I hate censorship and I especially hate the censorship that exists on many of the cg forums out there on the web. Case in point is a recent incident that occurred on a thread at vfxtalk.com.
I’ve linked to a cached version of the thread as the site owner apparently has taken down the thread. I would advise that the owner not try to delete the cache. I have a local copy available which I will simply replace if these links do not work:
Update: The caches have been deleted. I’ve taken a screenshot of the whole thread available here:
Here is a quick synopsis of what I understand happened.
The owner of vfxtalk who goes by the name of “Jah” resides in India (EDIT:correction, Jah does not reside in India.) and posted a request asking artists to do some work for him where the artist that did the best job would win $500. Obviously this is a pretty shady system and some of the forum members and moderators objected to the idea that artists should work for free. This leads into a pretty entertaining flame war that gets really ugly.
At some point the owner of vfxtalk locks and bans the accounts of the members who in his words “are fighting against the system.” He then replaces the avatars of those posters with something he calls an “asshole badge.” How scary.
Furthermore, He proclaims the end of the vfx industry because Indian and Chinese workers are willing to do the same work for cheap. In recognition of this, he decides to offer vip access to his site to those who reside in India and China (There were a number of people who object to this on the thread and their comments are being deleted). How nice:
so far i havent seen a serious argument or one that makes sense… just a lot of bitching attitude, and dudes who prefer to stay home and starve instead of do easy cheap work since it seams its below your standards.
jobs are going to india because they are cheaper and the quality is the same. as a film maker why would i pay more if i could pay less ? do you think thats going to change? why do you think pretty much everything is manufactured in china? same story.
i really dont care where your jobs are are going i am trying to show you guys that the industry sucks because they dont give you full time jobs anyway so theres no future in it. i could never raise my family under those rules and there aint gonna be a union just more work going to india.
meanwhile there is a ton of work online, like the job i posted here, that if you got your heads out of your asses you could make a ton of cash doing.
As of today I will be giving out free VIP memberships to anyone doing in VFX in india. if you are a VFX artist in india please PM me.
Anyone with a brain can see how this point of view is wrong but just to finish his rant off, he does something even more shocking and downright ugly:
i just want the job done if its below your standards then dont post in my thread. You might as well call those ‘poor little chinese and indian workers’ who are stealing your jobs and shutting down your facilites and lowering the ‘stadnrd’ niggers while you are at it since apparently its not below their standards. what are they, trash?
It’s threads like these made me choose to start this blog. How can we have an honest conversation like this when we allow ourselves to denigrate our craft by censoring those who dissent?
Apparently the owner must have realized how bad this was looking because the next morning he proclaims that he will be selling the site:
Ok so after taking a deep breath I have realised there are two sides to every coin. Maybe I am not a cultured vfx professional like you guys and so I apologise if I offended anyone.
I can’t continue to support a community that treats me and other people like me ie noobs the way I was treated which set off my flame war. I also can’t keep supporting a hole in my pocket.
So apparently he has no problem with vfx artists working for free, but is emphatically against running a website for free. Nice to know people hold themselves to higher standards these days.
Look, as the owner of the site he has every right to do whatever he damn pleases. Forums are great for students who have technical questions or would like constructive criticism of their work. Other than that I wouldn’t rely too much on career or industry business advice from these forums. Many of the posters are people who have never done vfx for features or major clients and have never even lived in cities where the vfx market is for that matter.