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 Dilbert.com
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 News.com:
"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 Dilbert.com 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.