#1023 "Jibbly wibbly"

August 31st, 2012, 6:33 pm

Average Rating: 5.00

Rate It:

Author's Comments:

Reply NtKGar, August 31st, 2012, 6:51 pm

OK, coming in to a new month, so the Top Web Comics vote counter will be restarting soon. Today's Whitespace Neko has a little outfit on.

Got some feedback recently, which I want to gather data from a larger pool on. Whitespace Neko: adds to or detracts from the comic as a whole? Ideally I'd like something like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has where you hover your mouse over a button to reveal the hidden panel, but I don't think that's something we can set up through the SmackJeeves back end.

Are people reading Whitespace Neko *after* they read the comic, or *as part of* the comic? The former is correct as far as my intentions go, but without that 'peanut gallery' aspect clearly communicated it causes potential issues with timing. There's probably a simple way of getting that across that works better than simply leaving him outside the panels without requiring too much code wizardry.

Reply Advertisement, May 26th, 2017, 6:05 am

User's Comments:

Reply Chelsie, August 31st, 2012, 7:38 pm

Oh, goodness. Don't be mean, Gabe.

Gar, I loved this one. Educational dance number? My husband heard me laughing across the house.

Reply JDS (Guest), August 31st, 2012, 9:56 pm

Option Number 1 I think the Whitespace Neko stuff is hilarious. Reading Neko's comments on the comic afterwards is one of the things that not only makes this comic funnier, but more respectable, in that readers can count on a piece of observational humor after the initial thing.

Reply BuddyT, August 31st, 2012, 11:26 pm

No one likes a hater, Gabe. :S

I think I read Whitespace Neko as *part of the comic*.

Reply Hmpf (Guest), September 1st, 2012, 3:48 am

Sizing Did you know that now, when making the page larger (Ctrl +), the cartoon stays the same size whilst the rest of the page does get bigger.

That's kinda sucky for anyone who has issues with the font size of your work.

Reply Horst (Guest), September 1st, 2012, 6:33 am

@Hmpf This is a problem I do not encounter. If there are others who got the same problem, it would be useful to know which browser you use. SR-Ware Iron (and therefore Google Chrome, since both are based on Chromium) does not have such problems with the comic.

Reply NtKGar, September 1st, 2012, 12:40 pm

I'm actually incrementally increasing type size. The text in this strip is slightly larger than in the previous one. I'll go slightly larger again in the next one until legibility isn't an issue.

Larger text size mean fewer words per panel, so there's a compromise there. Constant struggle of the cartoonist, that: the line between the expressive voice and the efficient voice. "Both" is ideal of course, but the combination of vivid and terse is a tricksome beast. I'll increase the type size and work on my editing.

We've got a great example of "good" and "bad" criticism here, both of which are negative crits. I've been thinking about this lately. I've responded to the good crit, now for the bad.

GabrielsThoughts has successfully trolled the board by having two Nekolytes jump to my defense. He loses points for actually answering the question that was asked by coming out in favour of whitespace Neko, but he's still arguing from taste there and just confusing the matter with ambivalence.

This is bad criticism. The post is all personal taste, stating likes and dislikes. That's an intangible which cant be proven or argued, and there are people who enjoy the comic a lot. It's just art. People react. Who cares whether or not you're a brony, or a sports fan, or a christian? What impact does someone else's opinion really have on your own?

GT's post contained some positive feedback, so wasn't purely trolling, but it was all based on taste. That's just "BOOOOOOOOOO" with a little bit of "yaaaay" thrown in. That's neither good criticism nor good trolling. I'm not even sure how to grade this, so I'm going to go with a C-.

I'm kind of happy people called him out on it, but please don't keep it going. If you really want to keep playing troll, we'll be patient as long as it doesn't get personal.

For criticism, if there's a specific issue, I tend to see the problem when it's pointed out. If somethings not working the way it's supposed to I can at least try to figure out how to fix it. As long as the criticism doesn't just boil down to "I don't like it because it's not good", it's an arguable position. Otherwise you're just the guy at the bar going "BOOOOOOOOOO" at the end of every song. Nobody likes that guy.

However, here's something some of you may have forgotten: GabrielsThoughts is still the Official Troll. He's been going on about how much he hates Neko the Kitty for a couple of years now. Keeps coming back. Keeps testing his welcome. Keeps finding it intact. I don't know why he keeps coming back, but he keeps coming back and has never caused any REAL trouble. He's a regular who just happens to enjoy the site through the medium of complaining. I don't like the complaining, but that's just a matter of taste.

Counter to GT's example, we have some good negative criticism from Hmpf. Good criticism is the opposite of trolling, and should be recognised as such. If there's a readily identifiable problem with something, identifying that problem is useful: in this case, the font size is too small. That's not the kind of thing I want to ignore. Similarly, I hadn't even considered that Whitespace Neko could throw off the timing of the strip for some readers until somebody pointed it out. These are the kind of observations that I don't need a defense against. These are diagnoses of the problems that are limiting the memetic spread of Neko the Kitty. These are things I can, and should, fix. "I don't like this" and "this isn't working like it's supposed to" don't mean the same thing and shouldn't be treated as if they do. One is a call to stop doing something, the other is a call to do better.

Good criticism strengthens an artist, shows them how they're doing at what they're trying to do, and how to get better. It points out the next step to take. Good criticism isn't the same thing as positive reinforcement, but it's still good feedback. As long as the argument isn't circular, it's useful. Identifying problems is a way of helping an artist fix the mistakes we don't know we're making. It's a brilliant tool. I'm making the comic I want to make, and won't be deterred from that. A well-reasoned criticism of any aspect of the strip helps me make the same thing, only better.

A criticism where the line of reasoning can be flattened down to "BOOOOOOO" is purely an attack on a person's insecurities, and can be safely ignored. It's unsporting. It takes away more from the dignity of the attacker than the target. Some people consider their dignity worth spending like that. I don't like it, but that's a matter of taste.

I'm heavily susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect ), and have been trying to turn that around. I possess above-average skill as an artist. That's actually a pretty difficult truth to accept. I keep looking up the mountain to see how far I have to go and forget to look down once in a while to see how far up I've come. I'm a long way from the top, and it's a hell of a drop to the bottom from where I am right now. It's dizzying.

I'm trying to learn to turn that fear into excitement, neurolinguistic programming style. It's working. I'm starting to think I'm better than I think I am. Once I become not as good as I think I am, that's going to have to shift the other way. An excess of humility is just as bad as an excess of pride, and balance is often the difference between falling and climbing. A good critique shows you where the next foothold is, a bad critique tells you just how itchy the top of your head is getting. See the difference?

The interesting thing about that fear of falling is that it's a terror of something that isn't real. The idea is preposterous, I just have to keep my feet on the ground and there's no fall at all. Having a small but enthusiastic fan base is a good thing which I'm profoundly grateful for. A large enthusiastic fan base would be better, but the lack of it isn't going to kill me. I work hard to make people happy, it's a relief when they let me know it's working.

This brings us to the second opposite of trolling: cheering. Positivie criticism doesn't fall under the same scrutiny as negative, so this falls under the same category. It's an external vindication of the choices I'm making. Good to hear, but unless there's a call for improvement it's just being nice for the sake of being nice.

I like it, who doesn't love praise? It's an assurance you're going the right way and encouragement to keep going, but doesn't actually show the way to improvement.
To extend the climbing metaphor, the Nekolytes are like a safety rope. The comments and upvotes and so forth are a very reassuring sign that the rope isn't slack. It makes the climb seem easier. The audience is a nice counterweight to my insecurities, and it's nice to get the odd upward tug on the rope reminding me to keep going. It's not going to haul me up the mountain, but it helps keep me in motion.

Chelsie: Thanks for describing your laugh, that made my day.

Reply johnny (Guest), September 2nd, 2012, 2:49 am

i love these comics and i really like the art style of the cats id love to have my cat drawn that way keep up the fine work

Reply GabrielsThoughts, September 2nd, 2012, 9:05 am

Belch!(burrrb!) I like to think my presence alone stimulates growth.

Reply Amiguruthi (Guest), September 2nd, 2012, 1:18 pm

TBH Gar, that comment was TL:DR, but I got the gist of it from scanning and it's really great to see an artist take time out to really talk about/ respond to his fan's thought/ opinions, so good one ya. I do half agree with GT though - I prefer the strips that centre round funny things cats do over the ones focusing on the human characters weird time travelley/ supernatural/ superhero alter egos. They come across as more well thought out jokes and they don't seem to drag as much storyline wise. That said, if it were the cats being time travelley/ supernatural (I LOVE Poe)/ superheroes I'd be all for it, because you just seem to write Neko and co better than Gar and co. I think it's a pacing thing, like you take too many strips to tell the same thing, like all the Alices. Funny at first, but used one strip too many. So it could just be that the things I don't like I would actually like if they took place over less strips. I hope that made sense - I'm trying to make it good negative criticism instead of just 'I dislike x' like you asked for. sorry if it hasn't come out that way!

On the subject of white space Neko - I really like him, but I sometimes only read him when he becomes voteless. Not because I don't vote - if I like the strip I do, but I don't always see the strip as worth the vote if I've been meh about the content (that sounds harsher than I intend but I can't think how to phrase it better). I do enjoy going back to read any I missed though and I don't think they lose anything for being out of context a day later.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, September 2nd, 2012, 3:52 pm

@Amigurithi
OOh! that is a very good idea. Pacing, yes, the pacing for the critters needs to be balanced or advanced to match that of their human counterparts...

Although it doesn't do anything for the "disgust your audience" factor that is completely unnecessary at this point. I don't even think small children can tollerate it at this point. Not that G had any in his audience to begin with, Gar's comic is more like fairy tales for children you hate. That is to say, this isn't exactly family entertainment. "What-a-mess" the dog is similar to what you should be going for with your comic if that is what you are after.

It's not like there are studio's chomping at the bit for family entertainment or anything.

Also, found something you might be interested in since you're always hard up for money.
http://thebillfold.com/category/how-tos/

Reply KittyLitter, September 2nd, 2012, 7:17 pm

I love educational dance numbers.

Reply ShockwaveLover (Guest), September 2nd, 2012, 9:28 pm

I would like to see Whitespace Neko make a return. I didn't vote for a while because he disappeared, and I couldn't see a button to vote with.

Reply maillesmith (Guest), September 3rd, 2012, 11:50 am

I read whitespace Neko after the comic, but on the iPad version of the site there is no way to vote so I either have to go to it on my laptop or not vote/see it until it is moved to the archives.

Reply RaeofSunshine, September 4th, 2012, 12:17 am

I love Whitespace Neko! always will! I rarely miss updates so I always have to vote to see him but that really doesn't matter much to me. And you kind of have to read him with the comic other wise it doesn't always make sense.

Also love how you always write back to us on here or on your FB page. ^_^ I really do love Neko and look forward to it all the time when I get home. And I am about due for a complete re read but that comes in time. Don't ever let negative nellys bring you down ^_^ your art old and new and both great and equally as cute!

Reply Morena, September 4th, 2012, 8:56 am

You want good criticism: I am compulsive, I have to read every comment in every webcomic I read (and I read a lot of them). Your comment was way too long. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting but now I need those 5 minutes of my life back please.

Reply NtKGar, September 4th, 2012, 9:25 am

@Rae: Thanks :)

@Morena: I don't have your five minutes any more, man. Fat Jimmy has 'em. You want to take it up with Fat Jimmy then be my guest, but I ain't getting MY legs broke.

Reply onewhitejade, October 27th, 2014, 7:36 pm

I love the white space Nekos. I love what they add. Sometimes depth or additional dimension to the joke, sometimes a great new drawing to appreciate, sometimes something that is none of those, but new and surprising. Yah! I read your comics for everything there is to get out of them: the drawings, the backgrounds, the bummy game, the additional jokes and double-entendres. What will you gift us with today? Maybe animation? It's all good.

Post A Comment