Monthly Archives: August 2013

What is this place, anyway?

Hiya! My name is Mark Kéy-Balchin, the main developer here at The Usual Spot, and I’m writing this to give you guys a sense of what this website is going to be about.

Origins

Now, webcomics have been a thing since basically the beginnings of the Internet. They were, after all, a natural extension of print comics. But being online meant they could take advantage of many things traditional comics couldn’t – for example, near instant feedback, which means webcomic writers could change or improve their story much faster than once a month.

Naturally, this lead to webcomics that took this formula and ran with it.

Askblogs are webcomics or blogs that have a constant “fourth wall mail slot” with their fans, where the characters react directly to fan questions and comments. These may be used merely to add flavour, or they may steer the course of the plot themselves, or there might not even be a plot and the characters are just fielding questions. But the important part is the interactivity between reader and character.

So… why does this site exist?

Basically, this site exists because I saw a niche that wasn’t being filled and decided to fill it. ^^

So, obviously “The Askblog List” is a list of askblogs. It splits up askblogs into different categories, so people can drill down to the ones they want – but each level shows all blogs for the levels under it, so people just looking for a general view are catered for as well.

The Askblog List is about three things:

No. 1: Visibility and Discoverablity

Tumblr has no directory, and it’s pure luck whether or not anyone will be searching for “ask blog” when you post your latest update. There are lists, but they tend to be hard to find as well. And as much as we like our friends at sites like Top Web Comics, the culture there is more aimed towards traditional webcomics, and askblogs, as numerous as they may be, are still a niche.

So, first and foremost, The Askblog List is about askblogs getting the attention they deserve.

 No. 2: Organisation

Even if you have a unique idea for an askblog, or you’re the only one in your fandom playing as the character of your choice, you might not get any attention if we did things as a pure list format. The more popular fandoms would drown out the unpopular ones, and the most popular blogs would drown out practically everyone else. People not into those things would give up in frustration.

That is why the second tenet of The Askblog List is providing the ability to drill down to the bits that they like.

No. 3: Popularity

(<insert song here> because I can’t resist. ^^;)

Of course, we want to surface stuff that people like! The Askblog List will work primarily with votes – one vote per IP address, once every 24 hours.

I do hope to introduce some other methods of gauging both popularity and quality after the site is launched, but for now I think that’ll do.

Wrapping up

So, I hope you’ve gotten a good sense of what this site is all about. Next post I’ll talk about the road to launch. Toodles!

-Mark Kéy-Balchin