Title: RiaR Voting: A Suggestion
Description: This one's (very) open for discussion
J D Dunsany - January 9, 2011 12:07 PM (GMT)
Thanks go to Stu for getting me thinking about the voting system of RiaR. I'll be interested in what everyone thinks of the proposal below.
RiaR. I have my own theories on why it's so popular, but they're not really relevant here. What is relevant is how (or, for that matter, whether) we should respond to those months when, for whatever reason, the number of entries is particularly high. The current comp has a quite frankly alarming number of entries at this early stage. While it's incredibly gratifying to see that level of response, I have a couple of... well, 'concerns' is probably too strong a word... 'niggles' is perhaps better.
For one thing, a large amount of entries has implications for voting. I think it's only fair that, once the number of entries hit a certain level, the voting window needs to be expanded accordingly. Boltholers are generally quite busy people and it's perhaps a little unfair to expect them to read a novella's worth of fiction and vote on it in just a week. For the current comp, as things stand at the moment, you can expect the voting window to be at least ten or eleven days. There is, having said that, a natural limit to how long the voting window can last - otherwise people begin to lose interest. Two weeks is probably the maximum.
There's also an issue with the votes themselves. It's hard enough casting three votes for first, second and third on a 'normal' RiaR. On a bumper RiaR it gets almost painful, particularly when the standard of entries is as high as it's been so far this month. So, I have a proposal:
When the number of entries reaches a certain point, extra votes become available to voters. The 'thresholds' that would trigger these extra votes and the value of each of them are outlined below. I would hope that the extra votes would do three things. Firstly, they would give entrants a better chance of gaining recognition for their efforts. Secondly, they would make voting a little easier for voters. Thirdly, they might just make the competitions more competitive.
Here's the nitty gritty.
1-5 entries. The voting will be conducted by poll. One vote only per voter. (I can't honestly see this ever becoming necessary, but it's there nevertheless.)
6-25 entries. The voting system is as it is at the moment. Each voter has three votes to cast. First place gets three points, second place two, third place one.
26-35 entries. A fourth vote becomes available and the points gained are as follows: 1st place = 5 points, 2nd place = 3 points, 3rd place = 2 points, 1st place = 1 point.
36+ entries. A fifth vote becomes available and the points gained are as follows: 1st place = 7 points, 2nd place = 5 points, 3rd place = 3 points, 4th place = 2 points, 1st place = 1 point.
In the proposals above, the points are deliberately weighted (slightly) to the first (and, later, second) place so that winning someone's first choice vote becomes a little more of a big deal.
Feel free to discuss, debate, deride and deliberate as you see fit. (That's English teacher for 'over to you lot' ;) )
Pip - January 9, 2011 12:42 PM (GMT)
I think that's probably a good idea, JDD, and, if nothing else, the sheer novelty of a new voting system might prod more people into action.
Another thought I had a while ago when there was a particularly low volume of voters, was that in actual fact, when you get down to it, there's no real motivation to vote, if you're entering competitively. In fact, it's a disadvantage; by voting you gain no benefit yourself, and you give points to other entries. Now, of course RiaR isn't really about winning, it's more about developing writey craft and giving people encouragement and crit, but I think that were voting to have a positive impact on your chances (no matter how small) rather than a negative one, it might give people the little extra incentive they need to put aside some time to vote. However, I'm stumped as to what benefit voting could incur - my initial thought was a basic +1 point to add to one of your entries, but I feel that might be too arbitrary, and it would lead to occasions where someone loses by a point and blames it on not having time to vote.
schaferwhat‽ - January 9, 2011 01:11 PM (GMT)
Neat idea and I cannot fault the logic or arithmetic on display. Further to pippling's concerns I for one am less worried about it and if anything those participating are often the only voters I know I only bother if I feel likely to vote as I can't expect votes if not participating fully. The thing that would really help is getting others voting even if they aren't entrants theories off how too achieve such an aim are manifold but alas all illegal.
the_unchanged - January 9, 2011 01:17 PM (GMT)
I think the simplest way would be to make a stipulation that voting is compulsory should you wish to enter the competition.
No voting = disqualification. Pure and simple.
This would mean a more even vote to entry ratio.
As for JDDs above voting recommendations I concur with them wholeheartedly.
Tyrant - January 9, 2011 01:35 PM (GMT)
The additional votes becoming available dependent on volume of entries makes sense, and I agree with it.
A random thought occurred the other day, what's the policy if two or more stories have equal points?
Tyrant - January 9, 2011 01:35 PM (GMT)
I think the_unchanged's idea makes sense too.
J D Dunsany - January 9, 2011 01:50 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Tyrant @ Jan 9 2011, 02:35 PM)|
| The additional votes becoming available dependent on volume of entries makes sense, and I agree with it.|
A random thought occurred the other day, what's the policy if two or more stories have equal points?
They become joint winners for that month and both get a spot on the Winners' Thread.
Some interesting ideas here. I'll comment later once a few more people have had the chance to air their views.
Pip - January 9, 2011 01:56 PM (GMT)
TU's idea would doubtless solve the problem, but I worry it might be a little harsh, and might actually decrease the number of entries, which would be a shame. Also, how would it work, exactly? Say everyone enters, pledging to vote, but I take it you wouldn't have to vote straight away, so what would happen if someone said they'd vote at the end of the voting period (due to being busy) and during the voting period accrued a large number of points, but then they didn't vote - would all those people's votes just become null and void, or would they be allowed to vote again?
Personally, I wouldn't want to win by default if I was placed second and the winner ran out of time to vote.
the_unchanged - January 9, 2011 02:00 PM (GMT)
Schafe, I think targeting newbs is an excellent way of getting fresh input. However this is often tricky as it a) they might find it intimidating and B) most of them might not know what RiaR is.
I think it would be interesting to have an introductory section for newcomers where stuff is explained and RiaR could be highlighted as a way for them to begin posting up fiction but also getting used to commenting and critiquing.
Just a thought though.
For me RiaR is good because you are generally guaranteed a quick fix of comments and discussion of your work and it always helps improving your skills.
J D Dunsany - January 9, 2011 02:16 PM (GMT)
Targeting noobs on an ad hoc friendly basis is probably the way to go and is an excellent idea.
As to penalising people for not voting, no. I'm fundamentally opposed to it. I think we make it clear that voting when you enter is the 'gentlemanly' thing to do, but I'm not really happy with being so regimented (and potentially alienating) about it.
I would like to encourage non-writers to vote, too. Not sure what the best way to do that might be, though.
Raziel4707 - January 9, 2011 02:54 PM (GMT)
My two pennies worth:
That system works for me, JD. It adds an extra reward for being someone's favourite (afterall, it's often obvious which one your favourite is even if second and third prove rather difficult to decide on) and allows us to reward a greater slice of the entrants. In honesty if the stories were many but mediocre I really wouldn't think this was worth it, but it seems that the quantity is representative mainly of the level on inspiration created by the prompt word. How many times has a story failed to even place, when on quality and entertainment value it might well have been a winner on another month?
As for punitive measures, no. There are no prizes on offer and there are enough people voting to make the results pretty conclusive and representative every month. A person entering without voting is usually the exception as opposed to the rule, and as long as it remains that way I think we'd be "over egging the pudding" to bring in punitive legislation for what is undoubtedly a very successful competition. If there was a person who was entering all the time, posting several stories and never bothering to read or comment, I'd be inclined to say that they shouldn't be overly surprised if people do not bother either reading or voting for their stories. We must remember that often it isn't possible to do all the reading required, though personally I would usually say if there is a reason that is stopping me from voting. This month, for example, there is every chance that I won't find the time. I intend to try, but as many of you are aware I am stupidly busy at the moment.
This is a little give and take that benefits us all, and not just in that we get recognition but we get, for a few fleeting minutes, the undivided attention of a large section of the forum. This attention, criticism and support is invaluable to our development and I count myself as one of those who has definitely benefited from the feedback.
As for noobs, perhaps some sort of "welcome to the forum" newsletter could be arranged, outlying competitions, points of interest, people to avoid when not armed (LL) and who their moderators are should they have a suggestion or whatever. I know all this info is available on threads, but what a good way to make people feel welcome and involved. Anyone could write something like that. Maybe we could elect a forum rep or something to turn up and roll out the welcome mat to noobs.
the_unchanged - January 9, 2011 03:08 PM (GMT)
Just a thought as to the newbs but an introductory thread for them could be an idea to put forward to Pyro. That way you could use it to highlight the RiaR?
As for no vote no entry, I doubt you'd ever have to enforce I think most people would just get the message, I think essentially most entrants will vote just time permitting I suppose.
As for non entrants voting? Perhaps offering to review or crit their own non RiaR fictions might work?
the_unchanged - January 9, 2011 03:11 PM (GMT)
I think that last paragraph sones up my feelings on the noob issue perfectly Raz!
J D Dunsany - January 9, 2011 03:34 PM (GMT)
Thank you, Raz and t_u, for your comments.
I like the idea of a welcome thread - or possibly PM that's automatically generated when someone registers (can we do that, pyro?) - which highlights the various things going on.
I'll give that one some thought definitely.
Maugan Ra - January 9, 2011 04:22 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Raziel4707 @ Jan 9 2011, 03:54 PM)|
| , people to avoid when not armed (LL) and who their moderators are should they have a suggestion or whatever. |
*feels mildly insulted* :P
Anyway, the extended voting system works for me. I really must get around to adding a story or two of my own to this bafflingly large pile.
I am also in favour of not discriminating against folks who don't vote. If there were prizes on offer, then yeah, maybe, but since the only prize is bragging rights (I do so love my bragging rights) I think we should be lenient here.
Green River - January 9, 2011 06:33 PM (GMT)
I put your suggestion for an 'introductory message' in for a kind of 'feasability investigation' in the Moderator's Forum, Raziel.
Personally, I think it would prove to be a good macroscopic solution to a lot of very particular problems, usually regarding participation. It would stimulate at least some to try out what amounts to our 'community events'. At the current time, everything is very haphazard and informal - one only knows what's really going on if one is a regular anyway. For something like JDD's RiaR, which has become a cornerstone of 'community life', then I feel that an introductory message pointing it out (and other things) would do a lot to inform newcomers of the general structure of the forum and what they might like to get involved in to kickstart their enjoyment of the place.
All too often we see newcomers register, post up some fanfiction, get disgruntled at a lack of replies, then leave. With more community involvement, building relationships and so forth (as Raziel did), newcomers would ths find their own contributions garnering much more interest, in a kind of 'positive feedback loop'.
The Wrath - January 11, 2011 02:31 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (J D Dunsany @ Jan 9 2011, 02:16 PM)|
| I would like to encourage non-writers to vote, too. Not sure what the best way to do that might be, though. |
I think the issue with this very valid idea (which I wholeheartedly endorse) is that, if readers are anything like me, there is a feeling that unless you're willing to contribute you probably arent in a place to criticise / compliment, beyond the basic "I liked this / This sucked".
I know that I thought quite long and hard before voting, and even when I did I was very circumspect with any feedback, purely on what I felt was appropriate from a non-writer. In fact I think I even posted a question asking if it was OK for non-writers to vote, so maybe having something clarifying that would be a good first step?
Back to the topic at hand, the voting system as outlined above seems fair, good work.
|QUOTE (Green River)|
|All too often we see newcomers register, post up some fanfiction, get disgruntled at a lack of replies, then leave. With more community involvement, building relationships and so forth (as Raziel did), newcomers would ths find their own contributions garnering much more interest, in a kind of 'positive feedback loop'.|
Indeed. I've spent a couple of months butting into other peoples conversations on here before posting anything up, which seems to have worked well as everyone has said nice things on my RiaR entry. What made it easy was that every time I butted in or spouted an unwarranted opinion, someone replied (even if it was shafe :P ). Without that interaction, I would probably have not bothered logging in again and just lurked.
The Wrath - January 11, 2011 02:39 PM (GMT)
Sorry for the double post but this is super relevant to the discussion on how to get newbs to participate more touched on above. Just seen the new compo for quotage, and will be entering, but the intro post says something to the effect of 'rules will be the same as last time'.
Speaking as a relative newb, and one who wasn't here 'last time', it's exactly that sort of thing that can put people off. Reiterating the rules or just slapping in a linky to the previous iterations' thread may well reap benefits.