The Times Between 21.
We’re living in a time where the curtain of evil has been pulled back far enough that crazy theories really don’t seem all that far fetched. Dead Internet Theory is presented more like a creepypasta than anything else if you go by the first Google hits. If you try to use an unregulated search engine the hits are awash in Russian bot pages, or Chinese ones. It’s a mess at best. The overwhelming majority of comments on the internet, on sites that aren’t regularly scrubbed, are bots. If this site didn’t have a scrubber & me cleaning things up it would be a ridiculous mess. If you go by sheer volume of just comments AI makes up many times more activity than humans on the internet by far. The internet may not be dead, but it has cancer, and it may be terminal.
For a regular content creator like me the algorithm is a lot to contend with. Even if every single reader posted a link to their social media tonight chances are only a handful of people would navigate to the site, a few might look around a little, but that’s it. There’s just so much going on that one more thing that doesn’t instantly grab you is fighting a nearly unwinnable war. I’m lucky in that I started at a time when webcomics were fashionable and you didn’t have to excel at them to gain a following. If I tried to start today there’s really no way I’d be able to gain a foothold.
All that said, the algorithms that decide the fate of everyone online might randomly smile on me one day. Some person somewhere might see my work and write a favorable article. Then again it could also go extremely the opposite way. Someone could see my work and decide I should be bullied into killing myself. It’s unpredictable. The most likely thing is nothing will change and I’ll just keep going along at the same mid level of success. Which is perfectly fine really. It’s certainly better than being targeted for destruction.
As someone who lives or dies by the internet I’m obviously interested in ideas like dead internet theory. Parts of the internet die off as people move away from them & then bots tend to take over. Of course no one but bots are left to interact so it’s basically pointless. If they want to have their way with my old livejournal I’m not all that bothered.
Anyway, all that’s as may be. What I must focus on now is enticing you, who have not decided to support me via one of the above links, into doing so. How you ask? I don’t know. I was kind of hoping the comic would do it and I wouldn’t need to sell things any further. My plan is not well conceived… I would be very pleased if you did support my work though. It’s ever so cheap to do so & I promise I will misuse your money more or less the same way a charity will. What’s not to like about that?
It’s my personal view that the internet becoming expensive was a mistake. Server space and fancy web pages cost money, which requires advertisers, which incentivizes click-bait and every other means of getting eyeballs, which eventually turns into a self-perpetuating machine of BS (and also disincentives good content because everything needs to be safe and cater to the lowest common denominator). My favorite places tend to be anachronistic, simple message boards where mods are barely needed, and the ones that exist do it for free just to keep their favorite website usable. My least favorite places are social media with 16 ads per page and an army of mods, not to mention poorly-programmed AI, trying to regulate it all to death. We used to welcome something like a foreign propaganda posted, because we’d laugh our behinds off and mock them–now they are “threats to democracy”. Normies ruined it.
Man, your comment made me nostalgic for early 2000s internet. And then I remember the dial-up noises.
I don’t bother with a lot of message boards as I’ve seen that they usually end up becoming too culturally isolationist with their members. There are still some great ones out there like Atari Age boards where its members are lively and supporting of each other in their discussion and homebrew projects but others like Arlong Park forums tend to give rise to egotists who use the power of their seniority to disparage other members who provide honest posts and the moderators that do operate there will turn the other cheek. Then, you have the cesspool sites like 4Chan and Kiwi Farms whose members are so humanely bankrupt that any attempt to argue logic with them will only be met with dogpiling ridicule and insults.
Anybody who goes to 4Chan looking for reasoned debate is too stupid to be taken seriously about anything.
4Chan is the dark corner of the Internet where logic goes to die.
One place that I used to hang out and actually have some good discussions was a sexual fetish site, believe it or not. (And not even a fetish I’m actually into. I wandered in by accident, but the people seemed nice so I hung around.) Because most people were there for the porn, there was no single dominant ideology. It was actually possible to discuss politics and culture with people with a wide array of views. Because we mostly liked each other, or at least had manners, it was possible to have debates that sometimes became pretty heated, but didn’t dissolve into mere shouting matches.
I believe it. I’ve hung around those spaces too. The BDSM community might be just about the most diverse, open-minded group of folks. Being a bunch of weirdos, according to standard social norms, they tend not to jump to conclusions about others and hear them out.
Eh, see, at the risk of being argumentative, that’s exactly the non-problem that sites like Facebook try to “solve” by sterilizing everything. Because I HAVE hung around Kiwi Farms. Yeah, the guy who started it is a “race realist”, but far from him getting others dogpiled, his own user base mocks him. When mods “turn the other way” it means people can actually talk to each other instead of having conversations ended before they begin. It also means that people have to learn how to deal with, or ignore, folks and opinions they don’t like, instead of hiding behind block features or have mods who protect them like mama bear and her cubs. If mean words get to be too much, it means you need to turn off the computer for a while. But as for me, man, go ahead and try to make me upset by calling me names; I’ve been called the most awful things imaginable that nothing anyone can say will phase me. I like that I’ve toughened up this way–there are many who clearly could benefit from that (no political/social arguments were implied in anything I just wrote, to be clear).
In that case, what’s the point of having moderation and rules on boards at all if people are expected to just deal with the behavior of other members as some kind of rite of passage?
Sorry, BWM, but I have to respectfully disagree. Words DO have more of an impact on people than you think, especially when it can lead to PTSD. It’s not just something that can be solved by “turning off the computer”. People could legitimately commit suicide over this.
In fact, read up on the history of ROM hacker, Byuu, who committed suicide after being made to deal with the endless harassment from the members of Kiwi Farms. He contributed a lot to the community with his work on Bahamut Lagoon, Der Langrisser, Mother 3 and Dragon Quest 5. This guy was no joke but Kiwi Farms still felt that it was worth doxxing him over to the point that it affected his reputation online.
“Race realism” is a bullshit excuse for adolescence. People KNOW better and they can act better to help promote unity.
Here’s the article in question. pcgamer.com/near-creator-of-the-higan-and-bsnes-emulators-has-died/#:~:text=Near%2C%20also%20known%20by%20their,Lagoon%2C%20has%20died%20by%20suicide.
People seem to be suiciding every other day in the Debian community, apparently because of the toxic community. Hence …? (OK, for he uninitiated, Debian is a very popular Linux distribution used all over the place. But they still off themselves.)
If a community is toxic, merely being on the site is enough to empower their toxicity. The only way these abortions of humanity will ever get the message is to stay off their site and encourage others to do the same.
“Surprised” I see “Surpressed” – you mean “Slurp-pressed”? Or referring to excessive pressing of starched shirts? Or did you want to avoid a word too similar to certain medical rectal missiles? :))
James interests me as he seems to be a tech geek of ample ability, and he’s also the most “ordinary” drawn character of recurrence. Nothing overboard on the stereotypes, yet he appears ordinary, yet his output is crucial to the projects they’re aiming for.
Everybody else has a certain (or lots of) attractiveness, across a wide range of types.
I can’t get over him taking pictures of a bare clad woman against her wishes. Or has he apologized somewhere and I missed it?
What do you mean “against her wishes”!? After all, she DID say “take a picture, it’ll last longer”…
Whatever, he’s a cutie. Just a chubby incel out for a good time.
Honestly, it makes me wonder if James is really flirting with Jess.
To your point, whether this delivers hope or not, I had a post go viral yesterday and while it is proving that the algorithm is surmountable, it is also proving that beating the algorithm alone will not make you a victor in the ways you really want to win.
(here’s the post in question https://twitter.com/toonstop/status/1562187422548606977?s=21 )
What’s the best way to send you a one-time donation (of an amount greater than one month of Patreon)?
Paypal is the easiest quite frankly.
Where could I find your Paypal?
It’s just the comic name as a single word at hotmail. If you search for it on paypal it’s super obviously mine.
Btw, even in its early days (check yourselves, readers, it’s super easy) Jackie’s work was clearly ahead of much of the webcomic pack.
A lot of webcomic authors had strong pacing problems, usually by ending the comic of the day or week on a dead note, or never getting anywhere with the story, but sometimes by starting like a magazine with six pages of filler. How many readers made it through those to start the real thing at page seven, one and a half month later? The correct way of doing a single-page comic is the way Jackie does it, or 4-koma if you like.
Also … avoid going on hiatus. Definitely don’t go on hiatus of unspecified length. Super-definitely don’t just stop updating for six months. All of these will of course shed your readers to various degrees.
No joke about Jackie and his quality of writing. I’ve been reading webcomics since a year or two before the turn of the millennium (Zeebarf, 8bit Theatre, Sluggy and some other stuff that first appeared on Keenspace) and it as always interesting to observe the waves of popularity rise, crest then fall with web comics. Jackie found his strength and I’ve been enjoying reading for a good, wow nearly 12 years? Then I read the archives and realized just how much I had been missing out with nearly ten years of previous comics. Between Failures is one of my few “Daily Checks”.
But also sadly the hiatus thing you mentioned? It’s a big issue and involves a ton of tact and some planning on how you handle it. Especially just making sure to update the fanbase. Hiatuses always seems to end up being the big event that changes stuff for a webcomic.
There are a few ways to handle hiatuses. Guest comics used to be a thing, but seem to have dwindled with the industry. (I think Jackie too used to have them. With a backlist like Jackie, he could perhaps do re-runs now.) One can also build up a buffer, the unicorn of web comics, which unfortunately seldom seems to work out. Or you can have an announced, planned hiatus, stop things nicely and return after recharging.
One comic that seems to handle the last one well is “My Giant Nerd Boyfriend”, which takes time off every now and then and nobody seems to mind. Then again, it’s a very cute slice of life slash diary starring real people, where you can almost hear the throbbing of projection by the readers, so it’s likely not so demanding an ask.
Unfortunately for Jackie, caring for grandpa doesn’t fit this nice model, because grandpa is still around after vacay is over. He’s instead a continuing daily task to be handled. It’s then easy to get into a routine of missing updates due to life, which leads to a dying web comic. Jackie will have to find a way to handle the demands on his time, whatever that might be.