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Msg# 6583

Re: points and various voting matters (sulriel) Posted by Marta Layton January 04, 2006 - 10:16:15 Topic ID# 6583
> Message: 8
> Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 00:07:36 -0000
> From: "sulriel" <>
> Subject: Re: points and various voting matters
> --- In, rabidsamfan <rabidsamfan@v...>
> wrote:
>> I wouldn't mess with the point system, unless it were to drop it in
> favor of> straight character counts.
> I have to say that I wouldn't be in favor of using straight character
> counts because one long glowing review could effectively keep the
> other stories out of the running. I like the point system because
> while it allows for more or less points, it also somewhat levels the
> playing field. I think that using a straight character would would
> have the effect of lessening the motivation of the readers leaving
> the shorter reviews because (I'm guessing) they'd feel that it
> wouldn't make any difference.

Let's be specific here about just what we mean by "straight character

When I use that phrase I mean that each character gets one point, up to
some maximum. I've been saying 1,000 characters, but this is certainly
negotiable. The point is that there would be a cap, just like now you
can only get 10 points no matter how much you write. I don't think this
sort of system would be any worse than what we currently have.

I think how you're interpreting it is saying that each character gets
one point, no limit. If I type a 5,700-character review, that gets
5,700 points. I agree with you - this kind of system would be bad for
the awards. But that's not what i'm sugggesting and not how I'm
understanding RSF's suggestion. (Note, this is my understanding of RSF
- I may be misunderstanding.)

>> As far as the author review goes, I thought it was silly repeating
> author> reviews over and over and over this year and scattering them
> willy-nilly> strikes me as sillier, because the way they were
> presented, they were to> award an author for having a particular
> strength in a particular subject> area.
> I'd be fine with having a single set of authors' awards without
> having them by category. Their strengths could be commented on in
> the text of the review/vote (great at drabbling, espcially Hobbits,
> but also shows great talent in Elves, ...etc..)

I'd be against this. It would just be too huge - we had several hundred
authors this year, and I'd hate to have a single category with several
hundred competing authors. It would be cutthroat!

>> I'd rather get an option to open up a second reply window after
> I've done a> story review, with a copy of the same review already
> entered, but editable,> which might be submitted as an author review.
>> Of course, if the purpose of author reviews isn't tied to the story
>> categories, you could approach it very differently.
> Great idea to automatically open an author's review window as a
> prompt when the story review is opened.

To clarify my earlier statement... I don't mind having a link to open a
window to enter the authors' review from the story review. I just don't
want the story review to be automatically put in there, which is what I
understood RSF's suggestion to be.

Guys, I took a half-day off because I was feeling ill, but now I need
to get ready for work. I'll have to save the rest of these emails until
tonight, and as I'm still a bit under the weather I may not be up to it
even thenl. But I will get to all of these as soon as I can.


Msg# 6658

Re: points and various voting matters (sulriel) Posted by Marta Layton January 07, 2006 - 14:12:39 Topic ID# 6583
Hi Sulriel,

> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2006 14:37:47 -0000
> From: "sulriel" <>
> Subject: Re: points and various voting matters
> <snippage>
>> I think these are likely to overly favor a smaller subcategory if
>> there's a "power-house" in a small category that drives the number
> of > points the first place story received way up. Let's say we want
> to > award within 20% of the points awarded to first place, and first
> place > receives 50 points. That means everything that receives 40 or
> more > points gets an honourable mention. <snipped>>
> *** oops - I didn't think of it working backwards like that. You're
> right. (although I think you mean *dis*favor a small subcate by your
> example?)

Yep, that's exactly what I meant! You have no idea how many times I
reworked that sentence as I worked through the example.

> ... I withdrawn my support from this option (unless someone
> else raises another point that changes my mind back :) )

Great. Does that mean that you're now in favor of awarding a certain
number of stories (0-4, depending on the size of the category)? Or is
there some other option I'm forgetting about (entirely possible!)?


Msg# 6660

Re: points and various voting matters (sulriel) Posted by Marta Layton January 07, 2006 - 14:58:28 Topic ID# 6583
> Message: 8
> Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2006 14:54:51 -0000
> From: "sulriel" <>
> Subject: Re: points and various voting matters

>> How is this not in keeping with the spirit of the awards? Is
>> it that there could be some stories that place very close to the
>> last honourable mentions that just don't get recognised? If so, I
>> wonder if some hybrid situation might be doable:
>> 1. Give honourable mentions to enough stories so that 50% get either
>> 1st, 2nd, 3rd place or an honourable mention.
>> 2. Give honourable mentions to any stories with the same number of
>> points as the last story to win an honourable mention by (1) above.
>> I have to admit that this is my favourite option, provided it's
>> codeable. But I can see the merit of either, and so I'm flexible.
> I'm not adamantly opposed to this option. My reluctance comes from -
> in a backwards kind of way - my support of how well this works in a
> *judged* system.... which this isn't, not in the strictest sense. I
> feel like, in a judged system, it's quite legit for a judge to pick
> the 1st and top placing and put the rest in order and award the top
> percent HMs.
> But I feel like, these awards are more 'voters choice' and I think
> that if it's a close race, it should be reflected in the awards.

Well, it is voter's choice in that it's not just one person being a
judge and I suspect anyone who wants to can become a judge. But it's
also not purely voter's choice because the voter isn't really making a
choice. If we're talking about the same thing, voter's choice is where
I am given a list of 5 or so shortlisted stories and I choose the one I
like best. Then the one that the most people choose as the best wins
that category, the one that the second most choose gets second place,
and so on. But in this type of situation I can vote for as many stories
as I like, and given them as many points (up to ten) as I want to.
Because theoretically I could write a ten-point review for every story
nominated, or even just in a subcategory. I'd never do this of course
because it would a.) take too much time, and b.) effectively negate all
of my votes, but it's theoretically possible. Perhaps if we allowed a
certain number of points per category that each reviewer was allowed to
distribute as they liked... but that's not what they have.

What's happening is that in effect we are ranking every story we
review. When I write a really long review I am in effect saying "I
really, really like this story". When I write a 5-6 pointer I'm saying
"I like this story, but not as much as that one or I just wrote a
10-point review for. So in this sense it really is a judged type of

> JMO, but I don't think it dilutes the awards if we set the rules that
> any story within some% of first (or third) place's points get HM and
> the entire cate has a small point spread. A close race is a close
> race. .... IMO it's *totally* difference from an 'everybody' wins
> kind of mentality where you give every kid a purple ribbon for walking
> around the ring regardless of skill or whatever is being judged.
> If you set a certain number of HMs, you might have one cate with a
> point spread of only 5 points between third place and the lowest
> number of points, and those close stories not recognized and another
> category with a 20 point difference where a story does get HM.
> I feel like, (as opposed to the judged system mentioned above), when
> the readers/voters are putting so much effort into their reviews, it
> doesn't seem quite right not to reward those that are so close.

Here's my problem: a category where all the stories that don't place
are within five points doesn't mean that all or even some of those
stories will get an honourable mention. It all depends on how
high-scoring the third-place story is. Let's say we give honourable
mentions to every story that scores within 10% of 3rd place. In a
category of where all the stories score high -- where 3rd place is 40
points and every other story is within five points of that -- then we
can give an honourable mention to those stories that score within four
points of third, which could be most of the stories. And that's okay
because it's a really tight field of stories. But suppose on the other
hand that all the stories score low -- that 3rd place gets ten points
and the lowest story gets five points. We can only give an honourable
mention to the stories scoring within one point of 3rd. Yet that field
was just as tight as the one in the previous example, it's just that
they all scored lower.

> again, I would support many of the difference combinations that have
> been mentioned, and I don't mean to argue strongly one way or the
> other, I'm just trying to put my thoughts out.

Don't worry about it. This is why we toss around ideas. :-)

> in summary: I'm 'ok' with the 'HM within three points of third
> place' - isn't that what we used in '05.? I'd prefer to use some%
> of points within THIRD place (not first as I said before because of
> the problem Marta pointed out) - and I think it's ok if all the
> stories get HM if they earn it, or none if they don't come within the
> percent.

Yes, we used the within 3 points rule in '05. The problem I saw was
when eyeballing the stats I saw several authors who had several stories
with around thirty points each - but because of the sub-cats they were
in, some of those stories won first place and others didn't even win an
honourable mention. That didn't seem horribly fair to me.


Msg# 6661

Re: points and various voting matters (sulriel) Posted by rabidsamfan January 07, 2006 - 15:42:51 Topic ID# 6583
On 1/7/06, Marta Layton <> wrote:
> > Message: 8
> Yes, we used the within 3 points rule in '05. The problem I saw was
> when eyeballing the stats I saw several authors who had several stories
> with around thirty points each - but because of the sub-cats they were
> in, some of those stories won first place and others didn't even win an
> honourable mention. That didn't seem horribly fair to me.
> Marta

I know what you mean, and if the MEFAs were "one BIG contest" instead of "a
whole bunch of little contests under one roof" the discrepancy would be
important. But each subcategory is measured by its own standards, and that
makes the difference.

Back when I was trying to figure out if short stories had an advantage over
long ones I did some number crunching, and while I'd have to dig to find the
numbers, it worked out that the averages were similar, even though raw
numbers looked out of whack. It's probably the same here.

I like the suggestion that had 1 or 2 honorable mentions for small
subcategories and 3 or 4 HMs for larger subcategories.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Msg# 6700

Re: points and various voting matters (sulriel) Posted by Ainaechoiriel January 11, 2006 - 17:56:13 Topic ID# 6583
> Yes, we used the within 3 points rule in '05. The problem I
> saw was when eyeballing the stats I saw several authors who
> had several stories with around thirty points each - but
> because of the sub-cats they were in, some of those stories
> won first place and others didn't even win an honourable
> mention. That didn't seem horribly fair to me.

Tha'ts not really an issiue of fairness. It's an issue of competition
within their categories. Because point totals don't matter at all outside
the categories. A story can win one category with just 5 points if there
was little competition. Whereas it may take 45 to win in another category
of high competition. There's no bar set on how many points it takes to win
an award. Just the top three in the category. No matter what that top
three is.

If it's a feeling of "it's unfair because of the subcategories" they are in,
well, that's the biggest issue facing these awards: categorization. Maybe
in ASC they have it easier, except for the one person insufficiently
reluctant to do it: the Administrator assigns the categories. Though,
admitedly, she has the support of the headers the authors used and thus the
category suggestions pulled from those headers by the SOS maintainers.

But then some peole can still quibble about which category she put them in.
I think having th authors choose their categories is best, but subcats are
harder . We can't have 75 or 120 story categories so they have to be broken
up. What is the best way to do that? And that is our biggest issue.

Okay, times is almost up. I'll have to leave work and try to get back to
these later. Besides, my hand is hurting.

MEFA Admin and Founder

"This evil cannot be concealed by the power of the Elves," Elrond said, "for
it is Windows-compatible, and freeware at that." --H.F. The Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards