• EQD Critisism and Suggestions - Our Responses!

    As promised, we've gone through all of the criticisms and critiques and have responses to most of the more broad encompassing ones. This won't include any of the specific people/groups asking about their submissions that we dealt with, but does cover a few over-arching topics:

    • How Drawfriend images are accepted
    • Comment moderation
    • Simple PMV, and PMV in general 
    • Analysis and review
    • Music on EQD
    • Audio books
    • Rejection messages and why we haven't done them
    • And loads more!

    I apologize if I didn't get yours in here. There were so many questions and answers between the two posts, that it would be difficult to fit them all here without pages of words to go through. You can still read the comments on either post for our responses.

    These questions were some that were asked in various forms a lot, and I've combined answers on them.

    On Submissions to EQD!

    Q: How do drawing submissions work? 

    Drawfriend is by far the most difficult post to get into. We receive countless art submissions from all walks of life, and this post in general has always had the highest quality bar with very little variation.

    Some things to look out for when submitting to Drawfriend: 

    Show Style without a background:
    By far the hardest, as it's difficult to differentiate yourself from a vector trace of the show.

    General Specific Show Style (Hardest Approval):

    Show style will always be judged more harshly than a unique style. Avoid things that might look like traces from the show, include a background, and make sure your pony proportions are either improved in some way or accurate. We get a lot of art with snouts, legs, bodies, and other parts that are way off while trying to remain show accurate. That doesn't mean you can't do show style and modify things. A lot of people add extra details, longer or thicker legs, different snout shapes, or curvier ponies. All of this greatly improve your chances over simply doing exact 1 for 1 show style, though they still need to be good improvements and not awkward.

    Shaded show Style (Hard Approval): 

    This is judged a bit less harshly, but still pretty high. Shading is hard for a newer artist who hasn't grasped the way light bounces off objects, so it still takes a lot of practice to make it look good. Check out artists like Centchi or Scarlet Spectrum for examples of shaded show style in all it's glory. The shading makes up for no background or slightly out of proportion limbs easily.

    Unique style (Normal Approval):

    Art is all about self expression, and we have a million different pony styles floating around out there in the ponynet. Some are ugly on purpose but still impressive artistically and accepted, while others are just straight up incredible and take the show pony to areas I never expected to see them at. Unique style will always be the easiest to get in with, but it's still possible to have odd proportions here and we do reject a lot regardless. 

    Large Text/graphic art on drawings and Giant Obstructive Watermarks (Rarely approved):

    We try to avoid these but will make exceptions if the art is amazing.

    Unique Ideas or New Characters (Slightly Easier Approval):

    Following a new episode, we will usually be somewhat easier on drawings of brand new characters. It's still strict, but if we want to fill up a chrysalis specific drawfriend, we drop the bar slightly for more.

    It also helps a lot to do something unique with your art. Ponify something that hasn't been ponified or do something with a pony that hasn't been done before. We are slightly easier on these as well.


    Whether you are a new artist or a veteran artist, it's very easy to become super attached to your own art and receive unhelpful feedback from friends. As someone who started drawing earlier in the year, I see firsthand how easy it is to think what you drew looks right after staring at it for so long (you might also get the opposite and spend a day trying to fix something that is actually perfectly fine, the worst!)

    A good technique to combat this is to invert the image horizontally and make sure it looks good both ways. It's not foolproof, but it helps.  Friends won't always provide you the best possible feedback, and in my case even propped me up on stuff I look back on and cringe at. If you are rejected, please don't take it personally! Art is one of the hardest skills out there to improve at with a rollercoaster of ups and downs. It's so beyond rewarding when it does make it though.

    Just keep at it, seek criticism from people who can give it (not your best friend) and you will get there eventually! One of our current EQD artists was rejected for a year before he finally made it on, and we joke about his old art all the time.

    Note: The above is just the tip of the iceberg on everything that can go into an art submission, but it's still a general baseline for the majority of submissions.

    Q: Why allow multiple drawings from a single person in a post?

    There isn't a cap on Drawfriend for number of images, so we don't limit how many pieces someone can send for a post. A person sending 10 things in will never bump someone else out of the running.We do have a limit of 2 weeks on age of an image though, so an artist cant send their entire undiscovered gallery. Drawfriend is all about the new.

    Q: Why doesn't EQD do rejection messages?

    We have wanted to have some kind of rejected comment, but the big problem is just due to how many items we receive. The Pre-reader system is a good example of what happens when we have rejection messages. People get twice as angry because we really don't have the man power on any of our categories to give a thorough response on why something didn't make the cut. There are times when something just overall isn't the level we'd post, and picking specific things won't ever fix it.

    You can always email me directly at [email protected] and I can take a look. We will explore ideas here though. I still want to do something for this, I'm just not sure what with the hundreds of submissions we receive.

    Q: How do "Covers" of songs work for submission?

    (Short description for what we consider cover for the sake of an EQD subsmission) A cover would be any song from the show or made by the fandom with a piece removed and replaced by you. This can be vocals swapped by a new singer, or someone playing drums on top of a show song.

    If the backtrack is remade, we consider it a remix and it doesn't fall under this category.

    This is an extremely strict section here on EQD.

    Some things to look out for: 

    • Microphone quality is extremely important here. We usually don't take them at all if this isn't high quality. Sometimes a godlike singer will go to the music of the day with an "ok" mic, but again, very rarely. 
    • Improving on the original song is the biggest plus. Don't just try to mimic it. Male vocals on an originally female song or instrument replacement is probably the lightest we will go, and it has to be excellent. 
    • Obviously singing talent is required. A trip over to American Idol is a good example of what echo chambers of friends and yourself can make you think you sound like.

    Example of one we split to it's own post: 

    The Moon Rises Extended Cover

    What it does right:

    • Excellent vocalist, with a different, lighter singing style from the original.
    • Extends the original
    • Great sound quality

    Aim for that! 

    Q: News submissions should be posted ASAP!

    News already is posted ASAP! :) It takes priority over everything and is only ever lightly scheduled over other news (Comic synopsis releasing in sets of 3 tend to take over the :30/hour slots of the next hour and a half).

    Q: Fanfiction submissions are extremely slow and acceptance times long. Can we fix that?

    We are discussing a new system with the pre-readers to turn them into story scouts instead of story filters. Quite a few of them are simply too busy with real life to keep up with the flood of stories, and shifting fanfiction into something more akin to our other categories on the site would allow us to be a lot quicker. An amazing animation is posted immediately. An amazing fic can take 6 months. That's really not how we want to keep going there.

    We still want to keep the quality requirements bar high, but a bit more "with the fandom" on this part is good. Again, this is just in discussion phase right now. They don't want to completely remove the review process.

    Q: What are you going to do about analysis and review videos?

    Analysis and Review Bit by ABagOVicodin:

    Analysis is probably one of the most accessible formats, right next to fanfiction. Everyone has an opinion about something which can waver back and forth (between positive and negative) and will always be a victim of subjectivity. A lot of people like to fault me for being too subjective in my editorials, but they forget that there's subjectivity in everything, even analysis. There's no data in what you "feel" about an episode. The most you can quantify is how many people feel a certain way, which is still subjective (inherently).

    Quite frankly, analysis has been one of the things that I've had to defend the most when I first joined the team, and I haven't exactly had a lot to stand on as "defense". Much like a lot of other forms of content, there's drama, elitism, and the bar from making an "okay" analysis video into something that deserves a solo post is becoming higher AND also dictated by the fans.

    Sometimes, there isn't much to say about an episode. Sometimes, a reviewer (somehow) can just be plain wrong or missing the point. Does that mean we shouldn't post their review? Absolutely not. From what I've seen from most the comments, it's two main problems: "Big" analysis people having their own posts and an overall saturation of the posts.

    We have alleviated this by moving the "big" Youtubers along with the others in one "Episode Review" post. There are numerous reviewers that are waiting to be discovered and become the next Silver Quill, and it usually starts by a bunch of people letting us know that this solo reviewer has potential. We've already updated the rules on analysis a little bit ago, and it might be a good idea to toss that in the submit area.

    Audiobooks! What happened to them?

    Audiobooks have been in a weird area since we opened the doors to them. Our previous rules have left us with not as many audiobooks being submitted because the story that was read had to be EQD approved. Considering the waiting time that some stories could have for their approval, an audiobook could be very old by the time the fic is approved.

    The main reason for this was due to the already difficult job of keeping up with submitted fanfiction as a whole. Nothing in the fandom takes longer than a story to review for posting. We have an armada of dedicated pre-readers, each with specific favored fics to review. Even with that, we can't really keep up with how quick you all produce them. This was why we had the requirement of the story being featured on EQD first.

    At this point, we aren't getting very many new audio book submissions, so we will be opening up to all of them soon. Some lower quality fics really do benefit from a live reading, taking the mundane to the excellent.

    We will be working on an archive for audio books and streamlining the process of getting them through. ABagOfVicodin works closely with the community, so expect some changes on this section soon!

    Posting and ideas on improving it

    Q: Why so much Fluttershy Reacts?!

    Pony reacts in general have grown a lot over the last year. Some people are getting sick of them, but typically (especially in the case of Vanamellon's series) they pop up at 12:00 midnight and take up a slot that would be empty anyway. Why leave it open if we can post something? If something is well done and consistently released, and usually a whopping 10 minutes long, it seems pretty harmless to just toss it up.

    They are pretty fun, and this is coming from someone who can't make it 4 minutes into a Gamegumps or general Minecraft react without falling asleep. Dunkey though, that's my dude.

    Q: Can we axe Simple PMV posts and start separating the contents out?

    I agree that Simple PMV is not the best post idea, (as is Music of the Day). We do need a way to figure out how to not flood the front page with PMVS, but still give more spotlight to less effect-driven videos.

    Like most things though, we need to strike a balance between burning people out on them and posting. If we took all the simple PMVS and littered them throughout the day, I don't think many would click PMV posts at all anymore. It's already a struggling section on EQD due to how many we've posted over the years and how similar they all are. There are only so many styles to choose from here.

    Q: Why not completely reject "Teenage" or "Flashy Effect" PMV's

    I know the traditional video makers dislike them, and I join you in the sentiment, but a good amount of people do want to see them. A warning and strict length requirements are usually what we go by here. Currently the 40 second ones that flood the box are usually rejected, requiring at least 2 minutes. Hell, some of these would probably be alright if they axed half the flashy and just based it on the vectors and animations they use behind the walls of filters. Youtube watchers apparently love that stuff though if their explosive popularity is any indication.

    While we don't see that effect here on EQD, we still try to cover all aspects of the fandom, and can't fault one section for liking something some of us don't like.

    Q: Seth I love you but you need a proofreader. Like, you're a great writer and I love your articles but there are a /lot/ of typos.

    Yeah, I usually try to find people for my long ones, but on the shorter stuff its really not possible to get someone on board for it since they go up at random times.

    I think I have some kind of typing dyslexia! Sometimes even after looking at something 10 times, I still don't catch typos. I thought it was my terrible 10 year old keyboard, but this mechanical one is even worst now! Woe is me!

    Q: Why the period at night with few posts?

    The calm period is when we are lowest on submissions and building up for the next day. News or really cool fan projects can still pop up during this time, which is why it's considered a 24/7 blog. 

    Most creators don't want their stuff posted at off hours, and while Australian, European, Eastern, and other countries make up a pretty good amount of EQD's viewerbase, the night slots are still really slow in comparison. We prefer to only post fan stuff during prime hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM PST, but if something big pops up we post anyway. Things appear in the middle of the night quite a bit, and we'd rather not wait 8 hours to post them. News, of course, goes anywhere.

    Typically the earliest post (5-9AM PST) gets a wide gap of view time at the top to make up for it's lack of eyeballs for going up so early. It all balances out, and hopefully gives you early birds and non USA people something to do while we wait for people to make more things!

    Q: Can we get an Equestria Girls filter? Or can you stop posting it?

    Done! Go get them it the nav bar settings button.

    We will continue reporting on all things MLP, but you can now block Equestria Girls posts. Have a blast! 

    Q: More Drawing Contests!  

    Sure thing! Drawing contests incoming!:

    Q: More Moderation in the Nightly Discussion / Morning Discussion / In General

    A: We are looking into recruiting more. The mods are currently in the process of seeking new people to help stop the explosions of the discussion posts.

    Q: Why is there so much focus on specific areas of the fandom like Fallout Equestria?

    EQD is what the fandom is, and the fandom loves it some Fallout Equestria. Little Pip and Velvet Remedy are cute anyway! I'm not too sure about that Blackjack though. I know Allsyer likes her...

    Basically, re report on what the fandom is into at any given moment, so some things trend more than others. If you want to see the start of an Harry Potter MLP world, start making things based on it! I'm still waiting for more Luna's School of Witchcraft and Wizadry: The fan series. 

    Q: Old musicians detracting from new musicians and music posts in general losing steam

    (Warning: This is going to be pretty opinion based. There really isn't a good way to answer it though without speculation and watching over the last 5 years)

    Point #1 is kinda up to the fandom. We have tried multiple times to hype new people, but I can relate on one thing; while the newer brony musicians do create some great stuff, there is very little original stuff.  Most of it is your usual instrumental metal/orchestral/electronic genres, and unfortunately, that stuff has been done to death in pony over the past 5 years. That's not even taking into account the surge of music on the internet in general. I regularly troll around the electronic section of bandcamp, and the sheer number of albums dropping is staggering. If you want something, it's out there everywhere.

    A niche group of enthusiasts are still willing to give these new guys a shot, but the broad overarching fandom that we had in the 2013 period has since stopped. Music goes through eras (80's, 90's ect.) because people get bored creating and listening to the current era, and constantly crave new. Modern electronic music amplifies this thanks to easy to use audio creation programs opening the door to just about anyone who wants to give it a shot. It's a lot more difficult to set yourself apart here with so many involved. 

    And so we move on to point #2. EQD has been flooded for years with many of the same genres over and over. Labeling the music archive made me realize that more than ever. The people that broke off  absolutely exploded. I remember back in music chat trying to define what genre Glaze was, and we really couldn't. "Dubstep" became the running joke, but everyone knew it wasn't just dubstep. Some form of melodic dubstep? Chillstep? As far as I am concerned, it's Glazestep. Tombstone was another that had a super unique style and shot off like a rocket because of it.

    This was rare in the early pony fandom, and even more uncommon in the current one where most are sticking to comfortable, usual styles. Yes, you can still get some love for a progressive house track, and people with pre-existing subs will be fine,  but It's a lot harder to get the overall fandom on board with it as a new person producing general genre tracks.

    Remixes and vocalists are usually a good way to break off with the more flooded genres (and usually much more popular here on EQD), but pony is getting old, and a lot less people are seeking even these out than the pinnacle in 2012/2013. Really, the most successful songs here are show remixes during the hype train following a new, well loved pony tune, or parodies of stuff people love from outside pony. (Lunas Future and Fluttershy sings X respectively)

    This is a TOUGH issue to combat. I really miss the days of watching people absolutely explode in Youtube subs and get loads of feedback. It's just harder these days with fewer people seeking pony music and years of music already created for just about every topic from every genre out there. It's fun getting excited for a music posts, and sometimes I go a little overboard (though he really is close to Glaze!). I just want to see more awesome, off-genre musicians!

    We are always looking for a way to change that here on EQD, and will most likely try recruiting someone from the "newer" music scene. We don't want this to detract from the silly stuff and remixes the fandom loves, but more serious music from new people needs a reboot here, no doubt. 

    General EQD Stuff! 

    Q: Why not recruit music and PMV makers to write for those sections?

    We do actually want to do this. I and many others on the EQD staff tend to be involved with a lot of different faces throughout the creative side of the fandom. Our current music review style is basically a scouting/silent message system with a bunch of different musicians. Unfortunately none of these guys have been interested in writing for the blog.

    We've vetted a few people that expressed interest, but for whatever reason people tend to come to us with a lot of baggage :P. Usually halfway through we find out they are running from another faction within their fandom, and it collapses. You'd be surprised how deep these drama pools go!

    Regardless, we do want to get a few on staff to do these things.

    Q: Why ads AND patreon?
    EQD is a manual blog, meaning everything is manually created, sorted, and posted. This wouldn't really be possible without someone working it full time. Volunteers wouldn't be able to put the time required in, and quickly burn out.  Patreon helps a ton, but here in the USA it's not really possible to live just off that. We use the least intrusive ads we possibly can with basic Google and licensee ads. 

    And another note on patreon: This will never block something from being posted or done in favor of a patreon thing. Everything there is just a bonus. The recent Thunderlane banner for example was a patreon reward. In it's place, we would have just recycled an old one due to nothing going on that warranted a banner. Instead, someone got to support the site and you all got an extra banner. Plus, Flitter is cute.

    Be Nicer to EG and Ponies you don't like!

    I admit, I can be a little snarky sometimes. Blame Trixie! She corrupted me!

    I'll try to tone this down and tell the others to do the same.

    Q: Can we get more interaction like these posts?

    Yes, I liked these a lot. I think it helps put a lot of things to rest. Chalk it up as another thing I regret not doing starting 5 years ago. Expect more of these as the year goes on, maybe quarterly or half quarterly. Consider it the EQD QUARTERLY REPORT!

    Q: Why are there "Saucy" images in Drawfriend Posts? What makes an image "Saucy"? 

    A few people brought this up on both the anti and for sides, and as a fandom it has always been a pretty hot-button issue.  "Saucy" images have been a thing since the dawn of pony, and something we really don't want to completely censor. Art is an expression of the artist, and while we aren't ever going to post full on pony clop, we do think there shouldn't be a complete removal of anything sensual in art.

    Of course, we realize it makes a few of you uncomfortable. With EQD bot adding an auto-mature tagger for the compiler we use after gathering images for the day, we should see a lot less un-hidden saucy art. If you do see one, be sure to report it to [email protected] and I'll run to my nearest computer to put it behind a link.

    As for what constitutes saucy - I usually try to stick to images that are obviously promoting some kind of sexual themes when hiding them behind a link.

    For example: Ponies have butts, and in the show we regularly get butt angles, but it never focuses specifically on the butt in a sexual way. Images that do focus the butt in a sexual way get tagged.

    And again, we will never accept clop.

    EQD Needs an EQD TV Channel on Youtube!

    I am and will always be eternally jealous of Youtubers and would love nothing more than to have a presence over there, but unfortunately some people just don't have very good stage presense, and I am one of them.

    We could recruit people, but I think we already missed the Youtube boat here.

    Protecting Show Staff

    Criticism is what makes things improve, and you are all free to do it, but on a blogpony level we don't like to call out show staffers for anything that happens anywhere. As someone in a smaller but still existing spotlight, I see how much things are warped and perspectives skewed as they make their rounds on the internet. It's one of the reasons we made this post - to clarify things.

    This show goes through countless steps before it hits your TV. What a writer wrote early on that would have saved an episode may have been axed by someone else later on down the line. An example of this is M.A. Larson's response to the criticisms surrounding Magical Mystery Cure feeling rushed. His original script was supposed to be the end of My Little Pony as a whole, so the entire thing was changed to allow continuation. Check the video out here about it.

    On another note, when it comes to their personal Twitter drama, we really don't see a point in diving in. What people do on their own time is up to them. Countless creators around the fandom have gone off the deep end multiple times, and we don't blacklist them for it. People have complex and confusing lives, and sometimes that leaks into the internet world in the form of bad ideas. If you want to go bother them on a more personal level, that's up to you! For us, we just focus on what they create, not who they are. 

    Why don't you USE THE MASCOTS!?

    This one was probably one of the most common complaints next to more moderation in discussion posts. We have mascots now, and want to use them more, but the reality is that most of EQD is volunteer based. We want to do an ask blog for them, or mini animations, but getting someone on that full-time is tough.

    Next week I've snagged one of the many pony shirt companies out there to sponsor a contest to draw our mascots! If we get a good enough amount of art, we can start playing with them more. It's not much, but hopefully the people involved can find some fun in it.

    Aside from that, we want to do something on Youtube with them. We already have a voice actress for Spotlight Splash for a few projects in Caitbug. We just need some gaps in convention season to work on things!

    And that about covers the major ones. There were a ton of other things answered in the complaint posts though. Feel free to browse the comments, as we responded to most.

    We will probably be doing this again in the future. As for actual changes, expect a lot! We got some good infos out of all of you!