Sunday, June 15, 2014

On TV Tropes' PR issues and my feelings on Something Awful

One of the things I realized when I, Brent "Vorticity" Laabs, and Bob Schroeck realized when we were ironing out how ATT would work was that TV Tropes is absolutely TERRIBLE at public relations.

For one, TV Tropes is an insular community. Sure, it has social media outlets, but the moderators of TV Tropes have very little presence on them. Also, outside of the site itself, there are almost no blogs, forums, or discussion of any kind of TV Tropes policies, site goals, or culture with input from any currently active moderation staff.

Me, I think that's counterproductive. If you run a public website, you need to communicate with the public. The Wikimedia Foundation spends a lot of time doing outreach to educators, programmers, sponsors, and the general public because they want to succeed, and they know the best way to do so is by approaching their audience on multiple fronts, and given how they have ballooned over the years, I believe it's more than fair to call them a success story.

Second, TV Tropes is a hugbox, and before I get accused of being derogatory, this is the same website that enforces, by fiat no less: HAPPINESS IS MANDATORY.

Also, they do nothing productive about their external critics. Wikipedia has a notable critic in the forum called the "Wikipedia Review", and while they may not do as much as the Review would like to address their criticism, they at least allow them a page (as it does fit their own notability criteria, they would have to by default) and don't try to pretend like they and their criticisms don't exist.

TV Tropes, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge their critics as much as possible. Mentioning All The Tropes, Project AFTER, Beyond The Lampshade, fucknotvtropes, and ESPECIALLY Something Awful is forbidden and will be removed. The last does have a page, but only because it does produce other media that also have pages or references that are referenced in other mediums, but the current page is a massively pruned stub of its former self, locked in perpetuity because Fast Eddie cannot stand them (by his own admission), and anything critical they've ever had to say about TV Tropes is removed with prejudice.

On this, I confess some bias: I have contempt for Something Awful myself, but only because while they make some great points about why TV Tropes sucks, they refuse to acknowledge their own biases and flaws at the same time, and from where I'm sitting, calling another website a hive of evil while refusing to acknowledge the depravities spawned from your own reeks of moral hypocrisy, and SA is notorious for this, claiming they are "the smartest forums on the internet".

In fact, just to elaborate, this is the same forum where several murderers got their notoriety (and which spawned the Slenderman meme that led to children attempting to murder another child because they bought into it as real). It's the same forum that had a no kidding convicted child molester on their staff for almost five years when a simple Google search would have turned up his criminal record. This is the same forum that has trolled at least one person to commit suicide, has an entire subforum called 'The Crackhead Clubhouse" for people to talk about how to do all sorts of illegal drugs, and this is the same forum that got visited by the Secret Service after some posters discussed assassinating the US President.

......I could go on, but given the above, I think you can see why I find their proclamations of being holier than thou in comparison to TV Tropes sound more than a little hypocritical.

Regardless, Something Awful deserves to have a page not censored by someone with a bias, and on any site I administer, I would be willing to put my own biases on park to not only let it have a page (and subpages) people can edit, I'm also not going to lock it and prevent discussion of anything negative they might have to say about my own website because it hurts my feelings.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I see no problem of a criminal getting a work on a Internet forum.As long he isn't allowing criminal behavior...Your other points stand though.