A feature that will be published in the future (not in Beta 2) will be the Pony.FM "Hall of Fame," a showcase of the most high-quality music in this fandom, from people who are well-known to the unknowns. It's based off the panel system from OverClocked Remix, which uses a selections of judges who receive a song for review. Those songs that qualify are elected to the Hall of Fame, but those that don't don't get voted in.
While the intent for good quality is there, this is an idea that can literally open up Pandora's Box and cause people not to join.
- You can really inflate egos for people whose songs do get elected in the Hall of Fame. While having a song get elected into a Hall of Fame can be an honor, there's also a huge adverse effect that it can make the musician too overconfident. What if the musician decides to, instead of producing great music and songs, stagnates instead?
- You run the risk of stagnating creativity altogether. One of the most important elements in this fandom is, no matter who you are, where you come from, and what you do, you can always produce high-quality art. Anyone and everyone gets a fair chance to produce high-quality art. It may not make Equestria Daily's top art (but who knows? It might if cleaned up), but producing the art itself is still something to be proud of.
This is a big risk Pony.FM's Hall of Fame has conceptually. Equestria Daily and EverFree Radio get a lot of content, both great and bad, but neither have a full list of song and then, by panels, imply that the songs who don't make the Hall of Fame are worthless to listen by showing off a Hall of Fame alongside. (EQD has Spotlight music, which makes the front page, followed by the Music of the Day, which is a selected honor. Those that don't make it altogether make neither and aren't published on the blog.) EQD and EFR only show content that make it and, contrary to what some think, factually show good quality control.
Pony.FM will show songs that do and don't make it. With the Hall of Fame and non-HoF publicized, you may send a message to those who don't have a song in the Hall that he or she want to do better. Adversely, you risk discouraging those upcoming musicians from publishing more (or any) content out of fear of constant failure.
To quote what I wrote in my Pro-Brony essay, Bronies and the Explosion of Great Art, "failing is one of our greatest fears." With the other music published, the Hall of Fame implies that their songs don't deserve to make it and, God forbid, their talent doesn't belong in this fandom. If this consequence happens, it hampers the reputation of Pony.FM as for the elite only.
Any brony can make great music, lyrics, and song lyrics, but the Hall of Fame is not the way to go, especially if the other music will be publicized with it, for this reason alone. When you have the HoF and non-HoF music published publicly, that's bad quality control.
- Sometimes a poor song will make it, and sometimes an objectively good song won't. It's a system that has a tendency to work, but will risk slipping, sometimes rather badly.
And I say this as someone with experience. I participated in a Senior Project class in Fall 2011. At the end of the year, there was plenty of great work, but also a lot of mediocre and crappy executions. However, and this is by talking to people who worked during the Senior Project then and now personally, often the professors review the process on a bias and choose which ideas they like most instead of the ones that work best. With permission, I review their sketchbooks and found concepts (hand-drawn and computerized) that objectively work far better than the ideas the professors sought.
(For my Senior Project, I actually went against my professor's advice, chose a concept drawing he passed over, and ran with it because I saw something in it and thought it would work. I don't regret my decision, and it's one of my proudest projects [and not just because it's one of four Senior Projects to receive an A grade */patting my ego*].)
I guarantee you, at some point, the judges can and WILL review the music under a bias, including those who claim to be objective and truly aren't. I worry that it'll spill over very badly, especially when — more likely if — bigger brony musicians join and the biases some people have for or against them.
- If you're going to continue with the Hall of Fame, figure out a way to treat songs that do make the Hall of Fame and songs that don't with as much equal respect as possible. The Hall of Fame isn't like the professional sports Halls of Fame (which, unfortunately, is tampered by half-witted professional voters who let their tempers get in the way). You've got bronies here (most of whom are amateurs [a.k.a., don't get paid for their music]) who desire to work on music and do their darnedest to perform at their best.
Don't disrespect the musician fanbase and overall concepts of talent and creativity by casting an annoying beacon over the Hall of Fame and imply that the songs that don't aren't worth our time. You'll only make people NOT use Pony.FM at all and discourage upcoming musicians from ever using the site.
- Only forecast the high-quality music. Any song that doesn't qualify doesn't get published. But Pony.FM, however, is about being the hub of all brony music, not "the hub of great brony music and the hell with the rest." So this is scrapped.
Can the Hall of Fame concept altogether. The HoF runs the risk of opening Pandora's Box with the system it has and how new Pony.FM is. Choose the wrong people, and you can really kill the idea and overall reputation of the entire Website. Canceling the Hall of Fame's a safer route, but with the Hall of Fame risking people three options,
a. "Pony.FM desires high-quality talent. Maybe I could meet their demands."
b. "Pony.FM is full of snobby judges and are full of show-offs. Screw them! I'll go elsewhere!"
c. "I keep trying, but can never make it. Maybe music is not the way to go."
If I were a Webmaster, the concept wouldn't even enter the table. It's the latter paraphrasing sentence that I, who loves creativity (upcoming, popular, good, bad) and the idea that talent can grow if given the confidence and practice, worry most.
In what way?
Compare the Hall of Fame concept to MLP:FIM's Magical Mystery Cure. If Magical Mystery Cure and the Twilicorn execution were going to be good, it had to be done right and perfectly. If not perfect, then it will be dissected. Magical Mystery Cure wasn't don't right and is a topic that people in the fandom fervently debate over.
The Hall of Fame applies here. If it's going to work, it must be done perfectly. It must treat the good songs with equal respect as the other songs who don't make it. Shine the beacon on the Hall of Fame by as much as a percent, then Pony.FM could risk losing a big userbase. The last thing Pony.FM needs is to have a concept and execution of such be equivalent to the crappy work from Magical Mystery Cure.
Pony.FM is not like OverClocked Remix, and OverClocked Remix is not like Pony.FM. For one, OCR has been a staple in the music community for over a decade and has a good reputation. OCR can get away with the panel system, and people know the panel system's judgment can be trusted most of the time.
It's not the case with Pony.FM, which is a completely brand new system who's trying to break through into the brony music community. The "Hall of Fame," just by the way is planned currently, is telling people that they're putting everything from Pony.FM on the line with a make-or-break system that people may not fully trust. If done right, you'll have a memorable brony music Website. However, if the Hall of Fame screws up, you may have people pass over or abandon the system for competitors (i.e., EQDMusic) that are more user-friendly and embracing for budding brony music stars.
- As a softer alternative, create Pony.FM groups/communities. This is a practice similar to what you see on FIMFiction.net and Fanfiction.net.
FIMFiction Groups are gatherings where people talk, recommend, and share various fanfic, whether it's their own or others.
FFnet Communities (known as C2s when they first appeared in 2004) operate nearly identically, but in much more simpler system.
Pony.FM's communities can operate the same way, with various people operating and uploading songs that they either like or know is of high quality is congregate them under one umbrella.
In a FFnet community, there is one person who operates it all. Staff is invited by the community administrator, and the invited staff accepts (or declines) the invitation. Admin and staff can upload the songs into one community. To go to a community, click on "Community" in the navigation with a constant list for communities, the communities' missions, how many people are on the staff, how many people subscribe to the communities, and how many songs are uploaded into the communities. A user can be staff for many communities, but they can only operate one of their own.
FIMFiction groups are a bit broader. While they run similar to a FFnet community, they also have profile pages where people can join and converse. They also operate tiny subforums and have folders to organize fanfiction (their own or others).
The reason I feel this works best is you have the ability to promote good quality music, but you also show songs who aren't in the communities respect. Communities aren't stuck with one central goal for an entire Website. You'll have a variety of communities for users to choose and follow. What song may not make one community can make it in another depending on a community's mission, purpose, and taste.
Groups/Communities are only there to promote songs. If a community abuses the privilege and puts songs they hate, find bad, and/or want to mock into a community:
a. The community gets cancelled.
b. The people working under the community (administrator and staff) are disciplined, from account suspensions to temporarily or permanently losing their ability to create — or be a staff on — a community to being banned from Pony.FM outright.
Pony.FM is a site where music in the brony community can be congregated into one unique, whole hub. Search for the song, you'll find it. There's a variety for songs, both good and bad. However, the Hall of Fame is a big gamble and may open up a can of worms that may harm Pony.FM's reputation, especially if it doesn't do everything right. That's why I propose alternatives instead of the Hall of Fame. The community concept — my most favorite — is not as bold as the Hall of Fame, but it offers both a compromise and reward for musicians famous, upcoming, and budding alike.