I might just regret this, but...

Because it only took Viking-Sensei three years (and the approaching end of Errant Story) to come up with a better name for "General Discussions"

I might just regret this, but...

Postby Imp-Chan » May 21st, 2008, 7:11 pm

Poe and Jim and I have been talking for a while about more ways to reach out and involve the fan community, and one of those ideas that has been popping up regularly is the idea of an IRC chat channel dedicated to conversations among Errant Story fans. Plenty of other webcomics run one of these successfully, but I've been reluctant to do it for Errant Story because historically having a forum IRC channel has caused or at least exacerbated issues with dividing the community. This community is precious to me, and I want to see it grow and become stronger, so thus far I've been too afraid to go off and start an IRC channel for it.

However, I'll be the first to admit that I was an IRC junkie long before I was willing to go out and join forums, and the idea of an IRC chat channel where fans could gather and chat with each other and occasionally see Poe to ask him questions and such is pretty appealing. If we started such a channel, it would almost certainly be a situation where mods here on the forums were also mods in the channel, and where the same basic sets of rules applied to each, so that maybe some cohesion between the forum and the channel could be maintained.

What do people think of this idea?

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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby Talancir » May 26th, 2008, 7:48 pm

all your worries and I don't even know what IRC means. I've heard about it for years but I've never been motivated to learn anything more about it.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby BloodHenge » May 28th, 2008, 3:01 am

Internet Relay Chat. It's basically a chat room. There are a number of clients you can use. Back in the day, one of the most popular was mIRC. I don't know what the kids are using these days; I use GAIM (on the rare occasion that I get on IRC) because I have it and it works.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby Graybeard » May 28th, 2008, 10:07 am

I would be interested in this, if someone gave VERY clear directions on how to use it. I'm not proficient with IRCs and would need some coaching. But the "community" here is full of highly interesting people and some more extended conversations might be fun.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby zanntos » May 29th, 2008, 6:57 am

If you build it i'll probably drift through on occasion. Depends if i decide to connect while at work or not :p
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby kaitou » May 29th, 2008, 1:05 pm

Being a member (read: lurker) on one of the aforementioned web comic channels, it might be useful to know what to expect. Of course, this will depend on the mix of participants (i.e., not including us lurkers) and rules/channel-ops.

1. Most of the time, the channel will be dead.
2. When it's not dead, expect one liners and further death.
3. There will be "dorama" on occasion.
4. You will be picked on in a friendly way.
5. You will pick on others in a friendly way.
6. Sometimes "friendly" isn't so friendly (enter channel op).
7. IRC is good for random notes that aren't conducive to forums (e.g., too transient, more immediate).
7.1. A good place to complain about the forums being down, noting that the new comic is up, etc.
8. There will be lurkers.

I could always use another place to lurk.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby BloodHenge » May 29th, 2008, 3:18 pm

Also, lurkers on the forum may not always be the lurkers on the channel, and posters on the forum may not always be chatters on the channel. I tend to post on forums and lurk in chats, for instance.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby davester65 » May 29th, 2008, 6:23 pm

Having never used a chat room before. I have no idea how often I'd use it. If the traffic on this forum is any indication, I wouldn't expect a lot of traffic.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby Evader » June 6th, 2008, 12:37 pm

The biggest note with the communities is that the people who frequent IRC are not necessarily the people who frequent the forums. IRC is, as previously mentioned, more spontaneous, more wild, and more general than a forum.

The other trick is the lighter hand needed on IRC. The banhammer is much lighter and easier to use there, and its effects are felt much more swiftly. As this is the crowd that enjoys Exploitation Now and Errant Story, I doubt that profanity or other such factors are going to cause much trouble. The real trouble lies in the suddenness of the medium. People that get angry or whatever on forums have that wonderful fifteen or so seconds before clicking 'post' to realize that something they say might be a Really Bad Idea. IRC has no such mercy. People used to modding IRC that start modding a forum tend to be a little light handed, and I have seen the opposite happen just as well; forumites in IRC can come down hard on the casual non-regged IRC public.

Communities don't really get divided too badly unless it is done to them manually. People who get ousted from one fandom venue and are stuck in the other, etc.

The other big trick to IRC is that for webcomics and other works, the channels never really thrive without an idling creator there representing. By no means does Poe have to take any serious action to be present and accounted for in the channel, but a decent fraction of new people that try channels like this simply will not stay around if the Author is not present in the channel in some way shape or form. An idle avatar is all that is needed for this placebo effect. At the very least, people can assume that he'll eventually see the /pm messages people send his way.

Last bit: IRC is traditionally a free speech zone. It's one thing to run a forum and prevent rampant trolling and negative crap, but in irc, if someone pops in and says something negative about the comic, I would hope that the first response is not kick/ban/gtfo. I had the distinct pleasure (read: horror) of watching a webcomic IRC channel that I frequented (which was the ONLY fan community for said comic) implode because of those two things; the creators never showed up (perfectly within their rights, of course) and the creator's girlfriend was the appointed Public Relations Manager (which was also completely ok to do) who had a hard line policy of kickbanning anyone who even breathed something remotely negative about the way the comic was drawn (less ok; this summarily choked and killed the channel over the course of a few months after an art style change). Our wonderful place died right before my eyes. It would be sad to see it happen again to different people.

I am trying to think of an appropriate parting metaphor. Ah, yes. New IRC channels are like pit bull puppies. They are cute in that wonderful puppy way like all puppies are. But don't turn around and shoot it once you realize you have a full grown pit bull. If that was the plan, better to not have had it in the first place.
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Re: I might just regret this, but...

Postby Stick & String » June 8th, 2008, 5:11 pm

IRC has its good and bad. Take one with the other, that is just how it is.

The only real problem with IRC is the time of year. Since its spring/early summer, it may look like it will not take off. School is out for the year, various jobs get more overtime, or other opportunities going. Recreation (get some fun inthe sun, BBQ, etc.) starts taking first priority for many. Less time for the computer, and being online, and poeple seek social situations at outside (or other place) venues.
An IRC for ES would work, but possibly not until fall when everyone gets pushed back indoors and turning to the pc for recreation, communication and socializing.
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