Case Study: ePlus complaint Open Letter

The a few week ago, some fans for the Love Live franchise decided to publish on twitter a letter complaining and asking for an oversea-friendly streaming option for the recent Nijigaku online live event. Being not really involved in any of this (although vaguely interested in the same event), I was wondering why there was any kind of perceived drama. Well, it seems clear to me why there was drama. See below.

A few thoughts, after reading that post and the twitter replies.

Good fans versus bad fans: In light of the ongoing racial protests in America, I think there is a parallel of dissonance between how illegally distributing and viewing content isn’t a “bad behavior” as compared to selectively applying laws or violence on perceived slights against African Americans but letting White Americans more leeway is also acceptable behavior.

It’s important for people who defend racist positions to justify their point of view, ie., they are still the good guys, despite engaging in an array of conceivably-to-obvious evil conduct or perpetrating questionable-to-toxic ideas in bad faith. The same can be said of all fans of a franchise, in that all fans are good fans, when considered individually. Of course if you ask fans from larger communities, few if any would say “all fans are good fans” is a true statement.

Good intention: I think the letter represent an attempt at customers trying to get some service. It is not unreasonable to ask the question that how will folks overseas, in these English-speaking regions typically serviced by Love Live official channels. A public letter, however, is not how it’s done with a consumer facing situation. If you were an adjacent stakeholder, maybe that would make more sense.

In the end what happened was the oversea-facing marketing folks were notified of this internet trend and an official statement went out to let people know an overseas solution was in the works. Last weekend it worked out (other than the technical difficulty that locked out the first session) and people got their seiyuu idols.

Groomed by attention-seeking platforms: The world doesn’t work like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As old timer like Kelts would say, and I quote:

What sucks is that the discourse on social media is so coarse. When you go back and read exchanges between diehard anime fans on Usenet and old chatrooms and forums from the mid-2000s, they read like middlebrow literature compared to what you see on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord. So many social media posts are made just to get hits, not to communicate or share ideas, and the most provocative, cruel, or just plain daft stuff gets liked and retweeted a thousand times. 

An ex-friend of mine once told me he was going to market his book entirely on Twitter. I said, well then you’ll get a bunch of responses from people who don’t read a lot of books. But he said he just wanted to sell a lot of copies. He didn’t care about the quality of the people who read them or followed him.

But I guess that’s the state of most things in America right now, politics in particular. Mass appeal is all that matters.

I’ve got nothing to say to that. Well, maybe besides that it isn’t the acid rain’s fault that we can’t have good things. It’s a confluence of factors–people in their 20s and early 30s learned how to talk on the internet not via blogs but via Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr and the like. Maybe even 4chan is better? Forums basically all died and Reddit is really where it is now. But when you have this kind of issue, getting attention seems like an obvious helpline that it all went there. Ultimately that’s kind of just how it is today, but it comes across like that these kids do not care about the things are perceived. It’s always about mobilizing your online mob first and last. It’s part of the tragedy of the commons in which powers the economic engine of the attention economy. Maybe it’s popcorn for some, but it’s pollution in the most basic economic sense.

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