(Please spread this post, even to those that you know that dislike us for any reason!)
Every once in a while I like to hop on here and bother you all directly. You are what makes doing this 24/7 site worth it, and while we can't always please everyone, it's still something we try our absolute best to do. This fandom has a lot of different factions, many of which like completely different things and greatly dislike others. I know that sounds like an excuse, especially for those out there that dislike us for those reasons, but It's just how this incredibly diverse fandom works.
One thing that helps tremendously is direct criticism via email to the submit box or directly to me. We are always looking for ideas on improving the overall site. Obviously EQD has a ton of people that simply browse and never say a thing (if we compare comments to viewers it's usually 1 in every 4000 or so.) I'm not someone that camps analytics to figure out what is and isn't working, but from what little I do watch, everything is a complete mystery.
EQD is, and always will be, an enigma. It's hard to really relate it to anything else out there directly, so everything we do is a learning experience even five and a half years in. We, and especially I, have made countless mistakes. Some are so long term, we don't find out about them for a year. This is where you all come in. Help us improve things!
Send an email to complain! Don't just complain to friends without ever telling us.
This is my first proposal to you!
If you dislike the way we do something, please let me or the submit box know. I try to respond quickly to all emails that come in, but complaints are incredibly rare. Most issues I run into involving the site are never actually sent to us, which creates an environment of people simply bashing without us actually knowing it's happening. It always surprises me when something is going smoothly and I find out 3 weeks later that a giant faction of people hated it, but no one ever let us know.
This goes especially for the fandom creative sections. A lot of the time it's just a misunderstanding on how something works, or there is a simple explanation on why we do a specific thing, and an email or different idea would help us correct it or explain it for everyone. Pretty much every side of the fandom has sections complaining but never letting us know, from PMV to music. We really can't improve if the only people you complain to are your friends on Twitter that we probably can't even see.
EQD is not perfect, and it's impossible to be for every person out there. The brony fandom is one of the most diverse groups of people on the internet these days. While the early fandom was dominated by 70% 16-28 year old males for the site, these days it's a mixed bag. We try our best though.
I'll give an example of a section we were completely unaware on the outrage of until as recently as the last year. Remember, just because your Twitter friends talk about it 24/7, doesn't mean we have any idea it's going on.
Being (very) generous on the generalizing, we have three types of major PMVS here in the 2016 brony fandom:
The traditional low effect PMV (skip the intro for the actual PMV):
Well edited style that the oldschool video makers love (check the BronyCon winners for an example, chosen by said traditional PMV editors). It doesn't use a lot of effects, and here on EQD started being ignored by the average viewer compared to the other forms for a while. They seem to be making a comeback now that they are becoming relatively rare again, but it's hard to get people to check them out on our end. A lot of you have been here for a long time, and the ponies + scenes is tough to sell still even if they are done incredibly well.
The video above is made by a group that usually focuses on motion graphics and effects, but kept it low there. Their subscriber base that subbed for the more modern loves it anyway. Maybe things like this will re-train people to enjoy the traditional style again? It seems like a huge amount of you were drawn to it.
Motion Graphic PMV:
Lots of custom animations and usage of vectors from the show as opposed to scenes to either tell a story or simply synch up to the music in an interesting way. These are by far the most popular we post, but like all things, are starting to lose their original charm even with our audience. This is something I'll cover later.
HYPER effect PMVS (Also called Teenager PMVS by critics):
And onward to the newest "thing".
Remember when I said the demographic expanded? Pony has been around for five years. A lot of people are growing up into MLP, and they absolutely love this style. It's high energy, way too blinding for me, and the oldschool video guys absolutely hate when we post it.
Among most on EQD, it's by far the least popular, while they are rapidly growing on Youtube with kids. We don't often post them, but should we never post them at all and ignore the kids that come to the site looking for these? It's hard to say! Usually I put tons of warnings in so those that dislike them can avoid them, but it still angers a large portion of the fandom when we do and they ignore said warnings. The common idea is that it damages PMV's as a whole, and in some ways it does. I have no idea what the solution is here other than provide warnings.
Obviously many mix all of these elements or do something completely different, but you get the idea.
The truth is, we have room for all of these. The fandom is old and doesn't produce nearly as much stuff as it did back in the days when space was scarce, and we do give things a shot or post it for a specific niche part of the fandom. Is the potential for damage from people that blindly click PMV posts without reading anything and assuming they are all like this now worth it? I don't really know. Either we post the new and see what happens, or stick to the old and just let attrition slowly bore people.
If anyone could gauge exactly how an online fanbase will react to something perfectly they'd be the next Bill Gates. This is a mystery everyone in the internet website world is trying to solve, and probably never will. Even Google makes terrible mistakes, and they are the biggest out there with some of the brightest minds on the planet.
Since the earliest days of the site, I made a choice to post what people will enjoy, not only what I or EQD staff enjoy. I'd never touch a dark pony fic, but look at how enjoyed Fallout Equestria with all of it's gritty maiming of pony limbs is. Little Pip is ridiculously cute and I love anything non-gory FoE produces as a fan of Fallout, but I just can't bring myself to read a fic with so much cartoon equine death. That's why we let you all decide! But again, you are all different!
The other problem is, the fandom's enjoyment changes rapidly. What is a popular format one week could be completely ignored the next. Attrition happens FAST here in bronyland. The more people make something, the less likely people are to check them out. I mentioned above that this was happening in motion graphics, and it's true. Our slice of ponyland here on EQD has started ignoring motion graphics video posts. That brings me to the next topic.
How do you combat this one? I have no idea. It's and EQD issue and a mystery that touches just about everything here. The general process is:
- This is unique, check it out! (It's flooded)
- Another one of these awesome things from before! (flooded again)
- A third, even more awesome version of the last two! (steady stream)
- A fourth, fifth, everyone is doing it in the style, but still really cool! (A relatively big leak)
- This is now the norm (leaky faucet, people are getting bored)
This can span a year and way more than five steps, but that's the general idea. Sometimes one breaks out and from the leaky faucet of people watching and gets the attention it deserves when they word of mouth it, but not always. Subs are another way to combat it, as subscribers are more likely to check out a video from a specific person they trust, rather than a genre.
And yes, there are quality derps throughout. Just like you guys, the EQD staff is vast in likes and dislikes. Some are less strict than others. We make mistakes on posting stuff that really isn't the best and it does do damage, or fail at posting something that is really awesome (MOTD and Simple PMV posts come to mind). Experiments are damaging, but we need to experiment. We need to give people that aren't quite at the pinnacle of motion graphic a shot. Ponyland and EQD can't survive posting the same five absolutely perfect people, and new people won't thrive if we, and others, don't get them some attention and feedback to learn from.
But the attrition is a huge player. The older the fandom gets and the more content they absorb, the pickier they get.
I do try to keep really hyped up "awesome" level posts unique, but should we ignore the really well made questionably pony dubstep track just because we have noticed people on EQD don't really look at these anymore? I don't really know. On one hand, it further damages music posts when people get bored of them and just assume all of them are the same, but on the other, it hurts to put a good track in Music of The Day instead of Spotlight just because it's not unique, and this does happen.
So what can we do?
I actually went a lot further than I intended with this post, but the number one thing you can do is take a break from the echo chambers of Twitter, Skype, Discord, or whatever other place you congregate in with factions of people that dislike EQD, and let us know your issues.
We can't fix it if we don't know about it, and there are a lot we have no clue are causing strife. There are some things we can't change, but at least most people walk away having emailed me with a better understanding of how the day-to-day operations of this incredibly complex behind-the-scenes site works. The front page of EQD is only a tiny fraction of what goes on here, and in that jumble some things are simply done a weird way that may confuse, or not be the best.
Like all things, we can only improve with feedback, and the comments are hard to keep up with.
Tomorrow I am going to run a "complain about or suggest something" post and answer everyone directly in comments FAQ style starting at 6:00 PM PST.
Again, please let everyone know so we can answer questions from around the fandom, not just from the people here on EQD. External feedback is important, especially if people left for a specific reason.
TL;DR Bat pony with toast yay~
Next EQD editorial that was axed from this one: Why you should comment more! Expect it eventually!
And SPREAD EQD AROUND LIKE WILDFIRE! A lot of new fandom people have no idea we exist!