Come on guys, I love and respect the fans. Let’s be friends.
I don’t feel the need to apologize for the comic, but I do have a pesky need to be understood. The comic was, obviously, a joke meant in good fun, and more specifically it was about my utter confusion with the culture of labeling anything and everything a troll/trolling. It was not an attempt to somehow generalize the entire fandom into one caricatured person and demean everyone in the process. It seems like the vast majority of people got the joke and the intention behind it, but hey, you wake up in the morning and you end up offending somebody. Try telling a joke to this many people…
When I started this blog four months ago I had no idea what trolling meant. It didn’t take long for me to notice that no matter what I did on here, chances were I was branded a troll for it. So like any modern person in his mid-30s, I looked up the definition on Wikipedia:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.”
Me, four months ago: Ahhh, I get it! Trolling is when people on The Gear Page post “David Gilmour sucks!” on a David Gilmour appreciation thread. “Jerks! He most certainly does not suck! Get off this thread! Moderator!”
But apparently that isn’t all it means, as I’m still learning. Then Korra started airing and now the term is bandied about for anything and everything in the show too, not just the silly I stuff I do here on this blog. The Ikki/Zuko’s mom joke? Yes, 100% trolling. I’ll give you that, but that’s a topic for another discussion, one of which I am sick to death, hence the trolling. Everything else? We’re just doing what we always did: trying to tell an exciting story with character arcs, dynamic character relationships, humanized characters with virtues and flaws, action, danger, intrigue, humor, drama, teen romance, scary stuff, etc. But somehow now that’s all trolling and we’re trolls for it. Storytelling and art in general seek to elicit an emotional response out of people, and we’re trying to tell good stories and make good art. But do we sit around in the writers room rubbing our hands together thinking about how we can upset people just for the sake of upsetting them? Really? Sigh…
Alas, that’s the small price to pay for audience interaction, which is otherwise a big pleasure. *Oh, and I’d like to remind everyone that my name is at the top of this blog, not Mike’s or “Bryke,” so feel free to think I’m a jerk for the content on here, but it is unfair to drag him into it. I write “we” when I am comfortable speaking on behalf of both of us, but otherwise, this is just me.
And I get it: most people throw the trolling accusation around as a trope in good fun. I like good fun. But the short history of this blog shows that a certain percentage of people don’t appreciate when I partake in it. Or when I have any sense of humor about anything. So let me assure you: I love you guys and I’m just poking fun where and when I feel it warrants it. You guys are free to dissect, critique, parody, and condemn our work (all activities many of you do voraciously, and ones that could, in the common definition, be deemed as the fans trolling us) and we can take it, and we often get a laugh out of it too. But it is only fair that we get to dish it back in measured doses from time to time. I write to you guys the same way I write and speak to my friends, and they all think I’m a jerk too. Wait… what?
So there you go, that’s how the comic came about. And I’m still confused about trolling. I simply thought it was amusing that people would slam Korra as a troll-fest but would love Game of Thrones, a story where my favorite character had his head cut off.
THIS. Everything about this is perfectly written.