with the "polite" approach being to echo the other nonentities
Their point of view is that bad webcomics should be ridiculed, and while they're a bad review site, they're at least willing to criticize the comics they read. I'd much rather read the BWW than read any nonentity.I dunno, it'd be hard for me to find a site with less of a point of view than Bad Webcomic Wiki. i mean by definition that site is edited by various people, so any point of view is basically a consensus, a compromise. Bad Webcomics Wiki largely attacks regular targets, be they webcomics with small fanbase or popular webcomics that also have a large base of haters, like DD or Waqsi square. Aren't they, then, just following the line of internet's hate-speak, criticizing safely what everyone's already been criticizing. When you criticize DD, are you offering something new, or are you just tapping in Solomon's fanbase?
I know this is probably spinning your words in a way you didn't intend, but this seems to go with my conclusion a lot. Yes, it's easy to express opinions online, and that's my point: self-conscious people are treating reviewing as being more difficult than it really is. And I'm not particularly bashing positive reviewers in this instance, since they're just bad entities. I'm criticizing so-called "reviewers" who try to hide their opinions and point of view as much as possible.I don't think you should mistake internet bashing for having a point of view or participating in a discussion. Critics on internet are too often going along the lines of opinions that are pre-approved for criticism - that is more analogous to abstaining from speaking in real life - you have anonymity, you have lack of fear of consequences and, most importantly, you have approval of your peer group. If you thread on grounds such as bad webcomics wiki, criticism is the easier way to earn badge of coolness than expressing positively about something.
The difference is objectivity vs. subjectivity. People hate the BWW because of the way they present their subjective perspectives. If the BWW trashes a comic that isn't really that bad, or is even kinda good, then they'll aggravate people. And if they make personal attacks against creators that are considered inappropriate, then they'll aggravate people as well. You're right, though, that some group-think's inevitable within the entity subcultures. For example, if someone's a scholar (per Burns-White's definition), then they'll probably think that scholarly writing is more intellectual and interesting than reviews. It'd actually be great if these subcultures were more developed. It kinda sucks that we're stuck with analyzing the BWW, since it's so banal.but it depends on non-entities you're surrounded with, what kind of response is going to be considered the "eccho", right? From your own quote we may conclude that expressing negatively about a comic is the "polite approach" in a place such as Bad Webcomic wiki. So it's contributors are actual non-entities in this case.
The thing is, I'm looking ahead past all this. If webcomic criticism's going to go anywhere, it's going to be due to the efforts of a handful of talented individuals. My focus is on what would attract those people to this field. El Santo's a good example, as while he wasn't a great reviewer, he definitely started to help push the field in the right direction.Internet often feels like a reverse mirror of real world, never more than in the kind of manners that can bring you approval of peer group. Bad Webcomics Wiki is a conclusive proof that hate talk can be just as unimpressive and white-washed as excessive politeness can. Comments on any message board (let's say, for the same of discussion, comments above roughly 30% of youtube clips) are another proof. Easiness with which freedom of expression comes means that expression itself loses value in the eves of the one who has that freedom, so people end up thinking very poorly through what they're about to express.
You're right that another round of "We hate BWW/Solomon/SWC" probably isn't going to help anything. But webcomic criticism needs a catalyst, and I figure it could come from the webcomics community. I think there's potential to plant the seeds for something, even if that something is, realistically, a long ways off.I'm definitely not big on folks who just want shock me. If they have something to say after they've got my attention, ok, right? If they don't, then it amounts to them trying to raise attention to themselves. Without ever actually putting any effort or creativity. Do they raise a dialogue? May be, but very often that's not the kind of dialogue they intended. Very often it's the dialogue along the lines of "what good is the freedom of expression if you don't have anything to say?" Yeah, shitty webcomics has successfully rose a conversation about whether it should be allowed for sheltered fratboys to be mysogynist assholes in public... but do we need such conversation? Isn't it something that we should all answer right now with a resounding "no"?
I can go to Piperka.net and get a list of the most popular webcomics. xkcd is No. 1, so that's enough of a reason to check it out. A nonentity telling me that it's a stick figure comic isn't providing me a "social service." This isn't like print comics or movies, where people have to spend money (or pirate it) to see what's in it. It costs time, sure, but a review shouldn't just be pointing out things that are super-obvious. It's like the medium's used as an excuse to not try at all.On the other hand, reviewers who do outlines of plot as encyclopedists, I don't think they are as much non-entities as you think. For one, they are indeed expressing their view through the choice of comics that they decide to feature. They are championing comics that they choose to, albeit not as agressively as a full-on praise would. Their social service (or the nearest to social service that you can have in webcomics) is evident - they allow you to asses how interesting a comic is for you without needing to read it first; they have their place is a process of webcomic selection. That they are not making a critical assessment of comics is even less important in environment where every critical assesment is of a hobbyist, dubious, very often even semi-literate kind. I'd consider them simply a different kind of reviewers from you. Maybe not even reviewers, more like encyclopedists, but not something that's neccessarily bad.
Solomon made a big impression, and the bad entities often write like bad Solomon impersonators. If a star scholar or reviewer emerges and makes a big impression like that, it could help a lot. However, we're not going to get any stars unless everybody has a voice. It's the same philosophy behind free sites like Comic Genesis and Smack Jeeves, which have so many awful webcomics but are also a place for actually good cartoonists to get their start.They may not have much to say... but I find that often your "entity" reviewers don't either. Rather, they choose to bullshit through ten paragraphs of text, making only a few of the most obvious points they could make... the thing that puts me off opinionated reviewers is, often they turn out to be sadly underqualified for writing a limeric, let alone assessment of quality of a work of art. I am not sure I don't prefere a silence.
If a list contains obscure webcomics, then it might be kinda interesting. But if a list is "xkcd, Oglaf, Gunnerkrigg Court, Questionable Content, and Order of the Stick," then what's your point of view? That you like things that a lot of people like? It seems like some kind of ironic joke. Also, I don't get a sense that readers are gravitating towards nonentities. They're all very obscure compared to entities. The only exception might be Lauren Davis, but that's just because she's part of io9, which is a fairly popular site.Basically you have two different formats there. You obviously prefere one format over the other, but it seems that, as is often the case with issue of formats, it matters more how thoughtfully they're used. Why I could express a consistent point of view just by listing a selection of webcomics, in much the same way how audiophiles in 80ies were able to express themselves solely through making a mixtape. Whether someone would be able to interpret that point of view, that's up to them.
Sure, but we also don't need a fifteenth review saying that Oglaf's funny, or a twentieth review saying that Ava's Demon has good artwork. That's what I meant by my remark about "polite" reviewers. Instead, they could look at good webcomics that aren't known that well and could really use the publicity. I mean, like, Homestuck's getting over a million page views a day, so is it going to matter if someone says it's a good comic? I'm guessing that people think reviewing popular webcomics will get them more traffic, which is largely what I was referring to in my post about having a social media mentality.My opinion, truly, is, that when it comes to webcomics, positive reinforcement values much, much more than negative. Webcomics should be filtered through championing good comics rather than stomping the bad ones. I have a feeling that many reviewers choose the negative approach (besides obvious psychological reasons) because they feel that way they can have more impact. One vitriolic review can make a comic a really bad rep, or discourage the creator, or whatever. Good reviews - you need an accumulation of them to have an impact. Choosing the negative approach therefore seems like kind of cheating, rather oposite from the cummulative process of selection that I prefere.
I know he did 1/0, which is partly why his reviews are disappointing. Actually, I just re-read the beginning of his review, and it's pretty similar to some of the stuff I was just saying. He criticizes people "that bill themselves as reviewers, but who are actually recappers," and I think "recappers" means the same thing as what I mean by nonentities. And this is a good way of saying what I was just writing: "I also think, however, that a review needs to be more than two sentences and a rating out of five stars. Different people have different tastes and different priorities, and '4.5 out of 5, mature audiences only' doesn't really give me enough information to determine whether or not I'd like something." So, it starts off good, but he screws everything up by choosing to review his friend's comic. And even though he just complained about "recappers" and "objectivity," his review has too much summarizing.Incidentally, Tailsteak was a creator of one of the best, most intelectual, quietly philosophical webcomics I've ever read, way back when webcomics were not expected to be good, let alone deep.
Well, Chris and you deserve all the credit, as I'm just commentating objectively. I kind of regret not writing more, especially about the art, but the post is already pretty long, and anything I'd write would be similar to what's already in my review of Crux. If I have anything to add, it's that it's great that you're still experimenting and continuing to improve despite already making art at such a high level.Humbug wrote:Awesome! Thanks for the positive review.
I'd actually prefer it if he focused on improvement. While the comic's better than Crux, it has the same issue of being carried by the artwork, and it'd be an unremarkable fantasy story if the visuals didn't enhance the writing so much.Humbug wrote:Still, Chris is happy that he's doing things right.
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