Author Combating Misinformation: Official Statement
Zephyrus OP
Forum Moderator
Avatar
A few days ago, a small number of groups decided to leave MangaDex. They requested their chapters to be made unavailable, and of course we complied with their request. After all, this site was built on the principle of respecting active scanlators' wishes.

However, it appears that quite a lot of misinformation has been spread around by various parties in an attempt to wage a smear campaign against MangaDex coinciding with the request to take down the chapters. We can only speculate as to the reasons why they chose to do this when they simply could have requested the chapters to be taken down and we would have complied as we've done for many groups in the past.

We would like to take a moment to address each falsity as concisely and as clearly as possible. We’ve addressed these numerous times on our Discord and our forums but it apparently has not been enough to check the spread of misinformation so here we are again.

"What is your stance on groups pulling their releases?"

Giving active scanlators absolute control over their content on MangaDex is one of our central tenets. They are free to choose whether to upload or not and to remove their releases whenever they wish. It's always sad to see a group go and we wish them the best in their endeavors.

What we take issue with in the current situation is when groups try to pretend that their sole reason for leaving is because MangaDex has somehow betrayed them or failed to live up to certain expectations. Their usage of conversation screenshots from 2018 deliberately taken out of context and their perceived faults with MangaDex (of which none were specifically stated by them) as a cover for pulling their chapters is, in our opinion, shameful and extremely dishonest. With such thin reasoning, everyone involved is only able to speculate the true reasons, such as attempting to paint MangaDex in a poor light to drive increased traffic back to their own websites where, in some cases, their readers have ads covering every side of the manga or their sites have big, glaring links to PayPal or Patreon.

In the end, the only people that are truly hurt in this situation are the readers. The only winners are the ad-infested aggregators.

“Why is MangaDex so against Group A making money?”

Let me be clear that we have no issue with groups utilizing ads or asking for donations. We understand that servers and raws need to be paid for. Some groups even opt to pay their translators. Scanlation isn't free and isn't always cheap depending on how big your operation is. Our issue with ads is that most aggregators use ads solely for profit. Usually, that profit comes at the expense of readers whose computers or devices are infested with malware, viruses, or even hidden bitcoin miners. Scanlation is illegal and the ad networks that would support such sites are generally untrustworthy. We know because we get contacted by the same ad companies that advertise on other aggregators. Our concern with ads is that we believe they are detrimental to user experience and safety. That's why we have opted to not use ads.

"But uh...you guys just recently opened a store?"

The content of the store is 100% legal since the artists gave us the full rights to use their artwork. Much of the art used was produced by our gracious and talented users who participated in our past contests. We do NOT make money off of pirated intellectual property nor will we make money off the store. All proceeds from the store will go towards maintaining and improving the site just as donations do. In addition, we consulted with the community multiple times in January and onward regarding whether we should pursue the idea of MangaDex branded merchandise. The community overwhelmingly agreed that it was a good idea - this is why we have proceeded with the trial run of selling mousemats.

“Why won’t MangaDex release information on their own donations?”

Actually, we do. Currently, our supporters are generous enough that not only are we able to comfortably pay our site bills on a monthly basis (which are listed on the support page), but we’ve been able to roll over any excess into a contingency fund that would keep us running for 3-4 months if all of our donators decided to drop off the face of the earth. We only make requests for support when the contingency fund falls to 1-2 months worth, which only happens after a major infrastructure upgrade. Last time this happened was 2 months ago, when we upgraded the database server in response to the increasing volume of users and DDoS attacks. Our monthly server costs went up from $560 USD to $890 USD in less than three months. Since the upgrade, we have not had to switch on CloudFlare's under attack mode at all, and no one has been hit with any captchas.

The main reasons we don’t disclose actual amounts are two-fold:

1. Disclosing actual dollar amounts attracts attention from places we don't want attention from.  As an example, that is why Meraki got hit with a C&D a short while ago. If an actual value can be placed on something, publishers will feel like they are losing said value. Meraki now only displays the number of patrons rather than their total benefits.
2. The thing with disclosing our donations is that for some people, the transparency would never be enough. Even if we provided a monthly itemized list of our bills and expenditures, no doubt we would be accused of mismanaging the money by buying unneeded servers or we’d be accused of outright lying about the amount of money we receive. The only winning move in this game is not to play.

Ultimately, we have always been transparent with our finances as much as we can reasonably do so. In addition, we have never had issues with the amount of support we get, so we can only assume that our supporters are happy with the way things are going.

“Why won’t MangaDex do anything about sniping? Sniping is rude and shouldn’t be tolerated!”

Sniping (the practice of “stealing” a series from a group that is already working on it) has been a part of the scanlation scene long before we existed and it will be part of the scene long after we’re gone. Our refusal stems from us having no desire to set rules down for the community because we are not gatekeepers of scanlation morality, but merely a platform for scanlators to distribute their work. It is not our responsibility or our right to tell scanlators what they can and cannot scanlate. The only instance in which we would remove a sniped chapter is if it was painfully obvious that the contents of the chapter are a troll. We also have no desire to be accused of playing favorites with certain scanlation groups. In addition, scanlation groups do not own the rights to the titles they scanlate, so why should other groups be stopped from working on said titles? The majority of groups agree with this opinion.

"But what about the toxicity of the readers on MangaDex? I heard from several groups that they pulled out because you refused to moderate toxic posters or even let groups defend themselves, censoring their replies to said toxic readers."

The vast majority of the time, the readers who post negative comments towards groups say things along the lines of:

"Your translation sucks!"
"Why is your delay so long?"
"When are you releasing the next chapter?"
"Lol, you guys suck because you beg for donations in every credit page."


Every user who posts in chapter comment threads or on the forums is subject to our rules. They were formulated with the intent of forcing people to interact with basic civility and nothing more in order to prevent us from turning into a chan or MyAnimeList forums (which have a terrible reputation for toxicity). Having a negative opinion of a group or a release is fine so long as it follows our rule, Be Civil and its related corollaries. Disliking a group and complaining about how they scanlate, their release schedule, or whether or not they have a delay on MangaDex does not break our rules.

We absolutely do not condone death threats and that can earn a poster an extremely harsh punishment. We even stepped in and made an announcement when it was made known to us that certain groups were receiving death threats or being harassed about their group delays.

That is not to say that we don't sympathize with groups. In a couple of cases, we have approached scanlators and offered to lock down comments on all of their releases and group pages in order prevent what they viewed as harassment and toxicity. In every case, our offer was declined.

I would also like to make it clear, in case it wasn't already painfully obvious, that we can't find a resolution to issues we aren't aware of. If comments aren't reported or groups don't approach us with their concerns, we can't help find a solution. Suffering in silence and then blaming us for not being mind-readers or not knowing about every comment posted on our site is not productive.

"How come you don't allow groups to address drama inducing credit pages or extra pages in chapter comment threads? I heard you censored Group A from fighting back!"

A short while ago, chapter threads were considered to be discussion grounds for the story and nothing else. That's why we have two rules, Don't be Disruptive and Stay on Topic. I had asked a group in their private staff channel, instead of publicly in-thread, to please address the drama elsewhere, such as the other group's comment section, through direct messages, or through other credit/extra pages in their next release and not on the chapter comment thread. I warned them that it would most likely result in me having to lock the thread because it would derail the thread from story discussion and I didn't want that to happen. The group expressed dissatisfaction at what they viewed as censorship and decided to pull their chapters from MangaDex. The entire situation could have been handled better on both sides but it's a shame that it led to readers being deprived of said group's work. I'd like to note that since that incident, the interpretation of the rules has changed: all contents of a release is fair game for discussion in chapter comment threads, even drama. The group in question received no punishment before or after the decision, they were only ever asked to take the discussion elsewhere.

"Well, how come you won't put rules in place for credit pages to be drama free or enforce your own rules on credit/extra pages?"

One thing that most everyone on staff dislikes is the fact that most, if not all, aggregators will alter releases to suit their own needs, usually by removing the credit page of a release to fool a reader into believing that the aggregator is producing content. We have a very firm policy of not modifying a release in any way unless a credit/extra page is *extremely* offensive or the content of the chapter is obviously a troll. To date, we have only removed one credit page from a release because it contained an extremely offensive reference to the recent New Zealand shooting.

And once again, we don't believe that we have the right to be the gatekeepers for scanlator content or morality. If groups want to call each other out, that's their business.

"But what about you guys going legit!? Doesn't that mean that you're going to dump the scanlators after they helped make your platform popular just so you can make money?"

@Holo has stated publicly that the only way he would consider going legit is if he were able to afford to purchase the licenses or sub-license options for most, if not all of the content currently in our library. He would also hire current scanlator teams in order to produce future content and continue working on the series that they love.

In order to do that, we would need to raise *hundreds of millions of dollars* and in addition get every single Japanese/Korean/Chinese publisher to agree to let their content be hosted alongside that of their competitors. The idea of us going legit and remaining what we are is laughable. We have no interest in going legit in any other form than this silly pipe dream of ours. It's a recurring meme on our Discord and we're not shy about talking about it if it's brought up. I myself like to refer to all the yachts I'm going to buy when we go legit.

And even if Elon Musk slipped us a billion dollars, and we were able to go legit, why would that be a bad thing? We would be able to further support the industry that creates the content we love by promoting official content and passing along revenue to content creators, as well as hire scanlators to work on their titles legally. How is this in any way controversial? Is it really so bad to dream an impossible dream?

We thank you for taking the time to read this wall of text. Honestly, we're all tired of this drama and just want to move on with our lives but it bothered us that so much information and lies were floating around out there that were designed to make us look bad and scare readers into think that there has been a mass exodus of groups. We felt it needed to be addressed. Of the thousands of groups we have on the site, less than 0.1% left us. We wish them well.

We are always open to talking about our goals and our rules. We are constantly changing our rules and website in response to feedback from our users and we try to give everyone a fair hearing. No one is perfect, not even us. Ultimately, talking things out is always better than playing the "He said, she said" game.

-The Mangadex Team
Last edited 1 mo ago by Zephyrus.
Avatar
.
Avatar
too long
Avatar
hi reddit
Avatar
Avatar
That feel when our group began all of this.

Avatar
Nice.

Avatar
Thanks for clarifying what happened.
Avatar
How about reining in this rabid community that whines when groups don't want to upload here.
Avatar
>Actually, we do. Currently, our supporters are generous enough that not only are we able to comfortably pay our bills on a monthly basis

I hope this part gets spammed on various Discord chats to make it seem like you are living off of this @Zephyrus
1 mo ago This post by happysheep has been marked as moderated.
Zephyrus OP
Forum Moderator
Avatar
@idle_af

We're referring to website bills *not* our personal bills.

@happysheep
Please do not post low-effot posts in an effort to insult a group. Please consider posting more thoughtfully with fleshed out criticism in the future.

Thanks,

Zeph
Plykiya
Public Relations
Avatar
@idle_af Wouldn't be the first time things were taken out of context, lol
1 mo ago This post by Houdini has been marked as moderated.
Avatar
I read all of it and I agree with all of it.

AMA
Zephyrus OP
Forum Moderator
Avatar
Mod Post:

If I see any more low effort posts like 'Jaimini's Box gay' you'll receive a 2 day comment ban. Please post thoughtful criticism or none at all.
Avatar
Thanks for clarifying~
Holo
Administrator
Avatar
Keep it civil, guys.
Avatar
imagine getting angry over someone telling you to take off topic personal drama stuff to literally anywhere else
Avatar
Elon Musk to the rescue when.