Scott Adams To Try Crowdsourcing Dilbert's Jokes?

from the can't-wait-to-see-dogbert's-take dept

While I’ve had my own minor run in with Dilbert-creator Scott Adams, I remain a fan of the strip. Adams has always received many of his ideas for the strip from readers, incorporating them into the storylines and jokes. Now, it looks like he’s taking that idea even further: letting his fans write the comics themselves. Late last week, the website got a massive makeover, which upset many folks, in particular for its wide use of flash. It also broke the “unofficial” RSS feed that someone had created for Dilbert comic strips — though the Dilbert people (finally!) realized it wasn’t such a bad idea to offer one of their own. While the new site may be a bit flash-heavy and annoying to manage, it’s quite interesting to see that one of the features on the site will be to allow fans of the strip to write their own punchline, filling in the text for the final frame. Eventually, this will extend to filling in the text of the whole cartoon. While there are no official plans to publish any of the results, Adams seems curious to see what pops out. He even admits the realities of copyright when it comes to these cartoons (which is amusing, since the argument we had was over copyright), telling

“We’re accepting the realities of IP on the Internet, and trying to get ahead of the curve. People already alter Dilbert strips and distribute them. If we make it easy and legal to do so, and drive more traffic to in the process, everyone wins. Plus it’s a lot of fun to see what people come up with in the mashups.”

Even though there is something of a filter in place, it’s likely that (as with other such efforts) some of the results will push the boundaries of tastelessness. Still, once you get past that, it will be worth seeing how much this impacts Adams’ work. The suggested punchlines could influence future strips, or Adams may eventually do something interesting with those alternative panels. Of course, the whole thing could fail miserably, but it’ll still be fun to watch the experiment in action.

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Comments on “Scott Adams To Try Crowdsourcing Dilbert's Jokes?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The comic strip appears and before I can read it switches to some other multi media format which when it starts loading freezes Foxfire and Internet Explorer on my XP box and completely messes up Konqueror and Mozilla in my Fedora 7 box.

Since there is little likely hood of the idiots who made this mess straightening it out I have had little alternative but to remove Dilbert from my Toons bookmarks. Said but no more daily Dilbert for me; If I can not read it I can not read it.

Pete Valle (user link) says:

Fan submissions

As co-creator and writer of my own crappy webcomic, I think what Scott is doing should be fun for both him and the fans. We also receive a ton of ideas from fans, and its always very interesting to see what the fans come up with and how similar or different their ideas are from our own.

What we have just begun to do is to implement a separate section where we publish strips written by the fans and acknowledge their contribution. We give them due credit, but keep the fan-scripted strip separate from our weekly run. Something like this would be interesting and enjoyable for Dilbert.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Web Site Mess

> Late last week, the website got a
> massive makeover, which upset many folks, in
> particular for its wide use of flash.

That’s a bit of an understatement. They’ve gone an “improved” the site to where it’s almost unusable. Two out of the three computers I use regularly won’t even load it.

Thankfully one can still access the daily Dilbert strip at United Media’s site in the old reliable format without all the ridiculous new bells and whistles.

David says:

Not just the website

If you got the (almost) daily email from, signed you up (unasked) for the daily email of the New Imnproved Version. The old daily emails seem to have stopped now.

The unitedmedia website is still available but I will not be surprised if it goes away before too long.

This is the same Scott Adams whose RSS feed went from full stories to twenty-word summaries as an “improvement.”

How sad that the creator of Dilbert doesn’t get the internet.

JT says:

Fail Miserably?

“Of course, the whole thing could fail miserably…”

I’m really not sure how the whole thing could fail miserably? I think he has the right idea. Provide the blanks to fill in on the official site and potentially get more visitors. If the feature is seldom used, what does he lose? I guess the only thing that could be an issue is how much tasteless material is added (as you already said) but fail miserably?

Jake says:

Cutting through the jargon, the gist of the disclaimer is thus:
“By participating in this glorified fanfiction contest you explicitly waive your right to file cease and desist orders, sue for theft of intellectual property, bitch about it on your LiveJournal or go and set the Artist’s house on fire if he shamelessly plunders your entries for any good gags. And no, you don’t get a cut if the result turns up in the omnibus either, but you’ll be mentioned by name if you behave yourself.”
And take it from the guy who writesare some so don’t even start!- are pretty okay with this.

Broke_Daddy says:

Dilbert new Website

The fact that you have the technology to do something doesn’t mean that you have to use it.
The first day of the new site found me unable to load it, however, that apparently was the problem of the new site.
Subsequently, I’ve been able to load it and while I more or less appreciate the colorized version, I have no use for any of the other parts of the site.
I use IE7 and have the latest Flash update.
I can only hope that they have an appreciation for the criticisms of the new site, and make user friendly changes.

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