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james_the_composer



Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Posts: 11
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:42 pm Reply with quote
I've been using Anime News Network since I was probably 21 years old, I'm 30 years old now. I have a lot of appreciation for the company, as it was early out of the gate with 'newly released anime' being updated right to the moment shows would come out.

Back 5 years ago this allowed me to get millions of hits over the course of one fall on Youtube to my music covers, as ANN helped me to track when a show was coming out in Japan, and hit cover songs before anyone had at the time (that method doesn't work as well on Youtube anymore though).

So, with that said...

From an outsiders perspective studying what's been going on recently, I think it would help ANN the most to take as unbiased a perspective as possible, and where there has been bias before, it would be healthier to backpedal and apologize for stepping out of line. I would think it would be incumbent on the media to be as unbiased as possible at all times.

I do wish the company the best to a degree, but I think it would have been better for the company as a whole to not take a bold stride forward when it came to the recent controversies with voice actors and actresses within the industry. I think that so often that media outlets, especially these days, start to run with their reputation. Right now, the company seems to be in a spot in where it's now under the gun. It would be very very very wise to take a step back, untangle from the situation, wish both sides the best in their qualm, and stop taking part altogether.

Now you guys are going to have a whole horde of outrage culture coming at your left and right, you need to focus on damage control. I don't understand the logic with the damage control strategies that are taken, though. It's important to take a step back and apologize, then get back to work. Yes, there was the whole Youtube controversy very recently in where the company boldly got caught on the offense...but why then act like an injured wolf and start barking like mad? Stay calm, step back, get untangled from the situation all together, refocus, regroup, damage control shouldn't be handled with attacking others reputations. You made a mistake, take responsibility for the mistake, do the mature thing, and the publication will have it's reputation slowly rebuild.
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Hideki-Motosuwa



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 102
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:04 pm Reply with quote
In all honesty, this is about the most truthful, non-butt kissing, & honest feedback post I've seen thus far. Not trying to be negative or wanting to at this moment but I really think you guys here at ANN really need to take a really good look at what you're doing in terms of what James_the_Composer just stated cause otherwise things are just going to continue the way they are with everyone wanting to take shots at ya. But if the head huncho is causing some of the trouble as well.....there's not much else that can be said.

Just a thought.
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james_the_composer



Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Posts: 11
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:31 pm Reply with quote
Yeah unfortunately if it's coming from the top and you're the middle man you end up in a tough position. I worked at a motel for 3 years that was going out of business, the owner would just send me out to be a middle man and try to play down why the quality of the motel wasn't what it used to be. I was basically sent out to damage control as the middle man in a situation in where the owner wasn't actually taking care of and just didn't care about the customer, in this case the viewers, the consumer.

Well, that business was now bought out by someone else that couldn't improve the damaged state that he left it in, and this is in one of the top tourist towns in America. The Hilton Garden Inn across the street was just too much to compete with, with similar or slightly higher prices but far better quality. You're left now with an empty cracked up lot central to a really nice town, a really prime location.

It really is a terrible position to be in, I really wish there were fans of both sides that had to give off death threats and insults but that's just mob culture I guess for you. If there's someone that can talk to the top you might tell them that you care about the future of the companies reputation, but if it's that type of situation in where they won't listen it might be best to be scouting out other jobs in your career.


{Edit}: I edited your post and removed your last paragraph. We do not need to drag politics and especially certain political people into the discussion. It's off topic to start, and given that person specifically the topic of them would almost assuredly run the discussion down the toilet. ~ Psycho 101
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1843
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:21 pm Reply with quote
I just want to add that I think your feedback is valuable and completely on point. While I have no regrets about my own piece or the coverage of subsequent developments, I think your message of untangling is absolutely a good point.

Most of the news staff have been informed as needed regarding the DMCA stuff. I personally did not find out about or see the tweet in question until after it was gone but I'm not happy about it for all the reasons you described.
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capt_bunny



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:27 pm Reply with quote
Goodness. I do fully agree with what James said. I've seen many ANN writers and people who work for the company allow some harsh things being said on both sides. I think I saw one editor on twitter saying about how those against were calling them 'incels, living in their mother's basement, and sexists/gross men'. Which is pretty bad by how you are insulting the readers and the others. That will cause only others to think if you will be biased and insult future fans/readers. That does cause anger and giving people who read it to think of a bad image on ANN.

Not to mention, what's wrong with living with a parent? Different cultures and different people. Its also bad if you think about it by how many types of people read it. Personally, I was a little hurt reading any time on being called an 'incel that lives in the mother's basement' which I am not even a biological male, to begin with and my culture is fine with the child living with their parents until they are ready to live on their own + mentally stable.

I really do like this site and wish the best for the company like anyone else. Just... not some of the actions....
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Mad_Scientist
Moderator


Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 2972
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:50 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I think it would help ANN the most to take as unbiased a perspective as possible, and where there has been bias before, it would be healthier to backpedal and apologize for stepping out of line.


You talk about bias, but this is rather vague here. First let me first be clear about something myself, since there is often a lot of confusion about this: as a moderator, I am a volunteer. I am not a paid employee of ANN. So don't take what I say here as any official ANN response or anything.

But I am interested in and invested in this site some (I wouldn't have agreed to be a mod otherwise), so I think it would be helpful for all if you were a bit more definite in what you mean. You mention later in your post the youtube video controversy. Tempest explained his reasoning for issuing the complaint in the other thread here. I think legally he was fully justified, but from a practical perspective I agree it was a mistake. But this is more an example of jumping the gun and being over aggressive using the official ANN @anime twitter than it is an example of "bias" really. Tempest wasn't issuing copyright claims against every youtube video that said something he disliked, just one specific video that reproduced a huge amount of ANN content. The other videos, even from the same youtuber, were left untouched.

So this makes me suspect you're talking about more than just this incident when you mention bias, and backpedaling and apologizing for bias.


Another poster in this thread mentioned twitter accounts, and a vague recollection of something an editor might have said on their personal twitter. I don't particularly care for mother's basement insults myself, but it's a simple fact that some of the people against ANN and various editors are... not so nice people. It's also not clear what context the apparent statement was being made, and if it even had anything to do with ANN.

The fact is many staff members have dealt with harassment, stalking, death threats, and massive, massive amounts of abuse, sometimes related to ANN content, sometimes related to other stuff. Should they not be allowed to vent on their personal twitters about this? Is that the bias you mean, that should be apologized for?


Perhaps it's the moderation you mean. Lord knows we've been called biased a lot since the first Vic article hit. This is one area where I can speak more directly, as I am a mod. We're not perfect, but I feel we were fair in our enforcement in those threads. Even in cases where people were clearly making obvious burner accounts just to attack the site, if they managed to restrain themselves enough and avoid breaking the rules, they didn't get in trouble.


Or maybe it's the Vic article itself. Because huge amounts of people, mobilized largely by angry Youtubers, have been calling ANN biased ever since that article hit. More than just calling ANN biased, they've been inventing conspiracy theories about it as well.


So that's why I'm asking for some clarification here. If you're criticizing the youtube copyright issue and Tempest's handling of it/use of the @anime twitter account, well, I think that's very fair. But if you're instead saying something like the Vic article itself was biased and ANN needs to apologize to Vic, that's something entirely different.
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stilldemented



Joined: 16 May 2015
Posts: 187
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:16 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Should they not be allowed to vent on their personal twitters about this?


No.

Understand that whether you are a writer or moderator, you are a representative of ANN. You are staff. Whatever is stated on one's private twitter, commentary isn't necessarily just your personal opinion. It can and will reflect ANN practices back to its readership:

'This is who ANN is willing to hire. This is what ANN's staff are permitted to say about dissatisfied readers. This is a general rule of thumb for what this ANN writer is permitted to say about anime or its fans as a whole. This is what staff are permitted to say about ANN's readership on their personal twitter. This is how staff chooses to conduct themselves online to ANN's readership. This is the language an ANN writer is comfortable using to describe an anime or its fandom. This is the behavior that ANN is more than willing to condone from its staff.'

So long as you are a member of the staff, you will be representing ANN in some capacity. Your readership will be willing to interact with you offsite. How you conduct yourselves when this happens reflects back on ANN. No writer or moderator should desire to build up a reputation that paints ANN in a bad light. It alienates potential readers from frequenting the platform. Bad for business.

I'm not trying to be mean or accuse anyone of anything. A question was asked, and I felt it was necessary to paint as clear a picture as possible to showcase why I consider it a bad idea to vent about work at potential clients on social media.


Last edited by stilldemented on Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 9621
Location: Do not message me for support.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Hi James,

Thank you for your feedback. My behavior this past weekend certainly left a lot to be desired. I very publicly berated someone for what I thought was a lie, and then it turned out that they were more or less telling the truth. Regardless of whether or not they were lying, my initial reaction was extremely inappropriate.

Generally, I think your advice is good, and it's what we've been trying to do. We reported on the various allegations, and have tried to stay out of the fray beyond that. The allegations do paint a fairly one sided picture, but aside from reporting them, we're not interested in taking sides. Unfortunately people who support the accused often believe that the journalists reporting the allegations are "the enemy." Originally we just ignored them, and as you said, "got on with the work." For the most part everyone at ANN has been doing that, unfortunately I deviated from that this past weekend; I'm going to make sure I don't deviate from that in the future (In short, I agree with your comment on this).

I believe you're also suggesting that we stop covering similar topics in the future. This I can't agree with. We don't like writing these articles; we hate doing them. However we believe firmly that it is our responsibility to report on these sorts of issues if they come to our attention. I'll admit, it's been a learning process, and future coverage will be different, but we will still be covering it... Hopefully not very often though; we just want to write about anime and why we love it.

Thank you for taking your time to give us your feedback, and thank you for being a loyal reader all these years.

-Christopher Macdonald


Last edited by Tempest on Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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lossthief



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 620
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:35 pm Reply with quote
stilldemented wrote:

So long as you are a member of the staff, you will be representing ANN in some capacity. Your readership will be willing to interact with you offsite. How you conduct yourselves when this happens reflects back on ANN. No writer or moderator should desire to build up a reputation that paints ANN in a bad light. It alienates potential readers from frequenting the platform. Bad for business.


So if I'm interpreting what you're saying here correctly, it's the responsibility of anyone who works for any professional organization in any capacity to be totally diplomatic and gracious in the face of targeted harassment? Because that's what Mad_Scientist was talking about here -

Quote:
The fact is many staff members have dealt with harassment, stalking, death threats, and massive, massive amounts of abuse, sometimes related to ANN content, sometimes related to other stuff. Should they not be allowed to vent on their personal twitters about this? Is that the bias you mean, that should be apologized for?


If being at all angry or frustrated or flippant in the face of some of the horrendous stuff that gets thrown the way of a number of ANN's editorial staff is considered "bias" then I'm not sure where any conversation can go.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12892
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:44 pm Reply with quote
Mad_Scientist wrote:
You talk about bias, but this is rather vague here.


I think he's talking about stuff like Zac's twitter rant about Shield Hero, saying it's for "vicious, regressive misogynists", suggesting that anyone who likes Shield Hero fits that description.

Tempest wrote:
We reported on the various allegations, and have tried to stay out of the fray beyond that. The allegations do paint a fairly one sided picture, but aside from reporting them, we're not interested in taking sides. Unfortunately people who support the accused often believe that the journalists reporting the allegations are "the enemy."


A problem is that you really are just reporting on one side of it. Now, I don't expect you to report on every little embarrassing thing that Monica, Ron, and Jaime get up to, but their bad behaviour should be acknowledged in some way. When you posted about the law suit, I saw a lot of posts in the forum wondering why Vic was going after Monica's fiancée, clearly unaware of his mountain of anti-Vic tweets. Jaime dodging her papers and then gloating about it is also something worth mentioning.

Aside from that, after Kamecon you haven't posted any articles regarding the other conventions that have invited Vic to them. When the details of Funimation's investigation were made public, you didn't report on that either. Those things were huge wins for Vic's side, especially that ridiculous jelly bean story, so ignoring them can come off as you guys not wanting to post something that may get him seen in a more positive light.

So all I can really say is that if you don't want to pick sides, then don't only post content that appeals to one of them.

lossthief wrote:
So if I'm interpreting what you're saying here correctly, it's the responsibility of anyone who works for any professional organization in any capacity to be totally diplomatic and gracious in the face of targeted harassment?


Ideally? Yes. Trolls like that want you to react negatively. Why give them what they want?
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lossthief



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 620
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:03 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:


Ideally? Yes. Trolls like that want you to react negatively. Why give them what they want?


Well, for one, because these aren't "trolls", at least in the sense of that old "don't feed the trolls cannard". While there are inevitably some bored randos who just pop into a twitter thread or youtube comments section to post memes or get a laugh out of it, what's happened to a lot of ANN staff (and basically anyone connected to the whole situation with Vic since it started) is a different beast. It's organized, targeted, purposeful harassment aimed to consistently and regularly throw barbs at a person with as many people (or as many accounts) as possible.

That's why I take issue with the implication of stilldemented's post - the insinuation is present that individuals, when faced with unmitigated ugliness from a source that is only interested in stoking their misery for its own profit, must never react with anything but diplomatic grace or else they're not being "professional" and are somehow inviting all the cruelty being brought upon them.

And like I said, if that's your standard, I don't think there's much that can be gained from this conversation.
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1843
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:02 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga: there's always going to be disagreements of what constitutes what is newsworthy. Kameha Con was newsworthy because the invite was initially canceled and VAs were canceling their appearances as a result. You might notice that we also haven't reported on the cons Rial and Marchi were invited to or the disruptive incidents at their panels recently. Likewise I attempted to cover an alleged incident that happened at a con supporting Vic but it became impossible verify.

This is purely my editorial opinion but some occurrences surrounding all of this are little more than tabloid fodder and while I'm sure traffic would support it, I don't want Interest to become TMZ where we're publishing every English VAs' nasty tweet while they publicly argue with internet randos.

Characterizing whatever this is as simply trolls is disingenuous. I've largely ignored it publicly and I couldn't tell you if it's done me any favors. My address was still posted publicly with pictures of my kids all in a one- stop post with links. People shared whether they'd sleep with me or not. You'll have to excuse some of the staff who decided they're done playing customer service on Twitter.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12892
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:19 pm Reply with quote
I figured con announcements of any sort would count as newsworthy, but I see your point.

Also while I understand how difficult it is to withstand that harassment since I've also suffered a lesser degree of it, the best thing you can do is keep your cool. You snap back at them, you're only giving them more material for them to attack you with. The exact same sort of attacks are also being launched against pro-Vic people so there are shitty people on both sides.
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1843
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:35 pm Reply with quote
Please put me in touch with anyone that called their parents at 7pm to come take their kids overnight because they were no longer confident they'd be safe in their home. That's what I had to do. And while I don't expect you to empathize because I'm not sure I could adequately describe to you what that exact feeling is like, I'll share some some tips too.

This shit isn't a game. There is no "winning" and "losing" because we have the audacity to act less than perfect under these circumstances. The stress of doing that only compounds the violations further. The way I behave on social media is to minimize potential harm to my family because that's the stakes for me. I do not care about Renfamous or Dominique or YouTube guy #503.

I get that all of this, including me and what I'm experiencing, is just another drama element to dissect for people. I get that I'm probably viewed more like a dumb character than an actual human being and displaying my feelings is a sign of weakness. I get all of that, the psychology isn't particularly complicated. But it's fucked up.
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 12892
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:51 pm Reply with quote
They did go after TUG's daughter.

But yeah, it is fucked up and no one should have to go through that. Only consolation I could give is that these people are all talk and would never actually do anything. But when it comes to your kids of course you're going to be safe than sorry.
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