Thanks a ton to everyone that took our survey earlier in the week! Altogether we had a whopping 2056 responses from people all over the fandom, with many a question getting full answers. I wasn't expecting that at all!
Lets go ahead and break down the results, answer some questions that were sent in, and see where we want to go from here with them. I'm splitting this post into two parts, so expect part two either tomorrow or the day after. It got a little bit long.
Anyway, go get results and answers to some questions below!
Quality and What People Look At!
News and art have always been big things here on EQD. I kinda wish we had an old 2012 survey to compare this to, as it does bring up the question on how popular some of these categories were back in the earlier days. PMV and SFM in particular seems super low. From my perspective everything else kinda lines up with what was expected. Luckily we broke down that particular section to find out why PMV posts weren't doing so hot over the last few years:
And it seems to be a general burnout on the genre, at least from our audience. The big issue with EQD is that we really don't have any form of good advertising to get new people on. We are working on a little commercial to hopefully get on some of the newer Youtube channels and draw some new eyes in to check out some of these topics people here are bored of, but outside of that it's really just up to you guys to spread the word. I admit, when a great PMV like this one earlier in the week does so poorly here it's kinda sad on our end. We just need new people who aren't sick of the genre!
Quality is the other issue, and we've tried to ramp that up over time without being too strict. Any suggestions there is always welcome of course. Though, people seem pretty good with the current bar we've set on content overall:
7-10 is kinda what we aim for, as being too strict would really harm the ability for newish people who are still talented to get out there. That PMV Section definitly needs some extra work. We might have to dig into what exactly people like to see in PMVS in a future survey. As far as I know, we really don't post any lower quality ones anymore with most coming directly from big groups of the PMV community. Maybe the obnoxious flashy PMV? Though those are usually clearly labeled and avoidable for those not into them.
We have newer genres of media appearing too these days, which we've covered pretty heavily. Anlaysis being one of them:
I assumed too much of it would be a bad thing, and it seems we have hit a pretty good balance. This means we aren't posting every single analysis thing that appears on Youtube, especially things that are the same "style" as others, but we will still pick up some of the more interesting topics and silly videos. I think we will ramp it up slightly though, as there is a pretty good chunk of people looking for more.
Music recently got a pretty big overhaul with the addition of ExplodingPonyToast as our dedicated writer there. This has also caused a bit of a flood when it comes to music in general. We are still trying to find the best way to serve it to all of you. Soloing them does give the specific songs more exposure, but it also means more posts, which bumps things off the front page quicker. Looking at the archives at the bottom, October saw a pretty big increase in overall posting thanks to music.
October also saw the release of Ponies at Dawn, which meant we had a massive flood of songs to get through. Maybe major projects like that should go back to compilations, as we did with Halloween songs? That helped stem the tide and stopped everything else from being buried, but it also had the side effect of said Halloween tracks not getting as much love. I'm sure we can find a happy medium at some point. The feedback on actual good writeups for each spotlight song is positive though, as opposed to me randomly spouting something about bat ponies.
EQD Specific Feedback and Criticisms
I mentioned it earlier, but this is one of the challenges we've run into here on the site in general. Our specific slice of the pony pie is getting older. When EQD first started up almost 6 years ago, half of the staff were mid-way through college with the all extra free time that college life supplies. All of us have since graduated are finding our places in life. Some were even married and have kids. Once you barrel in to that full-time salaried job or family world, you tend to have less pony time.
Really, the only way to fix this is advertising for some of the newer fans discovering pony through Youtube, and we really don't have the budget (it's massively expensive for a site that doesn't sell anything to recoup costs) or team for that. Quite a few channels are exploding thanks to those fans, but they have no idea EQD exists for a way to find more brony content.
I will probably get a post up later on with ways you can help, but for now, we do have a small commercial in the works that we can hopefully get up on some of our friends in the pony creation side's channels. New eyeballs on EQD can only help when it comes to getting newer brony creators more feedback. That's what we are here for after all.
I admit, I have a problem~ I can get a little bit obsessive over a specific character or concept. We had a lot of people mention Trixie in their criticisms of the site, so I'll try to tone back the Trixie a bit. It was an absolute HURRICANE OF TRIXIE this season though so... I blame that.
Other Feedback Q&A Style Section!
Quite a few people sent in huge pieces of feedback, so I'm going to grab a few and answer questions/clarify things/scoop up good ideas here!
Fanfiction - More and faster coverage
Currently our system here is almost 100% run through the pre-readers. It's one of most separated sections on submissions with an entirely different way of submitting. I mentioned above that many people have grown up and out of pony, and no place on EQD has been hit harder than here. We have a few super active oldschool ones still (Pascoite is a GOD) and some fresh blood joining the ranks, but the system is nowhere near as robust as it used to be.
We've considered shifting it more into a system of scouting good fics like everything else on EQD with a smaller submission section. I think that would probably be the best way to go about doing it, as pre-reading is a long and involved process that can take so long that a fanfic might lose steam before it's ever posted. It's something you don't see in other sections here, and has definitely damaged the place overall when we primarily post old things many readers have already seen over and over. It makes people less likely to use the fic section as a resource.
Cover More People!
We really do try to cover absolutely everyone who creates good stuff. If you see more of one person over another, it's just because they make way more than the other person (Vanna's Fluttershy Plays series for example has a new video almost every other day).
On the other hoof, if it's a copy of something else we already regularly post, we probably aren't going to post it outside of the Nightly Roundup. A lot of analyzers send topics we've already posted analysis on, or "series" type things copying Bronies React or Littleshy's "Everything Wrong With". As the graph shows above, people are already happy with the amount we post. We don't really want to post copies, and greatly prefer original ideas or concepts.
A Lot of People Sent Requests on Coverage for Things We Already Cover
I think people forget that outside of our solo ramblings we really are just a mirror of the fandom and show. A lot of people asked us to post more show news, art, games, groups, tutorials, and other things, but we have everything we can possibly get from all of these already. If there is show/comic/movie/EG news, it goes up instantly. Art has no image cap in the Drawfriend, if it's sent in and quality it's added. Tutorials are on the side bar, gaming groups in the Nightly Roundup. If you see something not being covered, send it in. We may have missed it or don't have it on our radar. It took us a whole season to pick up on Totally Legit for example because no one was sending it.
Moar / Less Clickbait!
We had some request more clickbait, and some request less. I don't think anyone really knows what the actual definition of clickbait is, but there is no doubt that a cleverly titled post does leaps and bounds better than a boring one. Is clickbait bad? In some cases, sure. A completely misleading headline for example is bad clickbait. We avoid that like the plague. A top 10 or silly/fun post isn't bad though. They are fun to read through and provide a good place to discuss things. Look at the Waifu editorial for one people genuinely enjoyed, and I loved writing it.
Top 10's join that. We had a lot of requests for more top 10's. I try to make mine much more involved than the trashy ones you've probably come to hate. My best episode one took almost 6 hours with research and opinion gathering. You can do a good, fun to read, and even useful top 10 without being obnoxious clickbait.
We try to run a few a month, but it really depends on how many people enter them. It's not fun to run events no one bothers with, so please try to enter whatever you can so we can keep them going!
Too Much Equestria Girls!
We actually have a filter for that now! Click the gear in the nav bar to turn them off for good. Quite a few people do love them some humanized ponies though, so we will still cover it when it comes in.
You can block that too! A few people didn't want to see them, so block away.
A lot of people want us to cover this, and others dislike when we briefly cover it. I'll be nailing that in our next survey and see what the general idea is.
Losing Interest in Cartoon Pony
Our "If you know someone who stopped coming" section was pretty largely dominated by that. There were a few other good points I'll save for part two of these posts, but for the most part a lot of people left EQD because they left pony for everything from Twilight growing wings to general burnout. Hopefully we can refill those numbers with some youtuber help.
And a few people brought up that EQD was too "mainstream" for them. I've actually seen that when randomly joining a TF2 server a few years ago. People were so scarily vindictive :P
TOO MUCH CONTENT!
Another thing people disliked was the sheer amount of things we post on any given day. I admit, it can get pretty floody, and I'm not always in love with what I have to schedule up. That being said, the brony fandom is one of the most creative and productive fandoms on the internet. There is a lot of content because there is a lot to post!
I'd highly recommend getting used to that navigation bar, especially if you take an extended break from the site and want to catch up on specific sections. Everything on EQD is pretty clearly marked. Other than that though, it would be difficult to post less unless the fandom does less.
That being said, we might do weekly recaps for people that really feel overwhelmed and want just the gems. At the moment we do it monthly, but weekly would make more sense.
Onward to Part 2!
We are still chomping through all the data but have a rough outline of what to go through in the next bit:
- Art Section graphs/info
- Comment moderation
- Editorials / Episode Followups
- More specific Coverage
Expect that tomorrow or the day after!