The Ethics and Creator Responsibilities panel took place on Friday at Summer in the City 2015. It featured creators including Tom Ridgewell, Dottie James and Morgan Paige. It was chaired by Teoh Lander-Boyce.
To an engaged audience, the panellists discussed at length the varying responsibilities they face as creators. The panel consisted of Morgan Paige, Dottie James, Tom “Tomska” Ridgewell, Wot Fanar (NerdCubed) and TenEighty Co-Editor Teoh Lander-Boyce.
Wot Fanar gave the opinion that truthfulness is important with the audience, especially when discussing serious topics, but the relationship with the audience will affect that. “I think a lot of it depends on what the relationship with your audience is,” he explained. “I think it also goes the other way, the audience should entitle you to your privacy.”
Tom added: “Whether we like it or not, you don’t have an obligation to make the world a better place, but you have an obligation to, at least, not make it any worse, and for me that boils down to not encouraging negative behaviours – not enforcing negative stereotypes, not trivialising serious issues.”
Tom then expressed that he felt the safest concept was to “Do good or do nothing”, which was generally agreed upon by the entire panel.
The group discussed at length the ethics surrounding sponsorship placements within videos, the obligation to divulge the sponsorship to the audience, and how to go about doing so. Wot described YouTube as being on the “front line” when it comes to this new source of advertising opportunity, which makes it difficult when creators consider themselves entertainers as opposed to journalists and therefore, without the responsibility of “journalistic integrity”.
Eventually, questions were raised from the audience regarding last years abuse allegations, dealing with those involved, and going forward from it.
“No one can act as an all-knowing authority,” said Tom, with Morgan stating that it was “dangerous to have viewers be judge, jury and executioner” when it comes to any situation that can be ethically ambiguous.
Regarding the Tumblr YouTube masterpost (which collated accusations of various abusive behaviours by YouTubers), Morgan then explained that despite the post having pure intentions when it started, it soon became a place for any accusations against YouTubers to be posted, noting that it could be damaging to those who weren’t accused of any sexual abuse, yet were now linked to it due to the post.
Ideas for holding creators to account included having multi-channel networks lay down rules for their creators. This will then hold a more official threat opposed to general rules set down by YouTubers themselves, which no one needs to adhere to. Alternatively, a suggestion for an “Ethics Tag” was offered as a means to have any creators voice their opinion on the topic.
Photos by: Dave Bird
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