Why Evil Hat won't be joining YGN (at least for now)

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Postby iago » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:19 pm

Y'know, the funny thing about all of this -- XXX encouraged me to apply all the same, despite all of the concerns and troubles and his own rejection by YGN's publishers.

That's pretty fascinating to me, and may ultimately -- and ironically -- be the voice *most* likely to influence my decision.

All that will have to wait until after the Summer Convention Event Horizon, though. :)
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Postby iago » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:20 pm

Your Games Now, LLC wrote:Fred, I've made 3 successive edits over a period of hours. Please stop referencing other companies in your posts I don't want to edit anymore.


...

Huh. So it's not okay to use specifics in the support of my position?

Go democracy!

I'm out.
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Postby Your Games Now, LLC » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:23 pm

iago wrote:I know that Joe has a passionate commitment to privacy, but even without revealing the individual votes that were made (I certainly don't want fuel for a witch-hunt to be provided), I wonder if there would be value to making the process a little more public, a little more transparent?


No one but members are privy to our voting and members have agreed to not discuss voting particulars with non-members, because a non-member isn't entitled to any information about the inner workings of Your Games Now.

There is 100% transparency amongst the members, however. We see how each other votes, we all know the current status of the site, and all member can ask me any question and I'll answer to the best of my ability. Again, this is something that is impossible to have at any other site. But that transparency ends with membership.

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Postby Your Games Now, LLC » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:28 pm

iago wrote:
Your Games Now, LLC wrote:Fred, I've made 3 successive edits over a period of hours. Please stop referencing other companies in your posts I don't want to edit anymore.


...

Huh. So it's not okay to use specifics in the support of my position?

Go democracy!

I'm out.


If this is really what you think my editing of your posts was, goodbye.

You don't have the right to to reference other companies private interactions with my company on my forum.

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Postby jasonga » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:39 pm

iago wrote:(XXX from could even be called a tireless promoter of their games, but I'll fully grant the reasons XXX was rejected were probably complex.)

Indeed, the reasons for the mysterious XXX (I know who you mean - I read it just before it was edited out) were complex. Did the co-op make the right choice? I have no idea. If XXX has a negative opinion of us because they weren't successful in joining, maybe not.

A "no" result is never meant to be "we think you suck, piss off and never come back" - it simply says that other members have concerns at this time that they would like to see addressed in some way. Whether it is product quality, cover quality (a concern for some), subject matter, evidence of business activity, or whatever.

Heck, at least one publisher who got a "no" vote early on has reapplied and gotten a "yes" the second time.


iago wrote:I groove on your standards for voting, Jason. They make sense to me... But I can't fairly call them "standards", having said that, because voters aren't being held to a standard, right? I confess I worry that this will render the process as something that looks pretty fickle, to the outsider.

It's true, voters aren't held to a standard - each voter casts their vote based on their own thoughts.

I've pondered it being considered fickle in the past as well. But there isn't any easy way around it. YGN is a co-op, which means everyone has a say in how things are run. Individuals can be fickle - hopefully we've got a large enough cross section of opinions that any fickleness will cancel each other out.

You've raised some good points on your blog about a lack of "indie" publishers (and by "indie" I assume you mean non-traditional RPGs). But if they don't apply we can't vote ;) True, our XXX publisher above applied and got a no (although I can't say I ever thought of them as indie). But I'd be surprised if you got a no (for example) - you easily surpass any of my criteria that I mentioned above, and I know others use a similar criteria in their voting.
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Postby Fifth Element » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:56 pm

iago wrote:Huh. So it's not okay to use specifics in the support of my position?

Go democracy!

I'm out.


Joe's reasons for editing were made quite clear, I think. You are free to use facts in support of your position, but you have been asked to respect the privacy of publishers on several occasions. YGN respects privacy, please respect that.
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Postby Dreamscarred Press » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:26 pm

jasonga wrote:(Heck, at least one publisher who got a "no" vote early on has reapplied and gotten a "yes" the second time.


I know that was the story for me. When I initially applied, I had a single PDF product and my company was barely off the ground. I was not voted in and Joe was very professional about it and very receptive to my re-applying later on down the line. I was never told I was voted no because I didn't put out enough products in a certain speed, so I've personally not seen any sort of indication that such is the expectation.

:)

Just some thoughts from someone who was initially turned away.
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Postby FraserRonald » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:02 pm

Fred, I hope you return and have a look at this thread again. I believe the reasons for editing out the names of the companies involve privacy considerations, and Joe did mention that if reps from those companies wished to post here and discuss their position, they could. "If they wish to log on and state themselves, that is their choice."

As for getting rejected for not publishing enough, please have a look at SEP's release schedule for the last 9 months. Yeah, not pumping them out for sure. Hasn't been a problem and I have not been pressured into increasing our release schedule.

It's unfortunate that Evil Hat games doesn't believe it has a place at YGN, because I think it certainly does. Personally, I have no problem with the 75% vote thing--although SEP did make it through, so that may be why. Having seen how things work behind the scenes, I have to say that I really like it. I'm very comfortable here, and I appreciate both the work that Joe and Suzi put into YGN and the attitude of the other publishers.

I don't see how joining YGN could be a negative for Evil Hat games. If you find us a bunch of elitist jackholes after you join, you could always rabbit. Why not give it a shot?
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Postby Destriarch » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:26 pm

jasonga wrote:Heck, at least one publisher who got a "no" vote early on has reapplied and gotten a "yes" the second time.

Me, for one, and I suspect there may be others. (I hope it's OK for me to state this, since it's information regarding my own company not somebody elses'. Just delete this first bit if I'm wrong, and sorry for the hassle.)

Anyway, I can understand where you're coming from in many respects, but pointing to evidence of only two companies who weren't voted in on their first attempt fails to take into account the many, many companies who have been voted in, including those who made it in on the second or later attempt. It's not a bad average really, and as has been said already, an initial 'no' is not a permanent 'no'.

What I'm struggling to understand at the moment is why you are reluctant to try something simply because you might not succeed. On that logic, why would anyone attempt to do anything? I can say from experience that if you put a good case and pay heed to constructive criticism when it is offered, then there is always a good chance of acceptance the second time around and certainly no shame in that at all, in fact in many ways I think it does a body great credit to persevere.

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Postby Destriarch » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:29 pm

Dreamscarred Press wrote:I know that was the story for me. When I initially applied, I had a single PDF product and my company was barely off the ground. I was not voted in and Joe was very professional about it and very receptive to my re-applying later on down the line. I was never told I was voted no because I didn't put out enough products in a certain speed, so I've personally not seen any sort of indication that such is the expectation.

Well, there you go, that's two of us stubborn try-again types who got in second time. If we can do it, I'll bet those other two companies can too.

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Postby Tim Gray » Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:07 am

I'm disappointed at the tone of many of the posts in this thread.


For information, I see Fred's blog and commented at length there. To be honest a lot of his concerns were doing that thing where I have trouble understanding it because I don't share the viewpoint. The main point I took away from it was the importance of getting as high a proportion of the members as possible to vote on prospective members. Maybe that's something we should look at to see if we can improve it.
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Postby Tim Gray » Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:47 am

Following further comments from Fred, I encourage publishers who think of themselves as "indie" to check out the details of YGN for themselves rather than relying on what he says. He's allowing a personal hobbyhorse to damage relationships within the small press RPG industry.

If you contact Joe or Suzi who run the site, I think they'll tell you that YGN is simply about building a catalogue of good games and a community of colleagues. It's not about promoting any particular creative agenda in the products at all. It's about good quality products that people will want to buy.

In general, prospective members who can make positive contributions to catalogue and community get voted in. However, the very principle of the site is that the members do exercise judgment in adding to their number. If you have some kind of objection in principle to this, there are plenty of other sales sites you can use, and you'll meet many of our members there.
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Postby Paradigm » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:28 pm

I default to yes, if I have no reason to vote one way or the other, I just vote yes. I happen to dislike the "indie" tag, because my company is a few guys busting ass to put out books. I dislike the "story game" tag, because story knows no size. Frankly, the only thing that self-identified "indie" press guys have in common is an anti-establishment attitude. And even that is inconsistent, because even though some dodge the FLGS (which, IMO is bad for the industry) they still show at the big consumer shows and submit books to the industry awards.

EDIT: Just adding that Evil Hat is not one of the companies that dodges the FLGS, my store carries them and I will continue to order their stuff as long as it stays good.
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Postby Destriarch » Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:09 am

Paradigm wrote:I default to yes, if I have no reason to vote one way or the other, I just vote yes. I happen to dislike the "indie" tag, because my company is a few guys busting ass to put out books. I dislike the "story game" tag, because story knows no size. Frankly, the only thing that self-identified "indie" press guys have in common is an anti-establishment attitude. And even that is inconsistent, because even though some dodge the FLGS (which, IMO is bad for the industry) they still show at the big consumer shows and submit books to the industry awards.

EDIT: Just adding that Evil Hat is not one of the companies that dodges the FLGS, my store carries them and I will continue to order their stuff as long as it stays good.

As far as I'm concerned, 'Indie' just means 'independent'. It's not about being anti-establishment, it's about producing the material you want to produce rather than being bound by what seems to sell. It's about pushing the boundaries back whether it nets you a profit or not. It's more like art for art's sake, I suppose. Some indie developers can be a bit anti-establishment in their approach, but there are plenty who describe themselves as thus who aren't. They just want to produce something that's different, that's all.

I'm not too sure about the whole 'dodging the FLGS' thing either. Any business model, whether mainstream or indie, has to worry about profit and loss. If a company can't afford the cost, the time it takes or the hassle of dealing with distributors and/or fulfilment companies, ISBN numbers, returns and goodness knows what else, I think that's a business decision. Certainly I'd prefer to see more indie titles in the stores, but we've got to be realistic. No gaming store is going to be able to buy every indie product in, and I think a fair amount of them are extremely reticent to stock any indie products. In that respect, I don't think it's just the publishers that are at fault.

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Postby Steve Trustrum » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:24 am

One of the big points of contention people don't understand seems to be publishers voting against new members with slow release schedules and/or small catalogs (especially with just 1 or 2 products.) As a publisher who often votes no against the latter, I'll offer my perspective on this particular issue.

I vote knowing that there's nothing to stop a denied petitioner from trying again later. This allows me to frame my vote in the perception of "is this publisher right for YGN, as it means to me?" versus "is this publisher, as it stands now, right for YGN, as it means to me?" Two very different perspectives. Slow release schedules and/or small catalogs speaks very much towards the latter whereas subjective taste is more the domain of the former.

YGN is, as I see it, a collection of publishers looking to work together for a shared good. That means, regardless of disagreement, we actively take an interest in each other's professional well being because, if for no other reason, that well being impacts our own ability to turn a profit here. A publisher with an incredibly slow release schedule in a PDF market speaks to me of someone who either isn't dedicating much time and effort to their business or is only looking at PDFs as tangential to their core interests. In either case, neither situation speaks to me as something that will benefit YGN's collective interests. Of course, not all instances will fall under one or the other of these two polarized scenarios, but this is why members also post and discuss things in the voting threads. There have been instances where my gut reaction was to vote no because of an incredibly slow release schedule where someone with more information than I spoke up and informed me of something that changed my mind. It's one of the benefits of how things are done here.

As for small catalogs, again, is there going to be more product coming? Is the company new? How do we know it's not going to be gone in the next month, like so many PDF start-ups where people with no experience in the business try their hand at things and then disappear because it turns out things are harder than they thought. I don't see the use of voting someone in if they aren't going to be doing anything other than letting their catalog sit there while other members--members interested in helping the other members--work harder to make YGN a success. Some now-members rejected earlier for this reason have also come back and shown they are not fly-by-nights by getting the product out there and successfully reapplying.

I guess this means I've a concern about members who will only view YGN as just another place to draw sales from and nothing more, whereas my interests in YGN go beyond just a sales site but also as a professional community built out of shared interest. Again, other members have changed my mind in specific instances regarding certain petitioners by offering up facts.

Obviously I think the combination of both elements (slow releases, small catalog) is therefor doubly troublesome for a petitioner for a site like YGN. Of course you'll also find members who don't share these concerns with me at all and think it's total bull. That's the benefit of a something like this where varied opinions have an equal say.

As for YGN being one homogeneous agenda of like-minded people who were all friends and part of a network prior to YGN, well, that's just outright wrong. I've personally voted yes for members I've had rather public disagreements with or privately found myself extremely opposed to on various important issues within the industry. I also accept that I am a VERY loud and opinionated person who has a tendency for letting his opinions get the better of him, and this has led to several dust-ups with other publishers who are currently members, and yet here I am, a member.

YGN is certainly not a clique. It is not a circle of old friends looking to give a leg up to their buddies. It is a community of publishers who share similar goals and hopes for the industry, many of which don't always gel but usually find themselves united by the fact that they didn't necessarily like what they saw being done with the industry elsewhere.
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