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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:42 pm 
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First off, let me say I am a big fan of this comic. Props to the whole team. Because it's a great team, I hope we can talk about a small issue.

I am wondering why skip days are unannounced. Presumably, at a certain point in time, the team knows that a day will be skipped. Maybe that is with 12 hours left in the day, maybe that is with 5 hours left in the day, maybe that is with 1 hour left in the day. But when you know the day will be skipped, why keep the rest of us in misery?

The only explanation I can come up with is that there is a psychic cost or burden to having to post admitting that the day is a skip day. But frankly that strikes me as irrational, because it's not as though not posting about it makes it not a skip day. It's a skip day either way. The only difference is that one way, we learn about it and aren't kept in suspense, and the other way we don't learn about it.

Or maybe it is for the clicks of people visiting over and over again, for the ad money. I mean, fair enough - I *wish* it were for the ad money, because it really bothers me to think that the team can't overcome the irrational thought that if they don't look at it they aren't disappointing anyone, when actually not informing us is more disappointing.

Thoughts?

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:04 pm 
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    I think we're the only two bothered by this, or at least bothered enough to actually speak up. Yesterday, in the "Requests/Suggestions" section, I posted this:

    Merilynne wrote:
    I understand that Rob said he wouldn't be announcing skip days, but that attitude is extremely unfair to the readers. I don't know how many times I've checked to see if there was an update today, but it's been more than 10, I'm sure. If he'd posted a simple message at any point during the day, saying nothing more than, "Today is a skip day," I would have been perfectly satisfied and would have stopped wasting my time checking. As it is, I'm a bit ticked off. "Unscheduled" doesn't have to mean "unrecognized."

    To clarify, I don't object to the "skip days" themselves, but to the attitude that he's too busy or whatever to make a simple post to acknowledge them.


    Another reader suggested I subscribe to the RSS channel or the Twitter account. I don't really see how that helps, but... whatever.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:56 pm 
    Print Book 2 & Draw Book 3 Supporter This user is a Tool! This user was a Tool before it was cool Pin-up Calendar and New Art Team Supporter This user posted the comment of the month Here for the 10th Anniversary Has collected at least one unit Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards supporter
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    I must confess I was confused as to the release schedule of the comic and if we would be expecting an update today or yesterday (due to my timezone). What days is it going up at the moment?

    I am not sure the work that goes into creating an update announcement every time the team are going to miss a day but I'd potentially not presume they know about it hours in advance the team might be working up until the deadline before the author decides it isn't polished enough and he'd rather take more time over it.

    That being said again I don't want to seem like white knighting here and I think better communication is always good but there is also potentially something to be said about keeping the front page of the website clean and inviting to newcomers with story content and fan made projects rather than updates about missed days that don't add as much.

    I'd likewise appreciate a quick update when the author doesn't believe the update is coming up I am not too fussed about it going up or not going up (although up is better than not up) I'd rather a good story than a rushed one. Potentially you where directed to the Twitter page as the skip announcements would seem more appropriate to be put there; easier to post and less visible than on the front page of the website.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:44 pm 
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    CDS wrote:
    I must confess I was confused as to the release schedule of the comic and if we would be expecting an update today or yesterday (due to my timezone). What days is it going up at the moment?

    By midnight US Eastern time (UTC-5 in winter, UTC-4 in summer) on Tuesdays and Fridays. So Wednesday 05:00 UTC and Saturday 05:00 UTC at the latest.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:52 pm 
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    So same schedule that is good to know they usually land Wednesday and Saturday for me due to being in the UK.

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     Post Posted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:23 pm 
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    I'm not keen on unannounced skip days either.

    But if Rob says that the creative team sometimes needs to work a page to the last minute, and they benefit from being able to just work the page till it's ready and only then check to see if they can post it on time...I believe him.

    I've occasionally dabbled in creative work, and there is a huge difference in your ability to focus and motivation when you don't have to check the clock and can just keep going till you are done. I don't have a problem if the clock checks me (via an alarm or whatever), but enough people do that there's a statistically measurable impact on mental capacity.

    Some people work better with a clearly established schedule ahead of time, some don't. I don't know any of the creative team well enough to say which is the case for them. Rob could be wrong, and deciding skip days early enough to post a notification of them would be the better way to keep their output quality high. But I think it's readily possible that he's right and focusing on getting a page done well makes for better pages than worrying about getting done on time.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:37 am 
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    It would be easy enough to drop a twitter or facebook post though. Alternatively, maybe as readers we just start thinking of Wendesdays and Saturdays as the day the comic is there and just check on those days. If there isn't one there it's a skip day. Rob could also use this method by internally deciding that the comic has to be ready at 12:01 am Tuesdays and Fridays and if its not, that's a skip day and don't post it till the next day.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:44 am 
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    I just don't check on Tuesday/Friday. I give it a day even though I'm obsessed with the story. If it is not up Wed/Saturday morning, I know it was a skip and I don't waste time reloading constantly.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:08 pm 
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    CarniDollMancer wrote:
    I just don't check on Tuesday/Friday. I give it a day even though I'm obsessed with the story. If it is not up Wed/Saturday morning, I know it was a skip and I don't waste time reloading constantly.


    Wow. I applaud your mental self control.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:29 pm 
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    Unannounced skips are harder to keep track of. And when you get 1935.44 per on-time update, it's an easy way to just collect without making people wonder what is on-time and what isn't.

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     Post Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:19 pm 
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    KonradKnox wrote:
    Unannounced skips are harder to keep track of. And when you get 1935.44 per on-time update, it's an easy way to just collect without making people wonder what is on-time and what isn't.

    They don't get any money for skips or late updates. It's better for them to wait until the next update to post rather than post late so they get the money. Tools can check the list of comics going into the next payment at any time.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:31 pm 
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    Sir Dr D wrote:
    CarniDollMancer wrote:
    I just don't check on Tuesday/Friday. I give it a day even though I'm obsessed with the story. If it is not up Wed/Saturday morning, I know it was a skip and I don't waste time reloading constantly.


    Wow. I applaud your mental self control.

    With my many addictions, I have to limit one... Though it tries my will sorely most times

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    C: Starting a theory from the point of view that characters have given false information (knowingly or unknowingly) is not a valid way to build an argument.

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:41 pm 
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    Well, a while back Thunt from Goblins had a mental breakdown and stopped the comic for a year or so. when he came back he posted on the blog saying "I'll keep making the comic, but I don't work for you" - that is, I'm not going to agonize myself over what my readers think about the posting schedule.
    I think it's kind of like that. it's Rob's way of saying "The comic is alive and posting, but we are not answerable to readers about posting times. It's posted when it's posted, tools pay only if it's posted, but no one has the right to demand that it's posted or complain if it isn't."

    Edit: Thunt's post
    http://goblinscomic.com/blog/i-quit

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     Post Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:15 pm 
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    Considering what's said above, is there even any point to pledging money to "on-time updates"?
    Tools pay to get their Monday/Friday entertainment in.

    I could be like, yeah, I'll deliver my product on time, if you pay me, but I'll do it next week. If you can skip a time, doesn't it make the term on-time moot?

    It basically holds the community hostage. IMO if Rob doesn't want to write, it's time to stop. If it's stressful, time to call it. If money is what's keeping this thing alive, then it's already over.

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     Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:30 am 
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    KonradKnox wrote:
    Considering what's said above, is there even any point to pledging money to "on-time updates"?
    Tools pay to get their Monday/Friday entertainment in.

    I could be like, yeah, I'll deliver my product on time, if you pay me, but I'll do it next week. If you can skip a time, doesn't it make the term on-time moot?

    It basically holds the community hostage. IMO if Rob doesn't want to write, it's time to stop. If it's stressful, time to call it. If money is what's keeping this thing alive, then it's already over.

    You seem to have a pretty ass backward view of things. You know what else is like a hostage situation? Pretty much every business transaction ever.

    "I'll give you the potato chips, but pay me first."

    "He's holding the potato chips hostage!"

    Tools pay per on time update. If the update isn't on time or it is a skip day, tools don't pay.

    But it's also important to remember that Toolship isn't a business transaction. It's a donation. Erfworld is provided for free to anyone who wants to enjoy it. Tools donate to allow that to continue.

    Rob isn't producing Erfworld for the money. If money was his goal, he could make more money doing much less work. Erfworld is stressful to make, and takes up all of Rob's time. He wouldn't do it if he wasn't passionate about it.

    Let the man do what he needs to do. Do I like unannounced skip days? No. Personally I'd rather a Fridays/Every other Tuesday schedule. But that eliminates the possibility of not doing a skip day, and updating more than 6 times a month.

    As for announcing a skip, put yourself in Rob's shoes. You feel the pressure to get the update out on time. You want to get it out on time. If you wanted, you could put something up you weren't happy with, but it wouldn't feel right. Now the pressure is two-fold, because you have the pressure to get it out on time, or the pressure to call it a skip. Adding pressure is the opposite reason that skips exist. Doing skips unannounced lets Rob and co take the time they need while having to worry less about the deadline.

    Less stress = happier Rob = better work

    As rabid of a fanbase as we are, creating Erfworld seems like a pretty thankless job. Sometimes it's important to remember that Rob and co are humans, and we should be grateful for all the hard work they put into making something we love so much.

    Edit: I posted this in reply to you, but this is directed at everyone who is complaining about announced skip days. It's ok not to like it, but don't act like you are owed anything.

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     Post Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:55 am 
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    That's a fair point, Lipkin. I'll rethink my perception of the situation. What you say is pretty convincing.

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     Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:33 pm 
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    Lipkin wrote:
    As for announcing a skip, put yourself in Rob's shoes. You feel the pressure to get the update out on time. You want to get it out on time. If you wanted, you could put something up you weren't happy with, but it wouldn't feel right. Now the pressure is two-fold, because you have the pressure to get it out on time, or the pressure to call it a skip. Adding pressure is the opposite reason that skips exist. Doing skips unannounced lets Rob and co take the time they need while having to worry less about the deadline.

    Rob has repeatedly said there is a buffer in place. Buffers exist to remove pressure. Without one, I could understand stress associated with whether the current strip is "ready" for publication or not. He's obviously a professional and wants to be sure his work lives up to his own expectations, not to mention anyone else's. However, if there is a buffer and the update he's currently working on is, at a bare minimum, 2 strips ahead, then he probably has time to post "today is a skip day" without putting an undue burden on his developmental process. Shoot, he could probably ask his lovely wife to do it if he felt he wasn't in the right headspace to address the issue. Doing so takes so little time and would completely remove the additional pressure of expectations placed on him by his loyal readers.

    Lipkin wrote:
    Tools pay per on time update. If the update isn't on time or it is a skip day, tools don't pay.

    The "tools pay per on time update" argument is a double-edged sword for fans. Sure, if there's a skip day, there's no penalty to the tools, but there's also no incentive for Rob to post anything that's not considered "on time." Say for instance, that he realizes he's going to be 10 minutes or even an hour late on posting the current update; why shouldn't he just hold it for the following Tuesday or Friday? There's certainly no up-side to posting out of schedule and he could simply add to his buffer.

    Lipkin wrote:
    Rob isn't producing Erfworld for the money.

    Obviously. I don't know how much of the $1,900 (+ or -) per update goes directly to him, but reducing your income by around 25% a month is pretty significant.

    Lipkin wrote:
    ... this is directed at everyone who is complaining about announced skip days. It's ok not to like it, but don't act like you are owed anything.

    Sure, I'm not owed anything, and neither is pretty much any "rabid" fan, but there is a relationship between the artist and their fan-base that should be based on mutual respect, at the very least. Common courtesy may not be so common anymore, but perhaps it should be. I haven't seen anyone complaining about the skip days themselves, only the way they're being handled. That is not unreasonable in the least. I think everyone understands that if Rob believes 70 or so updates a year is a better fit for him, then that's what he should do. All we're asking, and granted, it's only some of us, is that we are told that there's going to be a skip. Simple enough.

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     Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:44 pm 
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    The thing is, Rob used to announce the skip days ahead of time.

    And then, after consideration of the effects it was having on the creative team's ability to stay current, he decided to stop doing that.

    To me, that strongly indicates that Rob does have an actual reason for deciding not to announce them in advance anymore. It's not that Rob hasn't thought about announcing them in advance, because Rob was clearly not only thinking about that, but actually doing it.

    If we're going to talk about common courtesy here, I think Rob deserves some as well.

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     Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:49 pm 
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    Chiu ChunLing wrote:
    If we're going to talk about common courtesy here, I think Rob deserves some as well.


    In what way am I being discourteous?

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     Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:18 pm 
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    Merilynne wrote:
    Rob has repeatedly said there is a buffer in place. Buffers exist to remove pressure.

    Rob has also repeatedly said that no update is considered "done" until it has been posted. He doesn't stop tinkering until it goes live.

    Merilynne wrote:
    The "tools pay per on time update" argument is a double-edged sword for fans. Sure, if there's a skip day, there's no penalty to the tools, but there's also no incentive for Rob to post anything that's not considered "on time." Say for instance, that he realizes he's going to be 10 minutes or even an hour late on posting the current update; why shouldn't he just hold it for the following Tuesday or Friday? There's certainly no up-side to posting out of schedule and he could simply add to his buffer.

    So?

    Merilynne wrote:
    Sure, I'm not owed anything, and neither is pretty much any "rabid" fan, but there is a relationship between the artist and their fan-base that should be based on mutual respect, at the very least. Common courtesy may not be so common anymore, but perhaps it should be. I haven't seen anyone complaining about the skip days themselves, only the way they're being handled. That is not unreasonable in the least. I think everyone understands that if Rob believes 70 or so updates a year is a better fit for him, then that's what he should do. All we're asking, and granted, it's only some of us, is that we are told that there's going to be a skip. Simple enough.

    Rob wouldn't do it if he didn't feel he needed it. Taking care of himself is not disrespectful to the fans. Its pretty easy to tell by paying attention to his site updates that he struggles with anxiety. What seems simple to you may not be so to him.

    The number one rule on these forums is to not be a dick. Trust that Rob isn't being a dick, and is just doing what he needs to do.

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