#309 | Chapter 9, Page 20A Posted by: Clownfish Studios , September 2, 2013 Share! Tweet Richard Hyde This new site is been quite a pain. Don’t mean to complain, but it has been terrible to use, and now it seems to insist to popup a new window any time I click next or last. Also the images are much smaller and the noise factor is off scale. I hope you get things cleaned up soon, as it is a major pain, and it does not seem to be getting better. Whitney Miller I haven’t had as many problems with it. The one thing that I do miss is being able to use the same link (comic.shadowbinders.com) to immediately access the newest comic every Tuesday and Friday — though I do understand why you’re using the new format. It took me a while to figure out that only that link was down, not your entire website. Kambrea Pratt THere are no pop-ups on here to our knowledge. LuRa Witt I miss the newest page being big and right on the home page, no extra clicking needed to see it well. now there a half sized thumbnail. Amethyst Agreed. The new site is awful. So much clutter everywhere and the images are all smaller because of the formatting. Kambrea Pratt To those that don’t “get the new site” or are complaining about it. I am sorry you don’t like the new page. Here is the truth of the situation. We work all the time and do our best. We do not see our children and we have not date nights. No family time. No movie nights. We don’t play video game. Instead we do all we can to give you free pages. It is free for you. But, it is most definitely NOT free for us. We have hours of time, hosting costs, advertising costs, and so on. It costs us money. We short ourselves to post these pages. All we ever ask in return is that you read the comic. Share it with friends. Occasionally comment or read other blog posts to help out. It takes seconds and would go a long way to show appreciation for our hard work. That is the frank truth. Thom could go do freelance work and other paying work and we would be much better off than doing this. WE do it because 1. For you the readers 2. We really want to tell our story and we are proud and love it. 3. Hopefully, we could someday do it full time and be able to do better. Let me ask this. Would you take a job (on top of your other full time job) that was full time hours, no time off, you can’t see your family or if you are late or try something new people complain, and you get paid pennies an hour OR you have to pay in just to work? That is essentially what we do. At this point we have 2 choices. 1. Try new things and optimize the site for monetization. 2. We stop the comic here ( online )and then if you want the rest you have to back the kickstarters or just buy the book. We opted to keep giving out the comic for FREE and try to monetize it better. People were mad that Keenspot had so many ads. Well there are actually 2/3 LESS ad spots now. Most of what is there is BLOG content that Thom and I write OURSELVES and are geek things or things we like that we wanted to share. NO ad wall. A lot of comics have a landing page. That is what the main page is. It is a landing page with content. That is all. I can’t help but feel that people expect us to slave away and give them 5 days a week, full page updates, with no ads at all. We simply can NOT do that. We just can’t. We even tried doing a kickstarter to off-set costs and most of the backers were not even regular readers. That, again, is the truth. My son went to the doctor the other day. He asked Tristan “what fun things did you do this summer?” My son said “nothing.” That is the truth. Because either 1. Mom and Dad had to put out comic pages and didn’t have time. or 2. Mom and Dad didn’t have the extra money because we had to pay for comic related expenses. Thom’s Grandpa (who was basically his father) died and we went to see his Grandma a weekend ago. IT is 3 hours one way. We tried to stay as long as we could (she is sad and lonely) but we had to leave to do a page. TRUE stories. So, sorry if you have to see a few ads (not required to click them!) or click an extra time to look at a page! We do all we can. We have taken a lot of complaints and mean private messages and have smiled and kept trying our hardest. People have made fun of our kids on Facebook and we still tried to be courteous and kept smiling and trying our best. People are allowed to comment or complain and we don’t censor or react in a negative way. We smile and keep being courteous. I don’t think readers understand how hard this is and how much it takes from us personally. Instead, we get complaints because we have ads and blog content. No matter what we do we get complaints. We can’t please everyone. All we can do is our best. I am sorry. We made the comic the FIRST thing on the page. We gave you direct links to ONLY the comic so you don’t even have to read the blogs. We are making it as easy to bypass the other stuff as we can. We are truly doing our best and trying to find a fair balance for everyone. Here is the link again http://shadowbinders.clownfishtv.com/comic/?latest Kneon We might post full pages again in lieu of the half pages. But if you check other comics like Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg or Strays… the comic is actually about the same width. Kambrea Pratt That could probably work. Kambrea Pratt I am sorry to spaz out, but I really don’t know how else to get it across that we are doing our best and trying really hard and doing what we can to keep it free. We do all this work and the only effort required is to click on the image to go to the comic page. It is very very frustrating and upsetting. It is like you spent hours on a drawing for a friend (that they wanted) and then you give it to them in a folder and they are complaining because they have to open the folder to look at it. Kneon What people here don’t realize is that we’ve gotten some out and out venom in our inbox over the past week. We’ve had people *demanding* that we put things back the way they were, because it was… you know… messing up *their* comic. Most of these comments were coming from people who have *never once* commented on the comic, donated to the comic or backed a Kickstarter. Lurkers-turned-trolls. We haven’t said much about it publicly, but it’s really appalling behavior that’s been tainting our outlook on the whole webcomic “business model” lately. 🙁 Paendragon From another lurker… I guess that’s what I am since I enjoy the comic but don’t normally comment… I think you guys have a great comic here and I like the new site. The shorter comics give me an “edge of the seat” feel… yes there are certainly times that I want to know what happens next right away, but how is that different from any other non complete comic/story? Overall I’m hoping that not everyone is giving you negative feedback. There are those of us who appreciate what you’ve done and what you’ve sacrificed to get here. Kambrea Pratt Thank you! I appreciate that you come and read. We don’t require you to comment. The fact that your read and enjoy it makes our day. Thank you for your comment. It sincerely made me feel better. Juliastes TL;DR – To our artists. Thank you. To patient readers. Thank you. To those sending negativity, remember to be careful of how you convey thoughts in written form, that everything comes at a cost, and rudeness and bullying only leads to things being ended, not fixed. Rant: A thank you to both of you. Being able to remain courteous and civil despite frustrating comments from lurkers definitely takes strength. And when I hear that someone has chosen to ridicule your family, it only does to remind me of methods taken by childhood bullies (and youtube commenters). I have personally read through many life challenges of many other webcomic artists. Because I don’t pay for anything, I believe that I have no right to ASK for anything. Everything comes at a price, and Kambrea has outlined those costs in their lives. And I recognize that even if I were to begin supporting monetarily, whatever I can give may only cover so much (or so little) of the total costs. In support of Thom and Kambrea, I implore those lurkers who don’t read many webcomics beyond this one to remember that even multi-million dollar corporations carry a force majeure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure into every contract they write. Things happen, events occur, and if you feel that you REQUIRE a webcomic to start your mornings…. just find another webcomic that has a history. There are artists out there that managed to work through years of being unpaid for their efforts, that after a while finally manged to collect a sufficient flow of ad revenue and merchandise profit to live off of their trade. However, that was years in the making, and even they had many rocky transitions from site to site. If Thom and Kambrea choose to not update on a day, that is their prerogative, and the only influence readers have is to comment. In commenting, please remember that tone and flow in verbal communication do not remain in written form. I know myself that if someone were to criticize something I had done in pursuit of making things better, that would make it hard for me to continue with the project. This former lurker turned commenter will continue to load your webcomic on a daily basis, and will continue to look for new updates whenever they are made available. -Sarah Kambrea Pratt Thank you Sarah *hugs* It is hard. I know it is the same thing for a lot of other webcomic creators too. We all just don’t speak out because we do love our readers and we do love doing the comics (why else would we do it then?) We don’t want to offend those that we hold dear. No one wants to lose readers. But creators can only do what they can do. It is never free. There are costs for someone. It is so simple to help (us or other creators you follow.) A lot of times it costs nothing but time and patience. Sometimes, if you are inclinded, you can support in other ways (kickstarter, donation buttons, amazon links and so on) We sincerely DO appreciate everything our readers to to help. I can promise that Thom and I do try to give you all as much as we can. We really do want to do more. We are going to try to find a way to do more. Our intent was never to make people upset about the new site. I know it is different. I know it is a bit tricky at first. But we really are giving you all more content. More fun things to read. More information. More comic. Podcasts to give you a look at what we do and what we love. We are trying to share our world and our comic and all the awesome geekiness we can with you. We are in no way trying to take anything away from you. But it is going to have to come with some costs because we can only give so much. Our children really do suffer for it. It breaks my heart. I don’t want to blink and my kids are grown and it is all gone and we gave it all away. So please, bear with us, while we try to find a solution that works. Everyone will benefit in the end. Honest! Kneon Thanks for that! This whole debacle reminds me of a post over on the Something Awful forums a year or so ago. Some of the posters in their webcomics forum were blasting comics creators for quitting without finishing the story, cutting back on updates, switching from color to B&W, etc. The gist of their argument seemed to be that once a creator starts something, they absolutely *must* finish it to their fandom’s satisfaction or else they’re “flaky.” Some of the creators they were blasting had simply moved on to other, *paying* opportunities or lost interest entirely. One fairly notable creator was basically driven away from her comic by readers. Sad stuff. :-/ S+ I question the “business model” all the time, and I’m just the consumer. Consider my case. I pay web comic artists; I pay NPR; I pay the makers of my favorite YouTube videos. But since funds are limited, and since I do not discipline myself to say, “No, you can’t afford to start reading another comic,” I have to make a list of recipients, and I pay a set amount to each one in order as money comes available. So everybody has to wait a long long time for not a lot of money. How anybody has any right to think that you guys are going to make comics for me to read when that’s how I go about paying for things is beyond me. The grocery story doesn’t sell me food that way. I’m glad you, and all the other creators I enjoy so much, are doing what you are doing. Thank ;you. Kambrea Pratt Thank you *hugs* Kneon Thank you for that. We’re not trying to be ranty, but it’s been a loooong week for us. We do appreciate our readers, and we certainly weren’t trying to “put anyone out.” We just wanted to change things up and prepare for the future. But when we get some outright nastigrams based on a relatively minor site change, it really tends to sour things. S+ Kambrea, the great thing about the complaints you receive is that they are self-sorting. Here is what I mean: All complaints can go into one of two baskets, either “generally take seriously” or “trash.” All complaints about such a great comic which is available for FREE can automatically go into the “trash” basket. Voila! Problem solved. Kneon I think the comic seems smaller because we’d started posting half-pages on the old site. Which worked, because the images were larger. However, the *width* of the comic is about the same as Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg, Strays and a host of other comics. So it might be time to switch back to full pages less often. (Protip: You can make the images bigger by right-clicking and viewing them in another tab or window) But as far as giving people 3-4 full pages a week? We can’t. We simply cannot. Because as Kam said, we don’t do this full-time. As it is, what we already do usually comes at the expense of family time or a social life. Kneon And again, you can bookmark a page that takes you right to the latest comic: Here > http://shadowbinders.clownfishtv.com/comic/?latest And if you only want the comic in RSS? Here > http://feeds.feedburner.com/shadowbinderscomic And if there ARE any pop-up ads? We want to know about them because we never agreed to that. S+ So am I the only one who finds the new site to be pretty much the same as the old site? I think I must be. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. Amber Richardson Would any of you like a BIG virtual hug? I know it’s a mess now because none of us like change, but it will get better, and it IS free. So, I offer free virtual hugs to everyone who’s stressing out about this. Kambrea Pratt Well…you can send me one. Oh and by the way. I love your icon. Jem is truly outrageous. Kneon Truly. Truly, truly. David Wright I haven’t read all the comments, but I getting is some people don’t really like the new setup for some reason….. I like it! There’s interesting mini articles some of which I liked… Also I’m still wondering when I can buy your young Rhen book….lol….Last thing: I read anther comic called Gaia and they have a paid subscription where you can read the latest comic and a free one that’s usually about a month behind behind the paid one and I would gladly subscribe to this comic!!!!!! Kneon Thanks! We’re still looking into options for ‘Crimson Rhen of the True North.’ The thought process behind the blogging was that it would give people some [optional] content while they wait for new comics to be posted. Kneon Yeah, we had a major screw up on the part of our last host and had to tank the comic. subdomain a lot sooner than we intended to. The transition was *supposed* to be smooth and organic, but, well… 😉 Whitney Miller Wow. I like the new website but I had no idea that the change was implemented because there was a problem with the old one! And then all this nonsense from fans…gosh, talk about adding insult to injury! I’m so sorry to hear about just how rough the last week has been for you and your family! 🙁 I really hope things get better soon! I’ve been searching for a donation box and can’t seem to find one. How might one go about sending money your way other than the shop? Kambrea Pratt We were going to change it. After we left Keenspot, we went to a different host. Before we could properly test all the links and set it up completely, it was locked and we had to move it. That launched it early and before it was where we wanted it. The old site was pretty much locked up at that point. So we kind of just had to go with it. As for helping. All we ask is that you share the comic and blog posts with friends you think might like it. Please read the comic or a blog post or two. Or listen to a podcast. Comment if you wish. That all helps us. You can also click the Amazon button above and shop for things you would buy anyways. If you go through our link we get money. It costs you nothing, but what you were already going to spend. Sometime, we will be doing Kickstarter again. People can back those and that directly helps us out. Those are ways you can help and most of them are completely free. It just takes some of your time. Thank you! Alkene I know there are a lot of comments either way, but I have to say thank you for posting this comic. As an artist I understand that you put 8+ hours into a page people look at for 30 seconds. Thank you for the countless hours to entertain us a few times a week. The new site is stream-lined and modern and I hope that it is helping you to make a few more bucks than you were making before. Don’t let anyone bring you down! Likely, the people posting do not truly understand what goes into what you do, and even with the posts that have gone up, never will until they do it themselves. Again, thank you. Much love, and I can’t wait to see more. <3 <3 <3 Kambrea Pratt Thank you! *hugs* Kambrea Pratt Just letting you all know there will be no new page this evening. It will be tomorrow. There is a GOOD reason. 2 good reasons actually. 1. Our son had to go to the doctor and got sent for an x-ray (he may have a cracked rib) and 2. I ended up in the ER with a really bad migraine and heart symptoms. Luckily, it was just a bad migraine that was mimicking other things and apparently I have an anxiety issue (fun) and I am supposed to rest this evening. I am okay, so don’t worry. Still waiting to hear about Tristan’s rib though. So page tomorrow. Sorry about this. Kneon No, we’re not on strike. lol Speedy Marsh As a fellow migraine sufferer, I prescribe a day offline whenever you have a migraine. Also, when nasty comments are causing you stress, try this mental exercise: Close your eyes, take all the hateful, vitriolic comments, and shadowbind them to.an enormous boulder. Then, take that boulder, and cast it into the deepest ocean on Belatyr. Listen as all that noise fades into silence. Finally, after a short period of peaceful silence, slowly start remembering the good comments, the stories about how you brightened someone’s day, How your characters remind them of a friend or loved one. Remember all the crazy theories that people come up with about where the story will go next. And then realize that we, your readers, have accepted your characters (and by extension a piece of each of you) as part of our families. Also, as hard as it might be for us (your readers) to say, it’s not us that’s really important. It’s your family. Please take time to spend with your family, and don’t feel guilty about it. Sure, there are people who will complain if you miss an update here and there, but if they’re actually willing to leave over something like that, then good riddance. That will mean that there will be fewer hateful comments. Your kids only grow up once. Don’t miss it. jennilind Spent the past weekend reading this entire comic. LOVE. So glad I found this. Thank you for creating it. 🙂 Kneon Welcome aboard! Beth I think you guys are doing great, i have a folder of bookmarked comics i read and i check them nearly everyday, shadowbinders is definitely on the list and one of my favorites. Don’t let the whiners get you down. Kneon Thanks so much! We’re certainly not trying to blast people with both barrels. Actually, the comments here haven’t been nearly as bad as the outright petulance we’ve had to endure in emails and private messages on Facebook and such. We get it. Some people don’t like the new layout. We didn’t do it to ruin anybody’s day. No, really, we didn’t! 😉 Andrew Cook I guess I’m a bit late to comment on the new website thing because I only really check the comic every now and again. But I have to say I don’t really think the new page layout is really doing it’s job properly. I don’t mind having to click through from the front page and I don’t mind the half sized pages but what really kills it for me is the side bar next to the comic. It pushes the comic off to the side and restricts it to two thirds the width of the page. With the white background I feel like I should be reading story text in the sidebar with the actual comic there simply as an illustration which is completely the wrong way around. For me, the whole problem with the new site would be cleared up by moving that sidebar down next to the comments section and allowing the comic itself to take centre stage as it should. As it is it’s just not a very pleasant experience flipping through the archive to catch up on what I’ve missed since last time I was here. I know I could use “View Image” on the comic to get it to full screen but that requires a click-hold, contextual menu select and then to hit back on the browser and to hit the next button in order to get to next page and that’s for every single page I want to read which really breaks up the flow of the story especially now that you’re using half pages and there’s about half as much story on each screen. It’s a real shame that the page layout is so bad because the comic itself is really good It’s just not being presented by the new site in a way that’s really readable.