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[Fuwa exclusive][Rant] Promoting VNs in a culture of apathy

sanahtlig

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This rant stemmed from a conversation on Twitter. I'm posting this here purely because posting this line by line on Twitter seemed retarded, and I'd disable the forum notifications for this post if I could. You can dig through my recent Twitter replies if you want to see the context. Have fun.

***

The problem is a bit more complicated than "some people don't like what I have to say". Sure, there's that, but the majority of detractors don't like how I raise my voice to be heard through the din. The majority of eroge fans are content to stay within their walled communities and gossip amongst each other. A few bloggers have appeared, but again they keep to themselves and expect their audience to come to them.

I've challenged this status quo. I've decided to be the black sheep that actually promotes his content: after all, why would anyone devote any amount of effort to writing for the smallest audience possible? I write to make a difference. I write to be recognized as a community leader. I'm not content with just being heard by a single insular community of hardcore fans. I can't accomplish anything like that.

I consider myself an industry activist. I do what the industry refuses to do: market and promote itself. In a community where freeloading is the norm, active promotion is very much frowned upon. Yet spurring people to buy stuff is incredibly important if eroge fans want to have a say in English localization. I want to be the facilitator that bridges the gap between eroge companies and the VN community. I want to be the voice for eroge fans when companies cross the line, thinking that sales are more important than the wishes of the fanbase. I can't do all of this by just whining in threads on Fuwanovel about the success of the Sakura series while games like Seinarukana remain in obscurity.

Mainstream activists make a living off what they do. I do what I do almost entirely for free, with the simple request that people click my affiliate links when they buy a game because of the content I provide. I would say that criticism of me is hypocritical, yet I realize that only a year ago I'd probably have said that what I do is distasteful. If things would get done without me, I'd be willing to pass the baton and go back to an online life of obscurity. If good content promoted itself, I wouldn't need to try to so hard to get the word out. But well, life isn't fair, honest effort isn't necessarily rewarded, and mediocrity is the formula for success. If I don't promote my content, no one else will. That's just how it is.

Long rant. I'm not going to post this on Twitter line by line.

Note: This is meant to be a conversation between me and my followers. If you say something unconstructive or just piss me off, I'll start deleting comments without warning. You have been warned.



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Mate, I have no idea why you even pay attention to people complaining. People don't like that you advertise? Tough. People don't like what you have to say? Tough. People don't like the way you say things? Tough. A significant number of people on the internet need to learn how to ignore shit they don't like without a piece of software to do it for them. It used to be a valuable skill back in the day.

 

On the other hand they are also free to complain, and whine, and bitch, just as you're free to ignore them. Do as you wish within the rules, you're lucky enough to live in a free country. and let people react how they react *shrugs*

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I think the problem isn't just with marketing, but how you market it. Your post on reddit some time ago illustrates this: first of all, you used a clickbait title, which is frowned upon. Second, you more or less threw three links out there, without much context. A more carefully written post which eased readers into the subject and gave more context to each link would probably have been received somewhat better. The commenters were still a bit too faggoty though, rip.

 

tl;dr the way you present your content is important

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A more carefully written post which eased readers into the subject and gave more context to each link would probably have been received somewhat better. 

The whole point there was that I just wanted to link to Decay's post and be done with it.  I didn't want to write an article to introduce Decay's essay.  That's a lot of effort just to present someone else's ideas.  I suppose I should've just left the topic alone if I didn't want to write it up properly--which is kind of sad since I don't really think others on Reddit put a great deal of thought into what they link to.

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The whole point there was that I just wanted to link to Decay's post and be done with it.  I didn't want to write an article to introduce Decay's essay.  That's a lot of effort just to present someone else's ideas.  I suppose I should've just left the topic alone if I didn't want to write it up properly--which is kind of sad since I don't really think others on Reddit put a great deal of thought into what they link to.

 

It doesn't matter what you were trying to do, it matter that you used a title like that. It rubs myself (and probably a fair amount of other people) when you say "visual novel fans" are "outraged", when, most of the community doesn't even have an opinion on the matter. Since everyone in the community falls under that label it feels like you're either implying that they are outraged too, or that they should be.

 

One of the things it boils down to is that, not that there's anything wrong with that, unlike most people (who just have an opinion), you have an opinion and an agenda.

 

In general, content with an agenda stick out like a sore thumb anywhere. Some people will resent being told what to think, as opposed to being just given. I don't have a problem with you trying to promote upcoming titles, I see what you are trying to address. How you present your ideas though, makes a difference:

 

"If you are interested in seeing an un-cut version, make sure to show you support here."

compared to

something to the effect of: "un-cut is the biggest issue since sliced bread! Show your support, because that's the only natural things to do!"*

 

If you posting with an agenda makes me frown a bit, using that kind of prescriptive language makes me roll my eyes, hard, and think you're one of those people who have no respect for other people's intelligence.

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It doesn't matter what you were trying to do, it matter that you used a title like that. It rubs myself (and probably a fair amount of other people) when you say "visual novel fans" are "outraged", when, most of the community doesn't even have an opinion on the matter. Since everyone in the community falls under that label it feels like you're either implying that they are outraged too, or that they should be.

That's a classic case of selective memory.  Here's the original title: Fans furious over yet another delay of Shiny Days.  Notice how the actual title doesn't have the implications you assigned to it in your memory (or rather, you cemented an ambiguous title in memory in a non-ambiguous way that fits your interpretation).

 

In general, content with an agenda stick out like a sore thumb anywhere.

Yes.  That would bother me too.  But well, you can't get anything done without a goal, right?  See the title of this piece.

 

Also, while sometimes I have an agenda, sometimes I just want to start a conversation.  I think sometimes people can't tell the difference, and they assume an agenda where there is none.

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I'm of two minds about this. I actually disagree with a lot of your methods but I keep my disagreements to myself. But since this blog post was made and my name was even brought up in the comments, I guess I'll post something. I don't think I'll ever promote any of the Fuwazette content anywhere else unless I feel like we are providing something no one else is providing. That's more due to my personal philosophies than anything else.

 

Here's what I don't like more than anything: When someone posts on a site to advertise their own content from another site. For some specific examples: When Otaku Bookworm posts his reviews on VNDB. He just posts a link to his blog post and that's the entire body of the post. I hate that. It feels like the sole existence of that post is to generate more hits for his blog, and not to spur community discussion. It's okay to post the same thing in multiple places, and if you have something you'd like to share, I'd rather it be shared in its entirety rather than hidden behind links so people have to visit your off-site blog. You do this as well for other content, sanah, and I dislike it just as much. I think it's anti-community, and it's a type of self-promotion I strongly object to. If I wrote the rules, I would go so far as to actually forbid that kind of posting here, in the forums and in the blogs, but luckily I'm not a mod, and you don't have to worry because I'll never seek that position either. :P

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When Otaku Bookworm posts his reviews on VNDB. He just posts a link to his blog post and that's the entire body of the post. I hate that. It feels like the sole existence of that post is to generate more hits for his blog, and not to spur community discussion. 

I don't think he started doing that until I did.  So yes, the blame for that would probably lie with me.

 

Here's the main arguments for doing this (other than the obvious self-serving one).

  • Having one centralized place where information is stored makes upkeep easier than several.  Think of this from a database perspective.  If I want to make edits (and I almost always do), I want changes in one place to be propagated everywhere the content is posted.  That only works, in this case, if the actual content is only hosted in one place.
  • Different sites have different formatting rules.  For a large article the reformatting between sites is non-trivial.  It saves time to just post a link.
  • I put effort into my site's layout.  In some ways, I think it's superior (for the specific content I provide) to the layout that the sites I'm posting on use.  You're free--and encouraged, in fact--to comment on the site where you encountered the article, as to be honest my commenting system still isn't very good.  I haven't found a good solution to this issue.
  • Analytics.  I love data, and the sites I post links on don't give me much (or any at all, in some cases).  I want to know how many views my content is getting, where views are coming from, whether people click and actually read or just hit the back button, and how many people actually buy stuff after reading my content (showing that I'm making a difference).  This is important for helping me improve and target my content, among other reasons.

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That's a classic case of selective memory.  Here's the original title: Fans furious over yet another delay of Shiny Days.  Notice how the actual title doesn't have the implications you assigned to it in your memory (or rather, you cemented an ambiguous title in memory in a non-ambiguous way that fits your interpretation).

Fair enough about the shifted memory. But both statements are ambiguous in the same way. If I use ambiguous statements and people take them the wrong way (without conspiring to or extreme bias), I don't think it's correct to blame the people for taking it not the way it was intended.

 

It seems like you are surprised that people don't react positively to you. My intention was just to lay out reasons I think why you are getting bad rep.

 

I write to be recognized as a community leader.

 IMO What seperates a community leader (in my image) from an activist is that a people value the goals the community leader is trying to reach, agree with or at least respect their stance, and trust the leader to lead/implement actions on their behalf to reach those goals.

It's not an easy position to reach, or even carry out. A key part is convincing people.

 

----

 

I can sympathize with your reasons for wanting to post on a single site, they are good reasons. I also agree with Decay's sentiments. Purely speaking on the topic, While external linking doesn't mean bad there might be prudent grounds to disallow because it is a slippery slope.

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Fair enough about the shifted memory. But both statements are ambiguous in the same way.

They're not.  "VN fans" implies what you say it does.  "Fans" implies fans eagerly anticipating Shiny Days.  Not the same at all.  Also "furious" and "outraged" have very different meanings.  "Furious" implies undirected anger that may or may not be justified.  "Outraged" implies a directed reaction to a perceived slight or wrong.  As a writer, I actually choose my words sort of carefully (though I have a tendency to give no particular extra attention to titles and headings), and what you're showing here is that this isn't being recognized.  People are just jumping to their own conclusions, basically.  Well, that's people for you.

 

Activists and Community leaders are both heard. The difference is that the community recognizes the goals that the community leader is heading for, agrees or at least respects their stance, and trusts the leader to lead/implement a plan on their behalf to realize those goals.

 

A community leader is simply the "in-group" version of activist.  Any effective activist is probably both, simply by definition.  But you're right--no one nominated me to do this.  Then again, I usually don't claim to speak for anyone either.  When I do, I tend to do so in an objective manner: referencing information and events that support my interpretation of others' positions.  I don't just assume everyone agrees with me.

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They're not.  "VN fans" implies what you say it does.  "Fans" implies fans eagerly anticipating Shiny Days.  Not the same at all.  Also "furious" and "outraged" have very different meanings.  "Furious" implies undirected anger that may or may not be justified.  "Outraged" implies a directed reaction to a perceived slight or wrong.  As a writer, I actually choose my words sort of carefully (though I have a tendency to give no particular extra attention to titles and headings), and what you're showing here is that this isn't being recognized.  People are just jumping to their own conclusions, basically.  Well, that's people for you.

Oh, I see, you're right. I didn't consider that meaning.

 

For Furious vs Outraged, iuuno. Who are you furious towards? JAST. What are you furious about? In direct response to them delaying the game. It's not a far jump in this context. The envisioned fury's cause is trivial to pindown: the notion that there shouldn't be a reason JAST should be delaying the game. Which fits snugly a state which to use the word outraged.

Denotically they may be somewhat different, but here words are applicable and seem to point to the more or less the same state.

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I will recognize one Achilles Heel with my methods: they fail the categorical imperative.  If everyone did what I did, the world (and less broadly, the VN community) would be a worse place.  In fact, I do what I do specifically because others aren't.  That's essentially my excuse.  If everyone did what I do, the need for what I do would dissipate, and the negative effects would accumulate.  My argument is essentially that there's a balance to be stricken here, and right now there's a need for potentially disruptive behavior like affiliate marketing.  To the extent possible, I try to walk the fine line of leveraging the benefits while minimizing the negatives.  I certainly feel I haven't committed the worst offenses attributed to affiliate marketers, for example.  I have a friend who argues that people like me are scum, which helps.

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I think the problem is the same in every part of the video games market, VN fans will rareky buy eroges and VN's and the ones who are brought to this world won't pay for something that they can get for free. Another problem is the culture shock that will cause the sale of eroges in places outside japan, korea and maybe china. But still, i respect how you try to bring new people to this forum

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For Furious vs Outraged, iuuno. Who are you furious towards? JAST. What are you furious about? In direct response to them delaying the game. It's not a far jump in this context. The envisioned fury's cause is trivial to pindown: the notion that there shouldn't be a reason JAST should be delaying the game. Which fits snugly a state which to use the word outraged.

Denotically they may be somewhat different, but here words are applicable and seem to point to the more or less the same state.

That's just it.  *I* wasn't really all that furious.  In the discussions I referenced, I was one of the cooler heads I think (Decay seemed more "upset" than I was).  You've leapt to the conclusion that I was referencing my own state of mind.  I wasn't.

 

That's the point I'm trying to make.  Rather than scratch their heads and just say "What are you even trying to say?", people just flamed me for holding an imagined point of view they disagreed with.  Is that my fault?  Perhaps.  Is it also their fault for leaping to conclusions?  Yes!

 

As for the cause of the fury, again you inserted your own logical leaps and came to the wrong conclusion, all the while calling it "trivial" to deduce.  People were upset not so much about the delay, but because JAST waited to tell people until the release date in BOTH instances.  It may sound silly, but rabid fans rearrange their lives around this sort of thing.  And JAST just kept faking them out.  That's not courteous.  It's also not professional.

 

My actual opinion on the subject can be found here.

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I think the problem is the same in every part of the video games market, VN fans will rareky buy eroges and VN's and the ones who are brought to this world won't pay for something that they can get for free. Another problem is the culture shock that will cause the sale of eroges in places outside japan, korea and maybe china. But still, i respect how you try to bring new people to this forum

I'm positively taken aback that you made this your first post here.  Thanks for the support!  Even if you can't legally buy the games I talk about! o.O

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V0Gwo79.png

Thought I'd inflict some non-fury into the thread...

Decay can claim whatever emotional state he wants.  My title was meant to reflect the discussion in the various threads I was following, mainly the JAST thread.

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For Furious vs Outraged, iuuno. Who are you furious towards? JAST. What are you furious about? In direct response to them delaying the game. It's not a far jump in this context. The envisioned fury's cause is trivial to pindown: the notion that there shouldn't be a reason JAST should be delaying the game. Which fits snugly a state which to use the word outraged.

    Denotically they may be somewhat different, but here words are applicable and seem to point to the more or less the same state.

It was a hypothetical, general, "you", the subject being fans of JAST.

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About your methods and way of life:

I've talked with you for a while some time ago. I don't know if it got through, but I absolutely love what you do. Promoting VN's, trying to make himself heard.

Admittedly, this has made me think of you as arrogant on more than one occasion, but that can't really be helped when you're trying to be, as you said, an activist.

I tend to agree with sound logic, and I believe that most of the time what you say is sound. It's always nice to read what you write, even when occasionally I can already tell "he's gonna get flamed to bits for this" as I read your content.

 

 

 

About the title of the Reddit "article":

That's the point I'm trying to make.  Rather than scratch their heads and just say "What are you even trying to say?", people just flamed me for holding an imagined point of view they disagreed with.  Is that my fault?  Perhaps.  Is it also their fault for leaping to conclusions?  Yes!

Expecting people to carefully consider every single word, its denotation, and its context is your first mistake. Miscommunication is the cause of most conflicts. You can interpret your title however you want. If the average person doesn't you can't entirely blame them.

You will notice that most people believe your title to be clickbait, and that you had to provide paragraphs of justification over the chosen title just so people would even remotely understand its "carefully chosen-ness".

 

Perhaps because I'm not a non-native, I would have never thought of interpreting "Fans" and "fury" as you did, when there was a much more obvious meaning I could easily reach.

 

I'll give you a badly made example which likely has nothing to do with this.

In Portuguese, the word "eventually" means "possibly". Perhaps because of the English language's influence on Europe and education, most youths believe it has the English meaning. This can very easily lead to certain misunderstandings.

While the one who uses it with the Portuguese meaning is categorically right, the one who misinterprets it can't fairly be held responsible when the misinformation actively spreads among people.

 

With this I'm trying to say, your interpretation of the title may be the most correct one, but it is not the one most people will arrive at, and your carefully chosen wording is entirely to blame.

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___123___[Fuwa exclusive][Rant] Promoting VNs in a culture of apathy - Sanahtlig's Corner - Fuwanovel Forums___123___

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