Viki's Contributor Management Chaos

I feel like I’m nagging all the time, but…

What is happening here recently?

1. Double Channel Manager Selection
I guess most of us can agree, it’s actually a good idea to get new CMs some proper help aside from Viki, so they’re not lost for their first CM project. So I’m not arguing about this aspect, it was about time. But… what made the responsible people think it’s a good idea to choose recently (we are talking about a few days in some cases) selected Channel Managers for this and just hand more channels in a row to them?

  • They are already quite busy with another channel, you could’ve chosen another person applying for the said channel
  • Some languages in some genres have a lot of people who are interested in those - handing channels to one person disturbs the balance

Don’t get me wrong, I know the selected people usually do a good job and are determined contributors :blush: but… they should reconsider the chosen concept in my opinion. It’s not like they “suffer” from being a Co-CM for a popular project (this indeed concerns a lot of BL projects recently, but not only those).

2. All Languages Moderators Chaos
Recently, new Channel Managers are informed by PM that they’re not supposed to make Other Languages Moderators with too many projects “All Languages Moderator” to avoid the moderation limit. However, it’s stated that this might affect editors without a moderator as well. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to turn solo subtitlers that can’t become moderators (because of having not enough contributions and subtitling some sort of rare language) into editors, so they can open/close episodes and check the reference subtitles. Furthermore, Viki has been encouraging us Channel Managers not to reject interested contributors easily. So referring them to other projects or rejecting them for low contributions kind of contradicts the mentioned rule (https://support.viki.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015526088-Common-Etiquette-for-Channel-Manager-and-Moderators).
Not to forget that this rule was applied to older projects - and it might be possible that new contributors already reached 3000 subtitles. It’s not clear that the Channel Managers won’t be implicated in this case.

Furthermore, there has been a lot of confusion about the ALM role for segmenters. Some CMs refuse to hand it to segmenters now, while segmenters claim that there can be issues with edited subtitles in the process of adjusting and combining. When the limit was introduced, Viki stated that segmenters can be added as ALM - did this change now?

3. The limit burdens medium-sized and small language communities
I have a list of about 180 shows that haven’t been translated into German. But more than 30 of these are from the last 3-4 months. That’s quite a bit. German is a medium-sized community, but to get a vast majority of all new dramas translated in time, few people decided to moderate these projects. We have enough subtitlers to get some things done, but only a very small number of them want to moderate a team. In some cases, those dramas are either not translated or some (sometimes questionable) person without any team takes them to give up after a few episodes. The project limit is designed for huge communities… like the Spanish one. Some CMs nowadays even struggle to find Portuguese moderators. Is that the goal?
Exceeding the limit isn’t only about rare language hoarders, a lot of people translated shows very dedicated to their audiences. Like that, Viki can offer the paying subscribers even less translated shows. Furthermore, this doesn’t influence the channel distribution’s fairness. People will find ways to avoid the restrictions, and those are about impossible for CMs to recognize.
Trying to encourage new contributors to become moderators later on is fine, but this can as well in new contributors being manipulated (as long as it’s not the experienced contributor’s cat’s account…), and it’s obvious that there aren’t enough people to compensate for the restrictions. Not to forget that Viki expects Co-Moderators to be added as language moderators too. Who will be even able to translate all of these shows? Only the Spanish community? :roll_eyes:

******* Please kindly note that to help prevent unfairness in the community, if you are reported and found to be adding other contributors as Editor/All Language Moderator who are operating as a specific language moderator, we will remove you from your position as a Channel Manager, which will affect your future Channel Manager applications, and this can later lead to the removal of your QC status and access to the Viki website, if needed. *******
Source: https://support.viki.com/hc/en-us/articles/200139224-What-is-a-Channel-Manager-and-what-do-they-do-

This rule doesn’t answer matters like channels that are inactive for months or even years because of a delayed release. It doesn’t provide an answer for rare or medium-sized communities, either (as mentioned above). Certainly even those have these issues with people accepting more projects, but they won’t necessarily hesitate if they can still appoint their cat, inactive sister-in-law or secondary account as a moderator (usually these are rather inactive regarding channel contributions). Rules have to separate matters accordingly, or this will lead to people being reported unfairly. Furthermore, there has to be a solution for this pile of unattended projects. Some of these dramas might be left alone because only 1 episode per months is released… but here the CM has to take responsibility instead of running away from it.

4. Channel Distribution
Recently, channels have been handed to people after merely 4 weeks, or a rather short time. As I usually wait 3-4 months for a new channel after applying continuously, I fail to understand this behavior. It disturbs the distribution balance and handing the very few Korean dramas, for example, to one person “in a row” may lead to others not being given a chance in a row as well. Same with handing two shows out just because one was delayed by a month.
Certainly, there are cases where a CM is unlucky and has to wait for months… but I’m not referring to this sort of case.
Therefore, I hope that the people in charge will carry out their responsibilities accordingly.
Some examples:
3 dramas in 5 months
2 dramas in 2 months
4 dramas in 4 months
2 highly anticipated Kdramas in 3 months

Those don’t include dramas that were taken from another inactive CM. Some of these even do OL moderation without assigning the correct role. However, that obviously wasn’t checked before and considering that previously names of people mentioning others were leaked by staff members… it’s not very convincing. I can understand why people are hesitating to report these matters.
I’m not blaming these CMs either. They just apply, as many of us do. It’s Viki’s responsibility to find a fair solution.

5. Movie licensing chaos
Lately, a lot of movies had their languages restricted afterwards (or in advance without informing the CMs). However, especially in the case of new movies, CMs should be informed in time and not only after inquiring because someone noticed that the subtitle editor refuses certain languages. In general, it’s even more pointless to bother with movies if there’s a huge chance that your subtitles will disappear in the meantime.
Certainly not everything can be predicted, but in some cases the communication could be improved significantly. Hopefully, this has changed now already.

6. Finding a solution for a problem that isn’t one
I’ve been surprised by staff asking and telling about the idea to remove “inactive projects” from the project finder, so nobody will bother anymore to translate those… after the website interface changed so much that nobody can find anything anymore. I do have ideas for the project finder that start with not showing shows with a high percentage or only displaying those that actively look for people (or even find another way to let moderators probably search for their next project or contributors…). But instead I keep hearing about issues I never knew of. Maybe I’m ignorant - or it’s simply the fact that major issues are not necessarily addressed. Certainly, there might be reasons, but in some cases I do have my doubts. Getting your priorities right is something you have to do all the time. Even on Viki.

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You make many good points and I agree with a lot - not all - you say.
I’d like to address n.3

What’s the problem in finishing a project before taking another one? One cannot realistically work on more than 5 at the same time, you wouldn’t even remember who is who in the cast. Unless you have a super-human memory … but not everyone has.

Wasn’t this implemented, when they added an opt-in opt-out button for Channel Managers in the Channel Managing Page?
image_2022-12-21_185321300

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Assigning always the same people as CMs is demoralising for this community and we criticised it over 5 years ago, asking for a more “democratic” solution. However, this practice seems to have now been forgotten.

I have the impression of the following - most CMs are either serial CMs (getting projects almost constantly), or they are absolute newbies who usually mess up in the most basic things.

1. Viki needs to define and make public the rules by which it chooses CMs.

2. All new CMs should undergo a training program made NOT by Viki, but by a handful of highly experienced CMs. Reading about how to be a CM on Viki’s info pages is not enough by far.

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It’s not like we are talking about 5 kdramas here with regular releases. Lots of my fellow language moderators got stuck with projects that maybe release 1-2 episodes per month (of 40). Nowadays, more and more people tend to avoid these longer projects. Many new moderators I know only go for dramas that have less than 20 episodes. It’s not like you’re overworked with 1-2 episodes per month (and there are very detailed documents to keep track of the drama‘s details). Previously, some people have devoted a lot of time to translate even 20 projects at once. I couldn’t do that either, but it’s not like the quality increases the way it is currently. Instead, some projects were rather accepted by solo translators who can be good… or rather bad and less motivated. Just like some project has been now translated while messing up the way to address others in historic dramas completely.
Instead, people rather co-moderate short and simple projects of 7 episodes.
Random example:
Screenshot%202022-12-14%20212932
It’s been 7 months. Another one released about 16 episodes in 4 months, so they’ll need about 10 months to finish this if they keep this up. So far, I’ve somewhat avoided moderating projects that took longer than 7 months, but imagine you have a few of these. It’s boring, it’s exhausting, and you’re rewarded with a bunch of rejections for other dramas because you have 3 of these projects in the worst case. Now you can’t even really do other “old projects” in the meantime because you have the mentioned limit.

The current project finder just lists everything with less than 100%. Even old projects with 99% which no one is able to hide because of the inactivity of the team members. That’s what I was referring to :slight_smile:

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I responded to what you said about the 30-ish new dramas of the past 3-4 months. In the cases you mention (probably Chinese dramas, those are the ones with many episodes), the problem lies upstream, and all the OL moderators should report the Channel Manager and complain to Viki because s/he is probably not doing the job well, controlling the English team.
Viki is so quick to bring on paid translators for Korean projects that have so many translators because they didn’t provide the finished episode in less than 12 hours, but it leaves alone such projects like the ones you mention? Talk about double standards!
Since they cannot secure many good Korean shows (because of the reasons we all know, called KCW and NF), they have flooded us with Chinese shows, but then they don’t care about them?
I think that rather than asking for more slots for OL, we should ALL complain about the inactive English teams.
Don’t they also have a 5-drama limit? How can they afford to be so negligent? Maybe they are people who visit Viki only occasionally? Shouldn’t there be any controls?

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That was in the past. Nowadays, staff translates Korean and Japanese shows way before they air, leaving segmenters with nothing but A&C and volunteer subbers with nothing at all. Occasionally, some Chinese show comes unsubbed instead of with the usual crappy subs/segments, but that’s it. Staff is slowly but surely taking over our jobs.

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The problem is not caused by Chinese - English subbers because they’re fast in translating plus many Chinese shows are presubbed now, which means from the moment a video is visible on Viki it already has English subtitles.

The reason why OL teams now even have to wait months for a movie release (waiting ~3 months for the go for OL of a new movie is not an exception nowadays) is the slow edit of the English team.

That issue could be solved by either hiring paid editors by Viki or allowing OL teams to start translating when the English subtitles are available, even when they are presubbed or unedited.

Overall the quality of edited English subtitles has decreased compared to the past.

Recently, I saw couple of times stuff like “ASAP” or “oh my Gosh!!” or similar inappropriate terms in historical, fantasy (Chinese) and once also in a modern Korean story.

Considering that, the OL teams could start translating right away and still providing better subs than the given English subs as long as the OL mod and the OL team uses appropriate terms and wording.

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I did this in the past because I had one project that took forever (reminds me, I sort of forgot about it above, I’m getting old…). Viki responded about 6-7 months after I sent the first inquiry about this matter, as talking to the CM was completely pointless. I can name more examples. One of my friends is currently working on a 40-episodes drama that was released in January 2022. The CM said that they don’t require help when other editors offered theirs, the CE didn’t edit a single episode since episode 15, but keeps releasing them with breaks in between (as there are at least some dedicated TEs). 9 out of 10 people are scared to report others to Viki since they fear to be ignored in the future by said CM, or they’re aware that Viki isn’t necessarily keeping things confidential either. It was similar with the matter of the “fake TE” you reported previously. When I commented on it, I received messages stating, “I would keep quiet, there are too many supporters, but I agree” or stuff like that.
People are scared to speak up. Not all of them, but a considerable number at least. :roll_eyes:

English Editors have no limits, and you’re not obligated to add them as “English Moderators” either according to the Viki rules. But if restrained them, some projects probably wouldn’t be edited at all. The English editors who can cope with 20 projects at once keep the whole thing running after all. Some try to recruit new editors as well, but it’s not that easy. Only some can meet the requirements or have enough time.
This results in some “slow CEs” piling up lots of projects. However, they become even slower.

Certainly, this is a matter that can be solved by the community and by the CMs who have to recruit more people, set deadlines, find alternative solutions… but if we remember that a majority doesn’t dare to speak up it’d the same here. :no_good_woman:
Viki’s last attempt to speed things up was the Viki Translation Editor (something that apparently failed: Viki as Translation Editors). So some people decided to edit shows on their own instead. But this may as well result in ignoring inaccurate subs due to not knowing the source language (well).

So I can somewhat understand that Viki might be worried to touch this matter. Especially, since I doubt they even ever understood how the contributor community works if we read their descriptions of English Editors in the Help Center.

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That’s quite a desolate picture you’re painting, and I’m afraid it’s a realistic one.
On the other hand, if you leave subs unedited, and you translate that mess, it often doesn’t make sense. I am not a fan of Chinese shows but I’ve watched a few, and in some of them I couldn’t even understand what was happening, the subtitles were so bad.
As a sensei for the Italian NSSA subtitling academy, I’ve often had to respond to questions from the poor trainees who didn’t know how to translate nonsense sentences. We had to guess.

It’s one of the few situations where I feel I can’t even suggest a solution.

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Couldn’t agree more!

From my unfortunately rich experience in reporting abusers of all seniority on Viki over the years, I can confirm that Viki keeps things very confidential. Otherwise the subbing system here would go bust.

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I completely agree. Though I’ve applied for many shows, I kept getting rejection messages. In the end, I took it personally because it seemed as if Viki knew something about me that I did not. I gave up applying.

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Same here. I started second-guessing how well I did my first and only project as a CM. Did I do something wrong? Was it because I rejected those applicants who had only unfinished projects and none of the finished ones? Was it because I can’t get some of the languages to finish translating? Did I make any huge mistakes in my communication with the team? All sorts of thoughts go through my head.

But realistically speaking, it’s probably not us. And I also stopped applying.

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Basically, I get projects as CM every ~ 4 months (last in September). I always considered this rather “normal”, but I heard it takes longer for others to get something new. However, I’m applying to all kinds of different projects, and I’m usually one of the first ~ 15 applicants.
Still, this doesn’t explain recent developments to me. :no_mouth: However, I’m aware that both “picky” and less picky applicants can be chosen quite often in some cases lately.

Some networks submit really bad subtitles (e.g. Mango TV). Some are rather good (Are you safe?). I don’t really have a solution for the whole matter concerning “genre moderation” and being punished for translating these long Chinese shows. Some certainly don’t care, but I only know few people that decided to only go for older or less popular projects. Maybe they could add some benefits, badges or exclude shows from the counter. :woman_shrugging:

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Not to mention the delays. This one, submitted a year ago, is still open with no replies. It said that “last activity one month ago” but it’s not true. There was zero activity since I submitted it, more than one year ago. It was a very detailed report, with lots of screenshots.
Capture

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That might happen when they translate 1:1 and the Chinese show used many metaphors. In the other hand it happned couple of times that the English subs became worse after the edit was done, including the lyrics. With worse I mean less understandable - or sometimes just wrong because they put lines there that have nothing to do with what was said in the origin scene or by not understanding specific cultural aspects what also caused wrong English subs.

Usually, if a OL contributor tries to talk about that with the English team, the OL contributor is ignored so at some point the OL contributors who know the origin language stopped talking to the English team and only did it right within their OL teams.

Presubbed shows might mix all honorofics and use simple English but the meaning itself is usually clear.
(We did a little Experiment in the past with subbers who were relatively new to Chinese shows: most of them had less problems understanding the meaning of subs done by Chinese studios compared to the Viki subs and their OL subs were better when they understood the English clearly).

PS:

Mistakes in my text done by Smartphone auto-word-change, dont know how to disable that yet :no_mouth:

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Very interesting that just this morning I was talking about the fact that Viki staff answered my ticket like three hours after it was submitted. Which was very surprising. Later, I noticed that a ticket about an abuser was also answered.

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Viki employees are only human and one of these employees accidentally mentioned to me who reported me.
So it can happen. I was reported because someone didn’t get a project as a moderator, which I got. Just pitiful from my point of view. As a consequence, because it was someone from my own community, she was kicked out of all projects.

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Indeed, mistakes can happen. Any organization is run by humans and hence is not infallible. However, the main Viki politic is to not give away any names.

So I would encourage anyone who is objectively having a hard time on their projects to come forward with the issue. If you’re afraid to file an official report with Viki, at least come here on Discussions and tell us your worries! We always try our best to help.

P.S. @a_hauth_238 Why did your community “excommunicate” that individual? Seems like a radical thing to do despite her actions, especially if she contributed well to her projects.

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No, she just got kicked out of my projects. She is still in the German community.

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