The webcomics blog about webcomics

Time To Return The Favor

This page has, on several occasions, seen fit to mention one Philip ‘Frumph’ Hofer and his tireless work building infrastructure tools for webcomics. He’s responsible for the WordPress theme ComicPress and the WordPress plug-in Comic Easel, as well as tirelessly monitoring social media for hints of webcomickers with site troubles. Say his name and he appears, offering insight and assistance, sometimes before you even realize he was there. Accept his help and prod him enough, Hofer might allow in an oblique way that he takes donations and is available for hire, but he has never in my experience said I know how to fix your problems if you give me money.

I’ve wondered in the past how he can be available pert-near all hours of the day and how he can afford to give away so much knowledge and so many tools but never dug into the topic; I suspect that many other people who’ve had his assistance likewise counted themselves lucky without investigating. As it turns out, Hofer could use your help:

On Sunday the 17th of August my son and his friend were in my car; a ’96 Ford Explorer XLT; and unfortunately got into an accident, my truck flipped over several times. Much thanks to the strength and durability and weight of the truck my son and his friend walked away from the accident. My boy only had some minor injuries, head cuncussion and a chunk of skin off his leg. The friend had no physical injuries.

I am looking to replace it and I don’t have the funds to do so; so I need some help.

I would like to have the transportation to get to the doctor’s and other important appointments.

Hofer goes on to inform us that he’s looking to replace the vehicle with something comparable, and thus is asking for very little, with the aim of getting another 18 year old car:

That ’96 ford was only worth around $2200, I want to replace it with near the exact same thing because it is such a great truck to drive; mainly for peace of mind on how sturdy it is.

He also shares a bit that answers the questions that I never asked:

I’m not a complete sob story though — I like to think I’m not at least; I pay back everyone and everything that comes my way by helping others. The way I do that is by contributing my days writing and supporting software for artists and authors to put their works on the internet, which is available for free to download as a plugin for the WordPress platform. I spend my days supporting those artists; I receive close to a hundred or so tech support emails daily and am avid on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else I can to be available to help people out in anyways possible. I rarely ever ask for any donation for what I provide and even then it’s at such a low cost to allow those people to be able to afford work that companies would charge them thousands of dollars for.

How can I spend my days doing this? I am disabled, on SSI. I have had trouble getting a good job that would cater to my disability. As you can realize that every cent that comes in goes to just living expenses and nothing is ever able to be saved to be able to get a new car, wish it was different; but this is the way it is. So I spend my days helping others.

Here’s a thought — if you have used Hofer’s tools, if he’s ever given a quick answer on Twitter, or a longer one by email, or especially if he’s taken the time to fix things, howsabout kicking him a few bucks? I did last summer when Fleen shifted hosting and had WordPress issues, and in the year since I’ve had time to reflect on how I undervalued Hofer’s time, so I’m kicking in some more as soon as I finish writing this.

I won’t make any specific recommendation as to what you think his time is worth, but I’ll make this suggestion: how long did you try to resolve your issue before he gave you the point in the right direction? How much time do you think you saved as a result? How much do you value your time?

If you use ComicPress or Comic Easel, just make it a flat five or ten bucks. If you have a copy of Brad Guigar’s The Webcomics Handbook and enjoyed the sections on hosting and Comic Easel (and customizing Comic Easel), maybe that would be worth something to him as well.

Hofer may want to get another 18 year old car, but just maybe we can get him enough money that he can afford one that is just a solid, but has more modern safety features inside. And if the funding link closes because the goal is met, there’s still his page and the donation link over the left. He’s been giving to the community without end for years now, and it’s time we did the same for him.

Spam of the day:

You will not be able to understand why when you might be writing because you could not even know what Urdu poetry really is inside
the first place.

You got me, Sparky — I have little understanding of the nuances of Urdu poetry. I will try to remedy that for the next time we talk.

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