What the hell happened to this comic

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

Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Nihila » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:07 pm

What. I don't even know where to start... this is like looking at a solid iron sphere, and trying to figure out how to put a fishing hook inside. It's like looking at a hypercube in 1.245 dimensions.

Okay, I'll start with the stuff that I'm really curious about. Time to try to unfold the hypercube into 3 dimensions, then work from there. Firstly, I would rather have my own copy of Book 1 than a regular update schedule. Call me old-fasioned, but in my opinion, reading a book beats reading a webcomic hands down, all else being equal. And, if I take one of your assumptions--that Rob is solely financially motivated--cross breed it the thing about traffic generating revenue, and slam the result into the second assumption--that 90%+ of us would prefer to have updates to Book 1--then Rob's actions become random and absurd. If we aren't going to buy Book 1, then there's no money to be gained off of it. If there is money to be gained off of it, then we are going to buy it.

So, what gives? Now, if we accept that Rob is an idiot, then your logic train might make sense. In my experience, idiots make bad writers. Erfworld is not, as far as I can tell, bad writing. Am I right here?

And, if we accept that the most recent news update is a lie, then it is reasonable to expect the horrible update speed to last forever. Do we really want to make the implicit assumptions that Rob is a stupid liar? How would that even work?

And, BLAND, I like your posts because they hold together when logic is applied, on account of being logical. As far as I'm concerned, there's at least five different causes here--there's the "What the hell happened to this comic?" cause, the "Why can't the first cause shut up" cause {mostly dead now}, the "The updates are really, really slow, and the first cause's points hold together, but the comic's still good" cause, the "Just cancel your Tool membership if you don't want to support the comic" cause, and the "Let's look at what people actually think" cause. With raphfrk being the only one in that last one, but his most recent post displays an admirable spirit of scientific empiricism.

Now I'm going to go start another thread, asking people whether they'd prefer to have more updates or Book 1, and what they think about the update situation. Because I hate it when people pull statistics out of thin air, and when they do that, they deserve to have it checked.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Tensor » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:05 pm

The fact that Rob has not deemed us worthy of any kind of response AT ALL is what makes me think he doesn't give a crap. Ambiguous statements in the Erfworld News section are not what I consider a response.

"I've also gotten the go-ahead from Robot Comics to create a mobile app of the comic [Edit: guess which one, it ain't Erfworld]. Details when available."
I didn't pay tool fees and buy merch from the store so you could go work on other mediocre, uninteresting endeavors while Erfworld stagnates to hell. Yes, Stagnates. To. Hell.

"As far as Erfworld books, this October is really do-or-die time."
Whatever, you've said similar before. I'll believe it when I see it.

"I'll try to keep everyone posted."
Choice of words is so important. How about this instead: "I'll keep everyone posted." Do or do not, there is no try. As for updating us, why don't you dive into the forums and actually try to diffuse this thing. Why are you keeping yourself so detached? For the non-tools out there, the tool forum is similarly lacking in responses.

In closing, I read all of the latest updates to mean it's all about the books for a long time. There won't be squat for Erfworld advancement until at least 2011. Won't it be great next June when this turn finally ends?
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby quindraco » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:22 pm

Tensor wrote:The fact that Rob has not deemed us worthy of any kind of response AT ALL is what makes me think he doesn't give a crap. Ambiguous statements in the Erfworld News section are not what I consider a response.


I think I agree with your underlying point, that Rob ought to be telling us more than he has. I think we might all feel a lot better with some sort of explanation for why the updates have been so slow, and a more realistic prediction of the update schedule in the future.

As a webcomic fan, I am no stranger to rare updates - for example, I read Atland, which updates once a week, and sometimes the author misses an update. Mind you, he announces missed updates before they happen, and sometimes offers an explanation (it's a lot less critical because he warns people ahead of time - I only really look for an explanation when the author only pipes up after the fact). I've seen comics gracefully handle both updating schedules that don't happen quickly, and suffering frequent interruptions. Erfworld does not seem to me to be doing either.

I can speculate as well as the next geek as to why the comic is updating like it is, but the point is that I shouldn't have to.

Come to think of it, I read Goblins, which historically has never been able to keep to any sort of regular update schedule. On a regular basis, Thunt announces some schedule which then falls through. With him, though, I always get an explanation (typically a very good one).
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Sixty » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:32 pm

arin wrote:The simple truth here? Rob sold out. If we're all anxiously clicking on the website daily, his site gets that much more traffic, which means he gets that much more money. If he stuck to a schedule, then traffic would taper off on the off-days and he'd make less. KEEPING US FRANTICALLY CLICKING IS FINANCIALLY IN HIS BEST INTERESTS.


That would only help in the relatively short term (as can be seen) it soon begins to hurt the comic. There are lots of reasons for slow updates, some good, some bad, some understandable, some not so much. This sounds sorta paranoid in comparison to the majority of possible reasons.

arin wrote:Not to mention that it's con season - who's got the time to bother with keeping online fans happy when there's another bunch of folks gathering with cash to buy T-shirts and another excuse to get drunk in a hotel room?


I have seen comics become slow and molasses-like due to cons (See: VGcats) and yes, they certainly don't help Rob update faster. I believe going to a con here and there to connect with fans is good though one can definitely overdue it. Whether this is a significant factor in the update slowness remains to be seen though I doubt it is the only cause since Rob has been going to cons long before updates got slow.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby the_tick_rules » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:53 am

Of course there have been a couple tools who have cancelled their memberships cause they are tired of slow updates. So the current situation has it's price. So keeping it slow on purpose is not a very solid idea.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby arin » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:58 pm

Eh, I was having a discussion with another forum member in PM, and I was just gonna leave well enough alone here, but I suppose I should share at least some of it, lest Bland continue to fear me as a fanatic. ;)

Reading a good webcomic's a weird thing. You go to check for an update and nothing's there, it's like walking around on your birthday waiting for the surprise party and being bummed when it seems like your friends don't realize what day it is. The more of a life you have, the more it's just a momentary thing, but you get that happening again and again and the feeling starts to multiply. Now, it's really ALL IN YOUR HEAD, cause the reality of it is that the webcomic author's not /really/ personally snubbing you multiple times a day for several days, but you're still having this buildup of frustration and it has one very obvious source, until you eventually need a moment of "HEY I'm HERE!!!"

You'd be surprised how much animosity went away in the first hour after I hit send, cause once you have your catharsis, rational thought has room to kick in again. And y'know, the comic updated today, and damned if it wasn't great as always. Still, it really is going to hurt Erfworld in the long run if things don't change, which in turn would hurt Rob because he needs to make money off the thing. Now it's less about personal dissatisfaction and more about "Rob, I'm concerned for /you/," but the basic idea is still the same. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were on the "inside", and knew what Rob was going through. Maybe if I knew the details I'd feel a little shame at how heavily I laid into him, as much to try to get a response as to actually express my discontent (I don't really think Rob sold out, but it's not exactly a strong post that says "I don't think Rob understands how much it can be perceived that he's doing this on purpose", rather than an I-dare-you-to-prove-me-wrong accusation. I'm always willing to look sheepish if I can get a Big Reveal out of it).

But like a few people said, running Erfworld's a lot like being an elected politician, with thousands of "employers" who have expectations, perhaps even mildly unreasonable ones, about what the contract is between them. I wouldn't feel much shame, cause there's a hundred things Rob can do here. ESPECIALLY with hundreds of hardcore fans and thousands more whose ears he has. For example, I'm sure there's at least two dozen potential volunteers who would handle the lettering for Erfworld without being paid a dime, some for the experience to put on their resumé and others just for the privilege of seeing the update in advance and proudly proclaiming that "I was part of this".

I did get to hear something I was unaware of, which is that Rob /has/ delegated some of the work on Book 1 to other people in order to give at least that much more attention to Book 2. That fact alone made me feel better, because I had this image from his updates as the guy who feels like he needs to do it all personally, and that some frustrating sense of perfectionism was one of the root causes of the delays.

I'm still a discontented camper, but now that it's off my chest, I can look at it from a slightly more human perspective again.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby effataigus » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:46 am

Opinions are unstable things. Just the act of expressing them solidifies your stance on an issue leaving you more convicted than you were before. If someone contradicts you then you're put in the position of defending both your opinion and your portrayal of it. The anonymity of the internet seems to amplify this by allowing people to use stronger rhetoric than is wholly accurate when articulating an idea.

This is the longwinded way of saying that I'm always impressed when someone is able to break the cycle and end up with a more-moderate a stance than they started with.

Of course, Bland's response had the unmitigated shaming power of a bus full of confused and scared 1st graders staring out the bus windows at the guy who just yelled out a curse word.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Tensor » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:20 pm

Just to point out, the latest update occurred a record 9 days after the previous update (8 was the previous record). This is a record since wayyyyyyyyyyy back in book 1 when we had to stare at a bunch of blimp/balloon dragons in the sky for a couple weeks.

Of course, it was 9 days after a text update, which itself was 7 days from the previous real page. Using higher math, that results in 16 days from page to page. We have officially crossed the line into updates being not even two per month.

And wow, the parallel with tools/electorate, that's brilliant. I do feel like I voted for a candidate that lied to me and is now out to serve himself, not his constituency.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Sonic Screwdriver » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:27 pm

Anyone remember the Dresden Codak webcomic?
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Nihila » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:46 pm

Tensor wrote:The fact that Rob has not deemed us worthy of any kind of response AT ALL is what makes me think he doesn't give a crap. Ambiguous statements in the Erfworld News section are not what I consider a response.
It'll Get Better wrote:This is about the farthest behind on regular updates I have ever been with Erfworld. There are a lot of reasons, and while I really don't feel like rattling off an excuse list, let me just say that things will get better. That won't happen soon, but it will happen.
Okay, so we'd rather have Rob rattle off the excuse list. Sounds great. Except I doubt it would change anyone's opinions. There's another good politics analogy to be made here--in any nation where there's a <1 party system, you have the solid voters for each party, and there's not much to do to change their minds. Forums are much worse, for reasons that effataigus mentioned:
effataigus wrote:Opinions are unstable things. Just the act of expressing them solidifies your stance on an issue leaving you more convicted than you were before. If someone contradicts you then you're put in the position of defending both your opinion and your portrayal of it. The anonymity of the internet seems to amplify this by allowing people to use stronger rhetoric than is wholly accurate when articulating an idea.
I know that I'm guilty of this, to some extent.

arin, I feel that I owe you an apology, because the 90% updates/book statistic is easily close enough, given the people who answered.

This is... not the first time Erfworld has had updates only once a month. If it doesn't update again for the next 21 days. Because it did update twice in September(or, if we count text updates--which I do--four times). And I actually like the text updates--if they mean that something is new every week, that's better than having something new every two weeks. And they have actual internal dialogue, and I like internal dialogue.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Tensor » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:50 pm

Nihila wrote:Okay, so we'd rather have Rob rattle off the excuse list. Sounds great. Except I doubt it would change anyone's opinions.


No, you're absolutely right. Excuses, whatever, they don't mean anything, and I doubt they would be well-received or cared about, etc. Actions are really the only thing that will assuage people's discontent.

That said, when I was saying Rob wasn't addressing this, it would feel nice that he (and I quote myself) "gives a crap" about what's happening in this thread. Maybe just get involved, be conversational, say something. This isn't a new concept, and it's not like he's a known introvert and this is simply not his bag. He used to be pretty interpersonal earlier on, so what changed.

And I'd like to point out that there are very few people in this thread who would respond into some kind of bitchfest. There have been thoughtful and adult comments here, and this forum is very capable of having a mature conversation. Unfortunately all we get is a vacuum. The fans, tools or not, deserve better.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby yay » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:04 am

Sonic Screwdriver wrote:Anyone remember the Dresden Codak webcomic?


yes, think it is still going on. but the author works alone i believe and warns everyone that he updates monthly.

Rob shoots for weekly, then half the weeks are text updates. which are interesting, but where not envisioned as part of the original plan, never answer any questions and raises so many more (same reason i never watched lost), and are essintially filler material.

i know art can't be rushed, but if you declare a schedule you should try and stick to it. to do otherwise is unprofessional, especially since this is now his job
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:16 am

effataigus wrote:Of course, Bland's response had the unmitigated shaming power of a bus full of confused and scared 1st graders staring out the bus windows at the guy who just yelled out a curse word.


LOL. Agreed. When I read arin's initial comment, I was hemming and hawing about how to respond in a sensitive manner that nevertheless expressed my concern and disagreement with the post, but then BLAND went and did it for me.

And arin, thanks for coming down off of the ledge. :) I also agree, it's neat to see someone come back with a more moderate position. Kudos to you.

Tensor wrote:That said, when I was saying Rob wasn't addressing this, it would feel nice that he (and I quote myself) "gives a crap" about what's happening in this thread. Maybe just get involved, be conversational, say something. This isn't a new concept, and it's not like he's a known introvert and this is simply not his bag. He used to be pretty interpersonal earlier on, so what changed.


I imagine it's a really hard topic to address and that there is a pretty solid admixture of anger and embarrassment coupled with a lack of easy solutions that makes responding in a calm and constructive manner a challenge. Rich on the OOTS forum addresses this issue by simply forbidding discussion of the topic, for example.

Two things to note, however. First, just because something is hard, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Second, I don't really agree with the ban-the-topic "solution" to the issue, but then RIch probably has enough success whereby he can tell people to like it or lump it, anyway.

Tensor wrote:And I'd like to point out that there are very few people in this thread who would respond into some kind of bitchfest. There have been thoughtful and adult comments here, and this forum is very capable of having a mature conversation. Unfortunately all we get is a vacuum. The fans, tools or not, deserve better.


I agree with the former, not sure I agree with the latter. Ultimately, I agree with the argument that we Tools are getting what we "paid" for via support of the comic and store credit. And so I'm not sure "deserve" is the right word.

I do think, however, that it would strongly behoove Rob -- on a sheerly business level, if nothing else (and there are also moral advantages as well, IMO) -- to do things such as increase communication, acknowledge anger and upset, and set a regular schedule even if it is very slow at first. That is simply good customer service and good business, IMO.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Nihila » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:21 am

Ansan Gotti wrote:
Tensor wrote:And I'd like to point out that there are very few people in this thread who would respond into some kind of bitchfest. There have been thoughtful and adult comments here, and this forum is very capable of having a mature conversation. Unfortunately all we get is a vacuum. The fans, tools or not, deserve better.


I agree with the former, not sure I agree with the latter. Ultimately, I agree with the argument that we Tools are getting what we "paid" for via support of the comic and store credit. And so I'm not sure "deserve" is the right word.

I do think, however, that it would strongly behoove Rob -- on a sheerly business level, if nothing else (and there are also moral advantages as well, IMO) -- to do things such as increase communication, acknowledge anger and upset, and set a regular schedule even if it is very slow at first. That is simply good customer service and good business, IMO.
I agree with the central message of what you two are saying--that Rob should be telling us more. That is one thing I cannot disagree with. Maybe I'll just check back on the comic in mid-January and see how far its gotten then.

Hopefully, it'll be moving faster by that point, though. I'm getting skeptical.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Tensor » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:43 am

Ansan Gotti wrote:And so I'm not sure "deserve" is the right word.


I'm speaking more from the standpoint of any fan, of anything. You know, when any celebrity of any kind gets up and makes a speech, and they say "We couldn't have done it without you, the fans." etc.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Ansan Gotti » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:54 am

Tensor wrote:
Ansan Gotti wrote:And so I'm not sure "deserve" is the right word.


I'm speaking more from the standpoint of any fan, of anything. You know, when any celebrity of any kind gets up and makes a speech, and they say "We couldn't have done it without you, the fans." etc.


Gotcha, and fair enough.
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby raphfrk » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:16 am

raphfrk wrote:In the interests of beating the dead horse some more :), I created a poll in the Tool's forum.


I started on the tool's forum ages ago and these are the results (152 votes were cast over the last year or so):

Most people donated to support comic production and/or due to the conversion into store credit.

This is more a FYI than a beating a dead horse.

What were the main reason(s) that you became a tool?
in order to support comic production - 33%
because all subscriptions become store credit - 24%
to thank the Rob/Jamie for book 1 - 17%
to thank the Rob/Xin for book 2 - issue 1 - 11%
to access the hi-res archive - 9%
no ads on the site - 5%
to access the tool's forum - 2%
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Re: What the hell happened to this comic

Postby Mal » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:03 pm

... Raphfrk, did you really just resurrect a thread that was exactly a year old just to throw fuel back into this discussion?

Ugh.
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