Well the old adages, “All things come to he who waits” and “time can make wise men of fools” has been proven right again. When we first gathered together to form this forum for artists to talk through their grievances, we were called fools, whiners over sour grapes, childish, traitors and liars by a steady parade of the Epilogue Defense Patrol. Every single issue we raised met with staunch heated rebuttal that we were being over sensitive, fabricating, or worse purposefully misleading the public with slanderous statements that Epilogue had serious problems. So strong were the EDP in their loyalty to Chad and his system that none could envision or believe our testaments of abuse.
Now imagine my amazed and triumphant surprise when I watched a minor issue turn into the exact examples that we had been accused of making up evolving upon the boards of Epilogue recently.
And who should be at the center of this shit storm but Mrs. Kay Allen herself who made the unfortunate mistake of questioning an editor’s decision of a picture in the WIP thread. All those involved in the thread have testified that no flaming or wrong doing had occurred but Chad felt it “might” turn out that way and first closed the thread then deleted it.
Here is what Chad had to say after removing the thread title “Anything goes”:
“Posted 04-27-2004 11:03 PM The original thread with this title was removed because it did nothing to help build up the community. for those of you who were following the thread, this is my reply*I am very honored that you all feel so strongly about this community and that having work accepted here really means something to you. I also know that you all appreciate the work the editors do in maintaining that atmosphere. The editors are the backbone of Epilogue and the site would not function without them. That is why we take public attacks or flames on them very seriously. It makes the whole community look unprofessional. Does that mean you have to agree with their decisions? Not at all. All I ask is that if you have a problem with the editors or a decision they have made, contact the staff or editors directly. It's that simple. In fact, we welome your feedback. While we can't give explanations for every rejected piece, we are willing to offer advice for rejected pieces that the WIP forum regulars can't help with. To help facilitate this, I will be adding a contact form that will go directly to the editors.
The bottom line is that we want to preserve the professionalism this site was founded on. We are attracting more artists and art directors every day. When they see posts bashing the core of our community, it makes us all losers.”
Well that set off a chain of reactions that resulted in every issue we presented being brought to the light again and vocally defended, not refuted, by several of the people who were the loudest members of the EDP amongst our previous nay-sayers. Why this reversal you ask? Because at last they were seeing the light of truth in our words for it was occurring to one of their own and any who defended her.
Comments recently made by Kallen at Epi:
“For someone claiming to value feedback the editors/moderators sure seem to have a nasty habit of deleting or locking any thread or comment that even remotely weighs against them. It is like fighting a brush fire by throwing gasoline on it. There was never any insult intended to any of the editors nor were my comments flaming or disrespectful, but the heavy handed actions taken against them have fanned the sparks and caused something to erupt that should have never started.”
“Is epilogue now a community for 'yes men' only and all others need not waste their time trying to get a post through because it will just be removed? There is a big difference between a little criticism and comments intended only to cause injury and insult. I believe it was you and not I who crossed the line and made my comments into something they were not and this trend you feel you are making towards 'professionalism' is becoming rather disturbing.”
Chad had this to say:
“What is all this? You are making a lot of assumptions and taking things WAY out of proportion. Nobody is attacking you or singling you out. If asking you nicely to follow the rules we expect everyone to follow is being heavy-handed, than I suppose we are guilty. But it seems there is something else behind all this.”
” Well when you post to someone in PM and the reply is "Sorry you feel this way, but there doesn't seem to be anything further I can say at this point." That isn't exactly a reply to a concern. So no I do not believe that anything can be said to you all in private. I was chastised...ridiculed and deleted in public yet I am not allowed to voice my concerns for this behavior or speak my mind on the subject in public.
Yet in private I am dismissed. I am not breaking any of the posted guidelines yet I am deleted that hardly seems professional.”
“Sorry...when someone is reprimanded for speaking an opinion and only saying "Bad Call" and "Nitpicky guys" in a nice conversational way and the editor tells you that you broke guidelines and then a valid thread is closed because you dared to disagree with an editor. There is something very wrong here.”
When a Chad supporter voiced the mantra of emailing and PM’ing the editors as a simple solution that should have been taken, Kallen had this to say:
”I did voice those concerns and they were not discussed they were dismissed. In PM they were dismissed again.”
“Am I suppose to believe that I will be treated fairly now? That this is a nice open friendly forum where feedback is allowed. I am not mad....I think if I look at my feelings closely they resemble hurt and disappointment.
I obviously thought that Epilogue was something it is not.”
Another member agreeing with Kallen was quoted by Chad with further comments by him regarding her support of the issues raised:
“quote: ”I think its (Epilogue) forgetting the humble days when every member, pro or not could speak their mind as long as it wasnt offensive to others and made us see things diffrently.”
I just don't see that 'over moderation' is happening on any kind of scale to generate the kind of reaction that it is. This is being blown so far out of proportion it's silly. We have taken a more active moderation role in the past months, but after some of the trolls and stalkers we've experienced recently, can you blame us for being a little over-cautious? When it appears a conversation is starting to tank, we close it to prevent an all out flame war (which has happened before on more than one occasion). At the end of the day, all we are trying to do is just keep things friendly.
I agree we probably shouldn't have removed some of threads we have, but let's take a step back and realize that it's not something that happens every day. In reality, we only close a small handful of threads and actually delete just a fraction of those. I also think it's important to note that the forum moderators (not editors) handle the locking/deleting of threads.”
“In an effort to get things back to normal and focus on creating art again, I would like to apologize to Kay, and others, for this misunderstanding and any ill-will it has caused. We do value your feedback and don't want you to feel like you're going to be persecuted for having a differing opinion. Epi was built around your feeback, and still is! However, when we were smaller, it wasn't a problem to handle the more 'touchy' issues in the public eye. But with a growing community, we all have to be just a little more mindful of what we say and how we say it. It's just so easy to read things incorrectly and to get the wrong tone of a person's post (as evidenced by this situation).”
I have one thing to say about this regarding Mr. Chad’s kind of tongue in cheek apology. “Don’t play that game with us and don’t give us that smile. You’re just messing with us. That isn’t even a real smile, it’s just a face full of teeth messing with our minds.”
Did this apology solve the problems brought up? No, for they will continue to encourage and perform censorship because Chad and others like him at Epilogue refuse to admit it is wrong. Did it put the thread back? No, those words are lost now so that they may not inspire others to think outside the box. Did it explain what reasons he took these actions? Yes, for censorship for our own good and the good name of Epilogue’s professionalism. To keep us or others from seeing there are problems and thinking of Epilogue as imperfect or in error in some way.
There were others who defended Kallen with the following comments:
(1) “Having read all the posts that lead up to this, I'm a bit concerned here, I didn't see Kay be rude, hateful or disrepectful in any way shape or form. She should be allowed to speak her mind and address that issues that bother her. The editors and mods shouldn't brush her comments off like nothing, Kays helped alot of people get a gallery here, by helping them in the wip thread. I being one of them, I tried inviting Simon Bisley here.
Sadly enough he read the threads that lead up tot this one and he's respone was. " Hell if a person can't speak their mind there, why the hell would I want to go there. I'm staying put here. "Meaning if your not insulting anyone and not starting a flame war. Why on earth should the mods, and editor treat you like you did so?”
(2) I'm almost afraid to post in here.
I think this discussion can boil down to something. Obviously Epilogue artists and future artists have a concern. It has to do with the relatively few Editors that view (and decide the fate of) the artwork that is submitted. Many, many times the Editors opinions are called into question. It is frequent enough to warrent mention. They are prevalent in the WIP forum especially. I think the fact that the identities of the editors is known can perhaps be an issue. Perhaps the length of time they have held their positions. Perhaps something else.
Despite the fact that it was pointed out how true professionals in field felt about censorship, Chad’s replies with these comments:
“Well, of course. People don't like being rejected. I imagine the Editors' opinions are questioned with each and every rejection.
Switching out the Editor's wouldn't change anything other than the scenery. We have a very talented group of devoted artists jurying the submissions. What else can we ask for?
I think a big part of the problem would be solved if we could convince people not to take rejections personally or even so seriously. When you sign up for an Epilogue gallery, you are putting yourself in a position where there is the possibility that not everything you submit is going to be approved. It's not the end of the world if you get a piece rejected.
If there was an easy answer, there would be tons of Epilogues out there.”
Thus revealing his true agenda and feeling for the average Epi member but Kallen replies to his insensitivity :
“That line by Erika is the whole point I was trying to make. Fear of restriction on what you might say, how it will be taken by staff. It crosses peoples mind that if they speak their mind and it isn't all brown nosed... it might effect the judging of their next work. That is a terrible power to have over people. Walking on eggshells because God forbid you offend an editor.”
“You are hurt because your baby was rejected. Art is creation...it is love. It is damn important to the artist. So when it is told it isn't good enough. You seek comfort and advice and a place to vent a bit with your fellow artists.
That is what an open forum is for. Speaking your mind.”
”So if an editor comes into a thread and starts throwing their weight around and saying...Take it to private...we don't want you to talk publically...treats you like you have no value...has you shut down. Pulls out some obscure forum rule that shouldn't be there in the first place as justification for you being sent to the corner that is being a Bully.
Why you may ask? Because that editor has the knock out punch. You think that if you don't do what that editor says that the next time your work comes before them they are going to pull out the magnifying glass on you and reject your work. There is no perfect work. Any work can be rejected for one of those drop down menu reasons. Editors are human.”
“You can't have it two ways. You can't say to people to come to the forum to express their concern over a rejection and get help and then when they do tell them to take it to private because you don't like what they said.
The artist has to take it on the Chin...but the staff and editors can't? So anyway...that power that you have over the artists here shouldn't be thrown around. Not even remotely. If anyone should walk on eggshells it should be those in power.”
Further discussion revolved around the rejecting of pieces that were seen in the WIP thread and no one trying to help could figure out what was wrong with them while others with many obvious flaws and lesser quality were accepted. Then McF joined in and made these words of wisdom.
“When you say "good pieces", and "quality" we all know those are just YOUR subjective judgements. So if you say we reject a picture that shouldnt be, it means we just disagree on what "good" pieces are. No jury in the world is going to make everyone happy, because everyone thinks differently about every picture - some say its good, some say its not. No matter how big the staff/editors/jury will be, no matter how hidden or how varied or flexible or changing, there IS NO WAY TO PLEASE EVERYONE with a jury system. But it IS the ONLY way to keep quality standards high.
And I would like to note that we do NOT reject pieces without reason! If the reason is not obvious to anyone though, how can you blame us for it? You can always use the WIP forum to ask opinion of the fellow artists, an no posts are deleted because you say "this was rejected and I dont see why/disagree"! “
Now I don’t know but my thinking is, if no one find an obvious flaw in a work of art, not even the mods or editors…What is the purpose and reason for rejection if not a subjective and personal dislike by the editor who rejected it.
Again Kallen was quick to rebut Mr. McF with some very revealing comments that reflected views voiced here in this forum and which were called lies and over-reactions.:
“Rafal...there are only three editors that you can email for some help and possible get an answer. Three editors that are even seen in the WIP. And those editors are not seen that often. Only those of us who are active in Epilogue a lot even know who those three editors are.
Because you are all hiding on who rejected the work you don't know if one of those 3 active in public editors is the one that rejected you.
Personally I think it was a bad call to make who the editor is that rejected you hidden. I understand why you do it of course...but I still think it looks pretty creepy.”
“If you guys are now going to help people in private fix their work then you need to direct them to the correct editor.
Because like you say...art is subjective.
I doubt if all the editors see the same things. Especially if it is a close call rejection.
The WIP was set up because the editors are volunteers and busy people and can't answer all their emails and are afraid of flame. That was all discussed.”
”You are told not to email the editor but to take it to WIP...and of course since you don't know who rejected you...You just about have to do that.
So are we now reversing that?
Are you three editors going to take on all the emails now? Are you going to get the editors that don't participate in the forum active? Seems to me if you don't then you three are going to be overwhelmed.”
“So the way I see it...you are going to have to round up all the editors and make them public folks and accessable to the artists or you need to leave a good thing alone...if it ain't broke don't fix it.”
Some comments from the EDP stepped up to make some very amusing and note worthy comments that I think sums up the general feeling of those in charge at Epi and their groupies.:
“Kay, i honestly didn't think that by asking you to respect the forum rules that you were being treated heavy handed and was a little shocked to see your reaction. You usually seem so much more level headed than that, and i was quite taken aback by your responses. This thread is even more shocking to me since you are normally a strong supporter of editors judments. You've done a complete 180 and now sound like the "kiddies" you always chide for being indignant about a rejection. You constantly tell us to trust the eyes of others, and now you are doing the exact opposite, and worse, have gotten angry about being called on it.”
”Be careful what you wish for Kay, you might actually get it.
Do you REALLY want an "anything goes" thread where the entire membership responds with their honest, unfiltered opinions on this particilar diatribe of yours?...or is it just umbridge that a thread that you happened to have been vocal in was pulled by people, who it should be pointed out, still do this thing on a volunteer basis, and didnt want the trouble they saw coming from it.
Remember, it works both ways. If memory serves, the last time you were involved in a thread where some people spouted off their "anything goes, honest, unfiltered opinions in your direction, it resulted in you boycotting the W.I.P forum.”
On another thread I found this very interesting conversation and so I am including it also:
posted 03-12-2004 12:47 PM
Oh Kay, I know being accepted at Epi isn't a truly accurate measurement of a persons worth as an artist. That was just a joke. I notice most art at Epi tends to lean towards the realistic; there are lot's of respected artists that would probably never have a gallery here. Van Gogh would get "blurry/unrefined," Picasso needs anatomy work, etc.”
Actually, Van Gogh and Picasso WOULD get rejected from Epilogue, but not for technical reasons. They would get slapped with the whole "Not fantasy/sci-fi/anime in theme" deal. Although a lot of Van Gogh's work would probably get in anyway--things like "Starry Night" and "Night Cafe" would fit just fine in the Horror category.
To quote from a previous comment posted on the Epiloguerant boards by our newest members of Epi to join the ranks of the whiner’s/ losers and troublemakers club and form forums like this just to be heard:
”This looks like a pity party to me.
I think you all would be better off if you didn't waller in it. And just got to work on your art.”
Ah yes, so nice to be proven right for a change isn’t it? Now it sounds like to me Chad and the EDP are the ones having the pity party because we have taken the steps to open the eyes of many to the problems that exist in their perfect world. So Mrs. Kallen and those others who have recently seen the light of truth I would like to share these parting thoughts with you. This is something a wise old man once told me that I have found to be very true. He said, “We don’t choose the things we believe in, they choose us.” I also like to keep this quote in mind, “What is a man without hands? Is it the hands or the man that creates the art?”