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IMPORTANT TWR ANNOUNCEMENT

**~~ANNOUNCEMENT!~~** All The Writers' Room members please check the TWR forums for an important new thread! Your feedback is wanted for this exciting announcement & thanks for being part of the team! - JB
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Episode's 2017 Diversity Standards

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  • Episode's 2017 Diversity Standards

    At the start of 2017, the Episode team sat down and looked at our app to decide what we wanted to focus on this year. As we evaluated the many important issues and priorities around Episode, one thing was especially clear: our stories and platform should reflect the amazing diversity of our players and the world around us. In regards to that, we’ve let you down and we've spent the past weeks reflecting on how to do better.

    When we use the term "diversity", this includes but is not limited to age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, culture, socioeconomics, gender identity and expression, sexuality, mental health, and physical disability / chronic ailment.

    We want to share with you some new things we are striving for as a team for the remainder of 2017:
    • We will focus on developing stories at Pocket Gems that better reflect the diverse voices, identities, and experiences within our community. Starting in April, internally developed stories will incorporate characters with and experiences from a wider range of perspectives.
    • We will look for community stories with diverse casts, leading characters, and perspectives to feature in weekly shelves. We will spend more time curating themes to ensure a variety of perspectives are meaningfully represented, taking your feedback on each in an effort to make the next one better.
    • We are partnering with more creators from the community - including many you’ve suggested to us - to bring a wider range of voices to our featured stories. We will continue to expand this outreach as we grow.
    • We will increase the diversity of clothing, hair styles, character features, and backgrounds to empower everyone to tell THEIR story. Moving forward, we will put assets into production each month that expand the diversity of our art catalog, representing more religions, ethnicities, cultures, and genres. We have a lot of work to do here, so this will be an ongoing effort. We’ll aim to get the first set of these released before summer.
    • As we explore more diverse issues and identities, we will set aside pre-production time that may include additional research, interviews, characters studies, and visual development to ensure we bring better context to the story.
    While these changes won’t happen overnight, we want to let you know about some of the stories we have in development to help reflect our dedication to representing our diverse community:
    • We recently re-launched Venomous, the story of a Latina police officer driven to prove herself in a cutthroat New York City environment. We loved working with the creator, Hannah, on this and are excited to launch more community stories.
    • We have begun work on a new story with a popular recording artist. In this story, you will be able to select the gender of both your character and your love interest.
    • In partnership with a major Hollywood studio, we are developing a story based on a hit movie that will feature a Korean-American fashion designer and business owner.
    • We are working with an active member of the community on a new game-show-like story with a hugely diverse cast, where characters’ ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds will be a part of the story and the roles they play on the show.
    • We’ve got a new story in development that focuses on the fluidity of gender identity and the gender-based standards that surround our society.
    We hope that in being more transparent about our diversity goals for 2017 you can continue to help hold us accountable to them. Thank you again for your feedback and dialogue with us. We will work to learn from our mistakes, and are excited to create a space where all people have a voice.

  • #2
    Thank you! YAYA! MORE CLOTHING SOON! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

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    • samrover18
      samrover18 commented
      Editing a comment
      R.Ross I was joking around. LOL!

    • samrover18
      samrover18 commented
      Editing a comment
      Brenna Nelson LOL!!!

    • Episode.author50
      Episode.author50 commented
      Editing a comment
      Ohhhh could have fooled me with the context it was in. After being thanked by somebody for offering to back them up, you stated that these people have gone mad, so it looked like it was an insult and not a joke.
      I'm so glad that was cleared up. Hahaha

  • #3
    Thanks. It's good now that Episode will take the time to remember stories that include a variety of topics, ideals, fundamentals, and stories that are barely noticed on the app. Good luck Liz on your future endeavors and goals. Peace and Blessings. : - )

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    • #4
      This post got me so happy. Thank you!

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      • #5
        Looking forward to seeing these changes! I'm so glad you've heard what we've been saying and are using this to help you. That is the whole point of a community - to share our opinions and better ourselves.

        Can't wait for these new stories and clothing, features, backgrounds etc. Especially looking forward to the gender-identity story because this would be a great learning experience for me.

        Thank you for speaking out about this very important subject. Hopefully things will be improving shortly!

        Comment


        • AwesomeAnon
          AwesomeAnon commented
          Editing a comment
          Yep, I'm looking forward to that story too. I think it'll be a great learning experience with many LGBT readers, and even non-LGBT readers too! I feel like it will help everyone understand things like this better!

      • #6
        That's Amazing! Liz I've been loving what you guys do so far! (; I love all the new stuff too! (;

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        • #7
          I will not thank you for doing what businesses in 2017 should be doing in the first place, but I am happy for the sake of your younger users that use your app, because they will finally get representation.

          I hope Episode has been paying attention to the Pepsi debacle. There are groups of people who don't appreciate feeling used and exploited, and their voices will be heard and validated. I trust that this, along with the past few weeks, is enough motivation for true commitment to inclusiveness. Businesses in this day and age can't survive for long without it. And believe it or not, nobody on here, myself included, wants to see Episode fail. You've all worked hard in the past 3 years and deserve to have a thriving app, but there are certain things that need to change for that to happen. This is one of them.

          Comment


          • LusciousLavenderxox
            Editing a comment
            @EpisodeMichelle

            If they hadn't pulled that stunt in the first place then there would be no need for an apology.
            XD.

          • EpisodeMichelle
            EpisodeMichelle commented
            Editing a comment
            LusciousLavenderxox Not the point I was trying to make... more referring to the delayed/lack of response by Episode for their own mistake, but your point is also valid.

          • Episode.author50
            Episode.author50 commented
            Editing a comment
            EpisodeMichelle even so, Pepsi's apology was horrible and they still got slammed after that ridiculous apology. Especially by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's own daughter. They may not be the best example on how to apologize. Lmao. But at least it shows that the public tends to get a bit (rightfully) testy when it comes to exploiting marginalized groups for profit.

            Episode got off easy in comparison. Mainly because nobody knows who the heck they are. But hoping that despite how it looks they can move forward and truly fix this issue because this whole mess was kinda painful to watch. Ok. 85% painful to watch.

        • #8
          This is a great step towards the proper and right direction. I am looking forward to these changes and can not wait for them. It is nice for the community to be heard finally and for something to be done and corrected. The first step is always admitting the problem, and the second is everything that was promised above. I really hope that this is done properly and that everyone ends up satisfied and happy. This will only make Episode thrive even more and bring so many more wonderful people to the community who will feel welcomed and appreciated.

          Comment


          • #9
            Thought you got rid of me for good, huh? Ha, nah. Like R.Ross I will not say thank you either. Thank you to all the users who fought long and hard for this and will continue to do so. Thank you to all the Episode users who used their voice and platform to raise awareness and speak on this issue. Thank you to SolarNebula23 , AScott , episodeLB who put in work behind the scenes to make this happen. Every single person that spoke out and pushed for this. You made this happen. Now we just have to sit back and watch. Standards are made with the intention to live up to them. Let's see if Episode follows suit. To the black, latinx, asian, indigenous little girls who get to see themselves represented on an app they love. This was all worth it. To people who felt neglected, ignored, exploited, erased and used I'm hoping that won't be the case anymore. Criticism is not an attack. Without criticism, this wouldn't have happened. So keep that in mind going forward living up to this standard.
            Last edited by YourNeighborTuturu; 04-05-2017, 04:15 PM.

            Comment


            • #10
              Woah! I saw that you promised to include more diverse clothing and my eyes lit up! I have been working hard to encourage the addition of androgynous clothing options for males and females, and I hope that happens. Feel free to reach out to me if you are unsure of what to include. And I'm super excited for that story you mentioned! I'm so happy that we get to choose the gender of our love interest, that way everyone can connect to the story.
              I'm not even going to be cynical today. As of right now, I have 100% faith that you will honor your commitment and work toward diversity in your stories. I'm also so happy to hear that you are committing to research and interviews in order to ensure an accurate portrayal of different perspectives. I'm very happy and I love the wording of this post.
              I like the point R.Ross brought up. But I will say thank you for keeping us writers and readers informed about the upcoming changes with this announcement, although I think this announcement belongs on Instagram as well as the forums so as to reach a wider audience. I know you directed your followers to the forum, but I think a post of this announcement would be appreciated.

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              • #11
                Thanks for this! It's about time! Episode, you've truly outdone yourself.

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                • #12
                  This is definitely a step in the right direction. I like that you guys are trying to feature more diverse stories such as Venomous and the others that you have said you are working on. I am actually very excited to see how they turn out. I was also glad to see that you guys have said you will add more diverse clothing and hairstyles. I know I wasn't the only one who was wondering when the afro hairstyle, the hijab, the kimonos, and many more would be on Episode's "To-Do" list. It's nice to see you guys taking responsibility and try to fix the problem.

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                  • #13
                    I'm happy to see episode finally moving in the right direction with representation of all of its users on the app. I look forward to seeing the new projects on the app unfold and I hope this will be the start to a bright future for episode. I would also like to thank the authors on the app who pushed so hard to make this happen. AScott SolarNebula23 R.Ross episodeLB Jade I.

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                    • #14
                      I will not exhibit any excitement about this until I see that it has been properly executed. I understand that these things take time to develop and implement, I just hope that time is being used thoughtfully and consciously. It's sad that this even had to be a problem that needed a resolution but the past is in the past so at least your acknowledging your mistakes and plan to fix them. There isn't much research needed to be inclusive because people are people and a diverse cast shouldn't be too difficult but since we have to wait so long I'm expecting a cultural emulsion and to learn new things about groups of people that are unfamiliar to me. AND PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD INCLUDE MORE ETHNIC HAIRSTYLES!! The braids are okay but those are the only realistic styles for natural black girls. I want a good afro and bantu knots and box braids that don't look dumb and stop abruptly at your shoulders.

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                      • #15
                        So glad you are working on this now, this took a while. Credit shall be given to those writers who made this step possible. You know who you are and I couldn't thank you enough for this. If I see the real changes on app thats then I could really say our voices were heard. *and still hoping you'll address all concerns* All the best, episode. 👋🏾👋🏿👋🏼👋
                        Last edited by Dheartsjs; 04-05-2017, 05:43 PM.

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