AdderXYU wrote: A well-written post reminiscent of Harlan Ellison meets Denis Leary sans profanity.
Wow, that's more than I expected. You go to one meeting and the comments are two pages ahead of you... I like the fact that somebody rather well-spoken is talking about curb-stomping people; it made me smile, which is probably weird.
You know, my first reaction to reading your post, and especially the part about that being my only argument and never having examined business, was, "Hey buddy, I'm not saying that it's okay to pump out garbage as long as you make a buck!" Then I went back and re-read my post, and I can see how it could be interpreted that way, so let me clarify: I don't think it's okay to pump out garbage as long as you make a buck. See: Pop music, horror movies, Activision. Which could also be a list of things I would love to see up against the wall when the revolution comes. Moving on...
I can't comment about the cheating thing. I don't know anything about it, haven't researched it and and I'm not a lawyer and won't pretend to be, but it sounds like shaky legal ground to begin with. Unless woot has something in their Derby contract about being able to deny winning entries at-will that haven't broken any of their contest rules, I think it would be difficult to deny an individual, not an internet persona, entry into their contest based on alleged activities on another website. But I really want to stray away from that topic in general.
With regard to business and ethics, I agree with most of what you said. I would like to say that I do not believe that woot is only about the money, but as a business they do need to generate positive cashflow to remain in the black. Nor was my argument as basal as "it sells, so it's OK, because this is a business." I only stated that woot is remaining true to their stated business model and goal for the Derby, which is to put a collection of shirts, which woot customers, all of whom need to have purchased at least one product from them in the past as per the rules, will then vote on. I know you obviously don't need the Derby rules explained to you, but I quote that in context of my point, which is that barring any foul play, the system is working exactly as intended. This doesn't mean it's working well, necessarily, as any assertation one way or the other would be mired in subjectivity.
This actually puts me in an awkward position in that I agree with you that they should be constantly striving to better themselves and improve, as well as pushing their contributors to better themselves and improve, but I do not agree that the best way to do that is to put any one or number of people in charge of making decisions on which content is acceptable or not based purely on aesthetics. A lot of people believe that some entries do not conform to the stated rules, or the stated theme, or don't meet certain criteria, but in the end I believe it's woot's job to interpret their own criteria and decide their own intentions. Does this occassionally allow for people who put less time into their work to triumph over people who put more time into their work? No doubt, but just because something didn't require the physical effort or emotional investment doesn't necessarily mean it holds less value to a specific individual. I lot of people like xkcd, myself included, and the guy draws stick figures. Does this make his comic less important than somebody who does elaborate full-color spreads? I don't think it does. The same general concept applies here. Does a lot of Ramy's stuff look very similar? Sure, he sticks to his style. Does it push the bounds of dynamic design and fine artistry? I don't necessarily think so, but who says it has to? Do people like it? Clearly they do, they've voted both in the Derby and with their wallets. Does this mean he's less of an artist than somebody who is always expanding, trying new things and pushing himself beyond his limits? I don't know if it does, and I think we'll disagree in that aspect, which I'm fine with.
Now, to be fair, I'm not on anybody's side. I don't like or dislike Ramy or Seki's designs. They're there, and I've never absolutely had to have one but they've never made me kick a stranger through a window, either. I don't want to come off as telling you that you're a bully and to leave poor Ramy alone. Maybe he knows kung fu or something and would've been fine. However, I do very much respect your point of view, and I agree that any business has a responsibility to be ethical and moral in their execution, but I believe that the only issue that may raise ethical and moral flags is the issue of potential cheating on other sites, which is a hard line to tack for a large business such as woot, since they would need to involve legal departments, probably have a formal investigation, etc. I don't know if they've been given formal evidence of this, but I have seen several people say they've looked in earnest for it and couldn't find any reference to it at all, so I imagine they're just going to let it go. Is that right if, in fact, it really happened? Probably not, but I don't know if there are reasonable means of resolving the situation that won't cause more problems. So I hope you won't see this as a shot at your credibility or anything, I just can't verify any of it myself and wouldn't presume to take sides based on second-hand information.
If you hate his art, I can respect that too. I'm not a huge fan of Jackson Pollock. I can see why it's important, and it's great that people love it, but it's just not for me. I wouldn't call it worthless, because something is only worth the value that any one person assigns to it (and in Pollock's case, they assign quite a bit), but I wouldn't hang one in my house.
AdderXYU wrote:It is not their storefront.
Yeah, I wasn't implying that woot existed as their storefront, I was merely saying that with their own website they would need a storefront, and woot fills that position in a roundabout way right now, like using a phonebook as a makeshift table leg.