MyAnimeList has implemented a series of rule changes for their anime cataloguing website in direct response to playful calls from the anime YouTuber community to vote Interspecies Reviewers onto the top of the site’s Top Anime list.
As Interspecies Reviewers continues to be dropped by broadcast and streaming services due to the sexual nature of the series’ content, fans across the anime community have come together to show their support for their series and protest its censorship by casting votes to make the series reach the top of MyAnimeLists’ “Top Anime List.”
While the series was slowly climbing the charts and had recently entered the top 5, more widespread attention was brought to the voting campaign by anime YouTubers Lost Pause and NuxTaku, who covered the topic in their respective videos:
In their videos, both YouTubers call for their followers to register for accounts on MyAnimeList and boost the series’ score by rating it a perfect ‘10.’
Taking notice of the rapid increase in Interspecies Reviewers’ score, the MyAnimeList moderation team announced that they would be introducing “a [new] method to combat vote brigading” while also refusing to name Lost Pause and NuxTaku as the specific reason for the change, referring to them only as “YouTubers.”
“What happened to the score?
On Wednesday, one YouTuber told his 1 million followers to go to MAL, register an account if necessary, and vote Ishukozu Reviewers a 10. Another YouTuber with 1.4 million followers has now jumped on the bandwagon and told his followers to do the same.
Will this be fixed?
Yes. MyAnimeList will not tolerate vote brigading.
When will it be fixed?
Before this incident, the new scoring algorithm created to combat vote manipulation by duplicate accounts was already slated for mid-February. A method to combat vote brigading will now be included as well. Please see Kineta’s post for more information.
How will you fix it?
Please wait for Kineta’s announcement.”
Kineta, the site’s lead administrator, elaborated further on the topic, discussing “two silver linings” to the situation, narrowing the leader of the vote brigading to only an unnamed “individual who has seemingly either lost his marbles or let internet fame get to his head” and calling the individual’s fanbase as “easily-influenced mob followers.”
“Hi. Me again.
I wanted to make a follow-up post here, in light of the current onslaught of Ishuzoku Reviewers—led by one individual who has seemingly either lost his marbles or let internet fame get to his head. Thanks to this individual’s easily-influenced mob followers, Ishukozu Reviewer’s score has been tampered with so badly, it makes the trolls who spammed Chihayafuru 3 look weak. I don’t have words to express how such a display of thoughtlessness makes the staff feel, particularly Luna and I who were in a sheer panic when we first saw the flood of scores.
Negativity aside, I managed to find two silver linings in this whole fiasco.
Before all this happened, I received word that the development team may be done Phase 1 sooner than expected, and so we were trying to schedule an earlier release date (taking into consideration the weekend and national holidays in Japan). Silver lining #1 is we shouldn’t have to live with this long.
Second, we were so focused on combating illegitimate scores given by duplicate account creation, we didn’t consider illegitimate scores given by legitimate users due to vote brigading. Don’t get me wrong, we want to tamper with MAL scores as little as possible. However, when an entry receives upwards of 15,000 “10” votes in less than 24 hours and those votes can be linked to one source, there is clearly a problem. Silver lining #2 is we will try to modify what we’re releasing in Phase 1 to also deal with this (and similar cases like it).
Once the release date is finalized, I will make a site-wide announcement explaining as much as I can related to this issue, Chihayafuru 3, and the changes this will lead to in MAL’s Top page. (As I’ve said before, up votes and down votes typically cancel each other out for highly-rated, highly-popular series, so don’t expect a massive shake-up in the Top 10.)
Finally, I just want to say thanks to the rational-thinking users who posted or thought things similar to some comments in this reddit thread. I know it soothed the moderator team a little to see others recognize that this senseless action only harms volunteers and users of an unrelated website.
Thank you to everyone who spoke out (here or elsewhere) for your support. We will continue to try and make this situation right as speedily as possible.”
MyAnimeList Social Media Manager Shymander also offered up his thoughts, calling Nux Taku “an asshole” whose actions have caused unnecessary trouble for the “volunteers” who “keep MAL running.””
.@Nux_Taku is an asshole. No, he isn’t funny.
Telling your 1,000,000+ followers to create 1000s of bot accounts to boost Ishuzoku Reviewers does not “”flex”” on Funimation.
It makes more back-breaking work for VOLUNTEERS who are already at their limit to keep MAL running.
— Shymander (@shymander) February 6, 2020
However, with this mention of volunteers supposedly being the main party responsible for the site’s upkeep, some began to question the dispersion of the funds acquired from the site’s advertising deals.
The site has affiliate partnerships with retailers such as Amazon and CDJapan and runs various banner ads, and offer such advertising opportunities starting at $10,000 and a potential viewership of “150 million page views to over 12 million unique visitors.” With MyAnimeList also having paid staff, some have begun to question why this amount of ad revenue leaves the site’s maintenance in the hand of unpaid volunteers.
As of writing, Kineta’s new ‘vote brigading’ prevention methods have not yet been announced, MyAnimeList has not publicly commented on the accusations of fund misappropriation, and a review of the votes for Interspecies Reviewer has dropped the show to 11th overall on the Top Anime List, but is currently first for currently airing anime.