referees: (saso 2016)
SASO Referees ([personal profile] referees) wrote in [community profile] sportsanime2016-08-27 04:44 pm
Entry tags:

SASO 2016: Talkback


This post is closed; thank you for your feedback. If you would like to provide constructive criticism, please contact the mods directly. All further replies to this entry are screened.

The mods still plan to reply to the topics listed at the bottom of the post.


This is not the final wrap-up results/etc. post—that's coming in a couple of days. But while the mods tabulate final scores and create prize graphics, now's a good time to look back and reflect on your SASO 2016 experience.

Please leave comments giving us feedback on the event this year! What did you like? What did you dislike or find frustrating? What can we improve for next year, and how can we improve it? What was your favorite part of the event? Least favorite? Would you participate next year or not? Why? If you could mention your team when making your comment, we'd appreciate it.

If you would prefer to submit your comments in private, you can e-mail us at or send us a Dreamwidth PM. We would prefer it if you'd put "Talkback" in the subject line.

Here's what the mod team plans to improve for next year:
  • Voting program reliability. We'd like to apologize again for all of the server dowtnime, and definitely plan to make it much more stable for next year. The voting system in general, though, will remain the same.

  • Bonus round program reliability. We think we got most of the kinks out during this year, but want to keep it stable for next year too.

  • Dreamwidth capability for NSFW cross-posting. We didn't have time to implement it this year, but next year it should be ready to go.

  • Clarifying the rules, especially on what "popular culture media" is acceptable to include in SASO work.
We also wanted to thank you again for being patient with us this year. We had a lot of technical hiccups, and you were all so kind while our heroic codermods worked out the kinks. We really appreciated your support.


Mod Replies: (updated 12:55PM EDT 8/28/16)

Please note that inclusion of a topic on this list indicates that we're going to address it, not that we've made any decisions on judging/implementing or not implementing it.

The preliminary vote system
Triggers in a participant's assigned vote pool
Juried panel (having the mods decide which entries were the best)
Voting mechanics
Bonus Rounds:
Promptless rounds
One day break between bonus rounds
Bonus round prompt and fill tracking/filtering
Recs round work count
Image size limit
Remix round
Remix/rec round timing
Rec round
Quality control (both prompts and fills)
What is allowed as a fill (tags and ratings)
Unscreening bonus rounds
Fairness to small teams
Comment screening
Main Rounds:
The anonymity policy
Twitter tone
What information gets posted where
Considering a dreamwidth announcement community
Mod participation in the event

(frozen comment) Clarification on Popular Media

[personal profile] suspendedsatellite 2016-08-28 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
Hi there! First off, thank you very much to the mods for running the event, and for bearing with my many questions during this round. Despite being team captain, I'm relatively new to the world of fanwork, and though it was amazing to stumble upon this community, a lot of rules left me very confused. Thank you for always taking the time to respond to me!

I believe my teammate's planning to cover a lot of the general issues we had during this round, so I'm not going to go into that here. However, I am going to talk about my feelings regarding the last point the mod team plans to improve on! Because a lot of arguments were brought up that I disagree with very sharply and have spent a long time thinking about.

This largely applies to a specific issue that my team dealt with and how it was handled. I'm sorry, it's not a general feedback, and doesn't have too much to do with that larger format of SASO > < ;;

( I'm going to quote directly from my conversations with the mods a few times here! )


Our team ran into a problem where we were initially planning to use a members cover of a popular Vocaloid song as the background music to an MAD style video. For those who haven't seen our entries, we combine motion graphics and animation with artwork, then set it to some music that plays in the background. This cover was officially published on an album released by the composer back about 5 years ago, and is for all intents and purposes, an official media work. Except we happen to have the right to use this, unlike many other "popular culture media" available.

We were told that we were not allowed to do this, since this vocal cover constituted as a "previously existing fanwork." When I argued on this point, the mods told me kindly that they were not just referring to "previously existing fanwork" in their rule, but any and all work that a member of the team has previously done. They raised a few examples that I feel the need to respond to now that the round is over.

"For example: let's say a participant had previously coded an amazing game, reworked the script and art to work for their team's ship, and then their team submitted that game to SASO. This would be acceptable by your standards, because that code isn't "fanwork.""

I'm going to come out and say this. I am a coder, and so is my vice captain. I can guarantee you that every single "original" game ever made has some amount of recycled code. Some of that code might be taken from random websites online, for example when you Google "how to _____" and get directed to a site like stackoverflow. Sometimes it is your own code that you did for a website or a school project, and you use an object or method that you have previously created. The very statement is wrong because it implies that people don't, in fact, use previously created code when they make "original" games. This is just simply untrue.

Next, the mods also pointed out that cosplay was their only exception to the rule.

"Regarding cosplay: originally cosplay limits were higher, at 75%. We had so much protest that we lowered that limit to 50%. Cosplaying would be nearly impossible if we didn't allow some recycling. For example, if we required that you make a new wig every time you wanted to cosplay Eijun, no one could cosplay. The challenges that cosplay faces are not analogous to the challenges that musicians or any other fanwork creator faces."

I'm sorry, but as someone who has worked with musicians, both amateur and professional, this is a terrible and gross misunderstanding of challenges in creating media and fanwork. You would not believe the amount of work that goes into creating a cover that is sold on an album in a CD. I don't know how I should convince you how much money must go into equipment, production, from the people who compose the song, to the people who record the cover, to the people who mix and master it.

I believed this entire time that perhaps the mods were misunderstanding something. They sent the following message to me.

"The reason we allow mainstream popular media in entries is, as stated in the FAQ, "to ensure that the original content in your Main or Bonus Round entry is clearly distinct from the borrowed content." Many types of work, such as graphic design or DJ remixing, need some base material to work with. They would not be able to participate if we didn't allow people to remix already-existing anime screencaps, songs on the radio, etc. But none of those participants would be allowed to use their own previously created graphic designs or mixes, even if they weren't fanwork, because it wouldn't be fair. Allowing mainstream media allows us to differentiate between the stuff that people are using as a springboard and the new artistry they've added."

I would like to emphasize that the actual video itself is 100% new work. The BGM that they eventually forced us to switch out? That was not original because we had previously done it. But for every single other fan video in the olympics, the audio was EQUALLY UNORIGINAL, because they were allowed to use "popular culture media."

So what is the difference? Can mods really not understand that the point of the video was, in fact, the video and not the background music? What if we state this in the description, that the audio was not created for SASO? Would that be okay then?

This encouragement to break copyright laws in order to avoid using material you previously created, however minor it might be to the entry itself, seems very wrong to me. Why is it that an AMV can use popular music that was sung by a popular YouTube or NicoNico artist, but not if that cover just happened to be sung by one of its own members?

This was explained to me in the following way:

"You're looking at it the wrong way: it has nothing to do with "everyone can use the work but me." It has more to do with "I already made this, so using it again gives me a running start.""

What I need to ask is why is it a head start? The song was released to the public, and sold at large, 5 years before. Everyone had equal access to this. In fact, it is entirely possible that another team may have used the same track as BGM. It's completely possible. So where is the "running start" in this case?


I understand if a member is reusing old fanwork, old fanart, using something to get a head start. But for an AMV/HAND DRAWN VIDEO? The music in the background is very clearly distinct from the entry itself. As stated by the mods themselves, there are some works that "need some base material to work with" and we are one of them. Then, what does it matter if this necessary base material is coming from an older, irrelevant work that a member participated in vs downloading another song online?

And, if such "fanwork" is indeed forbidden, then how far does this reach? Using it for background music is clearly not okay. Then what if we had previously created a stock image or texture set that was distributed online and popularly downloaded? Would we then be forbidden from using this in the creation of graphics? What if we had created a brush preset to use for a drawing months ago and posted it onto DA? Would we be forbidden from using it for any art in the future?

This type of logic can go on and on. And I'm very passionately talking about this now because this seems to me to be something that is fundamentally wrong. To believe that creating a music cover for a CD is less time consuming or less challenging than creating a cosplay. To believe that anything touched by a fan must be "fanwork."

And, on the whole, the disturbing undertone of encouraging people to take from sources everywhere, to be inspired by other channels, even ones that they may not have permission to take from, but to punish those who use resources that they have provided to the public and that they have full permission to use.

Somehow ripping a Kelly Clarkson mp3 off the Internet to stick into your video is perfectly okay. But if Kelly Clarkson decided to participate in a fandom, she is barred from sticking that song onto an AMV of her own.

What is the point in that?


I'm very sorry for the length of this! I ask that you understand that I am coming from another community which delights in creating resources to inspire everyone. Where "fanwork" and "official work" blend together and everyone builds on each other's work as well as their own. Even though I do understand that mods have their own perspective, I would truly appreciate it if you could consider what I've presented for the future.

The only true complaint I have regarding the handling of this issue is that the mods outright decided to change the rules.

"The rules used the term "fanwork" because we never expected people would want to use non-fanwork work in their entries. To make things clearer for you and all future participants, we will go edit the post to make it explicit that we mean all work previously created by participants, not just fanwork."

This changing of the rules right in the middle of a round frustrated our team members immensely, and we would beg mods in the future not to drop things like this on participants. To explicitly go in and edit the rules of your event mid-event leaves a rather bad taste.
Edited 2016-08-28 04:36 (UTC)
karahashi: (Default)

(frozen comment) Re: Clarification on Popular Media

[personal profile] karahashi 2016-08-28 04:39 am (UTC)(link)
It may not be my place to cut in here but I would like to draw attention to this comment. Audio content is underrepresented in fanwork, and part of the reason is that it takes a LOT of time and effort. That underrepresentation means limits and constraints haven't been clearly defined - I don't recall seeing minimums for FSTs, for instance, or for video length if people wanted to do that for a bonus round, when FSTs at least were used in fills as much as poetry.

Personally, I would lean towards accepting a video entry where >50% of the content was created new for that round, but whichever way the mods decide, it would be nice to have more direction for next year regarding audio-based content :)
clefairy: (Default)

(frozen comment) Re: Clarification on Popular Media

[personal profile] clefairy 2016-08-28 02:00 pm (UTC)(link)
I definitely, being someone personally in the aforementioned team facing the major headache (for a bigger context, I was the said member whose existing recorded album track was being treated as an "existing fanwork"), agree with possible new boundaries on audio and video entries to be explored. I don't know how much of the more than 50% thing would end up being applicable (perhapse even 75% to truly encourage mostly new stuff? how would you weight percentage? in that context?), but I do think it's something worth considering, so thank you so much for this point!
clefairy: (Default)

(frozen comment) Re: Clarification on Popular Media

[personal profile] clefairy 2016-08-28 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I would personally like to reiterate that I take offense, as a singer, that it's assumed that what we do is supposedly less challenging than a cosplay. I do over hundreds of retakes of every line for a recorded track, and that doesn't account for the post-production of mixing the audio. There is also the fact that my voice is an instrument, and some times we can be sick, and that also cuts into recording time and effort spent on retakes.

In case people want an example, here is a past cover, and here are the mixdowns of all the tracks I recorded split over main vocals and harmony/choral work (which had actually gone up to the hundreds but were compressed into 8 tracks), and the number of mixes and editing that was done before the final product. It took approximately 2 weeks of back-to-back work between me and my mixer. It...really isn't as easy as you guys think it is.

To be told that the challenges I personally faced recording the track we had intended to use for our MR (which again, I would like to clarify, I was commissioned to do vocals for it by the composer, and it was officially released on an album by the composer and bears absolutely zero context to this fandom event), is less than someone buying a pre-made cosplay off taobao and taking a photo is extremely insulting and demeaning to the art of singing/music.
Edited 2016-08-28 15:16 (UTC)