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FltAdml. Wolf

Suggestions for improving 2012 Contest

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A few people have made suggestions in the shoutbox. Please re-post them here. We can consider them together.

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Running a casptains Council only vote along side the current system in that each month could have two winners. In the event that the council picks the same sim as the members of the fleet, that simmers sim goes into the final in both sections.

End of the year, the fleet votes on the winners as per normal procedure but the cc also pick their best of the best in a similar process. Thus, potentially there are two top simmers, one winner via peer group and one via the 118 command team.

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It is a difficult situation. A lot of people vote for the one they think is the best, and most of the time, it's coincidence that almost a whole crew from the same ship votes for one of their fellow crewmates sims.

Well, I've got nothing (unless you think that those on a simmers crew cannot vote for that sim a good idea).

Edited by Deliera

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I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that I picked that sim because it hit a chord with me in a way the other two did not. Obviously, the other two were also very good sims, otherwise they would not have made it all the way to the very very end. I personally think its very hard to know why everyone voted the way they did - I would hope it was for the same reasons I did, because they enjoyed that particular sim the most.

I did not join the crew of the Aurora/Avandar until October, and I hadn't really become an active member of the forum until November or so - so I didn't vote on much as far as Top Sims went, not until the very end of the year.

"For this last winner ONLY One crew (that ship's) voted for the winning sim from the first round till the finals – nopony from any other ship voted for that sim in any round. Isn't that "stuffing the ballots"? This success is open invitation for cheaters!"

I went through every round in the 2011 subforum and found the two rounds this sim was voted on, besides the final round - more than just the Aurora crew members voted for this sim.

Round 12 - Kagran Of The House Agan, + Alleran Tan, AlexV, Zonhar, Hugh Barnes, Tracey,Jayden Llewellyn

Round 20 - Toni, Chris O'Hanlon, Zonhar

Final Round - Kagran Of The House Agan, AlexV, Hugh Barnes, Ensign FluffyPants, Zonhar,Elya Tali, Alexander/Askade, LT Eeire, steveanderson, Chris O'Hanlon, Jack Mancuso

I'm not trying to dismiss the idea that it is possible the ballot box could be stuffed, because it absolutely is possible - but I also hope that we could give the winners the benefit of the doubt, unless there is a way to absolutely prove that is what happened.

My only other thought is to have the voting process be completely anonymous to everyone except for admins. We would be able to see percentages on the regular user side, but only the Admins for the forum would be able to see exactly who it was that voted for a sim - then, if they thought it was suspicious, they could further investigate.

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My suggestion is, go to a panel of some sort like the writing challenges. It is very conceivable that a ship will vote for a character on their ship, with no harm intended. When you read all of the SIMs it is easy to see they are all worthy to be where they are. The problem develops because the readers are familiar with a character on their own ship. They have shared in the experiences of that character, and while the SIM is a great snapshot...they also see a lot more of the character and its history on their ship. If you have no idea what a character is doing in a SIM...it is hard to give it enough merit to rival the character you are very familiar with.

I have served with a few of the officers that voted, and I am here to tell you personally they are not the type to stuff the ballots. I have sent a few reminders to my crew, but alas...no turnout. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. The Avandar has a HUGE forum presense, and there is nothing wrong with that. When you have a Fleet-wide contest with 120ish writers, and only 12-15 vote...it is slightly unfair, but if you don't vote for the best SIM because that SIM is from your ship...it is just as unfair. Having a dedicated panel, like the writing challenge, would remove all doubt.

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Running a casptains Council only vote along side the current system in that each month could have two winners. In the event that the council picks the same sim as the members of the fleet, that simmers sim goes into the final in both sections.

This sounds like a very good idea.

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My suggestion is, go to a panel of some sort like the writing challenges. It is very conceivable that a ship will vote for a character on their ship, with no harm intended.

I agree, too. I don't think folks intentionally "stuffed the ballots," but I know that if my vote had to go to one of two sims, of a quality I judged to be relatively equal, but one was from the Drake and one wasn't, I'd probably go subconsciously for the Drake -- because I know the backstories of the characters involved, I know the writers, and my character has interacted with the other Drakelings in a way that he hasn't with the writers of the other sim.

I also think the best way to get around this would be to have a panel, like in the writing challenges. A couple of high-ranking members could serve (or rotate) as permanent judges, and the winner or winners of the previous challenge could also judge. Whenever I participated in the writing challenges, both as a judge and as a contestant, I found the judging format was not only really fair but also something folks paid attention to.

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If there is a panel, what happens if a panel member's sim is submitted for judging?

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We can't do a judge's panel for every single round. It's too much to ask that three people read up to a 10 sims every two weeks and then rate them.

However, what if a panel of judges, who are not from the ships of the top two or three sims at the end of the year, were to be the ones to decide the winner?

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I think that could work very well - or something similar, like a revolving panel of judges? It could fall on certain people at different times of the year, or something.

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Speaking as a former member of the Aurora, I don't believe for a second that there's any 'ballot stuffing' going on in the topsim voting. There are essentially two things to consider:

- For whatever reason, the Aurora/Avandar has a really high proportion of forum activity. This is not a bad thing, of course, but could sway the voting and be seen by some as 'unfair'

- There were two Aurora sims in the final 3. This clearly means any 'stuffing' of the ballot would naturally split between the two, yet the voting numbers across all three finalists were kinda even, all things considered.

The only real solution to this is to make the community more active on the forums. If a political candidate, for example, gets a high number of his constituents to vote, he's more likely to win. Simple. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that he's 'stuffed the ballot'. Just that a higher number of people who were likely to vote for him, actually voted. The answer therefore seems to be to get more people to vote.

Which, I'm aware, is easier said than done...

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However, what if a panel of judges, who are not from the ships of the top two or three sims at the end of the year, were to be the ones to decide the winner?

Yeah, this sounds like a good solution -- it's not as much work as having a panel for every round, but it still allows panel representation for the last round!

The only real solution to this is to make the community more active on the forums. If a political candidate, for example, gets a high number of his constituents to vote, he's more likely to win. Simple. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that he's 'stuffed the ballot'. Just that a higher number of people who were likely to vote for him, actually voted. The answer therefore seems to be to get more people to vote.

True, very true! It's not really fair to an active crew that they should be accused of anything when they're just on the forums a lot. There's nothing wrong with that.

But how about a relatively simple addition to the general contests? I know someone suggested something similar already, but: In order for a sim to win any Top Sim round (save the final), the sim must receive at least one vote from a person who doesn't sim aboard that ship.

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But how about a relatively simple addition to the general contests? I know someone suggested something similar already, but: In order for a sim to win any Top Sim round (save the final), the sim must receive at least one vote from a person who doesn't sim aboard that ship.

Hmm! Very interesting, very interesting!

What does everyone else think about that?

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It was my idea, so I don't get to vote :P

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I think you'd still have a problem with not having enough people from enough different ships reading all of the top sim nominees.

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The Doc does bring up a valid point. It seems like a combination of the two ideas might be necessary - a rotating panel of judges, perhaps at least one person from each ship? And if we're not sure how to choose that person, maybe it could be someone voted by the crew of that ship?

. . .

I don't know blushing.gif

Edited by Ensign FluffyPants

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I think Malcolm has a fair point and considering how many entries there are to some rounds of the top sims i'm in agreement that it would be too much work to do a judges panel for every round.

I don't agree with ballot stuffing, I think the best sim from any round should win. I can understand the point about crew unintentionally stuffing the ballots but as I have gone through the rounds I feel that the votes (from all crews) have been spread out between all entries. I think, at least for the vast majority, people are in keeping with the spirit of the competition.

I can't think of a single person who would try to stuff the ballots. I don't know why more people don't take an interest in and vote for the top sims. Perhaps a bit of PR, maybe a news snippet and a OOC point at it would draw people's attention to the fact it exists.

I remember telling someone on my crew once that I liked their sim so much that I put it up for top sim and they had no idea what I was talking about. I think the first thing to try is to get activity up.

I don't know what other ships do, but we often put out reminders to check out the top sims for whatever round is on, places of note of the forums, whatever it may be and it seems to be working as many have pointed out - we have an active crew, I think when you have people who are enthusiastic about these things it spreads around.

I like the current system. I like the fact that the people choose. We have judges doing the writing challenges, so to have the two competitions and the 2 systems is great in my opinion. There might be the odd person who would be inclined to vote tactically, I believe they really are in the minority, the more people who actually got involved the less of a problem there would be all round.

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^ I fully agree with Evanna. I think this is still a good discussion to have, but I also think she's right - the system as it is really does work. We just need to make sure more people are involved in the Top Sims process. I imagine there are a percentage of members in the fleet who don't regularly use the forums, and who have no idea about Top Sim aside from the announcements during Awards Ceremonies.

I'm not sure how to get more people involved besides simply making them more aware, but maybe that would be enough.

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(Playing devil's advocate)Let me ask this...

If a panel of judges has "too much work" reading every single sim...do the people who vote in the contest read every single sim? Or is it too much work? Is it fair to vote in this contest and not review every entry in its entirety?

It would be easy to put together a list of volunteers, add them to a group list, and when it comes time to vote...call for volunteers for the panel. Those that have time can volunteer, those that do not can sit that round out. It should not be hard to muster 5 members each round.

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I guess the answer to that depends upon how the judging panel works.

If it is the case that the judges just read the sims, choose the one they think is the top sim and then vote on that, then they are doing nothing very different to whats being done now, except that there are fewer opinions in the equation.

If however you are reading them sims and having a discussion about it then this is more time consuming. You must first read and decide which sim you think is the best and then justify it. The part that takes the extra time is that you must also take into consideration the others points. There is debate, and you may need to go back and look at things again. This is a good thing in a way, but more time consuming.

It also depends on the judges themselves. If judges are simply selected from a random group of volunteers or whatever. People naturally have their preferences - some like action, some like mystery, others romance. Any panel of judges would need to be as fair as possible.

For example. I believe the judges of the writing challenge produce good, high quality sims themselves. They are experienced and have been in the community long enough to tell a good sim from a bad or average one. We would need a panel like that. (That limits the pool of volunteers a bit.)

I do believe that most people read all the sims before they vote, I believe that people who vote in the competition are actually interested in it and the sims that are nominated. There may be the odd person who only reads one or some of them and then votes but overall I think the majority will read them all. They don't all come in at once, they come in dribs and drabs over the course of the round. If you check in regularly it's easier and more manageable to keep up to date with whats been nominated.

At the end of the day, the more people who get involved and take an interest in the competition then the less impact any little things like that would have overall.

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Interesting. Thank you for your thoughts. smile.png

Perhaps the contest is best left to those who choose to participate in it.

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I think it's important that we just keep in mind the workload involved. I don't expect everyone in the fleet who votes in the Top Sims Contest to read every sim in every round. I think if you're going to vote in any given round, you should read the sims. But if I vote in one round and skip the next one entirely, that's okay.

I don't want to get into a situation where we have to create an infrastructure for judging that requires a great deal of time and effort. The scalability is just not there. It's a nice thought to say we could have a rotating panel for every round, but in reality the question is where we're going to find those people. Who's going to take responsibility for ensuring that we have judges each round? That they're judging in a timely fashion? That their results are tallied and announced? FltCapt. Riley already has to do quite a bit of busy work to keep the contest going as-is, and I don't think it's fair to add more work onto that.

I'll again reference back to the idea of having judges do the final round, and perhaps we can add a quarterly run-off or something, so that each quarter we cull down the group of sims to the top two for the quarter, leaving us with eight sims in semi-finals. The member base could vote, leaving the top three to go to the finals, where a panel then decides the winner among those top three? Something like that doesn't require the effort in putting together a panel of judges on a monthly or weekly basis.

I'm definitely in favor of more PR for the contest, but I would mention that we already announce each round on the news, and I believe I've also posted on the fleet email list a few times for the final round. So, the PR then falls on the ships to ensure that they're doing their due diligence.

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