"Deal With It"

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

"Deal With It"

Postby arin » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:07 pm

I have loved Erfworld, from basic concept through implementation, with a fairly deep passion. I've shown it to friends, I've given it time, effort and money. I've driven 8 hours from New England to Maryland on the vague promise of a "once in a lifetime opportunity" concerning Erfworld, and spent $50 on swag once there even though the opportunity turned out to be nothing more than two artists drawing a picture (which, hey, other people probably would have been thrilled, I guess, but the way it was hyped up I had fantasies about being able to help shape the plot or design a side - in fact, we spent most of the eight hours in the car - random internet strangers who'd never met until Erfworld brought us together - playing around with ideas of that nature). I contributed proudly to the Kickstarter, and have, before today, never even /thought/ about complaining about the fact that I received none of my promised pledge rewards 4 months after the time in which said rewards were promised.

But then, that's because I assumed that those four months were being spent building up a comic surplus. That was, after all, what the hiatus between March and June was for, right?

I wrote a VERY long rant when Rob posted his initial "boo" message in the Reactions thread. I was LIVID at the idea that he could casually say that he was just going to not bother posting an update on Wednesday. But the site froze up as I went to post it, and although I had saved the text of that rant, my anger diminished just enough by the time the site started responding again that I rethought posting it. Rob's flippant middle-finger style News post, however, makes it clear that I need to step up and rant, so here's the initial rant in it's entirety:

==================================
balder wrote:There wasn't going to be an update at all this week, but I decided...


EXCUSE me?!?

Methinks the holier-than-thou author has forgotten who's buttering his bread. Why should something like an upcoming convention hamper the publishing of a single strip that was, presumably, drawn months in advance? Isn't that why you took HALF A YEAR of hiatus? Because if it isn't, I'm going to have to start asking some hard questons. Questions like what you've been doing with my Kickstarter pledge money that you've been sitting on since March. The Kickstarter provided estimated April 2012 delivery on all swag, and it's currently August. That delay was acceptable when I thought you were building up a surplus all this time, so that you could deliver on your INCREDIBLY easy to hit once-a-week mark. But if you're seriously suggesting otherwise... the words "class action lawsuit" come to mind. Plus didn't you tell us in this thread that you were working on stuff we'd be reading in October? How can you already be out in August?

You're on thin ice, Mister Balder. We've had this argument on these forums before, remember? In which I told you to just pick an update schedule, any one, and stick with it? (By the way, it's kinda a jerk move to tell me then that my advice is worthless and then, one year later, go ahead and do exactly what I suggested anyway). That was almost TWO YEARS ago, and since then you've sucked up a bunch of money in a Kickstarter, launched ideas for a motion comic and released a ton of new merchandise, but have added only a handful of pages and little blurbs to your current opus. Yeah, you've had lows, and yeah, Xin went through some excruciatingly hard times, but reading a comment like the one quoted above makes me a WHOLE lot less sympathetic to those things. You've got time to go to Gen Con and unleash Party Rob, using possibly my Kickstarter funds as seed money to peddle off some more commemorative goodies, but you don't have the time to honor a weekly commitment to post the very thing that ENTITLES you to money for goodies and prestige at conventions?!?

Boop that.

I'm making an ultimatum, right now. If you EVER miss a Wednesday Book 2 update before the story is over, I will start actively speaking out against Erfworld in the strongest possible terms. I'll blog, I'll show up at cons with picket signs, I'll rally the troops. I will click on every single advertising link on this site and make sure the advertising executives in charge of funding those links are aware that they are associating their advertisements with a product that does not deliver. And if you haven't delivered me my stupid meal stuff by then, which won't even remotely be a surprise anymore, I WILL take legal action. THIS COMIC IS YOUR JOB, YOU CANNOT JUST BLOW IT OFF WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT. Stop seeing us as fans and start seeing us as EMPLOYERS, because that's what we are.

GET SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. NOW.

======================================

The thing that sucks is, the reason I didn't post it the other day is because I was - and am - pretty sure that my words are nothing more than empty bluster. Here's the sad truth: I mean everything I wrote there. I /will/ start actively working against the comic and it's creator. But I don't know if, at the same time, I would be able to actually stop reading it. He's just THAT GOOD... y'know, when he decides to actually do something. And he knows it. And I think that's probably the root of the problem. He's like that abusive boyfriend who stomps your heart and treats you like crap but you can't just leave cause the sex is AMAZING and you're hooked on it. Honestly, if we're slaves who really can't get away, why would he /have/ to treat us any better? Why not just blow off the comic completely and work on more profitable projects, or cut it off the web completely and just publish it? (Well, I doubt he could do that last part, no publishing company on Earth would put up with his production rate, not to mention how effective this trickle method is at keeping us hooked and talking - like providing people with just enough crack to keep them dependent. Sometimes I wonder if he does it this way on purpose, it's in his financial best interests to trickle and milk it as much as possible, so long as we're compliant about it).

I honestly am not even sure what my purpose is in writing this rant. I just can't believe, after years of screwing us over, Rob could be so FLIPPANT about letting us down YET AGAIN. I guess it's true what they say in Dogma, fear is what makes a human being decent, and he just has no reason to fear losing us.

How DO we deal with it?
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:51 pm

You deal with it by venting, and then achieving a sense of perspective. You've vented, and I trust it made you feel better. You've vented publicly, so you're going to get both support from those who agree with you, and flak from those who don't. Ignore both the support and the flak - neither will change your personal situation, nor influence Rob in any real way.

Step 2 is to gain perspective. This is a comic. No lives are on the line, no significant outlay of money has been made by anyone involved (amounts of less than a few hundred dollars are, realistically, insignificant, although it may not seem like it to you at present). No human rights are being trampled. If Rob misses an update, you lose out on 5-15 minutes of entertainment. As a customer, you are completely within your rights to stop supporting the site (and you support the site simply by coming to it and loading up some ad banners, even if you never donated). But Rob is providing a service - and all businesses have the right to chose not to serve a customer. And make no mistake - we are all customers here. We may be valued, or we may be taken for granted. Either way, we can only vote with our feet.

If you honestly have the time and energy to protest a comic artist over failing to meet a self-imposed deadline, I'd recommend that you channel that energy into a more worthy cause. Soup kitchens, animal shelters, suicide hotlines... there are no shortage of truly worthwhile causes that can benefit from your energy and enthusiasm.

There are other, easier ways to deal with it as well. Some few of us are such addicts that we've created our own games in the Your Games forums, creating content that lets us live in variations of Erfworld for a few more hours each week independent of Rob's efforts.

How you react is completely up to you. Now that you've vented, I hope it has made you feel better. Take some time to reflect on how you want to spend the energy that Rob and Xin's work inspire in you. I'd encourage you to find a positive outlet for it.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby 0beron » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:15 pm

Just a few little things.

Firstly, I agree (in spirit) with the OP's point (if not to the extreme degree). It does frustrate me that Rob is honestly abysmal at the organization aspect of his business. In fact, my Kickstarter contribution amount was HIGHLY influenced by this realization, I would have donated more if I had been confident Rob would deliver in a timely fashion.

Which brings me to my second point. The Kickstarter. Let me save you the trouble by assuring you that you WILL NOT be able to sue Rob over your dissatisfaction. As I referred to it above, your contribution was a DONATION. Read the Kickstarter terms of use, the risk of not receiving your reward is one you ACCEPT by contributing. No court will acknowledge your complaint, and Kickstarter will not care because they have no power either. So don't bother with that empty threat.

Finally, while Rob's comment did surprise me, don't take it out of context. He was responding (overly harshly true) to a poster who complained about the content of the update, not the schedule itself. While the harshness of his remark and the insight it gave me on how he has been managing his time has ensured that I will never again contribute even small amounts to Erfworld, remember to take it in proper context. If you are displeased with the comic, don't contribute to it anymore. Rob has heard these complaints before and nothing you say or do will change him. So save your energy and enjoy the comic when it does update, or just go away and be happy without it. As Marbit commented, there are far better and more meaningful things you could devote your time to.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Lamech » Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:15 am

arin wrote:I'm making an ultimatum, right now. If you EVER miss a Wednesday Book 2 update before the story is over, I will start actively speaking out against Erfworld in the strongest possible terms. I'll blog, I'll show up at cons with picket signs, I'll rally the troops. I will click on every single advertising link on this site and make sure the advertising executives in charge of funding those links are aware that they are associating their advertisements with a product that does not deliver. And if you haven't delivered me my stupid meal stuff by then, which won't even remotely be a surprise anymore, I WILL take legal action. THIS COMIC IS YOUR JOB, YOU CANNOT JUST BLOW IT OFF WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT. Stop seeing us as fans and start seeing us as EMPLOYERS, because that's what we are.

Oh. My. God. :D This would give Erfworld so much free publicity. And as a side benefit the clicking on links would give Rob advertising income. Please do this. Do everything you've said. :D :D :D :D
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Duck » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:13 pm

Yeah massive protest isnt likely to make much difference long term. Though may well turn off people more permanently once they realize nothing is changing so far as consistency.

I'm past the point of getting worked up over any of it myself. Disappointed that he didn't appear to have learned ANYTHING at all from the previous incidents though. It's one thing to say "sorry, no update cause of xyz but I DID bring you a Klog! We'll be back xx/xx/xxxx" Something else to say "no update, take your klog and like it and oh by the way screw you if you dont". There was absolutely no reason to bait everyone with the gif. Any crap he gets about it b/c of that, I've got zero sympathy for him. Think he blew a ton of good will with more than a few people that they've finally started getting back after the past year or so.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Lamech » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:06 pm

Duck wrote:Yeah massive protest isnt likely to make much difference long term. Though may well turn off people more permanently once they realize nothing is changing so far as consistency.

I'm past the point of getting worked up over any of it myself. Disappointed that he didn't appear to have learned ANYTHING at all from the previous incidents though. It's one thing to say "sorry, no update cause of xyz but I DID bring you a Klog! We'll be back xx/xx/xxxx" Something else to say "no update, take your klog and like it and oh by the way screw you if you dont". There was absolutely no reason to bait everyone with the gif. Any crap he gets about it b/c of that, I've got zero sympathy for him. Think he blew a ton of good will with more than a few people that they've finally started getting back after the past year or so.
The gif was hilarious! That made this update the best update for a long time. Plus the giant arkwork is wonderful. I agree he didn't handle this the best. He should have probably posted it in the new section sooner, and not have snapped. Although its obviously understandable; he's heading to a con, has no time, and is stressed. Hence, he forgets stuff and snaps at people.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Tensor » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Funny, I was wondering where this whole thread came from, as in "wow, what venom, did I miss something?" Then I read the bottom of the "update page." That's some serious assholeness right there.

I'm not surprised, nor upset, at all. I will simply continue to do exactly what I've been doing (and NOT doing) regarding this comic since I saw the light.

Sally forth!
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Myth » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:59 am

I find the threat of legal action, the promise to wage a private war against Erfworld and the comparison to an abusive boyfriend to all be incredibly absurd and almost self-defeating in how over the top the language is.

Now, I certainly agree that Erfworld could absolutely use more communication: the status of kickstarter rewards and goals, notification of any upcoming delays or missed weeks, clarification on what the current schedule actually means, etc. And I do agree that Rob's continual snide responses to fans - whether the 'Deal With It' gif or snapping at complaints in the forums - is incredibly unprofessional. And especially a disappointment, given this post, where he seems to pledge a higher caliber of professionalism.

So, for anyone disappointed with this sort of activity, I don't advocate pledging to destroy Erfworld or threatening legal action. All I recommend is pointing Rob back towards that post, where he promised to live up to his supporter's expectations over the coming year. Remind him of that, and remind him that when we offer up our disappointments, what we are actually doing is sharing how we think the comic could be better - how we think he can show us his appreciation, which he seemed intent on doing after his supporter's more than tripled his Kickstarter fundraising goal.

Here's how he can live up to those words, at least for me:
1) Offer up regular communication, such as advance notice of schedule changes and keeping us in the loop on kickstarter rewards.
2) Act like a professional. That means not mocking your fanbase, not throwing up forum bans when people disagree with you, not snapping at any posters who express disappointment when you let them down. You are running a business here, and the presence of a non-traditional funding method is not an excuse to act like a damn child.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby effataigus » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:11 am

I'm pretty sure the "deal with it" comment was aimed at people upset that Wednesday's update is going to be more of Parson's MK tea party... not people upset about the comic not updating on schedule.

Not to downplay your concerns though. Erfworld is like that fun friend that has flaked on you way too many times. You still cc him on invites, but you never expect him to show and you never lend him money.

EDIT, scratch that... I misread it... Deal With It was directed at everyone.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:20 pm

From someone who has been both supportive and critical -- albeit constructively, I hope -- in the past, I feel compelled to be a bit contrarian here, and say that I've actually been extremely impressed that every single Wednesday and weekend deadline has been met since the relaunch. I think there might have been one single update that was a few hours late, but that seems like a very minor thing in the overall scheme of things. And personally, I read the "deal with it" comment to be directed toward people who complain that Parson is still in the MK, which doesn't really bother me.

Anyway, one primary thing that I (and many of us) have been asking for has been a clearly defined update schedule, and consistency in achieving that schedule. So far, Rob and Xin have been achieving this update after update for 2.5 months, and I for one am thrilled about that. My hope is that they keep up the good work, and don't get distracted by commentary like this.

Finally, if past history is any indication, this thread may disappear, and I'm (perhaps strangely) more OK with that now than I was before. But as long as it's up, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to weigh in and register my support and encouragement.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby drachefly » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:24 pm

I would co-sign the above post, if Ansan Gotti permits.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby effataigus » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:38 pm

Aye... for all of my whining, the comic is winning me over again.

Personally I'm not too worried about the specifics of the schedule... I just feel bummed when the schedule is broken (especially since I often spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the comic in advance of the updates). Lately it has been pretty great. I do think advance notice that the update might be delayed would've been A+ though!

Whether the .gif was directed at everyone or just those of us whining about Parson's gabbing, the point is taken. I'll stop bringing it up now that I know the feedback has registered.

Though my sympathies do go out to those that ordered products or participated in a Kickstarter without realizing that Erfworld works on small-business time rather than Amazon.com time.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Duck » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:28 pm

Oh I agree, the steady updates have been great so far, pacing aside they are typically interesting and usually surprise in some manner. And I've been happy that they've stuck to the schedule for an extended period.

I saw that there was a klog up and, while I, like many, would have preferred an actual page it wasn't such a big deal to me, we got an update, the effort was made and that's a good thing.

Then I read the news post and saw the gif and, yeah, so much for that
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Housellama » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:08 pm

Honestly, I didn't see the problem.

I think that people wasting time getting that indignant over it is actually rather sad. Do you not have anything better to do with your life than be angry over a WEBCOMIC? Is life that empty that you would choose to be upset about a comic strip that people put together for the love of it? I met Rob at GenCon and was happy to shake his hand and tell him in person that I loved the comic and thought that he told an amazing, captivating story. I missed Xin, which is a shame because I would have loved to compliment her art.

Yes, it's possible that Rob could have been a bit more tactful with his statement, but honestly with as much boop as he's received, I'm actually a little surprised that he remained as civil as he has been for as long as he has been. Life is like everything else: You get back what you put in. A lot of people (specifically the people Rob was addressing) have given him a hard time with... just about everything. That it is coming back around shouldn't be surprising.

tl;dr: "Deal With It"? Deal with it.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Duck » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:28 pm

Well there's saying "deal with it" and then there's going out of your way to find and/or animate a gif to do it.

Lack of tact is a bit of an understatement. ;)

Everyone wants Erfworld to succeed, if for no other reason than we're all selfish and want to see where the story goes. And yeah, people have been on him about things for a long time now for one reason or another but sometimes you just have to soldier on and do your thing, no reason to pick fights
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby drachefly » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:04 pm

It is a pretty sweet gif, though. And so useful!

Sometimes you've just got to say it with an image macro...

I have the feeling that if it had been specifically scoped to those who complain about Parson's MK stay, this wouldn't have happened. Wording can be important. Otoh*, maybe that's not what he meant.

* and FAQ and Kibo, too
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby effataigus » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:36 am

drachefly wrote:...but keeping the readers informed in advance is an A+ thing.


effataigus wrote: I do think advance notice that the update might be delayed would've been A+ though!


I think my subconscious is a language thief.

That said, I only say "A+" when I'm consciously thinking of this:
http://theoatmeal.com/pl/minor_differences3/tp_house
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Lamech » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:14 pm

drachefly wrote:It is a pretty sweet gif, though. And so useful!

Yes the gif is amazing. I question the wisdom of a 2.7mB image, but its amazing. Okay its technically not relevant to the plot, but its totally worth an update. And the klog was reasonable too for being on a con. I give that update a 10/10. Also judging from this guy, I give it a 10/10 for trolling. Which really just makes me like the update even more. Seriously Rob that update was absolutely amazing.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby ftl » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:19 pm

In addition to the various erfworld characters, there needed to be a trollface.jpg getting the sunglasses.
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Re: "Deal With It"

Postby Alucinor » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:52 pm

Yeah, Rob needs to learn to handle criticism without throwing a fit, and he should also have a buffer of comics so his consumers don't notice when he takes a few days off for whatever reason. I had thought that making a buffer was a big part of what he was doing for the months he was on hiatus. Also, if writing one comic and one text update takes literally a full week, he needs to take a hard look at his process and see how he can make it more efficient.
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