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Has A_B become biased?

It's no secret that a friend of mine was the subject of a beware (a couple, actually). Contrary to belief, I don't have a problem with that (I think they were somewhat deserved actually). What I have a problem with was the community's behavior. I've seen it several times (and not just with people I know), where someone posts a beware, the community seems to jump on the 'they're a terrible person' bandwagon; or make assumptions; or there are inconsistent expectations; or worse still the moderators pick a side. Even worse is when it's revealed that things weren't as they first seemed, things get resolved, and not an apology for some of the almost (or sometimes completely) blatant insults and accusations.

Does the community really think this is okay?

I'll admit, some artists (and commissioners) have a known history, or some of the evidence provided is pretty damning. If their behavior patterns continue to support this, sure; give them an 'oh they're at it again.' But I don't think it's okay to make assumptions about someone if they're not known to engage in something, and we don't have the full story.

Is there a bias here? Why is it okay to post 'beware well warranted' when the artist hasn't even had a chance to post their side of the story? Why does nobody try seeing things from the artist's side, even if only to play Devil's Advocate?

Why are there any artists afraid to come here to try and defend themselves?

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Comments

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kayla_la
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
I have approved this, but this post is not to become about Falvie. Comments veering into Falvie's particular case will be frozen!

ETA: Also, I expect everyone to be civil with each other.

Edited at 2014-01-07 03:30 am (UTC)
hellebore
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC)
Hive mentality can't be a pretty thing, and if I was an artist who was posted here, I really don't know if I'd bother coming here to defend myself. There's been too many cases where I've seen it spiral out of control and the artist gets ganged up on. Why put myself through that?
dustmeat
Jan. 7th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
I have witnesses that too.
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kayla_la
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
or worse still the moderators pick a side

I take exception to this because it implies that being a moderator means you aren't allowed to have your own opinion. Fortunately, Kerstin (the lead moderator) has established that we are allowed to express such, as long as we follow the rules like everyone else.

I understand that a moderator's opinion might be considered to hold more weight, and there has actually been times we've withheld our opinion because of such, but when we're giving our opinions, we're just normal users and should be treated as such.

I am curious and don't mean this as an attack, but would you have minded the moderators expressing their opinion if it was one you agreed with, or does this only apply when it's an opinion you don't like? I've only ever seen this sentiment expressed (that moderators shouldn't speak their opinion on a post) when the person disagreed with what the moderator said.
sigilgoat
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
I'm replying to this to agree that I purposefully do not add my opinion into a lot of A_B discussions if the rest of the community is saying what I would anyway.

I've noticed my opinion seems to carry more weight than the average user and I am careful to stay out of discussions unless I really feel I can add to the dialogue.
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haruko_san13
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
I don't think so at all. I've been a pretty silent reader of this community for years and I've seen many cases where the artist or commissioner in question comes in, admits their faults, and works towards bettering their business practices and fixing the problem. The only time people get on their cases is when they do the opposite of that; make excuses for themselves, send in white knights, refuse to take constructive criticism and wave it off as "trolling" or people just being mean to them.
nightabsol
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
At least personally, I take every beware with a grain of salt. I read it through carefully, and look over the evidence, and if possible, the other side of the story of the person in question. While I don't assume everyone does this to the same extent, I wouldn't call it the fault of A_B. People tend to jump to conclusions in general, or confirmation bias. You unfortunately can't force people to make educated opinions.
duster
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
General "you"s all around! Forgive any disjointed thoughts, multitasking out the wazoo.

I don't think so. AB posts are only as good as the evidence backing them up and the way it's presented. If you just have a wordblock with no caps to support your claim, members are going to question the OP. Likewise, if you have plenty of screencaps but constantly drop snarky passive aggressive comments, members will again question you. But to answer your questions individually.

Why is it okay to post 'beware well warranted' when the artist hasn't even had a chance to post their side of the story?
Because sometimes the artist doesn't need to. If someone has caps of them acting perfectly rational and the artist screaming and cursing, I don't think we need further reason to question the artist. And as I will detail later, sometimes artists defending themselves make things worse.


Why does nobody try seeing things from the artist's side, even if only to play Devil's Advocate?
They do. Just because it's not common doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all. I can distinctly recall one instance where I called the OP's evidence into question and it turned out the OP had distorted their evidence to make their beware fit.

Why are there any artists afraid to come here to try and defend themselves?
The outcome of an artist defending themself falls squarely on the artist in question.

An artist taking the time to get a handle on the situation, answering questions in a straightforward manner, dealing only with the matter at hand, and answering professionally and promptly can actually gain business from a nice shiny "resolved" tag. But on the other side of the coin, an artist whom just flies off the handle and starts yelling and insulting everyone and getting angry at the OP for wanting what they paid for couldn't shoot themself in the foot better if they taped a target to it and took aim. There's even a post made by the lovely mods outlining how best to handle an AB post when you're an artist.

Do some members jump the gun? Sure. But these are some pretty broad brush strokes.
kayla_la
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:59 am (UTC)
More than once have I see people put on AB be praised out the wazoo and get new business and watchers just by coming in, accepting that they had screwed up, making it right, and apologizing.

For the most part in AB, what you give is what you get.
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dinogrrl
Jan. 7th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
Be very sure that you're actually seeing bias and insults, and not 'this person/place disagrees with what I think.' It's very easy to confuse these things. We've all done it.

I think the answer to most of your questions is 'because we're all human and we're in a large group.'

As to why artists are afraid to 'defend themselves', well, I for one tend to walk in the opposite direction if I see a bunch of people disapproving of my actions. Maybe I feel it more prudent to make apologies on my own turf (ie, my own gallery, my own blog, etc) instead of trying to wade into a community I may or may not be a member of to try to explain myself or apologize to a bunch of strangers. Maybe I don't even know this place exists. Maybe I just don't care.
^is that considered playing Devil's Advocate? :p

Really, though, this is one of the more civilized and fair review sites I've come across. Is it perfect? Heck no. Could it be worse? It was, once, before this place had the law laid down upon it. Do we make snap decisions about some things? Yes, because a lot of us have been around long enough to see certain patterns emerge, and we are able to pick up on such patterns very early in their development. Perhaps not a fair thing to do, but you can only act on information given and your own knowledge and experience. And then be very happy when you're proven wrong.
socks_the_fox
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:19 am (UTC)
I'd like to keep the snap judgments to only known repeat offenders though. Or better yet no snap judgments whatsoever, only ones based off the evidence posted, and revised if the artist posts their side of the story even if they made mistakes in handling the situation.

One of the examples that comes to mind with why I posted this was someone I had never heard of outside their beware. The person posting had received a chargeback, and plenty of people jumped in and said they're a liar when they had someone try and explain. Turns out, it really wasn't them that issued the chargeback, it was some family member, and they were trying to pay back the people that got screwed over by the incident. Not an apology to be seen when it was resolved!

Here's the post: http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/712766.html
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yarbro
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:04 am (UTC)
Artist beware have pretty strict rules on insults and accusations. I saw a few people warned even making a suggesting to calling someone inappropriate.

Besides that- it doesn't change someone's mind and doesn't stop them. if they feel that a bad artist is because they have a late one commission- then technically- in their own status- the artist is bad in the the user's eyes.

"Why does nobody try seeing things from the artist's side."

Err, if you want I can show you tons of examples when once the artist posted on their beware either situation settled or the tables turned.

The main thing- we are not mind readers. And it considered harassment if we go on the artist page and asked what is going on about the Artist Beware. We don't what the artist is going though- unless he or she talks about it.

We have to act upon what the evidence is telling us unless otherwise stated.

If the artist does not respond- then the artist want to handle the situation outside of Artist beware or does not give their side for any of the many reasons (good and bad). I hope that make sense.
socks_the_fox
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
I on the other hand have seen cases where the bewaree has been (falsely) accused of being a liar or a scammer and the staff doing nothing or joining in.

--

Sure, once the artist comes in and has a chance to explain their side. Before then, I've seen plenty of 'how dare they?' and that scares off artists that may have been in the right, or may just have made an honest mistake.

The problem I have really is the whole 'reacting when you only have half the story' thing. Too many times I've seen one-sided accusations when the accused don't have a history of such behavior.
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timelapsedecay
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC)
No, not really.
A beware can go either way, it depends on who's at fault.
And once someone is actually identified as the person at fault, the community's gonna react how they want to react. I really don't think A_B is to blame, especially when most of the time, the bewares are valid.
This seems more like an attempt to kick up a kerfluffle over nothing, but maybe that's just me.
neolucky
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:26 am (UTC)
Two words for you Socks. Two simple words.

Prove it.

Give me examples of everything you've listed above, because I want to see them. Show me where people go "beware well warranted!" and it's NOT warranted. Show me where people dogpile and assume things and the artist/customer absolutely does not deserve it.

Dogpiling happens, yes. It happens in every community and we strive to keep things as civil as possible. But if you want to discuss this, I want to see what you're talking about.
socks_the_fox
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/712766.html is one. I'll try to find more tomorrow when I have time.
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ginkaruja
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:27 am (UTC)
AB has some issues, issues that can't be controlled, though there needs to be something that addresses them. I'm actually trying to put something together because there are concerns and an overwhelming fear among artists of AB, whether or not people here realize it or are willing to accept it.

I have seen some things that make me take a step back with the mob mentality. I remember one case that came on the heels of another that seemed similar when skimmed, though it was about a missed deadline of one day and a backlog, and I saw everyone writing this artist off, except me (which I got some flak for). This artist nearly disappeared and actually did so for a while to get things sorted out, but came back just fine, no further issues so far. So recent bewares can tarnish another. It's one of those things where I don't think enough people in this community step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes.
stormrunner1981
Jan. 7th, 2014 06:21 am (UTC)
Remember, not everyone has been here forever. I know some more recent members sometimes get a bit..gun ho I suppose is the best word for it.

But you usually have more level heads proceeding.

Then again, the past can affect your present. It doesn't auto go away just because something got resolved.

There have been multiple people who at multiple times got posted here - resolved their issue, then get posted again not long after. In a cycle.

I don't even remember how long I've been a member of this community O_o. But I've seen it all now I think - nothing surprises me.

And the mods have probably seen more then I have XD.

Edited at 2014-01-07 06:22 am (UTC)
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sunhawk
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
Hmmm most of the time when people post comments about artists being terrible, it's often in response to what the artist said as captured in screencaps and usually due to the abusive or rude nature of their remarks. Whatever your history, if you are acting as a professional artist by selling your art, it's unprofessional to let personal problems justify bad behavior to customers, so knowing their history is largely unnecessary and wouldn't justify the behavior anyway. And when it comes to missing parts of the story, when artists do show up, they are welcomed to post their side and provide their own evidence. People will still decide for themselves, in the end. Yes giving people the benefit of the doubt can be a good life philosophy in general but many of us are posting as artists in our own right who want to see other artists behaving professionally and we are also more familiar with the shenanigans of both other artists and customers.

I think the mods do a pretty good job of keeping on top of people who use insults, and they are by far the most active mods of most of the comms I'm part of. And moderators are allowed to pick a side in terms of expressing which party they feel did wrong, they don't generally act on that opinion in a moderator way, ie they don't ban or threaten people who agree with the other side, etc.

What inconsistent expectations are you referring to?
socks_the_fox
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:36 am (UTC)
As far as inconsistent expectations, I mean things like "this artist has kept me waiting for a month" "oh that's awful!" whereas with other artists they say they've been waiting a couple of months and nothing about it is brought up, as though that kind of wait is expected.

As far as artists being welcomed to state their side of the story, that's great and all except sometimes it feels like they'd be doing so to the guy holding the billy club with a wicked grin on his face.
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0acorn0
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
Surprise, A_B isn't a hivemind.

People are going to have opinions, and depending on how the artist responds will either cement those opinions or help ease them.

There's always going to be a few people holding a grudge, but most people will move on when they see the artist doing right and making steps to improve their business and how they act.

You cannot reasonably expect people to just wait and see the other person's side (especially if the other person never surfaces), or to hold their tongues when something looks particularly damning. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, even if you don't happen to like what they have to say.
sableantelope
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)

(TL:DR version posted in the reply below)


I think if people would understand criticism of business practices, even harsh criticism, is not the same as personal attacks about something someone has no control over. Also that choosing to take money and not deliver a product, or to consciously deliver a bad product is not a mistake, it's a choice. It's not some bad thing that happened beyond their control, it was a choice they made to do the wrong thing. And you make that decision to do something wrong it reflects on your reputation and other people are going to have an opinion of you, specifically your trust worthiness, ethics, how fairly you treat others, based on that choice you made.

If someone has proof of those actions and displays that proof here people are going to make judgments. Very often those will be negative judgments, in fact a majority of the time because this is a community for transactions gone wrong, not transactions gone right.
It's not a bias so much as a specialisation. This is a community for transactions where someone feels they were wronged. That's by it's nature going to mean someone says somebody did wrong.
(And, really, if people were only here to be negative and just hate on artists than the Positive Review threads wouldn't exist or have so many replies)

People don't mindless swallow any evidence posted here. It's questioned.

And many times someone comes and defends themself or presents new evidence and people do make a point of stating that their opinion has changed, or that the person posting was wrong not the one posted about.
Even an honest apology from someone who admits they down right f'ed up can do more good than the initial beware did harm.

Although just because a wrong doing is fixed later down the line doesn't mean the original action wasn't wrong. Or that everything is back to square and people should apologise for what they said. No one is obligated to forgive anyone, and one party might still harbour illwill, and people might still think an artist is untrustworthy or etc. because of their mistake. One party might feel slighted forever, even if they were refunded or received another resolution. It wont always end up with a bad transaction leaving no bad feelings or future judgement.

What I see so often when friends come here to try and defend friends that are posted is that they refuse to admit wrong doing even when wrong doing has been proven to have happened; and they also tend to consider negative comments on their friend's business practices (and how that bad business practice reflects on them as a person on the whole) as base-less personal attacks.

When you mess up you have to deal with that, and dealing with that not only means making it right but also the fact that you might get your feelings hurt when people point out what you did wrong and the way that it was wrong. If you feel guilty or bad about what you did, especially when it's pointed out here, that's good in it's own way since it should push you to not only fix the wrong-doing but also to never make that bad choice again.

And I know it sounds heartless but getting 'overwhelmed' is in that same category of choosing to do wrong because no one forces anyone to accept another commission with a gun to their head. Plus the money should always be available for refunds if you get in over your head and have to drop work for that or other emergency reasons. That's called forethought, planning and being mature enough to run a business.

sableantelope
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
The TL:DR version of my post is:
• This is a community about troubled transactions; by it's nature comments about one party of a transaction behaving badly will likely also be negative
• There has to be proof before posting, mods make sure of that. It's not idle gossip posted here just to stir up trouble.
• Members and mods don't just accept the proof posted without questioning it- that's been shown many times over. Sometimes the beware flips on the poster not the postee. If there was a bias to just 'hate' on anyone posted this would never happen.
• People posted are free to show contesting proof and post here. They are also free to apologise. Very often that not only undoes any damage but puts the postee in a positive light
• Choosing to take money and not deliver a product, or knowingly deliver bad product, is just that- a choice. It's not some random bad luck. It's doing the wrong thing and when you do the wrong thing and get caught doing it, it's going to feel bad and people are going to say unflattering things.
• Mending a transaction back to making the wronged party whole(like a refund) does not mean the wronged party, or any of the people who posted voicing an agreeing neagtive opinion of the person's actions and/or business ethics is obligated to feel like everything is a okay. It may be resolved, but the original error is not erased. Forgiveness is always nice but it might not always happen. If it doesn't that doesn't make the poster, or this community 'mean'.
sigilgoat
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)
I've been a part of this community for years. I've seen huge drama bombs, simple misunderstandings and everything in between. Even from before I became a mod, I saw how much the team really attempts to be nonbiased and objective as possible.

The mods have always tried to stay out of situations as much as possible. We always ask for as much evidence as possible, and you have no idea how many posts we reject each week due to lack of evidence or poor attitude on the side of the OP.

Honestly, as a long term A_B member, I don't feel that you, Socks, have been around long enough to know what this community is about. You came in to defend a friend, and that's colored every interaction you've had here. You do not participate outside of talking about your friend. You've never posted on a Monthly Positive Review post. It really feels like you've made this post to stir up feelings, and have no constructive solutions.

Is every community member supposed to go and apologize when an artist finally makes something right? For every A_B post that has a TWIST at the end, there are countless ones that are legitimate and resolve well with no hard feelings.

But unfortunately, you haven't been here or participated enough to see that, and so you've come to this conclusion.
0acorn0
Jan. 7th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC)
This.
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