Comic Cover Requirements Issue

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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby kayotics » April 4th, 2018, 3:43 pm

I have no real stake in this argument, but I do feel like this specific cover example is a little odd? There's a few covers in the popular section alone that seem to have an odd border or some sort of expanded black area to make them fit, yet they're still listed.

I'm not saying that you should de-list those other comics, but this seems... unfair?

At the very least, rules for covers should be listed in a place of prominence so that people can avoid having their comics de-listed.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Tehpikachu » April 4th, 2018, 3:46 pm

"If your cover is not in a 3:4 aspect ratio it will be automatically cropped to center. If any of the sides are visibly cut off at that point (i.e. text or significant details) the cover will be rejected."

I think that's really unfair if we're not able to "get around" the ratio by adding sidebars so important details are still visible. Asking us to redesign the whole cover because it doesn't fit the ratio is ludicrous. I don't have the time or energy to make two fully rendered versions of a cover.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby eishiya » April 4th, 2018, 3:51 pm

Admin wrote:eishiya, it would be a shame to lose you over this, but I'm not convinced this is a bad policy. I see all the covers that come through that don't meet these requirements and I deal with them. I've already been doing this for over a year, and if I wasn't, the site would look a lot different. The vast majority of people who I contact fix whatever problem I bring up and the site is better for it.

As I've mentioned, I think some quality control is reasonable, my issue is with de-listing comics over super-minor issues like the low-contrast pillarboxing in OP's cover. I think it's good to suggest fixes to such covers like you have been, but de-listing them is too harsh. Such borders don't impact the appearance of the cover that much, so delisting is just disproportionate punishment. It's not a big issue for people browsing the site if a bunch of covers have letterboxing/pillar-boxing, especially of it's as low-contrast as the OP's cover (as opposed to pure black or white for a colourful cover, or neon colours, or something else that's very distracting).

Even if someone's cover can remain up, I think most people would still make changes if told that their cover could look better. And those that choose not to probably have a reason not to.


Also, I think you'd have fewer problems if the cover upload page provided a way to choose what gets cropped instead of cropping from the center. It's more work, but JavaScript code for this stuff already exists (and it could degenerate to cropping from the center server-side if JS isn't available or otherwise fails).
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Woo » April 4th, 2018, 3:58 pm

This might be a bad time for me to jump in, but I might as well throw my two cents in.

I'd start this off by saying for most people I know, Smackjeeves isn't their primary hosting site, which means that when making covers or comic pages, anything goes. Some people will try and opt for some sort of industry standard when making their pages. Unfortunately, I don't know many people on this site that actively use the 3:4 ratio, so it means that workarounds are going to be common.

A workaround I used on my cover, for example, still looks like it has a glaring seam on it when looking up close to it. But without either 3 hours of work to attempt to color-correct it or to just re-do it entirely for this one hosting site, it isn't worth the amount of effort it could take. I'm lucky enough that my cover is simple, so I don't have to use sidebars to correct it. For those with more detailed covers, sidebars seem harmless enough to accommodate for the aspect ratio without sacrificing painstaking detail or text that went into them. This becomes even more of a problem for people who may have merged layers for their covers under the assumption that they wouldn't need further editing. At this point, text, artistic details, and more absolutely cannot be fixed via cropping, in which case sidebars would be the most viable option. Another user has mentioned before, but if an author loses readers over sidebars, it should be at their own expense rather than something officially enforced by the site.

I know at least 4 fellow authors who have had to edit their covers to suit the tastes of whoever is judging them. For some of them it was a simple solution, as they had a mostly solid color for a background or otherwise had the leisure to crop a cover. The others I knew had a more difficult time. The covers were completed years ago, and a simple edit just wasn't going to cut it. In these cases, cropping would have cut off important text, which by the proposed rules, is also a violation. As another user here has said, are authors then expected to make a second fully rendered version of the cover to get around this? It doesn't seem a fair thing to ask.

By all means, go ahead and PM authors to suggest options other than sidebars as you see fit! I'm sure many would appreciate the advice and suggestions, but don't barricade a potential audience from them due to personal taste.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Admin » April 4th, 2018, 4:23 pm

Okay, first off, clarifying some of the rules.

No self-labelled temporary covers: I'm talking about when someone makes a cover and literally writes "TEMPORARY COVER" on it. Temporary covers aren't a problem in and of themselves if they're presentable on their own. Plenty of people have submitted covers that were very simplistic, even just a black background with a title, and that was fine. Just don't write on the cover that it is temporary.

Covers that are cut off - I'm talking about if half of the title is missing or someone's head is cut in half, etc. It's fine to make a strategic crop - naturally you're cutting off part of the original cover in this case - that's fine as long as the end product looks presentable.

The particular cover referenced in this thread isn't the worst offender of the rule. It doesn't look terrible, in fact it looks better than plenty of covers that meet the rules. That's not the point; the point is that we don't allow adding sidebars to a cover as a way to meet the 3:4 aspect ratio, and as I explained originally, that was the only reason I asked the author to make the change.

Are there covers that I've missed? Yes. I do my best to stay on top of the new covers that come in, and if I spot one that I've missed before, I'll usually just contact the author and ask them to fix it.

Regarding development of new features, I'm still the only developer for the site. Things are prioritized to the best of my ability and I'm working at maximum capacity.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Yenzala » April 4th, 2018, 4:27 pm

I'm on the side of this, that I think the cover is fine as is, and all this is silly -blah blah.... :)
But I do think it should be pointed out that the issue isn't about losing viewers, or trying to punish the author. The Admin has said that it's about trying to keep the site as a whole looking presentable. Whether or not this is "not-presentable" should be the topic. But in the end.... that's still up to the admin, sooooo... not much you can do.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Songdog » April 4th, 2018, 4:50 pm

I don't understand why having black or any colored side bars on a cover isn't allowed? Who's to say that wasn't intentional on part of the design? What if the artist wanted it that way? I don't see what is aesthetically unpleasing, or even "unprofessional" about it.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby eishiya » April 4th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Admin wrote:The particular cover referenced in this thread isn't the worst offender of the rule. It doesn't look terrible, in fact it looks better than plenty of covers that meet the rules. That's not the point; the point is that we don't allow adding sidebars to a cover as a way to meet the 3:4 aspect ratio, and as I explained originally, that was the only reason I asked the author to make the change.

If it looks alright, then why hassle the author about it? I understand wanting to keep rules enforcement consistent, but if the existing rules dis-allow covers that look fine, then maybe it's the rules that need changing, not OP's cover.

Possible rules that are a bit less harsh:
  • If your cover doesn't match the 3:4 aspect ratio, please either crop it or extend the artwork. We recommend cropping, or extending by adding in the missing portions of the artwork.
  • Although we don't recommend it, if you choose to extend your artwork using solid-coloured borders, please keep the borders symmetrical and choose colours that complement the artwork and don't draw attention to the borders.
  • If you choose to crop your artwork, please make sure that the crop doesn't go through text or other visually important elements.

As for the temporary covers, maybe clarify the rule like this?
  • No covers that say "temporary cover" or similar on them. It's fine to submit a basic or sketchy cover to use until you can submit a different cover, but any cover submitted must be able to function as a "real" cover for the comic.

If you don't mind having some boring-but-tasteful covers on the front page, you could generate default covers for all comics without them, just by putting the comic's title on a solid colour. Then, comics without covers or comics with rejected covers would still be listed, and no one would need to submit temporary covers.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Charem » April 10th, 2018, 2:32 pm

I don't have anything super new to add, but I want to say that I also disagree with you, Admin, on this whole matter.

I sympathize with your desire to make things look nice but if it comes at the cost of an artist's freedom to design covers how they wish to, then it's not worth it.

Regardless of opinions, I really don't like your tone, Admin. Somebody already mentioned this, but I have to agree that you are absolutely downplaying the dissenters' opinions. Even if you think you're right, even if you think your goal is important to adhere to, you pretty much lose my respect when you start addressing other peoples' problems with that as 'not a big deal'. You don't think it's a big deal to crop images? Okay. Then why is it such a big deal for sidebars to exist? In my opinion, neither are a big deal, and artists should be allowed to choose either option should they so desire.

My point is, I could sorta-kinda respect your stance if you weren't being so dismissive of everybody who disagrees. But you are doing exactly that, Admin. And that kinda sucks.

And besides. If this stuff isn't actually written up in the rules? Then there's absolutely no reason to enforce this. You might be an Admin but that doesn't give you the right to pull rules out of thin air. I know you made a 'tentative' list of rules, but enforcing rules you haven't even decided on, posted, and notified everybody of is completely absurd. That's a very good way to make people not agree with the rules...as you might be noticing.

It really comes down to respect, all these things I noted. You don't seem to respect the user-base, Admin.

I ran my own forum for a few years - a fairly big one too, for one of the communities I was a part of. I learned very quickly that being in charge held a lot of responsibilities...obviously. But one big thing I experienced was how I needed to keep my co-Admins and Moderators in line at times. Most were good people, but it was easy to have that sort of power...get the best of you, I suppose you could say. Some of them would bully the users around; it didn't happen a lot, but obviously that's something you never want to have happen. And I don't think my Mods/Admins who did this, even really noticed at the time. They got frustrated about something then abused their power without thinking.

I counteracted this by being communicative with my forum users and listening to them - maybe not always/100% agreeing with them sure, but I would often try to see what was bothering them, and try to fix it. Even in cases where people got in trouble, I would see what the cause or root was and see what I could do to better the forum for everybody by working on that root. It wasn't about getting my way; I would often tweak rules, in a reasonable and communicative fashion, if I learned that they were not good for the whole of my forum community. Because it was all about the good, and the needs, of that community, not what -I- wanted.

My point with that story-tangent is, I learned from running that forum that...those in power on a site are not there to lord over the users; they're there to serve the users. Yes, Admins and Mods do have power to ban or punish bad users, but the end-goal is to make a friendly and welcoming experience for all the users who earnestly try to utilize the site/forum they're on. It's something I bring up because, I more feel you kinda just wanna see things done a certain way you like best, Admin. I wouldn't call you a bully, but you are being very stubborn - and towards earnest users who really don't deserve that sort of treatment. I would ask you to consider working with people, trying to find a compromise - not just putting down your foot and going 'this is how it is'. There are times and places for that level of stubbornness but...is this really one of them?

Anyways. Yeah. This is just my opinion and an expression of my own past experiences...take it as you will, yeah?
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Admin » April 10th, 2018, 3:13 pm

Charem wrote:You might be an Admin but that doesn't give you the right to pull rules out of thin air.


I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Coming up with rules based on the happenings of the site is one of my responsibilities. This cover format is still relatively new, and I do have the right to come up with rules based on my observation of the kinds of covers being submitted and what I think will serve the community and site best. Part of what makes Smack Jeeves what it is is the decisions I made early on on what kind of platform it was going to be. A community formed around that and has continued to evolve over the years. I do my best to serve that community and evolve with it. As such, I'm still required to make judgement calls moving forward on what kind of policies to enforce, and not everyone is going to agree with all of the policies I come up with. Where we disagree on this issue is that I believe that the proposed cover rules are worth enforcing, even if it means limiting the artist's freedom to put sidebars on a cover in order to make existing cover art fit the 3:4 aspect ratio. I think having those kinds of covers in the directory substantially detracts from the overall presentation of the comics on the site.

Maybe 3:4 isn't the ideal aspect ratio for covers - I've considered that. It wasn't arbitrarily picked, however, and I think it has a lot of pros:
- Works well with title & info text underneath on a standard laptop resolution of 1366x768
- Works better in a drop-down list (i.e the favorites drop-down) than a more narrow cover format
- Feels more like a comic cover than a square

If anyone wants to make a case for a different standard aspect ratio, I'd be open to considering it. However, even with a different standard aspect ratio, I would still be in favor of the rules proposed.

I'm still considering the arguments made in this thread regarding the cover rules. I'm also working hard on finishing a lot of development work. I'm hoping the advertising platform I'm building will help fund the development of Smack Jeeves in the future. And there are a few big projects coming up after that. The official rules will be posted when I've settled on them in between development work.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby reddog_f13 » April 10th, 2018, 3:30 pm

gonna throw my 2 cents in as well and say this is simply ridiculous nitpicking. there is nothing wrong with this cover.

i would under stand if the bars were say, NEON colors.
i would under stand if the bars were neon rainbow gradient
i would under stand if the bars were flashing rainbow
i would under stand if the bars were being a awful frame entire way around. that made the cover so minuscule or practically un-seeable. like only 20-50% was acctual cover while the rest were side bars.
i would under stand if the comic was going to be featured in on site advertising. but that can be set as a whole separate thing, so those who dont care, arnt forced to follow advertising standards.

but no, its not causing any issues at all. it is a simple nuetral black that isint eye gouging or screaming for attention against other covers. its not choking out the art either.

my goal is to maintain an attractive directory. I believe the advantages of that are worth enforcing a set of standards for covers.

whats next on cover rules? absolutely no neon's allowed? must have a certain drawing skill lvl for your cover to not look amateurish? you go after nuetral side bars, meanwhile i see a lot of neon MS paint covers that i would say are quite eye gouging. you cant have standards for covers when you got people with the mona lisa of art showing next to kids first finger painting class.

if your really so concerned about sidebars. a more better rule would show examples of a cover having only X% of side bar. this way people can have a frame if they like, but not make it big enough to purposefully suffocate any future covers due to "lazyness".

this is simply a site to post comics. not a professional business with publication requirements. if the side bars arnt a screaming color and people can see the cover just fine, then theres no reason to hide the comic from anything or forcefully limit its traffic flow.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby mitchellbravo » April 10th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Well, if the cover aspect ratio changes, I guess I'll be hidden on the site too, since I'd have to add sidebars or (worse, I'm sure) top and bottom bars if I couldn't crop the image to look acceptable. I don't have much time to draw anymore, and definitely wouldn't feel like taking several hours to redraw the cover to fit the new standard. I guess that wouldn't matter much since I bring so little traffic to the site as it is.

Kind of a bummer. This is such a bizarre issue. I understand wanting to present the site as professionally as possible but this is specifically an odd battle. Yes Admin, you have the right to make rules as you deem necessary- that's part of owning and running a website, but you've handled other comparable problems in the past with a lot more tact and understanding.
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Re: Comic Cover Requirements Issue

Postby Charem » April 10th, 2018, 10:21 pm

Admin wrote:I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Coming up with rules based on the happenings of the site is one of my responsibilities. This cover format is still relatively new, and I do have the right to come up with rules based on my observation of the kinds of covers being submitted and what I think will serve the community and site best.


Oh, I don't argue with this. Making rules, adjusting rules, removing rules...that's all part of the growth of a site. Nothing stays the same forever, things always need to be tweaked.

But you missed my point; it wasn't you making new rules, even these specific rules, that bothered me. It was you enforcing rules before writing them up in the first place. Everybody on a website has a responsibility to keep up with the written rules, and keep up with rule updates too; but, the administration need to be clear on those rules and announce their rule updates clearly as well. It's also a very good idea to give people grace periods to adjust to the new rules; some older content might also be eligible for grandfathering as well in certain circumstances.

But you didn't go through the due and professional process of establishing new rules; you were enforcing, basically, your personal whims. And that unsettles me.

Admin wrote:Part of what makes Smack Jeeves what it is is the decisions I made early on on what kind of platform it was going to be. A community formed around that and has continued to evolve over the years. I do my best to serve that community and evolve with it. As such, I'm still required to make judgement calls moving forward on what kind of policies to enforce, and not everyone is going to agree with all of the policies I come up with. Where we disagree on this issue is that I believe that the proposed cover rules are worth enforcing, even if it means limiting the artist's freedom to put sidebars on a cover in order to make existing cover art fit the 3:4 aspect ratio. I think having those kinds of covers in the directory substantially detracts from the overall presentation of the comics on the site.


I just mainly disagree that what you were making were policies; I still consider them whims, not policies or rules. Because again, these were not written up for public viewing, and these were not announced as updates.

Also please excuse me here, I'm honestly not trying to be rude but I don't know much about how this site is ran, so I had a question. I notice you use...well, 'I' a lot in all this. Are you the only one who makes decisions for the site? Are there no other co-admins or any sort of group of individuals to curate ideas? I ask this because I genuinely don't know, but find it a little surprising if this is the case. Smackjeeves seems a little big to be run by only one individual.

I do think curation of rules and ideas between different staff on a site is good. Because while I understand your way of thinking Admin, I do notice that a lot of this is motivated by your personal opinions; and this whole matter IS very subjective. Which does make me wonder, well, what do the other staff think? I'd be a little more happy if it was something that was voted upon between staff...or heck, a poll for the whole userbase to join in on. It would be nice to see how many people actually find this aesthetically unpleasing, and if most of the users agree with you, well...I would support your decision then, because the site would have definitively voted at that point.

Currently this forum is full of people who'd vote against the idea, but I would like to see what a larger breadth of the userbase thinks.

Admin wrote:Maybe 3:4 isn't the ideal aspect ratio for covers - I've considered that. It wasn't arbitrarily picked, however, and I think it has a lot of pros:
- Works well with title & info text underneath on a standard laptop resolution of 1366x768
- Works better in a drop-down list (i.e the favorites drop-down) than a more narrow cover format
- Feels more like a comic cover than a square

If anyone wants to make a case for a different standard aspect ratio, I'd be open to considering it. However, even with a different standard aspect ratio, I would still be in favor of the rules proposed.


I don't actually have any direct problem with this aspect ratio, but I feel perhaps standardizing it with other comic sites and comics in general might be nice? I get the impression that keeping to the standard would likely help a lot of people...whatever that standard may be. I am not heavily into comic creation so I'm not personally familiar with what the standard is, but I get the impression there is one?

Admin wrote:I'm still considering the arguments made in this thread regarding the cover rules. I'm also working hard on finishing a lot of development work. I'm hoping the advertising platform I'm building will help fund the development of Smack Jeeves in the future. And there are a few big projects coming up after that. The official rules will be posted when I've settled on them in between development work.


I'm sure you have a lot going on man. Honestly I'm not trying to antagonize or hate on you; I'm just being pretty blunt. I do appreciate you listening to people's complaints even if you might not agree with them; that is a lot better than some admins would do.

I'm sure being so busy is why you haven't had the time to write up the rules. Again, as an ex-admin I've been there; my forum took up my life for a while. I would just simply say that perhaps the matter is best shelved as a whole until you can get around to getting the rules together. I'm sure none of us (well, the reasonable of us) would've made a fuss if the rules had been in place before you started enforcing things... And as a person with OCD I totally understand how seeing sidebars on covers would get your goat and make ya cringe because it's not orderly. (I think it looks fine of course, but I do understand how you would feel quite different.) But I really don't think leaving such things would spiral the site down a dark path or anything; heck, I'd just use that opinion of yours as motivation to write up and announce those new rules so you'd have a professional right to enforce them.

But...yeah. Really, my core issue is I feel you did things out of order here, and thus did things unprofessionally. If done in the right order, I wouldn't have any issue with your rules. I can't speak for the OP of course, but seeing some of their comments below their comic, I think it's a 'principle of the matter' sort of situation for them too. The rule's not actually a big deal itself, but the way you went about it was the issue.
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