Here Comes the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Kickstarter's New Comics Consultant Comes Pre-Blocked to Indy Creators

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Jamila Rowser tweet

For the past few years, Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been more than just competing platforms for crowdfunding comic book projects. The division of choice between the two has ranged from preference of user interfaces to the different ways they collect funds from backers. For some, the choice is one of almost a religious fervor, with creators recalling how Kickstarter removed certain projects in the past with perceived capriciousness. It's a sentiment that lingers to such a degree that independent comics professional Jon Malin ruffled many feathers recently by announcing he would not be very open to hosting creators on his podcast if the creators were using Kickstarter as their platform.

Almost as if to underscore Malin's point, the announcement was made today that Kickstarter had a new comics consultant, Jamila Rowser, who announced on Twitter: "BIG NEWS. I'm @kickstarter's new comic sonsultant! Kickstarter was one of the reasons I felt I even had a chance in making comics the way *I* wanted to make them and I can't wait to help other creators!"

Good luck to the other creators in reaching Rowser. As many comics creators and comics journalists -- including Critical Blast -- discovered, Rowser comes to Kickstarter with a Twitter account already pre-blocking innumerable independent creators. 

The blocking occurs on such a widespread scale that it would be unlikely that many of them were done personally. Rather, it appears Rowser implemented a "block list" type of procedure, wherein a Twitter user can choose to block a person and, subsequently, anyone who follows that person or is followed by that person. The impact is a cascade of implemented blocks, potentially impacting thousands of Twitter contacts.

The impact on a company is overwhelmingly negative, both in terms of having a reachable customer base and in public perception. Indie comics publisher, Alterna Comics, recognized the potential damage of such policies early on, with publisher Peter Simeti issuing a corporate edict prohibiting creators from implementing such "block chains" while still allowing to block individuals on an as-needed basis. The lack of such a policy at Kickstarter provides a present example of exactly the type of public perception problem Simeti worked to avoid, as dozens of creators have been tweeting out screen captures showing their status of having been blocked by Rowser, despite never having had an interaction with her. These are creators who will continue to bring their projects to Indiegogo, having received the -- perhaps unintended -- message from Kickstarter: You and your projects are not welcomed here.