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Author Topic: Preferential Treatment  (Read 250 times)

D3ath3657

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Preferential Treatment
« on: December 08, 2018, 03:46:02 AM »

(This post is tied to a discussion that took place following the recent Smash Bros. update.)

Basically, I think the update team has demonstrated clear favouritism towards their own arrangements, while neglecting those of other submitters. I'll use myself as an example, but I'm sure there are others in the same situation.

Since the day I've submitted my second sheet to the site (which was March 20, 2017), I've kept both of my submission slots full at all times. I have counted 16 updates since that date which don't tie in to any particular theme (such as a specific game, console, etc.), and so in theory I should have been able to have up to 32 submissions uploaded to the site, submitting new arrangements every time old ones were accepted. I did just that, but, as of today, only six of my sheets have been uploaded to the site. (I estimate this number should be around 15–20, had my contributions been taken action on in a timely manner.) In contrast, if we look at Latios (who I swear I don't have anything against personally; he's just a really good example here), I've counted 72 submissions of his that were reviewed, accepted, and uploaded to site site in the exact same time span. Of those, 35 were tied to regular updates, and 37 were tied to special thematic updates.

I'd like to point out that this isn't due to any issue on my end. I don't pretend to be the best arranger in the world by any means, but I know how to write music, I know my way around Finale (I know some people have delays because of compatibility issues, but this isn't the case with me), and I generally reply to comments within a few days at most. I've resorted to bumping a few times (which I hate), but, as I often see on other submitters' threads, this generally draws the acknowledgement of one updater and nothing more. If it weren't for Libera, I think I'd be under the impression that most updaters only ever look at the forum when it's time for an update, at which point they promptly have their own arrangements accepted and (as an afterthought) offer some feedback to ordinary submitters, and the latter can only hope that these modifications will suffice when the next update comes around.

I've been told I can ask updaters directly for feedback via Discord. This is beside the point: I'm not asking for a thorough dissection of my stylistic choices relative to the original at each point in the piece (though if anyone is enthusiastic enough about one of my arrangements that they present me with that, I'd gladly go over it), I'm asking for someone to listen to the two-minute loop while looking at the sheet to see if it looks all right or not, and this within a timely delay of my submitting it. I shouldn't have to ask for special treatment for something as basic as that; no one should. (Additionally, the way I see it, work on arrangements should take place in the forums, where anyone can observe it and learn from it, not in private on a Discord server. This isn't a drug deal; it's the diffusion of knowledge and artistic sensibilities—don't hide it away where nobody can see it.)

And please, do not bring up the infamous WaluigiTime Mario Kart Wii Rainbow Road case, saying I shouldn't complain because I don't have it so bad, after all. Not only do I have an active submission that's outlasted it, but, more importantly, it's evidence that I'm not the only one dealing with ridiculously long delays. (You'll notice that it was bumped several times, to little avail.) I believe I'm the current record holder for longest-standing submission, and, if that's the case, I sincerely hope to keep that title, because no one should have to wait anywhere near that long a period for such little progress.

Also, I can't help but see special projects as a means to bypass the two submission limit. They're started by the updaters, and only deal with specific games that interest them personally. I, too, can get hyped for a a game (new or not) and start binge-arranging tracks from it, and a "special project" like this is exactly what I'd come up with to slip all of that past the radar. I think it's very telling when special projects not only take priority over the regular submission process, but the latter completely grinds to a halt despite daily activity from multiple updaters. I've been told multiple times that the updaters simply don't have the time to do much, but I think we can see from this recent Smash update that this is misleading at best.

(Another thing: this doesn't affect me directly, but I hate seeing feedback that consists of a few points on formatting, and a mention that further issues and note checking will wait until that's resolved. I don't mind seeing criticism in multiple parts if you miss something your first time through and notice it later, but deliberately withholding information and handing out criticism one crumb at a time is asking for submissions to take an eternity.)
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 03:50:43 AM by D3ath3657 »
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Olimar12345

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2018, 03:56:21 AM »

A very good read that I feel should be taken seriously with the current staff. I can't help but feel disappointed.

(Another thing: this doesn't affect me directly, but I hate seeing feedback that consists of a few points on formatting, and a mention that further issues and note checking will wait until that's resolved. I don't mind seeing criticism in multiple parts if you miss something your first time through and notice it later, but deliberately withholding information and handing out criticism one crumb at a time is asking for submissions to take an eternity.)

I couldn't agree more. The process could easily be sped up by reducing the amount of times an updater reviews a sheet, especially in this manner. Formatting is an easy fix; in my opinion there's no reason that formatting corrections can't just be tacked onto regular feedback.
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Sebastian

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2018, 04:13:18 AM »

I'd like to point out that this isn't due to any issue on my end. I don't pretend to be the best arranger in the world by any means, but I know how to write music, I know my way around Finale (I know some people have delays because of compatibility issues, but this isn't the case with me), and I generally reply to comments within a few days at most. I've resorted to bumping a few times (which I hate), but, as I often see on other submitters' threads, this generally draws the acknowledgement of one updater and nothing more. If it weren't for Libera, I think I'd be under the impression that most updaters only ever look at the forum when it's time for an update, at which point they promptly have their own arrangements accepted and (as an afterthought) offer some feedback to ordinary submitters, and the latter can only hope that these modifications will suffice when the next update comes around.
Speaking from experience, it is easy to fall into the pit of only working on/accepting sheets that are arranged by Updaters; however, I haven't really seen any evidence of only Updater's sheets being accepted. As of recently, the Updaters (most of them) have been very busy with college, holiday season, and/or irl things. I'm not surpised submissions have been lacking. Anyway, as I glance through the submissions, I see many sheets having recent feedback in them that are not Updater sheets.

I've been told I can ask updaters directly for feedback via Discord. This is beside the point: I'm not asking for a thorough dissection of my stylistic choices relative to the original at each point in the piece (though if anyone is enthusiastic enough about one of my arrangements that they present me with that, I'd gladly go over it), I'm asking for someone to listen to the two-minute loop while looking at the sheet to see if it looks all right or not, and this within a timely delay of my submitting it. I shouldn't have to ask for special treatment for something as basic as that; no one should. (Additionally, the way I see it, work on arrangements should take place in the forums, where anyone can observe it and learn from it, not in private on a Discord server. This isn't a drug deal; it's the diffusion of knowledge and artistic sensibilities—don't hide it away where nobody can see it.)
Now, this is something I agree with. I'd like to see more chat about sheets in the forums (obviously in the submissions). I'd even be happy to settle with sheets discussion in a public setting (NSM discord, etc.) In defense, however, it is easier to communicate on a chat-based platform such as Discord. We're not trying to hide stuff or have a "drug-deal" go down. But once again I would be for more activity in the submissions and discussion elsewhere discouraged.

Also, I can't help but see special projects as a means to bypass the two submission limit. They're started by the updaters, and only deal with specific games that interest them personally. I, too, can get hyped for a a game (new or not) and start binge-arranging tracks from it, and a "special project" like this is exactly what I'd come up with to slip all of that past the radar. I think it's very telling when special projects not only take priority over the regular submission process, but the latter completely grinds to a halt despite daily activity from multiple updaters. I've been told multiple times that the updaters simply don't have the time to do much, but I think we can see from this recent Smash update that this is misleading at best.
First of all, the idea of projects has been instituted for as long as I've been here on NSM. Yes, projects have had their ups and downs, but have always been a positive outlet for the community. Secondly, the Updaters very rarely just choose projects just to choose projects. A majority of the time, there is a vote on a particular project idea. In other instances, a project is chosen by community interest (much like the Smash update and others before it). Also, I have been inactive a bit due to finishing up this semester, but from what I heard last, we were planning on scaling down on projects. Not sure what happened to that...

(Another thing: this doesn't affect me directly, but I hate seeing feedback that consists of a few points on formatting, and a mention that further issues and note checking will wait until that's resolved. I don't mind seeing criticism in multiple parts if you miss something your first time through and notice it later, but deliberately withholding information and handing out criticism one crumb at a time is asking for submissions to take an eternity.)
I do agree with this. This is actually on a list of things that I've been wanting to bring up to the staff. It is kind of annoying to get minimal feedback on a sheet followed by "I'll check more later" or something along those lines. I would like to encourage the other Updaters to take a look at the entire sheet and give all/most/a substantial amount of feedback for it (obviously, sheets that are extra long or difficult may be in a different bracket). I can level with you here. I used to be the guy waiting and waiting and waiting for feedback.

All in all, I believe you've brought up some valid points. What happened to NSM while I was away ;)
In all seriousness, the Updaters aren't purposely looking over you or having preferences for others; however, we'll wholeheartedly take your concerns into consideration and see what we can do.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 04:15:08 AM by Sebastian »
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mikey

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2018, 04:27:42 AM »

Tobbeh was really good at giving tons of feedback
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MaestroUGC

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2018, 04:41:22 AM »

While we are sorry that you've had a submission languish for so long, and you do have legitimate points brought up about it, I want to just say a couple of things.

NSM is a community driven site, managed by volunteers whose time is finite. We are all doing the best we can, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. That being said, while we understand it's easy to get impatient we ask that you please contact and updater if you feel your sheet has been idling too long. Sometimes long/complicated sheets are neglected because they tend to be a major time-sink for updaters. Yes, they are expected to check all sheets that come our way, but they only have so much time to work. It's sometimes easier to work on sheets from other skilled arrangers because they need less tinkering and they can get through more sheets in less time. This isn't ideal, but we're human and it happens.

That said, the updaters are very open to check your sheets and work with you if you ask politely. Sometimes they just need a nudge, maybe even several. However, I find people are less inclined to work with you if you keep insinuating that they're ignoring you on purpose in favor of their own sheets. It's not fair to them for all the work they do nor is it fair to the numerous other members that they help on a daily basis.

If you want to see more rapid action, continue being proactive within the community. All our members help each other and review each others' sheets before they submit. This greatly reduces the workload for the updater and frees them up to check more sheets. What's more, our updaters are more visibly active on Discord than the forums because, as previously stated, it's an easier medium to talk to arrangers and fix sheets in real time. I encourage you to join us on Discord and get more involved with our other arrangers; the more you give, the more you get.

Your grievances have been heard, and the updaters will work to try and fix the system we have currently to avoid future cases like yours.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 04:49:38 AM by MaestroUGC »
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D3ath3657

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2018, 07:54:24 AM »

NSM is a community driven site, managed by volunteers whose time is finite. We are all doing the best we can, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. That being said, while we understand it's easy to get impatient we ask that you please contact and updater if you feel your sheet has been idling too long. Sometimes long/complicated sheets are neglected because they tend to be a major time-sink for updaters. Yes, they are expected to check all sheets that come our way, but they only have so much time to work. It's sometimes easier to work on sheets from other skilled arrangers because they need less tinkering and they can get through more sheets in less time. This isn't ideal, but we're human and it happens.

That said, the updaters are very open to check your sheets and work with you if you ask politely. Sometimes they just need a nudge, maybe even several. However, I find people are less inclined to work with you if you keep insinuating that they're ignoring you on purpose in favor of their own sheets. It's not fair to them for all the work they do nor is it fair to the numerous other members that they help on a daily basis.

I'm not insinuating anything; I'm being frank and saying that's what it looks like to me. I know it sucks to be criticized, but it's not like I'm making these numbers up. If you have very limited time, and rather spend it working on your own arrangements or others that require only minimal work, why did you become an updater in the first place?

Also, have you seen my sheets? I feel like you're assuming they're a chore to work with, and I don't see how that could be the case.

If you want to see more rapid action, continue being proactive within the community. All our members help each other and review each others' sheets before they submit. This greatly reduces the workload for the updater and frees them up to check more sheets. What's more, our updaters are more visibly active on Discord than the forums because, as previously stated, it's an easier medium to talk to arrangers and fix sheets in real time. I encourage you to join us on Discord and get more involved with our other arrangers; the more you give, the more you get.

I try to help where I can, and I'll continue to do so.

Also, I'm already on the Discord. The meme and gaming channels are much more active than one for submissions.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 08:20:34 AM by D3ath3657 »
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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2018, 11:18:41 AM »

Now, I don't know what's going on with your particular situation, but I do have a small something to add. It's not surprising that people would work on something that interests them before something that doesn't, unless they're getting paid to do the latter. It's why none of my requests have ever been taken, because whenever I do feel like requesting something, I pick all the niche games. :P
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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2018, 06:45:37 PM »

Okay, there's a few things to be said here, to start.

I agree that no one should have to wait terribly long to have their submission worked on, but long-standing submissions have always been an exception rather than a trend. The vast majority of submissions are taken care of in a reasonable amount of time, and as of right now if we look at current submissions by arrangers actively responding to feedback, there are almost none older than a couple months. That said, we will try and prioritize better in the future to avoid such long waits.

Secondly, we have been and will continue to actively work towards having better community-focused initiatives for special updates. Saying that projects "only deal with specific games that interest them personally" ignores the fact that as Sebastian said, generally projects are sparked by the community (Wind Waker, DK64, etc.). Even this recent Smash update was piggybacked off of the Melee initiative in the community. Given how major a game release this is, the fact that we opened it up to the entire community, and the fact that were receptive to all arrangements submitted, ending with a majority of non-updater sheets, I find the accusation of it being used solely for personal gain unwarranted. Other special updates include ones consisting largely of maintenance of the sheets we have on site, or thematic updates that contains numerous sheets from the community. We're willing to discuss how we can make improvements, but it's difficult to do so when you are constantly stretching the truth via exaggeration.

Lastly for now, it is incredibly disrespectful to make the blanket statement that the updater team "demonstrated clear favouritism towards their own arrangements, while neglecting those of other submitters". In doing so you demonstrate a complete disregard for the countless hours spent on reviewing hundreds of users` submissions that are uploaded to the site. Excluding myself for a moment, I can earnestly say that the other updaters have personally sacrificed so much time for the sake of others that getting this kind of treatment from you is very hurtful.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 06:47:31 PM by Latios212 »
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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2018, 07:07:38 PM »

For what it’s worth, I think that he just said what everyone was thinking
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D3ath3657

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2018, 12:42:11 AM »

Secondly, we have been and will continue to actively work towards having better community-focused initiatives for special updates. Saying that projects "only deal with specific games that interest them personally" ignores the fact that as Sebastian said, generally projects are sparked by the community (Wind Waker, DK64, etc.). Even this recent Smash update was piggybacked off of the Melee initiative in the community. Given how major a game release this is, the fact that we opened it up to the entire community, and the fact that were receptive to all arrangements submitted, ending with a majority of non-updater sheets, I find the accusation of it being used solely for personal gain unwarranted. Other special updates include ones consisting largely of maintenance of the sheets we have on site, or thematic updates that contains numerous sheets from the community. We're willing to discuss how we can make improvements, but it's difficult to do so when you are constantly stretching the truth via exaggeration.

I'm not saying staff members are the only ones who can benefit from these events, but clearly, some people have benefitted more than others. In any case, it was the staff that chose to divert the majority of its attention from the regular submissions towards this special project, and a decision to have special project arrangements bypass the normal submission limit has to go through the staff as well.

Moreover, I might be an extreme case, but out of the other submitters, even the most fortunate only show up about once every three updates, whereas a number of updaters are consistently featured in every single one of them. It's not an exaggeration that I've successfully gotten six sheets uploaded in the past year and a half, whereas you've managed to get 72. Even counting just your 35 from regular updates, that's a huge difference between two people who are supposedly "on an equal playing field," as Sebastian put it.

Lastly for now, it is incredibly disrespectful to make the blanket statement that the updater team "demonstrated clear favouritism towards their own arrangements, while neglecting those of other submitters". In doing so you demonstrate a complete disregard for the countless hours spent on reviewing hundreds of users` submissions that are uploaded to the site. Excluding myself for a moment, I can earnestly say that the other updaters have personally sacrificed so much time for the sake of others that getting this kind of treatment from you is very hurtful.

I know this doesn't apply to everybody; I specifically mentioned Libera as an outlier. I didn't pretend that you do no work for ordinary submitters. I understand that giving feedback is voluntary work—that's also the case when I do it. The difference is, I didn't sign up for a position that requires me to do that work.

However, I get the impression that you're saying this as though my post was just gratuitous defamation. That assertion was preceded by the words "I think"—signifying that it is, in fact, my perspective—and followed up by a number of experiences which have lead to that perspective. It's difficult to maintain neutral language when tackling an issue that's purely negative, but I wasn't trying to slander anyone. I do believe I've provided some amount of justification to support my criticism, in which case I'm inclined to think it's the expression of my opinion itself that you find disrespectful.

(Also, as this is related to one of my points: by beginning with "to start" and ending with "for now", do you actually mean you'll have more to say in the near future? Or has this structure become a verbal tic at this point?)
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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2018, 06:42:28 AM »

While I may not agree with some of the things you said, we hear your perspective and we plan on addressing your concerns.

More to come following some discussion with the staff.
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D3ath3657

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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2018, 08:36:42 AM »

Thank you.
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Re: Preferential Treatment
« Reply #12 on: Today at 04:22:57 AM »

We're trying to:

- Take care of older submissions. In the last update we finished off a few of our oldest submissions. Now all of our submission topics are less than 5 months old, and none from arrangers actively responding to feedback are older than a couple of months old.
- Stay on top of submissions. There's only about ten or so that are awaiting feedback right now, and almost none of them have been waiting more than three days. We'll do our best to keep it that way or better.
- Expose review on the forums. From here on you should be able to track most relevant review and approval of sheets in the respective topics.
- Work on extra initiatives that the community is on board with (without skimping on submissions). Special initiatives will be generally be approved by the community - as is the case with this upcoming winter update, to demonstrate that the community likes (or at the very least is indifferent to) what we're working on. Nothing's stopping people from suggesting potential themes, either.

Hope that addresses your concerns?
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