Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus

I've quoted a couple of comments from another thread here that led me to ask you guys at Woot, Does NOTHING But Money Matter Now?

Well, OK, limiting to 6 colors probably matters, due to the equipment, and keeping us from using the expensive metallic ink probably increases the profit by a few dollars, but other than that?

From notjoel's comment, I originally missed the glaringly large elephant in the room, that Joel and necessarily, since he's in charge, the rest of the editors (if anyone else has a say), are picking editor's choices, not because the artwork and ideas were appealing to them, but rather, as "guaranteed solid winners"; i.e., for the sales. Is there any other way to reasonably interpret his statement?

notjoel wrote:And that was Joel's concern -- that there aren't enough guaranteed solid winners to do ECs both up to and during a double-take. I disagreed of course.



*dderXYU wrote:But the whole point of ECs isn't about WINNERS, it's about EDITORS CHOOSING (note how those words both come from the words Editor's Choice) tees that deserved to print...

As for "not having enough guaranteed winners," again, who cares about guaranteed winners? Every HM should be selected for quality anyway, right? But no matter what method is used for picking HMs, every one should be a tee woot would want to print if it won, right? ...{wordy but on-topic commentary} If woot didn't think it was worth the print, they shouldn't have bothered putting it in the contest.

It's sad that even the honorable mentions, which were created to reward work that the voters missed, and the editors choice prints, which were originally a very similar reasoning, seem to have become one more cash cow, if I'm interpreting you correctly...{more pithy commentary}



I stuck in *dder's comments because he's right about this, and this way he won't have to retype them in this thread...riiiight. ;^)

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5

< /lurk mode re-engaged>

move along

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez

You are making some glaring assumptions based on nothing more than 2nd hand information. Nothing against not joel, but you have no way to know what joel or woot actually said based on not joel's comment. not joel offered up one or two sentences of his opinion of what joel said in their private conversations without context. Not only that, but not joel put his own negative spin on it, because he didn't agree with his impression of what joel said in their private conversations. I'm not saying what did or did not take place, but reading that much into not joel's comment is definitely not the right way to do it.

I truly expect these leaps from some people hell bent on proving their point regardless of facts, but not from most people here.

(PSA: The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
bluchez wrote:You are making some glaring assumptions based on nothing more than 2nd hand information. Nothing against not joel, but you have no way to know what joel or woot actually said based on not joel's comment. not joel offered up one or two sentences of his opinion of what joel said in their private conversations without context. Not only that, but not joel put his own negative spin on it, because he didn't agree with his impression of what joel said in their private conversations. I'm not saying what did or did not take place, but reading that much into not joel's comment is definitely not the right way to do it.

I truly expect these leaps from some people hell bent on proving their point regardless of facts, but not from most people here.

(PSA: The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent.)




Glaring assumptions? I guess you're right, but I'm not quite willing to retract those assumptions. I'm assuming that what was meant was essentially what I quoted. I'm assuming that joel meant that 'guaranteed solid winners' means good selling shirts. That, I now assume, is the 'glaring assumption'.

Given the context of the other discussion, it does sound plausible for those to have been his words. Given notjoel's reputation and history, my personal leaning is to believe what he said. Now, whether my assumption that a 'guaranteed solid winner' means a good-selling shirt is correct, I can only say that the use of the words 'guaranteed solid' suggested to me that he was talking, not about the quality of the artwork, but the sales instead. I have trouble thinking that he would use those words if he were talking about the artistic quality- if the quality of the artwork weren't good, why would he have selected the shirt for an EC?

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez

Again, you are assuming one person's intentions from another person's comment. The original private conversation was between at least two people. Not only is the small snippet above out of context and one sided, but it was also selected to prove a point. Regardless of someone's reputation, when a disagreement occurs, believing that person's account of the other person's intentions (or statements) is asinine.

I feel I have a pretty good reputation. Does that mean that if I were to post a small snippet of an argument I had with a rattlesnake that I would be representing, in any capacity whatsoever, the rattlesnake's true intentions?

Again, this is not intended as an attack on the original poster. The specific words that this particular post are harping on are not out of the mouth of the person it is being attributed to (in fact, the original poster didn't even claim those were joel's actual words). It is very dangerous to start putting words in other people's mouths, and that is precisely what has been done.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus
bluchez wrote:Again, you are assuming one person's intentions from another person's comment. The original private conversation was between at least two people. Not only is the small snippet above out of context and one sided, but it was also selected to prove a point. Regardless of someone's reputation, when a disagreement occurs, believing that person's account of the other person's intentions (or statements) is asinine.

I feel I have a pretty good reputation. Does that mean that if I were to post a small snippet of an argument I had with a rattlesnake that I would be representing, in any capacity whatsoever, the rattlesnake's intentions?

Again, this is not intended as an attack on the original poster. The specific words that this particular post are harping on are not out of the mouth of the person it is being attributed to (in fact, the original poster didn't even claim those were joel's actual words). It is very dangerous to start putting words in other people's mouths, and that is precisely what has been done.



Oh, well, are you intimating now that I'm a rattlesnake? of course...not? You are certainly dancing around saying that MY intentions are dangerous, that I'm putting words in other people's mouths, that I'm harping on those particular words (words that I quoted, as it happens). oh yeah, and being asinine. I shouldn't forget that.

If you did magically converse/argue with a rattlesnake, and reported a small snippet of that conversation, the comment could very well represent the viewpoint of that rattlesnake. After all, how many of *dder's posted comments can be quite succinctly described by a line or two from one of his missives? or my position from a line or two from one of mine?

My concern is real, that the ECs are now just a cash cow, and no longer have as their intent the showcasing of designs that were effectively missed or ignored by the voters. I'd love to hear that I misinterpreted what I read, or that the context would change what was meant, or that his words weren't those exact words.

I'd expect that, if those really were his words, without realizing it, he unintentionally revealed a bias behind the editor's choices that he didn't even realize was there. Maybe he'll take steps to keep that from being a larger part of the process than it should be- I'm NOT saying that the sales potential should be ignored, only that the merit of the design should be more important.

geekfactor12


quality posts: 11 Private Messages geekfactor12

If nothing else this whole post is a pretty good example of how easy it is to assume the worst about other people's intentions, especially on the internet.

It's reasonable to think that Woot has many concerns with choosing ECs. One would be satisfying their own personal design preferences. Another would be making their very large customer base happy. If they do the second, they'll also be making a lot of money. There's no reason to assume they can't (or don't) do both at the same time.

There are also many reasons why Woot may not want to add more ECs. One might be their desire for increased diversity in artists printed by the site- many, many more artists submit daily designs than enter the derby. Another might be a goal of printing work that aims at a wider target audience than derby voters. Perhaps they value the ability to art direct pieces and guide them into something more cohesive, which is less of an option with derby designs that voters have already fallen in love with as-is. Production concerns might be an issue, if the shirt colors Woot wants to produce aren't prone to being used in quality derby designs, while overused colors are. There's a lot going on behind the scenes, always.

I don't see any reason to assume that Woot is purely (or even primarily) interested in money, especially not based on a second-hand remembered conversation that we don't know the details of. It might be fair to say that they're interested in creating as many happy customers as possible, but I don't think that's necessarily the same thing.

bluchez


quality posts: 2 Private Messages bluchez

OK, I hope this is my last post here. I will respond to this once more, because my last post was apparently poorly written and completely misunderstood.

You (Josephus) are basing your post on the fact that Joel said something that you don't know Joel said. That is, in my opinion, a dangerous situation. That's my entire point. You (Josephus) are now opening up a discussion about how wrong you feel Joel is based on information that is at best incomplete, at worst wholly inaccurate.

I can make assumptions as well. I can assume that Joel listed 50 different reasons why he didn't believe that more EC's should be done. Robert disagreed with one, and emailed back about it. The conversation continued from there, but Robert always had in his brain that one point he disagreed with, and chose to focus on that small snippet. It doesn't take malicious intent or a bad reputation to do that, it's just human nature. Just because a small snippet can reflect the content of a larger argument, does not mean it does in any way. I would personally have no problem with "not being enough that the customers would be interested in buying" being one of several reasons. But, that would be based on my assumptions, not fact. It has also not been shown to be fact that Joel said (or implied) any of the above.

I really didn't think using a rattlesnake in place of another type of snake could possibly be misinterpreted, especially in the context of someone I might hypothetically argue with. Feel free to PM me if you need a hint.

PSA: The names are included in this post because the last post was so grossly misinterpreted.

Josephus


quality posts: 25 Private Messages Josephus

At this point,


I do grasp your point now. I'm also not here just to complain and pick holes, and I think you are right. I'm also covered with blood, after pulling a bunch of bind-weed off one of my trees, and prolly ought to deal with that now. :^)

AdderXYU


quality posts: 38 Private Messages AdderXYU
Josephus wrote:At this point,


I do grasp your point now. I'm also not here just to complain and pick holes, and I think you are right. I'm also covered with blood, after pulling a bunch of bind-weed off one of my trees, and prolly ought to deal with that now. :^)



Rampant Capitalism's Blind Supporters will always beat you til you give in. Art is meaningless. Business is awesome.

Oh, wait, I guess that's making huge assumptions. You can't actually know anything about what one is saying, even if they say it, because you aren't that person. How dare you raise concerns?

If assumptions are dangerous (and sometimes they are, but if we never assume one way or another, no limbs are ever walked out on), then it is dangerous to assume something based on a snippet of someone's conversation. But then, it is doubly dangerous to assume something about the conversation itself, and then make assumptions based on that assumption. There is no reason to believe Robert would be misleading, so there's no reason to assume his statement is loaded or unrepresentative, unless your primary goal is to make any discussion on the topic look unjustified. There is plenty of evidence to back up Robert's comments.

By contrast, if some random user started subbing work that looked like a user banned from the site, but that user then told another user that they weren't that person, and a user associated with the banned user confirmed, no one would assume there was something fishy going on. Or if one user submit a design that looks just like another user's previous design, but insisted it wasn't stolen, we should trust them. Yknow, hypothetically. Robert's comments should be highly suspect, because he has no history of being highly suspect, but this hypothetical situation should be taken at face value, because why would someone shady lie?

lplady


quality posts: 2 Private Messages lplady
j5 wrote:< /lurk mode re-engaged>



We're all wondering on EBW why you went into lurk mode? Know you're missed.

lp

thatrobert


quality posts: 26 Private Messages thatrobert

I have to apologize to Josephus, Joel, and anyone else getting worked up. Like was mentioned, I am only giving my impression of a private conversation that I really shouldn't have shared anyway.

Woot is running a business that has a lot of parameters we can't understand from this side of the fence so we're unlikely to understand WHY Woot won't do things the way we'd like despite how logical it seems to us.


CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea

I didn't want to comment on anything anymore, but I do have an issue with one point: That the "Woot Audience" is something that cannot be changed.

The reason Woot sells more of a shirt that looks like all of the other shirts they sell is because they created that audience by offering those previous shirts. Myself, like several of my friends, stopped checking Woot daily because they have no longer offered shirts I like, choosing to mostly print pop culture references and cutesy stuff.

On the flip side, I know several people that check this site more often, because they LOVE pop culture references and cutesy stuff. They used to never check this site.

Woot has the audience it has because it offered the people that want artsy shirts don't check here anymore. I went from several times a day to once a week, an only to see if it's the same old stuff.

I do not have any personal issue if Woot wants to print that pop culture stuff. I don't have a problem with TeeFury doing it either. What I do have a problem with is the belief that they make more sales because that's what people what. That's PROFOUNDLY untrue. That's what the current woot audience wants because the people that DON'T want that stuff don't check woot anymore. Or at least don't buy stuff as often.

That is how the Internet works.

If woot decided tomorrow that they were only going to print black t-shirts with skulls on them, they would get almost no sales. But if they continued to print black t-shirts with skulls on them, they would start to get more sales over time, because they would build an audience that likes these types of shirts. The Internet has a billion people, and there is an audience for pretty much everything. Soon they would get just as much business selling skulls shirts as they do now selling cutesy or pop culture shirts.

Then, if they decided to sell a pop culture design a year from now, they would get almost no sales, because the people that like pop culture designs wouldn't be checking this site anymore.

Unlike a lot of the others here, I don't have any personal issues with what Woot wants to do. If they like catering to the pop culture/TeeFury audience, go for it. But I do have an issue with the belief that because something sells better on Woot it is "more popular" than a more original, artistic design. That is unbelievably false. It is more popular with Woot's CURRENT AUDIENCE. If Woot offered fewer pop culture designs and cutesy designs, and instead focused on artistic merit, they would have a larger audience of people that like shirts based on artistic merit and a smaller audience of people that like pop culture/cute. They chose to build this audience for themselves. If they wanted, they could easily choose to build a different one.

kevlar51


quality posts: 45 Private Messages kevlar51
CapSea wrote:I didn't want to comment on anything anymore, but I do have an issue with one point:



Good to see you again CapSea!

AdderXYU


quality posts: 38 Private Messages AdderXYU
CapSea wrote:

Unlike a lot of the others here, I don't have any personal issues with what Woot wants to do. If they like catering to the pop culture/TeeFury audience, go for it. But I do have an issue with the belief that because something sells better on Woot it is "more popular" than a more original, artistic design. That is unbelievably false. It is more popular with Woot's CURRENT AUDIENCE. If Woot offered fewer pop culture designs and cutesy designs, and instead focused on artistic merit, they would have a larger audience of people that like shirts based on artistic merit and a smaller audience of people that like pop culture/cute. They chose to build this audience for themselves. If they wanted, they could easily choose to build a different one.



Facts.

I think it was Destroy Destroy Destroy where I first realized how completely warped woot's buying public has become. I didn't expect it to be a bestseller, but when it sold under 400, it made zero sense. I'd obviously seen trends before, but somehow that tee made it clear that people were leaving who at one time would have loved to see something as detailed and original as that up on the site. It's not new for interesting things to sell low: Edgar's first print, Tummy Ache, was under 200, after all. But you can draw a definite peak and valley from the one to the other.

Woot's lowest seller to date is still Skatetown, at 158 or so sold. I can think of numerous sites that would love to see those numbers daily. The fact is, the vast majority of woot's tees sell four to ten times that much, and even more as they approach the former and current sell-out margins. Do you think somewhere like Goodjoe wouldn't kill to sell a Skatetown amount of their new print every week, let alone in a day? Well, maybe not. They're Goodjoe. Killing goes against their mission statement. But there you have it. Woot's minimum daily sale rivals, if not surpasses, the average maximum for many smaller sites. I'd not be shocked if even DBH frequently sells less than skatetown amounts of a tee in its first week. And none of these sites have extra kids and wine and miscellany branches to make extra profit.

It doesn't take a genius to notice that woot not only has lost numerous buyers and artists over the years. Not only does that mean the PM I sent Tanninniver months ago will never get read, but moreover, it means that many once-vocal members of the woot community are gone or marginal. That's artists: I don't need to name them, because that list can easily be made of people whose work was insulted through the far more mediocre work that won. But it's also prolific buyers and supporters. Woot has, in a very real way, ostracized many of its original users by trying to cater its tee market to what it thinks its users are. When you have as many users as woot has, you don't care about this. Customers are numbers. But it's real.

Not to mention that, despite what woot write-ups want you to believe, art is something people have opinions on. Two out of three ECs so far have been absolutely stunning... pieces I'd have printed myself if I worked here, or would have happily picked up to print elsewhere if they hadn't printed now. I bought neither, though if I still bought random bags, I would love to see either in one. But art is a matter of opinion. People who care about it appreciate as they debate it. and that means there could be 8 million art fans on woot to one million pop nerds, but art would sell slower, because people would consistently ask "is this my taste? This is stunning, but is it good enough to purchase? I don't know that I love x topic or y style, but I cannot get over how well this is done". Pop culture, on the other hand, doesn't rely on any opinion past "do I like Mario or Zelda?" Here's the thing, though... the people who like artistic things ALSO have opinions on Mario and Zelda. They just care less about them, and would be more picky about what jokes or references they'd bother wearing. But if you only foster the desu and pop that is so frequently what woot is made of, none of those buyers will step out of the box and buy something they need to think about.

I obviously think it does matter what a site chooses to print, because it may not hurt me directly, but it does hurt the artists. We shouldn't be handing out medals just for participation, but we also shouldn't be handing out medals for anything but the best. And the best is not a measure of popularity or sales. No one who believes that can believe they are truly an artist. I talk to artists. The number one thing I hear, that I'm willing to post out of a sense of decorum (they say some nasty things), is that it is fine to be beaten by good work, or better work, but the most humiliating thing possible is to get beaten by work that is undeniably worse. That is what demoralizes artists. That is what drives them mad. and that is why what woot prints matters.

But the difference of opinions on that bit doesn't change that main reality. Every site has the power to dictate their audience. Woot has chosen to foster one that allows them to insist that quality work isn't wanted here. They've chosen to brush off the people who wanted something better artistically. But woot is also the site best suited to turn things around and make a difference, and guide an audience toward a more educated tee experience. They have the sales power and the financial backing. That they don't do this is something that will always be questioned as to why. Some human beings simply can't understand it when they see a business cater low instead of aiming high, especially when they have the power to take that risk.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
AdderXYU wrote:It doesn't take a genius to notice that woot not only has lost numerous buyers and artists over the years. Not only does that mean the PM I sent Tanninniver months ago will never get read, but moreover, it means that many once-vocal members of the woot community are gone or marginal. That's artists: I don't need to name them, because that list can easily be made of people whose work was insulted through the far more mediocre work that won. But it's also prolific buyers and supporters. Woot has, in a very real way, ostracized many of its original users by trying to cater its tee market to what it thinks its users are. When you have as many users as woot has, you don't care about this. Customers are numbers. But it's real.



I don't really feel like responding to the thread in general, but I will give some thoughts on this. For one, I'm glad I got a Taninniver design on my skin when I had the chance because it's proabably the closest anyone will come to wearing one of her designs on a shirt and that's quite enough to depress the hell out of me.

As for chasing people away, I bought 18 shirts from Nov '07 to Dec '08. I bought 14 in '09. I bought 2 in '10. The sad part is I didn't have to boycott. There was literally one shirt in '10 I probably would have bought but didn't because I got tired of giving woot my money (The two I bought were a daily and an EC by Robbie).

I've bought 4 shirts this year (which may become 5 because I'll probably end up buying The Juniper Tree), but it could have just as easily been 2 and I doubt I'll break 6 by the end of the year. And I passed up quite a few shirts those first two years (first year especially). There just isn't anything left, or rather there isn't anything that prints, that I like anymore.

In many ways I'm glad for it because it pushed me to other sites like DBH and Threadless (though I rarely like anything there either). There was some good stuff on Cameesa before they borked their business model irrevocably. Tilteed has been getting most of my money. Basically, I haven't bought any fewer shirts and I've probably bought more, my money just isn't going to woot much and I know I'm hardly the only one.

CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea
kevlar51 wrote:Good to see you again CapSea!



hyuk. Thanks! I'm going to go back to lurking Tilteed now though.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
CapSea wrote:hyuk. Thanks! I'm going to go back to lurking Tilteed now though.



Personally, I wish they had a better forum, or at least more active. See you there (or not, as the case may be)

move along

Narfcake


quality posts: 284 Private Messages Narfcake

My take from this ...

You used to spend a lot of time at a local hangout ... say, a diner. Sometimes it was crowded, sometimes not, sometimes the wait was horrendous. But you enjoyed the menu and kept coming back.

Then, your local diner expanded and changed its decor because the neighborhood was growing too. Now, it was more crowded than not, and the menu changed to reflect some new tastes, but you still kept coming back for your old favorite dishes.

Another year passed, and the crowds got bigger again, so they expanded again to a new spot. The decor has changed, and some of your old favorites that was on the menu isn't even offered anymore. You're not coming so often now, but it was still your local diner. So you still came for a bite every now and then.

Another year, and another expansion. By now, you barely recognize the small diner that you used to eat at all the time. Nearly everything has changed - the decor, the menu, even the folks that come. They have some daily specialties that interest you, but that's about it. And you feel that you've lost your place ...

Is it like that?

crazydoglady


quality posts: 4 Private Messages crazydoglady

hello there- cynical middle-aged woman who loves a good debate here. I have a question for the old-timers: how did shirt.woot come into being? Did a few artists and/or art lovers make a pact that they would provide a forum for truly good t-shirt art? Did they in some way enter into a social contract with good artists? Or did it start out with good art quite by luck/chance and then evolve?
Here's the thing - I agree 100% with CapSea's discription of how audiences evolve, but I'm not so sure it's that easy to mold the masses. For example, I was a student at UT Austin in the early days of SXSW... I could go on and on about how it has evolved from a forum for true musicians to a meat-market for wannabes... it is sad that what it was at its conception is no more, but I don't think there was any way that anyone could have stopped it from changing.
Perhaps I should have waited for a response to Narfcakes question about whether his analogy with the diner was accurate... but if it is, then I think it needs context. Why did the diner change the menu? Did the working-class neighborhood where it was located start to gentrify? Or was an interstate highway routed past its front door? Maybe it's age, but I have come to accept that good things (people, places, businesses, events) that have value in my world WILL change over time - and the change is usually due to external circumstances over which even the key players have little or no control.
Now to come full circle back to where I started: My sister is an artist and over the years I have heard her lamenting how good art so often loses in the battle of good art vs commercial art, and I agree that it is sad to ever lose any forum that supports truly good art, but so many of these posts make it sound like woot has betrayed the artists somehow! And so I ask: did the founders of shirt.woot promise at any time to never drift towards pop references? If not, this seems like a lot of sturm und drang over the inevitable passage of time.

crazydoglady


quality posts: 4 Private Messages crazydoglady
AdderXYU wrote:

But woot is also the site best suited to turn things around and make a difference, and guide an audience toward a more educated tee experience.



Hmmm... why did this line make me think of The Fountainhead?

CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea
Narfcake wrote:My take from this ...

You used to spend a lot of time at a local hangout ... say, a diner. Sometimes it was crowded, sometimes not, sometimes the wait was horrendous. But you enjoyed the menu and kept coming back.

Then, your local diner expanded and changed its decor because the neighborhood was growing too. Now, it was more crowded than not, and the menu changed to reflect some new tastes, but you still kept coming back for your old favorite dishes.

Another year passed, and the crowds got bigger again, so they expanded again to a new spot. The decor has changed, and some of your old favorites that was on the menu isn't even offered anymore. You're not coming so often now, but it was still your local diner. So you still came for a bite every now and then.

Another year, and another expansion. By now, you barely recognize the small diner that you used to eat at all the time. Nearly everything has changed - the decor, the menu, even the folks that come. They have some daily specialties that interest you, but that's about it. And you feel that you've lost your place ...

Is it like that?



Close. A few differences:

- First, it's not the people but the food. No one really cares how many people are enjoying the diner. What they care about is that the diner is offering something completely different than they used to offer.

- Second, even though the diner is offering something completely different than it used to offer, the diner claims the menu is exactly the same and even seems angry at those that suggest the menu has changed, even though there is an old menu that anyone can look at as evidence that the menu has different food.

- Third, the food has changed to a specific, identifiable genre. Instead of serving homemade omelets and pancakes, it's serving Teriyaki and California rolls. Yet again, it tries to claim it's still the same diner.

- Fourth, it starts to only get customers that like Teriyaki and Sushi, so it makes more of it. Then it claims that teriyaki and sushi are what the people want, and that's why they no longer serve omelets and pancakes. But people still love omelets and pancakes. They just have to go somewhere else to get them.

- All the while claiming they are the same diner.

CapSea


quality posts: 54 Private Messages CapSea
crazydoglady wrote:
Here's the thing - I agree 100% with CapSea's discription of how audiences evolve, but I'm not so sure it's that easy to mold the masses.



Most Internet businesses have to work to create your own audience and are forced to conform to their visitors to make money, because in the time it takes them to get new visitors they would go out of business.

In Woot's case, they have 1,000,000 people that visit the main woot site along with industry recognition and one of the best prizes on the t-shirt market, so they already have the visibility to any market they want to target. They're choosing this one.

Again, I really don't personally care if Woot wants to cater to the pop culture/cutesy crowd. I just want it to be admitted and not act like somehow everyone that has left the site because the shirts are no longer artistic and original are in the wrong.