Took a break from remastering BICP chapter 7 this afternoon, to talk about comments at @WebcomicChat.
(I’m also more than halfway through re-uploading And Shine Heaven Now to the new site with comments enabled! Not that I expect to get any, I’m just saying…it’s topical.)
Q1: What are your favorite types of comments to read on a webcomic?
Comments that catch stuff I missed. Especially helpful when there’s a code or puzzle…or a Dramatic Appearance by a character I totally forgot about, so I’m counting on more-avid readers to say “wow, it’s X’s sister we all thought was dead!”
That’s referring to other people’s webcomics, btw. I don’t forget about my own characters. (…usually.)
Q2: How can a reader craft a great comment?
I don’t want readers worrying about Greatness, I just want to hear from them. Even if it’s as simple as quoting a line that made you laugh and writing “LOL” afterward.
Trying to imagine the greatest possible comment, though…”I love your work, I told all my friends about it, these characters are my faves, here’s some fanart I drew, I just sent $10K via your PayPal Donate button, and would you like a book deal?”
Q3: Which platforms or systems do you find work best for commenting?
The personal feedback on Deviantart is nice, but it doesn’t give notifications for replies that aren’t directly to you, which makes it almost impossible to notice inter-reader conversations. And sometimes those are the best comments!
Q4: Are comments a necessity on webcomics? Why?
Well, uh, webcomics predate Web 2.0, so no.
(Kids these days don’t know how good they have it! Back when I got started, you could only “comment” by emailing the author, uphill in the snow both ways…)
Q4: Not always… If your comic is for kids or all ages, it might better to just disable comments. The internet is dark and full of terrible people. #webcomicchat
— Gombik Comics (@GombiktheRobot) January 14, 2018
Depends on how much moderating you’re able to do. Unless you hit a certain level of traffic, or a really dedicated army of trolls, it’s not hard to manually-approve all comments before they’re visible to the public.
Q5: How can a creator help foster a positive commenting community for their comics?
Be engaged and responsive, but don’t be too quick on the draw with Word Of God that stifles discussion and shuts down speculation.
(Lots of other people covered “set reasonable boundaries, and don’t be afraid to ban people who won’t respect them.” Although luckily I’ve only had to do that once. Or, technically, multiple times…but all for aliases of the same person, which only reinforces my conviction that they deserved to be banned in the first place.)