Homestuck was the "internet's first masterpiece"

Originally published at:

Well, I guess my being 35 as of a few weeks ago explains why I have such a conflicted mixture of a grouchy old man confusion/sour-grapes dismissal and youthful, excited, regret-filled longing at having missed this whole phenomenon. That’s actually kinda how I feel about the whole internet…


A good general measure of Millennial-brain-ness is whether you can cope mentally with how reblogging on Tumblr works.


Oh noes, teh forums are ded now! You missed out kthxbye. Pretentious much?


I’m mostly ok with Tumblr; it’s Reddit’s nesting I find impenetrable somehow.


I love tumblr. I realize I’m probably older that most users Moms but whatever. There’s a core of #OldTumblr and we band together. Fandom never had a better home than tumblr. :wink:


I was there, man.

Imagine a serialised book on a blog with forums with lots of active posters. No-one quite knows what the author is going to write next, and half the posts are theories. The posts are so full of in-jokes and references it’s hard to just jump in. The author clearly reads them, and occasionally comments himself, and playfully makes use of all that feedback in the book posts. When there’s a gap of more than a day between posts, people get antsy. There’s a thriving community of people making art and music that often gets utilised by the author. Sometimes the author goes back and deliberately, subtley, changes old posts to reflect timey-wimey stuff going on in the story.

Now imagine reading the archives. The forums are dead, hard-to-find. The book chapters are missing a vital part of their context. What were people talking about at the time? What are all these things references to? It’s not the same experience at all.

You might think that’s pretentious, but it’s just true. Reading the archives and reading it live were, and still are, two completely different experiences.


So the comments on a news event?

It is.

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You aren’t getting it. Here’s the two critical elements:

  1. The community was incredibly active. Reading Homestuck could be an incredibly participatory experience. Not only can you not be part of that conversation anymore, it’s hard to find what it was.

  2. The author used that community and it influenced the story. His previous work, Jailbreak [EDIT: whoops, I meant Problem Sleuth; it’s been a while!], was literally him using the forums for suggestions for what the protagonists should do next (very much like a text-based adventure) and stymieing them in creatively absurd ways. Homestuck started similarly, but quickly became entirely author-led. Hussie never lost sight of the community, and the comic was clearly heavily influenced by its readers discussions and expectations. And Hussie was always a… magnificent bastard when it came to narrative choices.

So the comments on a news event?

If the comments then often influenced the news in the future, yes.


As an aside, Homestuck updated October 25th, and MSPA hasn’t yet taken off the [IN PROGRESS] label on Homestuck, whereas Problem Sleuth is definitely finished and Bard Quest is forever incomplete.

It’s not over yet. The forums might not be as active or chaotic, but it’s not over.

So populism then.


I’d explain why, but you’re being a tit.



In essence, someone can’t see my way, they are wrong.

You’re not really putting forth any support for your “way”, just making snotty remarks about why it’s something else.


I’ve never heard of this before but I am amused by those who would think there were no “masterpieces” on the internet before 2009…


To be blunt, I don’t really have a “way”. I tried reading Homestuck, but found it boring and not worth reading. My take on the title, its not the “Internet’s first Masterpiece”. It is not a masterpiece, and in my opinion, not that good.

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Seriously, we can all see it your way. Your way is to take a superficial reading of other’s posts, in order to further your preconceived stance and be the cool, aloof guy. It’s dull.

Nevertheless, just in case you can get your head out of your ass:

It’s not populism, as that would suggest all Hussie did was give the people what they want. On a broad and facetious level, that’s true, in that all content creators ultimately do this. But Hussie more played the role of an impish antagonist: he played with expectations and tropes, keeping his audience on their toes, fully aware that they’re being played with.

So yes: reading Homestuck now is an utterly different experience to reading it as the updates came in, participating in the community. It seems that the only people wanting to contest this fact are the ones trying to feel superior about it. How… pretentious.


So you’ve decided to dismiss the well-intentioned, respectful explanations you’ve been given with dismissive snark. Okay.

I mean, I didn’t read Homestuck and therefore I’m not commenting on whether or not it was a “masterpiece”. I’m also not being a butt to people who liked it and are trying to explain it.


Projection like an I-MAX!!!

Just… stop. It’s OK to just stop, you know?