What Happens on Reddit…
Many of you on the site have already seen the Road Sage comic I did a little while back, all about ways of dealing with asshole drivers when you’re on a bike. I meant it not only as commentary on biking/driving, but also on conflict in general. I’ve been really happy with the feedback on that one, and while it has never been a “spike” of traffic, there has been a consistent slow burn of people commenting on that comic, linking to it from Twitter and the like, etc.
The best part is that whenever people link to it, a conversation (argument) rages about bikes and cars. People feel VERY STRONGLY on all sides. (I’m not going to start making my own beliefs known here, though if you read my comics hopefully you get the idea that cyclists are often as to blame as drivers, but that doesn’t make it right.) Well my friend Apz1 sent me word of a post on Reddit, where a user named furiouslybob had edited my comic to taking a slightly different perspective. Here’s a sample:
Systemic Apz1, summoning forth his powers of Reddit, called the guy out for not giving credit where it was due, called furiouslybob a jackass and then sent me a link to the whole thing:
I know the guy who illustrated the original comic. He’s a good a friend, and actually has a comic about how to correctly share comics on the internet, the basic tenets of which you violate. I’m sending him this repost, and I’m sure Ross will agree with me when I say you’re a jackass.
Let’s pause for a sec.
Here we have what seems like could become a heated argument. The Reddit comments are energized (there were over 400 when I saw it, 743 as I write this post). This guy furiouslybob is clearly using my comic as a starting point, and isn’t citing my site or the original comic reference (which, if you recall from a chart I did with Caldwell, is a pet peeve of mine). But, with the intent of the original comic in mind, I decided to try a calmer approach. I wrote to him, and asked him to get in touch with me (see the Reddit thread here):
Wish you’d sent it my way, I would’ve posted a link to it or something on my site. Instead the only way I find out about it is APZ1 was kind enough to send it my way. If you wouldn’t mind my reposting it, let me know at @rosscott on twitter or systemcomic at gmail and I’ll do so with your permission.
As to your point Furiouslybob, believe it or not I don’t disagree with you. There are lots of asshole bikers out there, and has been said many times over there are also asshole drivers out there as well. I think cyclists group all drivers together and drivers group all cyclists together in their heads, and truth be told there’s plenty of totally normal people that aren’t doing a damn thing wrong on both sides. Hence why the original starts with WHEN a car cuts you off, which happens all the time even when you’re obeying all the rules, and sometimes there isn’t a bike lane on every street in every city.
Glad I was able to stir the pot and get people thinking about this, and looks like you were able to spread that around a bit further.
Here’s what he emailed to me (used by his permission):
i hope that shit didn’t offend you. i know it took some substantial time to make the original and my imitation has spelling errors and scaled imagery and fucking rage faces… fuck even the quality of my workmanship on it’s own is enough to offend. i never meant for people to interpret my rendition of your comic so angrily. in my head i was reading it very calmly in edward norton’s voice. tyler’s words coming out of my mouth. and now people seem to think i’m the angriest person on reddit. the funniest part of the whole thing is that I walk, bike and ride a motorcycle and drive so i’m well aware of how entitled it feels to be a part of any of those groups. anyways, i’m pretty blown away by how worked up people got over it. http://i.imgur.com/ypDd7.png it’s here if you want to use it for anything, feel free to repost, ignore, edit, mock, or whatever you see fit with it. i also totally understand if you want me to delete it. let me know if that’s the case. anyways, i really hope i didn’t offend. regardless, thanks for making great comics.
There are some lessons to be learned here, which is the whole point of this post:
- MOST PEOPLE AREN’T GOOD COMMUNICATORS
This point started as “most people aren’t good communicators on the internet” but really, I’ve had enough experience miscommunicating with people I know very well in person that I think it’s just a natural barrier to existence, and is an important thing to keep in mind. Next time you encounter another person’s seemingly crazy stance, either ignore it or hear them out. You may not be getting the whole story at first.
- SOMETIMES THE PEOPLE MOST CRITICAL ARE ACTUALLY YOUR BIGGEST FANS
- SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS FIND WHAT YOU DO, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S POSTED ON THE INTERNET
That thing you said or did, that you didn’t think would get back to the person? It will. It’s called “Google Alerts” and “having a fanbase”. Watch out.
- IF YOU’RE GOING TO GET INVOLVED, START BY BEING KIND/CALM
It’s easy to ramp up to pissed, but hard to come back from. If you start with something calm and reasoned, you can sometimes keep an all-out flame war from happening. Sometimes.
- IF YOU’RE GOING TO REMIX MY COMIC, DON’T USE ARIAL NARROW
Please. It’s painful.
If you ever see my stuff elsewhere, please let me know! Not to call the Internet Police on people (well, sometimes) but mostly to try and get whatever traffic is seeing that to see where it came from. Or link yourself, like Apz1 did. You don’t have to yell at anyone, but let people know where it came from if you see it.
Also, if you ever parody/reference/remix my comics, send them my way! I make no garuantees about posting, and even less about keeping up with email, but I’d like to see them! systemcomic at gmail dot com is the address.