Comment rating and improved RSS feed

Visitors can now rate the comments of other readers. At the moment, comments with 3 or more down votes are hidden by default (unless they have at least 5 up votes), and comments with 4 or more up votes are highlighted. I might change those numbers in the future, just as well as the general behavior of the comic rating plugin might change since it’s still in an early stage of its development cycle. I’m confident that dumb comments will get voted down rather quickly so that they will get less attention.

The RSS feed should now deliver new comics in full size (980 pixel) to subscribers. I had to manually alter the PHP code of the ComicPress Manager plugin since it didn’t generate the RSS comic files (and those seen in the search results) at all after the last update *sigh*.

Guest strips for Sandra and Woo (1st week of October)

Sandra and Woo is looking for guest strips which shall be put on our website one week before the publication of the 100th Sandra and Woo strip in the first week of October.

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Removal of comment sections

No, I have not yet removed the comment sections beneath the strips, but I am thinking about it. Tony Piro, the creator of the webcomic Calamities of Nature, has currently removed them giving the following reasons. And I’m feeling exactly the same way:

Removal of Comic Commenting

This was a hard decision for me, but I’ve decided to remove commenting from the comics. As more and more people visit this site, I’ve been becoming increasingly concerned about what I should do about comments. The original intent was to allow followup debate or feedback about the latest updates. And for the most part, this was being accomplished. But either because of the provocative topics I sometimes write about, or my own mismanagement of the comments, I was finding the discussions to be less and less constructive. If someone posts a dumb comment, what should I do? Delete it? I don’t want to appear as if I’m quashing debate or censoring certain opinions. Not to mention, there’s only so much time in a day, and I don’t want to waste it pulling my hair out, anguishing over which comments to delete. But if I don’t deal with it, it invites even more less-than-constructive counter comments. This was especially getting bad for some of the older comics in the archive, where many had built up long comment threads. I know most people are smart enough to separate the comments from my artistic expression, but at the same time, I still think it was reflecting poorly on my comic. For these reasons, I’ve removed the comments, at least for a time. In a couple of weeks, I’ll probably reassess the situation and decide whether to keep this change.

I still think that a comment section is a great way to get some feedback and to communicate with readers who want to ask a quick question. But just like Tony, I was (and still am) seriously annoyed by some of the comments the last strips with a political or ecological message have gotten.

Update: Apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t like those comments. I guess my resentments against them can’t be totally wrong when random readers call them “absolutely ridiculous” and “badly written” on another website.

Number 1 at Comic Rank

I know that none of the really popular webcomics is listed at Comic Rank, but it feels good to be the number 1 among 272 comics nonetheless :-).

Update: Comic Rank seems to have some problem with its system currently, so the visitor numbers of many comics are too low.

Comic Rank

Comic Strip Superfool

I guess the Calvin and Hobbes anthologies sell less units like they used to. Because of this, Andrews McMeel Publishing (aka Universal Press Syndicate) has now resorted to screwing aspiring cartoonists as an additional source of revenue. They and their partner Amazon (Shame on them, too!) have recently announced a new contest called Comic Strip Superstar. The winner gets a $5000 advance for a future book deal. This sounds good at first, but there are more catches in the contract than in your average baseball season. In the end, the “winner” (or rather loser) would end in a lousily paid part time job for Universal while signing away a large portion of his precious rights.

If you’re interested in more details you should read the following article and the comments on Comic Strip Superstar contest announced. There is also a large discussion about the subject at The Daily Cartoonist with Tony Piro (the creator of the webcomic Calamities of Nature) making several well-informed remarks.

I think it’s funny that Powree already makes significantly more money of Sandra and Woo for significantly less work. At the very least she does not have to write all those strips on top of drawing them.