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.
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. : )
I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat