Nov 20, 2023
Webcomic communities have different cultures, but why and where do they come from? DD's culture is pretty chill, we're reasonably neutral and accepting of a wide range of ideas and perspectives, we're egalitarian to a very high degree, we don't do cliques, we don't exclude, we don't tend to jump on culture wars… We don't like tribalism of partisanship. So why are we like that?
Topics and Show Notes
Well the culture of DD is strongly tied to our distant origins in 2002 back when we were formed, 21 years ago in the early days of the internet when things online were just getting good. Dylan Squires, aka Volte6, had some spare time and decided to invest it in creating a webcomic hosting site. Those weren't really a thing back then, there weren't even that many webcomics online back in 2002 and social media wasn't a thing yet either.
Dylan was a Gen Xer. He started out by contacting a bunch of webcomicers and offering them hosting on DD. There were so many benefits to it: Free hosting, comments, fan resources, forums and other things that were REALLY hard for people to set up themselves back then without programming knowledge. Out of the people who first joined the site, Ronson, Black Kitty, Spang, and Skoolmunkee became the administration team. They were all successful webcomicers in their own right and all of a similar age to Dylan: all Generation X.
-I didn't join till 2003 and didn't become an admin till 2007! The 19th of March to be exact. I'd been a moderator since about 2004 though.
Gen Xers and the older Millennials who started out on DD from the beginning didn't grow up with the internet or social media. They dived into the net and learned about it from it's early days in the 90s when they were in their 20s and 30s. This gave them a very different character to younger Millennials and Gen Z who're more embedded with the net because they grew up with a world bound by it. In particular social media has made people more extreme, partisan, tribal and more likely to be embedded in social bubbles because the algorithms used to encourage user participation and retention force people into social echo-chambers and push them towards extremest positions by only showing them things that elicit strong reactions.
The original admin team on DD were all educated, professional young adults, with successful webcomics. All were North American. None were overly political or religious but they weren't anti-those things either. They were an accepting crowd with neutral views on most topics, back when the internet wasn't driven mainly by social media outrage and fake pop-culture wars. So they created a very welcoming and open community. The only other webcomic host at the time was the Keespace/Keenspot duopoly which ingrained a culture of “haves” and have-nots“: Keenspot were the picked few webcomicers who got to join the elite group with special privilege on the site while Keenspce consisted of everyone else. Many of the Keenspot creators actively looked down on the Keenspacers, so much so that they eventually changed the name of that part of their site to ”Comic Genesis" so they couldn't be confused with the Keenspot comicers. Drunk duck was a massive contrast to this! We vowed never to have a classist structure and to always stay egalitarian. Indeed the most skilled, professional, and established comicers on DD have always mixed freely with newbies and vice versa, everyone is always ready to help one another. Drunk Duck was always built around the idea of community.
When Drunk Duck had its major collapse in about 2012 we lost a lot of users to other sites, mainly Comic Fury which had been created by one of our own disaffected people. They went there because it had a similar feel to us (since it was roughly based on us). It was founded by a younger Millennial so the social feel was quite different. At the stage a lot of the users who went there and stayed were younger Millennials because they had just been starting out and needed a stable host, they also hadn't been around on DD long enough to establish any sort of loyalty. So Comic Fury had a massive boost at that point and kept up the momentum eventually welcoming the young Gen Zers, while Drunk Duck had older Millennials and Gen Xers rejoining us. Hence DD always had a different, older, more neutral feel. Things move at a much slower place.
We have to mention the massive corporate sites: Webtoon and Tapas. These places are what DD was set to be when Platinum comics brought us back in the mid 2000s. They had a bit of the Keenspace/Keenspot feel of haves and have-nots, they encourage a lot of users who's creative ideas are based on producing products. It's a very ambitious crowd and the work often veers towards a bit of a mainstream, unified blandness just by the nature of them being so large, successful and corporate driven. There's nothing wrong with that it's just the nature of those types of site and it's exactly what DD had started to become before them when we had the big money.
So that's the reason we are how we are: a bunch of weirdos! When the other admins left and I was managing the site on my own I wanted to keep us how we were because I felt that's what our loyal people appreciated about us. So I engaged other admins who matched that vibe. I feel we've stayed pretty much the same since we were founded in 2002. What do you think?
This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Magic Power Ball - Intense, driving, action oriented electronica that makes you want to dance. You’ll want to bop and move to this track. It’s a slow start but it picks up the pace quickly and takes you along for the ride!
Topics and shownotes
Harold - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/nov/15/featured-comic-harold/
Magic Power Ball - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Magic_Power_Ball/ - by GenAtto, rated E.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Become a subscriber on the $5 level and up to see our weekly Patreon video and get our advertising perks!
Even at $1 you get your name with a link on the front page and a mention in the weekend newsposts!
Join us on Discord - https://discordapp.com/invite/7NpJ8GS