in the book: Where we discuss the future of WDC

on: 2014-09-22 03:12:14

tyler: Feel free to add new panels, or just have a discussion in the comments on this panel. Let's just try to stay on topic of the most recent blog post.
ShuGGaH: Hello tyler.
It's good to hear from you again. :) Now.. how should we discuss WDC's future? Can we give suggestions for new site features? (Cause there are a lot 8'D)
tyler: For the moment I just want to focus on the 4 points that are in the blog on the front page. i.e. is We Draw Comics something people would actually be willing to pay for? And are you guys ok with me running a patreon to help finance the site?
ShuGGaH: Humm. Well I'd be okay with a patreon for WDC. But I personally couldn't provide anything to it. :c If I had money, though..
HitlerMagicFege: I would agree but wouldn't be able to pay until I have a job though. That's loads more years to go. Probably needs some incentive for people to want to pay.
HitlerMagicFege: Maybe a name change. XD
Xeno_Mezphy: I keep meaning to comment but then things get complicated and I just delete everything. As such I'll just reply directly to all the points.

Patreon if you like. I, similarly, am broke all the time, so I'm not sure I'd be terribly helpful with regards to the money situation. Ideally you get a billion dollars and we can start advertising and take over the entire internet.

Open sourcing the code would probably be awesome. As a citizen of the internet I've always personally felt weird claiming ownership over a series of words or colors that I only have because someone else let me have them, so I'm pretty much pro open source. Copyright law is weird and has always seemed (to me) to negatively affect general self-expression.

Mobile? I don't care. I personally think that the mobile web is 90% of what's wrong with our current internet space. Giant buttons for fat fingers are the death of competent page layout. If it were a separate mobile page for mobile users, on the other hand, that's fine. I would just hate the UI to change into something obnoxious just to accommodate people that want to surf the web on inferior internet devices.
bookinbear: I would be absolutely devastated if WDC were to go, as even though I have never contributed a great deal, I have constantly checked up on it ever since signing up. As well as this some of the other artists have been really influential on me, and I would say helped shape the way in which I draw today. Recently I have been noticing that there are less users coming here, so I have been trying to get people on here, but without great success. I would willingly make a donation to this site through patreon, even though I am not so wealthy just now (as seems to be the trend...)
Xrott: It is so great to hear from you again, and to hear that you still want to move the site forward!

As you already know, I want to help WeDrawComics too and see it develop into something great. Because of that, I often think about WDC and what could be improved on the site. Monetization is definitely one of the big things that need to be considered. I always suspected that the hosting for WDC can't be cheap.

Patreon is definitely a great new opportunity for creators to have an alternative way of making money. However in this case I have my doubts. I'd still say, go for it, but my guess is, that it probably won't be enough (Maybe you should also consider offering different methods of donating, like Paypal).

What I really suggest you should do is to go the more common route of getting money on the Internet: place advertisement. Even though people often don't like it, I'm sure they'll understand that it is a necessary evil and, if you're tactful about it, they'll most likely won't even care about it at all. There certainly are plenty of unobtrusive places you could place ads and negate at least some amount of the expense.

Here I was about to recommend Project Wonderful, but then I reread their FAQ and it seems like WDC is not quite up to their standards, mainly because of adult content. Maybe there could still be something arranged if you contact them?

Anyway, as a quick side note I want to add, that, maybe you should remove the ASCII-art from the source. As cool as it is, it's just unnecessary data that gets sent around and almost no one will ever see it.

I also want to apologize if some of the things I wrote in that one email might have been a bit weird and awkward to read. I was a bit too exited back then and, in hindsight, I feel pretty stupid about some things I said.
Thorsini: While I already drew my main opinion on this I think I would like to elaborate. I really like this website and would love to see it continue on. Patreon is a fantastic idea! If 15 of us donated 10 dollars a month we would be hosting the site which is awesome and not a lot of money. I know that there are probably college and highschool students on here that cannot donate a lot of money ... but I'm sure even small donations such as 3 dollars would go a ways (if 50 of us donated $3 a month.... are there 50 of us?) Also maybe ads? I don't think I would mind too much. (I need to draw here more).
Thorsini: Also open sourcing the code is an awesome idea. I will probably never touch it but just stare and admire it/learn from it.
juano: 1. I, too, have no means of funding a patreon (at least not in the near future), though if it adds extra income, let it come. Besides, as far as I know the Patreon site itself tends to be a source of new visitors (and patreon supporters, if the perks are good), so the mere fact that most of the current WDC users don't appear to be in position to chip in shouldn't be reason enough not to go for it.
Like others have said, I wouldn't mind some ads, either. I mean, the left and right bands of the page go unused anyway.

2. I've never had the first clue about coding, but in my very monkey-like understanding of what open source is, it'd allow other people to contribute to the site, so I'm for it.

3. Like I said before, I can't really contribute moneywise, but maybe I could help with the rewards? Like opening a book of requests for patreon supporters? No idea if there's any interest.

4. This might just be my position, but I really don't think a mobile version is a priority right now. For starters it would only be helpful for reading rather than drawing, and because of this it just wouldn't make much sense to sink effort into it, at least not until the reader base, the content, and the content quality go up. A lot.

Either way, any effort to make money off the site would benefit if good creators could be attracted. I've been looking at early books (from before I joined) and there were a lot of high-profile artists joining in. Is there any chance of bringing any of them back?

If I can put forward any suggestions, I really think we would benefit from a forum and/or message system to discuss or coordinate all this. (forum could just be off-site, from one of those free hosting services) Also I'd appreciate if the saving function was reinstated.

(by the way, I can't remember if I sent you an email about this, but I did get the Intuos Tablet from the contest delivered, eventually. Turned out I just had to bother the Latin American division and the corresponding chilean distributor at the same time)
Xeno_Mezphy: Oh yeah, I meant to talk about ads.

Which most people hate ads, and that makes perfect sense, there is certainly plenty of screen real estate not currently being used (at least on my setup) and it's not like you don't have a giant Topataco banner ad at the bottom of every page. (Speaking of which, if they aren't financially supporting the site, are you still obligated to provide what is essentially an ad for them on every page? I don't know the terms of whatever, obviously, but if you're not obligated to keep that down there anymore you could always dump some ads down there.)

Honestly, I'm not sure what sort of volume this site gets and click-throughs are a fairly unreliable source of income, but every little bit helps. If you could curate the ads, that would be great, but given the potential lack of volume herein, you may not have many options.
surasshu: hey guys! sadly (for me anyway), i haven't been drawing much the past year, my music work is really taking 200% of my time, and personal life has been really hectic as well. but i still visit almost every day and love to see what's going on here! i don't personally have any issue with ads, and i wouldn't mind chipping in a few bucks on patreon either, though i dunno if patreon is the right fit for this kinda thing? it seems to mostly be used by artists and journalists. but if it suits it then by all means. additionally, is there perhaps a way to make the website more efficient?
juano: are you the surasshu who composes music for Steven Universe? because i dig those tunes
Yolanna: I can make a donation from time to time, but I can hardly keep it monthly as I have nearly no money to my name ATM. But I hope there will be enough interest among all of us to keep the site going.
surasshu: @juano yeah that's me! :)
ams: i wish you had patreon when i had money. if dc is worthy of my $ this place is too. probably more. if you get non virus laden creep ads, id enable them here for sure. if my computer hadnt died id still be active. im not for a mobile focus because i think it usually makes sites really annoying to use ON mobile, but this site is completely non functional on mobile (getting to this comment is a battle) and seems like itd be cool to use that way. sorry. ill draw a response or be able to type with a keyboard in a few weeks but didnt want to completely miss giving feedback just in case.
ams: oh my god im sorry i forgot how to linebreaks.
Raylenna: Well hello, Tyler. Just thought I'd say something to show I still come around, too. I haven't drawn in forever, but still care about this site and the users here. Ads don't bother me either, to reiterate what others have said. Hope everything works out well! :)
bookinbear: I know this thread is mainly about the maintenance of the site and how to fund it, however I just wanted to quickly say that more users could potentially be attracted through the facebook page- right now it is really boring; how about snazzing it up, and posting the top panel of the week or stuff like that?
Xrott: If anyone is interested, I've opened a IRC channel on mibbit:

http://mibbit.com/?channel=%23WeDrawComics&server=irc.mibbit.net
ShuGGaH: You still there, tyler? It's hard to tell without a word from you.
Too me it feels like a one sided conversation here.. People give suggestions, but don't get an answer. I can understand that you're busy and that WDC's probably the least important thing on your list, but you at least could show, that you didn't make this post, just to disappear again.
It kinda feels like it and now people are threatening to leave, (Don't do it btw, guise. This community shrank enough already) and are even wondering if this site's dying.

So many people.. or pretty much everyone who's STILL here, made some good suggestions. Right now this community is small. You might not get much money outta it. At least I doubt it'll work with this patreon thing. I'd had nothing against ads. But there are other ways too.
Idk, have you ever heard of kickstarter? Idk if that could help, but maybe it can be an option.
tyler: I am reading all of these comments and taking them into consideration. I think ProjectWonderful is a great idea and I am going to make space for it on this site. I'm not sure how much it will actually earn in revenue but it is worth a shot. As for a Patreon I'm not sure how I should respond... there are some really encouraging posts on here from people saying "Hey! Of course I would pitch in for this even if all I can spare is $1 a month." this kind of response is great and makes me excited to fix things up. For other people, well this site is only fun cause it is free I guess. So, eh, whatever. I'm probably not going to shut down the site either way...
sonicspin: D00D, Ye have many big people here! You have pendelton ward, Jhonen Vasquez, and some more people (#juanolovers4lyf), why don't tell 'em to call their hordes of fans to draw here?
bookinbear: Looking back at some of the older comics on this site, you can see that there were loads of people joining in on comics, but now it has simmered down to just a few of us. I have no idea where these people could have disappeared to, as I joined after a fair few where were gone anyways. But if those guys are no coming back, why couldn't we get new ones? It is a big old world, with too many people on it. All we need to do is make ourselves known to them. (even if it meant more of the occasional bad panel I would like to see new faces.) Also, anyone know what happened to Tredlow? I miss his stuff..
ShuGGaH: I already did lots of advertising for WDC on tumblr.. I don't have many followers, though and therefore I only got 1 person interested. 8'D Who's of course not active anymore. I only have few friends and none of them have the time or mood to draw comics. :c
ShuGGaH: Oh right, some of them also didn't want to make a twitter account to be able to register here. (I remember back then I made a twitter account, which I until now never used, just to be able to sign in here. 8D) Maybe it would help if registering here were a little bit easier.. (it stupidly might attract trolls too, tho)
bookinbear: I agree with that- I was somewhat to get Twitter just to use this site, though I haven't regretted it since, but I can still understand why some would see it that way.
ams: Yes twitter. I made a twitter to join but I've seen so many people refuse to make one. I like having it now but I did not like having to create it. Even a choice between other log in things like fb and g+ might help. I don't think I can convince anyone else to join but I've gotten like 2 people to show up and draw like 3 panels in the past. I should let them know stuff might be going on soon. If we do find a way to attract more members, should we focus it on a certain time so already registered people can show up at the same time and it can be really active?
Thorsini: Word of mouth is really useful too. I only joined because some people on another site talked about how awesome this was and I have been talking it up to my art friends who seem interested!
Kankri: signing up using tumblr would also be very good.
ams: When I upload a pic to twitter nothing happens. When I upload a wdc to tumbler sometimes 2 strangers enjoy it.
fortis: I come on here every so often, but I'm rather new/inexperienced. I noticed very shortly after I came here (I heard about WDC by word of mouth... er text. whatever.) that it wasn't very active. I like the ideas put forth about twitter etc. Anyway, I don't mind ads. I can't personally donate any money, but I would if I could. Open sourcing sounds good. I won't be touching it though.
Poeticy: Even though I haven't been able to participate on this site (drawing wise, due to work obligations), I would still contribute $1-3 dollars a month to keep the site alive. I met way too many artists from here that I'd hate to see such a creative and fun site get shut down. Think about it, $1-3 dollars A MONTH is cheaper than your lunch or Starbucks drink a DAY.
bookinbear: *Applauds*
ams: oh yeah.. I stopped being able to do anything here because it like won't let me download the wacom plugin. like they stopped hosting it at the wacom site? or like... I don't know. But I can no longer draw again. It just tells me I need to download it and won't even let me into the drawing page. I don't even really need the pressure sensitivity but I can't get past it telling me that.
ShuGGaH: Which browser do you use, ams? If it's firefox, new updates can happen to block the plug in. In this case you have to look above (somewhere under the url adress bar) to see if there's an "unblock" option. It's easy to overlook, since that "plugin failure" pop-up catches the eye first.. 8D.
vigorousjammer: I wouldn't mind a Patreon being set up. Seems like a good way to keep the site going, and perhaps even expand on it, depending on how much support it gets.
flicky: As some other people have said, one reason I almost didn't join this site was having to give it permission to use my Twitter account. I don't like giving things permission to post my twitter unless I'm actually planning to let it do that.
Smirgow: Yeah.. whats up with needing twitter to sign up? Please get rid of it if possible.. I loathe all social media like facebook and twitter, but I had to make a twitter account cos I really wanted in on this comic drawing thing - turns out the upload of links when compleating a panel got my account locked/banned from twitter within first days, spam they say as I never use it for anything else... Good thing I don't seemingly need it for anything else than initial sign up.