Community Involvement

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Community Involvement

Postby Imi » July 31st, 2009, 7:36 am

So, katwhacker's recent topic made me think of posting one of my own on a subject I've been wondering about for a while, also relating to general interaction with members.

I've learn in recent months that fan count =/= be all and end all. Don't get me wrong, I love having fans, and I get such a rush when people add my comic, but I've passed that level of desperately wanting more. I started advertising on Project Wonderful yesterday, to generate more interest since I've had a hiatus for a while, and will start posting again soon, and I noticed something a little sad on some of the others who advertise through the site, and people who self-promote here on the forums.

I looked at one of the advertised comics, and followed through to the author's profile, and noticed that their only favourite is their own comic. They never post on pages, and don't seem to reply to comments on pages, either. I found it odd that they're willing to PAY for advertising, but aren't willing to make friends and join in on a community, which is, I think, a much better way to generate interest in a comic, especially in it's early days. I may not comment and fave a lot, but I make an effort to post here, and I've made an awful lot of friends who read my comics because of it.

It's something I've noticed when checking other people's profiles, and I've always thought favouriting your own comic was a little...odd, and served little purpose, unless you're collaborating with each others, in which case I guess you could see if other authors had updated in your favourites? idk, maybe I'm just missing something.

So I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on this. What purpose does self-faving have? Is it right for a person to expect and crave fans when they do nothing to take part and don't interact with members as a whole?
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Mr Aids » July 31st, 2009, 7:47 am

I don't really see a point. I mean, a person is so desperate for fans they put themselves on the fan list?

I think I've done that once, but it was because my comic had 99 fans and I wanted to get the number to 100. I removed myself as a fan once someone else fav'd the comic.
kevansevans wrote:
robybang wrote:Also, it's the internet, people always argue over dumb stuff.

Nuh uh
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby tezzle » July 31st, 2009, 10:45 am

I do it to make sure my pre-set comics update on schedule, and for my comics that I collab with other people. I also just like to see my comics updating with the other comics. "Oh that's right, I update today! Huzzah! Let's see if anyone commented!...Oh...well, it's only been a few hours, I'm sure there will be more comments tomorrow...everyone has dry spells. Nothing to worry about...Get a hold of yourself, Tezzle!"
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Gibson Twist » July 31st, 2009, 11:19 am

I have to agree that adding your own comic is weird. I guess some people do it because they upload a lot of comics in advance and want to see that it posted properly, which I can understand but I've always just looked at my profile to find out. It's kind of a small thing, when you think about it, and it doesn't really have any bearing on much at all, but it is a little weird.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I see community involvement as that much of an imperative. Some folks just host on Smack Jeeves because it's somewhere to host their comics that's free and easy to use. Maybe they're not interested in being part of the gang or necessarily supporting other comics that are also here because it's free and easy to use. For any comic to be successful, it's going to require a much more significant audience than the SJ membership can provide, so I'm sure for a lot of people being community involved wouldn't be a priority. It's actually not a priority for me either, it's just something I do because I enjoy it. Not everyone's going to be into that.

You're right that site-side networking is a good way to generate interest in your comic at first, it worked for me, but there pitfalls to that. For one, there is still an overriding flavour to the majority of comics hosted here, and that extends to the kinds of comics the members here read. If you're not doing manga or sprites, you're going to have a hard time finding an appreciative audience, even if your work is flat-out amazing. Folks like Remington and Otto Germain, both of whom have been at least moderately active on the forums and whose work is stellar, have trouble finding a broad range of fans. At the risk of sounding immodest, I've been (in the past) a very active forum poster and yet Pictures of You, arguably the most critically lauded comic on the site, has fewer readers than other comics that have yet to post a single page of sequential comic art. In the face of things like that, making an effort to draw readers from the membership becomes rather sisyphean.

Certain comics will be embraced by the community and others won't be, so the latter tends to look for its audience elsewhere. Of course, that's not to say that authors shouldn't read other comics here, there are a number of fine titles on the site, but I can understand why many don't. I will concur, though, that a lot of people who fave their own comic and don't bother reading, faving or commenting on anyone else's stuff are just total douchebags.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby ninjies » July 31st, 2009, 11:48 am

i don't know why i had my own comic faved. i think back in the day, when i had like less than 100 fans, i was in such a state of immense despair that someone defaved my comic, that i faved it myself to fill the void. other than that, i don't know, but it doesn't really bother me that much.

Imi wrote:They never post on pages, and don't seem to reply to comments on pages, either. I found it odd that they're willing to PAY for advertising, but aren't willing to make friends and join in on a community, which is, I think, a much better way to generate interest in a comic, especially in it's early days. I may not comment and fave a lot, but I make an effort to post here, and I've made an awful lot of friends who read my comics because of it.


this may be because the person is just using Smackjeeves as solely a hosting site and nothing more. i do consider it a turn off for me when reading a comic to see the author not participating in the community or their comic AT ALL, like posting comments or faving, but ehh. what're you gonna do?
and also, Gibson is right when it comes to manga/sprite comics almost having a built-in guarantee that they're going to become popular, despite the author's efforts to advertise and participate in the community. sad, but true.
i don't participate in the community as much as i feel i should...i'm painfully shy online and off, so i don't get into conversations with people on the forums a lot. i think i owe most of my fans to word of mouth, and posting my link EVERYWHERE. i have gained a lot of invaluable non-smackjeeves readers by basically whoring myself out. it works beautifully.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Imi » July 31st, 2009, 11:56 am

ninjies wrote:
Imi wrote:They never post on pages, and don't seem to reply to comments on pages, either. I found it odd that they're willing to PAY for advertising, but aren't willing to make friends and join in on a community, which is, I think, a much better way to generate interest in a comic, especially in it's early days. I may not comment and fave a lot, but I make an effort to post here, and I've made an awful lot of friends who read my comics because of it.


this may be because the person is just using Smackjeeves as solely a hosting site and nothing more. i do consider it a turn off for me when reading a comic to see the author not participating in the community or their comic AT ALL, like posting comments or faving, but ehh. what're you gonna do?
and also, Gibson is right when it comes to manga/sprite comics almost having a built-in guarantee that they're going to become popular, despite the author's efforts to advertise and participate in the community. sad, but true.
i don't participate in the community as much as i feel i should...i'm painfully shy online and off, so i don't get into conversations with people on the forums a lot. i think i owe most of my fans to word of mouth, and posting my link EVERYWHERE. i have gained a lot of invaluable non-smackjeeves readers by basically whoring myself out. it works beautifully.


It's very true they're probably using it as just another site to have the comic on. I guess it was just the fact they'd pay to advertise on SJ that threw me off a little. I think I probably have too much loyalty to this site to have thought about that option Dx (also bad, baaad experiences with the likes of drunkduck).

Gibson's point is also true, and it does seem a shame that more inventive and original comics rarely get noticed in the sea of moe and pretty boys. It would be good if there was a way to showcase the 'underdog' comics, apart from the spotlight, which I can never figure out the workings of, seeing as most suggestions seem to be ignored and other comics picked over them which were never suggested in the first place BUT I DIGRESS. *rolls*
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby TacoTotes » July 31st, 2009, 12:14 pm

Gibson Twist wrote:
You're right that site-side networking is a good way to generate interest in your comic at first, it worked for me, but there pitfalls to that. For one, there is still an overriding flavour to the majority of comics hosted here, and that extends to the kinds of comics the members here read. If you're not doing manga or sprites, you're going to have a hard time finding an appreciative audience, even if your work is flat-out amazing. Folks like Remington and Otto Germain, both of whom have been at least moderately active on the forums and whose work is stellar, have trouble finding a broad range of fans. At the risk of sounding immodest, I've been (in the past) a very active forum poster and yet Pictures of You, arguably the most critically lauded comic on the site, has fewer readers than other comics that have yet to post a single page of sequential comic art. In the face of things like that, making an effort to draw readers from the membership becomes rather sisyphean.


Sadly, everything you said is true.

I've been recently working on my style, making it as less mainstream as I can, simply because I needed a change. As you know, my style was very manga-like, and I just wasn't happy with it, and my heart wasn't it in it, so I started experimenting. I've been posting updates as I'm redoing my current comic in my new style so people get a feel of what they are in for. I lost, oh...10-15 fans because of it(?) I'm not sure if my style change was the case, but to be honest I kind of laughed to myself. I've gotten to the point where I don't care about fan count, I used to be all about it, until I realized it's very inaccurate.

I've noticed a bit of a trend between some of the most superb comics on Smackjeeves: they all have a fairly low fan count. I'll never really understand that.
Imi wrote:Gibson's point is also true, and it does seem a shame that more inventive and original comics rarely get noticed in the sea of moe and pretty boys. It would be good if there was a way to showcase the 'underdog' comics, apart from the spotlight, which I can never figure out the workings of, seeing as most suggestions seem to be ignored and other comics picked over them which were never suggested in the first place BUT I DIGRESS. *rolls*


Haha, I know exactly what you mean, some of the comics listed under the spotlight were never suggested by anyone. Not to say that they don't deserve it, but why have us suggest things when it's not even looked at. Though, I did suggest a comic once and it did make the spotlight, for that I was pleased, but more often than not, comics that weren't suggested were making it up in the spotlight. I also find that some suggestions get more time, some get 5 days some get 7, maybe even 9 days.

Though, there is an 'underdog feature' in the recommended comics just below the favorites, I've found a lot of great comics that are listed as the underdogs, I'm glad that option was added.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Gibson Twist » July 31st, 2009, 1:57 pm

TacoTotes wrote:Sadly, everything you said is true.


It so often is.

TacoTotes wrote:I've been recently working on my style, making it as less mainstream as I can, simply because I needed a change. As you know, my style was very manga-like, and I just wasn't happy with it, and my heart wasn't it in it, so I started experimenting. I've been posting updates as I'm redoing my current comic in my new style so people get a feel of what they are in for. I lost, oh...10-15 fans because of it(?) I'm not sure if my style change was the case, but to be honest I kind of laughed to myself. I've gotten to the point where I don't care about fan count, I used to be all about it, until I realized it's very inaccurate.


Exactly! Fan count is great, but is essentially meaningless. What matters is readership. What does it matter to have 1000 Fans when only a couple hundred really read it? Pictures of You has about 350 Fans at present but has well over 1000 readers. Our Time in Eden has about 300 fans, but even though it updates with incredible infrequency, it still draws hundreds of page views every day.

Your style change was bound to result in loss of Fans, it was fairly predictable. Take it as a sign of faith that you didn't lose more. I remember when Ran was talking about wanting to change up her style she put a poll on deviantArt asking how people would react. I forget the exact figure, but something like a third of her watchers said they wouldn't watch her if she experimented with less manga-ish styles...and this was before they even saw what her new style would be. It's ridiculous that so many people like an individual artist's work solely because it's manga. To hell with them, they can suck a dildo.

For what it's worth, both Rori and Ran have commented to me that they think your new style is much improved from the old. It's brave, cute and most of all, unique.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Imi » July 31st, 2009, 2:17 pm

Gibson Twist wrote:
TacoTotes wrote:I've been recently working on my style, making it as less mainstream as I can, simply because I needed a change. As you know, my style was very manga-like, and I just wasn't happy with it, and my heart wasn't it in it, so I started experimenting. I've been posting updates as I'm redoing my current comic in my new style so people get a feel of what they are in for. I lost, oh...10-15 fans because of it(?) I'm not sure if my style change was the case, but to be honest I kind of laughed to myself. I've gotten to the point where I don't care about fan count, I used to be all about it, until I realized it's very inaccurate.


Exactly! Fan count is great, but is essentially meaningless. What matters is readership. What does it matter to have 1000 Fans when only a couple hundred really read it? Pictures of You has about 350 Fans at present but has well over 1000 readers. Our Time in Eden has about 300 fans, but even though it updates with incredible infrequency, it still draws hundreds of page views every day.


THIS.

I started caring less about fans when I came to the same realisation. Right now I have a solid few people who comment on every single page I post, and I can tell they really enjoy the story. It's always nice having new people, but these days what I care more about are the 'core' readership enjoying what I'm doing, rather than numbers stacking up and ultimately resulting in very little.

I was suffering with a similar thing where every time I'd update I'd LOSE fans rather than gain any. I think it was because my comic seems, at first, like it could be very gay, but when people started cutting each other with swords and the gay didn't happen, people started...seeming to care a lot less. A lot of my fans have mainly yaoi comics in their faves, so I suppose it isn't a surprise that they leave when mine isn't what they thought it might be.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby TacoTotes » July 31st, 2009, 2:36 pm

Gibson Twist wrote:
It so often is.


Indeed, I can't think there has been a been time when you haven't been on the ball.

Gibson Twist wrote:Exactly! Fan count is great, but is essentially meaningless. What matters is readership. What does it matter to have 1000 Fans when only a couple hundred really read it? Pictures of You has about 350 Fans at present but has well over 1000 readers. Our Time in Eden has about 300 fans, but even though it updates with incredible infrequency, it still draws hundreds of page views every day.

Your style change was bound to result in loss of Fans, it was fairly predictable. Take it as a sign of faith that you didn't lose more. I remember when Ran was talking about wanting to change up her style she put a poll on deviantArt asking how people would react. I forget the exact figure, but something like a third of her watchers said they wouldn't watch her if she experimented with less manga-ish styles...and this was before they even saw what her new style would be. It's ridiculous that so many people like an individual artist's work solely because it's manga. To hell with them, they can suck a dildo.

For what it's worth, both Rori and Ran have commented to me that they think your new style is much improved from the old. It's brave, cute and most of all, unique.


Yeah, I was going to say while your readership on smackjeeves may not be thousands, I'm sure your readership outside of the site is tripled, at least. The readership is what matters, not the fans. I can't say for sure I know exactly how many people read my comic (well, I know not a lot, since I haven't updated an actual page in months) but when I do start updating Smackjeeves will become a mirror site to my comic, it will still be there for the people that read it before, but I doubt it will gain any new readers.

I'm pretty sure that the fan count will drop more so as I start updating again, which is ok, I can deal with that, but it is rather silly that it's simply because of a style change. I had no idea that Ran posted a poll and people reacted negatively towards it, that makes me sick, but to be frank, she's better off, as you said, they can suck a dildo. Ran's new style is amazing and unique, I can't wait for her to start updating her new project. While I liked her old style, I think she has taken a huge turn in the right direction. I think she will probably get more recognition for stepping outside of the 'manga' style and into something that would be taken seriously in the world of comics (not to say that manga isn't taken seriously).

All of you among the Sinister Squid crowd have excellent art and exceptional styles. Aw, I'm really flattered, that really makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to know that you all feel that way.

Imi wrote:I was suffering with a similar thing where every time I'd update I'd LOSE fans rather than gain any. I think it was because my comic seems, at first, like it could be very gay, but when people started cutting each other with swords and the gay didn't happen, people started...seeming to care a lot less. A lot of my fans have mainly yaoi comics in their faves, so I suppose it isn't a surprise that they leave when mine isn't what they thought it might be.


That happened to me, too! I was updating and I was losing fans instead of gaining them. I'd stop updating and slowly my fan count would increase by 2 or 3, and then when I updated again, bam, gone. That's pretty ridiculous, but I do suppose people have their preferences.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Guest » July 31st, 2009, 2:47 pm

Sadly the same type of pattern appears all over deviantart as well, but people have gotten to the point where since they can't change whats happening, they stop caring. Lots of Favs, no interaction. The community has become more hollow, and even those who are extremely well popular (not just manga, photography, etc as well) will have 1,500 + Favs, but only about 200-300 comments, half of which are one worded answers like "cute" and "awesome". However instead of posting something like this about the situation, the Deviantart community has fallen silent about it and have grown tired of people voicing their opinions about it, even going so far as to make stamps saying "I don't care if you fav but don't comment."

I don't know about them, but fans and favs, I love them, it is with so much appreciation that I have for the people who watch me or fan my comics. However, without the interaction, how do I even know your truly there? Half of my watchers currently on deviantart are dead, old accounts, or people who just don't use deviantart anymore. If I ever get up to 300 fans..I wonder how many shall remain inactive.

I'm not hinting that I demand that everyone who fans my comics should comment, but comments breed interaction. People who love your comics love to also get to know the artist behind it, your process, your entire imagination and effort put behind it.

Even though the site is no where advertised as a yaoi, yuri, hentai, manga, etc type of webcomic site, it has seemed to be seen that way by the people outside the site. There are so many artists out there including once that ive met at deviantart and otakon, they have webcomics or shortcomics in the making, yet they have never heard of smackjeeves. I hope that eventually the whole site gets a better "reputation" "stereotype" for lack of better words as time goes on. I think with changes like the page view counters included into the system for the most popular comics is a big step in that direction.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Gibson Twist » July 31st, 2009, 3:21 pm

It's occurring to me now that community involvement in a place like Smack Jeeves is more than just faving and commenting, but more about the dialogue in the forum and about behaving as a group rather than many individuals. If you look at a community like the one at Drunk Duck, you can see what I mean. The site there is pure crap but the community itself is strong and there are reasons for that. The discussion on their forums is active and includes a diverse array of their membership, and it tends to involve a lot about comics and folks who make them. On top of that, they have a lot of community events, such as collaborative theme-comics (where everyone does a comic page and sends it to a central organizer rather than here where a bunch of people all author a comic and post filler art at varying intervals) that are announced and promoted within the forums. They've also got the DD Awards that I've noticed make people pay more attention to the comics on the site, not just the winners. It's those kinds of things that draw a community together. It'd be nice to see more of that here.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Ran » August 4th, 2009, 7:45 pm

Back when I was on SJ, the only reason I cared about fans at all was because it kept me visible on the hot list or top page. Aside from hoping I got more, I never really looked at them, and payed waaay more attention to my stats (which were fantastic and sometimes verged on 600 unique visits a day).

I feel like I'm going to have to build that up from scratch without an attached community, which is an interesting prospect. Outside advertising is where it's at, though. You've got to work or you get no payoff.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby Gibson Twist » August 4th, 2009, 7:59 pm

I don't think it'll take much time at all for you to not only get to where you were, but surpass it. You've got other infrastructure in place to promote it as well. Pictures of You gets 600 uniques on a slow day and your work is so much prettier. I'm sure you'll be there well inside a year.

WAAAAY off topic.
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Re: Community Involvement

Postby trenton_dawn » August 5th, 2009, 12:25 am

I actually faved my own comic to help keep track of which favorites have updated since the last time I was on the site, heh heh. All the ones above my own in the list are ones I need to read, this way.
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