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I've gone and done a Bad Thing
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Wonderdrome



Joined: 24 Jan 2012
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: I've gone and done a Bad Thing Reply with quote

I responded to a negative critique of my comic with something more than a gracious "thank you."

What do you all think: is it ever called for to quibble? Is it cathartic to lambast your detractors? Ought one just slink away and commiserate with friends loved ones (who UNDERSTAND you?) Good lord, I'm guilt ridden! I feel like the internet's got its slimy tentacles in the nasty parts of my brain, and is twitching them licentiously.

As a side note, I didn't lambast anyone. I think I was relatively classy about it all, but really how classy can you be when you're talking about your own work to someone who loathes it? (Not a rhetorical question- I'm looking for opinions with clear demarcations.)
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Casual Notice
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 2966
Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not really a matter of whether it's "classy" or not, so much as the sheer pointlesness of the argument. Some people just aren't going tolike your work, just as some people just aren't going to like you, and all of their rationalizations eill strike you as meaningless, as much because you don't truly understand them as because they are simply rationalizations and not actual reasons for a logical choice.
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Casual Notice--commentary, comics and an appreciation for snappy hats.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usually I respond to trolls by thanking them for their feedback, especially if it has merit. It usually works out well.

However, if a troll is especially vicious or makes a totally nonsensical comment, I've learned that the best way with them is either to delete the comment in moderation, or make special content just that gives them what they want, attention, but not in the way that they expect.

Examples:

This was my response to an over-the-top grammar troll, that actually became a standard reward for people who spot errors on my comics:
http://barxotka.com/2012/03/20/thanks-to-alucardzero-for-spotting-the-spelling-error/

A response to a troll that actually became an opportunity to share beauty tips: (I was so sleep deprived I couldn't even pronounce the name of my own comic or I couldn't tell the difference between question and commentary.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb1q6cHizWQ
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 2490
Location: Here and there...mostly there. Sometimes kinda in between.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's never productive to argue with critics, however it isn't necessarily embarrassing if you handle it with class.

It is ok to:
1. Get clarification on some point they've made or ask for their point of view if you are interested.
2. Explain why you handled something a particular way. Note it is not ok to do this in your defense, only if they actually seem mystified by your choice.

Fundamentally, if someone doesn't like your work, you aren't going to convince them by arguing about it with them. "No, the thick mud-like consistency and the retching are what makes it a delicacy!" If they don't like it, they don't like it.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas

In my experience, critics tend to be really helpful even when caustic. You just have to ask the right questions with a great deal of patience when challenging what they are saying. The majority of times it works out really well. Even if they don't like your work, they at least will respect what you are trying to do once they understand what's going on.

Trolls in general are just looking for attention and feed off reaction, so it's very important to deal with both groups of people very differently. But even in that situation, people that come across as trolls may not be behaving maliciously. I find that calm and private conversation, addressing their concerns is a very productive pursuit.

I think that might be the law school dropout/ex-teacher conflict resolution thing speaking though.
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Wonderdrome



Joined: 24 Jan 2012
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such a lovely batch of answers to my strife, thank you all.

Vas, you said something nice about my comic long ago, so you feel like an old friend. I think that making jokes at the expense of critics really is the best way to handle negative emotions.

Casual Notice, well I feel like it is a question of whether it's classy or not :). Public persona is, for some god awful reason I don't care to analyze, something that's important to me. It's not that I want to appear classy, but damn it I was raised protestant and I want to know if I'm really being classy or not. I can feel the vomit rising in my throat now from how many times I've written the damned word so I'll move on. I agree that you won't be winning people over through argumentation, and that reasons people can provide usually don't have much to do with why they feel how they do.

Vulpes, you provided exactly what I asked for, god bless you. But here's a contrary statement I'll put to you: there's a kind of catharsis you can get by publicly defending yourself (not your art, perhaps, but yourself) through humor or argument or whatever clever methods you have. What do you think? ALSO: this ""No, the thick mud-like consistency and the retching are what makes it a delicacy!" If they don't like it, they don't like it." is brilliant prose.

P.S. To The Grammar Trolls: Can we use emoticons as punctuation yet? ":)." is atrocious. It's the 21st century.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4137
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderdrome wrote:

P.S. To The Grammar Trolls: Can we use emoticons as punctuation yet? ":)." is atrocious. It's the 21st century.


I tend to put the smiley after the punctuation like this. :) It still looks kinda weird mid-paragraph though. : /

I think they look better at the end of a paragraph than the middle, so personally I think if you want to put in a smiley put it after the punctuation and use it as an opportunity to start a new paragraph. I have nothing on topic to add by the way. I just thought I'd discuss smiley placement for a bit. :P
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderdrome
I pretty much try to read your comic all the time, so the feeling is mutual. And yes, humor soothes a lot of wounds.

wendyw
Considering how much I abuse emoticons, an Elements of Emoticon Style leaflet would not be amiss. I think your first set of rules is solid.
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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Location: Here and there...mostly there. Sometimes kinda in between.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderdrome, thank you.

To answer your contrary statement:
I think the primary problem that most artists have with critique is that they have difficulty separating their art from themselves. Thus criticism of their work becomes criticism of them. Defending yourself and defending your art is very cathartic, which is why most people do it.

However, what makes someone classy is that they are capable of separating themselves from their work. It is no longer their work, but work which they drew. If the work is bad, the work is bad, not the artist. An artist who is capable of thinking this way does not need a cathartic release.

Good artists also develop personal relationships with people whom they can vent to in private. This gives them catharsis, without loosing their class.

If a person is attacking you, personally, just for the sake of attacking you, then there is little more cathartic than not reacting they way they expect.
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Wonderdrome



Joined: 24 Jan 2012
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent points, Vulpes! I think you're entirely right.
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Twisted Evil I'm always right!
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And modest to boot. Wink
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darn tootin'

If fact, there never was a more modest or humble person. Razz
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ThePhilosopherStoned



Joined: 21 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, debates on the same page that the webcomic appears on are never a good idea. I don't understand why most webcomics have a place for comments... the most successful ones rarely do. If a comments page exists, no comments tells you that nobody reads the comic... a lot of good comments get tedious, especially if they're saying the same thing, and a lot of bad comics just lets people that otherwise weren't even thinking about judging your work harshly an opportunity to get in that mindset.

If you have to have a comment area, have a Facebook page or a forum, someplace where you can get to know your users better and they can get to know you. I go with the Facebook page so that as you're having a conversation with your readers, other people are encouraged to check it out too. The potential for negative feedback is still there but it's usually moderated on a place like Facebook, where their friends are watching what they do and true anonymity is less likely.

Now, I've got an email account for the webcomic that does get feedback emailed to it probably as much as the Facebook page gets comments... and people are more inclined to give the worst comments (as well as the best) over that. The people that are just blindly insulting get ignored, but people with valid criticisms get taken into account, and often responded to, and not just with rationalizations on my end. Sometimes I'll admit that I messed up, and promise to work on whatever the issue is... and in those cases, the critics will usually go on to be regular readers, and sometimes email me follow-up feedback if I've improved or whatever.

Criticism can be valuable if it's honestly and kindly given and honestly and kindly received, and if it's in the right place.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4137
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThePhilosopherStoned wrote:
First off, debates on the same page that the webcomic appears on are never a good idea.


Never? That's a bit of a sweeping statement. There are quite a lot of comics out there with a healthy amount of comments on the pages and a complete lack of unnecessary drama.

ThePhilosopherStoned wrote:
If a comments page exists, no comments tells you that nobody reads the comic... a lot of good comments get tedious, especially if they're saying the same thing, and a lot of bad comics just lets people that otherwise weren't even thinking about judging your work harshly an opportunity to get in that mindset.


I think it's more fair to say that no comments suggests that nobody reads a comic as different comics will get a different amount of comments regardless of actual readership. Some comics just give people more to talk about than others.*

That said regardless of whether it's only the suggestion of low reader numbers or not, I can see how it can be a problem, so yeah, fair point on that one for the most part.

As far as negative** comments go I've never really heard the idea before that seeing them on a comic site is likely to change people's minds about what they think of the comic. I tend to trust readers to form their own opinions more than that, which is funny because I'm a terrible cynic normally.

ThePhilosopherStoned wrote:
If you have to have a comment area, have a Facebook page or a forum, someplace where you can get to know your users better and they can get to know you.


The problem with forums is that you have to register, which can put off any but the most dedicated reader and not everybody has or wants a Facebook account. Yeah, on site comments aren't perfect, but neither are the alternatives by any stretch.

Anyway, there was a thread active recently over in the Gubbins section about comments that you might want to check out.

(*And I'm not just saying this because nobody ever comments on my own comics. I know how bad my reader numbers are.)
(**Unless we're talking actual trolls, malicious gits or raving crazies I wouldn't call them 'bad' and if they do fall into those categories I'd just wipe them.)
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