If you missed the first part of the survey results, you can find it over here.
The rest of the survey results have been crunched, and we now have infos to share with you all and responses to some of the questions and comments received. I want to thank you all again for doing this, as it has helped tremendously in answering some of the questions we had here about what people liked an disliked about the site.
In part one, we covered what people look at here, the concept of clickbait, and a few other topics. This one will dive into:
- Art Section graphs/info
- Comment moderation
- Editorials / Episode Followups
Anyway, go get it all below!
Editorials and Episode followups!
One thing we've really done a lot more of as the site gets older is editorials. They are fun to write, if a little time consuming. A lot of research goes into a good one, even if the topic seems silly. Even the top 10's can be a marathon to complete.
That being said, they are some of our best performing posts, so hopefully that means people are liking them. We received a lot of good, and even surprising feedback on that front.
Anyway, lets start breaking it down:
During season breaks, we tend to grab a few more projects to make up for the lack of episodes to cover. While this doesn't really help on the overall EQD survival front, it's still something to do while we sit around twiddling our thumbs for more horse.
Pony History seems to be a popular one, so we will definitively bring that back. If you all have ideas on what you'd like to see us cover there, please include it in the comments. We do need ideas!
Episode re-watches and followups for old episodes are a possibility. That's actually a lot more people than I thought would be interested in it. Maybe we can start that up on Saturday? I'll get a post up later for it!
Obviously the followups are the most popular. We've only done two debates, so that might be why it's so low. It's surprisingly hard to find topics we on the EQD staff disagree with for them.
Followups in general have been in an understandably weird place. It seems like the biggest criticism we got in the write-in section was how random they can be. The basic idea of a followup is to call out specific things you may have missed (movie references, background ponies doing silly things, etc) but they have evolved over time to do that plus a slew of other things depending on who is doing it. Some are more comedic, others super wordy, and many pointed out that they liked the deep analysis and review Silver Quill does.
In general, a lot of names were called out for both good and bad, and I think I might do a final survey straight up asking who people prefer just so we can see what style works best. Some just found them boring in general, so if you fall into that category please comment why below so we know what to change.
As for new editorials, some good ideas people brought up for both series and singles:
- Analysis of Shipping Within the Fandom. Why we do it and what people enjoy.
- How people have improved thanks to the show, effects of pony in real life
- Comparison of different languages for pony in other countries
- The use of Earth things in ponyland / history of ponyland
- What role does Spike play
- Respond to soapbox ideas
- More Pony Tears
- Pony Moving to Another TV Channel
- Musician Spotlight
- More Pony Spotlights (I suck and forgot to include it in the list of editorials, my bad!)
- Ponies explained through SCIENCE
There were tons more greats ones too. I don't want to make this list too big!
On to the next section...
Art and Creativity!
By far my favorite major section on EQD, and one of the most time consuming, has always been art. I've always loved looking at it, briefly try doing it every few months, and general enjoy compiling it. We get a lot of submissions for Drawfriend post in particular, with hundreds to go through daily.
That being said, it's also the area I worry most about when it comes to alienating people. It is by far the strictest section (outside of news fact checking) when it comes to number of rejected submissions vs things we actually post, and always has been. It's also one of the few areas on the site that hasn't declined over time out of attrition, unlike say, music or PMV where people get bored.
Overall, it seems like people like the current quality bar for Drawfriend in particular. The big question is what to cover in there. So far we added OC ponies:
Which people seem to like, especially at the bottom away from the canon art for those that don't want to see them. One section EQD lacks is the humanized and anthro:
Which despite what some of us (including me) originally thought, is incredibly popular. Unfortunately our reach when it comes to absorbing it isn't great since, in all honestly, I have never actively seeked it. The section really just relies on submissions, so if you see something be sure to send it. We can try separate sections for it in Drawfriend like OC, but I haven't gotten enough to really do that.
And finally... the big and weird elephant in the room:
Our Stance on Saucy and Clop (NSFW) Material
(tl;dr EQD will stay clop free)
Back in our earliest days during the 2011 explosion, EQD was born out of a website that was largely the "wild west". If you dig back into the archives, we were a pretty good mirror of that. Swear words were commonplace, and pony comics with topics current EQD would consider "Weird" were the norm. Our most successful post of all time was one that was literally just a compilation of ponies drawn in provactive clothing, bringing in thousands of new people who amazingly enough stuck around.
About half a year after the chaos period, we started to batten down the hatches a bit. "Borderline clopfics" were no longer posted, Saucy became rare and heavily tagged in art posts, and coverage of that side of the fandom was largely gone. The worry was that anyone normal would think the fandom was freaky if they visited a big site like EQD, and we wanted to avoid that for the sake of everyone.
In the end, people ended up thinking we were weird anyway. Saucy and clop found a way elsewhere, and it didn't matter how much we as the supposed figurehead avoided it, the media and general world always immediately searched specifically for them instead.
This... was about when we started dropping in numbers. The two other juggernauts of the fandom both have humongous sections dedicated to clop, and thrive year-round because of it with explicit material eclipsing the normal stuff in upvotes and praise. Here on EQD, we have no such draw. We don't even get too shippy usually anymore compared to the old days, and while the site has become more presentable to the public, it's not as "fun" or a lot of people.
A lot of people asked us to start covering NSFW/clop material in the survey. Obviously, we are going to stay clop-free forever. We really can't go that far. As much as it might help during hiatus periods, we do want to keep this site open for everyone. As artists and art appreciators, most on staff aren't against people doing what they want with their drawing tools, but it's not something we can cover.
So... what does that mean for EQD?
On the other hand, we still aren't really sure what to do with "Saucy". Every poll we run on it says keep it but hide it, or keep it but keep it completely optional (think Rarity day with the Rarity sauce drawfriend). The posts that do cover it obviously do tremendously better than normal ones and bring a LOT of people in. The problem is, this still does scare some loyal people away even if the number of people 100% against it even existing here small.
That begs the question, if most are fine with it and many people actually like it, do we still cut it? I suppose at this point EQD has covered "saucy" for long enough that most that completely dislike that we have it have already left (as pointed out in the "do you know anyone that left EQD?" section. Expanding that section is worrying even if the general consensus says we should. It's a weird dilemma...
I think for now, we will continue testing it on pony days, and continue to do fun posts like the best waifus of season 6 editorial. These are tame enough, and completely avoidable.
Comments and Moderation
It has been an all out war since the beginning. Similar to the previous section, EQD started in a world where low moderation is king and free expression the name of the game. I've always been big on letting people speak their minds and debate freely, but there is no doubt that our comment section has gained a reputation for being incredibly toxic over the years. Many liken it to Youtube comments, which are some of the worst on the internet.
I've delved into discussions a few times, and I can agree somewhat. People can be pretty horrible to each other. But does this mean we need to ramp up moderation and slow the hate down a bit? Quite a few in both the poll above and the write in early on mentioned comments as the reason why someone stopped coming, and I can't really blame them. Most of you are amazingly welcoming to new people and alternate opinions, but a few are just downright nasty,
We actually just gained active mods this year with Octavia leading the charge, but we still are pretty light on policing. I'm going to bring this up in the next survey after letting the others dig through it. Obviously there is a problem, but for the sake of free speech and debate we need to find a solution that won't censor everything, just the worst things.
I still love that image. She should have been a BAT. January3rd rocked it.
I admit, we need to use them more. Almost everyone responded to that question with different forms of wanting to see them used for something. The problem is, we still just don't have the manpower to run anything robust with even one. They have largely just been placerholdered as banner or event icons.
I'd love to do an Ask Spotlight blog or comic series, but something like that requires a full time artist, and most of ours that we recently recruited are still incredibly busy with real life stuff. The negative of a volunteer site!
We had some grand ideas that fell through with them. Maybe you guys can help? I can't really think of a way to do anything else with the two outside of letting the fandom have at it. Until our artists are in a more stable position or I have more free time to learn art, it's going to be a challenge to do something on our end.
Typically, convention coverage on EQD is Panels, interviews, and writeups. Unfortunately, our write ups sometimes happen so late that any hype from the event has long passed, and we rarely find anything interesting to report on at panels that hasn't already been sadi to death by the VA's or show staffers. That being said, people seem to want it in the survey, so we will try to do a bit more at these events when we go.
The big thing that kinda killed heavy coverage for us was how little people seemed to care when we did post it. There was a point back in 2012 where that kind of post would be really popular, but eventually they were almost completely ignored. I'm actually kind of surprised so many people wanted this stuff in the survey, as the general consensus here was that people just didn't bother with the stuff, aside from SDCC and the official Hasbro panel of course.
The next convention season for us is right around the corner, so we will give it another shot. We have a ton of people going to BABSCon again, so expect lots from that one.
I think that about covers it! If you have any questions on a specific point we may have missed that you submit, feel free to drop it in the comments or email it.
I might do another survey following up with a few extra questions I had, but otherwise it's time to take these responses and make EQD even better! Thanks again to everyone that sent stuff in!