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We have been vindicated!! - Disgruntled Artists

About We have been vindicated!!

Previous Entry We have been vindicated!! May. 4th, 2004 @ 06:00 am Next Entry
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:

“Forum Apprentice
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?”

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Kenny Chesney--I
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(Deleted comment)
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Date:May 5th, 2004 06:59 am (UTC)
I'm confused...when did all this happen? Cause the only time stamps you show are months old. How can you post them now if the thread has been deleted (I could find neither hide nor hair of it)? Have you just been sitting on them for a weeks or what?
Date:May 5th, 2004 07:59 am (UTC)
The "Anything Goes" thread wasn't deleted. Nor is it even closed (last time I looked). I think the matter got resolved, because Kay's still around, and she's still part of the volunteer's team. This is such old news, anyway - as someone else pointed out, some of those comments are months old.
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Date:May 5th, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)

Not so old news, but still worth noting!

Everything but the last two comments regarding Van goth at the end (which I felt were note worthy) are from the dates of 4/27/04 and 4/28/04 threads with comments continuing until 4/30/04. I wanted to keep a record of them just in case Chad decided to have another itchy finger to delete it all. All the material in my post came from Chad's post on the general art thread titled "Rules in WIP forum" and Kay's on the general art thread titled "Anything goes."

The Original Thread that started all this was posted by Kay sometime at the end of Apirl and Chad deleted the original on Apirl 27th before I got a chance to see a copy of the original. Last time I looked this is only 7-8 days old, NOT months. As for posting it now. I just stumbled upon it on the Epi boards a few days ago and felt it was important to this group because it showed the reversal of many of the Epi peoples' thinking now. It is evidence that the things being said now were the same things we were called names for and harrassed about before. It proves our case is not invalid or our issues were not false.

As for Kay still being at Epilogue, well frankly, nowhere did I state she had left now did I? I was just making sure this forum was aware of the issues she brought up again at Epi recently and her concerns were seen by others who agree with them.

In fact it was considered important enough for Chad to post on 4/28/04 a new comment on the general thread titled "A toast" at Epi in an attempt to appease the staff's feelings and then lock the thread so that no one could comment after him.

Member # 2
posted 04-28-2004 05:51 AM  I would like to propose a toast to the Editors, forum moderators, and other volunteers who help us operate the beast that is Epilogue! They have tough (and often thankless) jobs that are the core of our operation."
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 5th, 2004 06:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Not so old news, but still worth noting!

Just to clarify a few misrepresentations: There were 3 posts in question: "the original" which was locked - not deleted (it's just no longer on the first page of threads), which prompted Kay to start a 2nd thread - which was, again, locked - not deleted (although Kay's comment was removed), and the third "Anything Goes", which has never been locked, or deleted. "A toast" is not now and never was locked and currently contains 17 posts.
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Date:May 5th, 2004 06:52 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't see this as vindication for anyone--it was an unfortunate situation for both sides, but in the end, Epilogue has absolutely nothing against people expressing their opinions. It was the WAY certain opinions were expressed that resulted in the removal of some posts, unfortunately. We do have a few rules and guidelines in place, intended to keep the forums friendly--this isn't in the interests of censorship, but just in the interests of preventing things exactly like this.

In the end, we did leave one thread active in case any genuine NEW concerns were raised, but, sadly, they weren't. We will be making it easier to contact editors personally, by installing a contact form, and we are also working constantly on the approvals process, but there will always be some disagreements, and we do respectfully ask that people bring those to us in private rather than clogging the WIP forums with threads that aren't really intended for critique. (This has been a forum rule for a long time, following some arguments among members which grew quite heated.)

The PM which received a very brief response, for the record, contained nothing but a reiteration of several previous arguments, and we couldn't think of anything else to say. :-(

I hope that clarifies things a bit for you guys.
Date:May 5th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
LOL you guys crack me up...
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Date:May 6th, 2004 12:18 am (UTC)

Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

Chad himself stated the original THREAD was deleted in his post titled "Rules in WIP forum" under the general art thread.

Member # 2
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."

Well, let's see...if removing of some one's questions and concerns are a problem if they only pertain to the way Epi is run, then how do you expect members to voice their problems?

It has already been noted many times that contacting the editors and staff gets little to no response. Making a new contact form is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed artery wound. If they don't answer emails and PM's that go directly to them why would anyone expect the contact form to make a difference? And how is this form going to make changes to the issues even if the editors do respond? Do you plan to take some of the suggestions Kay made and put your other editors and staff to work finally? Or perhaps replace the none active ones with others to "change the scenery" as Chad stated?

Or perhaps, gods forbid, you take and this time act on some of the things we proposed before. This like 2 out of 3 moderator vote on the accepting of new materials, having more active support in the WIP thread by editors, allowing the editors who reject a piece be know for consult of the reason or at least stating in the rejection what the problem is. What happened to the forming of your own Epi rant LJ community to deal with these issues you find so unprofessional but the membership desires to be heard?

Nothing I have seen voiced by Epi staff so far has shown anything toward true improvement of the issues discussed but empty promises and continuation of actions that have brought forth "things exactly like this." Continuing to repeat the mantra of your rules as they stand without allowing the full membership to have active voice to make changes acceptable to all involved, is very one sided. Sugar coating issues and belittling of members concerns by making comment that make their concerns seem petty or unwarranted is unproductive and wrong. If you don't plan to change your policies then just say so and don't jerk members around pretending that you are.

As for how does this show we have been vindicated? Well, Kay for instance was one of the most vocal nay-sayers in our forum from the beginning. She supported your same views and vehemently voiced her disagreement of our stated concerns. But now since the actions taken against her, she now has seen the truth and is now just as vehemently restating the issues in Epi that we first asserted. There hasn't been any long term positive changes brought to the forum of Epi since we first addressed the issues here in this forum. Making promises to quiet down the ruckus for a while doesn't change the issues at all. It's simply bad politics.

So what really has everyone from Epi so upset? The fact that I posted on our boards comments from disgruntled members on your site and the snarky comments from others (editor/mods/ members of the EDP) or the fact that these comments cannot now be deleted?

Frankly, your arguments make as much sense as falling for the slick talking of a used car salesman and buying a piece of junk car. Sure it runs good till you drive it off the lot and then the bugs in its system start popping up till it dies.
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Date:May 6th, 2004 12:58 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

I also think it is funny how so many of you at Epilogue thumb your noses at Elfwood, referring to it as an inferior site and beneath Epilogue because Epi is so much more professional.

I feel Elfwood is far more professional for they have rules and guidelines that they follow also, but they also listen to the concerns of their membership. They have a separate forum for airing of grievances. They have sites where members can get real help with their works and not go on just quest work. They provide reasons why a piece is rejected and the member can contact the mod who rejected it for further explanations plus also have a system to deal with members who wish to challenge a rejection reason. They have their system set up so that mods can confer with other mods if in doubt about a piece in order to make a decision on a piece's acceptance. They also have a team, the ERB, who polices the forum for material that doesn't meet their rules and guidelines and somehow slips through the cracks.

You say, "Oh we have famous artist in our membership." Elfwood does also but they also strive to assist the young artist learn to someday become as good as the famous. Elfwood tries to treat its membership with respect and in a friendly manner. They don't go out of their way to ridicule or belittle members if they raise an issue or submit work that is less than perfect. The staff at EW is active and those who stop being active without an explanation are soon replaced with new staff to help run the forum.

How many of the member of Epi use EW or DA galleries to show their works off. There are links to both EW and DA in numerous threads of discuss about pieces all over Epi. A large majority of members who have galleries at Epi also have both EW and DA galleries as well of other gallery sites and I have also seen posts by numerous members in various areas of Epi where they state that most of their commission works and jobs are obtained from their EW galleries.

Elfwood is an example that taking feedback both good and bad from your membership can be an asset not a thing to shove under the rug. I'm not saying that Elfwood is perfect, they have their problems also. But they at least try to work with their membership to make improvements satisfactory to all involved. So why can't Epi do the same, especially since EW plays such a strong support base for many of your members?
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 6th, 2004 02:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

We make constant improvements based on member suggestions, including a brand new site for avatars, the Epilogue Showcase, new reject messages, a contact form so people CAN get specific replies from editors on rejected work, addition of new forum categories, and constant touchups to the backend to resolve technical bugs.

Unfortunately, we have ONE programmer implementing all these changes, so we can't always go as fast as you may want us to.

The Epilogue Suggestions community hasn't gone forward because I didn't get final approval for it--sorry about that. In the meantime, everyone who writes to me, Rafal, or Patrick will get an answer. That's the best I can do. Sorry if I remind you of a used-car salesman, but we're all working very hard over there, whether you can see it or not, and you will see improvements over time.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 7th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

Socar, dear, I have to give you credit for being loyal and giving the argument the "old college try." You are one of the few staff members of Epi who can be counted on to stay on top of a problem and assist when possible. But from your examples listing "constant improvements" how do they help the old problems. You stated before that the last posting of Kay's comments in "Anything goes" was left up for possible NEW concerns. How can Epi think to deal with new issues when the old ones are not being cleared?

"We make constant improvements based on member suggestions, including a brand new site for avatars, the Epilogue Showcase, new reject messages, a contact form so people CAN get specific replies from editors on rejected work, addition of new forum categories, and constant touchups to the backend to resolve technical bugs."

I understand the Avatarsite, was developed per request of your members to possibly circumvent art thief from your galleries for this purpose, so that is a good example of improvement based on membership imput. The technical bug issue is something that all sites must deal with and isn't included in this argument at present since most Internet users understand the problem.

But the new rejection messages and a new contact form, I and I'm sure others would like a bit more explanation about. Will these new rejection messages be more detailed in why the piece is being rejected? Will it also include, since it is an automated email notice, a comment section for the mods/editor such as EW mods have to write in and explain the problem a bit more to the members? This new contact form for the editors, is their response going to be more timely given and helpful or the same snarky comments of those who occasionally received a reply in the past? The past has proven that the editors are not reliable in this area as witnessed by the repeat out cry by your members for so long. What reassurances will they receive that this will solve the problem?

And finally the Epilogue Suggestion forum. It received approval during the conception of the ideal in our forum with promises from Chad and the other Editors of its value to your forum's general moral and membership satisfaction. So where did the ball drop? What was the deciding issue that let the ball for this project be dropped? Could it be Chad's opinion that anything showing a possible membership disapproval or disagreement with certain issue within Epilogue, would look unprofessional to the famous companies and artists of the world and scare they off?

Professional of all fields have disagreements within their ranks but it a mark of professionalism in how those groups deal with the issues. Obtaining feedback whether you like what that feedback represents or not and working to meet a consensus on the issues satisfactory to both sides is the true mark of professionalism.

Until the "old issues" are resolved I fear your members will continue to find fault and seek action for them or simply give up the desire to belong to your forum. Word of mouth from the disgruntled can be more widely spread and damaging to a business, nonprofit or not, than almost any other form of bad press. The reason being bad press is seen today and forgotten tomorrow by the newest scandal or issue. But the opinions of the disgruntled continue to remain and they will spread the word to any within ear shot till that opinion is changed.
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Date:May 7th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

(Answer, part 1)

How can Epi think to deal with new issues when the old ones are not being cleared?

--Unfortunately, because we have only one programmer, issues have to be prioritized. Believe it or not, many of the improvements you are just seeing now have been on the agenda for years, and are not new issues at all. The concerns raised by members of this LJ are relatively new, and have only really become major issues now that Epilogue has begun to grow exponentially, and more and more artists are trying to make their homes there. The Epitome magazine, for example, has been in the works since shortly after I became an Epilogue member. At that time, there were very few concerns about the forums, rejected images, or communication with the editors. Improvements to the editorial process ARE in the works, but there are a lot of other issues being dealt with as well, so we do have to ask for patience.

Will these new rejection messages be more detailed in why the piece is being rejected?

--Not in and of themselves, but we are constantly adding new messages/amending the old ones in order to make the intent behind them clearer, and cover every possible contingency. We have also added (and recently amended) the Reject Message Page (available through the FAQ section) to further elucidate.

Will it also include, since it is an automated email notice, a comment section for the mods/editor such as EW mods have to write in and explain the problem a bit more to the members?

--Sorry if I made it sound like there'd be an automated notice via e-mail--there are no plans (that I know of) to start sending out e-mails. However, the contact form for the editors, as I understand it, will send a query to all the editors, allowing EVERYONE to see what you are asking, and raising the likelihood of your getting a reply from the actual editor who did the rejecting. We will not be typing in personal notes for every rejection, because rejections based on quality tend to be much, much more complex to explain than Elfwood's rejections, which tend to be based on genre or very simple quality issues, such as lined paper or poor scan quality.

This new contact form for the editors, is their response going to be more timely given and helpful or the same snarky comments of those who occasionally received a reply in the past?

--I haven't been witness to any snarky comments, but if it helps at all, you will be getting responses only from the editors, not from Chad, the forum mods, or anyone else. If you don't like a specific editor, or consider them snarky, you are welcome to note in your query that you'd like to hear from a specific editor. Personally, I answer all queries within 1-3 days, depending on workload, and I should imagine it would be roughly the same for everyone.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 7th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

(Answer, part 2)

The past has proven that the editors are not reliable in this area as witnessed by the repeat out cry by your members for so long.

--I'm not sure this is quite right--we DO answer all the questions we get. One tip: please don't write to us from Hotmail accounts. Because Hotmail boxes tend to be full, and to use the SPEWS spam filter which deletes mail from a lot of domains, we may not be able to reply to Hotmail addresses. Same goes for a lot of the major freemail services, and we are not responsible for that.

With regards to your earlier comment about inactive editors, all inactive editors have been removed from the roster as of last month, so you should not be getting ignored by anyone. Chad and Mark are not editors, and probably can't answer rejection-related queries.

What reassurances will they receive that this will solve the problem?

--We will never be able to make absolutely everyone happy, unfortunately, but most of the feedback we've been getting about the improvements we HAVE made has been very good. The better the site in general becomes, the more resources we'll have, and the faster we'll be able to tackle new problems.

Obtaining feedback whether you like what that feedback represents or not and working to meet a consensus on the issues satisfactory to both sides is the true mark of professionalism.

--Epilogue agrees with this statement, and we're always glad to follow up on suggestions. However, our forums aren't there for that purpose--we ask respectfully that you take your concerns to us via e-mail. You may not see instant results, but you should see the length of the discussions we have based on your suggestions! We really do have some great plans in place...but, again, just the one programmer.

We do take stop-gap measures to resolve immediate concerns, but a major overhaul of the editorial process is going to take a complete restructuring of the backend. To give you an idea of what's involved, as best I can (sorry--I'm not a programmer), our current system is designed in such a way that reject messages and acceptance states are attached to images. Removing, altering, or otherwise tampering with that system is very difficult, because it would cause "objects" (your images) to become misplaced. I'm not sure what the exact result would be, but it would involve Epilogue crashing. Thus, in order to implement things like multiple-editor approvals, custom notes assigned to rejections, et cetera, the entire architecture of the site would need to be rewritten, and then all the current database would need to be converted. Because it is a custom database (man, I'm so out of my depth, here), I believe we would also need a custom conversion tool. So, while these things have been discussed, our current projects need to be dealt with before we can think of getting to these issues (which are, although they may seem old, comparatively new).

With regards to the Epilogue suggestion forum, I think the problem was a lack of manpower. I'm taking the time to answer this because I do believe it's important that you get an answer, but we simply don't have enough people to answer every single concern personally, especially if many of them are simply rephrasings of the same thing. If we were officially supporting a suggestions journal, we'd pretty much HAVE to reply to absolutely every thread, and at the moment, it would be very difficult.

The best I can do for now is to promise to keep checking in on your LJ occasionally (and you can e-mail me if there's an issue you particularly want looked at), and answer any e-mails you want to send me. I can also discuss anything with Chad and the other editors that you want me to, but I absolutely can't guarantee instantaneous results, unfortunately.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 7th, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes, it is a bit laughable isn't it?

I'd like to thank you Socar for your time and patience in responding and giving the explanitions/answers for my questions. It does sound like Epi is attempting, if a bit slowly, to make changes. We will be anxiously waiting to see the outcomes of your planned interventions in the future.

I'd like to add that in all who I have talked to and read their comments regarding Epi staff, you of all editors seem the favorite of your membership due to your level headed and reasonable approach to problems. You do have a real knack with customer service and I for one applaud that. For this reason if I ever have need to contact the Epi staff in the future, you can be sure to hear from me.

It is also reassuring to know that someone like you will be keeping an eye on activities here in this forum. Have you ever given thought to becoming the public relations coordinator for Epi? I think you would make an excellent person for this job. We welcome your input and look forward to hearing from you again soon. Thank you.
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