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On the philosophy of snarking

Someone over on PvPForums asked if the PvP Update Pool was a joke or not. I'd have answered over there, but they have a 12 hour "cooling off" period between registering for their forums and being able to post replies or threads (which on balance is likely a good idea -- much like there's a waiting period for guns. Before you can buy a gun in a rage and run into a gun club where everyone has guns and a willingness to shoot you, they make you sleep on whether or not you want to shoot that fool thing).

But still, it's a fair question. And deserves an answer.

Of course it's a joke. All of Websnark is a joke, from its name to its posts. Yeah, there's plenty of opinion here. It's an opinion site. But in the grand scheme of things, if something like PvP or Penny-Arcade are Network, I'm at best Basic Cable Entertainment and very likely Cable Access -- shooting for Daily Show, settling for XPlay, dreading ending up as Unscrewed.

Scott Kurtz ain't gonna sweat me or my snarking about his inability to set a time for updates. And, as someone (quite legitimately) points out on his forum, Kurtz does typically manage an update every day, at some point in the day. What I find funny is the broad range of times that might be, and so that ends up fuel for the snark.

Like I said in the original post -- and, for that matter, in PvP's entry in the Daily Comics Trawl -- PvP is Damn Good. Sooner or later one of the daily strips will be snarked, and it's highly likely said snark will be on all the ways Kurtz gets it right. As said before:

And Kurtz deserves his success -- he can sometimes piss me the Hell off, but his strip is one of the most consistent I read -- it brings the Funny, each and every day, and evolves without bogging down. It's just. Plain. Good.

So why pick on it at all? Its update wonkiness doesn't begin to touch Megatokyo's, for example. This is true -- but then, Megatokyo's update wonkiness was part of why I dropped that strip entirely. I'm not about to drop PvP. I am, though, going to mock what I find mockable.

And, like I've said many times before, it makes a difference between whether a cartoonist's strip is their job or their hobby. I dropped Hound's Home in large part because I got sick of having it sit, unupdated, in my trawl for months at a time. If I ever do a "You Had Me, And You Lost Me" on Hound's Home, I'll mention that as part of the reasons. But I won't snark about updates on Hound's Home because Ryan Duchane doesn't succeed or fail at eating daily by the success and failure of Hound's Home. He doesn't owe his audience anything, because he's not asking them for anything. Someone who does their strip as their job gets held to a higher standard, because the risks are higher. Kurtz, Abrams, Milholland, Gabe and Tycho and the like use their strips as the foundations for keeping themselves, their significant others, their children and their basset hounds fed.

By the same token, that puts responsibility on me, in my humble opinion. I'm one of those guys who contributes to tip jars. I buy stuff. I buy memberships. I'm in Defenders of the Nifty. I sent cash to Randy Millholland. I buy the PvP comic book. I bought a Skull Plushie. (Sidenote -- the Skull Plushies are brilliant. I can't wait for mine. I'll snark in depth when it comes in.) I go to strip advertisers. It's just what I do, when I like a strip. Hell, I sent Kurtz money for a Macintosh, even though I couldn't care less if he uses a Mac or not.

And, if I like a strip and I continue to read about it, I snark about it. And go for humor, while expressing an opinion. Which was the point of the PvP Update Pool, to answer his forum-goers. And in writing snarkish stuff, I feel I owe the people who read me, now and into the future, my best efforts to be funny and my opinion as I see it. And some expectation of guidelines, which I'm trying to flesh out as we go along.

How much do I think Scott Kurtz should care about my mockery? Why, that's "not at all," Wink. Scott Kurtz doesn't sweat me, and he certainly knows his reputation when it comes to update times. (He's even mentioned it in his strip -- usually in strips where his father is threatening to kick him in the ass if he doesn't put the strip up earlier.) If anything, I hope he snrked a bit when he read "PvP Update Pool." And when I snark opinion stuff about his strip, I hope he finds something useful in that opinion.

But I don't expect it of him. He doesn't owe me the combination of Jack and Shit.


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Not to harp on RSS, but I find I'm a heck of a lot more tolerant of sites that notify via RSS than sites that don't. This is especially true of sites that don't update regularly; sporadic non-RSS sites quickly fall off my radar.

There's also a tipping point where I stop noticing sites that don't use RSS, even if they update regularly. I seem to have reached it the last time I didn't have the energy to check umpteen sites per day; I haven't checked any of my 'daily check' sites for ages now and don't really feel like it. I just hope they get RSS. :)

(And ad supported sites can still post notification that just point to their update page in all its adly glory. They're not losing anything by it.)

I can see this, definitely. (And I'm glad this site's RSS-fed). I have the option to switch to "excerpts" if need be, letting people know when Snarks go up and what their subject is. I'll only do that if Bandwidth becomes prohibitive and so I want to avoid the RSS-feeds sucking up the bandwidth.

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