Perhaps it would be useful for subbers and segmenters to write something similar to this (adapted to individual circumstances):
Attention @vikicommunity . . .
"I am a part of the volunteer section of the Viki community. For about a year, I have contributed my time and effort to creating well-written English-language subs for Viki dramas. To date, I have contributed to a C-drama, a K-drama ongoing series, and a Thai lakorn. I have been trained and mentored by among the best volunteer subbers/segmenters currently active on Viki.
"By my calculations, my inborn talent, the graduate education I received in medieval English lit in my 30s, AND my thirty-plus years doing graphic design, writing, proofreading, and editing within my local volunteer community have given me a skill set and a knowledge base that would make me worth $300,000 to $600,000 on the open market.
"Even if my skill set were the result of what I learned and experienced on an informal basis, I take great pride in being able to work diligently, accurately and collaboratively with people of a wide variety of backgrounds. And I do it because I truly believe that Viki is, as its well-known tagline says, "The heart of Asian entertainment."
More than with Netflix and more than with any other multi-lingual showcase for Korean and other Asian dramas, when Viki volunteers and paid members work together, communicate well, and support one another, the dramas that Viki is able to release to the public are without exception–IMHO–the best of the best in terms of bringing Asian culture to the world.
However, over the past three or four years, what I have observed is that, though Viki is dependent on volunteers for the majority of subbing and segmenting, and though Viki would be (as the old English saying has it) up a creek without a paddle if there were no volunteers to work tirelessly for free (and keep certain costs very low), Viki nevertheless takes unfair advantage of its loyal volunteers in various ways.
Viki persists in telling the story that the Viki volunteer community is unified in its support for the official Viki organization and that the official organization appreciates and regularly recognizes the efforts of the volunteer community in ways that are deeper and more meaningful than providing mere financial compensation.
However, the volunteer community does not have reliable access to paid staff when technical problems arise with the subtitle editor. Suggestions about meaningful and simple website improvements are ignored. When changes in Viki policies and procedures regarding subbing and segmenting are announced, they are seldom announced in a timely way that can be easily understood, and the effect is to completely undercut the sunny, friendly volunteer atmosphere Viki wants the world to believe in.
From my point of view (if I can use a word pictuure) it is as if a five-star restaurant has hired the staff of a popular street food stall to prepare all its highly rated rice, kimchi, and gimbap . . . and the restaurant is paying the food stall staff in pats on the head and coupons for cup noodles.
And the restaurant advertises that it is the best place in the world to eat and gets big crowds. And things run along fine until someone criticizes the menu.
Then the restaurant says (or implies) that the problem does not lie with the owner who has no idea what the restaurant actually does every day, and it does not lie with the head chef who is paid a hefty salary to create world-class menus.
The fault lies with the food stall staff . . . whose modest business is failing because they spend so much time making and remaking and revising the dishes they supply to the restaurant. And it’s failing because middle-management types come in from headquarters and start demanding changes with no clarity an no specificity, and they ignore the very rules they say must be obeyed. Or they interfere with well-established routines.
And then they have the nerve to blame the food stall staff for being difficult or slow or something equally bogus if the staff complains.
You know what? If every single subbing and segmenting volunteer decided to take a week’s vacation at the same time and left that work to paid staff, Viki would be history in a hurry.
It seems to me that Viki needs culture changes somewhere above the level of the subbing and segmenting volunteers.
- An open door policy when volunteers have questions and concerns.
- Regular and meaningful requests for suggestions on how to improve volunteer compensation.
- Policies and procedures explained, changed, and updated by people who have real authority to explain, change, and update.
- Hardware and software that is up-to-date.
- Willingness to trust experienced volunteers who know what is going on sometimes better than paid staff.
The list could go on. In the meantime, because I love Asian dramas, I am giving away my knowledge and skills to Viki. I am using my precious time. I am putting up with lack of communication and respect in return. But I don’t have to.
I’m not a passive, easily frightened entry-level clerk in some huge Korean conglomerate. I’m an intelligent, well-educated human being who does not have to put up with the frustration. I can cancel my subscription to Viki and have an easier time watching Asian dramas on Netflix or another streaming platform.
And every other volunteer can do the same.
Is that what Viki really wants? If Viki actually wants something better than the status quo for itself AND for its volunteer community, now would be a great time to make that happen.