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23 August 2006 @ 06:43 pm
The Vid Polls: The Big Honking Summary, Discussion, and Endless Blithering About Weasels  
Long ago, when the world was young (okay, about two years ago, but in fandom time that's like 37 generations), I developed the Urge to Rec Vids. (This was associated with, but not a direct result of, my attempts to learn how to watch vids. But that, my friends, is a meta of a different color, and that color would likely be beige enough to cause ennui-related brain damage.) But I was aware, from my hesitant proddings at the fringes of the vid world, that linking to or recommending vids was a different deal than recommending fan fiction.

(Note: This might have been true then. It's definitely not true now. Sorry; I just had to throw that in there. It's very hard to stay in a chronological first-person narrative without a lot of lapsing into "Ah, but had I known!" and "This is where I made my first mistake" and "In retrospect, that's when I should've started taking the malaria pills." God only knows how fictional narrators manage.)

So I looked around and found some discussion of this - as I recall, one post, with comments, about somebody linking to the poster's vid without permission, one essay, and one "Where Did My Vids Go and Why Aren't They Coming Back?" type statement on a website. The conclusions I drew from these sources:
  1. Vidders did not necessarily relish having their vids linked to or recommended, and really did not relish this happening outside the vidding community. (Actually, I kind of concluded that vidders did not much like non-vidders, period. But I'm now very aware that this was wrong, and also it was kind of stupid of me to believe it in the first place, so we will pretend that I never did, okay?)

  2. If anyone, but especially a non-vidder, wanted to link to a vid, it was absolutely mandatory to obtain permission first.
This was a problem for me. See, for me, there's fannish interaction - leaving comments, sending feedback, writing email, asking permission - and then there's fannish activity - writing, recommending, etc. I am fully functional when it comes to fannish activity. Interaction, though, not so much.

(Side note: You might think recommending would count as fannish interaction. But you would be wrong. As I've said to several people already, sending feedback is striking up a conversation with the smartest, wittiest, most attractive stranger in the room. Recommending is standing on the street corner shouting to myself about weasels. And I, as it happens, am much more comfortable in crazy-bag-lady mode. I mean, you all are invited, even encouraged, to stop, listen, and comment ("No, no. Everyone knows that ferrets are superior to weasels! And also, they are far sleeker!" Or, as it is known to those who, in a freaky timeline inversion thing, even now carry the scars: WeaselWank 2011.), and I'm delighted when you do (although I understand that 2011's going to be a tough year for comments), but I'm not expecting you to and I don't feel bad if you don't. Also, when I'm recommending, I don't feel like I have to be smart or impress anyone - random weasel-related blithering is perfectly fine. Whereas with feedback, I feel this horrible weight, this need to be as articulate and clever and all-around nifty as the person I am sending feedback to, which is obviously never going to happen. It makes me tense.)

So. Time progressed. I conquered a number of vid-related fears (accessophobia - fear of asking for vid site passwords, clickophobia - fear of sending feedback, oculomoronophobia - fear of looking like an idiot, divxphobia - fear of new codecs, etc.). I recommended some vids every now and again. And all was well.

Then, somewhere along the line, I discovered anime music videos, and oh my god the joy. Not only were they pretty and shiny and wondrous to behold, because live-action vids are that, too, but they were pretty much designed for people who didn't want to talk to other people. I didn't need to ask permission to rec. (And I actually couldn't send feedback to the creators, what with my intelligence not being up to the task of giving AMV opinions, which are in themselves quite the fine and demanding art.)

It was heaven. I recommended many anime vids and the occasional live-action vid, and there was happiness in the house of TFV.

And then one day quite recently I was talking with cupidsbow about the Issue of Recommending Vids. And she said (and I'm paraphrasing so severely that I might very well fuck up her point, so if you don't like it, that's probably my fault) that she'd never asked for permission when she recommended vids, and she didn't want to start, as she highly values the free flow of ideas and discussion and thinks permission requirements might inhibit that.

And I thought: Huh. (Yes, precisely like that. You see why I fear situations that require feats of linguistic virtuosity?) Because the thing is, I'd seen vidders link to other people's vids in a casual way. I'd seen recs swarm across my friends list even when I knew the vidder was unavailable to grant permission to rec. And I started wondering - is it different because I'm not a vidder? Is it different because I am a recommender? Or, hey, is it different? Do I actually need permission at all?

On LJ, my motto is: when in doubt, poll.

So I ran a poll asking vidders about vid permission and a poll asking vid watchers about vids in general. And what I learned was - well. Let's discuss.

First, as of this writing, 108 vidders have taken the vidder poll. Only 7% of them said it was necessary to ask permission before linking to a vid announcement. Even more significant, though, is that 51% of them - half! - had never even heard of this weird alien ritual of asking permission to link to a vid announcement. And 93 of the vidders - or just over 86% of them - gave blanket permission to rec or link to their vid announcements (provided people respected basic fannish manners - no hotlinking, no stealing, proper credit given, etc.).

So, no matter what was true two years ago (or what I thought was true two years ago, and such is the tragic nature of time and observers and all that physics whatnot that we will never know for sure which), what's true today is: a vid is a fanwork like any other fanwork, and you follow the same rules when recommending it as you would for recommending a story or a piece of art or whatever. With one major exception, that is: with stories, generally we link directly to the file. With vids, we link to the announcement page.

And that is really all there is to it. You, my friends, have the freedom to rec vids. In particular, you have the freedom to rec the vids of the 93 vidders who gave blanket permission. In general, you have the freedom to link any public vid announcement that doesn't say that you can't; in other words, permission to link is implied by the act of publicly announcing a vid, unless or until permission is specifically withdrawn, as long as you are linking within the general fannish community.

But some of you are probably wondering about the vidders who do think permission is necessary and didn't give blanket permission. You're in luck! I'm going to talk about them now. You folks who only wanted to know the general gist of the results should feel free to leave (and go rec something), but if you're curious about the Deeper Issues, stick around. There's poll analysis and thinkiness and potentially incorrect theories. Fun for the whole family except the sane members, is my point there.

First, for the vidders who prefer people to get permission, here's the good news: Almost everyone understands that what a specific person says trumps a general rule. So all you need to do is state your linking and recommending preferences clearly on your vid announcements, your site entry page, and your vid pages. (I suggest the judicious use of the full range of HTML tags to emphasize the key parts of the announcement.) You can say, "Please don't link to this announcement." Or you can say, "Please only link to this announcement - not the vid site itself." Say what you want to happen, and odds are good that that mostly is what will happen. Of course, some people will still be jerks, but, well, you've been in fandom long enough to know that jerks are inevitable but in the minority. And most of you have pages with passwords and enough control to block most kinds of basic assholeishness.

Second, for anyone up for some random useless speculation: Was I always wrong? Or was it really much more important to get permission two years ago than it is today?

My own opinion is - well, part of the answer is that my talent for making things difficult came shining through. But another part of the answer is in the way vidding has changed. Most of the vidders in the sample - just over 53% - had been vidding for less than three years. But the majority of people who password-protected their vids, who thought permission was necessary, and who didn't grant the blanket permission in the last question had been vidding for 3+ years. In fact, half the people with protected vids had been vidding for 6+ years.

And that's not surprising. The live-action vidding pioneers started in a different kind of fandom than the one we have now. Vids were distributed primarily through the mail and at cons, and vidders stayed safe from TBTP by flying under the radar. That meant keeping things secret, secured, protected - and it also meant things were more personal, more controllable. Some long-time vidders still aren't comfortable with internet distribution, with handing their work over to someone they know only as an IP number. (Passwords are, in part, an effort to keep robots out. But I think they also give vidders the feeling that they know, at least a little bit, who is downloading their vids.)

And, of course, people who have been vidding a long time have had plenty of time to encounter jerks and be fucked over by them. That doesn't help, either.

People who started live-action vidding recently, though, have the safety of numbers. (That doesn't, of course, mean that an RIAA/MPAA/other smackdown can't happen to these vidders. But it is much less likely to happen to any given individual, just because there are so many more targets than before.) They've begun vidding in a world where almost everyone's a bit of a copyright infringer.

Newer vidders also have the problem of numbers: how do you find an audience, a beta, a vidding community to be part of when there are so many newbies? And since most security steps also decrease audience and community access, newer vidders have more motivation to be less secure.

But at its core, the permission question highlights the difference between vidders who focus on control and caution v. those who focus on marketing and openness. Every vidder needs both those things, of course, and every vidders finds her own balance between those two points, but overall the vidding community seems to have swung heavily to the side of openness. (Within the fan community, that is. Any time you take a fanwork outside a fan context, you are dealing with a whole different set of issues.)

And that swing works for the vid watchers. Audiences are, overall, used to LJ-based interaction these days, and things like emailing for a password or writing off for a DVD set are - well, difficult.

Most people won't send away for vids that are only available by mail - about 75% of the vid watchers who answered my poll wouldn't. I have to think, though, that those vidders who only make their vids available that way are only interested in reaching the small core audience of die-hard vid fans, and those people will do whatever it takes to get their fix. So this distribution method probably does exactly what it's supposed to. (The big obstacle of DVDs for die-hards is finances, particularly for fans who don't live in the US; even when vidders will ship internationally, the cost of mailing plus exchange may be prohibitive for even the most ardent vid fans.)

Passwords, though, do have the potential to create a mismatch between the audience the vidder hopes to reach and the audience the vidder does reach. Approximately 40% of the people who took the vid-watcher poll won't email vidders for passwords (though they will use passwords that can be figured out through other means, or that are given out with the vid announcement). I've heard the word "entitlement" a lot in connection with that, but I really don't think that's what's happening in most cases. (Some, sure, yeah. But not most.) There are two things at work there, I think:
  1. There are many more casual vid watchers than there used to be. In the pre-internet days, you really had to make an effort to get vids, or you saw them only at cons, so of course there were fewer watchers but they were more committed to seeing vids - the die-hards who will send away for DVDs now were likely most of the vid audience back then.

    Now, people who don't typically watch vids can be spurred to do so by a rec or a link. But since they really aren't sure they'll like it, and they're hesitant about it, it's like any other impulse try at something: if there are steps that take time, people mostly give up. (Or lose their opportunity to download, for people who have only intermittent access to broadband.) In the old days, this audience probably just wouldn't have bothered with vids at all.

  2. Fandom is different than it used to be, and so fans are different, too. For most people who started in fandom on LJ, LJ is where we do our fannish things, and emailing and snail mailing are very personal interactions: things you do with close friends, not just random fans. So emailing someone out of the blue feels way too personal for some fans. They feel like they're bothering the vidder, assuming there's a personal relationship where there isn't one, things like that - and because it's a mostly subconscious belief, reassurances typically don't help much.

    And LJ fans in general tend to be more introverted and uncomfortable with direct personal interaction anyway; I mean, fandom as it is right now is perfect for people who prefer controlled, limited interaction. Extraverts are at risk of feeling like failures or isolates in fandom, from what I've seen, because often they just can't get the level of personal interaction they need here.

    And I said before that sending feedback, to me, feels like striking up a conversation with the smartest, prettiest, coolest person in the room. From the outside, vidders especially tend to look like that to some fans - like the smart, cool people who have all these awesome talents. Well, I mean, they are smart, cool people with awesome talent, but they're also approachable. Just, mostly people don't see that last part.

    And that's where a lot of those 40% who won't email for passwords are coming from; they're afraid, afraid of initiating a very personal kind of interaction with a vidder, a scary member of a scary in crowd.
So does that mean I think vidders should stop using passwords? No, not at all.

I'd be sad if all vids lived behind passwords, because I'm a recommender by name and by nature - I want everyone to love what I love, and I know that it's very tough to convince some people (I would've said more like 50%, so I'm very happy to hear that it's only 40%) to get passwords. So my urge to spread the love would be mostly unsatisfied.

But vidders don't make vids so that I can rec them. And what I really want is for each vidder to do what she's comfortable doing - whatever makes her happiest with the whole vidding gig.

If there are vidders who are unhappy with the situation, though, here are some ideas I've gathered from various sources - ways to meet some of the needs of passwords without requiring email requests:
  1. wistfuljane suggested doing the same thing, but moving it to LJ - letting people ask for passwords in comments on vid announcements, or on a sticky post at the vidder's LJ. (Replies would be screened, of course.)

  2. barkley uses a password, but makes it easily guessable; according to my poll, 96% of vid watchers are comfortable with that.

  3. barkley also posts her password in her vid announcements. This strategy could be used with a non-guessable password so that random visitors to the website couldn't get the password, but anyone who had seen the vid announcement - and thus was moving within fannish circles - could. Again, that would work for 96% of watchers.

  4. Some sites have auto-responders, and a lot of people who are uncomfortable emailing other people are okay with emailing robots.

  5. It might also work to combine passwords and free hosts. In other words, you could offer a time-limited download link through a free host when the vid is first posted and a permanent download link on your password-protected website.

  6. You could share passwords. I got over my password fear by getting the one for triptychvids.com; since it's a consortium of vidders, emailing seemed much less personal. Once I did that, emailing for others was easier.
Other ideas welcome in the comments, by the way.

But I want to emphasize: I want vidders to keep vidding, and to be happy vidding. If passwords are what make you happy, password away. Those ideas are only for people who want some security but aren't happy with using a password, either.

Other areas where vidders can lose a small but still significant fraction of watchers:
  • Summary information and graphics. A lot of people look for clues to vid quality if they don't know the vidder. Viewers are turned off by poor teaser images/graphics, badly written summaries, a lack of adequate summary information, and disparaging or clueless disclaimers.

    "This totally sucks, but download it anyway" is a disparaging disclaimer (look: if you tell me it sucks, I'm going to believe you, since you've seen it and I haven't). "This took me like 4 hours OMG!!! So comment 4 sure lol!!!" is a clueless one - so clueless, in fact, that it may make your more sensitive readers weep helplessly for all vidkind.

    I would love to see someone else do a poll about summary information, since I've about exhausted my readers' patience with vid polls and I didn't go into a lot of detail on the topic. But judging from comments and text box entries, viewers want, at minimum, fandom, song, and artist information in the summary, as well as the vid's length and the file format and size. (When I say "minimum," I mean that these are the things people expect, so if you're not including them, you should probably say why not.) A lot of them also wanted to know pairing or character focus and genre (angst, humor, trailer, etc.). A single-line text teaser ("John can run, but he can't hide") may also be useful.

  • Clicks. Yeah, I know, this one surprised me, too. But the deal is - some vid announcements are like mazes. You find the post on vidding, but the download information is under the cut. So you click on the cut tag, which takes you to the full post in vidding, which gives you a link to a post in the vidder's LJ. That post contains a link to a website, and the website has a link to the vid page, and the vid page has a download link (or, worst-case scenario, a link to a free host service). This is more of a problem if some of the links are images (people scan for link text and then go back and hover over images looking for image links), or some of the links are really hard to find.

    In general, if it requires more than four clicks to get to the vid, it starts to feel like either a) the vidder is trying to shake you or b) you're on a scavenger hunt. I like scavenger hunts, myself, and vidders have to work a lot harder than that to get rid of me, so I don't have click issues myself, but some people (especially those on dial-up, who have to wait for each page to load - a long while, if the page contains images) hate this. Almost 20% of viewers said they wouldn’t download if it required too many clicks to get to the download link.

  • File size and file format. laurashapiro ran a fascinating poll (and thanks, dzurlady, for linking me to it) on this topic that is more detailed than mine was, particularly in the file format arena. (I can only tell you that some viewers really hate some file formats; that poll actually says which kinds.) But in the 18 months since she ran that poll - and I'd love to see it run again - things have changed (pretty much as she predicted): viewers want even larger vids.

    A solution here is to offer multiple sizes. Judging by the poll data, I'd say that if you're going to offer files in three sizes, the smallest should be around 10 MB, the medium one should be 20 - 40 MB, and the largest should be 50+ MB. (As long as you offer at least one smaller file, there's no real limit on how big the largest file should be; a solid 50% of watchers will download the largest size no matter how big it is, even unto 200 MB for a ten minute vid.)

    If you're going to offer two sizes, probably the smaller one should be 10 - 15 MB and the larger one 35+. (Again, if you offer the smaller one, the main thing is to make sure that the largest file is not too small; there doesn't seem to be an upper limit on size.)

    And if you can only offer one, 20 - 35 MB seems to be the safest range.

  • Alternative downloading means. The traditional route - right-click, save-as - is still the most popular with vidders and viewers, but almost 30% of vidders are using free file hosts like YSI or Sendspace, and 12% are using YouTube or a similar streaming host.

    Almost everyone will use some free file hosts, but 11% won't use at least one of the hosts. I didn't ask which, but MegaUpload (my own personal nemesis - vidders seem to love it, but I can't use it) got mentioned a fair amount as one to avoid. The ones viewers liked most included YouSendIt and SendSpace.

    Because I'm stupid, I forgot to include YouTube on the list of barriers to watching, but it had a lot of write-in votes. It also had fans - very casual vid watchers tend to prefer YouTube, for example.

    The best solution when using alternative hosting methods seems to be variety; any single provider will have detractors, but if you offer 3 alternative file hosts, most people will be happy.
And that's it. For this post, anyway. One more and then we're done with the vid meta for another year. (Yes, you can cheer. Hell, if you made it this far, feel free to cavort.)
Betty: Love mebrown_betty on August 24th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
brown_betty: ...hunh. DId you know that pre-crisis, Queen Hippolyta used to be blonde? Truly, it was a mad time.
zeeleepenguin: ...weird!
zeeleepenguin: I think I've asked you this before, but: how is it humanly possible that thefourthvine is so funny and witty and adorable in every single post?
brown_betty: It isn't! She's an alien
zeeleepenguin: I had long suspected.
brown_betty: has she posted again?
tried to eat the safe banana: Little Citythefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Wow. You guys are clearly the ones I should have doing PR for me. Or, heck, just emailing me randomly with chat snippets, because you are the best ego-boosters ever.

And. Um. You know, Best Beloved is convinced I'm an alien. (I - it's this whole long story. There are ferrets involved. You don't want me to get into it.) You three should form a support group.

BUT YOU ARE ALL WRONG. There is no alien conspiracy. I swear.

*looks shifty*

*blinks many times, using any number of eyelids*
taverymate on August 24th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
Vid Polls
Really interesting post, and there's lots I want to comment on, but this will have to serve as a placeholder for me to return (Damn offline obligations anyway).

One thing that strikes me though is how the sample base could radically skew your results. I simply can't remember - did you post to the Vidder mailing list about your various vid polls? The list is over 1200 people at the moment, and while there is certainly some overlap with LJ - especially the Vidding LJ community - it's not a perfect overlay.

It seems to me that the questions and responses are very much congruent with fen and a fannish experience that is LJ-based, but honestly - realy and truly - there is still a huge proportion of fen who are not primarily LJ based.

OK - I'll have to come back and comment again. And of course, if you posted on the Vidder list and I simply missed the post, all the speculation that is currently eating my brain is a moot point. *g*.
tried to eat the safe banana: Compassthefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: Vid Polls
Ooo. Comment away. (When you get a chance.)

And, yeah, I know I'm in over my head here, commentary-wise, but - well, I couldn't find anyone else to do it for me.

And, also, I do know there's a large community of fans who aren't LJ based, but LJ fandom is what I know, so it's all I can write about. I'm not on the Vidder mailing list (and even if I was, I'd never post about polls like this there), and people who aren't on LJ aren't able to take the polls (and while they can comment on it or email me, none of them did, possibly 'cause they don't know about it).

But! If you want to extend this discussion into other arenas, by running your own polls or spurring discussion on Vidder, please please please do. I would so love to see the comparisons between LJ fandom and the rest of fandom. (And if other sectors of fandom find the polls, and the results or comments change markedly, I'll add to the wrap-up. Although. Um. Given the current length of it, that's more of a threat than a promise, I'm afraid.)
Isis: wingsisiscolo on August 24th, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
I think it's worth noting that in a poll I did eons ago, many people said they wouldn't bother mailing for a password to a password-protected fic site. I don't think it's just the interaction thing (although I'm not shy, so maybe for some it is) - I think it's more like the click thing (which also holds true for fic; I get irritated when I click on a link in a post and get another post containing a link, rather than a story) in that sending away for a password is another step. Even automatic password reflectors (where you email with a particular subject and get the password immediately) are a barrier when viewed this way.
Zebrazebra363 on August 24th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
I'll email for passwords on occasion, but to me it feels a little like entering into a contract to say something about what I find there, since the person has to go to the trouble of responding to my request (that's not an issue with an automatic response, obviously). Given that I only like a small percentage of the online vids I've seen, I'm often not willing to wrestle with my self-imposed sense of obligation to find something nice to say that goes along with asking for a password. I hate to think of the person on the other end thinking how impolite I am for specifically asking them to do something and then not offering any comment in return.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lapillus on August 25th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - boniblithe on August 24th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - isilya on August 25th, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)
I do a lot of uploading and downloading in music communities and in my experience, every single free downloading service will not work for some people, so there's no one specific host which everyone can use and has no problems.

Yeah, definitely true. That's why I recommend trying to give 3 or more options - that way, at least one of them will probably work for nearly everyone.

For me, it's...I think, sendspace. One of the ones that starts with an S, but there are several so I'm not 100% certain that's the one. Almost everything I try from there says the slots are full and to try again in 60 seconds. I'll try again and get the same message. Occasionally on a third try, I'll be able to download, but often I won't, and I won't keep trying after that.

Sounds like SendSpace. I sometimes get the slots-full message once, but I get through like 99.9% of the time after that.

For me, MU is a problem not 'cause of the hoops, but because my security software and hardware hate the site; I have to disable a bunch of stuff to dl from MU, and even then I have a ton of problems.

I've never had a problem with YSI, and it does seem to be the most consistent in terms of working for almost everyone, but I have heard some people say they can never download from them.

Yup, I've heard that, too. And the downsides with YSI are many - the limits on downloads, the constant re-uploading, the new login requirement.

So, yeah, basically multiple sites is the way to go. Some vidders have taken to offering a suite of four options, and I love them for it.
Jenn: Babiecuzzeromuchjenn on August 24th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)
Aw, man. When I first started vidding, summaries weren't even a part of vidding. I thought my graphics were novel and a cute idea, too. I KNOW my graphics suck, because, hey, I'm not into graphic art. My few summaries suck, too, because, hey, I'm obviously not a writer either (witness my comma-whorish behavior). Even if my vids are bad, they're not nearly as bad as my graphics or summaries and I would hope that viewers wouldn't be deterred by them. If they are, then I suppose there's nothing I can really do about it, as my skill in making graphics has definitely not improved over the years. *le sigh*
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: The bunny likes fanfic - dzurladydzurlady on August 24th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC)
I wonder if it's because more fic readers are moving into vids as they become more readily avaliable. When I first moved over I really felt the lack of summaries ("They want me to dl a file *how* big? And I don't even know if I'll like it? Screw that.") When reading fic, which loads very quickly (esp. compared to vids) summaries are expected, so finding that something harder to access isn't trying as hard to convince you to dl it was very confusing.

I still prefer summaries, and especially info like the character/pairing, what was the vidder trying to achieve in their vid (does it sound cool/interesting, will it help me understand the vid more easily when I watch it, things like that) although I've moved past that somewhat. People not bothering to mention what fandom they're vidding remains o.0? inducing, because - ok, if you love it enough to vid to it, you should love it enough to label. And if I don't recognise the source and want to have some vague idea what's going on, or if your vid is super shiny and pimps me into a new fandom, I'd love to know what name to Google.
(no subject) - lapillus on August 25th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zeromuchjenn on August 24th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cold_poet on August 24th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zeromuchjenn on August 25th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - boniblithe on August 24th, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zeromuchjenn on August 24th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Katie M.katie_m on August 24th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
Was I always wrong? Or was it really much more important to get permission two years ago than it is today?

I've been reccing vids for about two years now, actually, and never had the impression I was supposed to ask for permission. Check to see what instructions they gave about linking on the webpage, absolutely, so there's one person who I just give an e-mail address for and some more who I have to link to the entry page, but ask permission? No.

I mean, I believe you about your experience. I'm just giving mine. (And no one has ever complained, that I can recall.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Daisythefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)
I could easily have been wrong; your experience suggests that I probably was, and frankly I already suspected that. More people would have at least have heard of asking permission to rec if it had been the norm two years ago. (Although, since half of them have heard of it, it must've been the norm or at least a suggested behavior at some point.)

I really wasn't kidding when I said my first mistake was looking for information on how to rec vids; in retrospect, that was splendidly dumb, because your average person does not write and post an essay if she's perfectly happy with the way something is being done. People tend to write essays and so on when they're angry or want to change things.

So grabbing three random pieces off the internet and basing a whole fannish belief system around them? Not brilliant. (Imagine if I'd done that with fan fiction - judged some entire aspect of it by the first three meta posts I came across on the topic.) Like I said, I have a great and special gift for making things harder than they need to be.

(And I do hear vidders say that things have changed, but they're generally talking about a period of longer than two years. Much longer, in most cases. Like, "things were different in the VHS days" - that kind of thing.)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Wombat OTPthefourthvine on August 24th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
*squeaks with joy*

I adore you, too. You are the best OTP ever. And your massive vid recs and feedback poll made me so happy, and I said so at the time, but it's worth saying twice, because: yes! Vid recs are good! Vid feedback is even better!

*hugs you up*
cold_poet on August 24th, 2006 05:39 am (UTC)
Actually, I kind of concluded that vidders did not much like non-vidders, period.

No, see, I don't think you were alone in that. I have been a (admittedly fringey for awhile in the middle) fangirl for...God...10 years now? 9 maybe. And it's only been in the last year or so that I even gave vids a chance because somehow I always had this impression that vidders were elitist and bitchy and hated those of us not smart enough to figure out how to make our own. God, when I went to a con in '99 my girlfriend and I didn't go to the "homage vid" event because we felt really unwelcome.

And then, oh and then. Then Stargate Atlantis fandom welcomed me with open loving OMGSQUEE arms and someone who I respected very much recced a vid. I couldn't tell you who it was, or when exactly it was, but it was perfectly timed. I was in a "I will listen to The Reason by Hoobastank SEVENTEEN THOUSAND BAZILLION times a day" sort of place at the time and the McShep vid happened to be done to, you guessed it, The Reason.

So, like, someone took my favorite song, and actual shots of McKay and Sheppard being slashy, and shots they could cut together to make it look more slashy, and someone I love is telling me to watch it?

I am SO there. (Side note: This vid unfortunately shares my greatest pet peeve in the world. There is no credit information. I have no idea who made it. Is very frustrating.)

I currently have 170 vids backed up on an external drive awaiting transfer to a DVD. They do not all fit on a single CD anymore. And that's only the ones I keep. I have downloaded well over 200 vids.

So my experience with vids and vidders has changed dramatically, obviously. I had forgotten, just about, how wall-flower the phenomenon used to make me feel. To date: I have only had to ask for a password once, I got it in less than 5 minutes (the vidder happened to be online) and she was really cool and funny. I have never had a problem finding the right codecs for any vid I want, nor the right player.

When you first brought up the idea of asking permission to rec, it brought up all those old "Geeze, could you people be anymore full of yourselves?" feelings. Because really, isn't asking permission to rec kind of like saying "Excuse me? Do you mind if I tell these people over here how TOTALLY AWESOME you are?" Ugh.

So, I love the polls that you and MMWD have been doing about vids, and etiquette and such, and I really really appreciate your fabulous and very informative post on the subject. Because now I'm all "Yay! I'm gonna go ask the hot vidder to dance!" again. And I promise to do better about feedback for vids so that the makers never ever feel unloved or unappreciated and actually do take their toys and erect and "NO FICCERS ALLOWED" sign on the club house.

And wow. I totally just drooled all over your comments. *facepalm*
tried to eat the safe banana: Flying umbrellathefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
No, see, I don't think you were alone in that. I have been a (admittedly fringey for awhile in the middle) fangirl for...God...10 years now? 9 maybe. And it's only been in the last year or so that I even gave vids a chance because somehow I always had this impression that vidders were elitist and bitchy and hated those of us not smart enough to figure out how to make our own. God, when I went to a con in '99 my girlfriend and I didn't go to the "homage vid" event because we felt really unwelcome.

There is most definitely this perception of that - that the vidders are over there on their side of the gym, and we are over here on ours, and, okay, we can admire their pretty dresses on sufferance, but we are not vidders and should not presume to cross the gym, let alone ask them to dance.

Whoa. That metaphor got, like, way out of my control.

But my point is - the perception is there, but I don't know enough about fannish history to know where it came from. Because I learned it by osmosis before I ever started watching vids; I'd been watching for quite a while before it occurred to me that I could, you know, talk to vidders. And it took a whole project for me to figure out that I should be talking to vidders, that they want to talk to me and I want to talk to them, that we have things to say to each other.

And yet I've never met any vidder who tried to exclude me from any aspect of vid fandom, even though I am, arguably, the last person who should be hanging out in that crowd. (I am Not Visual. Give me text and I am golden. Give me moving pictures and I am lost.) They're nice. The ones who have been vidding a long time are just as nice as the new ones.

So, yeah, I hear you, and I know I had that impression, too, but I have no clue where I got it or how it came to exist.

Because -

So my experience with vids and vidders has changed dramatically, obviously. I had forgotten, just about, how wall-flower the phenomenon used to make me feel. To date: I have only had to ask for a password once, I got it in less than 5 minutes (the vidder happened to be online) and she was really cool and funny. I have never had a problem finding the right codecs for any vid I want, nor the right player.

Yes, that's it exactly. Once I actually stopped sidelining myself, my experience was pretty much like this (except that I am a completist, so I have collected the entire set of passwords; I still haven't had a single problem or waited more than 24 hours).

So, I love the polls that you and MMWD have been doing about vids, and etiquette and such, and I really really appreciate your fabulous and very informative post on the subject. Because now I'm all "Yay! I'm gonna go ask the hot vidder to dance!" again.

Excellent. Because the vidders really are hot, but they are also extremely friendly. Not to mention frisky. Really, we should all be frolicking together.

And I need to haul my mind out of this metaphor before I start writing the Fandom High School AU. Oh my god the horror.

And I promise to do better about feedback for vids so that the makers never ever feel unloved or unappreciated and actually do take their toys and erect and "NO FICCERS ALLOWED" sign on the club house.

I love you for it. Seriously. And thank you so much for leaving me such a lovely comment; I've had a rough day from a work perspective, and it is so nice to come over here into my comments and see this.

*much happier now*
(no subject) - cold_poet on August 25th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Justacat: Pros Not Detachablejustacat on August 24th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC)
These are fascinating posts; I'm really enjoying them. You have a really nice approach, a great way of making vids and vidding - and vidders, who are, in fact, mostly just other fans! - seem more ... accessible ... than I think they do to many fans. And that's a great, really valuable contribution.

And you know ... I know it triggers lots of those introvert/extrovert issues, but I have to say it anyway: you really ought to try coming to Vividcon one year. I think you would absolutely love it!
tried to eat the safe banana: Toronto Transportthefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC)
(Side, icon-related note: I didn't realize until after I'd laughed myself sick over that icon of yours that it's a reference to a vid. Do you have any idea where I can get a copy of said vid? I will pretty much do anything that doesn't require me to be on speaking terms with a VCR - register somewhere, download something, get something through the mail. And I would so love to see that vid.)

These are fascinating posts; I'm really enjoying them.

Thank you!

and vidders, who are, in fact, mostly just other fans! - seem more ... accessible ... than I think they do to many fans.

I'm glad. Because, really, I don't quite know why vidder-phobia is so rampant in fandom; I mean, I had quite the case of it, but I don't know where I picked it up. Vidders are some of the nicest fans I know, and I know a really surprisingly large number of nice fans.

And I've considered various theories. Like, maybe it's because the FF people are so horrendously verbal that they interpret anything that isn't a gushing torrent of adjectives as stand-off-ishness? But - no. Because, apart from anything else, most vidders are horrendously verbal, too, and at least half of them are very talented writers. And they have LJs like anyone else in these parts - I mean, you can cruise by their LJs and read all the same dorky stuff that the rest of us post. (Woe! Sex! Cookies! [Character of choice] hot! Job! Bored! Pets! [Canon of choice] YAY!)

Or maybe it's because they have mystic skills we Wot Not Of? But I don't think so. I can think of lots of writers who have talents I Wot Not Of, but I'm not afraid of them. And I sure don't, like, picture any of them as the gorgeous stranger in the perfectly cut red dress and the devastatingly hot accent and the vial of poison concealed in her cleavage. (Although I'm sure going to try now, you betcha.)

you really ought to try coming to Vividcon one year. I think you would absolutely love it!

The thing is, there's two cons I always briefly consider going to (and then sanity returns), and Vividcon is the one I think about the hardest, even though Escapade is my best fit, con-wise. There's panels! There's shows! And, frankly, that's where about half of all the vid talk seems to happen in any given year, and a lot of it cannot be easily duplicated online (and won't be). I have thinky thoughts! I want to know what other people are thinking on those topics! But - OMG CON NO.

So what I want, I've decided, is to attend VVC, but be invisible.

That would be so cool.

(no subject) - par_avion on August 30th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
John Stamos Took It Too Farbrooklinegirl on August 24th, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
. As I've said to several people already, sending feedback is striking up a conversation with the smartest, wittiest, most attractive stranger in the room. Recommending is standing on the street corner shouting to myself about weasels.

I - wow, I really love that, and you, a whole lot.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yum in whitethefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
I - wow, I really love that, and you, a whole lot.

The feeling is entirely mutual. I mean, I'd love you for your writing alone, but you also post pictures of your new vibrator so that we can admire the packaging. I - how could I not love you?

(Hmmm. I was saying to justacat that I don't ever picture writers in fandom as, like, the gorgeous woman with the slinky red dress and the devastatingly hot accent and high high heels and the vial of poison concealed in her cleavage, and then I vowed to myself that from now on I'd make a sincere effort to picture all fannish writers that way. To, like, level the playing field. Or just have fun. Whichever.

And your comment came next after hers. And - okay. I tried. I did. Gorgeous was not a problem. And I got you into the dress, and you were fine with that, although you kind of thought the skirt wasn't short enough. But then you were all, "Oooo, can I wear fishnets? OH! FISHNETS AND FLIP-FLOPS!" And I tried to get you into the shoes anyway, but by then you had taken off the dress and were wearing pajamas and painting your toenails.

And then I realized that it was just as well, because if you tried to hide a vial of poison in your cleavage, we'd never find it again. I mean, you couldn't be the deadly boob assassin, because you'd do exactly what I'd do:

BLG, speaking into her sub-vocal transceiver: There's my target. I'm going in.
BLG's control, speaking to her through her earring phone: SUB-VOCAL. That means DON'T TALK OUT LOUD.
BLG: I'm sorry! I forgot!
BLG, muttering: I said, I'm going in.
BLG's control: Look. It's sub-vocal. Muttering is still vocal.
BLG, very very loudly and kind of pissed off: I said I'm going in. Did anyone not hear that? I CAN REPEAT IT, YOU KNOW.
BLG's control: Shut up.

[In the black van in the parking lot, BLG's control reaches for the bourbon.]

[Meanwhile, BLG is trying to sashay up to her target, distract him, and poison his drink.]

BLG, in seductive voice: Hey there, sailor.
BLG's control: Oh my god. TRACEY. He's straight. STRAIGHT! That's why we're using a GIRL! YOU! IN CASE YOU FORGOT!
BLG's control: *starts drinking directly from the bottle*
BLG, still speaking out loud: I'm sorry! I'm not used to straight boys!
BLG's target: *looks nervous and inches away from the hot chick talking to herself about gay boys*
BLG, back in seductive voice: So, um. How you doin'?
BLG's target, nervously, inching a little further away: Uh. Fine?
BLG: *sidles up to the bar, positions herself between the target and his drink*
BLG: *subtly brushes her hand across her cleavage*
BLG: *less subtly adjusts her bra*
BLG's target: *stares*
BLG: *now openly fishing in cleavage with both hands*
BLG: Um, hang on. I have something for you. In - god damn it, where the fuck did it GO?
BLG's control: *weeping openly*
BLG's target: *fleeing from crazy girl*
BLG: Damn. Fuck. I lost the guy, and I think my boobs ate the poison.
BLG's control: *a broken man*
BLG: Look, if we're done here, I'm going to go write some porn.
BLG, muttering as she stomps out of the bar carrying her shoes in her hands: I bet Fraser could poison someone. I bet Ray never loses his poison in his boobs - I mean, even if he had boobs, which - hmmm. Hmmm. Hey! Fraser/Ray genderfuck femslash spy AU!
BLG: *runs home and swears never to leave Gardino again*

So, sorry. You're not the writer I'm looking for.

You're fun, though. You can totally try to poison people in my head any time you want.)
(no subject) - brooklinegirl on August 25th, 2006 01:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
braver_swallow on August 24th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC)
You are awesome.
tried to eat the safe banana: Black umbrellathefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 10:18 am (UTC)
Thank you!
laurashapiro on August 24th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you for all your wonderful analysis, and the wit and energy you bring to it. You're one of those people who makes fandom worthwhile for me. (:
tried to eat the safe banana: Happy umbrellathefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
You're one of those people who makes fandom worthwhile for me.

Wow. I - thank you.

V.: BSG Laura *waves*aurora_84 on August 24th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you don't know me, but I absolutely adore you. This was such a fascinating read (plus, the polls were really fun to do *g*).
tried to eat the safe banana: FS meet cutethefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 10:27 am (UTC)

Hi! And thank you! And, also, perhaps we should know each other, if you read through that entire thing and thought it was fascinating. You could be my target audience!

plus, the polls were really fun to do

Polls are excellent. Every time I post one, I wonder why I don't do them more often, because there is just a lot of joy in selecting from radio buttons and watching the percentages duke it out. (Generally, the red bar I'm rooting for loses, so this poll was especially wonderful, because I didn't spend my time wondering why I was the only person in all of fandom who wanted, for example, I, Robot book slash.)
Charmaxcharmax on August 24th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this!
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 10:36 am (UTC)
And thank you for about a bazillion wonderful vids. Today, I watched Boom Boom Ba like ten times as a palate cleanser because work was making me want to hurt something. (Okay. I'll be honest. Someone.) It's amazing how four minutes of really hot, gorgeous femslash can make things look better.
(no subject) - charmax on August 25th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
here's luck: BtVSheresluck on August 24th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
What an interesting read! Thank you so much for doing those polls, compiling the results, and speculating about What It All Means.
tried to eat the safe banana: Daisythefourthvine on August 25th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC)
Thank you!

(And, hey, while I have you here - or, okay, you're already gone, but still - it occurs to me that I need to thank you for posting More Notes on Feedback (the essay in which you offer the theory that people don't send feedback because they don't understand that there's a creator behind the creative product).

I found your vids very early in my vid-watching career, and at that time I tended to click around on the vidder's site to look for something she'd written. (I was secretly hoping to find a comprehensive explanation of What It All Means that would allow me to get vids without having to get out of my texty comfort zone.)

My reaction to MNoF was blank staring, because, as you may have guessed from all that up there, I have the opposite problem: I have always been too aware of the creator behind the vid. And this is only true with vids. I'm not over-aware of the writer behind the text; I remember she exists, and I, for example, consider her feelings, but I don't think about her when I'm thinking about her story, because she's not her story, and the person and the story are connected but very distinct in my head. But because of how vids are, or maybe because of how I relate to them, the vidder is always very, very there for me when I'm watching a vid.

So my first thought was: No, that's wrong, at least for me. That's not me at all.

But my second thought was: But then why don't you send vidders feedback? Why did you send fanofall that email about heresluck's vid instead of sending it to, well, heresluck?

I wasn't ready to have theories about the second thought - it took time, a lot more vids, and a bunch of other posts, most especially including two specific ones by sdwolfpup and gwyn_r. And so my memory of MNoF, I now realize, went sort of subliminal; I didn't think about it consciously, but it informed a lot of my other thoughts about vids and vidding. I just didn't know it.

I figured all that out just now, when I clicked "reply" for your comment. Because - normally, when I see a vidder's name, I think of her vids, if I've watched any. Those are likely to be the most personal and detailed things I know about her, the ones most strongly associated with her in my mind.

But when I saw your name, I thought of MNoF. (And went and re-read it, and found I could still quote several parts of it word for word, although that was my second reading and my first was two years ago.) And then I realized I've always done that, even though I love several of your vids and was thrilled when you started vidding again after that hiatus (and insanely thrilled when you vidded dS, the fandom of my heart); I still think of you as a meta writer first, vidder second, because of MNoF.

So thank you. In a very roundabout way, you are partly responsible for this post, because very early on you made me think about vid audiences, and vid creators, and how they connect. Or don't. And I didn't know that until now, so I also thank you for commenting and spurring me to make the mental link.)
(no subject) - heresluck on August 26th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 28th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - heresluck on September 3rd, 2006 05:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)