GPF News Archive

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Howdy, all. I apologize in advance for the size of this post, because it's going to be a doozy. I have some very major announcements to make, and there are a number of repercussions that need to be addressed because of them. So bear with me, as there's a lot of ground to cover. If you have friends who are also Faulties that don't make a habit of checking the News, make sure to point them to this post. They're going to want to read it.

GPF to Return to Three-Day-Per-Week Schedule in March (Hopefully): First and foremost, I think most of you will be happy to learn that we're planning to resume a three-day-per-week schedule on March 10, when GPF's Year Nine begins. It will be an abbreviated "year" running from March through October, and we'll officially start Year Ten in November (making us one "year" behind where we should be). As such, our current "Sketchbook Reruns" on Wednesdays and "Miscellaneous Fridays" will be going away for good, and we'll be returning to regular comic updates on those days.

Mind you, this is still somewhat tentative. However, if you haven't been keeping up with the blog, I should mention that I've come up with a streamlined new production process that seems to make the job of creating comics faster and less stressful. My current tests have been positive, and I'm right now looking at being able to maintain my ideal seven to eight week buffer that I lost way back in 2006. While returning to a six- or seven-day-per-week schedule does not look obtainable anytime in the near future, three days seems managable.

If you think you'll have trouble remembering about the schedule upgrade, now might be a good time to subscribe to our RSS feed, which will update as new comics are posted. PREMIUM subscribers should subscribe to the PREMIUM-exclusive feed, which you can find a link for on the High-Def index page.

And while we're on the topic of PREMIUM....

Keenspot PREMIUM is Going Away: In case you haven't heard, Keenspot has undergone an internal renaissance of sorts and has dramatically changed its revenue structure. In general, these changes will be a net positive move for the Keenspot artists, as it will put more money in their individual pockets and less in to Keen's corporate coffers. The downside to this restructuring is that it essentially kills Keenspot PREMIUM, Keen's ad-free exclusive-content service. The technical aspects of reimplementing PREMIUM to work with the new structure would be daunting to implement, while the financial incentives for the artists will be pretty much lost.

This change has put me in an extremely awkward position. I have been, by far, PREMIUM's greatest champion, both internally and externally. GPF has the largest and most extensive collection of PREMIUM-exclusive content on the entire network, and I have personally campaigned you my readers to sign up for PREMIUM because of the many, many mutual benefits. Sadly, I was given very little warning about this change, so there hasn't been much I could say or do about it... yet.

So my first action item is to apologize to those of you who signed up for PREMIUM explicitly to support GPF. For the moment, I'll continue to run the site on the old Keenspot structure, meaning PREMIUM will continue to work for both ad-free surfing and exclusive content. That, however, will change in March. (More on that in a bit.) Therefore, I strongly suggest that Faulties do NOT sign up for new PREMIUM accounts, and if your subscription is about to expire you shouldn't renew it. Keenspot is promising to offer prorated refunds to subscribers eventually, but I'm afraid I don't have any details on that offer to pass on just yet.

This probably has at least some of you wondering... what's to become of all that exclusive GPF content? Well, that's the next order of business....

GPF is Officially Leaving Keenspot: Effective the beginning of March, GPF is leaving the Keenspot network. For those of you looking for rumors and mudslinging, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed; the parting, while somewhat bittersweet, is amicable. The full list of reasons shall remain my own, but suffice it to say that while Keenspot has given GPF a warm and relatively safe home for nearly eight years, we are now going in directions that require separate paths. I have many colleagues I hold in high esteem at Keenspot, and I know I'll continue reading all those comics I have bookmarked regardless of where they're hosted. I encourage all of you to do the same.

So... how is this going to affect you? Good question, long answer. Let's see if I can pull together a kind of mini-FAQ to make this easier to follow:

When will the cut-over occur?

We plan to have our new site completely up and running at its new location on March 1st. There will be a beta-test period where both sites are running concurrently, but that's when we plan to switch the domain to the new machine.

What do I need to do to prepare for the change?

Probably nothing. When we move to the new site, we'll be taking our domain name ( with us. Thus, if you read the site via the main front page or RSS feeds, you should be fine. If you follow the strip via other approved means (QuickKeen, using the Keenspot header drop-down list, etc.), you should bookmark the site instead and switch to using that bookmark. If you regularly use the High-Def index or GPF1Stop, you should probably switch to the main front page, at least for now. (The High-Def index is going away--more on that below--while the fate of GPF1Stop is still up in the air.) If you read the strip through any other unofficial method (unauthorized "scraping" scripts, unofficial RSS feeds, unapproved e-mail mailing lists, etc.), please stop. You're hurting us financially and we won't have the safety net of Keenspot to protect us anymore.

Will there be any site changes?

Tons of them, but hopefully they'll be transparent. Many parts of the site are being restructured, so deep links into the site will likely change. However, I'm a whiz at Apache mod_rewrite rules, so many old links should continue to work, or at least redirect to the right place. We do, of course, encourage you to update your old links as soon as the new site goes live. (Note that deep links to comic image files will be changing and will not be redirected. Since we strongly discourage this practice anyway, we consider that an acceptable breakage.) A few decrepit old pages that nobody uses will be going away, and there may be a few subsections (most notably the Geeky Games) that may not be completely converted before the cut-over, so they'll be closed temporarily. We'll also be converting the entire site from now-ancient HTML 3.x to XHTML 1.1, so if you're using some old dinosaur of a browser, you may want to upgrade to something more current.

What about PREMIUM?

GPF Premium will be launching as a separate entity from Keenspot PREMIUM. We will continue to offer many of the same services, such as ad-free surfing and all the same exclusive content. In fact, we're adding several new features, such as the oft-requested ability to enable Premium while still showing ads and a new "Author's Notes" annotation system throughout the archives. The old High-Def archive is being rolled into the regular archive as an option; set an option cookie in the Account Manager and you'll see High-Def strips instead of the smaller regular strips on the same archive page. Best of all, Keenspot will no longer be involved in the equation, so every single red cent of your Premium subscription will go to me and no one else. (For those of you who have complained over the years about your money going to Keenspot and not me, I'm calling your bluff. Time to put your money where your mouth is. ;)

The only caveat I can see at the moment is that the automated sign-up system requires either a PayPal account or the use of PayPal as a credit card gateway. Since I know some of you are very anti-PayPal, we're working on a manual system that will allow you to purchase a subscription through the Store and thus pay by check or money order, and we hope to have that in place before we go live.

OK, I'm currently a Keenspot PREMIUM subscriber. Is there any way I can be "grandfathered" into your new Premium system?

This has be a really, really tough decision for me, but unfortunately no. While I seriously considered such a "grandfathering" transition, the technical and financial aspects of it will be extremely difficult to handle, and I've got enough work on my plate porting archives and ad systems to worry about it. On a sadly fortunate note, Keenspot's axing of its own PREMIUM service will make the transition somewhat easier, because there's less incentive for everyone to bother with it.

What about the forums?

We'll be locking the old Keenspot forum and moving to a new one in-house. The link will be provided on the site, as usual, once it goes live. As for the old forum, its fate is a bit uncertain. Keenspot does not make a habit of destroying forums unless the author explicitly requests it, so it may stay there for archival purposes. We're investigating the possibility of exporting it and importing it into the new forum instead, but that's not a priority item.

What about the RSS feeds?

They will remain at their current URLs, both the regular and the Premium versions. In fact, I'm hoping they'll be a lot more useful, especially the Premium one, as we're adding a number of new items to that feed (like the Rumor Mill; yes, it's coming back). Actually, as stated above, subscribing to the feeds will be a great way to know when the cut-over occurs.

What can I do to help?

First and foremost, you can help by spreading the word about GPF. One serious disadvantage to this move is that we'll be losing the massive cross-promotional opportunities that Keenspot provides. Every Keenspot Newsbox is essentially an ad for GPF on very single front page of every single Keenspot comic, meaning we get discovered by new readers all the time. Without this built-in marketing engine, though, we need to get the word out the same way we did when the strip first started: word of mouth. Of course, now we have the advantage of thousands and thousands of Faulties pulling a grass-roots campaign, compared to the few hundred we had back in 2000.

We will probably be looking for beta-testers during February to help crawl through and debug the new site before it goes live. There are some people who I'll be approaching personally, but I'll probably take volunteers as well. (A good place to volunteer will be on the forum, where a roll call can be formed and where random e-mails will be less likely to be lost.) I'll probably offer some sort of incentive to our beta-testers (like a free month of GPF Premium) for your efforts, but I haven't finalized those details yet. Keep watching here and on the forums for details on how to participate.

I hope all of you can bear with me during this transition period, as I've got a lot of work to do to make this move happen. So I apologize in advance for being unresponsive via e-mail or other means during this month. Fortunately, most of the hard work is complete and what's left is largely testing, so I don't anticipate much more to do.

Thanks for your patience, guys.

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