. It's a group for Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, but as the series began dragging out fewer of us decided we still wanted to read. This has been mitigated some: the most recent book just released and it's good, and Jordan swears the next is the last, but still the point is solid...some were saying "Enough with the books, I'm sick and tired of it."

One of my friends made buttons for all of us which read "Librorum Veni, Populi Maneo Causa," or in English, "I came for the books, I stayed for the people."

Websnark is much the same for me. I came for the snarks, I stayed for the writing.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 2, 2005 6:27 PM

I mean, it is Eric's weblog. He didn't start it to provide webcomics commentary,
I thought he did? He had something like three blogs. One for webcomic commentary, another for personal things and a third for "oh look at a pretty picture of a dog" stuff?
and if people came here, saw all the webcomics commentary, and decided that webcomics commentary was what this weblog was all about, then they are hopefully learning the very valuable lesson that they don't get to make that decision.
Eric can post whatever he wants on his blog, that's his right as the author. And people get to criticize it, that's their right as the reader. That's all people are doing from what I can see.

Comment from: Rachel C. posted at November 2, 2005 6:32 PM

I also have registed just to post this counterpoint.

I found websnark through its webcomic commentary, yes. But I enjoy the non-webcomic posts, in general, more than I enjoy the "on-topic" posts. Eric's audience isn't solely made up of people who love his webcomic commentary - I'm here for the Star Trek and Justice League and occasional City of Heroes. That's why I read it. I'd probably stop reading it if those things stopped popping up.

As I said. A counterpoint.

Comment from: xbishop posted at November 2, 2005 6:38 PM

I've been reading for quite a while, and I've dropped a comment here and there, and I've got say I agree with Mr. Lemon. And I agree with Eric. Would I like to read more comic snarks? Sure. Do I want more snarks at the expense of Eric and Wednesday's quality writing? No. If that's not what you enjoy anymore, then so be it. I just know I miss it.

Comment from: kirabug posted at November 2, 2005 6:39 PM

Heh. Eric, you know you've made the big time when people are telling you (okay, asking you) what to write. Or at least, the big time for this corner of the internet.

Comment from: exit posted at November 2, 2005 6:40 PM

Why do people always forget how to scroll on the internet(s)?

Comment from: mckenzee posted at November 2, 2005 6:43 PM

Eric has never shown me a pretty picture of a dog.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 6:56 PM

I thought he did? He had something like three blogs. One for webcomic commentary, another for personal things and a third for "oh look at a pretty picture of a dog" stuff?

Not quite.

I had one for essays of substance. Essays that I thought would make a difference.

I have a Livejournal, for other stuff.


And then I have one that's for ridiculous things. The detritus of the web. "Look at the funny dog picture."

The fuck of it is? You're reading the funny dog one.

I gave up the essay blog. Easier to do it here, when the urge strikes. And the Livejournal's a livejournal.

Websnark? Is what I feel like writing, or what Weds feels like writing. You're welcome to read if you wish. And I like the ego boost of tens of thousands.

But I'll still be writing it when it's tens, and I'm not going to slant to keep the former from becoming the latter.

Just for the record. ;)

Comment from: Denyer posted at November 2, 2005 7:14 PM

This is a webcomics blog?

Er, I just enjoy the writing. And the writing about writing, whatever form that happens to take. The pretty pictures add some variety, sure, but I guess when it comes down to it I'm more about words than pictures.

Except with porn. Although there are stylish fonts out there...

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 2, 2005 7:31 PM

The fuck of it is? You're reading the funny dog one.
Now that's funny. Thanks for clearing that up.

As for people saying they like the non-webcomics stuff, I agree. I like the Star Trek stuff, not so much a fan of the Justice League stuff (so I don't read that). I also like the webcomics stuff (whether it be John Stark, Gossamer Commons, Something Positive, whatever). But there are also times when I don't like the webcomics stuff (such as whenever he use to mention Megatokyo). So yeah, I like it when Eric writes about stuff I'm interested in, not so much a fan of the stuff I'm not interested in ;) I'm not really bothered if the stuff I like is sci-fi or webcomics.

Comment from: Merus posted at November 2, 2005 7:38 PM

I recall reading some usability guidelines for blogs recently. One of the main points was that having a weblog about something is much better than having one little dumping ground for everything, because the audience that wants to read Eric Burns' writing will go visit all the blogs and the people who come for just webcomics will stick to the webcomics blog.

I mean, it's Eric/Weds' show, but this sort of criticism will keep coming back.

(Personally, I've found it's almost impossible to keep a dedicated essay blog. It's better to just have a straight writing blog for which you can write things, and if you have specific topics you think you'll regularly touch on, have that in a separate blog.)

Comment from: bartles69 posted at November 2, 2005 7:44 PM

I came for the snarks, I stayed for the writing.
How do you say "Snark" in Latin?
I found Websnark through its first link from PVP, long, long ago. Since then, Eric's infectiously enthusiastic writing has introduced me to several webcomics I might not have otherwise found. But although I enjoy Eric and Weds' comments on my favorite comics, I stay for their brilliant "A Day In the Life" observational essays. Where else can you read about Robert Frost and Emma Frost, about John Stark and Tony Stark, in equal measure and presented with equal respect?
I like that Eric and Weds write what they want.
If, as happens on occasion, they write about some topic that I don't care about, I can skip the article. (The TV censors always forget about the channel changer and off switch. The same applies to the web.)
So, keep up the good work. Keep writing what you want. I'll keep reading.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 2, 2005 7:48 PM

I'm just going to suggest that maybe people that don't like a particular post could just, you know, not read it and wait for something you do want to read to pop up on Websnark. There are dozens of threads I personally don't touch simply because I don't give a damn what Eric or Wednesday say about them. Not reading a given post is really easy to do. More people should try it.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 2, 2005 7:50 PM

I look at this way, Websnark is not a site for commenting on webcomics, but on geek culture as a whole. Web comics are part of geek culture, as is obsessing over CBC, and cartoons, and RPG, and all kinds of stuff. Go back through the archives and my guess is you'll find few, if any, posts that do not serve as commentary on geek culture.

And since Eric and Wednesday are geeks, and they are writing about what moves them to write, then the chances of them writing something that isn't about geek culture is pretty damn slim.

Comment from: Aufero posted at November 2, 2005 7:53 PM

*shrug*

I like Websnark the way it is. A dedicated webcomic-only blog wouldn't be as spontaneous, as entertaining, or (probably) update as often. In fact, I suspect we (the readers) get more talk about webcomics from the present format - when a blog becomes dedicated exclusively to a particular topic, it seems to remove the fun for the creators after a while, and when the fun goes, the updates go.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 2, 2005 7:57 PM

An idea just occured to me.

For those who only care about reading posts on webcomics, change your bookmarks to,

http://www.websnark.com/archives/webcomics/

That is the address for the 'webcomics' category. Eric and Weds are pretty good at tagging their entries accordingly and so you'll see all the webcomics posts, but not any of the other fluff.

Just an idea.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 8:04 PM

Merus: You're thinking of Jakob Nielsen's recent Alertbox on the topic.

The column was contentious at best. It doesn't explain, say, why Jason Kottke can do kottke.org full-time while Daring Fireball only manages a reasonable income supplement. It does a better job of addressing the needs of a business-oriented weblog, which *will* benefit from topic focus, than a purely hobbyist endeavour such as we have going on. Honestly, while he had some points, I got more that month out of Powazek's call to reward the vertical scroller with useful footer content.

Comment from: Shaenon posted at November 2, 2005 8:09 PM

Damn. Intervention time. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this, and that it wouldn't happen via some cranky guy with a rival weblog or whatever the hell the deal with MHA is (I admit I haven't been able to figure out what makes it all special and gifted, but whatever). Yet here we are.

Yeah, okay, Websnark was never totally about webcomics, and, yeah, it's your blog and you can do what you want. But I personally skip anything about roleplaying games or John Stark. And lately that seems to be most of the non-Wednesday portion of the blog. I'm sticking around for now, 'cause I know Wednesday's got some stuff cooking, but it's shaping up to be a long couple of weeks.

(The funny thing is, I would read John Stark, and happily, if it were just a regular feature on the blog, syndicated there without commentary. With the commentary, it annoys me. I'm all like, dude, surely somebody who isn't you did an interesting webcomic today. What about Achewood? Right now, Ray's making a photocomic about historical figures! That's your thing! Your thing that you do! Sorry, I've kind of gone off on a parenthetical tangent here.)

Yes, you should write about what interests you. But you know what happens to creators who ignore constructive criticism, argue for their right to not be entertaining or interesting, and eventually whittle their readership down to a small knot of hardcore fans who tell them everything they do is wonderful. You used to have a whole box of those guys on the upper right side of the screen there. I'm just saying.

Incidentally, if you know how to get that knot of hardcore fans, please tell me. I don't mind turning into a hack, and I've got some computer equipment I want people to buy for me.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 8:22 PM

Being a hack gets people new computers?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 8:35 PM

As before, once again.

Though it's worth noting our readership and bandwidth have gone up in the last few months, not down.

Which isn't why we're doing this. But at least so far it also isn't hurting us.

In the end... well, it's weird.

I don't consider this topic 'drama' or the like. Because... well, I just can't get worked up over it. We've gone over this before, and I made a statement a while back about it. I'm going to write what I want to write. Period.

I have mind numbing amounts of respect for Shaenon. Her webcomic is about my favorite. But I don't write Websnark for Shaenon.

And if we get to twenty people reading it? Well, I hope those twenty people like it.

The other thing is, people have a skewed sense of... well, things. Before yesterday's post about Stark -- which itself was more a post about my screwing up than about Stark per se? It had been over a month since my last Stark post.

As for Star Trek? Two posts in the last month. I did more webcomics related posts last week than that.

I have two choices here. I can write what I want when I want to over here... or I can write what I want when I want to somewhere else. Already, I stick Stark stuff elsewhere, because some folks don't like it. But that doesn't mean Websnark gets other things. It means I don't update Websnark when I feel like writing about Stark. I'm not sure that's an improvement.

It comes to this. If folks stop reading, I hope they've enjoyed themselves. I really do.

But I'm writing the stuff that I want to write, about the subjects I want to write about. Period.

I won't be urinating on Guernica. Sorry.

Comment from: Danalog posted at November 2, 2005 8:37 PM

Like some people, John Stark doesn't really interest me at all. So, I find myself visiting this site less and less often, because ever since he was introduced, there's been almost as many posts about him as about all other webcomics put together (quick count, counting Weds stuff, and not counting general news stories on comics, I got 8 vs 9).

It's your perogative, just it seems like there's more and more navel grazing and less actual content. At least on the webcomics front.

Comment from: Danalog posted at November 2, 2005 8:38 PM

OK, so my count was heavily weighted towards a month ago, so sue me =P

Comment from: Bear posted at November 2, 2005 8:45 PM

Okay, I'm another person who just created a typekey account in order to respond to this topic.

Eric? The guy is right. I agree with you that it's your blog and you can post whatever the heck you want, but I agree with him that the quality of the writing (and especially the quality of the commentary) is better when you're not writing about your own stuff.

I like it when you review PVP or Krakow or Something Positive (by the way, good stuff going on on S*P today and you're missing it!) or Achewood, or Accidental Centaurs, or whatever else... but let someone else review John Stark and Gossamer Commons. Please.

Your own commentary on your own stuff is nice as an artist addressing his audience -- but it belongs there, on those sites, not here where people might mistake it for objective commentary.

I read your blog specifically for webcomic commentary. That's "signal" to me. The rest is "noise." So I guess I'm one of the readers you'd lose if you quit writing about other people's webcomics.

On the other hand, as long as nobody is doing a commentary site specifically devoted to webcomics, I'm probably going to keep coming back because, noise and all, there's higher "signal to noise" here than elsewhere.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 8:51 PM

...objective commentary.

Man.

I've really failed, haven't I? I mean, even when it's important to me. I've failed.

Once more, as clearly as possible.

There is no such thing as objective commentary. In fact, the phrase "objective commentary" is inherently contradictory. All commentary is subjective. All of it. Every tiny bit. That is what commentary is.

If you don't learn anything else on this site, learn that.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 8:54 PM

Other bits of stuff:

Reader comments on Philosophical Snarks tends to beat comments on Webcomics snarks about three to one. The Webcomics snarks only get commentary when there is a controversial position.

Bandwidth consumption and pageviews are both up in October over September.

Look, I don't argue that some people are clearly unhappy that... um... I don't write what they think I should, because I don't actually want to. But if the argument is everyone's going to leave if I keep this up? I'm afraid the numbers are against you.

Which misses the point, because... well, I'm not doing this for numbers. I'm writing what I want to write. That's actually why I have a blog.

I'm not entirely sure why this is a hard concept for some folks, but there it is.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 8:59 PM

as long as nobody is doing a commentary site specifically devoted to webcomics

...like The Living Comic, Webcomic Finds, I'm Just Saying, The Webcomicker, whatever William G's thing is called at the moment (I'm dim, and it's late)...? And that's not even comprehensive.

Heck, what about Comixpedia and The Webcomics Examiner? Neither is a blog, and the former's also got news and tutorials, but there's certainly focus and commentary going on.

We really aren't the be-all end-all here. We really aren't.

Comment from: BadgerGirl posted at November 2, 2005 9:04 PM

Wow, let's jump on each other and rip out some throats!

Hugs, anyone?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 2, 2005 9:05 PM

Hey Eric, I'm behind you 100%. It's just like when people send me emails telling me I really need to learn to draw, and I tell them to piss off and...

... oh...

... that might not be helpful, actually.

(But seriously -- behind you 100%)

Oh, but not all commentary is subjective. For example, if I took a webcomic, mapped its pixels into a grid, and described each pixel in terms of its color (as a hex value) that would be thoroughly objective commentary on a web comic. It would also be nigh useless, but that's not the point.

Comment from: Connor Moran posted at November 2, 2005 9:11 PM

I would say "keep writing what you want to write" but that would be something of a self-contradictary comment. If you didn't already want to keep writing what you want to write, and then you read my statement and changed your mind, we'd end up in some horrible time paradox.

So don't listen to me. Just know that I'm still reading.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 2, 2005 9:15 PM

The thing I find most hilarious is the fact that what spawned this whole thing was a post in the Modern Humor Authority of all places.

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at November 2, 2005 9:27 PM

Oh, but not all commentary is subjective. For example, if I took a webcomic, mapped its pixels into a grid, and described each pixel in terms of its color (as a hex value) that would be thoroughly objective commentary on a web comic.

You visible-light-on-Earth-ist - how dare you imply that that's subjective? What if that webcomic had some Betelgeusian readers? How would they feel?

Not to mention the people who don't read in the order in which you described the pixels, or the blind readers who would rather you described it as an audible waveform, or...

*cough*

Comment from: The posted at November 2, 2005 9:27 PM

It seems to me more that 1. he has more projects going on than when he started the site (of the three "Other Affiliated Projects" only the Comixpedia review was being written for before websnark (I think, I might be wrong about that)), and 2. he finds less in webcomics to snark. these two points are speculation, and I have less evidence for the second than the first, but if I am right, my question would be "Why?" Is it that he doesn't want to tread over old ground, thinking that most developments in webcomics (not the business end, the plot and execution ends) have already been Snarked? Is it that he just isn't as interested in webcomics at the moment, recharging his interest as it were (this seems unlikely to me)? Have I made my point or have I just rambled without a purpose? These questions (AND MORE!) may very well be answered in this thread!
PS: why do I have this terrible, terrible feeling that these questions have already been asked before?

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at November 2, 2005 9:27 PM

...objective.

s/subjective/objective/

>_>

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 2, 2005 9:41 PM

I think people get upset over the GC and John Stark posts because it seems kinda like site-nepotism. That the blog is just being used as a means of advertising Eric's other projects.

However, I think people are blowing things out of proportion. When Eric starts a project, there are usually several posts about it, because it's new and he's excited and wants to tell everybody why he's excited. But after a while he stops posting about it so often, because it stops being a new experience. The Gossamer Commons posts have slowed to a tiny trickle (the one about needing a new artists was the first in how long?) and the John Stark posts are slowing down too (the latest was your basic webcomic "sorry I was late with the update, guys" notice).

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 2, 2005 9:42 PM

Well, as everyone already knows, I guess, not only have I totally drunk the Kool-Aid around here, but I'm in near-constant danger of hospitalization over my Blood Kool-Aid Content... so my two cents may not matter much, but I still love what y'all do, show up regularly, occasionally skip snarks that don't interest me (I'm sorry! I'll be better! No, please, not Room 121!), and go nuts when I want a fix and you haven't said anything. Also, a potentially encouraging way to look at it: it seems, from the comments here, that many people have started reading in the interval since the last time we had a very similar conversation! So, in the words of Avenue Q's "You can be as loud as the hell you want (when you're making love)"

You keep doin' what you doin'.

Comment from: gwalla posted at November 2, 2005 9:43 PM

Also, the Modern Humor Authority? Not to be taken seriously! Scroll down a bit and you'll see a post on how the Doom movie is an allegory for womanhood in the modern world. It's a joke, people.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 2, 2005 10:00 PM

As before, once again.

I hear you. Here's me repeating myself, from six months ago, when people who aren't satirists tried to tell you to get back to webcomics but comment numbers were going up:

Given my druthers, I'd like to see more webcomic snarks, for it was those that made me fall in love with you. On the other hand, honestly I hadn't really noticed the lack. The gripping hand is, I'm one of those who's just started commenting in the last four or six weeks. Make of this what you will.

If it were me (and since I went through this when my fanfiction cartoons were converted from scanned pen drawings to MSPaint stick figures, it
has been me, so I know whereof I speak), I don't think I'd pay the critics even as much mind as you have (but of course by nature blogging is more self-referential than comics are). Though I'd warn them good-naturedly that I wasn't.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at November 2, 2005 10:12 PM

Oi, I had a rant here. Then, TypeKey signed me out. Blast!

Gwalla is on the right track. As is Kris Straub (in his Comixpedia comic of the name MHA) when one of the characters proclaims that research is dishonest.

But I have to wonder, when they manage to get the names of two languages wrong (Nederlands/Dutch being called Norse and Suomi/Finnish being called Esperanto) and calling Eric Eric "Wednesday" Burns just what are they trying to do? Heck, they even spelt humour wrong in their name. I mean, they're Canadian. They should write it like Canada, and the rest of the world except the USA does.

People like them have no right to the term "Authority".

Comment from: Kail Panille posted at November 2, 2005 10:20 PM

For the record? The categories I'm most likely to skip are CBC and OMG t3h w3bc0m1cs dr4m4!!1!

Not that I actually have skipped anything yet. Ever. I think I may have a problem....

Comment from: Merus posted at November 2, 2005 10:54 PM

Now that I look at it, I'm pretty sure MHA's post is to be read meta. (Like most of their site.)

It's more about people proclaiming that Websnark has jumped the shark in an effort to be edgy than whether or not Websnark has jumped the shark.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 2, 2005 11:01 PM

I skip things, but only if I don't have time. If I have time, I'll read the most uninteresting (to me) things on Websnark until my head bumps into the monitor and wakes me up comically.

Other factors that apply to me and might apply to others: I bookmarked both GC and TAoBGJS pretty early on, and after doing so, reading Snarks about them just felt like the Web being the Web. It was like "Eric has three sites, and they mention each other at times."

Also, I was not, and still am not, a tremendous connoisseur of webcomics. Back when Eric was Mr. ComicSnark, I didn't "care" about most of what he was commenting on. To me, a post about, say, a furry comic is no more or less disappointing to me than a post about City of Heroes. It's simply Stuff I Don't Read On A Site I Do Read.

(Pretentious capitalization in three. And when did I start posting to every freaking thread around here? Huh?)

Comment from: William_G posted at November 2, 2005 11:14 PM

"whatever William G's thing is called"

Well, I don't have a name for it, but my girlfriend calls it "King Dong".... oh sorry! Misread that!

"So, who do you have to blow to get Isobel Rai Belpheger to notice you, anyway?"

I'm sure Kristopher will get to it eventually. Guy's got his fingers in a lot of pies right now, y'know.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 11:41 PM

(William: serious, I think you changed your blog name what, three times now? I can't keep track!)

Well, I don't have a name for it, but my girlfriend calls it "King Dong"

Wouldn't this thread be much better if it was all about penises?

Robert "V-X" Lee did a beautiful online comic, back in the day, which I think was lost to time, about explaining the physical differences between boys and girls to his little boy. "I have a cloud."

"A cloud?"

"In the sky, I have a cloud."

Mutual, good-natured laughter. Then Dad explains to little boy that males have penises.

Little boy says, "I have *eleven penises.*"


And, now that we have derailed matters completely...

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 2, 2005 11:45 PM

There is an interesting side discussion going on here regarding the artist's obligation to their audience vs. their obligation to their art.

It is late though, and I really need to get to bed. So, that'll have to wait until I get to work in the morning. Unless I can formulate said arguement in the time it takes me to have one last smoke.

Otherwise, I'll wait until tomorrow to see if I've derailed things here.

Does any of the above make sense?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 2, 2005 11:45 PM

Dragonball Z would be better if "Power Level" referred to penises as well.

"You think you have beaten me -- but I have been hiding some of my penises! Now, I shall transform my penises and show you my true penises!"

"I don't believe it! He has one million penises!"

"Come, Goku -- through my training, I will increase your penises far beyond what you have ever imagined!"

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 11:52 PM

Oh, that extends to other anime, too. Consider Sailor Moon and the incredible escalating wand situation.

The Cutie Moon Penis.
The Spiral Heart Moon Penis.
Kaleido Heart Moon Penis.

By the end, it'll all be, like, eternal moon penis.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 2, 2005 11:53 PM

Starlight honeymoon therapy penis, while we're at it.

Comment from: William_G posted at November 2, 2005 11:58 PM

I remember there used to be quite the cottage industry of "Sailor Moon vs. The Penis" type of doujinshis floating around online a many years ago.

The girls always lost.

Comment from: William_G posted at November 3, 2005 12:06 AM

Oh yeah... Weds, here's the blogroll:

The first blog was a personal blog that I started doing commentary on. That was called "Delineated Life" After my "Crisis of Kurtz" I dropped the blog because I was sick of dealing with the sychophants.

Then some phone card company took the URL and placed some advertising on it in order to take advantage of the traffic I was getting from other sites.

Realizing that a web presence is like herpes in that you're stuck with it, and if you ignore it, you could have some problems, I started up another personal blog to talk about whatever was on my mind. Just to distance myself from the phone card company. That's called "The William G" and it's still there.

The new review blog that was started out of spite is called "Honest Webcomic Reviews".

And that's the epic story that is Tolkien-like in it's complexity.

Comment from: Nate posted at November 3, 2005 12:27 AM

Sure, the snarks are stand-alone pieces by themselves, and they're terrific. But relationships, and dynamics, form, and that's almost as much fun (ALMOST!) as the snarks themselves.

So... Websnark is going for Cerebus Syndrome? :)

Comment from: PO8 posted at November 3, 2005 1:05 AM

(This is one way to get everyone to sign up and comment. Interesting...)

Eric, I will be arrogant and presumptive and suggest you're missing the point of the criticism spawned by the MHA article. (MHA, of all places. Is it clear that the whole point of the article is to be able to title it "You had me but you lost me"? I think so.)

No one on the web writes webcomic commentary the way you do. Your skill, insight, humor and grace elevate the medium; heck, they elevate commentary on the medium.

Your other comments, on the other hand, are pleasant and well-written and quite replicable.

Someone suggested that the broader question is what the writer owes his audience vs his art. I disagree. The point is that both your art and a big part of your audience are fed by your insightful webcomic writing. We (OK, I) want to see more of that. If the other writing you're doing makes your webcomic writing less frequent I'm sad, because the world is a poorer place. If your other writing dilutes the quality of your webcomic writing I'm sad, because the world is a poorer place.

Embrace your art. I can't demand it, but I can request it, recommend it, supplicate for it. Turn outward once again. Make us rich.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at November 3, 2005 1:19 AM

On a sidenote, I like how the Megatokyo article refers to you as Eric "Wensday" Burns. It kind of makes me feel like the girl has staked out her territory and is ready to defend it with Faye-like intensity.

Comment from: quiller posted at November 3, 2005 2:24 AM

Quote: The girls always lost.

And yet in losing, they won!

Well, I presume, anyways.

What Megatokyo article?

Comment from: chalcara posted at November 3, 2005 3:29 AM

I read everything, because... Well, it's nicely written. I don't really like the gossamer commons or John Stark posts when they... come in packs, so to speak, but once in a while even they're fun.

But I learn most from the webcomics comments, true. Doing my own webcomic, Websnark kind of became a school for the theories of webcomic writing for me, even if it was never intented that way.

I think while all your posts are really good, your (subjective ;) ) webcomic analyses are the best.

Comment from: J Ryan Beattie posted at November 3, 2005 7:41 AM

Mr. Wright, I'm afraid I disagree with you. That would be objective description, not commentary. Commentary in the critical sense is interpretation and explanation. Description helps, of course, but by itself it isn't commentary.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 8:50 AM

Ah but Mr. Beattie, the first definition of "commentary" on dictionary.com is "A series of explanations or interpretations." "Objective description" falls under that definition, even if only in a very general sense.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 8:57 AM

Wait... are we now having a debate... with authoritative support, I would add... on interpreting the definition of interpretation?

Crikey!

Comment from: Chris Bishop posted at November 3, 2005 9:45 AM

I agree with the column. This site has gotten pretty boring and the shameless self-promotion is annoying.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 10:17 AM

Okay, I keep trying to step away from this discussion, but then someone says something like....

shameless self-promotion

I'm sorry. Why exactly would I feel shame? I pay for this, you know?

In fact, I pay for this, and you actually don't.

In what universe would it be inappropriate for me to promote stuff I'd like people to look at -- whether I wrote it or not -- on a website I pay money to give to you for free?

If you don't like what I write and you leave, then thank you for coming and reading before, and I hope on balance you enjoyed yourself while you were here. But the implication I should somehow feel guilty because I enjoy talking about the things in my life -- and those things are sometimes either projects I was involved in before or projects I'm involved in now -- on the blog Wednesday and I produce?

Look, I can accept that my choice of subject matter might lose me readers. I honestly can. I came to that core realization some months ago, and then I wrote about it. Please, allow me to quote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So yeah. If what I feel like writing is all about the stuff I find cool in the process of creating something, that's what I'll write. If I see something webcomics related I like and am interested, that's what I'll write. But I'm not going to go digging through the trawls and specifically try to figure out "what can I write about to keep my audience."

That's what it is. It's non-negotiable. And if you all leave? I hope you liked it.

And if you think I should feel shame about it, don't let the door hit your fucking ass as your leave.

Do I sound pissed? I am. If you want me to feel shame about that, cut me a check and get me to sign a contract. And until I do? Fuck you.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 10:56 AM

Someone suggested that the broader question is what the writer owes his audience vs his art. I disagree. The point is that both your art and a big part of your audience are fed by your insightful webcomic writing. We (OK, I) want to see more of that. If the other writing you're doing makes your webcomic writing less frequent I'm sad, because the world is a poorer place. If your other writing dilutes the quality of your webcomic writing I'm sad, because the world is a poorer place.

Two things that are missed in the above quote

1. Eric has made clear, though some still seem to not get it, that this blog is NOT specifically about webcomics critism and never has been. So, to ask him to change the direction of the blog because a segment of his audience only wants to see a portion of his work is to conform to audience expectations over inspiration.

2. The equation at the end is not based in any evidence that Eric has given here or else where. The equation that has been put forth is that limiting comments soley to webcomics critism will result in less posts over all and the possible end to the site in general.

There is another interesting quesiton bubbling under the surface that occured to me last night.

If, as some here have expressed, Eric should bow to the wishes of a certain segment of his audience and only write things here that appeal to them. At what point does this become Garfielding? At what point does the entire situation cease being about artistic expression and instead turns into simple brand management?

Comment from: megs posted at November 3, 2005 11:02 AM

Isn't Eric a professional writer? If you want him to write about something so badly, why not make him an offer?


I prefer the penis fight talk, but I cherish what I get, like a good wine, instead of gulping it down trying to get drunk on a keg of cheap beer.



Oh Yes, my whole purpose in commenting was to create that lovely mental picture for everyone! And I do it for free!

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 3, 2005 11:08 AM

Whoa... I never though I'd see the day where Eric appears to be sending out a flame on Websnark. I know it's not my place to say what you say on Websnark, Eric, but I think that if you say "fuck you" and it looks (like above) that you're directing it at another person, it's going to look like it's open season on other commenters.

Being a bit less angry about it, self-promotion is almost never shameful. I mean, there are certain circumstances (like a funeral and the like) when it would be embarrassing. But by and large, it's not.

If anyone could be ever accused, on Websnark, of shameless self-promotion, it's me. I put in a link to my own site, which has almost nothing to do with anything ever discussed on Websnark, in each of my comments (the link is in my screen name). I bring it up semi-regularly. And yeah, I'm fully cognizant of the fact that Eric would have complete rights to ream me for having it on Websnark, especially since I'm effectively promoting myself and my work on his site.

However, I don't feel any shame in it, and Eric has never spoken to me once about it, privately or publically. It's just something I do.

Besides, it's not like I can rightfully expect anyone else to promote what I do. I have to promote myself. Just as Eric can't expect anyone to promote him but him.

Comment from: Allen Shull posted at November 3, 2005 11:12 AM

I don't know. Personally, if I had to evaluate Websnark critically, with all seriousness instead of MHA's delicious satire, I'd say this:

The gradual change of Websnark reflects not someone "losing his focus" but rather a perfect illustration of the stream-of-consciousness style that is inherent not only in modern blogging, but also in the critical taste for anything--comics, Star Trek, Beowulf, Harlem Renaissance, contemporary music, styles of clothing, shades of color green. Tastes change, but what is most important is that the critical apparatus remains fully engaged, turned both outward and inward. We all have self-evaluation turned up rather high, and some of us more than others. The average person changes careers--not part-time jobs, careers--what, like six to ten times in life?

What I'm saying essentially is this: things change, things you don't want to change but change anyway. In this case it doesn't mean that we're going to have anything less interesting to read, unless all we care about is a weekly evaluation of Achewood or insight into what particular thing that Garrity's doing that is so amazingly good. I love that stuff, sure. But I also read what you write about Star Trek, and enjoy it. Websnark, as it started as a personal blog before it evolved into webcomics criticism, will surely not remain fully rooted in anything forever. Things change, but what remains is that you, Eric, are true to yourself, and continue to view the world around you critically.

And I'll, for one, continue to read it.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 11:12 AM

For the record, the "fuck you" was directed at someone who thinks I should be ashamed for being pissed about the implication I should feel ashamed.

It was a second order fuck you, not directed to Chris per se.

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at November 3, 2005 11:14 AM

Two points:

I only read "Mending Fences" once, but my interpretation was that good fences make good neighbors because they define boundaries and keep us from violating the boundaries of others- that, and at the same time it takes cooperation to keep those fences in good repair. You have to work together to coexist.

Second, what's wrong with blatant self-promotion anyway?

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 3, 2005 11:19 AM

Wow, and the conversation got even more intense since the last time I checked. Hello? MHA? Not to be taken seriously??? Am I the only person who picked up on this after the LAST MHA article Eric was involved in?

Anyway yes, I liked the penises thing. After all, penises can make anything funnier. For example, you could definitely make the Godzilla movies 10 times better. I mean come on, you already have giant monsters knocking over very phallic giant buildings so why not make this even more obvious? I think Cockzilla vs. Choadan would be an excellent addition to the series (and we're not even getting into other monsters like King Peedorah, Mecha Cockzilla, Wanguirus, and more!)

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 11:22 AM

So basically you're pissed at the idea that you should be ashamed for being pissed about the implication you should feel ashamed.

I'm ashamed that you *had* to get pissed at the idea that you should be ashamed for being pissed about the implication you should feel ashamed, and pissed that my shame is insufficient to counter the thing that got you pissed at the shame over being pissed regarding aforementioned shame.

It's like a written description of an Escher painting. Without the steps.

Comment from: UrsulaV posted at November 3, 2005 11:36 AM

I say it's Eric's blog, and he can fuck whoever he wants!

Err, that sounded different in my head...

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 11:42 AM

Since there seems to be the idea floating around that Eric has recently changed the direction of the site away from webcomics, I decided to do a little poking.

The first post is on Jan. 6, 2004. The subject of the post concerns Eric starting up another on-line journal.

The very first overt mention of webcomics is on August 20th of that year, when he discusses the validity of including commentary on the site as well as other posts. This is followed by the infamous trawl posts and finally the very first snark.

The next day we have the first snark of a webcomic. Guess which one?

That means there was a solid 8 months between the begining of the strip and the first reference to webcomics.

But, let's dig deeper shall we?

According to the category side bar on the front page there are 415 posts in the webcomics category. Far in away the most popular category.

Philosophical Snarks has 141
Administrative Snarking has 101
My Life and Welcome To It has 78

So, while webcomics posts have made up the majority of the posts, it is hard to make the case that webcomics were the sole original intention of the site.

Comment from: Kirath posted at November 3, 2005 11:49 AM

I enjoy Websnark the way it is. I enjoy almost everything you and Wednesday write. I don't understand it all (I know nothing about Canadian television, for example) but I read it anyway because i like your collective style.

If all I wanted was webcomic criticism and review, I would send Eric a list of URL's and a check.

I do think there's a strange perception that Eric has stopped posting about webcomics, which isn't true at all. It seems to me that he just has more stuff to post about. (Or is more comfortable posting about more stuff? Something like that.)

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 3, 2005 11:52 AM

Plenty of Escher paintings without steps.

For whatever it's worth, I'm angry too.

This past summer, I stopped reading more than a bare minimum of webcomics for a little while. About a month and a half. I signed on to "whatever the heck we feel like writing about," and we made that clear, but it felt like the only feedback that was coming back in was "why won't she write about WEBCOMICS? This is a WEBCOMICS blog about WEBCOMICS and all we want to read about is WEBCOMICS and ERIC would write about webcomics, &c." and, well, none of this was true. It felt as though an obligation was being forced onto us.

As a result, I would slam into a huge mental wall when I tried to write about very many webcomics. I'd have this huge sense of "aw, who cares, Dale?" And that's bad. So the energy stayed reserved for Comixpedia behind the scenes stuff, and I wrote about the things that did compel me, because that's what I committed to. And I trusted Eric when he said that people were reading that stuff, too. That this was a vocal minority. (Remember, I deliberately do not look at the numbers.)

I don't necessarily write for fun -- this is pretty much a biological drive or a compulsion for me, near as I can tell, or close enough -- but I do my best non-contract work when I care about something. I care about the CBC, for example. I care that the highest-profile minicomics distributor in North America, possibly the world, is on a creative decline, or that the one artist he trusts enough to share tasks with is experimenting with digital media. And I signed up to write about what I care about, and we made that clear to everyone.

I think that the ensuing writing has been a lot better for it, inasmuch as I'm capable of seeing any value in my own work. And I think that, when Eric's written from that space, his work has also been consistently better, regardless of the topic.

I eventually managed to reassemble the trawl, and I'd begun to feel that we'd broken out of this mistaken impression. Apparently not.

Why is there a denial field around us? Who decided that Eric and Wednesday's blog about the things that they care about -- which includes webcomics, but isn't restricted to them -- is really Websnark, The Webcomics Blog?

It makes me *furious* that we even have to have this conversation. The Modern Humor Authority article is clearly satirical. Those who've posted condescending, presumptive comments telling us what we're obligated to write -- in spite of what we've repeatedly maintained our mandate to be, telling us what our own blasted hobbyist blog is ACTUALLY about -- really ought to take that into account. And then they ought to consider what satire of their own posts would sound like. Yes, it's recursive.

(Constructive criticism is fine. That's not what I'm talking about here at all. I'm talking about rank bloody arrogance.)

Have we not made it perfectly clear over time that, when a webcomics creator is working on a hobbyist basis and/or one's not involved in their revenue stream, it's pointless to make demands of them (offer crit, yes, but not make demands) because they don't owe one anything? Why are we held to a different standard?

Now then. Penises.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 12:09 PM

You know why? Because webcomic cartoonists are, on the whole, needy and trend narccissistic.

I don't necessarily exempt myself from that admittedly broad over-generalization. When Help Desk was snarked I was stoked. I mean, it didn't make Eric want to put his face in a belt-sander!

Web cartoonists like that kind of stuff. I'd say it's likely that most artists like that kind of stuff (assuming that kind of stuff reflects favorably on them) but you and Eric created a stir because you weren't (initially at any rate) webcomics people.

Which isn't to say that you guys shouldn't write about whatever you want to write about -- you absolutely should. And the fact that people conflate "Websnark" with "Web Comics Snarking Only" is, to be blunt, their problem and not yours.

But web cartoonist type people have a tendency to want other people to talk about them. That's why webcomic drama will never go away (and is often, in my opinion, deliberately provoked) and is why there are people that want Eric and you to talk about webcomics, and nothing but webcomics, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and sometimes 8 if you can work it in.

Getting pissed is understandible, but in the end you shouldn't worry about it. Anyone who does something successful will be assaulted by people who resent your success because you're not doing what THEY want you to do. The best way to frustrate that element is to do whatever the hell you want to do anyway. And if you manage to succeed at doing it, well, even better.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 3, 2005 12:22 PM

Eric, I'm going to exercise the right you give all commenters, to criticize you.

You can try to claim that it's a broad, second-order "fuck you" to people who call your self-promotion shameless. However, it's worth noting that you did this in a comment directly addressing Chris Bishop, who came on here and called it shameless.

You can say it was a general statement. But when you do this immediately following someone criticizing you like that, quoting them on top of it, it seems very apparent that you're not saying "fuck you to anyone who thinks my self-promotion is shameful." You're saying "fuck you Chris Bishop and anyone who agrees with him when he says my self-promotion is shameful."

Look, I understand the urge to fire a salvo at gadflies who don't get it at all - I had one such piece published earlier today (look, ladies and gents, more shameless self-promotion from me). But I didn't curse anyone out and I made it clear that I respect these people even as I think their opinions are, to be polite, inane. When you start cursing out people for issuing their opinions, even when you think they're off their rocker, and then try to pass it off as cursing an indeterminate group, you're lowering yourself.

Okay, now that I've assured that I'll get bounced out of the room should there ever be a Boston-area Snarkoleptics meeting, I think I'll leave it at that.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 12:37 PM

Eric, I'm going to exercise the right you give all commenters, to criticize you.

Good enough, sir.

You're saying "fuck you Chris Bishop and anyone who agrees with him when he says my self-promotion is shameful."

Well, no. Not quite. I quote:

And if you think I should feel shame about it, don't let the door hit your fucking ass as your leave.

Do I sound pissed? I am. If you want me to feel shame about that, cut me a check and get me to sign a contract. And until I do? Fuck you.

Quite clearly, I'm saying fuck you to the people who think I should be ashamed for being pissed.

I'm telling Chris Bishop and those who think I should be ashamed for promoting myself to not let the door hit them on the ass on the way out.

Your point is still valid, but you should be clear in what way I've crossed the line. Precision counts.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 3, 2005 12:37 PM

If anyone could be ever accused, on Websnark, of shameless self-promotion, it's me.

I do more self-promotion here than I mean to. Yeah, I link my website in my name too, that's not what I'm talking about. I write an awful lot of comments that amount to, "That's an interesting experience, Eric, and here's what happens to me that's very similar or maybe not very similar, and here's a funny thing I can say about my experience." I also seem to mention the name of my webcomic a lot lately. Sometimes when I've done rather a lot of these I try not to comment again for awhile, till I happen to come up with something to say that's actually on-topic to a current snark.

See you next week.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at November 3, 2005 12:45 PM

If I had a well-known and well-respected blog, I would promote my comic on it ALL THE TIME. I promote my comic on MY blog all the time. I don't think that the two blogs are on the same level, but it's still a valid comparison, I think.

I am another person who came for the snarks, stayed for the atmosphere.. And I admit, I registered to comment here for selfish purposes... Because I wanted you to read my comic and like it and find something to snark about it. But I wouldn't stay if I didn't enjoy coming here, and I think that should be the attitude of all the people who visit this site.

I don't think that snarking your own stuff is necessarily bad, because you obviously like it, and you only snark the stuff that you like. Blah, I'm babbling, but it still stands: The people who are complaining about your lack of snarkage can just go start their OWN webcomics blog if they want to.

Comment from: Allen Shull posted at November 3, 2005 12:45 PM

Re: Chris: "But web cartoonist type people have a tendency to want other people to talk about them."

Waitaminute... This is another long page filled with comments by diehard Websnark readers... we're merely perpetuating and inflaming his popularity among people who care about comics but also care about a critical dialogue... Burns, you're doing it, again, only this time instead of posting about GC or JS and letting us read them (and seriously, who wouldn't rather be "famed webcomic author and critic" instead of "famed webcomic critic... who also failed at UBT but we'll forgive him for it"), you're bringing us back to the critical dialogue by snarking a satiristic review of your site, after which we will critically discuss the discussion of criticism and its relation to webcomics.

Well played, Burns. Well played.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 12:54 PM

Curses! I fell right into his insidious trap!

*shakes fist*

Comment from: JJohn posted at November 3, 2005 12:56 PM

You're kidding, right?

I mean, you people are kidding, right?

Especially you people who are talking about how MHA is right on this? That's a joke, right?

I mean, you do, in fact, understand that MHA isn't making fun of Websnark, it's making fun of people who insist Websnark should change, right?

I mean, you realize they're making fun of *you,* right?

You can't possibly be commenting on a post that links to a post insulting people who trash writers for not writing what *they* want and agreeing with the people who are insulting you, and actually mean it. You must be buying into the joke, right?

I mean, no one could actually be me-tooing something that implicitly insults them with a straight face, right? Right?

I mean, *damn.*

Comment from: Wandering Idiot posted at November 3, 2005 1:00 PM

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those saying "It's Eric's blog, he can write whatever he wants to, and if you don't like it, stop reading it."

Now personally, would I prefer a slightly higher percentage of webcomic snarks? Yes, but I also enjoy Eric's writing about RPG development from the inside, general geeky stuff (Star Trek et al), old radio plays, etc.

The thing I'm not big on is most of Wednesday's posts. They always seem scattered and overlong conceptually, and often about subjects (such as Canadian radio drama!!11) that I couldn't remotely care about even if I enjoy the writing. But guess what? I don't have to read them if I don't want to. It's not as if tapping the Page Down key a couple times when I see one I'm not interested in is going to break my wrist. And there are those I do like, anyway.

To anyone who still insists on complaining, I have a suggestion.
1. Bookmark this.
2. Shut up.

Some sort of /.-esque system where you can check and uncheck which categories you want to be displayed would be nice, but I assume that's a limitation of Movable Type. And most of the people complaining about Eric's choice of subject matter want only webcomic snarks, anyway.


(And yes, I think it's pretty funny that this was all resurrected over a MHA article, of all things. They obviously have some sort of master plan for taking over the webcomics world, and needed something to keep Eric distracted while they ready the brain-eating zombie weasels. You don't want to know for what. It's not eating brains, oddly enough.)

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 1:01 PM

Heh.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 1:03 PM

Let's keep it civil. (And yeah, that includes me, too.)

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 3, 2005 1:06 PM

The thing I'm not big on is most of Wednesday's posts. They always seem scattered and overlong conceptually

I have the biggest, widest conceptual penis.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 3, 2005 1:07 PM

So Eric, I have one question right now since I've been starting to wonder; was this initially just a ploy to see how many people would actually make the mistake of taking the MHA article seriously? Because if so, wow, it worked far too well.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 3, 2005 1:09 PM

Also, in regards to what Weds just said, the idea of Wednesday with a penis is simultaneously hilarious and slightly disturbing. Just gets back to the thesis of "penises make everything funnier," though.

Coming up next, I delve into the wonder that is The Adventures of Penis.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 3, 2005 1:10 PM

Sadly, I linked to the article because I thought it was hysterical.

I still do.

I had no idea the pressure to urinate on Guernica would become so profound.

GUERNICA!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 3, 2005 1:14 PM

On the other hand ...

Part of the reason I talk about myself here as much as I do is because that's what I do in places where I'm comfortable. Eric and Wednesday doing their snarking and us doing our commenting and the rest of us who only read/lurk have formed a fairly close-knit community, one where more than Eric and Wednesday are comfortable writing what we want to write. Even when it's well-meant criticism of each other or, in a few cases, flames of each other that are technically against Eric's rules. We've drawn admonitions several times but have we ever actually driven Eric to lock a thread? Once, perhaps? My point is, we're a community, and a good one, and (here's where everything's still all about me ...) I value it. And that's why I keep saying Eric and Wednesday should just keep on doing whatever they're doing.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 3, 2005 1:16 PM

On the other hand ...

Part of the reason I talk about myself here as much as I do is because that's what I do in places where I'm comfortable. Eric and Wednesday doing their snarking and us doing our commenting and the rest of us who only read/lurk have formed a fairly close-knit community, one where more than Eric and Wednesday are comfortable writing what we want to write. Even when it's well-meant criticism of each other or, in a few cases, flames of each other that are technically against Eric's rules. We've drawn admonitions several times but have we ever actually driven Eric to lock a thread? Once, perhaps? My point is, we're a community, and a good one, and (here's where everything's still all about me ...) I value it. And that's why I keep saying Eric and Wednesday should just keep on doing whatever they're doing.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 3, 2005 1:18 PM

Sadly, I linked to the article because I thought it was hysterical.

Well it IS hysterical.

And the fact that so many people took it seriously could almost be seen as being more hysterical. Except in this case the seriousness kind of went a bit too far, especially as far as the "MHA IS RIGHT!" crowd is concerned.

At least I still have my penis jokes.

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer posted at November 3, 2005 1:19 PM

First of all, I went down the main screen of MHA, and I can't figure out why people like it. Clearly it is satire, so I'm not taking it at face value. I, for one, just don't understand how it is good either.

Also, I for one prefer Eric's snarks where he does critiques and/or analysis. Particularly of other people's works. This is not because talking about your own work is wrong for a weblog, but because I think analysis is what Eric does best. Obviously, if he felt coerced by his fanbase to do critiques when he wasn't interested, his quality would suffer, and it would no longer be the best part of the site.

"Why is there a denial field around us? Who decided that Eric and Wednesday's blog about the things that they care about -- which includes webcomics, but isn't restricted to them -- is really Websnark, The Webcomics Blog?"

I really hate to say this, but Eric did. IT may have never started out as a webcomic commentary blog, but that's what much of the early work was, and much of the popular and insiteful early work. Regardless of Eric's desire (or the mission statement), this really was initially a webcomic commentary blog.

Changing the nature of anything is working against inertia. The two of you have realized what was happening, and tried to change it. Good for you. Better you do this now than later, when it would be even harder. I'm sure Jeff Darlington would LOVE it if everyone was on board with the direction he's taking GPF. I'm sure Pete Abrams would have loved it if people hadn't gone insane over the MITDO* Saturdays.

The end result is that anything publically shown is subject to the opinions of others. Both you and Eric have stated that you are willing to have the site be less popular if it means doing what you want, so you don't have to care what the critics think. That does not mean that the critics don't exist.

I'd suggest letting it be water off a duck's back. You've made your position clear. If people don't like it, too bad. They can criticize all they want, it only effects you if you let it.

Comment from: Duff the Tragic Wagon posted at November 3, 2005 1:19 PM

I'd just like to (slightly redundantly) add my support to the idea that it's Wednesday and Eric's blog, and they can write what they want to. Because it is, and who the hell is anyone to say that they can't?

Although it does occur to me that, as a possible concession to those who do just want webcomics stuff (and I'm not saying these people should be getting concessions, because it's Eric and Wednesday's blog etc etc, and if they don't like it, they can read something else), there could be some sort of link to the Snarkoleptics LJ community, as that does seem to focus solely on webcomics stuff. Unless there's some sort of reason that there shouldn't be a link, of course.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 3, 2005 1:37 PM

I really hate to say this, but Eric did.

I feel like I've just explained to someone that their keyboard broke because they poured coffee into it, only to have them ask for the third time in a row why the network is down.

I'd suggest letting it be water off a duck's back.

I've never understood this model. I've made reference to how telling someone with clinical depression to snap out of it is ineffective; telling someone not to get irritated by large quantities of inappropriate feedback (and, again, it's not the crit, it's the "we own you and you owe us" thing!) is about as effective.

I'm also reminded of getting pebbles and pennies thrown at my head in school because I was a freaky kid. I heeded the traditional "just ignore them and don't let it visibly bother you" advice, but, you know, at the point where this progressed into larger stones, hardback books, and mobs of close-range kids with handfuls of change? Maybe there's a point at which the duck model breaks down, you know?

Maybe there's a point where we really shouldn't put up with being bullied in the /name/ of criticism.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 3, 2005 1:52 PM

Okay, fair point about accuracy, Eric. But that's moot, all things considered, and you got the main thrust of my point anyhow.

As for criticism - I've always been of the belief that if you criticize someone, you should be open to criticism yourself. Of course, this does lead to cycles of criticism (or debates, if you prefer) which probably are pointless in the long run. And that goes for anyone who criticizes anything - especially if you go onto the "home turf" of whomever or whatever you're criticizing.

And is a conceptual penis the same as an idealized penis? If so, I think I'd prefer to simply be a penile realist.

Comment from: Sempiternity posted at November 3, 2005 1:59 PM

Wow. Time to break out those old "I Aggro Drama" shirts...

(Is it sad that i'm actually enjoying this, all impartial disenbodied observer-like?)

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 2:10 PM

To the legion of folks calling in with the chorus of, 'you do realize that MHA was joking.' Let me ask you something. You do realize that 90% of the people who said they agreed with MHA didn't actually read the MHA article, but instead are agreeing with what had previously been written. Making your 'why didn't you get the joke' comments pretty pointless.

Comment from: JJohn posted at November 3, 2005 2:14 PM

" You do realize that 90% of the people who said they agreed with MHA didn't actually read the MHA article, but instead are agreeing with what had previously been written. Making your 'why didn't you get the joke' comments pretty pointless."

Are you kidding?

That's fucking *hysterical.*

They're chiming in that they agree with an article they didn't read, that's making fun of people like them? And you say *our* comments are pointless?

Holy shit, man. That's one for the ages.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 3, 2005 2:14 PM

32: In the end, I don't think that this is about criticism. It's about tone and delivery.

Semp: Nah. Not at all.

Matt S: Why on earth are they agreeing with something they haven't read?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 2:23 PM

Reading sourced material? Showing up prepared for an online debate? That'll get your internets license revoked.

Comment from: Montykins posted at November 3, 2005 2:34 PM

First of all, I went down the main screen of MHA, and I can't figure out why people like it. Clearly it is satire, so I'm not taking it at face value. I, for one, just don't understand how it is good either.

Satires of pretentious, academic criticisms are always funny. And the Checkerboard Nightmare parody of MHA (which was essentially Kristofer Straub parodying his own satire) was also entertaining.

In this particular case, you may remember that Straub was one of the people who was objecting to some of the pretentiousness of the Webcomic Criticism Community. So the fact that MHA then proceeded to review Websnark itself makes everything all meta.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 2:36 PM

My post was worded a poorly. It is late in the afternoon here and I've got a stomach full of indian food right now, I'm sleepy.

There is something to be said though about the fact that at least half a dozen people all tried to show how clever they were by saying the exact same thing that had already pointed out, repeatedly.

I tried to say that thing, and failed miserably.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 3, 2005 2:49 PM

Say, Eric, you know I love you but speaking of t-shirt orders ...

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 3, 2005 3:00 PM

Weds, I wasn't sure, to be honest. Of course, I think I made my point about both subjects and will let it rest until it comes up again. Which will probably be in about three snarks, with my luck.

Comment from: Harukami posted at November 3, 2005 3:45 PM

I think Weds makes a good point about bullying.

I think the mistake a lot of people are still making is that Websnark is here for you. If Websnark were here for you, then yeah, as the intended audience of something that was being given, you'd have the right to ask for a receipt to take it back and get something you want. (...Of course, with any gift-giving, rejecting something you are being offered for free is always a tricky issue, but hey, if you don't like it, you don't like it).

But it's not something he's doing specifically as a gift. It's something he and Weds are writing for themselves, to record the things they find interesting, and comment on them, and are sharing them for anyone who is interested. There is a difference; it's a fine line, but it's a difference. Witness the following situation:

Author: "Lo, I have written a story. I think it's pretty cool, anyway."
Person 1: "Hay you should read it aloud."
Author: "Okay!"
Person 2: [who happens to overhear.] "I'll listen too."
Author: "Feel free!" [pleased]
[AT THE END OF THE STORY]
Person 1: "That's neat, Author! Let's talk about it..."
Person 2: "It didn't have enough vampires. I like vampires. If you want me to come back and listen again, you should only write stories with vampires."
Author: "But... it's not for you."

Repeating that the story NEEEEDS to have more vampires, Author has probably written stories with vampires before, and doesn't he know that's what people want to read? It's missing the point because that's not what he's trying to do. Weds and Eric both aren't here to write what you want to read; they're here to write what they want to write, and inviting you to listen in if you want to.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at November 3, 2005 3:59 PM

On the "ignore them and they'll go away" fallacy:

Yes, when they throw pennies at you (or post about the Hybrid RPG), they want to get a reaction from people.

But they're still sufficiently amused just by throwing pennies at you that they'll keep doing it indefinitely even if you never react. Throwing pennies at people is funny, at least to the sort of person who does that. Having them get all pissed off at you is HILARIOUS, of course, but that's just gravy.

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at November 3, 2005 4:32 PM

I'd just like you all to know that during my first glance at Dave's post, above, there was a split-second where I actually read the word "pennies" as "penises".

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at November 3, 2005 4:36 PM

Throwing penises at people is funny too. But it's more difficult to lay in a supply sufficient to the needs of a sustained barrage.

Comment from: A.G. Hopkins posted at November 3, 2005 4:37 PM

I think people attempting to convince Eric and Weds to write according to readers' desires is silly.
What leverage do you have to push them into writing what you want? The threat of you leaving? Obviously not a concern for them. The threat of constant haranguing and relentless whining? Yeah, that's going to endear you to them, and convince them you're right.

Paul Riddell has said that he hates writing as a career, and while I don't pretend to speak for him, I'm of the opinion that this is at least partly because of being told what to write.

(OK. It could also be because some editors are idiots and butchers, and publications never pay anything close to what something is worth, but that doesn't support my point, now does it?)

This blog, like anything else online, is not in your control. If you don't like it, vote with your mouse. Look elsewhere.

As far as the MHA article itself; Satire doesn't have to be funny to be successful, apparently. Personally, I've never found them funny, but I understand that this is all a matter of personal taste.
I've learned to understand that if they skewer something, it's generally because most people (and themselves included?) hold the opposite opinion of that thing. Thus, for instance, when Lemon trashes Something Positive, he really likes it, and when they compliment the Webcomics Examiner, it's because they don't. So when they 'chastise' Eric for wandering afield, it's clear they support him in this.

Ok, I'm done blathering I guess. I'm not sure why I felt obliged to contribute to this mess. It's all been said already.

Comment from: Merus posted at November 3, 2005 6:03 PM

I'd just like you all to know that during my first glance at Dave's post, above, there was a split-second where I actually read the word "pennies" as "penises".

Would that be bukkake then?

The impression I get is that it's not so much person 2 doesn't want vampires in a story devoid of vampires, it's that Author wrote a real kickass story about vampires once and isn't any more. In this way, Eric's hardly unique.

Imagine what will happen to J. K. Rowling's career after she finishes the last Harry Potter book. Either she's going to keep writing Harry Potter books because she's a sellout, or she's going to write a different genre of book and then everyone's going to be disappointed that it's not fantasy. Mark my words.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at November 3, 2005 6:07 PM

Or she'll never write again and live a life of carefree leisure. While swimming in money. Forever.

Comment from: Bear posted at November 3, 2005 6:34 PM

...*sigh.*...

You know what? This is a pure art at this point; there's no patron, there's no creative input outside the artists themselves. What goes in it, as long as it remains so, depends solely on what the artists want to do.

Nobody had the right to force Michelangelo to sculpt. Not, anyway, if he didn't give them that right by letting them hire him. Now, it would have been a real shame if he hadn't, but the point is that nobody had the right to force him to.

And nobody has the right to force Eric & Wednesday to do webcomic commentary. They're both fine writers, and they can write anything they want on their own time and on their own site. And, like it or not, that's here, folks.

But, my opinion on matters is that webcomic criticism has been done better here than anywhere else, and that Eric, in particular, has a gift for it that is markedly in excess of his gifts simply as a writer; that while he's a good writer, a pro who does solid work, his best writing has been webcomic crit.

I personally owe Eric a lot; I have learned more about the craft of webcomicry and characterization and pacing and gotten more insight into how webcomic plots evolve and what the form is capable of from Eric than from any number of twee theorists and self-appointed webcomic gurus like Scott McCloud -- not that I haven't bought and read McCloud (and Eisner, etc) profitably, but for the "daily lesson" in how masters handle the art and the ideas, with worked examples and unbelievably sharp insight and analysis, I've been coming here.

I've been coming here, specifically, to learn the webcomicking craft, and -- well -- to be inspired. It's done more for me in that vein than any ten other sites on the web.

Of course I want him to do more webcomic crit. Of course I want him to take it seriously and treat it as a mission. Hell, I'd like to see the webcomic crit gathered into a textbook for webcomic artists; there'd be a tome I'd cheerfully pay a bunch of bucks for and put it up on my shelf next to Eisner and McCloud and Poganoy and all those "anatomy for artists" and "figure studies" and the scrapbooks full of photoreferences I've collected, and I'd be pleased because it would make the whole collection better and more useful.

There'd be a book that any number of college professors would want for courses on writing and criticism, and, one hopes, courses on creating webcomics. 'Cause God knows, that's at least as valid a career choice as any other Fine Art.

But ultimately, what I want doesn't matter, unless Eric & Weds give me the right to make it matter, for example by accepting payment to do exactly that.

Maybe we ought to, say, take up a collection and hire them?

Comment from: MagnoliaPearl posted at November 3, 2005 6:58 PM

Yet another person who signed up to comment here.

Yes, Websnark is not written for any of the readers. But Websnark to me has become like an alcoholic friend. He is deadset on doing what makes him feel good, but he can't see that it makes him suffer, and resists changing his lifestyle even when friends and coworkers take notice and step in to help. Websnark, please don't get alcohol poisoning. We can fight this ... together.

On a slightly different note: Before Gossamer Commons began, I got the impression that you [Eric] loved snarking strips, and couldn't wait for something you wrote to be snarked in turn. Don't get me wrong: I adore GC. I dream of drawing it someday. I anxiously await each next installment, hungry for more of this story that has begun to spin out in front of me. That said, sometimes I feel like you wrote GC just to snark it.

GC isn't even two chapters into its run. Don't choke it with commentary. Let it breathe. Don't be the overprotective parents who makes his child wear a helmet to a game of chess.

(Please, please let someone get that reference.)

Comment from: mckenzee posted at November 3, 2005 7:18 PM

Since someone earlier asked, please join us at http://livejournal.com/~snarkoleptics.

You can comment anonymously if you don't have a livejournal.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 7:20 PM

Yes, Websnark is not written for any of the readers. But Websnark to me has become like an alcoholic friend. He is deadset on doing what makes him feel good, but he can't see that it makes him suffer, and resists changing his lifestyle even when friends and coworkers take notice and step in to help. Websnark, please don't get alcohol poisoning. We can fight this ... together.

Actually, I'd see it as the opposite. The boozing friend trying to clean up their lives and the friends who are trying to hold them back because they only want him to stay in a single role instead of just letting them move on.

Comment from: Ardaniel posted at November 3, 2005 7:43 PM

Actually, I'd see it as the opposite. The boozing friend trying to clean up their lives and the friends who are trying to hold them back because they only want him to stay in a single role instead of just letting them move on.

Actually, I'd just see it as an incredibly asinine comment relating two things that have *zero* in common in terms of severity, consequence, and importance. (That being said, Matt, I think your own point has a lot of merit.)

If Eric discussing Justice League, or Wednesday talking about Canadian labor disputes, is as drastic and upsetting an event as having a friend go through rehab...

Really, that sort of stands on its own. Perspective, ladies and gents.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 3, 2005 7:44 PM

That said, sometimes I feel like you wrote GC just to snark it.

At last check, "snarks" were the things that *weren't* about stuff we do.

Most of the strip commentary for Gossamer Commons is over *there*. Eric posts about GC when it's pressing. Stuff like, say, losing an artist, or an outage, or a break in the story. It's John Stark that's had the disproportionate boom.

(The misinterpretation potential is part of why I don't use the label.)

God, I could use two bottles of merlot and a chaser of opiates.

Comment from: MagnoliaPearl posted at November 3, 2005 8:05 PM

I didn't mean to say this whole issue is as serious or important as the ordeals facing an alcoholic, just that the two things appear to follow a similar pattern.
A pattern which I am familiar with to an unfortunate degree.
In my head that comment was funny and essentially good humored. Clearly I have bad taste. Sorry.

Comment from: Nate posted at November 3, 2005 8:33 PM

Isn't a merlot a small fuzzy animal?

No. Wait. I'm thinking of marmoset. I think. How the hell do I get those two confused? On a regular basis, even. I suppose this means I need to become more familiar with either wines or fuzzy animals.

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at November 3, 2005 9:01 PM

MagnoliaPearl:

Consider it gotten.

"Maybe she thought we might have fallen and impaled our heads on a pointy bishop or something..."

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 3, 2005 9:46 PM

If Eric discussing Justice League, or Wednesday talking about Canadian labor disputes, is as drastic and upsetting an event as having a friend go through rehab...

I was just taking the metaphore handed to me and twisting it around.

To be honest, at this point I'm just kind of interested in seeing how much longer this all can go on before it comes down to just a bunch of people saying "good on you Eric and Weds." As such, I may be accused of beating the horse just a little to much, seeing how I haven't said anything worth while since this morning (and even that is debatable)

But hey, I was watching a TV show talking about the Da Vinci Code earlier, and if a surrealist prank can get play years after everyone involved admitted it was a prank, then what the hell.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 3, 2005 10:52 PM

Bear: That is sweet and touching, the whole "I want to buy your brain as a textbook" thing.

"(Is it sad that i'm actually enjoying this, all impartial disenbodied observer-like?)"
OH MY GOD SEMPITERNITY DOESN'T HAVE A BODY!

Duff the Tragic Wagon: I just noticed your name, which has now made my day!

Someone towards the middle/end who asserted that, really, it didstart out as a webcomics blog: Fine but crucial distinction: the blog has always been about the contents of Eric's (/Eric and Wednesday's) brain, it's just that there have been periods where the boy has been, like, obsessed with comics. Which, honestly most of us can relate to. In that sense, it was never a webcomics blog. It was a webcomic-lover's blog. (It still is, of course, it's just that we talk about lots of things... you know, just like we always have)

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at November 3, 2005 11:14 PM

I can't believe I missed this thread.

I'm about a day late on this, but am I the only one who thought that "shameless self promotion" was just a turn of phrase?

Comment from: whymy posted at November 3, 2005 11:18 PM

*head explodes*

Holy shit, I just read this whole thing in one sitting.

And as for my two cents (rattle rattle) I wish there was more snarking about webcomics. I came here for the snarks, and I start reading a lot of comics through them. I'm not saying "oh noes, everything else is crap!" I'm just saying a couple more snarks every now and then would be nice...

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at November 3, 2005 11:25 PM

Also, this reminds me of all those people who thought Bob Dylan had sold out by going electric. Everyone who booed him at his shows paid for the privilege

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer posted at November 4, 2005 12:00 AM

"Nobody had the right to force Michelangelo to sculpt. Not, anyway, if he didn't give them that right by letting them hire him. Now, it would have been a real shame if he hadn't, but the point is that nobody had the right to force him to."

If you read up on Michelangelo, you'll discover that someone (the Medicis) spent alot of time forcing Michelangelo to PAINT, when he really wanted to sculpt instead. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was in fact the moral equivalent of writing "I will not switch sides during a coup." 100 times on the teachers chalkboard.

"I feel like I've just explained to someone that their keyboard broke because they poured coffee into it, only to have them ask for the third time in a row why the network is down."

I understand why you say this. I can even sympathize. I get what you are saying. I really do. I did not mean that what you have suffered was deserved, or that Eric planned for this to happen. What I am saying is that a strong focus on webcomic critiques at the point where this blog started getting popular is the inception of an inertia in reader expectation that you are having growing pains in trying to overcome. I'm not justifying what has happened, only explaining it.

"I've never understood this model. I've made reference to how telling someone with clinical depression to snap out of it is ineffective; telling someone not to get irritated by large quantities of inappropriate feedback (and, again, it's not the crit, it's the "we own you and you owe us" thing!) is about as effective."

I've suffered depression, and I've had people say such things. It is profoundly stupid. If people are implying that you owe them a certain type of blog, they are simply wrong. If it were to matter, you can add to your reply, "P.S. WD thinks you're dumb as a sack of hammers."

"Maybe there's a point where we really shouldn't put up with being bullied in the /name/ of criticism."

I'm a strong supporter of the mentality of: http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php?date=2004-03-24 but I can agree to this in theory. I did point to both Darlington and Pete and Ian as people who've suffered a torrent of identicle complaints each complaining of a creative decision that certain fans simly didn't like. I agree that for you, like them, the level of criticism is undeserved. Does it suck that the most knee-jerk opinion have the same capacity to get back to you as the most thought out? Yes. Would it be great if your disclaimors and mission statements would negate people from lodging complaints about the direction you've diliberately chosen to take? Yes. Can a system be set up where only intelligent criticism gets back to you? I doubt it, certainly not on the ever egalitarian internet. Can I ever support the idea that people shouldn't criticize publically submitted intellectual property? No.

I'm sorry. I've simply seen too many Rush Limbaughs, Howard Sterns, Jack Chicks, Ann Coulters, Jack Thompsons and others who consider disagreement a reason for dismissing other's opinions (or even feeding on the emnity) to ever consider something out of bounds.I recognize that that's an easy opinion to hold when I'm not the one being criticized, and can only hope I hold true to it if I ever get enough fame to have critics.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 4, 2005 1:17 AM

Wow. How this thread has exploded since I wrote about community waaaaaaaaaaaay up there toward the top. Thanks for provin' me point, guys; it really is the community, the dialogue, the discourse, that makes this site keep growing. That makes people keep clicking back and commenting, sometimes a week or more (an eternity for a blog) after the initial post.

It really is a shame to me that Weds and Eric have been .. well, if not hurt, then upset and angered by this whole debate.

What scares me is this: if the buttheads who just won't let the idea that websnark is "just about webcomics" die, already, if they continue to press the point and make asses of themselves, then what? I know that Eric and Weds will keep writing, it's just what they DO, but if this crap continues, will they really keep writing it HERE? Probably not.

Or what if, and I shudder to think it, they turned off the comments ability because they didn't want to read all the whiney bullshit? Then commenters (like me) who just want to discuss, to share, and even sometimes to just say "good on you!" to someone, well, we'd be screwed.

Please, please, let's, as a community, not force either of those horrid circumstances to come to pass. Don't fuck with my 'snark, dudes... I'm an addict and proud of it!


oh. and that first penis comment way up there had me snorting out loud. Which, of course, startled the hell out of the cat and made her fall off the shelf, and thus had me nearly falling out of my chair. Thanks for that, I needed it!

Comment from: Merus posted at November 4, 2005 10:17 AM

Hmm.

If one is interviewed by MHA, how does one play along? Or is it more of an Ali G thing, where the point is that you're not supposed to play along?

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 4, 2005 10:24 AM

Wistful: you're consistently ignoring the crux of my point, which is that criticism is not the issue. By continuing to make statements along the lines of

Can I ever support the idea that people shouldn't criticize publically submitted intellectual property?

you're doing us a disservice as well. Both of us have said, over and over, that we welcome and support criticism; that's what we do, for heaven's sake. And there are reasons why the only rule is that commenters can't insult anyone but us.

But the problem is one of perceived entitlement, run amok to the extent that we appear to now have readers who have confused their desires and perceptions with who and what we actually are, or at the very least have to be. Run amok to the extent that they are making demands based upon that. That's not criticism. You even seem to agree with that:

If people are implying that you owe them a certain type of blog, they are simply wrong.

They are. That's how all of this got started. See the first comment.

So I'm thankful for your position of support, but I'm losing it in the surrounding material -- I feel as though you are not hearing what I am saying, but shaping it to a case that neither of us are honestly making.

I'm not taking issue with the argument that we should be writing about webcomics. (Well, I am, but I'm not taking issue with the existence of that argument.) I'm taking issue with those who seem to have forgotten that, no matter how many times they tell us what our intent is, we're the only ones who get to determine that.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at November 4, 2005 10:49 AM

What I am saying is that a strong focus on webcomic critiques at the point where this blog started getting popular is the inception of an inertia in reader expectation that you are having growing pains in trying to overcome. I'm not justifying what has happened, only explaining it.

As long as we acknowledge that this is a only a problem for those readers who have fallen into this trap. A problem that they created and that they alone are responsable for. Also it is up to them to address and deal with the problem. Eric and Weds do not owe these people anything because they missed the point.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at November 4, 2005 12:08 PM

It's almost like Websnark needs a "Wash, Rinse, Repeat" category for every time this comes up. I imagine that even more bothersome than the complaints about Websnark's direction (which, as has been noted, is the same it has always been) is the frequency of these complaints.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 4, 2005 5:55 PM

Imagine what will happen to J. K. Rowling's career after she finishes the last Harry Potter book. Either she's going to keep writing Harry Potter books because she's a sellout, or she's going to write a different genre of book and then everyone's going to be disappointed that it's not fantasy. Mark my words.

I suspect that she'll simply adopt a pen name, so as to avoid the tyranny of expectations, and write web comics commentary full time.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 4, 2005 8:08 PM

I imagine that even more bothersome than the complaints about Websnark's direction (which, as has been noted, is the same it has always been) is the frequency of these complaints.

The last time there were comment pages this long on this subject was about six, seven months ago. I'm keeping my eyes out the next time the clocks change.

Comment from: B.G.Aesop posted at November 5, 2005 12:50 PM

Personally, I don't think Guernica is that great.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 5, 2005 12:53 PM

The vampire analogy, BTW, just struck me as terribly amusing, given that Anne Rice has given up vampire stories in order to write Jesus fanfic.

Comment from: iconoclast posted at November 5, 2005 1:34 PM

Nate: "No. Wait. I'm thinking of marmoset. I think. How the hell do I get those two confused? On a regular basis, even. I suppose this means I need to become more familiar with either wines or fuzzy animals."

fuzzy wines or animals? *looks confused*

oh. nm...>.>

Comment from: iconoclast posted at November 5, 2005 1:38 PM

Ray Radlein: "I suspect that she'll simply adopt a pen name, so as to avoid the tyranny of expectations, and write web comics commentary full time."

...eric?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at November 5, 2005 1:45 PM

Wait. We're discussing a woman in Britain adopting a pen name to write webcomics commentary... and the person at Websnark you think of is me?

We really need to get Weds a public relations budget.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at November 5, 2005 2:50 PM

Weds was too obvious. Plus, you're the webcomics commentary guy, right? (whistles)

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 5, 2005 3:16 PM

We really need to get Weds a public relations budget.

Yeah, you know, I've said that. But no one noticed.

Comment from: Bear posted at November 5, 2005 9:39 PM

Well, as one of those who had a bad case of percieved entitlement, I'd like to apologize.

I was under the mistaken impression that this site is part and parcel of how one or both of you earn a living, and that therefore you would be profoundly interested in what your "customers" (ie, I and others here) wanted and how best to provide it. Little things like paypal links and snarky teeshirts and Strunk&White merchandise (My GF got the teeshirt, BTW -- I love it) and so on put me in the mind of commercial sites, and I didn't notice (or perhaps blatantly ignored the implications of) the absence of advertising on the site.

In short -- mea culpa. I didn't realize it was pure hobby and not intended to meet its own expenses, and I held it up to a standard of professional behavior that is clearly inappropriate for a hobby site.

And I need to apologize for opening my mouth in ignorance -- especially since it was a purely revocable ignorance and you've pointed out many times in comments on past topics that this is a hobby.

So... you guys go on writing. I'll go on reading, both reviews and, for enjoyment only, the rest of it. I'll not treat this as a 'professional review site' again nor request that you write anything other than whatever you want. And I'll add some other comics review sites to my daily read (thanks for the links, Weds) so I avoid thinking of Websnark as being "THE" comics review place in the future.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 7, 2005 5:58 PM

Uh-buh... who-wuh...

I am positively astounded at the decency and integrity Bear just showed; I think we all know how damn hard it is to say, "I was wrong." I can only hope I ever have that much class!

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at November 7, 2005 6:56 PM

Yeah seriously, Bear's comment here deserves looking at. Good show, man!

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 7, 2005 7:53 PM

Yes, good on you, Bear, for owning up. I have to say, though, I think you're being a little more abject than necessary. You used the phrase "perceived entitlement" - your behavior was based on a misperception of the entitlement to which you were due, but the behavior was appropriate to the situation as you perceived it. I think the high level of contrition you're showing would be appropriate for someone who'd perceived the situation accurately, had reacted disproportionately, and been persuaded that his sense of entitlement had been out of line. But I think it's a little high for someone who just made an honest mistake for having come in late.

Or, to put it more succintly: Calm down, we're cool.

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