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Kurtz pisses off his forum when he shuts it down (not a bitch thread)

amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhourThe woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
edited November 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
First off, this isn't meant as the beginning of a troll post or flame war vs pVp. If there isn't enough content in this op to warrant the thread, you can lock it, I won't be heartbroken.

The news:

So Scott Kurtz teams up with Kris Straub, Dave Kellet, and Brad Guigar to show the world how to make webcomics. They use straub's forums over at halfpixel.com because he's already got one in place with tons of server room. All is well

Skip to a couple years later, and the forums, which are 90% pvp related, are costing the server host too much in CPU power and bandwidth so they tell Straub to shut them down...or else.

Kurtz hates the forums. He hates the fact that there are two threads devoted to pVp and five hundred about last weeks heroes, bitching, and motivational posters. He hates what they've become, and they're basically a low res carbon copy of the PA forums. Not that it was his intention, it's just what happens when you have that many fans and give them a forum.

So kurtz tells straub to not rehost the pvp forums, and starts a facebook group and says that if you want to be part of the pvp community you can listen to the podcast, join him on twitter, and the facebook group.

CUE a couple hundred hardcore posters who want his head on a stick because he "took away their home" without warning. They already tried to make a home on his new webcomics.com site, which is beautiful, by the way, and several of them have made sister forums elsewhere.

Here's where the debate lies....

Kurtz's position seems to be that he can do whatever the hell he wants with his community, the forums had devolved into trash, were hurting his friends business, and they need to get over it. I'm paraphrasing that, obviously.

On one hand, He's right. These fans make up less than 5% of his audience, much like the hardcore posters here. If gabe and tycho destroyed the forums tomorrow their business wouldn't go anywhere, and neither will his. He will get on just fine. He brought a lot of the hate on himself because of his "bad boy of webcomics" attitude he tends to play up whenever something like this happens. It's that "take my ball and go home" mentality.

He obviously cares though, because he's made an apology so far, and showed up on several of the newly spawned forums.

On the other hand, the people are right. They're the ones who buy his shit, and he is running a business, weather he wants to admit it or not. If dell decided tomorrow to stop including a piece of software that only 5% of their customers used, they'd still need to give a warning to avoid the backlash.


So my question is this... Who's right?

Also, what obligations does someone in the webcomic industry owe to his or her fans when their site hits this kind of level. When you've got a forum with over five thousand people on it, what do you REALLY owe them at the end of the day? Just because your comic is free, does that give you the right to treat your fans like they don't matter?

Note: I am unbiased in this. I see both sides have a pretty good set of points, and a lot of bad ones. The difference is that the good points and bad points from the readers are spread out across hundreds of fans, each with different personalities, while the good and bad points from Kurtz are 100% kurtz.

So D&D, what's your take on this. Will Kurtz become the new Buckley, and have plenty of fans and money, but still be hated in the eyes of his peers, or will he find a way to overcome this?

edit: I know this was horribly typed, but it's late, and I'm tired, and most of you are smarter than I am anyway, so you'll make it look better. : )


Arch wrote: »

I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
amateurhour on
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Posts

  • TehSpectreTehSpectre @PixelateJake on TwitterRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I would be very sad if the PA forums vanished.

    However, Kurtz is a douche.

    How much does it cost to host these forums anyway?

    TehSpectre on
    Sloth_Sig.png
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    However, Kurtz is a douche.

    This is basically my reaction to him in general. I accept he has no obligation to support these forums but it's just a douche thing to do.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    This is at least the second time he's done this. The no-warning bit was a bit assholeish, and he really should stick to just allowing comments on each strip if he wants commentary at all; its obvious a forum doesn't fit for him :P

    Phoenix-D on
  • ExarchExarch Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Certainly a dickish move if it came without warning of any kind, but well within his rights.

    Smart move? Probably not, since hits are hits, but lets be honest, even if the forum community is 5% of his viewership, only a small fraction of that community is actually going to stop reading his comic, so we're talking a fraction of a fraction that'll actually quit.

    It's like the people on the WoW forums who threaten to quit over things. They never actually do.

    Exarch on
    No gods or kings, only man.
    LoL: BunyipAristocrat
  • JokermanJokerman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    And this is why Penny Arcade is so much better then PvP

    Jokerman on
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    the forums had devolved into trash, were hurting his friends business, and they need to get over it.
    Essentially this. If I ran some sort of web-based enterprise, and some facet of it was causing the above problems, like the forums, was not only something that held content I disliked, but did not reflect well on the rest of my site, excising it is my prerogative.

    If the PA forums went away, I'd be disappointed, but I'd tell anyone who cried about 'losing their home,' 'seriously, man up and get a grip.' Really, these forums are almost completely tangential to the PA strip. No one of the PA staff regularly posts here, and aside from the forum skin, there's very little that directly ties it into the PA strip. Currently, it's a well run, effectively moderated posting board, but if things were to ever change so that it became an active drag to PA or anything else, it'd be pretty myopic to paint Gabe and Tycho as any sort of villains for giving it the ax. I haven't read the bylaws for webcomic pages in a long time, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing in there that says you owe your readership a forum, especially one that becomes a net negative.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Jokerman wrote: »
    And this is why Penny Arcade is so much better then PvP
    Um.

    They've shut down the forum before.

    Quid on
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Jokerman wrote: »
    And this is why Penny Arcade is so much better then PvP
    You know that a few years back Mike and Jerry pulled the plug on the PA forums, right?

    deadonthestreet on
  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I would be very sad if the PA forums vanished.

    However, Kurtz is a douche.

    How much does it cost to host these forums anyway?

    Well, the PA Forums is a somewhat dodgy example. I'm pretty sure that Gabe and Tycho own the servers that hold these forums, whereas in the PVP example the servers were part of another service and were dragging down the rest of that site's forums.

    Kurtz IS in the right. He doesn't like what the forums became and felt they were doing more harm than good (as someone who posted there I tend to agree, it was getting out of hand.)

    I think he could've taken a slightly different tact and explained more what was happening to the forum denizens, as well as given them an alternative or a place to go in the interim while they move to somewhere else. But that doesn't mean he didn't have the right to do what he did.

    This isn't like CAD where he deletes threads, forums, people, Guilds, and such because he's bored or they disagree with him or something. There was a legitimate reason for what he did, even if he did it in a somewhat douchetastic manner.

    Taramoor on
  • TehSpectreTehSpectre @PixelateJake on TwitterRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    I know that the forumites may only represent a small amount of the PA readership, but I think that the people who post here regularly buy merch, the PA game, and donate to Child's Play more than most who just browses the comic. (On average)

    TehSpectre on
    Sloth_Sig.png
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Kurtz has shut down his forums before, this is definitely not the first time. Or the last.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2008
    I'd say some sort of professional ethics/rules of gentlemanly conduct demand at least two week's notice or something.

    Scalfin on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    If I had to guess from my past experience administrating a forum of similar size and readership, I'd say the answer is probably a four-digit number monthly.

    wasted pixels on
    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    I know that the forumites may only represent a small amount of the PA readership, but I think that the people who post here regularly buy merch, the PA game, and donate to Child's Play more than most who just browses the comic. (On average)

    It's not just money that's an issue. There's a reason that the "n-word" rule is so rigidly enforced.

    AngelHedgie on
    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • JokermanJokerman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    Jokerman wrote: »
    And this is why Penny Arcade is so much better then PvP
    Um.

    They've shut down the forum before.

    ::eats cock::

    Jokerman on
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    I know that the forumites may only represent a small amount of the PA readership, but I think that the people who post here regularly buy merch, the PA game, and donate to Child's Play more than most who just browses the comic. (On average)

    It's not just money that's an issue. There's a reason that the "n-word" rule is so rigidly enforced.

    Because we're dicks?

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Kagera wrote: »
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    I know that the forumites may only represent a small amount of the PA readership, but I think that the people who post here regularly buy merch, the PA game, and donate to Child's Play more than most who just browses the comic. (On average)

    It's not just money that's an issue. There's a reason that the "n-word" rule is so rigidly enforced.

    Because we're dicks?

    Because the mods hate rap?

    Ethan Smith on
    I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks..
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Hes within his rights to stop hosting the forums. However, it seems like a silly move, since it seems his hardcore fans will be on the forums, and the hardcore fans are the ones who will buy his merchandise.

    JohnDoe on
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I just saw, for the first time, a picture of Scott Kurtz.

    Holy fucking shit.

    Sorry, anyway, yeah I think this is one of those things that he's perfectly in the right to do, but it could very well come back to bite him. In other words, it's fine to run up the score of an NFL game, but you look like a dick doing so.

    jungleroomx on
    Make. Time.
  • JokermanJokerman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    kurtz_and_max_small.jpg

    Jokerman on
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    He doesn't "own" "his" community. He doesn't have to provide shelter for them, either, but he doesn't own or command them in any way. He cannot "do what he wants" with his community.

    Drez on
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Spicy Rudolph Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    At least the most spited forumgoers he displaced can take comfort in the fact that he's going to die soon.

    jungleroomx on
    Make. Time.
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I don't think Scott Kurtz is nearly as huge a douche as everyone makes him out to be

    I mean, some warning would have been nice, but I've been to the PvP forums and I can see why he wanted them shut down

    I've had more intelligent discourse with a scallop

    A dead scallop

    Olivaw on
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
    Never forget.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Kurtz is mostly just awkward and twitchy.

    You see he has no Tycho to his Gabe.

    Also I used to hang out on those forums, there are some regulars there who would be banned here. And that was years ago.

    Incenjucar on
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Olivaw wrote: »
    I don't think Scott Kurtz is nearly as huge a douche as everyone makes him out to be

    I mean, some warning would have been nice, but I've been to the PvP forums and I can see why he wanted them shut down

    I've had more intelligent discourse with a scallop

    A dead scallop
    You regularly attempt to converse with dead scallops?

    MikeMan on
    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    MikeMan wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    I don't think Scott Kurtz is nearly as huge a douche as everyone makes him out to be

    I mean, some warning would have been nice, but I've been to the PvP forums and I can see why he wanted them shut down

    I've had more intelligent discourse with a scallop

    A dead scallop
    You regularly attempt to converse with dead scallops?

    You don't?

    Olivaw on
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
    Never forget.
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Olivaw wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    I don't think Scott Kurtz is nearly as huge a douche as everyone makes him out to be

    I mean, some warning would have been nice, but I've been to the PvP forums and I can see why he wanted them shut down

    I've had more intelligent discourse with a scallop

    A dead scallop
    You regularly attempt to converse with dead scallops?

    You don't?
    ...Touche, friend.

    MikeMan on
    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • DetharinDetharin Registered User regular
    edited November 2008

    Also, what obligations does someone in the webcomic industry owe to his or her fans when their site hits this kind of level. When you've got a forum with over five thousand people on it, what do you REALLY owe them at the end of the day? Just because your comic is free, does that give you the right to treat your fans like they don't matter?

    Absolutely nothing. The web comics i read, penny-arcade included, put out a quality product that entertains me. As long as they continue to put out said quality product I will continue to return. I may purchase their merchandise if something catches my fancy. I might give their ads a look if something catches my eye, or learn more about a game or product they mention if I think it is something I enjoy. The provide me entertainment for free. If at any point they feel a product, forum, website, whatever is not something they want to engage in they can just shut it down.

    A successful web comic author fosters his community by continuing to produce the web comic. If a forum is, in their eyes, unsuccessful they have every right to kill an "official" forum. Unofficial forums can do whatever they damn well please. If its costing to much money, or ceasing to foster the kind of community the artist wants, put it out of its misery. Let the fans find somewhere else to discuss the comic as well as the other crap that is 99% of the forum contents.

    Detharin on
    If I was kidnapped, woke up in a lab, told they were going to replace my vocal cords with those of Tony Jay, and lock me in a sound booth until the day I die I would look those bastards right in the eye and say "Alright you sons of bitches lets do this. This one is for the children."
  • Venkman90Venkman90 Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I have enjoyed some of the early Daily Affirmation stuff, when they were in the new offices and the ones with Dave Kellet were pretty funny

    I tried to get back into it but didn't Kris leave? go back to LA or something? I seem to remember him phoning it in a few times.

    That said, on the podcasts there are times when Scott's attitude shows through a little, he attempts to be self deprecating but the reality is he appears to have a huge ego and have nothing but contempt for many people (who he claims are jelous of his success). The forums did get a mention on one of those podcasts, just after they moved he was saying the forum was full of, as he put it "faux concern, de-facto business managers" telling them to get to work etc...

    Seems he never liked a large proportion of his own community.

    Venkman90 on
  • JokermanJokerman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    In hindsight, his fandom should be glad Scott Kurtz doesn't try to eat them

    Jokerman on
  • BogartBogart I Will Cure You Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2008
    I don't find it hard to imagine that a large proportion of his community are dislikable douchebags with a massively exaggerated sense of entitlement. This is the internet, after all. And if the forums were being paid for on his dime (or his business partners or whatever) and he didn't like them or benefit from them why would he continue to shell out for them?

    Bogart on
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    The dude looks like he's about to croak.

    I mean, even if he wasn't that big, he'd still look like he has a terminal disease.

    But really that has nothing to do with the thread.

    Webcomic artists are human, and sometimes overreact like everyone does. And some are just Tim Buckley level jackasses.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • JandaruJandaru New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I've never been to the PvP forums, so all I have to go on is the newspost over on the main site.
    Scalfin wrote: »
    I'd say some sort of professional ethics/rules of gentlemanly conduct demand at least two week's notice or something.

    Tell that to the host threatening to pull the plug on Kris Straub's websites.
    I gave Kris permission to back up the threads and nuke the forums. We would worry about it after Thanksgiving.
    The threads are backed up, and there appear to be plans to bring the forum back after the holidays.


    But no, it turns out Steve Kuntz is a fatty who ate his own fans because he hates them, or something...

    Jandaru on
    bvs21hosyvcp.png
  • SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I would be very sad if the PA forums vanished.

    However, Kurtz is a douche.

    How much does it cost to host these forums anyway?

    I've always assumed it was at least minimally profitable from advertizing.

    Speaker on
    Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
    Walkers with the sun and morning, we are not afraid of night,
    Nor days of gloom, nor darkness -
    Being walkers with the sun and morning.
  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    If any website you regularly visit isn't hosted off of your own computer, you should be prepared for it to up and vanish for any reason at any time without notice. Welcome to the Internet.

    Daedalus on
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Complaining about a free forum being shut down and somehow feeling like those users have been wronged somehow seems like the problem with entitlement isn't with Kurtz but with those users. Its like having a friend who regularly hosted huge parties in his place, but after one too many fights, throw up on his floor, etc he decided to stop. Then all guys that did the fighting and throw upping complain about the host being a douche and the other guests say that it kinda sucks cause it was fun, but we understand why you did it.

    chrono_traveller on
    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. ~ Terry Pratchett

    George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. ~ Neil Gaiman
  • citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizen I'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    If any website you regularly visit isn't hosted off of your own computer, you should be prepared for it to up and vanish for any reason at any time without notice. Welcome to the Internet.

    inorite?

    Que the "X is serious business" joke.

    While I'm sure there were people that enjoyed the PvP forums, I never found much substance from folks there. I'm probably biased from my experience here, though.

    All that aside, it sounds like people are taking it way too seriously. It's just a web page.

    citizen059 on
    steam_sig.png
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I would be very sad if the PA forums vanished.

    However, Kurtz is a douche.

    How much does it cost to host these forums anyway?

    I've always assumed it was at least minimally profitable from advertizing.

    I don't... see any ads here? o_O I don't have AdBlock installed or anything...

    Either way, it's virtually impossible for forums to make any meaningful amount of money from advertising, let alone make a profit. The ratio of page views (up to hundreds per member per day) to clicks is the lowest on the internet. You generally expect about one ad click per 400 impressions (depending heavily on your market), and with most large forums I've seen numbers for, it's more like one click per 12,000 impressions.

    I'd be interested in hearing Khoo's take on all this, as I expect he has some hard figures (and I suspect he searches the forum for his username on a near-daily basis. ;))

    wasted pixels on
    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited November 2008
    TehSpectre wrote: »
    I'm still curious as to how much money we cost.

    A significant amount. Anyone who posts here regularly should probably be buying the odd t shirt because Gabe and Tycho keep this place open literally out of the goodness of their hearts and it generates literally not a dime of revenue. I don't want to go into details of costs because it's tacky but the forum's annual costs are well into five figures.

    Regarding Scott Kurtz, he's got every right to shut his forum down. A lot of people tend to think they're owed something that they really aren't, and that sense of entitlement irritates me hugely. For instance, we shut down the G&T chat thread about two years ago, and the vocal minority that posted there bitched up a storm as though they had a right to that thread and as in this case, the term "home" was used. It's bullshit. Scott Kurtz, and indeed Gabe and Tycho, might be advised to keep their forum communities alive because having a place for the fanbase to gather and chat is good for the comic, but that's debateable. How many of you guys have bought t shirts, comic prints, the game (ok so everyone bought the game) etc? It's not clear how said fans actually contribute to the revenue of the site. If Gabe and Tycho (who I should point out once again, give us these forums purely because they know we like them and to no fiscal benefit) asked me to justify the existence of the forums from a fiscal point of view, I couldn't do it.
    At least the most spited forumgoers he displaced can take comfort in the fact that he's going to die soon.

    Scott Kurtz is an actual human being who is close friends with the owners of this forum and comments like that are mean spirited and in very poor taste. He's done nothing to you.

    Tube on
    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
  • SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I meant the forumers probably provide a lot of the traffic past the main page.

    I mean, come on. They have a new comic and web post three times per week. The bulk of their traffic has to be the people who log on to the site three or four times per day on the way into the forum.

    Speaker on
    Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
    Walkers with the sun and morning, we are not afraid of night,
    Nor days of gloom, nor darkness -
    Being walkers with the sun and morning.
«13456
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