General Thoughts and Suggestions - Forum Awards 2013 Feedback

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Rabit
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General Thoughts and Suggestions - Forum Awards 2013 Feedback

As previously mentioned, we wanted to get some feedback on the awards, especially as this was our first time. We've created a separate thread to talk about the award categories, themselves, but this thread is for providing thoughts and feedback on the process, how we did things, etc. We know there are a lot of areas we can improve the process, so we wanted to get the ball rolling on that while it was still relatively fresh in everyone's minds.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated - looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions!


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Edited by: Rabit on May 1 2014 - 10:24am
Silverleaf
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I've mentioned this before, but it'd be nice to have a small generic badge for everyone who was nominated but didn't win. 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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I think it could use some flapjacks.

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I hate to do this as I started the other discussion thread with negativity but this was badly handled.
 
You do not release the names of people who have been nominated before everybody has had a chance to nominate someone, you get more responses that way and those nominating feel like they are contributing to the process. Here we had people saying "what's the point, my choices are already in it." and the idea of these awards was to foster community spirit, not to promote apathy.
 
And using the quotes from people in the nominations thread? Bad bad bad. You can identify who has nominated whom. And those without quotes? Are you trying to say they not worthy of thought by their nominators? Look, we know that people have different styles of writing (hell, it's the primary thing we know through forum communication) and so certain people will just make a list of names and other people will list their thoughts alongside the names and that you are 'merely' repeating what you are given, but listing reasons beside people for some and not listing it for others influences voting. Look at Exceed Expectations; if a random person had joined the forum and voted without knowing anything about the people other than the names in the voting thread, do you think that all candidates were presented as equals?
 
When you decided to run this community event your job as moderators was not to just spam the thread with what others had said verbatim, you could have left the nominations thread open and then edited out anything that was not specifically a nomination if you just wanted that effect. You should have taken all the nominations in and then summarised the reasons people nominated each individual in a single sentence in your own words, possibly even having to search out a reason yourself if no one responds with a reason for a specific name, that's your responsibility as people we look to as heads of this community/those running this event.
 
Look, I might think the awards are not what I would have done, but when the community decides they want something I will do what I can to make it work. I did post information about this event in the G+ group though not with as much as completeness as I should have, and I will do better if there is another one next year, you should too.


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I worry about the recency factor when people considered who should be nominated.  If someone had said something funny recently or contributed in some other way recently, I would imagine they'd be more likely to spark a thought of "I remember when that person did that thing, so I'll nominate them".  But if a person had contributed something solid months earlier, they might not get the nod they deserved.

I don't know of a good solution to this, other than somehow tagging contributions along the way with some kind of a "nomination-worthy" tag so that when it came time for nominations, that list of tagged things formed the nomination list and all people had to do was peruse the list, remember "oh yeah, that was cool when that thing happened", and make their votes.

That would be, of course, far more work than it's worth though.


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grysqrl
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We can just have new awards every two weeks.

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I thought it went well for a first run.

I think a lot of the problems were due to it being a first run.  The recency issue, no one knew anything like this would happen, so I doubt anyone made mental notes that so and so did this or so and so was really funny there, I think that will be less of an issue next time.

The nominations were a little roughly handled, but then next time we can have a little more advance preparation and those won't be issues.

I really hope we do it again.

(Also as a nominee I would rather not have a nominated badge, that might just be me though.)

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phantaskippy wrote:

(Also as a nominee I would rather not have a nominated badge, that might just be me though.)

I wouldn't be disappointed if I had one, but if it didn't happen I wouldn't be torn up about it.


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Rabit
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Greatly appreciate the feedback and thoughts. Please keep them coming!

I'm going to post my thoughts to (hopefully) help the conversation along...

Silverleaf wrote:

I've mentioned this before, but it'd be nice to have a small generic badge for everyone who was nominated but didn't win.

Love to hear if anyone else is in favor of this. I'll wait to provide my thoughts until there's a little more from the community.

Ronway wrote:

I think it could use some flapjacks.

What couldn't?!

Matchstickman wrote:

You do not release the names of people who have been nominated before everybody has had a chance to nominate someone

That's a great idea! I haven't seen that on other forum awards processes I've been involved with, but I like it. Puts a little more work on the staff (which is probably why I haven't seen it, before ), but for a site our size, it shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Matchstickman wrote:

And using the quotes from people in the nominations thread? Bad bad bad.

Definitely agree on this one. We made the impromptu decision to go with using quotes when it was requested by the community, not thoroughly thinking through the risks.

Matchstickman wrote:

you could have left the nominations thread open and then edited out anything that was not specifically a nomination if you just wanted that effect.

Interestingly, that was the original plan.  Unfortunately, again, we as staff ran with the suggestion to make the nominations private without thoroughly thinking through the risks. Would folks be okay with us just having a nominations thread everyone posts on?

Matchstickman wrote:

You should have taken all the nominations in and then summarised the reasons people nominated each individual in a single sentence in your own words, possibly even having to search out a reason yourself if no one responds with a reason for a specific name, that's your responsibility as people we look to as heads of this community/those running this event.

To the emphasized point, I personally did not want to speak to why a person was nominated, primarily because there's a risk of me biasing perceptions (which is honestly the reason I didn't want to modify/reword the nomination blurbs, either). I can't speak for the other mods, but that was my feelings on it. Again, we didn't thoroughly think through the risks on using the blurbs when it came up.

I think in the future we'd be better off not doing the blurbs.

Of course, if we have the nominations thread, it's a completely different situation. We could decide folks can give a blurb, if they want. In fact, we could nominate a person already nominated with a completely different blurb to help strengthen that nomination. What are everyone's thoughts about that? Bad idea?

Spiff wrote:

I worry about the recency factor when people considered who should be nominated.

Agreed - always a concern with this kind of thing. (That's why studios like to release Oscar-worthy movies towards the Oscar submission deadline. )

Spiff wrote:

I don't know of a good solution to this, other than somehow tagging contributions along the way with some kind of a "nomination-worthy" tag so that when it came time for nominations, that list of tagged things formed the nomination list and all people had to do was peruse the list, remember "oh yeah, that was cool when that thing happened", and make their votes. That would be, of course, far more work than it's worth though.

I've seen a variety of things folks try to use around this, including simply "Like"ing a post, voting posts up/down, or building "Reputation". But yeah, it's a lot of work to improve something that's meant to be a fun, relaxed experience in recognizing contributions to the community.

If there were other benefits to the mechanic (that outweigh the costs and risks), it might be useful.

Anyone have any additional thoughts or ideas on this they'd like to share?

grysqrl wrote:

We can just have new awards every two weeks.

 

 

 

Yeah... That might be painful.  I'm betting you were kidding, but yeah, we could look at doing them more frequently. Maybe 2/year? What time period makes sense to folks?


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Rabit wrote:

Love to hear if anyone else is in favor of this. I'll wait to provide my thoughts until there's a little more from the community.

I am, but I'm a bit of a whore for shiny things...


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Rabit wrote:
Spiff wrote:

I worry about the recency factor when people considered who should be nominated.

Rabit wrote:

 

Agreed - always a concern with this kind of thing. (That's why studios like to release Oscar-worthy movies towards the Oscar submission deadline. )

So, I should save all of my good material for nomination season?


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Well, who am I to deny anyone my opinion wink :

Nominee badge: I'm with phantaskippy here. I was apparently nominated, but I don't want to have a badge for that. 

Nomination thread: I made some contrary noises before the whole thing, and I stand by those noises: Knowing who and how many people nominated someone is probably not a good thing. Pooling all nominations and then putting them out in one big nominee list means more work for the mods (because they'd have to sift through a lot more messages with all the double nominations) but on the other hand, that is how most 'real life' awards are handled.

Quotes: I don't believe the verbatim quotes were helpful. I think there is a distrinction to be made between awards for general conduct (Inspiring Presence, Bolster Allies, Truth Seeker and Harmony) and those for particular submissions (Exceeded Expectations, Unique Capabilities and possibly Bring What You Need). For things like a piece of artwork or a particular gaming aid, you could definitely post a link to the item and let the voters figure out for themselves what they think of it. Whereas the general conduct awards are largely based on an accumulation of positive impressions of a particular user. And for those, I don't really think that a quote (or anything else) would help people to make up their minds. As phantaskippy says, nobody knew this was going to happen, but now we do we can make an effort to make a mental note of when someone has been really helpful.

Upvoting/Liking posts: Yeah, this is (IMO) a pretty terrible concept for any forum. The only way that I have seen that work is on sites where you can give a particular project a 'thumbs up', which are then collected somewhere and once in a while the projects that met with the most approval get showcased. However, I really don't see how this or 'Liking' could actually be used to help anyone figure out who 'deserves' an award. All it gives you is a pile of odd data, heavily influenced by when something was posted, how many active users the forum has had during the time, the popularity of the user, plus a bunch of totally random stuff. 


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I was the one who suggested little blurbs next to peoples nominations. I had envisioned...I need a different word...I imagined that mods would distill everyones blurbs into a single simple blurb that encompased the general feelings of why people nominated them. I agree the verbatim blurbs were not great. 

Maybe next time folks can provide a link to somewhere on the forums highlighting a reason for the nomination?

For example. Lets say theres a catagory for "Best Fan Speculation", you can nominate your person and link to said best post/thread they made. This kinda goes hand in hand with the "how do I remember what you did months ago?" thing. Having concrete examples to cite would help voters and also could inform future catagories.

 

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I think the best way to deal with Blurbs would be to simply list what that person had done on the forums where possible, and where not feasible simplify the comments into a short concise message.

Something like:

Silverleaf:  Makes things out of yarn, insults american beer, likes train puns.

 

Although that does sound a little like a singles add.

 

I still want to see Villain awards for the forum.

Maybe we'll have to give out villain badges to the mods.

 

 

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phantaskippy wrote:

Silverleaf:  Makes things out of yarn, insults american beer, likes train puns. Although that does sound a little like a singles add.

I'd totally date myself based on that ad. 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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I agree with most people that nominee badges are a 'bad idea', 

Julia wrote:
Nominee badge: I'm with phantaskippy here. I was apparently nominated, but I don't want to have a badge for that.

Just based on this it sounds as if Julia only found out by accident, can we have someone alert the nominees that they have been nominated?

phantaskippy wrote:
Silverleaf:  Makes things out of yarn, insults american beer, likes train puns.

<sigh of exasperation> While I don't think Phantaskippy is making this mistake I do wonder how many people knew that that particular hilarious post was outside the nomination period. Nominations next time might be better off saying "Nominations start now, anything from the past year to today are open season", no grace period between the post and nominating, cuts down on confusion.

Quote:
Would folks be okay with us just having a nominations thread everyone posts on?

I think not. I think it would lead to less nominations again, for much the same reasons I mention before ("Why bother, my choices are already up").

Quote:
We could decide folks can give a blurb, if they want. In fact, we could nominate a person already nominated with a completely different blurb to help strengthen that nomination. What are everyone's thoughts about that? Bad idea?

That's dangerously close to allowing campaigning.

Quote:
What time period makes sense to folks?

I think once a year is fine. Although it makes remembering individual posts a bit difficult it also means that we weren't not under constant pressure to perform regularly.


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I don't think we should have nominee badges. I almost don't think we should have winner badges, but I suspect I'm in the minority here. I appreciate that we're recognizing people being awesome, but I don't think we should make a big deal out of it. The formality of the nominations, voting, and badges makes it feel a little like we're making a competition out of the forum. While I doubt that this is the intention, the internet is already overflowing with places where you can get more upvotes/points/thumbs/likes/whatever; I liked that it didn't feel like that here.

That said, I assume we will continue to have some periodic awards. In the future I would prefer:

  • That users PM their nominations to moderators. At the end of the nomination period, the moderators compile the nominations into a list that gets posted. Nothing gets posted before nominations are closed.
  • That the nomination list is just names. No blurbs. No links. This shouldn't turn into a competition of who has the most links. If there are blurbs, everyone should have one and they should all be written by one person.
  • Not having this more often than once per year. I was joking about two weeks being short enough to override primacy and recency.
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grysqrl wrote:

I don't think we should have nominee badges. I almost don't think we should have winner badges, but I suspect I'm in the minority here.

I'm not sure why we need the badges either, even though I got one. I just figured it was more important to other people, so I didn't say anything.


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Can I ask why people don't like badges? I see them as a public way of saying "this person has been recognised as doing something good by the community". Nominee badges for me actually lessen the popularity contest effect, since it's not so much "this person was the most popular in this category" as "all these people are extra awesome". 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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It's more of a vague gut reaction than a specific dislike for them. Part of it is that it feels like a collect-points-earn-badges kind of thing that I alluded to before. It seems a little cluttery (particularly coupled with the idea of having nominee badges as well). And if we're saying that "all these people are extra awesome," the implication is that anyone without a badge is not (nomination is free and unlimited, but someone could easily be overlooked; especially if they haven't been active around nomination time).

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Here's why *I* wouldn't want to have a badge: I haven't earned it. I have zero sense of achievement connected to it. It serves no practical purpose whatsoever (unlike the Mod, Admin and Playtester badges). And those are just my personal reasons. They are probably also confusing to the newbies and do they stretch people's posts out a bit.

Don't get me wrong, I genuinely appreciate the nomination as a gesture of 'That thing you made- I liked that!' and I'm not saying that nobody should have a badge, nominee or otherwise, or that there shouldn't be Forum Awards at all (although if they did get cancelled, I'd just shrug). I am just saying that if I were to get a badge for whatever reason, I'd rather opt out, thanks, because stuff like that doesn't do anything for me.


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Same sort of reaction for me.  It's nice to get recognition for contributing to the community, but lots of people contribute and it seems a bit artificial and unnecessary to say that one person's jokes were worthy of a badge while other people's aren't.  And once you start handing out badges just for being nominated, then you start to lean into the "certificate of attenance" trophy-just-for-showing-up area which makes the badges seem even more superfluous.

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel strongly enough about this to try to stop others from enjoying nominations and badges.  But we were asked for feedback, so I'm sharing.


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I like it, largely because it lets the community recognize people for making our forum life here more fun and improve our enjoyment of SotM.

I think everyone that won deserved their badges deserves them, even if they aren't thrilled with them I think most of us are glad to be able to recognize their contributions.  I was very pleased to be nominated for a couple of things, because it is nice to know that people appreciate your contributions, but the people who won all contributed much more than I have, and I'm glad they are being recognized.

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It was nice to see the badge when I logged on last week... just as it is nice when anyone acknowledges anything I do or says "thank you". However, I don't think they should be permanent.  Maybe they should just disappear after a couple of weeks (maybe they can stay on your profile page, but not be seen under your name in every post). I think after a couple of rounds of awards you are going to have way too many of them... and they are pretty big. I can see that being pretty intimidating to people joining the community and seeing all this people with giant shiny badges and that may create a sort of hierarchy in the forums that I don't think we should have. Especially since the titles won't make a lot of sense to newbies a first glance. 

Also... performance anxiety.

I don't know if I can handle the pressure of being an Inspiring Presence every time I log. It's just too much!! LEAVE ME ALONE!! GO AWAY EVERYONE!!!

 

See...

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I thought they were going to last until the next awards are, er, awarded, so a year. Like a trophy we have to give back. 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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Silverleaf wrote:

I thought they were going to last until the next awards are, er, awarded, so a year. Like a trophy we have to give back. 

That's the plan!


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Rabit wrote:

 

Silverleaf wrote:
I thought they were going to last until the next awards are, er, awarded, so a year. Like a trophy we have to give back. 

 

That's the plan!

Oh, OK then. That solves that :)

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Spiff wrote:

But we were asked for feedback, so I'm sharing.

And believe me, the sharing is appreciated.

Some very interesting and insightful views on this. Please, don't let the "argument" that just got split off distract us. wink


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Adding my (belated) 2 cents here:

 

1.) I definitely agree that the verbatim quotes need to go. And not just because mine was particularly negative; I like the idea of linking to specific instances, but not directly quoting people.

2.) I wouldn't mind having a nomination badge. I think it's nice. If you don't want one, you could opt out, but I think it would be neat.

3.) I think once a year would be good, but maybe leave the nominations up year-round? That way, when people see a specific thread that someone made and thinks it's deserving of a spot on the list, they can submit it at the time of. It would make remembering why people liked certain people more easy.


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McBehrer wrote:

3.) I think once a year would be good, but maybe leave the nominations up year-round? That way, when people see a specific thread that someone made and thinks it's deserving of a spot on the list, they can submit it at the time of. It would make remembering why people liked certain people more easy.

 

While I'm still iffy on having the awards at all, I do like the idea of having nominations open year-round. That could also stop people from pushing for nominations when the awards get closer, since it's not just "who has been particularly active this last month".


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Year-round nominations is an interesting idea, although I have some concerns. What does everyone else think about that?


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I think it would be a hell of a lot of work for somebody.

Does that mean you can nominate more than one person in a year? Can you change your nomination? Who checks if you change? How likely is double nominating by mistake? What if you can't change, do you 'waste' your nomination if you nominate someone in 'Month 1' who is subsequently banned in 'Month 10'? What if you drop from the community, do your nominations still count? What's to stop someone creating a bunch of accounts and stuff the nomination box (far harder to detect over the course of a year)?

Too much work for little to no useful return.


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Actually, year round nominations could be pretty easy. The Moderators and Admins could have a collaborative document that only they have access to which they can just throw names into whenever they are messaged about someone. There would be no rush to get the document updated hour-to-hour, as the deadline would be further off. In the last few days before the deadline, we could post a thing saying, "Hey, if you have any last minute nominations, now's the time!"

The thing I like about year-round nominations is that more people will likely get nominated. Now, if there is good reason to NOT do this, I have no problem with that. This process is entirely in the hands of our fantastic Moderators. But I just had a quick opinion and figured I'd share.


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I like year round nominations as well. It's a chance to eliminate the "well, what have you done for me lately" aspect to trying to remember a whole years worth of posting habits in the 11th hour.

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I like the year round nominations as well.

I think the process would benefit from having links to examples of the stuff they were nominated for (where applicable)

I also think some non-individual awards could go out, stuff like funniest thread of the year, best fanfiction and fanart of the year, etc.

 

I think that could be fun to add.

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Let me ask the question like this, it might shed some light on the approach:

 

Is the point of the awards to reward specific people for their community contributions or to reminisce about the year and bring the community together?


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Pydro wrote:

Is the point of the awards to reward specific people for their community contributions or to reminisce about the year and bring the community together?

I think its best served as a healthy dose of both.

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Agreed, Foote. The original intention was both, with the overarching goal of helping to build the community, as we felt both would help do that. (At least that was my understanding - other folks on staff might have different views!)


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Unicode U+24BD gets us Ⓗ. (Thanks, Godai!)

arenson9
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Maybe instead of having nominations, we should have warm fuzzies. At any time you may give a warm fuzzy to someone. Whomever has the most warm fuzzies in a category over some period of time gets the title of most warm fuzzies in that category.


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I think several people have suggested some sort of "thumbs" option on the forum for a long time.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

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If we're going with the year-round nominations and/or warm fuzzies, we could probably set up a google doc to collect the data and a form for people to use to submit it. Then whenever voting time comes around, the moderators could just sort, copy, paste.

dpt
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Pydro wrote:
I think several people have suggested some sort of "thumbs" option on the forum for a long time.
You have to be really careful implementing reputation systems, as they can easily get caught in bad dynamics. Not that we necessarily shouldn't do it, but read up on some of the literature first.
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For whatever it may be worth, I have never ranked/rated/liked/disliked/thumbed-up/thumbed-down any post or comment on any website ever (thoug off the top of my head I can only think of two sites I visit which even have such a feature - YouTube and the EQC forum), so such a feature isn't something I'd ever use if it popped up on here.


I am the Wordweaver...

Basically, I like writing stuff ;)

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Not a fan of reputation systems, but I do like the submission form idea.

It could be very simple, put in the user name a link to the thing you are submitting them for, a drop menu to select the appropriate category of contribution and a blurb explaining.

Then when awards season came around the mods would apply the card names to the different types of contributions and put up a voting form with some sample links and maybe some quotes that sum up what everyone said about them.

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First, you folks are awesome. Very glad to be a part of this community.

So here's what appears to be the consensus. Thoughts? Concerns? Anything call for pitchforks and torches?

  • First, assume this is all based on what's available to us as a community. For example, using a reputation system / "warm fuzzies" / anything like that would probably require coding on the site, so it's not readily available unless we implement it outside the site, which will reduce the ease and effectiveness of such a tool. So if we have an idea how to do it without changing the site's code, we can run with it, we just need someone willing and able to create it!
  • We'll give the awards another run before we decide to make it a permanent fixture, with the intended purpose of bringing the community together through rewarding some of those who have significantly contributed to the community and reminiscing about the past year.
  • We will have open (year-round) nominations.
  • Nominations will be privately sent to Mods. (We'll need to figure out how create a form for this – any volunteers?  If not, it's not a big deal to send them to Mods via PM and we can maintain them in a Staff forum thread or something like that - basically, we'll make this work.)
  • Nominations will include a link to a sample of the nominee's contribution in that category.
  • Nominations will remain secret until voting.
  • Forumites can nominate anyone except themselves
  • Forumites can provide any number of nominations.
  • It is likely a forumite will be nominated more than once - there are no issues with this, as we'll condense the nominee list before it's time to vote.
  • Leaving the community (including via banning) does not change anything - your nominations are still valid and you can still be a nominee.
  • Reminders will be sent as we get close to voting.
  • Before we post the nominees, we'll send messages to folks to let them know they were nominated.
  • (Using Julia's idea, here, but no one has commented on it yet – let us know what you think of this!) When the Mods post the nominees: Nominees for conduct awards will only include names and nominees for submission awards will include links to those items for which they were nominated.
  • Badges will pass from last year's winners to the new winners (i.e., winners get the badges for one year).
  • A forumite can win more than one award.
  • A forumite can win the same award they won the previous year.

Thoughts? Anything we're missing? We ready to start running with this?

I posted in the other thread for discussing the actual award categories...


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Unicode U+24BD gets us Ⓗ. (Thanks, Godai!)

Pydro
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Question, before people start sending stuff in: can you win a second time?


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

Rabit
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Pydro wrote:

Question, before people start sending stuff in: can you win a second time?

I went ahead and added a couple point at the end to facilitate talking about it. I would assume yes, but that is just an assumption - what does everyone think?


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Unicode U+24BD gets us Ⓗ. (Thanks, Godai!)

Foote
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Rabit wrote:

Pydro wrote:

Question, before people start sending stuff in: can you win a second time?

 

I went ahead and added a couple point at the end to facilitate talking about it. I would assume yes, but that is just an assumption - what does everyone think?

If winners have to return their prizes (badges) at the start of each award cycle, then it would probably be ok to win more than once if voted for. 

Pydro
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While I agree that the most deserving person should get something, you can run into a problem.

Let's say you have two students, one always gets a 100%, while the other always gets a 99%. If we always reward the most derserving only the first student will ever get anything.

Is this what we want? We only honor the greatest achievement, or do we honor great achievements?

The people who got the awards deserve them, and I don't see them slowing down. Does that mean that we shouldn't honor other peoples great work wven though they aren't the best.

There are a couple of ways to approach this, if this is a concern.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

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That's why I suggested Nominee badges, but people don't want them.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!