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Alterna Comics’ Block Chain Ban for Creators Courts Controversy

Independent comics publisher Alterna Comics has issued a new code of conduct agreement forbidding its creators from using block chain applications on social media platforms. The updated code of conduct statement can be found on the company's submissions page, which was posted later to their Twitter account.

Block chains or bots are a function of Twitter and other social media services that allow users to block accounts en masse with minimal effort and based on related followers, relevant hashtags or keywords. Comic creators use them to curb daily harassment from online agitators, but the new code of conduct from Alterna strictly prohibits their use.

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"You are required and encouraged to actively promote your title on social media," the new code of conduct states. “We do not condone the use of block bots/blind blocking/block chains or any other kind of program or practice that is used to block thousands of people, blindly, en masse.”

Alterna added that creators represent a creative team at the publisher and a network of retailers, who have to "confidently sell ... comics to as many people as possible." The code of conduct continues: "We have readers of all walks of life and it is paramount to us, that we encourage, promote and stand by our stance that comics are for everyone."

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But, they reiterated if any creator has an "unwanted and poor experience" with a reader online, they "can block/mute individuals," urging creators who feel threatened to "reach out to us and we'll do everything within our power to work with you on how to handle this situation."

The new code of conduct has been met with criticism by creators in the comics industry, some of whom use block chains to keep various social media services usable and free of vitriolic harassment. The code of conduct update is also considered by some to be unnecessarily intrusive and an example of Alterna putting monetary gains over the safety and sanity of its creators.

Founded in 2008, Alterna is known for such miniseries as Lillith Dark, The Chair and Mr. Crypt.

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