Appreciate your content creators

One of my most recent posts was about the web comic Death and the Maiden. The creator, Nina, had to put her comic on hold as she dealt with what life threw her way: two surgeries, deaths in the family, and having to leave her job due to health related issues. She only recently started updating again only to have to put it on hold for good reasons and will probably start updating again soon. During that time, the big gap, I was pleasantly surprised to not see any negative feedback for the very long break that she was forced to take. I say pleasantly surprised because there have been other web comics that I know that, when having taken a break, find their poor content creators harassed because their readers, who may contribute nothing but scorn to the content to begin with, not only expect but demand constant updates, and all for free. Let’s just say that I do not approve.

Like the majority of content creators of the web, Nina does not charge her readers per viewing. She does not demand her readers adulation, throw a fit if she doesn’t get the attention she wants or deserves, doesn’t bribe people to read, vote or promote her site. She simply makes her content and puts it out there, out in the world, where it may be open to both ridicule and praise, for other people to get enjoyment of her work as she does. She does not ask for anything, except for maybe a kind word of appreciation, and perhaps to click on one of the ads to help support the running of the site, if you see an ad you actually like.

We happily enjoy free content, frowning, throwing tantrums, or finding ways around having to pay for any content on the web that tries to charge us. When we have to pay, we find ways to cheat the system or simply leave the site. We get peeved, irritated, and downright rude sometimes, about the ads that are placed on websites that don’t charge us when it is simply a way to help pay for that site without being a complete drain on the creator’s wallet. I’m not saying all ads are acceptable – ads that jump in front of the content we’re trying to look at, requires more than one click to close, and ads that scream at us are a big no-no. The majority of content creators understand that and try to help ensure that our viewing experience is a good one.

Some people get very upset if there is any break in the midst of what had been regular updates, no matter the reason. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technical issue that the creator had no control over. It doesn’t matter if it’s a health issue or something else. These people who only seem to respond to the content to rip it and the creator apart often forget that the creators are, like everyone else, only human. They have a life outside of the content they create. If no appreciation is shown, no consideration is given when needed, why should these people who quite freely give of their time and talent continue to do so? It’s even more despicable when these people also steal the content.

Another of my favorite web comics had the artist take several breaks because of burnout. I was glad he had taken those breaks rather than force himself to keep updating. He doesn’t really make any money that doesn’t go automatically back to the maintenance of the website. It’s a comic he creates because he enjoys it; if he kept creating it despite the burnout, it would have been reflected in the work, and he may have eventually quit. Another comic that I read on occasion had suffered technical difficulties, then the person suffered a concussion that waylaid them for well more than a month, screwing up their graduate studies program. Now they are trying to catch up with real life away from the internet, and so their work on the comic is on hold. It’s perfectly understandable. If a person can’t function off the internet, you can’t expect them to do the whole song and dance on the internet.

The person who suffered burnout is doing better than ever. Yes, he had some hecklers, but when the other readers noticed their poor behavior, they reached out with support and appreciation to the comic artist and jumped down the throats of the whiners. He was a lucky one. I remember one time coming across a comic called Lil Nyet. It was about this red Russian cat, and I thought it was hilarious. I quickly read through the whole thing in under a week. I meant to write a nice note, to show my appreciation for all the laughs I was given, only to try clicking in the next day and discovering the comics were taken down, the website essentially closed and left with a note instead. It really hit home for me, especially since I know I could’ve left notes on individual comics as I came across them. I quietly saved the note, expecting the site to be taken completely down not long after, which did happen. This is what they had written:

We began drawing comics for our mutual and family amusement. Somehow we wandered onto the web, and it became a responsibility. This would have been fine if we had received more support in terms of reader response and merchandise sales, but in the end, the silence stripped the fun out of it. It became an obligation without reward. We can only conclude the merchandise didn’t appeal and that people were too busy to write in. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure. We’re not ones to beg, or hype our stuff in the public arena, or go to conventions to hustle attention.

We tried to remove ourselves from the comics-on-the-web quagmire, and let our work speak for itself. We never tried to shove it on people, and it did find a decent audience. Unfortunately, that audience was mostly mute, and we could find no reason to continue on the web. Without the nourishment of reader response, we were gradually depleted of the energy required to keep a deadline and continue making our work public.

If there is something on the web you enjoy for free and care about, support it. Otherwise it may vanish.
Website Development and Coding by Dailey Development

The most important thing for them was reader response. It wasn’t even the sales. For most content creators, a response is all they ask for. Often, the best show of appreciation and support you can show them is a kind word. Support your content creators – especially if you don’t have to pay for it.

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~ by cerridwyn eldritch on June 10, 2013.

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