Exploitative and Unfair

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ken0y polycounter lvl 4
I'm sorry to have to be the one to do this and no doubt I will be reprimanded for it but these forums need to be better moderated in the interest of protecting genuine freelance artists.

The FT/PT and freelance boards are a joke filled with "Studios" purporting to offer paid work when the reality is they are nothing more than hobbyists looking for Artists to work for close to free or at exploitive rates at best.

In my opinion, it needs to be a requirement for employers to post pertinent information such as duration of work and rates from the get go. Professional artists who rely on work to pay the bills have a right know up front whether contracts/work (do you even offer a contract?) are viable.

If you are looking for free or post launch compensated work then post in the appropriate forums. Just because you are willing to pay the equivalent of £1 per hour (yes I've actually ended up working at this rate more than once) shouldn't mean that you have the right to post in the looking for work forums whether it be FT/PT or freelance.

It merely serves to reinforce the low value already placed on Artists by the Industry. It needs to stop Polycount.

Thanks,

K




Replies

  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    If you worked for £1 an hour or worked without a contract or worked without sussing out your potential employers bona fides sorry to say that is on you. 

    Always negotiate, always get it in writing, nurture client relationships over time and be prepared to walk away from bad relationships.

    If someone screwed you over make it known to the mods or post your story to warn other people.
  • Shazbot66
    If someone screwed you over make it known to the mods or post your story to warn other people.

    That is besides the point.

    The point is that polycount is a place where people take each other seriously, with mutual respect. This has made polycount a serious source for studios to find professional and committed people.

    People who have no serious project or work to offer, don't belong on this forum.
    It waters down the quality and professional attitude of Polycount.


  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    I would be hesitant to look for contract work posted on the forums for this exact reason. It would be helpful to know which posts involve work at professional rates, as opposed to people hoping to find artists who will work for ridiculously low rates.

    I would love to do some contract work, but reading through a bunch of 'exploitation posts' is super discouraging.
  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    Either you or a moderator would employ the same deductive reasoning when reading these posts - if you think or know something is shady flag it to get a moderators attention - you can help in the process.  No one has the time to read and vet every post coming in.  

    It's unfortunate but we're not entitled to be made safe from exploitation so if you're really interested in moderating these types of posts flag them to help out.
  • ken0y
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    ken0y polycounter lvl 4
    Honestly, it really isn't about me or my shortcomings as a freelancer, that was merely anecdotal evidence of how things can go bad DESPITE having made all of  the necessary arrangementsents to protect yourself. 

    By implying that the exploitation of an artist in any form "is on you" is dangerous. In reality, the necessary precautions are not always immediately available. It only serves to validate a culture in which it is acceptable to abuse the system. The issue here is if one bigger than that of an individual.

    I understand full well how to setup and protect myself during freelance work, that doesn't mean that the system can't be more transparent and better regulated.

    The point is to  proactively enforce a framework that favours both parties equally but at the moment it doesn't. I understand that moderators probably neither have the time nor inclination to deal with every Artist's tale of woe and injustice and at the end of the day they can't realistically do anything about it anyway. That's why I'm more in favour of a preemptive strategy that would tighten up the system.

    I love the service that the forum has grown to offer, it really is an invaluable platform for Artists looking for work but as it grows in popularity and complexity so does the need for refinement and evolution of the terms.

     There are great companies and individuals who foster fair and professional  working relationships with Artists. But this should be the norm, not some rare occurrence to be marvelled at when you finally come across it.

    Cheers,

    K

  • ken0y
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    ken0y polycounter lvl 4
    ...we're not entitled to be made safe from exploitation...

    It's not really a matter of entitlement but rather as @Shazbot66 pointed out, a mutual respect that is commonly expected between prospective employer and employee in most if not all places of employment. I would argue that society, in this day and age, does not expect nor accept exploitive practices as the norm in the workplace, whether they feel entitled to it or not, there are laws in place which do entitle employees to fair and just working conditions. Working as a freelance artist should be no different in this respect, but a lack of regulation and passive reinforcement by Industry Professionals has only served to entrench a culture defined by unequal working relationships in which the terms are most often dictated by the employer. 

    As to the time it takes to moderate, I cannot comment on this as I am not privy to that info.  But like I said in the beginning, a little planning and forward thinking goes a long way. 


    Cheers,


    K

  • Tristanartform
    I agree with most of the sentiments of the thread starter. It's unfortunate that others want to criticism him for being indignant about the unrealistic expectations (or sometimes misrepresentations) of people looking to hire us.
     It's just a sad truth that most people looking for artists on these sorts of boards are not bona fide professionals. It's usually someone with a student project budget wanting to produce a professional level product.

    They generally have little or no financial resources and not themselves being industry professional familiar with the amount of work it takes ,genuinely have no understanding of what it takes to produce high end professional quality assets or what that service remotely costs.

    Occasionally I am contacted by these types of individuals. They genuinely believe it's a simple and inexpensive thing to get others interested in making their dreams of profit and success come true. It's almost always just naivete. Only once was I genuinely insulted by someone when I told them what I would charge for what they wanted from me. The rest of the time, when I tell them why I charge what I do, why it will take the time it will take and why other artists working at my level would charge the same or more, they seem to grasp the facts.

    I'm not sure what this board could do to influence the general thoughtlessness or ignorance of a lot of would be "employers". Possibly some sort of sticky to explain that professional artists cost real money. Maybe even post  a sticky breakdown of basic price ranges for various services based on industry norms across the globe to give them a guide.

    Sadly, historically the arts habitat is mostly people looking to exploit the talent and skill of artists, and artists --  but for the fortunate few -- living low down on the food chain. Which it were otherwise.
  • Noth
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    Noth polycounter lvl 8
    I could see the use for a pay-to-post freelance job section, would likely filter out the lower budget indy devs. I've seen this feature on other forums. 
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero polycounter lvl 3
    Tristanartform said , just like to add few things from personal experience :smile:
    I am not sure if is part of artist job to educate so called "prospective employer" but most of them have no idea how much time it takes to make even a simple 3d model/concept art or whats average hour rate for experience artist is which leads to both parties wasting their time  - "your price is over our budge or can you give as competitive/indie price or the lower the better "
    As I said not sure if that;s an artist job but I think we need to make some sort of information campaign so information is out there and employer can refer to it .Even better artist labor union and worldwide minimum hour rate , just to mention few thing we are lacking right now 

    United we stand divided we fall !
  • thomasp
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    thomasp interpolator
    i tend to refer people to the polycount wiki page on freelancing right at the start. in my experience for the majority of contacts it leads to rather brief exchanges. ;)


  • Eric Chadwick
    Moving this from Fulltime/Part-time Work to Career & Education.

    About your topic, Polycount will step in when there's a clear case of fraudulent behavior.

    However, payment rates are a matter to be resolved directly between those who are negotiating an agreement to work together. It is not our job to negotiate for you.

    There are different rates for different parts of the world, and for different levels of experience/ability.

    It is the responsibility of each artist to negotiate rates and contracts up front, before starting work.

    I don't see how this case is any different.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Don't make duplicate threads please. Merged the one from the Freelance Work section into the one from Fulltime Work, and moved to Career & Education where these types of discussions belong.
  • ken0y
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    ken0y polycounter lvl 4
    @Eric Chadwick

    Thanks for merging the topics and moving them. I appreciate the effort and can only hope that the appropriate audience e.g. "employers" looking for work will somehow find their way to reading over the discussion. 

    Also, I don't expect forum moderators to be negotiating work rates for industry professionals. I think that may only contribute towards the general consensus that Artists are somehow incapable of understanding and addressing the general issues surrounding freelance work. It was merely my intention to bring to light the current failings of the work related forum setup. Understandably, I don't expect the protection and ethos of a professional freelance service since Polycount has never advertised itself as such, but I do find these work related forums are more than happy to offer the concept of a service but none of the liability and regimen designed to cultivate and ensure positive experiences.

    I completely agree that there are varying rates for varying types of work from various different areas of the world, but I hope that we can all agree that the one constant variable is that of a fairness.

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the discussion, I think it's extremely important that we can talk about these issues without fear of censorship.

    Cheers,

    K






  • Eric Chadwick
    , but I do find these work related forums are more than happy to offer the concept of a service but none of the liability and regimen designed to cultivate and ensure positive experiences.
    We get that you've been burned. Just don't expect a discussion forum to be culpable.

    We don't offer the "concept of a service". Members asked for a place to offer and get work. That's all this is. 

    We don't guarantee work. We don't guarrantee the quality of the work. We're not a middle man. We're a freaking cork board on the wall. 

    Don't expect us to filter the employers, creative positive working experiences, or adjudicate failed agreements. It's all on you. Don't go passive aggressive on us. Just do your homework. 
  • Eric Chadwick
    If this was your discussion board to regulate, how would you vette potential employers and their potential employees?

    We've talked in our moderator chat about making a better employment-matchup service. A discussion board is not setup properly to administer this sort of thing. We would need a sortable database that people could search thru to find specific job types, specific artist skill sets, in a range of fees, etc.

    There are quite a few of these places already. Where do they fail, and where do they excell, and how would Polycount solve it differently than they do?
  • Eric Chadwick
    Also, where's the fear of censorship coming from?
  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    Is there a way to present a template when someone wants to make a new post in the sub forum? You could introduce a lot of info that way - like example rates etc. before they posted.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Not really no. We would need to contract our host to make something. Besides being expensive to implement (we're on a shared server with other forums, which also limits core customizations), it would end up being more like a bandaid.
  • ken0y
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    ken0y polycounter lvl 4
    It really isn't about me getting burned, like I've stated all along I've had positive and negative experiences from the FT/PT and Freelance work forums and they serve a purpose, nobody is debating that. All I've ever aimed to do is bring to light the potential for exploitive behaviour specifically in relation to the way employers go about posting job opportunities. 

    We've talked in our moderator chat about making a better employment-matchup service. A discussion board is not setup properly to administer this sort of thing. We would need a sortable database that people could search thru to find specific job types, specific artist skill sets, in a range of fees, etc.
    It's great that you have had these discussions and I honestly see a benefit for the wider Polycount community to be involved with or even aware that it's something at least being discussed.

    Eric, the mention of censorship was actually a compliment, many places wouldn't even facilitate debating the efficacy of their platform. I really don't see how the content of the discussion in any way reflects a passive aggressive account of my failed agreements as a freelance artist and I would greatly appreciate if it would stop being purported as such, It's neither fair nor accurate. As previously mentioned I included one piece of anecdotal evidence and then focused the discussion wholly on trying to improve the freelance job experience on Polycount. 

    Anyway, getting back on track. I understand that the site is a forum and therefore does not have the capabilities of a site specifically designed to offer a service, I was never expecting this to magically change. I only hoped that we could discuss the potential for employers to include pertinent information in their post template. I think the guidelines are great but they would be more effective if somehow reflected in the work listings themselves. For example, a clear indication and necessity to include information critical in making a decision:

    • Hours offered
    • Rate of pay offered
    • Experience required
    • Role and Responsibilities
    • Remote or In-house
    • Process for going forward
    • Whether contracts such as service agreements or NDAs are required
    etc

    Small changes like this have the potential to offer big returns for minimal effort and implementation. It would serve to clearly inform the Artist in the first instance and save the potential for disagreements or time wasting further down the line. Both parties could really benefit from starting out from a clear and structured position. It's really just a matter of parity between listings. 

    cheers,

    K
  • Eric Chadwick
    I admire your initiative but something like a contract should ALWAYS be used. Both parties need terms in writing, to clarify exactly what it is they are agreeing to do.

    Rate of pay is always negotiated privately between the two parties. Do your homework on negotiation to understand why it is done this way.

    I put some good resources on the wiki about these points.
    http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Game_Industry#Negotiation
    http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Game_Industry#Employee_Rights
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