(2011) Homestuck as a general phenomenon was very active and developed at a very swift pace from the time it was published (2009) onwards, especially in 2012-2013, including and past the first years of the Homestuck Kickstarter Project, a.k.a Hiveswap.
Between 2009 and 2012, Homestuck as a webcomic was infamous for updating daily, constantly, multiple times a day, at all hours, for years. There was a remarkable cold calculated average that Homestuck updated 5.5 pages per day, dropping entire bundles of updates of character interaction and plot reveals frame by frame, posted as fast as Hussie could write it. Though it wasn’t immediately obvious, this pace was literally sleeplessly breakneck, Hussie allegedly didn’t do anything but live, breathe and dream Homestuck for at least four years straight. I’m serious when I say updates came at all hours. I would wake up 2am on a week night and idly check MSPA to see if there was a new update, sort of like a trained parrot. Then in five minutes I’d tab back over to the Homestuck tab and refresh, just in case.
This lead to an phenomenon appropriately dubbed “upd8 culture,” which became the basis of the sheer evangelical furor people still associate with the Homestuck fandom. Quick history: MSPA fans originated and migrated over from the Penny Arcade forums, Reddit, and 4chan to nestle permanently within the bowels of 2011 - 2013 tumblr, and were best described from a distance as ‘zealous.’ Even remembering it now almost feels remembering a distant riot. If you didn’t cosplay, write up a detailed theory post, or scribble up a crazy level of appropriately detailed fanart within 10 or so minutes any given upd8, you were buried under the force of post overload and were officially late to the party. Even after years of this, fans had some idea of just how dedicated it came off of, which spurred on fandom and made Homestuck into the most meme filled in-joke community you could possibly imagine.
What’s frustrating about describing Homestuck and Homestuck fandom is they both heavily affected each other and were both unique phenomenons within themselves, which makes actually trying to get across the atmosphere and of the early 2010s a really a wordy process. I could tell you Homestuck heyday updates regularly crashed tumblr servers, which became an actual funny fake rss way of seeing how much the plot progressed that day, or could have been because tumblr servers even in 2011-2013 were not very robustly programmed. I could tell you Homestuck dominated tumblr to the point it had a virulent hatedom of people who had never even read it and constantly saw it and never understood what was happening in it, and everyone else couldn’t stop themselves from chattering about it all the time. One thing that has to be noted is all this continual bickering and movement and development and competitive content production was honestly fun as hell.
Popular fan theories had multiple fanfictions written on them just to better explain what might happen, and reoccurring fanart traits and fanfictions were constantly being corrected, updated, and replaced by a deluge of new information and characters to pore over every single detail with a fandom magnifying glass. Canon and fanon both directly pulled from each other, especially in the small details. I don’t know how many hyper ambitious fandom projects, games, animations, multi media fanstories were abandoned for new starts JUST because the information they were working off became too outdated. There were always running projects of painstaking collaboration of organizers, voice actors, programmers, artists, writers, etc. I think some fanventures are still doing that to this day, and back in 2012 there was the exciting happenstance of the Homestuck Shipping Olympics, which was overwhelmed with applications for the years it ran.
As even a casual reader, you just read the upd8 and threw everything you had out there for scrutiny until it was kind of clear what could be scoured from the newest upd8, for your own rigorously interpreted and analyzed theory and making posts about it. What constant updates to canon meant in conjunction with Hussie’s oddly accurate tabs on fandom theory was you had to do whatever you were doing fast, or you would be outdated, wrong, inaccurate, or irrelevant at some undisclosed unspecific time, very soon. As the fandom grew bigger and younger Hussie seemed to shade more politic in his fandom communication, but it still always felt like an “open channel” call and response between fandom and comic, at every second.
Another aspect feeding upd8 culture was in the actual writing and content of Homestuck. One thing Homestuck didn’t lack for was constant barely solvable mystery. Part of my extreme willingness to take part in Homestuck fandom was that Homestuck was so crammed to the brim with open ended creative potential, just the cool ideas and plot mechanics and vivid characters presented with actually innovative framing that had really good ideas and existed literally nowhere else, and I say that as a huge sci-fi fan. Time travel in Homestuck was excellent. It was an ambitious story and I really do think it pulled it off.
There were also factors of style, innovation and novelty that I think affected the diversity of fan output. Even small things like the definition of a “page,” or even a “webcomic” became malleable within Homestuck. A page could range from single static scribble gif image to a 3 hr fully programmed rpg or 18 minute asset heavy style swapping animation, or most commonly, sprite art followed by several hundred words of dialogue and character interaction. Pages came by different artists, different styles, different mediums, different paces and focuses, but with a breadth-spanning understanding of the internet. Homestuck was once described as the fossilized excrement of someone’s personal creative experiments, and I can’t help but think that’s a good way of putting it. Innovation and excitement teemed off the page, and straight into a staggeringly wide variety of fanfiction and art, in style, content, theme, and pov.
Lastly, Hussie had a tendency to canonize fan content and hire fanartists and fananimators if their output was solid enough with a gentle horse kiss of approval and a naturally internet-transparent hiring process and the assumption people understood internet courtesy, like a forum. This was a purposely fostered atmosphere in the spirit of experimental adventure, and was just fucking nuts. Fans never wrote the story, but they did heavily influence aspects of how it was told and where it went (by design, fans were pretty much involved in making the comic) and even get to actually flesh out the details, like the main character’s names, memes, romances, character, and scope. Everything from canon sprite art to Caliborn’s character to Calliope’s art skill to music and trickster arcs were all originally based on years of fan jokes and fanon. Homestuck was definitely Hussie’s sole property and precious baby, but it was always kind of built on top of the assumption of freeform rap battle with the fandom. It added an extra layer of galvanizing egging on to fandom purpose. I don’t know how else to explain everything that came of it. Fandom was like a roiling morass of bullshit activity, we were like a freaking breaking news bullpen, there was so much energy sparking off of all facets of fandom because it was just so fun. Fan output was borderline insane in 2010-2013.
Hussie said fandom grew exponentially at the introduction of the Trolls in Act 5 in mid 2010, but I can honestly say I think fandom really started treating Homestuck like a hidden gem worth prosetelyzing right after the events of [S] Cascade at the end of 2011. Before then, Homestuck was tenuously good, and had a rep on tumblr for having weirdly ubiquitous fans and over- detailed fancontent, but [S] Cascade was the moment every single gamble asked of the reader in the story actually paid off. A puzzle clicking into place. In fact, Homestuck’s plot was generally constructed to climax at [S] Cascade, as was apparent from the big explosion of fan reaction after the fact.
can we do that thing that 4chan did to brenden fraser to anthony fantano? just make tons of gross ugly edits of him and tag them as anthony fantano 2018 so they show up in google results for looking up anthony fantano 2018
In fact, 4chan has actually accomplished quite a bit for the betterment of others, while people on this site sit on the computer, and whine about meaningless trivialities that don’t mean squat to anyone with a goddamn brain.
Circulating false statistics about rape, and then literally becoming enraged when they find out that women aren’t being victimized as much as they were led to believe. Wow, that’s a super-healthy attitude towards women. These are definitely the people I want standing up for my rights. NOT.
Glorifying unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, such as self-harm, and anorexia (in attempting to respond to you directly, I noticed quite a lot of images glorifying self-harm. You’re actually violating tumblr’s Terms of Service, and promoting potentially fatal behavior. Even if 4chan did “raid” anyone, perhaps it would be for the better, since it would save the site mods from having to remove such blogs themselves). Just an FYI.
People on tumblr were the ones who CAUSED the “raid” on tumblr by trying to “#shutdown4chan”. 4chan became bored after a single night, while tumblr continued crying like babies, and making false claims that people on 4chan were “being arrested by the FBI”.
Meanwhile, the sane people of tumblr mocked the shit out of them for intentionally kicking the hornet’s nest, and then whining when they got stung.
So, what have you, or any of the so-called “activists” on tumblr, done for anyone else lately?
Yeah. That’s what I thought. A whole lotta jack and shit.
The only reason 4chan keeps becoming targeted is because whiny little teenage bags of snot can’t handle the fact that the people they hate the most (mainly for calling them out on their bullshit) accomplish more genuine good for others than they likely ever will.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what either side of this argument says about the other. You are not a “good person” just because you sit around screaming at the top of your lungs trying to convince people that you are. When it comes to 4chan, they let their actions speak for themselves. They show genuine altruism while under a veil of anonymity. They don’t go out of their way to be known or recognized individually for their contributions. That alone speaks volumes about how tumblr “activists” are merely wearing positive labels like a fashion trend, and not actually conducting themselves in any manner to attempt to live up to those labels. They are consumed with a rabid desire for others to see them as pious martyrs, regardless of whether or not they’re deserving of such impressions. Unfortunately for them, true goodness is determined by ACTIONS.
In the final tally, regardless of the other incidents 4chan has taken part in, tumblr still has them beat by a long shot when it comes to acting like horrifyingly disgusting human beings. Even when they’re pulling juvenile bullshit, at least 4chan doesn’t act self righteous about it.
i'm kind of fucking terrified of the next generation after the millennials because of youtubers. like these kids LOVE youtubers and youtubers are probably the last people i would go to for maturity. in addition i just fear a general reactionary pushback to social justice due to having grown up in an environment that constantly pushes it. do you think there's any truth to this worry
I think that growing up with shitty Internet content is just one of the realities of our generation and those following it, but i also believe that most people will grow out of it and re-examine it through a more critical lens as they mature For example, a lot of Internet-savvy folks in their early 20s had edgy 4chan/ED phases during their teenage years, myself included. But as we go through life and gain more experiences, we gain more insight into ourselves and our relationship with the world and grow out of the teenage boundary-pushing phase.
As for the reactionary pushback to social justice topics, we’re kind of in one right now. Culturally, I feel like Internet youth subcultures tend to swing back and forth in response to the mainstream attitudes of the time. During the Bush era, sites like 4chan and ED used things like Fox News and the Church of Scientology as laughingstocks - not so much out of genuine left-leaning sentiment as it was pushing back against the mainstream. In the same vein, we started to see it swing back round to the other direction in response to the increasingly liberal sensibilities of Obama-era media. Logic would dictate that we’d start to see the other shoe fall as mid-2010s America became a GOP orgy, but things are a bit more complicated nowadays, as bigots and hate groups have cottoned on to these contrarian tendencies and whipped up what were originally dissatisfied youth looking to piss their parents off into a frenzy to bolster their ranks. So all we can do in the face of this bleak picture is remain steadfast in our beliefs and use the anger and disillusionment that defines our generation as fuel for positive change.
i used to go on facepunch n 4chan n shit like that and i used to BE one of those people. i used to not like zoe quinn or anita sarkeesian for whatever bullshit reasons i was fed. i used to make fun of dear esther and gone home and noby noby boy and the graveyard and whatever other weird/art games were around at the time. the thing abt 4chan culture and the cultures relating to it is that, that shit goes away if you let it. there was that tweet abt how a lot of the “sjw” culture stems from people who USED TO BE anti-sj types. like,
life gets a lot more freeing when you let things like art challenge you. when you realize, hey maybe things ARENT so good in the hobby i spend most of my free time with. instead of making excuses to explain why things are actually okay, or to be so strict as to the definition of what makes a game Good, just let yourself experience things as they are. 5 bucks is the cost of a coffee or a snack. the concept of dollars per hour is such an intrinsic part of gaming culture that games like the graveyard as still dismissed to this day, even tho its merits are still being argued nearly 9 years after its release. in that frame of reference, 5 bucks for 10 mins of direct gameplay seem a lot more worth it than at first glance