Save Our Sailors (SOS)
- Why? Why not? :D
- Poorly set up navigation, dated design,
chafing of finger due to over use of mouse scroll wheel
- Inaccurate and slow reporting of news affecting SM
- Lately have developed an uncanny ability to offend people
- Tend to cover up their mistakes
Positives About The Page:
- Gave the SM world Super Deformed Senshi animated gifs
- The initial concept wasn't a bad idea, but somewhere things went astray
Nominated by: A cast of hundreds!
We've been asked to do a review of the SOS several times, but always put it aside because enough people were talking about the SOS, and there are plenty of other sites to review. However, when it came time to pick which site we would do for a final review, the choice was easy. With well over a hundred worst nominations in 6 years, the SOS is easily the most nominated page in our history. From "Procots", and "Prince Uranus", to one of the most aged layouts on the Internet, many of those nominations are well deserved.
Once upon a time, the SOS was a good idea, and at least in concept it still is. Somewhere along the way it got really messed up. It was a good idea to develop a site that could bring fans together to try and help to keep the show on the air and get more episodes. I felt the online petition was initially a good plan, and even was one of the people who signed it back in the day. The downside was how it's online nature eventually proved to be unreliable. But then came the procots, the bad reporting, the attempts at covering up any sticky mistakes they made till we get to today where the SOS hasn't had a major campaign in years and has become nothing more than a poorly run news site with an old tired layout.
More on the news end later, but first let's get to that layout. What can I say to sum it up? Hey SOS, 1996 called and they want their layout back! Or how about a little variation on a classic?
[blows the dust off the Fisher Price guitar]
Scrolling, scrolling scrolling…
The layout is old and tired, and the navigation of the site, by any standards, is very poor. First off, the only navigation around that giant front page is the small navigation at the top which I find is often missed because your eye is to drawn away from it by the moving ticker and the first news article with it's huge +3 size title. Then once you're into the front page, you can't return to that little bit of navigation unless you scroll all the way back to the top. Would it kill someone to put some simple "to top" links after each article? Also, there is a lack of consistency in the formatting of their articles. Right now I'm looking at three articles, one on a Naoko update, another on the Toei Calendar and a third on U2. The Naoko update is done in a Times serif font, while Toei and U2 are in a sans serif Helvetica font. Add to that how the U2 article is all in bold and you have a very inconsistent look within that one page.
By the way, how long does the Sumo Senshi and Mystery Odango articles have to take up dead space on the front page? Another 3 years? I confirmed those articles have been on their front page since 1999 thanks to the Internet Wayback machine at archive.org. Seriously, the front page needs an overhaul, the navigation needs to stand out more and to be all moved to the side and top. This includes the What's Hot and Page Listing sections that are buried at the bottom of the page. The news articles need to be shortened down so they provide a short excerpt of the article on the front and then have a link to the full article on another page. They also need to be given a date of when they have been posted and updated. This would greatly improve navigation and usability. Visit animenewsnetwork.com for a good example of what I mean.
Moving on, I could get into all of the SOS debacles of the past, but I won't because it's often well covered on other sites (See smuncensored.com and our rants for more). However, I would like to make a comment on their techniques of hiding or altering articles once they are proven wrong or someone takes offence to what they have said. Too many times have I heard about something else they messed up, went to read the article, then return a few days later and find it altered so it's fixed or is less offensive without any note why the article was altered or when. (See my previous comment on how articles should be dated!) This is the thing that has disappointed me the most about the SOS. Mistakes happen, and yes people are going to come down on you for them. But to hide those mistakes to try and make those problems go away, rather than standing up and admitting to it only does more damage in the long run.
Now getting back to their current news reporting. There is seriously something wrong when a major story like Irwin going bankrupt in October only gets mentioned in January and gets one sentence in the little news ticker. Meanwhile a picture of U2 taken in front of a SM poster gets a freaking 4 paragraphs! It's like saying "Irwin is bankrupt, so no more SM toys, but LOOK! It's U2 in front of a SM Poster!!! Well la dee da. I mean I like U2, but isn't it odd for a site that has 'procoted' Irwin several times in the past to barely mention this major piece of news?
I could easily go on and on, but let me close by saying maybe it's time the SOS considered packing it in, or at least seriously take a long over due revaluation of itself. It doesn't campaign anymore, and there are other sites that provide news about SM more promptly and with less bias.
Ah, SOS. The memories. The Poptart campaign, the "Uranus was really
a man in her past life- Prince Uranus- who loved Neptune, and he had
a twin sister to whom his love for Neptune was transfered to, so the
two girls aren't REALLY lesbians!" completely made-up, fabricated ass
of a lie, the "let's accuse everyone who has their own sources, who
isn't from SOS, of making things up, because we're the only ones who
can say anything about SM!" attitude, and just so many other factors
and acts and attempts have passed SOS into infamy.
Let's take a look at the actual site. Now, that layout has been up
for years and years, and the whole bottom half of the site has been
there since 1999 or earlier. Most of it is useless garbage- no one
cares about a sailor sumo to begin with, or Gourry from Slayers,
and even if actually they did at one point, they don't care about it
four years later.
The animated GIFs, the tacky MIDI, the rainbow background, the weird
font types, and the incredibly lame newsticker only serve to hinder
the site... that is, if scrolling for pages and pages doesn't
already turn you off. Yeah, go Cere, go Cere, go!
It's sad how SOS is so desperate to grab at any "news" they can. No
one cares about a U2 picture from 1993, sorry. And you know, that
Barenaked Ladies song is pretty old. (The reference to SM
doesn't even make it into the car commercials.) Clinging to "news"
has always been SOS's biggest MO- well, second (perhaps) to making
that news up out of thin air.
The "What's Hot" section is a joke. Notice how no news article is
ever dated. I don't think SOS has ever dated their articles. It's
always good to see that they care enough not to confuse their fans
with trivial things like dates. What's a news site need with dates
anyway? I'm certain things that happened three years ago are still
very relevant to fans today. Sure, even if fans still think Sailor
Moon World is a brand new series- when it's been established over
the past two years that it's not- so what? They come back to our
site and eat up more of our misinformation!
The site's tackiness, outdatedness, lack of userfriendly features,
bad information, design inconsistency, and overall confusing nature
not only point to a badly created site, but they also serve to
underscore how badly SOS as an organization is run. Does SOS care
about the fans? No. Have they ever? Not really. Are they
self-serving, manipulative, and egoistical? You bet.
Come on, has anyone except impressionable kids really believed
that buying lots of Poptarts will save a TV show? That's what SOS
claimed. They still do believe it by telling you to out and buy lots
of Irwin toys, or whatever little propaganda BS they have cooked up
for this month to "save" SM.
To meet their own purposes, they always change things and hide others.
If they made a mistake- heaven forbid- they'll either deny it like
the plague until everyone conveniently "forgets" it happened- or they
will change their story, no notice whatsoever.
It's hard to even figure out who they're "fighting" for. They
change positions constantly. First, they're anti-sub. Then
suddenly, they're friendly to the original series! Lo, a miracle.
They make up wild tales about a Prince Uranus because a good family
series like Sailor Moon can't have evil, wicked lesbians- arguing
this tall tale as fact, mind you, with no proof at all, even though
others have solid, documented, legitimate evidence that completely
contradicts their fable. Yet they constantly attack other websites
that actually have some kind of back-up, simply because SOS
believes, "If we didn't make it up, then no one else can report on
it! If we didn't hear about it, it must be fake!"
Maybe SOS can be forgiven for really wanting to have Sailor Moon
dubbed... but at what cost to the fans? Apparently, anything and
everything goes, so long as it gets them what they want and as
long as they're the center of attention. Maybe most of them- and
remember, the people who run this site are adults and have
been since the site first began- forgot that Sailor Moon is, when
it comes down to it, just a cartoon. No matter how good, it's
not the end of the world if it's never completely dubbed.
The SOS hasn't actually campaigned for a while, which is a good thing. At least we don't have to put up with even more, brand new, self-important nonsense. There is still quite a lot to put up with, however. Partly thanks to the fact that old, undated articles tend to linger on the SOS far longer than their natural lives should allow for.
For one thing, the mind boggling ego trip oozing out of every corner. I find myself expecting to find an article explaining that thanks to their campaigning, there is a company in Japan actively working on genetically engineering a real, living, Sailor Moon. Not that it's true, of course, but because it would fit right in with the rest of the site. You see, according to the SOS, everything good that happens is thanks to them. Anything bad is a conspiracy (it seems dangerously cute hamsters are involved). For example, the SOS always makes sure they let you know that whenever the show is back on the air, on a channel they annoyed or on another one, it's thanks to them. On the other hand, if it's off the air, or if the toy company that makes the Luna Ball and other fine products is in financial trouble, it's beyond their control and someone else's fault. Finally, an admission that the fate of SailorMoon doesn't completely rely on them. Funny that admission is only there when something negative happens.
Another big problem, I just have to say it, is the layout. My hampster can make a better layout, or at least he could if I let him try. And if I had a hampster in the first place. You know what I mean. It wouldn't be difficult, really. Drop the rainbow, and bang! Already the page is less painful to look at. Next step : have mercy on your poor visitors and quit trying to give them carpal tunnel by making them scroll for half an hour. Organize. Clean up. Please. Aim for a front page that is shorter than the Trans Canada Highway.
I could go on about inaccurary, biased reporting, late reporting, overreacting, underreacting, but the point is SOS is not nearly as important or reliable as they want you to believe they are (or as they think they are). They were once well intentioned, but nowadays, it really seems they mainly care about tooting their own horn.