Word comes this day that one of the Ryan North-designed tools for webcomickers, RSSPECT¹, is on the fast track to retirement:
RSSPECT: April 29th 2006 – April 30th 2014
RSSPECT was in sunset mode for the past several years (no new premium accounts two years ago, no new feeds at all one year ago), and we’d hoped that we could operate in a “last one out, turn off the lights” sort of way. It happily ran itself on a little server in NYC. We didn’t really check in on it. That was our mistake.
Unfortunately, we suffered a database loss earlier this week, and backups weren’t operating properly. Among the data lost was our users table, which tells us which feed belongs to which person. With this loss, RSSPECT has finally been put out to pasture.
I don’t know about the internal functioning of RSSPECT, but I suspect that without the users table, some feeds will have been lost and others might continue on in a mechanical fashion without much ability to control form or content beyond what was configured pre-crash. North continues:
If you liked what we did, thanks! RSSPECT was a fun little project that solved a problem for a lot of people in a pretty easy way. There are a few other sites who have followed in our footsteps, which you can find by searching for webpage into rss feed.
Thanks for using RSSPECT, and I’m sorry we couldn’t end it more gracefully.
For anybody thinking that North should have done more, keep in mind that this was far more a labo[u]r of love than a money-spinner for him (you don’t get rich off of free services), and I doubt it ever made enough money to equal the time he put into the initial development, or the effort to maintain it (at least until the relatively quiet sunset phase).
Now that he doesn’t have thoughts of What to do about winding down RSSPECT?, North will doubtless have enough spare brain juice to think up something new and neat: maybe another community tool, maybe another comic book, or CYOA book, or something completely new and yet so obvious we wonder why nobody ever thought of it before². It was a neato tool while it lasted, Ryan — RSSPECT.
In other news:
- Sean Kleefeld has some thoughts about comics that bounce from place to place (publisher to publisher in the case of floppies; site to site, collective to collective in the case of webcomics), and the requirement that you talk about what has gone before so people picking you up in a new locale aren’t lost.
- Kate Beaton has a new comic on a heroic, historically significant, and sadly neglected raiser of the right kinds of hell, Ida B Wells. Like half of Beaton’s subjects, I had basically no idea about Wells’s story (although I had heard her name, it was absent any kind of context or appreciation of all she accomplished), and like nearly all of Beaton’s subjects, this comic is compelling me to go do some reading because I know that behind these laughs are some tragic, uncomfortable, important truths.
- The usual pattern for some time has been that somebody in nerdly culture does something mind-bogglingly misogynistic and gets called on it, then Lewis’s Lawmanchild attacks on Janelle Asselin (escalating to the point of attempts to hijack her bank accounts, along with the usual death and rape threats, for the crime of being a woman in the boys clubhouse) have not died down in the usual fashion, as if the reasonable parts of [web]comics have finally had enough with the idiots who can’t stand somebody else either not liking something the way they like it, or not liking the same thing to the required degree.
This time it feels like a corner’s turned; this time it feels like it won’t be pushing back against a particular outburst of infantile behavior, but a desire to have a permanent, standing resolve to push back against the tide of morons. Don’t feed the trolls, Just ignore them, and They don’t really mean they’re going to rape you and kill your children were never adequate responses to the anonymous and cowardly, but there wasn’t a good sense of what an appropriate response would be. I’ve seen a lot of suggestions the past couple of weeks, but the one I think I like best comes from Christopher Bird, blogger, TV critic, political writer, lawyer, webcomic author, and Canadian; he calls it The Full Cobain:
I write a blog, I does a Twitter, I make comics. And this one goes out to the dickheads out there who seem determined to make life as difficult as possible for fangirls and geek girls and girls generally: don’t read my stuff. Just pass it by. I will make do without your eyeballs, attention, and (when there is opportunity for you to spend) monies. You are not needed; you are the fleshy little wart on the ass of Life, purely extraneous and mostly unpleasant, and I don’t want your business. [emphasis original]
I’m adopting this; I’m not a vastly popular anything with legions of followers, but I have some and I’m declaring my intentions. If you can’t stand the thought of somebody else liking things other than exactly in the way you find best, and if you decide that along with the fact that they are female means that you can go all Scientology Fair Game on them, find another site. You’re not welcome here until you grow the fuck up.
² Answer: because nobody else is The Toronto Man-Mountain, that’s why.