Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Cool Quiz and Question

The enterprising and cyber-savvy "taxishoes" over at the DTWOF Livejournal Community has created a DTWOF quiz which asks the whimsical question, "Which dyke in Dykes To Watch Out For are you most like?" Anyone can take it. Feel free to post your results here. Also, we've encountered several complaints on-line regarding Planet Out's new strip multi-screen format. Is it really that bad? They didn't consult us about it. What do you think?
Format sucks.

Old format was bad enough, but this is worse.

Ideally the comics should be presented in a form much like you'd see them in a real paper, or in the books -- longish rows. Why the heck aren't they?
It's really that bad. It's clearly a crude tactic to generate more page hits and to drag our eyeballs past even more ads in the already-too-intrusive border around the content. And that sick gelatinous background color -- where did they find it?

I've written to PlanetOut more than once about their disrespectful and counterproductive shrinking and chopping of the strip. I'm not surprised that they've sunk even lower, but I'm still appalled and disheartened.

It's all the worst aspects of local, amateur, self-ghettoizing publishing, transposed to the web. (NB: I love my town, and I love being queer.)

On a positive note: Alison remains awesome! I relish the biweeklies and wait impatiently yet serenely for the memoir.

-- David (Cambridge, MA)
The new format is terrible for reading. It's such a drag to have to click through multiple pages for a short story. I hope it doesn't drive new readers away from the strip. I can't imagine why they changed it other than to flash more ads. Ah, the joys of capitalism. At least I can block pop-ups.

Beth in Washington, DC
They can make me click and scroll through multiple pages, but they can't make me look at their ads!
(I use firefox plus adblock.)

-Kai (Vancouver)
I'm not wild about the new format but as long as you have broadband it's not THAT bad. After all, isn't getting Allison's wonderful work right at home, at your leisure, and for free worth a few extra clicks? Who are we...Jane Jetson, complaining about all the buttons we have to push to make George's dinner?

PW: I'm a Mo. A bi male Mo. Oh, woe is me...
Thumbs down on the new Planet Out Format. It really messes with continuity and the sense of the whole.

Thumbs up, as always, on Alison.
Gay male part Mo and (increasingly) part Lois these days... ^_^ Yes, I hate the new format. Actually, I'd much rather it were on Alison's site. I'd wade through ads to read it on Alison's site; at least then she'd be getting the money. For the time being, I guess all I can do is put up with it until DTWOF, Part Several Million is published.
yes it is that bad. the old, column type format was ok, but i really don't like having to look at more than one page to see the whole strip, especially since i tend to look back up to previous pannels once i've finished reading it to get the details i missed.

(and another mo here, this one a dyke. with some clarice and lois added in)
Hey Alison! I'm glad you approve.
I mean Cathy. Dur. Sorry.
Heavens, I'm Mo too! What does it mean if everyone is most like Mo?!

While I appreciate being able to read DTWOF online, the new format is nasty. Being able to see all the panels at once allows the reader to catch the clever flow and patterns within each issue. Looking forward to the next book!
On Marlysmagazine.com, they post two different sizes of Lynda Barry's comic strip including a larger, 'fridge sized'. Can something similar be done with DTWOF on Alison's site?
It's completely terrible; it messes up the flow of the strip and subjects you to another seventy million ads. I wish they had a linear layout where you could get from one strip to the next easily; a lot of online comics do that and it works out well.
Cool blog. I wonder if it would be too much to suggest blogging on more than the comic strip. DTWOF is more than entertainment. It's real political and social commentary unlike anything lesbians can readily find in this country. Some of us are starved for it. To the bone. There's very little in the way of vital lesbian commentary outside of entertainment, and this would be the perfect gathering place for lesbians who want to discuss issues unrelated to who Ellen is dating or which celebrity is rumored to have kissed a girl.

That might be too much pressure, but Christ it's tough nowadays, between the hard right turn for at least another four years and the "OMG did you hear there's going to be a lesbian character on (insert TV show)" remainder of lesbian news interests.

DTWOF rules, of course. We already dig the comic or we wouldn't be here.

Peace out,

Julie, marooned in the Red States
The quiz is cute.

The multi-page format isn't any worse than the single-page one. My dialup connection actually loads it more quickly. I just wish the GIFs of the strip were larger--I love to pore over all the details, and they just get lost on the screen. Why I snap up the books as soon as they come out. :-)

BTW, the PlanetOut link to the right still goes to the old archive site. The new format comes with a new URL, too. I couldn't find the latest strip till I checked out the website--and found this blog! Bonus!

Cindy M
(major DTWOF fan)
The quiz: I get different results every time (Ginger, Mo...) so I assume there is a random component. I have checked several these kind of quizzes - according to one of them I am GNU/NURL (see bbspot.com/News/2003/01/os_quiz.php) :-7

PlanetOut: Format is even more lousy than the previous one. I assume that is a sneaky way to force people to spend more time on the pages, make more clicks and attract more popup windows than before. Rather futile because many people have alread developed mental processes that automatically ignore blatant obvious advertising.

It is also even more strech for bandwith - previously I could let the page load, cut the connection and read the whole strip.

I admit that the previous format was longish but this is ridiculous. Most of the netcomic strips are displayed the same way they are displayed in the newspaper - strips wider than taller. If the previous format did not supposedly fit into the page, maybe they should have displayed it in closer to original format - four strips on top of each other.

It is also possible than they have a new marketing director or equivalent who had got a "magnificent idea" (read "marketing fad") I haven't heard about yet. It probably will appear in Dilbert in a foreseeable future.

VL. Finland
The 'new format' didn't work in Mozilla's browser--it just showed the first image. I eventually figured out how to access the multiple images based on the file name. It's really ridiculous that the site would open more than one window just to see one strip. Where is this going?--each paragraph a different 'page'? If advertising is the issue, there are so many better ways to cycle the ads or whatnot on the same page. It's really just bad site design.
a. i am lois. who knew?
b. truly, the new format is such a disappointment. it disrupts the whole flow of the strip, since it precludes going back and referencing the build-up of visual jokes, etc. j'hate it (pardon my french).
c. i really really can't wait for said graphic novel. the other day i stumbled upon the work-up you did of the harvey pekar piece. so satisfying!

keep rockin' the free world, ab!
The new format REALLY messes with the flow of the script. It's very choppy, and I don't think the "punchline" at the end was as, well, "punchy."

Also, I'm on DSL, and the pages had problems loading. Irritating. I had to keep going back and cycling through the first two pages before I could see the third page.

The actual comic was, as always, fantastic. Thanks for all your work.
Wow, I seem to be the first Ginger here... I think the strip in the new layout is slightly bigger? Which is good if I'm right, but is a little bit annoying just on the principle of having to click through, regardless of how fast it is.
Wow, I'm the first on here to admit I am most like Sidney. I should have known, is it really such a contradiction of terms to call oneself a conservative (about some things) lesbian? Like most everyone else, I dislike their new format, much prefer to scroll up & down to get the details from the previous frame. Have seen many "comics" websites where they lay it out book style, what's the deal on this site??
This is probably not the appropriate forum, and I'm sure Cathy or Alison will post something on it soon - but I turned on the news yesterday to find out Susan Sontag had gone to the great commune in the sky at age 71 ... Depending on how you viewed Susan or her work it's still very sad ... Luckily Britain still has Germaine Greer on TV most weeks still kicking up a fuss, bless her.

PS I found the Planet Out format a bit bewildering and rather bizarre and having designed websites myself I can't see any reason for it apart from wanting more page hits so they can increase their statistics and gain more advertising revenue.

Hope you all had a good Christmas!
The new format on PlanetOut is really bad. I can't read it at home any more. It's just too slow on dial-up. Can y'all do anything about this? Can you influence the PO people ni any way to make them change it back? I think you should make a big stink about it.
The new format is WORSE than "that bad." It disrupts the narrative, and over-emphasizes the last page, depriving us of any sense of continuity. Leave it for Burma Shave.

(That said, I love Planet Out for giving me free comix and trying to make the frames bigger! Esp. as AB's style seems more textured these days. Miss the moments of panache, flirtation, and silliness, though -- )


I HATE HATE HATE the new format. HATE it. is it to get in more screen ads? Who could possibly want to have to keep downloading pages to read the strip? Not that the strip's not worth it, but I have enough other inconveniences in my life to get cranky about.
The new hit-count-friendly format is a pain, although no more of a pain than the millions of pop-up ads for products and services I will never ever buy and PlanetOut's inability to post the strip on a reliable schedule. (You'd think they could just write a script to put it up as soon as Allison sends it to them.) (You'd also think they could at least target the ads to people who are interested in a strip that is still mostly about lesbians. I'm often reminded of when Jezanna was taking care of her mother and Mo mistakenly ordered about a dozen copies of a very expensive book filled with pictures of gym queens.) If I had any other way to read the strip, short of waiting years for the books or subscribing to an out of town weekly of no other interest to me, I would be very glad to quit looking at PlanetOut. Feel free to quote me next time you are negotiating prices with them.

The quiz is kind of fun in a ladies-magazine way, although some of the questions are pretty obvious. It was not accurate in my case. It said I was Mo, but I am closest to Ginger. (Note my bad attitude and the fact that I have been planning to post this for a week and a half now.)

Anonymous, A Gnomic Anomic Sourpuss.
Yes, the new format is that bad. But I just noticed a link below "Next page", called "View the whole strip". Click on that, et voil�! it gives you the whole strip in the old format.

Was that link there a week ago? I didn't notice it. Maybe PlanetOut got enough complaints about breaking up each installment that they added this option. (And if you go to the archive, you'll find the same option for the previous strip.)
yes we all hate the new layout. on to more interesting things: it's not which central character dyke do we relate to but which one are we most apt to SLEEP with? - I think I'd have to say Ginger - aargh.
Yes, PlanetOut has added the "view whole strip" option. Seems like the Stage Two: "Give the Great Unwashed some time to adjust". So I have seen similar things before, so sue me :-7 There's hoping that the option stays.

Note that they have not added the same option to other strips.

VL, Finland
yah, the new planetout format for the strip is *really* bad. what was clearly needed was increased resolution and size, but instead we got a still-small format that's chopped up so you can't read the whole strip at once. it makes it much harder to read the strip, and go back a panel, etc. yucka!

and since no local paper in Tucson carries DTWOF, planetout is my only way to read the strip until the books come out....
I can't believe that I'm TONI! She is the one character who really gets my goat. (Maybe because she's so much like me? It just can't be!)
Ginger?!? I'm Ginger??? Bloody hell, this boggles the mind.

Heeeyyyy, does this mean I get to have a sexy Syrian girlfriend? :-)
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