Archive for January, 2012

Hey everyone,

I recently made an account at worldcosplay.net, and I’d like to tell you about what I think so far.

I’m pretty sure that the site is still in the Beta stages so far, indicated by the little B next to the logo. Right now the site is a little slow to load for me, and I have problems with the Image Uploader all of the time. They also must have gotten a huge jump in users really recently because my “ranking” (I’ll come back to that in a second) jumped from 358 to 3554 in one day. Either they got thousands of new members all at once, or their ranking system was having problems as well.

Now, based on my ranking, there seems to be lots and lots of international members registered on this site, however, I’m having a terribly difficult time finding them all. Most members have no presence on the site at all. This is because as of now, there are no forums on the site–the entire site is based on users rankings. I’m not a huge fan of this idea…I was hoping when I signed up that there would be a way for one to promote their work and communicate with other members. You know, share tips and tricks, talk about cosplay, and network. After all, worldcosplay.net advertises itself as a social network for cosplayers, but I’m not finding anything too social about it. Worldcosplay.net only promotes the most popular users, and everyone not in the top 100 will have a very hard time moving up the ladder and getting their costumes seen so that they can connect with other users. That is the point right? Connecting with other users?

Maybe worldcosplay was afraid of being too much like cosplay.com and that’s why they forwent the forums or direct messaging. Right now the only way for cosplayers to “socialize” is to view and “like” pictures, and to “follow” one another. The more likes, views, and followers you have, the better your ranking. The better your ranking, the more likes, views, and followers you will get. There is also a place on the homepage which showcases new photo uploads, however your upload will only appear for maybe a minute before it is pushed out of the feed by new uploads. At least this indicates high activity on the site, right?

I will admit that the skill of the top 100 users does seem to be pretty exceptional. They are the already famous elite cosplayers from around the world, and their skill and popularity is reflected in their ranking. These “elite” cosplayers are the biggest reason that I think most people, cosplayer or not, will use this site; it makes it easy to find all of the most talented cosplayers’ work in one place. However, though the site promotes high standards in this way, it also encourages fierce (and lets be honest, unnecessary) competition. Most know that cosplay has always been a catty hobby, but at least other cosplay sites try to hide this fact a little bit, and give every member an equal chance of making a name for themselves. I feel that the concept of worldcosplay.net brings all of that competition and elitism and puts it front and center. There are so many cosplayers out there who already think they’re something special because they made more costumes than you, or won more awards than you, or had more pictures taken than you. Now those same cosplayers can say that their rank is better than yours too. I don’t like how competitive cosplay is because it discourages a lot of people from enjoying themselves. There is a lot of pressure to take your craft way too seriously; to appear sexy, glamourous, and positively possessed by the character that you are dressed as. People believe that if they don’t cosplay well enough, they risk being literally scoffed out of the community! How ridiculous!! We should be coming together as a community of mutual interests, not trying to form some exclusive club.

I know that there are plenty of cosplayer out there who are way too mature to get caught up in the drama of costuming, and I internet-high-five you for that. You know who you are: you cosplay because its fun and you could care less what other people look like, or who is dressed as the same character as you. You cosplay to celebrate being a fan and to feel ridiculously awesome, whether or not anyone wants your picture. YEAH. You guys will be just fine, I know. I just wish that worldcosplay.net didn’t make it so easy for less-secure cosplayers to make one another feel bad. Not that its entirely their fault–they’ve literally been assigned a numerical value by this site for the sole purpose of comparing themselves to others. If this site really takes off, and becomes any sort of standard indication of a cosplayer’s talent, passion, and commitment to their hobby, I can only imagine the affect on fragile teenage self-esteem.

My hopes are that the site someday awards points for effort. For example, if would be nice if ranking was also influenced (if only very slightly) by activity on the site, number of uploads, and maybe something like how much encouragement you give to others. Lots of people won’t agree with me here because they’ll think that those things have nothing to do with your skill as a cosplayer. That is true, but it does reflect your effort to be an active part of the community, and I do still think that rank needs to be mostly determined by likes & follows.

At the very least, the site should have more ways for new members, or less popular members to get their work seen. A forum, critique arena, or even comment boxes might help here.

As things are now, its really hard for me to make new cosplay friends and connections on worldcosplay.net. There’s no way to talk to them over the site, and even the free text box has a tiny character limit so people can’t even tell much about themselves. I will stay on the site for now and hope for improvements, but if I want to make new cosplay friends, or even keep up with old ones I think that cosplay.com, and Facebook are still the way to go for me.

If you are curious, and want to check out my worldcosplay.net profile, you can view it here: http://worldcosplay.net/member/Shaunart/

And as always, if you are curious about all of my other work (illustrations, cosplay, crafts, and more) you can check it out at http://shaunart.net

Thanks for reading!

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