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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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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

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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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

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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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

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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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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ThePhilosopherStoned



Joined: 21 Jul 2012
Posts: 2

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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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThePhilosopherStoned:

Surely, you haven't seen the hilarity of The Oatmeal's comment section (the author is notorious for epic counter-trolls.) Also, one of the most fun parts of Yaoi 911 and Teahouse (both wildly successful yaoi comics) are their comments section campers and the often dramatic speculations from the fans. In these sites, the comments sections are often as entertaining as the webcomics, or even more! But, I suppose this all depends on the audience.

As for Facebook, I actually deleted my accounts for all of my webcomics because the drama and negativity (usually because my comics offended people who didn't seem to understand what NSFW meant.) The trolling there by people who more often than not only read a single page was terrible. Email, Twitter and G+, forums tend to be civilized.

The comments on my webcomics site tend to be overwhelmingly positive or politely constructive/informative and I enjoy them very much, even if they are few and far between. I consider them treasures and validation that I am doing something really right. With the anti-spam tools available now for WordPress, killing overly negative comments is a snap.
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