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Article > Webcomics with text
Description :: Feature request?
I've read a few webcomics over the years. One of the most annoying things about them is that they're funny -- but there's no easy way to copy-paste funny quotes to other people (or websites).

It seems like such a simple thing to me for webcomic artists to provide one or two text versions of their comics. Why several? It would be a public service to provide a text version including "all" the action from the comic (settings, tone of voice, descriptions of action) for the blind, who can enjoy a joke just as well as the next man. But a stripped-down version would be nice too for simple copy-pasting -- I'm not even sure you need any indication of who's talking for it to be funny.

Text really is the ultimate fall-back position, isn't it. I'm a DBA by day, and I just can't get enough of note fields, description fields, narrative fields ... heck, when your favorite VARCHAR gets too short, there's always BLOB! To users, everything is text, until told otherwise. If it were up to them, they'd track the entire accounting system as a set of notes -- "I spent $5 on groceries for the party today at Wal-Mart." There's no reason they shouldn't fall back on text though -- it's been a successful means of communication for a really long time, and given a large enough text field, you can describe just about anything. Okay, so it's a pain to translate accurately, and you can't really do anything interesting with it (the SUM operator seems unable to cope with text, for reasons I have yet to fathom), but from one brain to another, it works well.

Translations -- another good reason for webcomics to provide text versions of themselves! I know I keep a 'translate this' bookmarklet (javascript bookmark) to translate anything textual I come across to english. I imagine I'm not alone. For some reason, that doesn't work with images... So that's a good third reason.

Heck, I'll even throw in a fourth reason, free! Searching. On Google. To my surprise, Google doesn't include OCR (optical character recognition, commonly known as 'reading') features. It can't read an image like you can. Without a text version of the comics, we can't just search on Google for part of a joke, to find the rest. We can't just search for a character's name and find out where he appears in the timeline of the comic. We can't ... we can't do anything! I feel so oppressed!

I asked Insignis to pass this feature request on to John Allison of ScaryGoRound, who seems open to new ideas, but I'm not one to leave my grandiose dreams up to fate -- and Insignis. Maybe someday all webcomics (and visual artists in general) will provide searching-, translation-, blind-, and copy-pasting-friendly versions of their work. But probably not.

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Owned by Unordained - Created on 07/19/2005 - Never edited

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