Mix March Madness Webcomics Tournament Sweet 16! Vote now!

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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61 Responses

  1. Will says:

    NOOOOOOO! Poor OOTS! Congrats to the winners, good luck!

  2. MrGraves says:

    Uh, okay, so is there any actual point to voting anymore? It doesn’t even matter if you have the most lopsided voting advantage in the entire round, all somebody else has to do is throw money at it and your vote is overturned (which is not even hyperbolic, that’s actually what happened). I understand the reasoning behind it and hey, money to charity is nice and all, but if this is going to happen every round (a logical deduction since, well, why would you stop at this round?), might as well just check back in in a week or two and see who had the most donations.

    • Kinda feel this way. I just spent a week campaigning against Bittersweet Candy Bowl. We were neck and neck and I know we were both pushing hard. I was telling fans, readers, friends and family to vote all week long, posting several times a day, and I was pretty happy when we finished with a 20 vote lead. I guess I should have just saved my time and everyone else’s and just bought $20 worth of votes at the end?

  3. ThatGuy says:

    The ability to pay for extra votes kinda ruins what credibility this poll ever had. It’s no longer “which webcomic is more popular/better” and is now just “which comics have fans who have money to spend”. Giving money to charity is a good thing, but for it to actually effect the way voting works is stupid.

  4. Glenn Hauman says:

    We know that some people aren’t happy about having votes bought and paid for. Ideally we’d be able to track those paid votes in real time and add them to the totals, but we don’t have a way to do that and maintain the tax deductibility yet. We’re working on that.

    We also are making votes more expensive each round, which does mitigate the impact (and, of course, raises more money for charity).

    • icarus says:

      why not tabulate two result trees – one with paid voting, and one without (penniless division), if they begin to look different? that way people can still know what comics won on the merit of actual people power, and what comics won on the merit of their wallets.

    • MrGraves says:

      Honestly, I’m not sure it would help beyond letting people know exactly how much they need to donate at the end of the round so that their webcomic can get ahead. It’d just result in a big rush at the end with groups of people trying to one-up each other, so whomever makes the last donation before the polls close “wins”.

      It’d be kind of interesting to see what the actual round results were though after adjustments, although that would lead to more speculation of how much people need to donate to get past a particular comic.

      What would be MORE interesting would be to see the results disappear entirely (i.e. you don’t even know what the vote totals are without donations), resulting in no one having any idea how much donating is necessary. It wouldn’t resolve the problem as the solution is still to just throw more money at it, but it at least removes the impetus of needing to donate because the webcomic you want to win is seemingly “losing” (even if that’s not nearly the case with donations figured in). Of course, that cat’s already out of the bag, and removing the ability to view vote totals would probably just make people more angry, so that’ll never happen :)

      Really, I think the only way to seriously remove the negative perceptions about buying votes is to go back to last year’s several-thousand-votes-per-match-totals, which would make the few-hundred-per-match bought votes have less of an impact (the inverse way of doing that now would be to increase the cost per vote by about 10-20-fold, but then no one would donate which defeats the purpose of having it).

      But then that brings back the problem of server overload and cheating accusations! This problem gets more and more fascinating the more I think about it, now I want to attempt to design a system complex enough to accommodate the given seemingly impossible parameters to create what could be presented as a completely fair solution….

      • Glenn Hauman says:

        Welcome to our life. :-)

        One of the interesting conundrums we’ve encountered is that when we did the May Mayhem NSFW Webcomic Tournament last year, we did have the vote buying but didn’t have the verified voting, so the vote totals were about 5x higher and the funds didn’t make as big of an impact.

        Right now, we’re trying to keep the voting as open as possible– we already have FB and Twitter, and we’re working on WordPress.com, but we may not have it for the end of March. May, however, looks possible.

        • MrGraves says:

          Yeah, I find it a little strange that votes are as low as they are. Were you still allowed to vote once a day back in May? That would explain 3 of the 5x, I suppose. It starts reminding me of the whole freemium game conundrum: how to make a game in which paying and non-paying players can both enjoy the experience. Typically the easiest resolution is to have money be an exchange for time rather than an exchange for power: the people who pay to play don’t have to spend as much time to achieve the same results as the people who are willing to spend extra time and effort on the game, but the end power levels are still comparable. Hmm, translating that to this situation, it would be something like, you could vote once every day or so, or you could pay to vote, but there’d probably have to be a limit on the number you could purchase for any given matchup. The end result is a total amount of affect any one person can have on a match, but achieving it can be done through multiple routes.

          Ooh, ooh, maybe there could be other avenues as well, say, have a section where people could submit fan-comics or something time-intensive (basically going the other way on the effort-to-reward ratio), you’d have to bring in a few impartial judges to determine worth (and disregard the “bulk submissions” done to try to gain votes without real effort) since I doubt one person could manage that all by themselves but I think with the right team of experts and a balanced reward system approach…

          Well, not like I’m suggesting you should actually do any of this, haha, as that’s way too much work just to figure out the mechanics of it. It’s just an interesting comparison, especially since non-AAA-budget gaming has had the same kind of resurgence in the last few years that webcomics are having vs. the comic-book/newspaper-comic industry.

    • C A Collins says:

      Or make it all paid votes, and see which comic can raise the most for charity, but the way this is weighted means $1 is worth 5 people liking a comic and it takes all the fun out of voting.

      • Glenn Hauman says:

        Again, delicate balance. Right now, it’s a quarter a vote.

        We could be really mean for the finals and try something like the QuiBid model: people can buy votes, but each vote extends the closing time for the contest.

      • Amy says:

        I would only vote if they were 25 cents or less if it was only paid. I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend.

  5. Kaos says:

    Yeah, fuck paid votes. It’s nice that it goes to charity and all, but just fuck the whole concept. Why bother voting when someone with a dollar can just overrule you and several other people?

    • Esn says:

      I like the concept of paid votes because it’s a good miniature version of how our political system actually works, with fundraisers being often more important than voters. If you don’t like this, you’re being unpatriotic!!! ;)

      • Jo says:

        I assume you must be speaking sarcastically. Sorry if you thought it was obvious; I’m horribly bad at picking up sarcasm even without a purely text based language.
        Damn right I’m unpatriotic, though I’m not an american, or whichever overly patriotic nationality you may have been referring to either.
        I’m quite surprised that a web comic contest is using a system like this.
        Mr. Hauman, your new system of vote donations degrades both the votes and the charity that you seek to bring to this event, and frankly, I find it disgusting. Due to your lack of integrity, I will not be returning, and I will discourage other people from coming to your site as well for the same reason. Good day.

  6. Novil says:

    Although my comic made it to the next round, I’m really unhappy with the concept of buying so many votes. Here’s my blog post at my page: http://www.sandraandwoo.com/2013/03/19/no-important-message-from-sandy-south/

    “Yesterday, I prepared the message from Sandy South you can read below. But sometimes things don’t turn out as expected. I thought Sandra and Woo’s next opponent in the 2013 Webcomics Tournament at ComicMix would be Manly Guys Doing Manly Things since it won the popular vote by a wide margin against Commander Kitty. But one or more die-hard fans of Commander Kitty bought so many additional votes that it actually won. I think being able to buy some votes for your favorite comic was a nice idea, but if the end result is just dependent on how much money the fans of the comic have, the complete idea of voting goes out of the window.

    Vote for Sandra and Woo if you think it deserves to win, but I can’t take the contest as a serious sign of popular approval any longer.”

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      That’s really interesting, knowing how many paid votes showed up for you and for Paranatural. You’ll be happy to know that your fans donated $131 in your name for Round #3 alone, which I’d call a pretty serious sign of popular approval.

    • Space says:

      That’s nice of you to take the moral high ground! So you’re going to stop offering voting incentives now, right? Because that only encourages people to buying votes in your comic’s name to ensure the incentives get released.

    • I totally agree with this. i was absolutely thrille dto be matched up against Darths & Droids, Nedroid and Bittersweet Candy Bowl. Great comics! Even though I didn’t think I had a chance of winning any of those matches I worked hard to encourage my readers to vote, and my readers really came through! I believe we won the vote all three times (although I can’t go back and check now. I know that’s true for the last contest though). My readers and I campaigned hard. I don’t believe in offering incentives and I didn’t ask anyone to buy any votes (although a few people told me they had). I don’t mind losing at all. I’m really happy just to have made it this far, and I know that a lot of readers of the comics I was matched against found Modest Medusa for the first time through this contest. But… if we’re not going by votes, what’s the point of voting at all?

      • Jasujo says:

        I really like your attitude. I hadn’t read Modest Medusa before, but I just started because of this post and I’m really enjoying it. :)

      • Space says:

        You are going by votes in the contest, though. Think of it this way:

        The donations are basically the Bonus Stars in Mario Party. You can have the most stars at the end of the game, but you can still lose if you lose the bonus stars. Because the thing that matters is the stars at the very end, not the stars after all the points have been calculated. There’s lots of games that work this way! The donations were stated at the very beginning to be a thing.

        Popularity and dedication of fans has more ways to be shown than with simple numbers!

    • Scotty A says:

      I thought I’d cc a reply here as well as on Sandra & Woo’s site.

      No one was more surprised than me! Like I wrote on my site during Round 3, I think I know who is doing this, but what do I do? I kinda do need the exposure!
      In any event, it’s all for a good cause, and I would not be disappointed to lose to Sandra & Woo, or to Manly Guys.

    • Ga'Tor says:

      Y’all need to put your egos and “Holier than thou” attitudes on the back shelf. This tournament isn’t about YOU it’s about having a bit of fun while raising funds for a worthy cause and helping others. There are many other venues such as “Top Web Comics” where a valid measure of interest in comics can be evaluated on an ongoing basis. That is NOT what this is.

  7. Fish says:

    How close was the Unsounded/Homestuck match, if I may ask?

    • 1412 says:

      Homestuck actually won, according to the percentages. 51 to 49%

      • joanna says:

        So… why didn’t they make it to this round? :/

        • Glenn Hauman says:

          Because Unsounded got over $100 more in votes than Homestuck, which tipped the scales.

          • *sigh* says:

            Just be glad that your little competition here didn’t get noticed by Andrew Hussie. If he mentioned this on any of the social media he uses, your website likely would have crashed withing 10 minutes under the sheer bulk of fans coming here, as well as the scales being tipped eternally in its favor, no matter how much money the opposition threw.

          • Glenn Hauman says:

            That happened last year, apparently.

          • Fish says:

            Ah thanks for saying! I was wondering by how much, exactly, we differed.

            *sigh*, that didn’t happen last year! Maybe only because he told people to vote for GKC.

        • Fish says:

          Presumably, Unsounded fans donated more than $4.00. I would like to know how much each side donated.

          I noticed a few votes trickled in for Homestuck several hours after the Saturday 9pm EDT deadline; is something wrong with the software or would ComicMix be able to close polling at the right time for this next round?

  8. Matt Young says:

    I think the takeaway from this is that fans of a comic that is very far behind in the polls will be very highly motivated to spend money to even the odds, and fans of comics that are very far ahead in the polls will be likely to feel complacent and not be motivated to purchase additional votes. Thus it becomes important to avoid complacency even when apparently far ahead in the voting, and to be mindful that such a lopsided voting advantage can make a popular comic a huge target for stalwart fans of a lesser-known comic with money to burn. It becomes important for fans to defend even huge margins of unpaid votes with additional paid votes as well. The contest rules were known from the start; now the strategic implications are becoming clearer, and fanbases that can accept and adapt to these factors appropriately will have an advantage.

    • Will says:

      I think this is an excellent point. While I agree that it could be potentially lopsided, and can indeed boil down to who has more money to spend, we should not forget that this money goes to help fund budding or new artists that are under-funded so that they could hopefully compete in furture years. I really like the way you explained what is happening, and I agree that it’s true. Also, as someone who has not paid any money at all toward voting, it sucks to see some of my favorites go down, including a couple that likely won the popular vote, at the same time, it’s all just a fun competition, and should all remain friendly when considering that the money raised just goes back to help others in the comic creation industry that we all love, regardless of which comics are our personal favorirtes.

    • Scotty A says:

      I have no doubt Dresden Codak’s fans have lots of money to spend on their favorite (and one of my favorite) comic, as is apparent from his phenomenal Kickstarter. They just didn’t show it here in this contest. But I need the exposure more than him, so I’m happy my fans advanced Commander Kitty one more round. I wouldn’t be disappointed to lose to any of these comics.
      It’s all for a good cause, so I’m enjoying the ride!

  9. Pylgrim says:

    Why is a comic as popular and excellent as Gunnerkrigg Court not in the competition?

    • ~ says:

      I believe the creator asked not to be in it because of last year.

      • someone says:

        I think that should become the rule. The four finalists (winners of each bracket) would be automatically excluded from the next year’s contest (though they’d still be entered, if appropriate, to the contest two years later). That would create some movement.

  10. Maverik says:

    I find it interesting that so many people are so upset about more money going to charity. Y’know. The point of this whole thing. The contest that amounts to little less than bragging rights is fairly irrelevant. The money is what we’re here for. Money for supporting comic creators in need. Why does it have to turn into a raging war between angry nerds over their personal favourite not making the cut? Chill out, cast your votes, maybe donate some $$ to help out the charity and enjoy the ride.

    • Nope says:

      The point of the whole thing is for webcomics to get exposure.

      The vote buy thing was tacked on later and no one here was showing up for the opportunity to donate to a public charity and one that doesn’t even have too much connection to webcomic creators.

      • Maverik says:

        The exposure is nice sure. Good thing even the comics that lose are still listed up there in the brackets huh?

        The point is still decidedly to raise funds for charity. Always has been. Does it matter if it’s directly tied to webcomic creators? I’m not really sure why that’s relevant? Desert Bus For Hope sure doesn’t have a whole lot to do with sick kids but it’s raising money to buy their hospitals games for them to keep busy with.

        My point is that people are getting super angry to the point that, last year when this happened the top two contenders became decidedly EMBARRISED by their fans becoming so violent and aggressive over a dumb popularity contest. So much so that the winner specifically asked not to be included this year. I personally don’t see the merit in acting like everybody is :\

        • Lukkai says:

          Actually it has NOT always been the point. It has changed towards that, once the option to buy votes was implemented. Even moreso now, that the number of standard votes has gone way down.

          Whether you like that or not, everyone will have to decide for themselves. And I won’t fall into the trap of starting some heated discussion about it here. Just wanted to point out that while your point of view is certainly valid, some information you gave is simply wrong.

      • Glenn Hauman says:

        Luckily, most webcomic creators are young enough that they haven’t had a need for help from Hero yet. And the CBLDF has fought for Internet freedom since the 90s, many webcomics wouldn’t even be allowed to publish on the net if it weren’t for work the CBLDF did.

    • Jasujo says:

      I agree with you! The more for the charity, the better. Having your favorite comics continue in the contest is just icing on the cake. :)

  11. Dvn.Rizuki says:

    My both favorite is in one game this round (CK vs SaW @ Game 4 Kubert division.. Hard to choose..

  12. Jasujo says:

    I keep reading these comments from readers and creators and I think some people are forgetting the point of this contest. Yes, it is fun to see your favorite comics pass through each round and possibly even win. I understand how loyal some people are and how disappointing it can be when something you like doesn’t get to he next round. I think it’s great you’re so dedicated to these comics.

    However, this contest is a way to give to a charity. Yes, I am disappointed when a comic I like doesn’t move on, but if the people paid for votes for the opposing comic and that money is going to charity, keep them coming! If people want to pay for votes, that’s great! Pay as much as you want because it’s going to help people and that’s far more important than which comic wins this contest. So, please stop discouraging the paid votes. The more, the better! :)

    • Maverik says:

      Well said!

    • Fish says:

      The original point of this contest was to let fandoms measure themselves, and to give a few underrated comics more exposure. I understand that this changed in this year’s event, but I think it’s understandable that some people still want it to be a popularity contest?

      This is the most reputable platform for fans of popular webcomics to prove their numbers. It would be hella sweet if gurls could just get along and give shit for charity, but that’s not the only factor in this contest, and certainly not the advertised end goal.

  13. Ga'Tor says:

    D’accord with what Maverik and Jasujo said. And I’ll repeat my earlier comment that the creators in this race need to put their egos aside and realize that this contest is not about them, it’s about helping others in their peerage.
    As a side note, that some fans are willing to DONATE real money is also a measure of individual interest.

  14. RickJS says:

    I followed your directions. It did not ask me which comic I wanted to vote for. So, you handle it. I donated $10 (Confirmation number: 95T510919F3055123), and I’m voting fo GrrlPower.

  15. AutumnWyvern says:

    I have thought about how I feel in regards to the buying of votes, and how that can override a popular vote for a comic. I realize that yes, the whole point of this is to raise money, so the donation votes makes sense. But, at the same time I can’t help but feel as though that makes the popular votes seem useless, especially to people (like myself) that can’t really afford to donate anything. But then I had a thought: what if in one of the years to come there are two “divisions” one comic will win the popular vote (with a smaller winnings or maybe only bragging rights or something) and than another for donation votes? At the very least, I think such a set-up could pacify much of the grumbling, but whether or not it can/will happen? No idea.

  16. HazyFlameKing says:

    im sure BCB will win its division. it’s a great comic and deserves its victory imo. im sure cyanide and happiness will obliterate sandra and woo, which is a shame, because S&W is great. however, between two guys and guy and grrrl power, that’s tough. i’d give it to guys.

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