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tharkad



Joined: 03 Sep 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:23 pm    Post subject: Comments or not? Reply with quote

Hi all. A couple months ago I started up my first comic Robot Game Squad. I'm using ComicPress and I have it set to not allow comments. I had some bad experiences with comments on a blog I wrote back in 2005 and it was hard to deal with the spam. But I'm also concerned about being able to build up a community and discussion without them. I'm on Twitter and Facebook but I'd like some feedback from other artists about pros and cons and issues and challenges you've had with comments on your sites.

Thanks for any information.

-Mike Houser

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UltimateB



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to hear what other people are doing with comments. We've been using a plugin so people can comment with their facebook accounts. But so far we only get a few comments from friends and family and we don't seem to get comments from other readers. Do people want to be anonymous?

http://www.chickpeascomic.com
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
I've also had one case of someone impersonating someone in the comments. It was someone who'd previously been banned from here and was under the mistaken impression that it was me that banned him. He posted as another forum member that he'd been in a fight with I suppose to try and get them banned too. It was a pretty rubbish plan though.

I'd suppose seeing IP addresses makes it easy to figure out, huh?

I've been very happy with Disqus. I guess I've only had comments up for about five months, but I haven't gotten any robot spammers; just one poster who, as far as I could tell, manually went around spamming his website on random comics. Other than that one guy, I haven't had any problems with comments.

I would definitely not use the default WordPress comment boxes though (I don't use wordpress now, but for past blogs, I've been very unhappy with the defaults), unless you have something like Akismet. But the default WordPress comment boxes are magnets for bots, and dealing with simple solutions like captchas is only going to turn away real people from posting real comments.

I like Disqus since people can log in with their Facebook, Twitter, or G+ accounts as opposed to creating a Disqus account. They can also post anonymously. One of my commentors changes their posting name everytime, but I always know it's them by their IP/email (and because it's a habit of theirs). You can still blacklist an anonymous poster if they're a problem. And, like I said, no bot spam.

It did take me a while to set it up, due to some complications (that I created for myself), but they have WordPress specific coding and I'm sure they can point you in the right direction. And for all I know, you can probably just search for Disqus in the plugins area.

I also may or may not have found that if you rant about them on Twitter, they find you and talk to you; I may or may not have been very surprised/embarrassed.

Gravatar is also a popular option. People don't need to have a Gravatar to post, and you don't even need to log in before making a post, since it'll pull your avatar based on the email address you enter. Even if you don't want to use it on your site, I'd really suggest having an account. It's used so widely, you might as well be recognized if you like posting on others' comics. If people see your avatar enough times, they may get curious and check out the link attached to your name. Wink
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tharkad



Joined: 03 Sep 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback. I just added Disqus to my site and it went well.

-Mike Houser

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UndeadLlama



Joined: 18 Dec 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen a few people who have been trying to move their discussions from their website to Twitter or Facebook. While I like having some proof that people actually view my site and enjoyed the content on the site itself, Twitter and Facebook have much bigger audiences. Posts there tend to automatically get distributed to other people, while the posts on my site only go to me.

I think there is a balance there, but I would try both.

Julian
Undead Llama
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would seem I am a little late to the discussion, but I might as well add my two cents.

Yes, add a comment section. Nothing beats getting direct feedback from readers.
I've seen some really awesome things come from comments, some that have even influenced the comic! But even if you don't get that kind of feedback, it still helps the readers feel more connected to the comic, which makes them more likely to stick around, tell their friends, etc.

I have never seen anything bad come from having comments. Adding the Akismet plugin will kill spam completely. After that, what negatives could even arise? You're not going to get "poor taste" comments that couldn't be easily squashed and moderated until you get so many comments that you're probably making a living off of your comic.
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
MindChimera wrote:

I'd suppose seeing IP addresses makes it easy to figure out, huh?


Yep. He seemed to make no attempt to mimic the writing style of the person in question and I have access to the IP addresses for all posts on both sites, so yeah, there never was much chance of pulling that one off.

Oh yeah, it always surprises me when people don't even try to mimick someone's writing style. It's not like it's hard, and it makes it more believeable.

UndeadLlama wrote:
I have seen a few people who have been trying to move their discussions from their website to Twitter or Facebook. While I like having some proof that people actually view my site and enjoyed the content on the site itself, Twitter and Facebook have much bigger audiences. Posts there tend to automatically get distributed to other people, while the posts on my site only go to me.

I think there is a balance there, but I would try both.

I agree that it's good for immediate exposure, but I think those comments will get buried and lost over time. I'd like to have them around on the comic's page itself.

There's some comics I follow that installed the Facebook comment boxes on their site, and nothing against the comic, but that's the #1 way to get me to not post on their website. I really don't like that Facebook goes and puts my Likes on my friends' feeds, since I use Facebook just to talk to extended family (and my mom) who aren't going to be interested in comics and probably think it's all childish dribble anyway. I basically try to keep my Facebook polished.

That's just me though.

Marscaleb wrote:
I have never seen anything bad come from having comments.

Well, one complaint I have about comics for story-driven comics is sometimes people will go back to old pages and post spoilers. It may not be obvious, because it might be a clarification question for the author, so it might stick around. I've had this spoil comics for me before, so when I set up my comments, I had it set to disable comments on a page seven days after posting. I recently took this off, but it's something I'm going to be watching out for.

That's "bad" more for the reader than the author though.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MindChimera wrote:

Well, one complaint I have about comics for story-driven comics is sometimes people will go back to old pages and post spoilers. It may not be obvious, because it might be a clarification question for the author, so it might stick around. I've had this spoil comics for me before, so when I set up my comments, I had it set to disable comments on a page seven days after posting. I recently took this off, but it's something I'm going to be watching out for.

That's "bad" more for the reader than the author though.


Who it's "bad" for is irrelevant. Anything bad for the reader is bad for the author, and vice-versa.

But yes, that is a valid example. Even so, I suspect that the number of such spoiler comments are so rare they would be easy to moderate.
I did once ask a question on an earlier page via comments once, but I made sure to keep my description such that it could not spoil anything. I got a direct answer from the author, and if they thought I was spoiling something, the comment would have certainly been censored.
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SidneyConrad



Joined: 15 Jan 2013
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The concern for comments to get out of hand is understandable. For community building, it is good to have some way for fans to being able to have discussions and for the creator to participate with them. Instead of allowing comments on your comic, you could alternately add a forum where people can go to discuss the newest comic and even start their own conversations. It's all about what makes you the most comfortable.


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FlapjackStudios



Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject: Disqus Rules. Reply with quote

Disqus is great. I understand spamming woes, nobody wants porn or Viagra links on their webcomic site...unless you're into that sorta thing. Haha.

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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
On the other side of the fishstick, I've found that unless you have a dedicated reader core, comments can make your comic look dead and uninviting. I tried a forum some time ago, but I had minimal readership and my forum looked really empty with nobody in it.


I agree with that, but I think there's things you can do to help encourage comments. I leave comments on the comics I read. Sometimes the author will check out my comic because of this, and they'll repay me with their readership and a comment. It makes me happy to get comments, so I try to make the creators I follow happy too, and it seems to work out for me.

Obviously you won't get all authors to read your comic this way, but people who might have turned up your comic in the past may give it a second look and realize they like it. And I only comment on comics I legitimately read/enjoy since I'm not looking to spam.

On my comic, I try to upvote and reply to comments so it doesn't look like I'm ignoring them or just don't care about what they say.

vulpeslibertas wrote:
I think comments are probably better than a forum in most cases. They allow relevant commentary on each page of the comic, so the reader will always see the relevant posts to the page they are reading.

Forums are better for complex discussion unrelated to the individual pages.

I agree. I've always been a big fan of forums, so I didn't want to have comments at all and set up a forum instead. A lot of people looked at it, but no one joined because it was empty. Once I figured out Disqus, I almost immediately started getting comments.

Comments are a lot easier to get into because it doesn't have to turn into a conversation (like a forum thread would). And depending on the system you use, you don't have to force your readers to create extra accounts/passwords. So they can just leave their thoughts and fly away.

I think social media and texting mindsets make it preferable to just leave a comment rather than create a new account.
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Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MindChimera wrote:

there's things you can do to help encourage comments.


A good way to spark comments is by asking questions. I recall a number of pages on Doug TenNapel's comics where he would examine some of the context of the page, make a statement about that kind of situation, and then simply ask "What do you think?"
It's not something that can be done every page, but if you think about it, many of your pages may bring up subjects both large and small that you could ask what others think about.

Or play games with the readers. I've seen a few Book of Biff comics where Chris Hallbeck asks the readers to guess something. For example, we see biff filling a cup at a soda fountain and he asks people to guess what Biff's soda is.

MindChimera wrote:

I leave comments on the comics I read. Sometimes the author will check out my comic because of this, and they'll repay me with their readership and a comment. It makes me happy to get comments, so I try to make the creators I follow happy too, and it seems to work out for me.


When I was at Comic Con I talked to Aneeka Ritchins about this; I mentioned that I think most of the people reading my comic are making a comic of their own. She replied that she thinks everyone's comic is like that.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love comments, and I love Disqus.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 756

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not evil, vulpeslibertas just misunderstood.

Well, maybe just a little...
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FlapjackStudios



Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm for comments. I don't use them right now but I want to in the future for the same reasons.

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