business

Discretion – a dying art?

I found two things in one day that helped me allay worries about my donations request for what I do, have done, will be doing, my fledgling endeavors at self-fulfillment.

The first one is something that reminded me of the fact that there are people who upload shows on Piratebay and then advertise their frickin’ Facebook page and ask for follows! (That changes the whole thing quite a bit, just as it does when someone uses a pirated Photoshop not for testing/practice/private hobby but for profit. – As a for-profit brony media site was caught doing a while ago.)

I found a Youtube channel (through Youtube’s “related channels” advertising section) that has nothing but uploads of unaltered snippets of MLP episodes. (Thus no creative contribution whatsoever, merely providing of content.) And there I found a Patreon link where the channel owner was presenting the following case:
– He(or she) has got a job.
– That job no longer leaves time or motivation for uploading those snippets. (As if such isn’t the absolute minimum of effort possible.)
– Sadly(!) he also can’t monetize that copyrighted material because Hasbro does. (That implied intention made me go WTF.)

I don’t even know what word fits this mindset, but lack of discretion comes close. Such discretion enables that five can be called even sometimes and both sides get along if they can find an elegant compromise.
These extremes will contribute the most to (re)building the fear that makes businesses like Hasbro so protective – especially considering that said Youtube channel also uses a character name like a brand name, like an official representation.
(There’s a related thing where people just re-upload other people’s music to populate their channel and call themselves “music promoter”. Further audacity points if they have a disclaimer á la “Tell me if I should remove something ans I will” that signals they didn’t even check whether they are allowed to.)

Man! Apparently my standards were way too high, causing myself unnecessary worry, at least in comparison to some stuff that is going on in the open.

Well, and the second thing today that further solidified the message was this:

http://www.horse-news.net/2015/12/blackgryph0n-michelle-creber-now.html

I recommend reading the whole thing including all comments, because it is a multi-faceted issue. But the critique is at least to some degree justified.

I guess I would have a sprawling career by now if I had approached things like that. Instead I’m dealing with a severe imbalance between what I am capable of and what I was able to put into motion. (And going the hard way towards making stuff happen.)

As for commentary on the Brown/Creber case, the whole document pretty much speaks for itself, but I’d like to point out again how that case is very much like Drawponies, showing how much of people’s moral outrage is actually fueled by personal agenda and how much that determins popularity. If other people (with a popular name, too – guess where it came from) in the same business feel stepped on their toes, they will tweet about it and the issue becomes big. But when it’s like in the case of The Living Tombstone and charity song collabs, one musician doesn’t want to badmouth another one in fear of becoming the target of the same critique, yet all restraint falls away when it’s about money and influence, about business.

Every crisis, every drama is a result of tensions and thus inherently justified to happen, as a means for finding better ways. This view is part of practicing acceptance of everything that emerges. Even if you fight something, it could still either mean you accept the experience or you resist.

Why it is OK to negatively criticize a free game

You’ve probably read it a couple of times. There’s a free game, say, on Steam, and people complain about stuff and then others talk down to them, claiming since it’s a free game, they are bad people.

So let me widen the perceptual horizon here.

Justified critique is totally fine, especially considering that a freely published game, especially on a highly-frequented platform like Steam, is often a promotion instrument, a skill demo, so it’s not exactly for the pure love of the world. You’de be surprised how many people are way more egoistically motivated than they pretend to be. But you’d only be surprised when you find out, and you only find out when you can manage to put them to the test. (I’m digressing slightly here.)
Furthermore, critique is free consulting, so they’re actually getting a good deal. I mean, there are game devs who are totally inept design-wise, publish a piece of crap of a game, then collect the tons of critique and get to work implementing the suggestions and thus don’t need to be anything but a hacker monkey who is being force-fed with game design training. That business scheme seems especially popular with early access. People will even pay for crap and on top of that give you free consulting services, all fueled by the hope that the game becomes great one day.
In the most extreme case, an early access game is little more than: “OK, I made an empty world space. Pay up, then I’ll allow you to tell me what you want in it and I’ll put it there. (Unless I don’t want to.) Isn’t that great? Your own personal ideas implemented in a totally not generic game. Your ego must be so st(r)oked right now. Buy your own little piece of immortality today!
And the next day there’s an empty space with a pickaxe and a zombie.

I was inspired to write this when I learned about a free Steam game (Serena) that had some issues related to Steam being crap and Valve not caring (the usual), and I read up about the game, and it’s advertised as “…the result of a massive collaborative effort between dozens of fans and designers of adventure games.” while when you press ESC that story-progression-type game immediately quits, without so much as a confirmation dialogue. Unbelievable? Well, I’ve seen some wacky things. Totally justified to go “Dude! What the hell?!

Speaking of incompetence: Is there any major internet business that hasn’t made it its mission to destroy any usability? As I am writing this, I have to switch between Visual and HTML view, because HTML view doesn’t have quick formatting, but requires me to add code manually, while Visual doesn’t know what a line break is (!), yet in HTML view it doesn’t even need/show the code for it.
I’m not even gonna explain how to do it more elegantly. They need to figure such basics out themselves. My consulting services aren’t for free, since my expertise is apparently scarce.

Round avatar pictures – The new stupid trend

They keep popping up. The stupid trends that do something the stupid way which used to be done the smart way and everybody jumps on the idea.

Examples from movie-making would be immersion-breaking circular explosion pressure waves and lens flares.

One of the more recent web design trends is to make avatar pictures worse. (There is no English word for Verschlimmbesserung, the act of changing something to make it worse.)

Picture files are rectangular. Web design is profoundly rectangle-based, and for a good reason. It makes efficient use of screen space. Now you create your avatar picture for a web service, cut it so that it includes what you want to see, upload it, and then the web service just cuts off a good bit of the picture all around, thus wasting all the space that has been cut off, since there’s no use for the free space around a circular web element like that anyway. Your whole avatar now looks like it has been squeezed into a balloon, with no advantage, only downsides. Why? Because some marketing-drunk fools think rectangles are so last year?

The world is going crazy. I see the process at work every day.