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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:02am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Pete Valle, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:22am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Bobbknight, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:34am

    Works in IE7

    It works with IE7

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    BTR1701, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:39am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Pete Valle, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re: Web Site Mess

    Thank you sir for that link!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    David, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 6:19am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    David, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 6:28am


    Ohhh yeah. Check out the Terms of Use.

    Not only is everything you create their property, but any disputes will be settled with mandatory arbitration.

    Really looking to pack the maximum amount of evil into the smallest possible package.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    JT, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 7:43am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Jake, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 8:16am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    David, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 8:19am


    Don't call it a mashup if it's really not, is all I'm saying.

    Write what you want and do what you want to do with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 9:38am

    The new site

    The new site was created by a company called VPI.Net. I'd bet that all the flash, new layout, adds, and even the ToS were put together by them and not Scott. He's off doing his comic thing, he's not a web developer (and from the looks of it, nether is VPI).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    I always find it ironic that the supposedly "professional" companies who probably charge obscene amounts of money to design a web site, almost always make horrible sites full of Flash, Javascript, ActiveX and all sorts of crap as well as making the site hard to navigate, while amateurs make simple, easy to use sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Mr. Blankpage, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 2:12pm

    Firefox is saying something

    If you use Firefox with ad-blocker you get a blank page. It's pretty self-explanatory if EVERYTHING goes away :-P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Broke_Daddy, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 2:35pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    BJC (profile), Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Oooh. According to the site's TOS we can now neither encumber nor hypothecate!

    What is left?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    pegr, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 5:57am

    Dilbert Hole anyone?

    The Dilbert Hole was a true mash-up from years ago. (Actual Dilbert strips were matched up with new captions, most totally tasteless, vulgar, and hilarious...) Didn't the creators get sued?

    I'm sure you can find The Dilbert Hole with a google search. Be warned, it's very NSFW. (Did I mention it was hilarious?)

    Yup, here ya go...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 6:40am

    Re: The new site

    They probably did the site but the ToS is probably mouthed by a lawyer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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