Purpose

The SpiderForest Webcomic Collective is a close-knit group of webcomic creators who seek to combine marketing and creative efforts to amplify our audience reach, support each other in crafting comics, and create new projects together.

SpiderForest is a community for and owned by webcomic creators who, regardless of professional experience and notability, come together as equals to provide voluntary support for the benefit of all members. We promote a collaborative, rather than competitive, approach to creating and sharing our work. Our diversity — our different experiences, skill sets, and approaches to creating and marketing — is our greatest asset in helping each other create better comics and presence.

Goals

SpiderForest strives to be a community where creatives with a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and opinions can share their views in a safe and respectful manner. We aim to raise our members and their comics’ craft and publicity through use of member-provided resources, advice, and a supportive community environment.

Member Roles

Creators who get the most out of SpiderForest are community-oriented, seek self-improvement, and improvement of those around them. As a democratic and volunteer-based community, what you give to SpiderForest is what you get from it. It is a member’s own prerogative to seek help and improvement from the collective. We have a single banner requirement to link other members’ comics. Beyond this, we promote each other’s works because we want to.

As a member, if you would like to see something happen at SpiderForest, you are encouraged to pursue it within the community. Ability to initiate/organize a project or activity within SpiderForest is not restricted to administrators; any member can bring ideas to the table and organize a collective project or activity. With few exceptions, the vote of an administrative staff member carries the same weight as the vote of any other member. All that SpiderForest has achieved since its 2004 inception has been made possible by enterprising collective members, rather than by a board of managers.

New Member Selection

Our membership is built of creators we respect and who can bring something unique to SpiderForest. New members are chosen by the collective via democratic vote, and comics/creators that receive a minimum of 60% approval of available reviewers are accepted. This way, we choose our neighbors and what content we promote within SpiderForest.

Member Requirements

  • Participate in voting during scheduled application seasons
  • Display the SpiderForest rotating network banner above the fold of one’s comic page
  • Attend yearly roll call
  • Not a member of other private comic-related collectives or networks
  • SpiderForest site is not hosted on a brand network, such as but not limited to: Comic Fury, SmackJeeves, Tapas, Webtoons, or Tumblr
  • Stay at least one update ahead of any mirrors beyond the member’s SpiderForest site (Exception: Paywall experiences such as Patreon)
  • Maintain one’s own website
  • Provide one’s own promo materials
  • Engage with the SpiderForest community regularly
  • Be responsive to admin emails and keep in touch regarding expected breaks or hiatuses from one’s comic

Administrative Roles

Prolific and active SpiderForest members with a reputation for excellent community conduct may be invited to be an administrator/moderator by the existing SpiderForest administrative staff. Administrative responsibilities include managing the SpiderForest website and forums, organizing application season and new member induction, and upholding SpiderForest’s rules of conduct. All responsibilities carried out by the administrative staff is done on a volunteer basis.

Intellectual Property

The SpiderForest Webcomic Collective is not a publisher, and it is not run for profit by any person or group of people. SpiderForest is and will remain a creator-owned organization, in which all members have an equal stake for as long as they wish to be associated with the group. SpiderForest does not monetize our members’ content in any way without their clear prior consent, and we do not and will never make any claims of ownership over anyone’s comics, art, writing, or other related content. That means we make no claim to ownership or income from:

  • Selling your comic to a publisher
  • Crowdfunding campaigns
  • Advertising
  • Any other monetization of your work

Decision Making Policy

SpiderForest is democratic and volunteer-run. Big community decisions are put to vote in the forum, and barring extenuating circumstances, the majority wins. All members, regardless of rank or seniority, have a voice at SpiderForest, and our accomplishments are driven by the will of the community.

Communication

The SpiderForest forum is the hub of the collective’s communications, and is where all community project and event organization is carried out. Members are expected to visit and engage periodically, if not frequently. Beyond this, SpiderForest sends out a semi-regular newsletter. Members are recommended, but not required, to follow SpiderForest social media accounts. SpiderForest chatrooms, such as on Discord or Skype, are extracurricular.

Projects and Activities

SpiderForest is founded on collaboration. These are the types of activities we have conducted in the past and that you can expect as an active member of SpiderForest:

Application Review: Members are asked to review a short application and comic samples from applicants to the collective for suitability to become members, and vote based on their opinions. Run 1-2 times a year, application review is the only required member activity.

Fundraisers: Members propose and conduct fundraising activities, the proceeds of which are used for either specified costs (such as convention registration fees or production of a new collaborative work) or general costs as determined/managed by the admin team (such upkeep of the SpiderForest servers/domain). Donations may be solicited internally among the members or via a donation/crowdfunding avenue such as Kickstarter, depending on what the goal of the project is. Member donations to SpiderForest events or projects are voluntary, not mandatory.

Exchanges: Members may propose or solicit informal exchanges, such as gift art exchanges or hiatus/filler art for one another. These exchanges are informal, fun ways of getting to know the artists in our community as well as offer support and boost morale among membership.

Collaborative Projects: Members may start more formal collaborative projects as well, such as podcasts, anthologies, art books, chats, or other projects incorporating the works of two or more members. Collaboration on projects should be inclusive of all members, and any fundraising needs will be determined as needed.

Rules of Conduct

SpiderForest is a place for the discussion of art and comics, and an exchange of ideas on our creative goals. For this to be successful, we all recognize that certain topics of discussion have the potential to stray into counterproductive areas as we pursue our artistic work. SpiderForest does not enforce any specific creed or set of beliefs as a criterion for membership, other than that members be thoughtful and exercise appropriate discretion when discussing issues such as religion, politics, ethnicity, gender, and other areas of closely-held belief and personal identity. We all have a variety of opinions and views, but above all, tolerance is of paramount importance. Conduct contrary to a spirit of mutual respect for the dignity and individuality of others is unacceptable.

It is grounds for administrative action when unacceptable behavior takes place in any public or private space affiliated with SpiderForest or SpiderForest members. This includes but is not limited to the forums, private messaging, email, Discord, Skype chats, and public or reciprocal social media accounts.

Unacceptable behavior which is grounds for administrative action includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Harassment
  • Personal insults
  • Speech or remarks of a derogatory nature
  • Plagiarism
  • Sharing confidential collective discussions outside of designated private forums
  • Intentional escalation of heated or uncomfortable situations, especially regarding religion, politics, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Conflict Resolution

Violation of our rules of conduct will be dealt with in the following manner at the admin team’s discretion:

Tier 1: Offender will receive a warning email or message will be issued from the admin team.
Tier 2: Offender will receive a warning email and/or message and 1 week ban from forum and chats.
Tier 3: Offender will receive permanent ban from forum and chats and revocation of SpiderForest membership.

Tiers are not necessarily issued in sequence, and the admin team may, at their discretion, choose to implement a higher tier should any situation escalate in scale to warrant more drastic measures.