main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Awards Post-2016 FanFic Awards discussion/survey

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Chyntuck, May 19, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    That's pretty much why I don't think it should be posted. Also, we're such a small community now that it would lead to people making guesses as to who voted for them, and, you know... internet drama ahead.
     
    yahiko likes this.
  2. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you for the quick response. :)

    And - eek - not that kind of transparency. I would most certainly not want to see these numbers.

    One thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the people-oriented approach (*NF) vs. efficiency-oriented approach (*ST). Not just in the case of awards this year. Any year. Regardless of who the volunteers are and who the overseer is. There should not be a setback that excuses such a change, but an assurance that such a thing won't happen, because this is ultimately for people. No era should get special treatment of what ultimately is the negative kind thereof. The solutions should benefit people, not the team.

    This is not to say that the overall framework is not good - apart from little things like this that an average individual won't even spot - it's a wonderful thing and the first sentence in my lost post was about how it can serve for years to come, with minor alterations.
     
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm pretty sure that the people whose fics had received a single nomination in a given category but ended up going to the voting round (and eventually winning) in Saga would disagree that this was a negative change, though ;)

    Also, I'm not too sure how changing the rule benefited the Saga team (who, incidentally, are people as well and volunteered a lot of their time).
     
  5. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    Okay, now that I've mentioned the banner thing in Comms...I'm trying to think of what worked well during the awards I participated in or modded, but that was over a decade ago. They were humongous undertakings back then and lasted hours. (I don't suggest taking a 45 minute interval for entertainment. It can be cute, but it's not what anyone's here for.) I can't speak to how the awards went this year, but the survey questions got me thinking.

    Doing an awards twice a year might alleviate some of the burden, and would have definitive cut-off dates. Someone suggested doing PT in the spring, Saga in the summer, Beyond in the fall, but the issue with those is, when are the eligibility dates? Does each era have its own eligibility period? That would be difficult to manage. We used to divide Jan-June, then July-Dec and do the awards in Aug/Sep and Jan/Feb. And this was back when the boards were really, really busy, when a story could be updated at 7 AM and then be on page 15 three hours later.

    Saga always has been and always will be a problem. It's huge. And with "Rogue One" coming out, it's just going to get worse. Maybe in the larger eras/categories, require three nominations rather than two? And for smaller ones, just one nomination?

    Or, limit the number of categories a story can be nominated for, or maybe something like the number of characters a fic can have nominated, so that the final vote isn't 6 from one fic and 1 from another? Certainly, I think if a story has won something in a category, it should not be eligible for that category in future, even if it's really long and keeps going. There was someone from 2003-2006 who won Best Author several times for the exact same story, and I don't think that's fair.

    I think the list of eligible fics is really helpful, and I really admire Chyntuck for the work she did on that. I get antsy just thinking about having to go back a couple of pages. XD

    Definitely have "Most Underrated". That's always been a good category.

    I hope I'm coherent. I've had a migraine for several days now.
     
  6. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    I feel that Saga could have been broken into Prelogy and Original Trilogy for instance.
    But maybe this would have created too many categories in the end.
    Nevertheless, there is an imbalance between Saga and other periods.
     
    Ewok Poet and Chyntuck like this.
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The risk with three nominations per category is that the nominations process becomes really tedious for nominators and thus a disincentive to nominate -- it does mean 45 nominations in total in one era only -- but it could solve the issue of an exceedingly long nominations thread without a convoluted filter. It could also make it worse, but I'd rather not think about that too much :eek: What do people think?


    On the other hand, I think that we should maintain two nominations per category in the smaller eras. What made filtering easy in all eras besides Saga wasn't the number of eligible fics alone, it was the combination of the number of eligible fics and the number of nominations we received. Because Before has fewer nominators, going with one nomination per category could easily result in an absurdly large number of nominees going to the voting round.
    *overseer hat on* We actually discussed reestablishing Most Underrated in the volunteer team before we agreed on the final categories and we found that it was difficult to come up with a practical criterion for it. How do volunteers check that a fic is eligible for this category? It's easy for one-shots where you can go and count the reviews, but what about multi-post fics where the number of reviews varies wildly from one update to the next? Also, there are quite a few stories that have a large following judging from the variety of people who review them, but not everyone reviews every update and as a result they don't get so many reviews in the end. It was probably possible to eyeball it at the time when the fanfic boards were much busier, but given the small size of the fanfic community today I can't think of a way to define this category that doesn't entail volunteers going through pages and pages of a long!fic to determine if it's eligible for Most Underrated or not, and let's face it, that's not going to happen.

    *overseer hat off* However, it's a category that I'd really like to see reinstated, so if someone can propose a way to make it practical I'll definitely support the idea.
     
    yahiko and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    My own two cents about the Saga rule change: my impression there was that it was done mainly in order to avoid a too-large voting pool and a too-long excerpts thread—right?

    But I guess for my own part I have trouble seeing that as a huge enough problem to warrant a rule change. Quite the contrary: it seems like more of an embarras de richesse than anything else. I doubt that a super-long excerpts thread would really have put anyone off from voting in any serious way; people can always look at the index post(s) and decide from the titles, authors, etc. which excerpts they will spend the most time reading, and skip to those. It doesn't seem like the excerpts thread is really meant to be read in detail from top to bottom, word for word.

    I do take the point about the extra work it made for the team, and I appreciate immensely all the work they put in. But item 17 or no item 17, I think the fairest thing would have been to just bite the bullet and go through with the established rules, and then afterward, at this feedback stage, say, "Gee, Saga was way too big this time around; what can we do to make things more manageable next time? Oh, hey, what about maybe change the filter to work by author instead of by title?" And then apply the new approach to all the eras next time around. (And yes, as I've said before, I am fine with the author-three-times filter for next year if we decide to go that route.)

    Put another way, I think it's fine to stick with an imperfect rule or filter just long enough to get through to the end, and I just didn't quite see why this particular rule needed to be changed right at that red-hot second as opposed at next year's awards. We can learn as we go.

    As for alleviating the amount of work on the Saga issue, was it not an option to call in mods or admins to help? My understanding was that, while they were mainly staying out of things, they were indeed there if needed.
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Yes, with one additional parameter: the fact that participation in nominations in Saga was disappointingly low. When the largest era by far! in terms of eligible fics has only two-thirds of the nominators that participated in ST (an era with 33 eligible fics, i.e. one-tenth of the Saga fics), it does make you wonder about the interest of the user base in that era.
    There are at least four people who thought that an excerpts thread that can't be read in a week is no excerpts thread at all, and that would be the three Saga volunteers and myself :p

    *overseer hat off* I know that I wouldn't be comfortable voting if I haven't read at least all the excerpts that are provided by authors, that's what the excerpts thread is for IMO. If we go by the logic that the excerpts thread isn't meant to be read in detail word for word (or at the very least to give people who want to read it the option to do so) we could just as well do away with the excerpts thread and tell people, "go ahead and vote for the fics you already know".
    As I said earlier in my reply to EP, I'm not too sure why you would think that this was about the amount of work for the Saga volunteers. Not only did we (the Saga volunteers and I) not even consider that issue, it was actually not an issue at all. We ended up sending the same number of PMs to the same number of authors, getting the same number of replies and posting the excerpts as we would have done had we followed the original rule.
    For the same reason that a decision had to be taken in Beyond about how we apply the filter for fics going to the voting round, which you are aware of since you were a Beyond volunteer and were part of that decision ;) Incidentally, I'm far more concerned about those decisions, since they impacted the way we would apply the filter in all the other eras, whereas the Saga decision impacted Saga and Saga alone.



    -----------------------

    Which leads me to an addendum to my earlier post about the filter: when we list the rules about which fics go to the voting round, we need to specify in which order they will be applied. This year we had only two rules, namely 2+ nominations to go to the voting round and no fic in more than three categories, and the order in which you apply them does make a difference *pulls hair out*
     
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    There's a middle ground between reading every single word of the thread and only voting for the fics one knows. Namely, one can start by skimming, and then read more closely on those that catch their fancy—but some are going to catch the person's fancy, and some aren't, and as a result people aren't necessarily going to read every single word in that thread with equal attention, whatever the total length of the thread. As I see it, a longer list of excerpts just means that the skimming stage takes a little longer.

    Of course it's not only about the amount of work for the Saga volunteers. As to why I would think that, well, there was a lot of talk around that time of making things more manageable, so I figured that was a combination of "more manageable for the readers" and "more manageable for the Saga volunteers." I'm glad to hear it wasn't an issue in the end.

    Yes, I was part of that decision. But that doesn't seem like a completely analogous example: in the Beyond situation there was (as I recall) no publicly posted rule about the order of applying the filters, whereas in the Saga decision a publicly posted rule was being changed pretty much unilaterally.
     
    Raissa Baiard and Ewok Poet like this.
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Findswoman I'm not going to argue with you about how people read the excerpts thread, because that depends in the end on how every user approaches the excerpts phase and you and I clearly don't have the same approach (which is perfectly fine, to each his/her own). However I will reply to your point below:
    Here's a brief explanation for those who have no idea what were talking about.
    • The two filters we had were a) 2+ nominations to go to the voting round, and b) no fic to the voting round in more than three categories. We had not specified which rule we would apply first and which rule we would apply second, and it turned out it can make a difference.
    • By applying these filters in the order stated above in Beyond, at least one category would have had only 2 fics going to the voting round.
    • By applying these filters the other way around, there was a slight reconfiguration of the voting list. A few more fics went to the voting round and all categories had at least 3 nominees.
    • However, this reconfiguration also meant that two authors who would have been competing against each other found themselves competing with a whole bunch of other fics. There was also one fic that dropped out of one category because of this reconfiguration.
    There was no particular requirement in the Guide thread that there should be at least three nominees per category, so going by the book our decision could very well have been to stick to the order in which the filters were listed in the Guide thread and have categories with only two nominees. The bottom line is that we (the Beyond volunteers and I) went with what we agreed made sense for the voting list.

    We knew at that stage this decision didn't change the voting list in ST, but we had no idea what the nominations lists would be like in Before and Saga. It could very well have been that the approach we chose in Beyond would affect nominees in Before and Saga negatively -- because, of course, once the filter had been applied in one way in one era, it should in principle be applied the same way in all other eras, right?

    So my answer to Finds's point is that no, it's not a completely analogous example. It's not analogous because, when deciding in which order the two filters should be applied, the Beyond volunteers and I took a "unilateral" decision that affected all other eras, and that's not a small difference.

    (For the record, I did run the filters both ways in all eras, just to be on the safe side. If we'd found that running the filters differently in other eras made a difference by including/excluding far more people, I would have consulted the volunteers of that era, exactly like I consulted the Beyond volunteers, and there would have been an announcement if the rules weren't implemented the same way in all the eras -- which is what ultimately happened, but for different reasons).

    And while I'm at it, I'm going to say one more thing, because making the issue of the Saga nominations list about transparency is rubbing me the wrong way. Lack of transparency means that there are no checks and balances, and Saga had exactly the same checks and balances as all other eras. Four people decided unanimously in Saga to change the filter, in exactly the same way and following exactly the same process as four people decided unanimously in Beyond about how to implement the filters (which could affect all other eras, without consulting people from other eras, but never mind that). It's fair to say that you think the Saga people took the wrong decision, but to say that their decision wasn't transparent is not only grossly unfair but also rather insulting.
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Just to address the very last point: it is not, and never has been, my intention to insult or show disrespect to the Saga volunteer team in any way. It's possible to disagree with some of the decisions made in Saga while still appreciating the hard work the volunteers put in overall—and that I do, greatly. =D=

    But I do wish to point out that when I used the term "transparent" in my original poll responses above, it was with regard to a completely different issue from the Saga rule change:

     
  13. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    In order to solve everything next time: just vote for me in every category :cool:
     
    Kahara, Chyntuck and Ewok Poet like this.
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_batting]

    Maybe to solve the whole PM author thingy, hold off on doing it for every author but only for those who are nominated for a slew of categories and then assign a volunteer to take care of all those messages. I.e., if there are 5 authors who need PMs one person takes care of that - of course for whatever era/timeline they're working in.
     
    Kahara, Chyntuck, Findswoman and 2 others like this.
  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Sure! #yakikoforpresident XD

    I was too using the meaning of the word Findswoman had on her mind as well, same for the situation. I never implied, nor thought anything else.

    Hope this makes more sense. I am immensely grateful for all the good changes this year brought, as a matter of a fact! ^:)^@};-
     
  16. TheChosenSolo

    TheChosenSolo Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2011
    The Random Award definitely had the feel of someone just dipping their toe in the water to test it, with only 5 nominations and about 10 votes. I personally feel it might have been a greater success if we'd specified specific categories as opposed to having the nominator come up with their own category to nominate. We actually discussed specific crack!categories, but it was a near-unanimous decision to implement the Random Award as we saw it this year. (In case you're curious, since I had no idea what a crack!category was, and still kinda don't, I actually voted not to have any. Then Chyn asked me to be her help on the Random Award, which is probably ironic in some sorta way.) I would like to see how we can develop it in coming years.
     
  17. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    My concern about the Saga rule change was that it represented such a significant change from the rules as written and was done late in the game, and only applied to that era. All other eras,even the relatively small ST era, had authors who received more than three nominations. While I understand why the Saga team instituted the change, I would rather have dealt with an unwieldy excerpts post. To me, it's not quite the same as the filtering decision in Beyond (in retrospect, perhaps we should have discussed it with the full volunteer committee, since it did impact all eras). The filters applied were the same as last year's, and it was clear that under those circumstances it was possible to be nominated and not go to the voting round. Again, the Saga filter just seemed like such a huge change.

    Also, this thread is meant for people to bring their concerns and suggestions to the table, in order to find better ways to do the Awards next year. Last year's concerns that Before was overshadowed by being lumped with Saga led to establishing a new Era category, which I think has been viewed as a change for the better. Arguing against those who do bring their concerns here seems counterproductive.
     
  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Findswoman Ewok Poet I'm glad to hear it wasn't an issue in the end ;)

    ----------------------------

    About fics nominated in 4+ categories and how they should or should not go to the voting round:

    *overseer hat off, personal opinion*

    I personally don't see that asking authors in which categories they want their fics to go to the voting round is more transparent than a mathematical filter, chiefly for the following two reasons:

    1) When you PM an author to say "your fic was nominated in these five categories and you must choose three of them", that author has access to more information about the nominations s/he received than other authors who were nominated. IMO that's not transparent at all. Either no author should be told in how many categories they were nominated, or the entire nominations list should be made public (and the latter is a baaaad idea IMO).

    2) The awards process isn't about what authors think they did well during the past year, but about what readers think the authors did well during the past year. The primary criterion for fics going to the voting round should be the number of nominations they received from readers in a given category, not the author's preference.

    *overseer hat on, practical considerations*

    (I'm just putting this here for next year's volunteer team, since this will be their reference thread.)

    Whether you choose to go with PMs or with a mathematical filter, you definitely need a provision so that no category is depopulated. The experience from 2015 and 2016 shows that you can easily have only 2 nominees in a category with either model, but you could just as easily end up with only one if the stars don't align.

    However, if you choose to go with PM-ing the authors:
    1. PM-ing authors whose fic was nominated in 4+ categories may mean that you need to postpone the moment when you finalise your list of fics that go to the voting round. This in turn impacts the moment when you can request excerpts from other authors, and therefore the moment when you can launch the excerpt thread.
    2. You might also find yourself with authors whose fic received a single nomination per category in 4+ categories, and who end up going to the voting round once you've sorted out the authors whose fics got 2+ nominations per category. This will also require you to allocate more time to finalising your voting list and requesting excerpts from everyone.
    3. You need a provision to deal with absentee authors and authors who don't reply to your PM within the timeframe you've set for yourself (we had quite a few of those).
    --------------------------------------
    EDIT: Raissa Baiard As I said in an earlier reply, bringing concerns to the table is not only perfectly fine, it's what this thread is for. Jumping to conclusions such as "the volunteers thought it's too much work" is not a concern in my book, but that chapter is now closed.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Re. "Most Underrated"

    At the point of asking authors to submit synopses or extracts, you could ask them to state if they have had any reviews or feedback. Not asking for numbers, but writers should know if they have had that or not.
     
  20. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    While I have no problem with the motives of the team that voted for the Saga changes -- simplifying things for the voters is a sensible idea to keep in mind -- it's also clear that I'm not the only one who was left puzzled by that decision. I don't think anyone meant to put this year's people on the spot by bringing it up, and certainly I did not. I do think it's important to consider what to do next year, so I'm glad that there is discussion about that.

    What I would like to see next year is a situation where changes that affect a large percentage of the nominations going to voting round should either A) not happen during the awards or B) require consulting the rest of the team and the forum users.

    As for what to do about Saga next year, I already made some possibly usable (or not) suggestions up-thread. And I've seen some other good ideas here too. Personally I would be fine with an "excerpts" thread that just had links. That was the section that I actually used most when voting; I would trawl through the links and head off from there to sample unfamiliar stories.
     
    Chyntuck, yahiko, Ewok Poet and 3 others like this.
  21. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    I found the voting forms so huge and daunting, that I wanted to complete one in one sitting, and having a page of excerpts was almost a godsend, so I could sample and choose from them.
    And if someone had not provided anything, hey, it made my job easier; less to read.

    Conversely though, if I could not choose between the available material and followed the link to the missing fic, I then felt that that person had an unfair advantage, laying their entire story before me, rather than the few lines.
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  22. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    Speaking on excerpts, and just tossing an idea out there: I don't feel they ever really show enough of the story. You're getting a sliver, and that's not enough to judge a work on. Maybe do away with them entirely, and just link to the stories? I know, this gives shorter stories an advantage, but perhaps really long stories should have a separate category just for them (Best Epic?), and have an excerpts thread for that category alone, so that those with less time or attention span can skip it if it's too much for them? Not the best solution, I know. Just throwing ideas into the void and seeing what sticks.
     
  23. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Best Epic is a category and there's a word minimum of 30K for a story to "qualify" for an epic.
     
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  24. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 7, 2002
    ... Right. Duh. I actually knew that. I'm operating on three hours of sleep.
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  25. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    On that point, I would like to see a return of the differentiation between one-shots/vignettes and short stories, because really one-shots are an entirely different animal to multi-chaptered fics.

    So different categories for one-shots (one post), short story (5k to 30k words) and epic (over 30k words)
     
    Chyntuck, Kahara, jcgoble3 and 5 others like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.