July 21, 2010

Fan Entitlement

Sorry, I didn’t want to rant. But yesterday, Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content posted this tweet:

And I agree with him 100%. If there’s something that baffles me, it’s fan entitlement. If you are someone who enjoys a free service, you are entitled to nothing. Especially when it’s artwork. Now, Questionable Content is Jeph’s job. He puts out strips 5 days a week for most of the year, and only takes a couple breaks for holidays and conventions. He makes his money through advertising on the site, as well as merchandise. For the webcomic artist, visiting comic conventions is a crucial part of self-promotion. It gives him the chance to sell merchandise in person, meet fans, meet other artists… and to introduce his comic to people who might not have heard about it.

I’m declaring this an Emily Post of the Internet moment- where we define just what’s appropriate:

Artists, whether webcomic artist, author or musician, are not performing monkeys. Simply because you visit their site, they are not required to submit to your every whim. Now, if you commission someone to do work for you, then you can complain if they don’t deliver it as promised. But when you’re visiting their site because you enjoy what they do, you cannot email them or use twitter to complain that they’ll have a week of guest comics. Nor can you complain if they’re too ill to put up their work. Have you ever been too ill to go to class or to go to work? Guess what, they’re human and get sick too.

Why don’t we, as the Internet, agree that we’ll just enjoy what they offer. Buy books, artwork and merchandise that they make, and click on ads that we find interesting. And if you don’t like it? Find something else to enjoy. All you do by sending angry emails and tweets is make everyone else look bad.

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