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Monday, April 26, 2010

Rebuilding the Trust

rebuilding the trust

In the wake of this year’s Streamy award fiasco, there were many questions regarding accountability. While those in charge quickly stepped forward to accept responsibility there were still questions as to the organization and oversight as well as calls for a change in transparency. Today the producers of the Streamy awards, launched a new campaign to fundamentally alter the operation, organization, and relationship between Streamy, LLC, which owns and produces the Streamy awards and the Independent Academy of Web Television (IAWTV), the non-profit organization created to oversee the selection of Streamy nominees. The campaign, which they have dubbed the Manifesto for change lays out four major alterations.

First, the manifesto calls for a new commitment to transparency and openness. This commitment would include disclosing the Academy membership and outlining and documenting the selection process of new members. One of the recent and most vocal criticisms of the Academy has revolved around membership selection and the creation of so-called blacklists.

Second, the manifesto calls for the creation of a ‘creator-driven board.’ The current Academy board contains only one active content creator, Felicia Day. The new board would consist of 10 seats held by current content creators, 3 executive non-creator seats, 2 seats for the Academy founders - currently they hold 5 -, and would require that the Chairman of the Board be a active content creator.

The third objective is the creation of a functioning board of governors tasked with overseeing specific areas of the Academy’s operation. One of the stated goals of the IAWTV is issue advocacy as well as industry oversight. The various governors would facilitate the Academy’s role in these areas as well as handle the administrative duties of the IAWTV. Currently, the Academy does not have full time employees or hold regular meetings.

Lastly, the manifesto proposes the formation of a permanent and equitable relationship between the IAWTV and the Streamy awards. As has been stated many times both here and elsewhere, the Streamys and the Academy are two separate entities, which do not have a formal relationship. The proposal would create a permanent relationship between the two, with the IAWTV providing oversight and at least 20% of the proceeds from the Streamy awards going towards the IAWTV general fund.

The Streamy producers have asked for feedback on the proposed manifesto for change. Feel free to either leave a comment below, or discuss the issue at the number one forum for web series news and discussion, Anchorcove.

26 comments:

  1. Okay, so having done my due diligence in writing what I hope is a fair representation of the Manifesto for change (Note: Never call anything a manifesto unless you are planning to blow something up) I shall now give my commentary.

    Well, obviously, they had to do something, people were calling for blood, and the proposal seems to address many of the major concerns people had. However, I keep coming back to one line from the Tubefilter article, "Certain members of the Board have taken advantage of the current situation to attempt to seize the show from its creators, and potentially shut it down." That line right there makes me think that the proposal is less about making change and more about a strategic move to either keep the Academy from taking over the show, thus squeezing them out, or bolting outright and creating its own show. In other words there is a power struggle going on.

    Secondly, since I'm being all skeptical, the creation of a 'creator-run' board feels suspicious. Right now the board is controlled by Tubefilter peeps and people who have a great deal of influence in the industry like George Ruiz. One could make the argument that a creator run board comprised of creative types would have less power and influence.

    Also, if they think it is such a great idea to have creators on the board why not have some of the Tubefilter employees step down immediately so they can be replaced with creators now.

    I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I will recognize this as a good faith effort for the time being. I think I'm one of the few people who was not screaming for the death of the Streamys after this year's debacle. I think the Streamys are a good idea. Nothing has gotten more attention for web video this year than the Streamys even with how bad it was. A good show could do wonders for the space. Plus, I like seeing all the peeps dressed up once a year.

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  2. The IAWTV would be well advised to have 100 percent control and ownership of their own award show. It is that simple. That is the only way they can ensure true accountability but then ONLY if the Board has an appropriate and fair composition.

    It is really up to the members of the IAWTV to make these decisions. If they fail to make them then they and they alone will be totally responsible to the community going forward.

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  3. So to just discuss this on their site:

    "Rebuild the Trust

    About membership

    This membership application form does not grant immediate access to the site. All membership applications are reviewed by an administrator before acceptance. You are not guaranteed access to the application by filling out this form.

    Please do not enter invalid or incorrect information in this form or you will most likely not be granted access to the site.
    All information entered in this form will be kept strictly confidential.

    http://rebuildthetrust.org/community/people.php?PostBackAction=ApplyForm"

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  4. From the site:

    "Right now, membership seems very arbitrary and I've already mentioned on other forums that I know of at least two people who were inappropriately rejected."

    http://rebuildthetrust.org/community/comments.php?DiscussionID=2&page=1#Item_0

    It is about time the rejections were explained. And, while we are at it, who made the decision?

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  5. I could not miss the "Note from the Creators" on the site, which says "A Message From The Creators" when you actually open it.

    anyhoo, the website seems well-intentioned, but i'd rather they just do a better show next year and not need special websites about what they are doing. this is all super-inside-baseball to who ultimately judges what they like, the audience.

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  6. I noticed the "Creator" thing too. Now that just confused the entire Universe, again.

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  7. Wow...a sappy logo complete with the Obama font and everything!

    It takes serious stones to try and REcon a group of people that you've already conned. Best of luck to these thieves...they're making matchstick men everywhere proud!

    :)

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  8. Can we have an "I Hated The Streamy Awards" free day? One day where they aren't mentioned at all. PLEASE!!!!

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  9. It was yesterday, did you miss it?

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  10. DAM! I was busy trying to learn how to play the guitar (I gave up after 8 hours). Can we have two days?

    On a related note. Anyone want to buy a guitar thats only been used for 8 hours?

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  11. I do agree that IAWTV can do more, and should publish a membership list and qualifications for acceptance and such. But I feel this "manifesto" is just scapegoating by tubefilter.

    The IAWTV does not need a permanent partnership with tubefilter. If they screw up, yet again IAWTV is in a legal agreement with them and can't do anything about it. It's just trying to cover their asses from ever potentially losing the IAWTV again. We need them to earn the right to be officially sanctioned each year to keep quality at its highest level.

    I guess it comes down to the conflict in having a non-commercial entity vote on an award that is a commercial entity. It seems like they need their own award to stick with the spirit of what they stand for.

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  12. Ok let's start with this, it's common sense that when you attach your name to something it is incumbent upon you to make sure it lives up to your standards. The IAWTV didn't do that collectively nor did they do that as individual members so already they don't have my complete confidence. In addition as an organization originally set up as a voting body somewhere along the line they decided to add issue advocacy and industry oversight to their duties. That doesn't sit well for me. Moreso the oversight thing. Lastly, some people have suggested that the board is not really representative of creators. I have a feeling when we see a membership list we will see the membership is not representative as well.

    Honestly, I'd like a do-over. I think we need a Digital Video Producer's association. Not a union but a group of creator's who can work on issues common to them. Issues like stream fraud, monetization and awareness etc. If we don't address these things the Streamys will be irrelevant by the time they roll around again.

    -immo

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  13. A do-over might not be possible. And someone attempting to do something new is only succeeding in fracturing an already precarious situation.

    I think the core of what's being said here is sound: immense changes need to happen. I think the problem is who is saying it and the timing. Wanting to be a leader is great and all but part of what makes a great leader is lead by example...in this case, I think parties need to take responsibility for their actions and then let go so healing can truly happen.

    At the very least, they need to start showing they are behind what they say. Maybe give them a couple days to do that. I know it's hard considering what we've already all been through.

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  14. I feel the academy was established to serve a very narrow purpose and I think anything else a) does not fall under that scope and b) distracts from that purpose. The issues I raised are just as important if not more important. It can and should happen parallel to what the academy does and shouldn't interfere at all. It's apples and oranges.

    I think now is the perfect time to talk about it. If immense change is on the horizon for the academy then part of that is establishing what their purpose should be and shouldn't be makes this relevant. As my pop always says, it never hurts to listen.

    Also I've seen a few comments made about leadership. I think people have made an effort to step up and lead but for whatever reason people have not followed. I think the Fine Bros. have stepped forward on more than one occasion and even the LAWebFest could be seen as an attempt to lead.

    I'd love to see a town hall. Let the parties concerned speak for themselves and answer questions without taking days to hold strategy sessions and invite everyone and anyone who has something to say.

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  15. Joe, if you had never tried to fix the time zone problem using the 436, none of this would have happened. Just saying:):):)

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  16. I really like the idea of a town hall too. Still not sure if a complete reset is the right way to go but at least given an open forum for discussing it can help develop either that, or another course of action.

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  17. My suggestion would be for future nominees to carefully consider whether or not to accept based on the outcome of this internal drama.

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  18. Probably worth mentioning but on the rebuild the trust website they have renamed the manifesto to Proposal for change.

    Apparently, a super villain wrote the first draft and they didn't catch it in time.

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  19. Well "A Proposal for the IAWTV" makes it much clearer that this is not the IAWTV talking and that the web site does not represent the IAWTV. That was one of the issues that have been discussed.

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  20. In all honesty, I don't quite understand the purpose behind all this.

    For one, I spy at least 3 board members of the IAWTV on the supporters list (Hustvedt, Brim-DeForest, Cohen) - if over a quarter of the board wants change, one would think they could do something inside the organization that would effect change, rather than joining toothless campaigns by third parties based on public pressure.

    More importantly, however, I don't see the entire point of trying to change the IAWTV in the first place:
    The Streamys are produced by Tubefilter. They can select a different body of people to make the selections. If people don't want to be represented by the current IAWTV, they can just form a new organization, show that it's a better representation of the leading people of the medium, and lobby Tubefilter to replace IAWTV in its role in the Streamys.

    I mean, what does the IAWTV actually do, other than judging for the Streamys?
    It's not like we're talking about an organization with decades of history that is integral to the medium and a driving force in its development.
    We're talking about a single-purpose organization that has sprung into action exactly twice so far.

    So instead of trying to pressure them into changing their ways, just replace them.
    If the new organization is driven by creators from the industry, and the creators collectively dislike the IAWTV, it shouldn't take long until the IAWTV has become irrelevant.

    The only reason the IAWTV even is relevant is because "industry leaders" make it relevant.
    There seems to be an attitude of "omg, this is our Academy, it's the only one we'll get, and it sucks - we have to fix it!!".
    It's an arbitrary organization formed by a random group of people. It's only important if people consider it important. If everybody just collectively said "Fuck you, IAWTV!" and convinced Tubefilter to let a new organization do the judging of the Streamys, the IAWTV would be completely irrelevant.

    It is a mystery to me how, on one hand, the broad mass of "industry leaders" is bitching about the IAWTV and how it's not representative of them, and yet, on the other hand, they validate its position as the one representing them by clinging to it and trying to fix it.

    If everybody, collectively, doesn't feel represented by the IAWTV, but would like a representative organization, and they have enough organizational power to organize the Rebuild The Trust campaign, it shouldn't be hard to combine that organizational power and collective thinking into a new organization. The International Guild of Online Entertainment Creators or whatever.

    Seriously. Just walk away.

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  21. I think we need to see what the "other camp" is suggesting before we write off the IAWTV all together. There are a lot of members who have done a lot for the web series community. So, if the right internal structures are developed it has potential going forward.

    Now the actual Streamys is more complicated since those belong to Tubefilter. That means that the IAWTV either needs to negotiate terms with Tubefilter, take over ownership of the Streamys, or start their own show. But first we need to see what sort of re-org is proposed by the "other camp".

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  22. SAG Awards, Golden Globes, Oscars, MTV Movie Awards, Critic's Choice, and countless film festival "Best In Shows", this nonsense about how nothing but the streamys can exist is nonsense, there are room for many bodies to bestow awards on creators, we need not think we are limited to what we have. I know its best for the stakeholders at tubefilter, but doesn't have to be what is best for creators.

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  23. I just hope that whatever comes out of all this will "put the W back in www". If we are going to celebrate the web and web series it should be done on a global basis and take advantage of the platform that makes it all possible. The LA bubble has lost all perspective; there is no need for the rest of the World to do the same.

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    ReplyDelete




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