Saturday, June 21, 2014

To the Bloggers .. and All Who Read Them!

For those of you that are still here .. C'mon in!

If you'd like to comment about the actual caption, please feel free, but the rest of the post is going to be more of a discussion about caption blogs rather than anything to do with the caption.

Another captioner heading out the door .. Rauk22 .. and I am starting to get numb to it all. Well, not quite, because as you can tell, each time someone leaves, my "abandonment issues" rear up again. Viewers of TG blogs are great to have, and even more so if they comment, but usually the bulk of keeping a community alive falls on those that continually post the content. They become the main reason that people start up a routine of finding the TG Captions they love, and hunt to discover new ones to feed the hunger.

I can't speak for everyone, but I never feel like I'm in competition with any of the other TG bloggers out there, other than I want to make the best and most creative work I can, and if they up their game, I want to do the same and make them even better. I want everyone to do incredible work. If the average person goes to Hailey's site, or Simone's site and see something stunning, they are going to come back in a day or two to see what else they are posting. They are also going to check out my site, Elena's site, etc .. and its totally reciprocal. They will see a sissy caption I made, and from a comment by Leeanne, or a referral click on my links column, find more places to visit, until they've worked up a routine of 5-10 (or more!) sites to visit fairly regularly.

I can make a caption, and it inspires Britney Shagwell to make a continuation .. or reading about sissification and cuckolding from Kaaren expands my TG captioning palette. I liken this to when I was involved in my band and we got together originally and just jammed out songs we liked, which over the period of months, jelled into a form of what we wanted to do in our original songs. I heard groups I had never seen and came to appreciate and made my musical worldview exponentially larger. The same thing has happened organically over the years in the TG community.

I've had many friends leave over the years to do other things, be bullied into leaving, experience life in new settings, Love or Marriage or Death, get bored with the boundaries we set in this genre, or get discouraged by the lack of comments and acknowledgement of their creative outlet. It doesn't matter if its for good reasons or not, they left, and people will continue to leave. From my perspective though, the last few months have been particularly devastating to the TG community.

Take a look at this site from Mindy Z.  She's got quite a large grouping of TG Caption links in her Blog List. Because her list is in alphabetical order, its so disheartening to see all the blogs that haven't been updated in at least 2 months or more. When someone goes to Mindy's site, and they do because she posts almost every day, what do you think they think when they see so many inactive blog sites either closed or abandoned? Looking at my blog list isn't nearly as bad since I have it sorted by most recent post date, so you don't see the inactive blogs until you get toward the bottom.

The latest captioners to leave aren't necessarily the straw that broke the camel's back, but many of them were essential viewing to enough people that their lack of presence puts holes in that chain of sites people love to visit as part of their routine. Do they try to find other captioners to fill that void or do they put their hands up at some point and disappear as well?

To the readers out there, we TG bloggers KNOW you are there, in the numbers of page views, but even more when you let us know what you think. I have noticed that Ian hasn't been around lately, and I hope its just a vacation or period where he's not able to access TG sites. Kaitlyn hasn't posted on her site in 2 months, and if you are out there, let us know that everything is going well! As people that "consume" our product, make yourself known and influence this community that needs to flourish during a downturn of interest.

If you are a captioner or would-be captioner. NOW IS THE TIME! Let them know who you are and what you do! Make them get invested in your work and see you as essential viewing. Up your game by trying a new technique or reflect on your progression since you started (or lack of progress?)

For those who have thought about making captions .. its never been easier to do! Even if you post a picture and place the text in the body of the blog, your presense will be known. Tell people about your real life .. or make up a flamboyant persona of who you would LIKE to be. Don't be sad that your favorite captioner isn't making captions anymore that you can relate to, make your own. Go to Rachel's Haven, sign up, and look at the wonderful tutorials for free software. Ask the very captioners you visit everyday how they made the text all bendy or what routines they go through to clear their mind to be creative. I can't imagine anyone turning down your request for information! Be a part of the community instead of just observing it.

And trust me, I understand how real life works, and have been dealing with a few issues myself, but if/when we ARE here in non-meat space, the community needs our involvement when we can. Make a difference while you can. Each and every person that has been a friend of mine through here did. Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet!

Savatage is one of my favorite old school metal bands. They've evolved and many of the musicians and songs have become known with a more familiar name, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy!

My promise to you, readers and captioners .. Post a link to your TG blog in the comments, perhaps to a piece you've created that you think might be your "signature work "and I'll feature it in an upcoming post. Its time to start building up another list of active blogs.


  1. I can totally agree with the frustrations that can come from the fact that so few viewers actually seem to post comments. From my end, I have the same sense of wondering what people truly think and feel about the captions I post. Yet from the other side, I may be somewhat two-faced as I too am one that doesn't comment much. I try, but somehow I don't comment as much as I should. I have been reading your captions, as well as Rauk's, Diane's and other for many many years. It was people like all of you that inspired me to start making captions when I sort of retired two years ago. I do the captions for something to do, and would probably do them even if I had half of the viewers I do now. And the genres of my captions can vary widely depending on my moods. Some of the captions I do, while they may be decent, don't represent my true feelings, but many do. Captioning is fun, and not really that difficult. Someone can make it as easy, or as difficult, as they want. There are many caption blogs out there, and not just on Blogger, but there is always room for more. There are also many talented captioneers out there, and there is always room for more. I would encourage anyone who has the
    willingness and dedication to start one of their own. And if someone simply wants to make a few, or do them occasionally, I know there are many bloggers who would be glad to put them out there for others to enjoy---thus saving someone the time and effort of doing there own blog. So, everyone, take note. Lots of options there for you. And do comment from time to time, even if it isn't always positive. Just try and be civil about everything.

    1. Well, not getting comments is one part of it, but I wasn't particularly railing against that so much as just trying to make people feel invested in what we do and show it somehow.

      I offer "DIY Challenges" fairly often, where pretty much I am giving EVERYONE a chance to see their story placed into a caption setting .. demystifying what we do as captioners, and I try to explain how the TG sausage is made. The DIY Posts get about half the views of any other page though, specifically the ones where we show the results.I feel bad for 2 reasons, the first is that these people have taken the time to write something creative, and 80 percent of the time, its quality writing! The second is selfish I admit, but the time invested in making these DIY captions come to fruition is not just 5 minutes here or there. Choosing fonts, arranging paragraphs and possibly editing for spelling, grammar, and length takes me much more time than it would for me to just make another caption. I do it because I WANT people to be creative, hopefully do some on their own, and because I like to see how others see the same source picture that I saw. For those posts to get half of the normal views is disheartening to me because I want those who took the time to make something get the praise they deserve.

      Maybe these things are reciprocal, and blogs emerged out of the whole centralized hub model of Rachel's Haven and others, and now the blog community has been splintered enough that people will go back to the community grouping they had at those very same site . Did I mention that I'm still an Admin at ??? LOL Maybe it there enough camaraderie to keep both moving, but I'm hoping those that are still here can continue while we pull in some more fresh blood!

  2. Wow! You've really hit the proverbial nail on the head with some of these thoughts. It is so easy to get ... well ... lonely? ... disheartened? ... when posting captions and getting little or no response. Hey, I know that I'm not very good at posting comments myself; then again, I'm posting captions, right? Oh, well. For me, the process of creating the captions remains an outlet; the process of posting them -- and hoping -- that others like them, get a chuckle, or a brief smile -- is my way of doing something for the community of those with similar thoughts and ideas.

    As to that blog roll on my site. Um, I feel kinda guilty because it's been so long since I updated it. For a long time, blogs that were at least 6 months out of date got moved to the bottom section; I wanted to keep the links (as sometimes blogs come back to life), but not take up space among the "active" blogs. But I will admit that keeping that current became a chore. I've been thinking about scrapping it entirely. But knowing that the list is useful to others in the community gives me some incentive to take a crack at updating it (though I won't be able to do so, probably, until after my rapidly-approaching [though not quickly enough] summer vacation).

    I also have to admit, that I haven't been spending much time browsing other TG blogs. Why? Hmm. Well, for one thing, I don't want to ever feel as if I'm stealing someone else's idea. Second, I spend most of the that time looking for images that I'd like to use sometime. And, if I'm being honest, I think part of it has to do with laziness; I'm often too lazy to take the time to read other captions (I download them to read later; maybe I get around to it, but often not) and I'm even more lazy about leaving my own comments.

    Anyway, I love your idea about posting links to other people's work. I was recently approached by someone who was hoping that I'd feature their (very good) captions. I'm hesitant to do so regularly, but efforts to help build up a new catalog of active TG blogs is a great idea. Hopefully, I'll be able to piggy-back on any success you have (figuratively, of course) and use that information to update my own blog roll.

    OK. It's late. I'm tired. And I think I've been rambling. Thanks for your post. And thanks for the great captions that you've posted over the years.

    1. Thank you for your input. I didn't necessarily mean to single you and your blog roll out, but since mine is by "latest to post" I tend to just look at the top few sites there to find the most recent stuff .. towards the bottom of mine there are some that haven't posted in 10+ months too. It just happened that your list was just chock full of "last posted 2 years ago" at the top due to it being alphabetized.

      I noticed that Caitlyn and Hailey are the best at following up others comments on their own blogs, even if its just to say, "Thanks for enjoying the caption!" I try to do that whenever there is something more than just that. Perhaps I possibly scare someone away, but hopefully its that first step to bringing them into the community and engage them.

      Thank you for replying, and I hope what I had said in the body of the post wasn't too bitchy. I was going for a "RAH RAH! Let's move forward!" and not sound privileged and whiny.

  3. If I needed comments for incentive to cap my blog would have died long ago. And like Dee my blog list is sorted by update and even with only ten showing the last few are often weeks old. Still as long as the page views number more than the number of visits from me I'll keep making caps. I've been lucky that real life hasn't intruded up to now but I had a three month backlog of caps to tide me over. Though Dee doesn't list my blog she's inspired a number of captions on it and I've been the subject of a number of hers too. Pollination or cross-fertilization keeps the community interested and active which is why most of the caps I create are made for the Haven and fellow cappers. There is always and ebb and flow among cappers as some tire and retire and others take up the mantle. And comments are always a topic of discussion because motivation for many comes from others acknowledging their work.
    Still in the end for me the desire to cap is internal and as long as the stories are there I'll be putting them with pictures and tossing them out there for others to read as they will.

    1. Dawn, I'll be adding yours in soon. Truthfully, with the output you had going, I was afraid that you'd burn out quickly and disappear. I can't think of anyone that kept up a pace like that ... ever! i always wondered what a professional TG Captioner would be like, and I am guessing that it might look something like you! Lastly, I didn't think you needed my help in getting exposure. It would be silly of me to think I'd give you any sort of bump up in page views, since if they were visiting me, they already WERE visiting you!

      I've also considered you a big part of the Haven community, as you've been like Joannie Appleseed in most people's trading folders and welcome many of the newbies to the site. Since you have both that and your blog, do you feel like they are dissimilar community wise?

    2. I think the Haven community and the blog followers I have are equally disparate. That probably is because I am not a niche capper and most of my caps are made specifically for someone else and thus the caps vary widely in the type of pictures and stories. This results in a lower readership overall because many viewers are looking for something specific and can't be sure when they open my blog that they'll find the latest caps to their liking.
      Cap blogs like 'Pink and Frilly', or 'Knight's TG caps' have a loyal and large audience because they know what to expect. At the Haven the viewers tend to know the preferences of the cappers so they know caps in their folders will reflect that and attract readers accordingly. So in many ways the audience is the same. When I ran Sissy Sarurdays I got a lot more viewers compared to the rest of the week because those readers who like that sort of thing knew when to visit my blog.
      I tell folks up front that I use pictures of all kinds of women and don't ask for ratings or index my caps. This also cuts down on the readership I am sure. My willingness to use less than perfect women and black and white photos is also different from most cappers so it is hard for me to judge my audience. I'm sure many stop by and because they don't see the type of cap they like that day they never come back.
      Frankly I'd get bored putting out cookie-cutter captions where the story and motivation remains basically the same but the picture changes but at the same time many in the audience on my blog and at the Haven pass over my caps because they aren't sure what to expect.
      The communities aren't that different, the Haven just allows the reader to select my captions by whom I cap where on my blog the reader can't do the same.
      And finally being somewhat prudish visually many viewers don't find the kind of pictures they desire even if the story is. That's my own particular hangup (along with foul language).

  4. I have also been quiet lately. A combination of feeling down and being in marking Hell (I can't complain, it is considerably less stressful than it has been in the past and quite lucrative - if only I didn't need the money to avoid going further into debt...) and that sticks in my craw.

    I firmly believe that people who create content deserve comments at the very least and worry about what will happen if everyone were to up and leave. But, in the very short space of time that I've been bibbling about the TG community, I have noticed that the community shifts quite regularly. Some cores of cadres will suddenly drop out and then a small group will shatter and, for a short while, the whole group will hang in the balance. Some will adhere to new groups, set up new cadres or join existing strong groups. Others will drop out only to reappear later under a new name or with a new blog elsewhere.

    Speaking as a consumer of content rather than a creator of it I find myself dipping into plenty of places. My own eccentric orbits have brought me into the Experience Project and GetDare of late rather than hanging around my blog list or Rachel's Haven. The simple reason for this is online marking - the former two sites are easy to have up most of the time without fearing what would happen if someone spots them out of the corner of their eye - caption sites are, by their very nature, more visual and, because I like to comment, actually more time consuming than non-caption blogs.

    In short, I have so far found, in my limited experience, that these things come and go in waves.

    I'm just glad you're sticking around to say nice things about my legs.

    1. I think most people CAN belong to the TG community without having to devote their lives to it.

      My remarks above weren't specifically for driving comments up, but lets take it from a purely theoretical standpoint. Lets say every person that visits this site goes to nine others like this per month. If they left ONE comment per month for each of those 10 sites, and wrote 2 sentences like, "This caption/story/rant really connected with me in a way I hadn't thought about before. Great job and keep up the good work!" How many more comments do you think a blog would have than they do now? And literally it would take them 15 minutes to post those 10 comments because the post is already open and the comment box is awaiting to be typed into.

      Now expand that to just starting up a blog with a basic template. Maybe takes 2-3 hours of setup. Then you make yourself a picture and a paragraph post every few days like Leeanne does. Now you can read others blogs AND post whatever you like and make acquaintances that appreciate the same things you do. Its all baby steps in keeping a community from declining and possibly thriving!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to write out this thoughtful post and I'm so happy to see a discussion developing in this comments section. While most of these respondents are established, talented captioners in the community, it goes to show that people are invested and interested in addressing possible improvements to make this community the best that it can be - and that is something worth taking out of this.

    An additional concern that I've had since seeing so many bloggers and community members disappear of the last few years is the retention of their work. It's such a shame to see such great captions that inspire you, interest you, or that you simply remember even years after they are posted just vanish when their creators move on. I understand that it's their prerogative to destroy their work and that sometimes their pieces are saved on Rachel's Haven or some other place online - but having seen files on Rachel's Haven and other captioning blogs just disappear even when they are meant to be shared with the world forever, it makes me wish that we had some other way to retain classic captions for future members of the community to enjoy.

    On a more positive note, I think that there is hope for the future. Many new blogs popping up in the last year or so have very good, consistent posts in a variety of themes to interest readers. When I've done my caption contests for the past six months, I am amazed by some of the captions I get from random, first-time captioners inspired by the contest - it doesn't necessarily mean that these people will start a blog, but I hold out hope that the laws of probability will produce enough new captioners/blogs/materials to sustain the TG captioning community and keep it thriving.

    Finally, a random thought I had to increase participation both in term of captioning and possibly comments was a new "Viewer Submitted Blog". Once again going back to my experiences with caption contests, there are enough random individuals out there willing to submit a few captions (even if they won't establish an entire blog). If we (as in a collection of established community members) took the time to take submissions from people wanting to share their work, we could probably get a decent hodge-podge of new captions, especially if we threw out images and possible themes to get people thinking of ideas for caps. Perhaps even giving positive feedback to these rogue captioners might inspire them to work more consistantly and possibly start their own blog. Not sure exactly if that would happen, but it's something to think about, especially in a great discussion like the one we're having in the comments section here :)

    1. Well, the Haven lost about 10 months of work due to a server crash, where they had said we were getting backups, and we weren't. People there that are no longer active in making captions are at least still in the inactive section, if people will hunt them down, they'd see a ton of them .. I hate to think that a majority of mine are probably in THAT section is a bit of a downer though!

      As noted in an above comment, I've been running DIY (Do It Yourself) challenges for almost a year now. I usually get 2-3 per challenge, though most of of them are done by the same people, often already seasoned captioners in their own right. I think you (and Hailey as well) get more submissions because you both have more narrowed TG genre interests, and so those readers are already in tune with your specialties. I like to think that those people that produce work to your captioners are already a part of our community, in that they do interact. Anything we can do to draw them out of their shells are welcome in my opinion!

  6. Firstly, a wonderful cap you created. I know I have that picture stored somewhere, but didn't have an idea for it.

    While my captions are limited to Rachel's Haven and your DIY, I like to believe my main motivation is because I like to let my creativity run free. I make them, because I enjoy making them. Getting comments is what makes me try to become better.
    I did notice over the last 15 months or so since I became active, that comments not only motivate, but they inspire as well. On several occasions great captions were created for me because of things I said, and on a few occasions comments of others inspired me to do create a cap.Which I hope they enjoyed.

    There is actually more I'd like to say on this subject, but I can't seem to find the I'll leave that subject.

    Now that you mention it, I haven't seen Ian for some time either. Maybe he likes football, the kind you call soccer.
    so it could be he is a fan, watching the World cup. Maybe several others who aren't as around lately as well.

    1. I hope you are right about Ian, but I don't think he's posted anywhere lately.

      Everyone wants to escape from time to time, and being able to make captions is one way to let your mind go and enjoy a bit of a mental vacation. When others can relate to what you've written, it helps create a bond, which often evolves into a community of like minded people. Each time we lose someone from the scene, it hurts but hopefully we can keep things together!

  7. Hi Dee, I feels ya with regards to seeing blogs dropping and people less active with comments. I'm sad to report that the godmother of captioners, Diane Leonard's blog, seems to be kaput :(

    I just crossed 900 posts, and I can feel that it's getting harder to come up with something fresh. I know my time being active is probably finite, and hopefully others will come around and add to the experience. Thanks for posting this and your DIY work is a fun concept.

    1. Wow! Diane's been around forever! Hopefully she's just having issues with her host or something, and not something worse.

      I hope you stick around for awhile. Have you thought about perhaps doing more captions that don't involve family members? I can't imagine coming up with 900 captions all involving the same sort of set up. As Dawn had mentioned above (and I am sort of paraphrasing a bit), sometimes being a TG caption generalist will mean you get less diehard fans, because when people pop in, they don't know what to expect. I'm betting though, that Her and I haven't had as many incidents of burnout or writer's block.

  8. I only just started blogging! I may put up some fiction.

    1. I say GO FOR IT! There is room hear for everyone! Posting experiences you've had (or wished you had!) or fiction and/or pictures can make you bloom like you never thought possible!