Saturday, October 27, 2012

Miniature Discussion post #8

If Equestria were Skyrim, the crystal kingdom would be Winterhold... I'll let that sink in.

Hello and welcome to another discussion post! Let's get right to it then.

As I was browsing through the interwebs recently I came across some survey results that claimed with 95% confidence (an alpha value of .025) that between 4 and 6.8% of folks on the internet strongly identify as bronies. To put that in perspective, that is about two or three times the population of Puerto Rico. What do you think? Does that seem like a reasonable estimate? How many people do you think are bronies?

Further internet browsing yielded this from a while ago. That whole panel is a lot of fun to watch, but two brief parts caught my interest, at 17:38 and 48:44. That panelist, whether jokingly or not, really exuded a sense that there a symbiotic relationship had developed between the people writing the show, and the fans. Way back in early 2011 when I saw the fandom developing, that is exactly what I thought might happen. According to a prediction I made back then, if the current trend keeps up, it will lead to many more community - Hasbro collaborations like what happened with those bronies and Enterplay. Do you think there is a symbiotic relationship between the writers of the show and their fans? What will become of that relationship in the future? What can be done to ensure that this relationship can pass through the tangled web of IP/copyright laws unharmed?

Back in early 2011 I considered the design of a hypothetical website to embody and give a central hub to the symbiosis between the fans and the writers: a website where bronies could get accounts and submit their ideas for the express purpose of having those ideas improve FIM episodes/comics, forming a truly participatory world-building and storytelling experience. But such a site would, again, run into problems with IP laws. And besides, how can you be sure people aren't lying? How can you be sure it's their material that they are submitting? How do you take care of trolls on such a site? how do you filter the good ideas from the bad? I've got some possible answers to those issues, but how would you make such a website work?

And in the end, would a site that encourages interaction between the fans/writers and gives a central hub toward that end be worth it? Or is the symbiotic relationship that has developed naturally on the interwebs good enough, though not centralized and organized? Would something more centralized and organized be easier to keep safe from IP laws, or harder?