How to Tell When It's Time to Shut Up


Again, the prize is a signed copy of my book “Curse of the Masking-Tape Mummy.”  

As with last week, to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this comic (How to Know When It’s Time to Shut Up). As with last week, the winner will be selected at random on Thursday morning (Feb 16th).  Again, as with last week, I will ask a question that you can, but are not obligated to, answer. I’m told this is a valuable opportunity to gather demographic data about my readers, so my question this week is as follows.

“What demographic data about you should I be trying to gather?”

I look forward to your suggestions.

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Reader Comments (335)

"If you buy my book, are you going to use it as kindling?"

That way, if a lot of people say "yes", you can cut out the middleman and sell firewood instead of pages with words and pictures on them.

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Hickey

Age by category and how often you actually post to the comments of the comic. ;)

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCieyrin

Mother's maiden name would be useful.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Hunt

Is Captain Pike helping you pick?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSer Carter

You should be asking how much money I spend on webcomic merchandise and how much nudity I like to see in webcomics

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoto13

Well, there's a lot of silly ones that come to mind, but if you want a relevant one, perhaps asking how we found out about your comic? (Internet gnomes)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTabbykitten13

Shoe size. Definitely the most useful demogrpahic data out there. Positively. Better than phrenology.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphaser

Sorry, but in panel 4: "just too shocking for people to back then." ?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphaser

Here's a good demographic. I'm Canadian!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

You should ask us what title we are most likely to buy in a book, for example "The Curse of the Masking-Tape Mummy" versus "The Swear of the Masking-Tape Mummy."

Personally, I think that "swear" has a nice ring to it! $#@%.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaela

Demographic data should be used to make your products sell better. You should collect our favorite colors, our favorite kind of drinking vessel, and our favorite words. That way, you'll know that the ideal product to sell is a bright taupe tankard with a picture of Rick saying "Pumpernickel".

According to my research, that's the product that would outsell everything. Everything in the world. Ever. Even iPods.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrake

Demographic Info: What other web comics do you read?

Probably useful for determining what your current audience likes, so you can zero in on their wants.

But then it is not about them, is it. What we love reading is what is going on inside that lightly hirsuited head.

And I'd feel guilty answering ... it's like I am admitting to cheating on you with Dilbert.

Did I really write that out loud? It's time to shut up!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDale Flannery

@anonymous said "size 36"

My imagination needs to know if that is bra size or waist size (or hat size or shoe size).

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How many people are fans of the books in your photos (including your own books, of course)?

Wait, maybe you should exclude your own books, since it's unlikely you'll get many people posting here who dislike this strip, and thus the results would be skewed substantially in favor of your books. With the non-BI books, the info could be an interesting way to find out if this strip's readers have similar reading interests across the board, both to you and to each other.


If not all that, how 'bout info on how many readers have goatees like yours?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCR

Profession, if any.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

File me under "30-something Mutant Judo Sloths."

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterByron Black

Ask what super power everyone would pick if they could have just one. I'd go with being able to stop time.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGarrett

Age might even be interesting, but I'm curious about what other web comics people are addicted to.
Sorry, what other web comics others are addicted... to.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArglebargle the 1st

This comic is a fine example of your comics in general, which is to say brilliant. While I've never commented before, I felt the chance to win a prize forced my hand.

As far as the demographic data to gather, I can only say perhaps something related to what sort of items people would most like to purchase from you in regards to your comic. Another option would be if autographing something would be appreciated if offered for a slight fee (I know collectors would probably like it, and people who wanted to make sure your comic was around for years to come).

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEsper

I find American use of the word guess rather strange. It is often used to state something you know for sure. e.g. "what's your favourite colour?".... "blue I guess". - Don't you know?!!!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Smith

How many readers also shelled out a lot of cash for a life size copy of a cool movie prop? (I've got the monolith from 2001 in my backyard)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin A Kunreuther

The most important piece of demographic data is "Star Trek or Star Wars?"

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDG

I guess asking us about our favourite low-budget horror moview monster would be appropriate.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterInnominate

World's biggest bus sounds both incredibly useful and incredibly useless. Where I live it would be cool if more people could fit into the bus but the bus would need to be able to travel under small bridges and round tiny corners without hitting other traffick.

As for the demographic data, I would be interested in knowing how many have actually used any of these basic instructions in their everyday life.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpenna

Belly buttons: Innies or outies?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmlyn

Amazon purchase history. Since I assume you're using the demographic data to sell ads and your ads link to Amazon, this would work a lot like the "people who viewed this item also bought" thingy on amazon. So it's all the important stuff without being needlessly personal. It's basically everyone who reads the site recommending things to each other.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIsaac

i think you can guess your major demographics.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhikaru

Location-data is a nr 1 in my opinion: if you know where your fans are, you know where you should be selling, what payment methods and forms of shipment you should prepare for (in case of online).

Next to that: occupation. It's interesting to know if there's people reading your comic that are professionally involved in fields that could help you spread your work (and keep the funds coming). That way, you'll know whether to focus your communications on book sales or you could try to rail in new publishers.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWesley

Perhaps how we found out about BI (someone gave me "Help is on the Way" a couple of Christmases ago), or where we buy books like yours (Amazon or the local comic-book store, which carries them in all their glory)?

Oh, and Rocket Hat forever.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

All go for Answer C - The mallard.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoosemonster

You should ask folks what version of y'all, you guys, yinz, etc. they use

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbintmejnuna

If you want to get practical, I would suggest:
- Purchasing power.
- Willingness to use part of this purchasing power in buying your books.

If you don't, a third question:
- Have you ever disguised yourself as a masking-tape mummy?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFuss

Nothing valuable to gather here. On average I'm just average.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRasmus

Annual income, home address, and vacation plans for the next 12 months

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOtis

I'd say you should try to gather data about how much free time your readers have. For example, people without much free time wouldn't have the time to read a webcomic compilation book (and thus wouldn't buy it).

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIonizer

I work in property insurance, and we love collecting insurance scores from our policyholders. That correlates well with all kinds of risk factors.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergfrank98

Demographic? Does it relate to one´s ability to graphically represent demo tapes? Or maybe it has something to do with demons and charts?

Then I guess the answers to these questions would be "No" and "Not at lunch.".

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrazilian_guy

How many webcomics you regularly check, and how frequently. Maybe even ask which ones. I am guessing that most people have at least a handful of other comics that they frequent.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGordon D

Odour. Tell me that's not improtant when you start planning B.I conventions...

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermayhemfunkster

You could ask if there is space on our bookshelves for another book. (No, but when all of the double rows are complete, I just lie some more on top to fill up the gap to the next shelf.)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan
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