WebSnark Snark

It's not MAD science...just disappointed.

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WebSnark Snark

Postby Gav on Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:17 pm

I expect people will want to sound off about this:

Gav wrote:Most recent news item:

(4/8/2005) Snarking WebSnark. We need more people honestly and publicly critiquing webcomics. It's not just that we're attention whores (we are), but it improves the entire field to get real feedback. That's why I really liked WebSnark when it first debutted as a daily blog offering an honest daily review about specific strips, the wrongs and the rights. Plus, Eric started the thing off with about seven snarks in the first month about Nukees, and all of them were embarrassingly, glowingly positive, so it's no wonder I loved it. True, we must always keep in mind that it's only one opinion, and that we could use more, but his opinion was that Nukees kicks ass, and I'm inclined to support that.

But lately, I'm inclined to believe that the attention has gone to his head, like how new movie starlets get the first time E! News chases them and their agents haven't had a chance to tell them what they should and shouldn't say when 20 million people are watching. I just couldn't help but notice that on the front page today, there isn't a single snark about a webcomic. Does anyone else think that's just not right? I'm also not entirely certain what Wednesday's role is there, but she seems to be taking over (and says so in her subject lines). That's not necessarily a bad thing--she entertaining in that kooky but cute Sarah-Jessica-Parker-from-L.A.-Story kind of way--but she seems to talk about pretty much anything that hasn't quite been filed into long term memory yet, and only very rarely is a webcomic actually involved. Furthermore, they launch into these sidebars like I'm already deep in the issue's fan club and receive a regular newsletter, when in fact, I'm not even 100% sure what the topic is.

And finally, Something. Has. Happened. To the WRITING STYLE. I mean, I know it's the Internet, but one of the great points of WebSnark is that Eric wrote well and was articulate. But maybe he writes too much. Because. NOW. It's. All. About. EMPHASIS. And no complete. Sentences.

To top it all off, I feel the site's been cheapened recently by both the launching and plugging of Eric's own webcomic, thus removing him from the realm of objectivity, and the recent overpowering begging relating to his new Paypal donation button. Apparently, we're supposed to buy them speakers and electric kettles now that they have our attention. When did panhandling revert back to the barter system? I'm not sure how I feel when someone says, "You don't have to get me anything" and then provides a long list of the things I shouldn't get them.

Okay, that's a lot of snarking but it's been building and I had to get it off my chest. I still like the site, even though it had seven good things to say about Nukees the first month, then never again. Maybe I haven't done anything good since then, but I'm chalking it up to the fact that Eric himself hasn't snarked a single webcomic in all of April so far (I'm not counting the Queen of Wands snark, which wasn't really about the comic, but Aeire's commentary). Anyway, to reiterate, I still think he's providing a valuable service to us all and I thank him for it, but I feel like it could be sliding ever-so-quickly into "First and Ten" Syndrome in only a few short months (and by not explaining "First and Ten" syndrome, I'm giving you an example of how I feel when they launch into issues without providing sufficient background). And if that ever happened with Nukees, I'd want to know.

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Postby Maritza Campos on Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:30 pm

Hey Gav, the link from the nukees page is bad.
I agree that I miss the webcomicking snarking. I actually don't mind if there's snarking about something else, but the webcomicking, I do miss it. I am deeply interested in the webcomicking subject, as an author and a reader. I like the analysis and stuff. I have to admit I rarely read opinion pieces if they're not about webcomics. Exceptions are made, but it's rare.

I follow various webcomic blogs, aside from websnark:

http://www.thelivingcomic.com
http://webcomicfinds.blogspot.com/
http://justsaying.biscuitpress.com/
http://digitalstrips.blogspot.com/
http://www.livejournal.com/community/snarkoleptics/

Anyone know another?

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Postby Shai Gar on Sat Apr 09, 2005 4:30 am

the webcomics are far better than anything on TV, Et Cetera, Nuklear Power and Nukees are all morally, intellectually and entertainment-wise far superior to that shit that holywood spews out... at least untill tuckermax's tv show get put on the air as he wants it
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Postby DarkShive on Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:28 am

Schlock Mercenary leaving Keenspot, the merger in the storyline over at PVP and Scott Kurtz's daily grind gripes... that's at least two web comic topics that he could've snarked that I haven't seen him snark.

And I'm not as of note as those things, but I have my own scenario ripe for discussion: http://www.elgoonishshive.com/EGS_Article_partyTimeline.html. Now, I could be wrong, but I've never seen a story-intensive comic post a timeline like that in response to fan ranting before. It relates to issues regarding fan pressure, plot progression in web comics, archives VS day-to-day updates, etc.

Anyway, the point is that there are topics regarding web comics all over the place that are worthy of note, and he's talking about the cookie monster. "C" is for comics, yo :roll:
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Postby Minivet on Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:51 pm

Huh...

First of all, your bringing up the PayPal thing puzzles me. He's mentioned it in a total of one post, and it's for those occasional people who say they want to give something back, explicitly not guilt-tripping. The stuff about sending them gifts, which you also refer to, is a joke:

Websnark wrote:<strike>Well... nothing. I mean, dude, yeah this is the selfishness post and all, but seriously. No one has to get us anything. We do this because we like it and because it quiets the voices. Still, we're going to put out the wishlists, so people know.</strike>I mean YES! Yes! Of course! They will know what it is we want! Mu hu ha ha ha!


As for Gossamer Commons, yeah, maybe it went to his head, but remember he restricted actual cross-promotion to its first week.

Now for the main criticism, the lack of comic snarking.

I don't want to say "Hey, he can write whatever the hell he wants!" because that's as much of a copout as "Everyone's entitled to their opinion." It's true, but not helpful. Instead, we should consider what Websnark fundamentally is.

Websnark wrote:This thing you're reading? This is my blog. It's where I go to blather about things that catch my attention, and then move on.
(q.v.)

I'm not sure he ever even defined his mission as being a webcomics blog. I certainly don't see that in his (admittedly unclear) inaugural post. His mission is to write snarks -- true, usually on webcomics, but interspersed with dashes of astronomy, current events, and such other fun stuff as strikes him. He isn't a news commentary site either, with a goal of keeping up with all the important happenings in Webcomicsland. He writes when something strikes him.

And we should keep in mind that that was one of the innovations that made him interesting (if not first done by him), and that is what people are copying in the emerging boom of webcomic blogs. A personal, casual atmosphere and style, not tied down to schedules or journalistic conventions, based on what the writer spontaneously finds worth discussing. I do sometimes get a little impatient at the current state of his site, but I think that gives short shrift to why I read it in the first place.

Really, it comes down to the first sentence of your post. Get on the bandwagon, opinionated folks! If Eric doesn't feel like snarking stuff we find interesting, that's a shame, but if we get more people making blogs like his, build up a real network of informal, maybe slightly erudite commentators, we'll be disappointed much less often. (See Ping's post linked above.)

And more concretely, his comic snarks in large part come in fits and starts, I think. In the first third of April, he hasn't done anything on particular comics, if you don't count the QoW, sure -- but then if you go back to the last third of March, there are eight such snarks. Just give him a little time, is my short-term advice.
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Postby gwalla on Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:07 pm

The thing about donations was pretty thoroughly sarcastic. I think you'd have to work pretty hard at being offended for that to get under your skin. It was just a silly way of saying "We've got a PayPal donation button now BTW".

I think you've got a point about him not snarking so much on webcomics lately. And, while I like Wednesday, it's true that her posts have been pretty content-free so far.

I'm ambivalent on Gossamer Commons.
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Postby websnark on Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:15 pm

It's all a pretty fair cop, so no arguments on my end.

Gossamer Commons I'm pretty well keeping off the site now that we're through the first week. I'm sure I'll bring it back now and again.

With comics, it comes and goes in waves. I'm also feeling out of sorts with the Manley sites having been out for so long. It disrupts my rhythm. And there haven't been a lot of "knock me back hard" moments in the last couple of weeks that have throttled me and said "snark me."

As for the style? I'll work on it. I think you're right. It's easy to fall into habits, and those habits can be crutches.

(Oh, and I still like Nukees. A lot. I've been anticipating seeing Ma'at again.)
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Postby websnark on Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:19 pm

Darkshive wrote:Schlock Mercenary leaving Keenspot, the merger in the storyline over at PVP and Scott Kurtz's daily grind gripes... that's at least two web comic topics that he could've snarked that I haven't seen him snark.


The Schlock migration faked me out by being announced on 1-April (where I also posted a giant horking thing, which took a lot else out of me). The PvP storyline interests me a lot, but I've done a <i>lot</i> of PvP of late, so I've kind of given that a bye.

As for the Daily Grind drama... man, that's a mess I don't want to be anywhere near. Mea culpa.
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Postby DarkShive on Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:27 pm

Aw, be a part of the mess! It's a webcomic mess! It's where you belong ^_^
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Postby Ringading on Sat Apr 09, 2005 11:16 pm

I'm glad to hear that somebody else has taken issue with the unreadable Buffy-esque style that has come to dominate Websnark. It saves me from having to sign up to comment on it at the site itself.
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Postby Tangent on Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:02 am

*sigh* Maybe I should turn the Tangents keenspace site into a webcomic "snark" style site... heavens knows that I keep seeing comics I'd love to comment on, and end up not doing so because I've no such outlet to vent upon...

Only problem is I don't have any idea on how to go about doing something like that - I'm unsure as to the costs or such of using Typekey or what other programs would be better. And I don't read a 100+ comics either (40+, but not 100+ :D) so... *shrug* my view is probably limited.

Actually, what I really miss from Websnark is an astronomy snark. :D Been a while since Eric's looked to the heavens, we're due. :D
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Postby websnark on Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:58 am

Tangent wrote:Actually, what I really miss from Websnark is an astronomy snark. :D Been a while since Eric's looked to the heavens, we're due. :D


Dude. I look at it every single day, in hopes inspiration will strike. :-?
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Postby websnark on Sun Apr 10, 2005 10:10 am

Oh, to set the record straight -- the last time Nukees was Snarked directly was December, long after the first month. And at the end of the month it was nominated in the Shortbreads for the Funny. And while it wasn't individually snarked then, I did mention Nukees glowingly in February.

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Postby reinder on Sun Apr 10, 2005 10:45 am

Tangent wrote:*sigh* Maybe I should turn the Tangents keenspace site into a webcomic "snark" style site... heavens knows that I keep seeing comics I'd love to comment on, and end up not doing so because I've no such outlet to vent upon...

Only problem is I don't have any idea on how to go about doing something like that - I'm unsure as to the costs or such of using Typekey or what other programs would be better. And I don't read a 100+ comics either (40+, but not 100+ :D) so... *shrug* my view is probably limited.



Do it! I'd read it! A Keenspace site could be a decent vehicle in its own right, if you just treat it like a daily comic and got a forum for comments. There's no law that says it has to be a blog. If you wanted to be really technical about it, there's a recent tutorial on the Keenspace forums for integrating Blogger into your Keenspace site. So it can be done. But you don't have to.
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Postby Gav on Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:41 pm

Maritza: While more than 50% of the time, you would be right, I don't see a problem with the WebSnark link this time. Is there another link to which you're referring?

Regarding Paypal,etc.: Eric can have a Paypal button if he wants. Who doesn't? But perhaps I'm not getting the "joke" that is supposed to be post #666, which seems to take up not only a vast majority of the real estate, but even more of the visual attention. How is it a "joke" when he lists the actual stuff he wants sent and provides a method and vehicle? Somehow the "joke" part of it seems to be just an assuagance of guilt for having asked in the first place. Anyway, I don't feel that strongly about this. I've toyed with the idea of setting up an Amazon wishlist myself. Perhaps it was just the red background that overwhelmed me. There was just something abut the "joke" that I didn't get. It's like when you "joke" about killing your boss or asking a girl out, just to kind of get the idea out there without putting yourself on the line.

Regarding not snarking webcomics: I don't mind the non-webcomic snarking so much, and now I see the mission statement doesn't even mention the word "webcomic." Should it? Just because the Mission Statement says one thing, that doesn't mean that's what "WebSnark is. It's not my place to dictate the direction of Eric's site, but I feel it set itself up to be something different than "just a blog about whatever's on my mind." I also think it would be unfair of me to expect him to be "on" all the time, or post something every single day (the total amount of writing really is, indeed, colossal). But it feels that maybe WebSnark became something different than the original Mission Statement, and thus we have a certain, unfair but expected, expectation from it, which it felt to me was being neglected. But I guess it was never meant to be there in the first place.

Regarding Gossamer Commons: I do have a real problem with this, but not because of the plugging (of course you should plug your own creations). The problem I have is that the thing I liked most about WebSnark was the "outsider's view." Let's face it, everyone and their grandmother has a webcomic these days. It's always seemed like a virally multiplying, self-consuming field, like some kind of attention-oriented pyramid scheme. I mean, a great deal of the credibility of movie critiques stems from the fact that they don't make movies. Would you trust a movie review by Steven Spielberg? Or Ed Wood? WebSnark, to me, was one of the first true elements that legitimized webcomics because finally, it meant webcomics had such attention, that people with no personal involvement were covering it regularly. Now, I'm not disappointed in Eric for wanting to do it, but I'm disappointed in the net result. Now we're back to the pre-August state of things in which we only talk about ourselves.

Regarding Nukees: Actually, you brought up Nukees both as a nominee for a shortbread award in January, and as an example in a Comixpedia article around the same time, so my memory of not having been snarked since the first month is rather incorrect. But my point wasn't to beg for another spot, but just that I realized that the odds of anyone being snarked have gone way down, using myself as an example. However, upon reflection, this is certainly expected, as you would necessarily have had a lot more to say when the site was new. If there are seven major points you've always liked about Nukees--well, you've said them, haven't you? It's actually no wonder that there would be an initial flood of commentary, which is then more closely metered into a steady stream. Also, a typical movie reviewer writes maybe one or two reviews a week. Doing four snarks a day isn't something you probably should keep up.

Regarding the change in tone: Upon more research, it may be that the mixing of yours and Wednesday's style has afffected my evaluation. You guys do write a lot, and I don't think I'm alone in that I often just skim an article rather than digest the full content. The "[w]" is often lost on me. Maybe mini-avatars would be better? Could also be very annoying, though.

Anyway, point being, I still think you're doing a good job, but there were some concerns on my mind as to the direction and I just felt like getting them off my chest. Maybe just one webcomic snark a week, and I'll be happy again. ;) As you said today, the popularity of the site has skyrocketed, so you're obviously nowhere near a "First and Ten." (Actually, this isn't the right interpretation of your "First and Ten Syndrome." I'm really mixing it up with "Jumping the Shark.")

Speaking of that, it's occured to me that a regularly-updated webcomic's popularity really never goes down, as far as I know, does it? The only webcomics that lose readers (overall) are the ones that stop updating for long stretches. It's interesting to me. Or perhaps the self-publishing nature means that a cartoonist will usually lose interest and stop doing it long before jumping the shark?
Last edited by Gav on Sun Apr 10, 2005 3:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Sidhekin on Sun Apr 10, 2005 1:05 pm

The link to the forum has viewforum where it should be viewtopic, I believe:
Keenspot wrote:The forum you selected does not exist.
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Postby Gav on Sun Apr 10, 2005 3:00 pm

Sidhekin wrote:The link to the forum has viewforum where it should be viewtopic, I believe:


Oh, I thought she was talking about the link to Websnark.

Ah, that link used to work when it pointed just at the forum. I tested it and everything. Then after I started this topic, I went in and changed it to point directly here and promptly broke it.

Yes, now I feel better. It wouldn't be right to post a correct link in my news.
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Postby Sidhekin on Sun Apr 10, 2005 3:16 pm

Gav wrote:It wouldn't be right to post a correct link in my news.
Define "correct". :P
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Postby gwalla on Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:31 pm

Gav wrote:Regarding Paypal,etc.: Eric can have a Paypal button if he wants. Who doesn't? But perhaps I'm not getting the "joke" that is supposed to be post #666, which seems to take up not only a vast majority of the real estate, but even more of the visual attention. How is it a "joke" when he lists the actual stuff he wants sent and provides a method and vehicle? Somehow the "joke" part of it seems to be just an assuagance of guilt for having asked in the first place. Anyway, I don't feel that strongly about this. I've toyed with the idea of setting up an Amazon wishlist myself. Perhaps it was just the red background that overwhelmed me. There was just something abut the "joke" that I didn't get. It's like when you "joke" about killing your boss or asking a girl out, just to kind of get the idea out there without putting yourself on the line.


I think the joke was that it was post #666, so they were being greedy and "evil".
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Postby Maritza Campos on Sun Apr 10, 2005 8:20 pm

Gav wrote:
Sidhekin wrote:The link to the forum has viewforum where it should be viewtopic, I believe:


Oh, I thought she was talking about the link to Websnark.

Ah, that link used to work when it pointed just at the forum. I tested it and everything. Then after I started this topic, I went in and changed it to point directly here and promptly broke it.

Yes, now I feel better. It wouldn't be right to post a correct link in my news.


Told you. Told you I'm never wrong. I'm perfect.

MWAHAHAHAHA

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Postby Tangent on Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:14 pm

reinder wrote:
Tangent wrote:*sigh* Maybe I should turn the Tangents keenspace site into a webcomic "snark" style site... heavens knows that I keep seeing comics I'd love to comment on, and end up not doing so because I've no such outlet to vent upon...

Only problem is I don't have any idea on how to go about doing something like that - I'm unsure as to the costs or such of using Typekey or what other programs would be better. And I don't read a 100+ comics either (40+, but not 100+ :D) so... *shrug* my view is probably limited.

Do it! I'd read it! A Keenspace site could be a decent vehicle in its own right, if you just treat it like a daily comic and got a forum for comments. There's no law that says it has to be a blog. If you wanted to be really technical about it, there's a recent tutorial on the Keenspace forums for integrating Blogger into your Keenspace site. So it can be done. But you don't have to.

Hmm. Well, I do have both Keenspace account and Keenspace forum for said account. I suppose the only things I'd need to do is figure out how to put up the reviews on the main page without typing everything each time in HTML (and then just make sure to link each "tangent" with a forum discussion thread started for it).

That and figure out what my password for the Keenspace account is. *laughter* Seems my ftp program knows it, so I can ftp into the account all I like. I just can't access the account through the actual account via the web. :D
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Postby HiFranc on Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:33 am

Tangent wrote:[...]

That and figure out what my password for the Keenspace account is. *laughter* Seems my ftp program knows it, so I can ftp into the account all I like. I just can't access the account through the actual account via the web. :D


I propose two solutions:

1) Ask your ftp program to tell you or

2) Ask a Keenspace admin.
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