countryboylife asked: Scott Lobdell describes his experience of reading an online comic forum on his Facebook Page, particularly he mentions a style of posting which he believes discourages people from participating in the discussion. What advice can you give to all involved so that everyone can enjoy a frank and open discussion?
My opinions on this have changed a lot. I used to frequent message boards a lot, and I would “correct” mistakes readers would say about my work on places like Scans Daily and CBR and elsewhere. Sometimes it would get dramatic and even angry.
And then I just realized I was being a douche.
Readers need to have places to give their opinions. They shouldn’t have to worry that some over-sensitive writer is going to drop by and try to shame them or act like a goddamn hall monitor. The readers don’t owe us politeness in their own spaces. And we shouldn’t intrude with big stompy boots and suck all the air out of the room.
If you are INVITED to a forum to chat, sure, I guess it’s fair to ask people to be polite. Otherwise, screw it, those spaces belong to readers.
No forum owes Scott or me or any writer anything. If they want a frank discussion, have at it and enjoy yourself.
Like I say, I used to be one of THE most intrusive pros in that way. I really regret it. Scott shouldn’t worry about this stuff, I don’t think. It’s not in our authority to try to control how readers react or converse about our books in any way.
Reviews, invited chat sessions, that stuff is a little different. But what readers say and how is their business.