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News: The FINAL ROUND of the PseudoPod Flash Fiction Contest has begun!
 
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Author Topic: Pseudopod Flash Fiction Contest IV Rules  (Read 28624 times)
Scattercat
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« Reply #120 on: October 07, 2015, 10:30:34 AM »

So read the stories, vote, and then read the comments?  That's what I'd do if I were concerned about being influenced.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #121 on: October 07, 2015, 10:37:32 AM »

So read the stories, vote, and then read the comments?  That's what I'd do if I were concerned about being influenced.

It sounds like Jon is already trying to do that but is concerned that other people might be affected and may not choose to separate the two likewise?

I don't think it's an unreasonable point.  Attitudes may be affected by the comments.  I don't think that affect is bad necessarily, but it may affect the results.

But I would think it would be a bad idea to change the rules mid-contest without convincing evidence that the current way is clearly worse.  Because almost 8 groups have already been posted and separating the comments from the stories for most of those is too late to matter.  While not ALL things can be forced to be equal between Group 1 and Group 18 (the most notable being voter fatigue), I do think it's best to avoid introducing additional circumstance changes between the first group and the last.
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eytanz
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« Reply #122 on: October 07, 2015, 11:05:38 AM »

I'm really enjoying this contest process.  However, I'm increasingly distracted by the comments which follow each piece and have been ignoring them to the best of my ability (until my own votes have been cast). 

It's interesting to consider the psychological impact which these comments--particularly the first one following each submission--undoubtedly have upon voters, and this is the primary reason I've withheld my own observations and notes.  In fact, the Pseudopod staff may wish to consider ways in which groupthink can be avoided in the future.  Perhaps each piece could have a separate comments thread independent from the piece itself (which would be comment free).

I hope the tone of this post is not misunderstood.  The comments are indeed often interesting and helpful.  I just feel that they would be best separated from the submissions themselves.

This was something that had come up as a possible issue when the last contest round came up as well. The thing is, this is not an issue that has a right or wrong approach, it's a matter of the style of contest. All the flash fiction contests we ran here in the past allowed commenting, and all of them let individual members decide whether or not to read the comments and allow them to influence their own votes. That's the type of contest this is, and personally, I think it's part of what makes it worthwhile, and this belief is shared by the other members of the EA forum team (and, as far as I know, the EA editorial team).

This is the contest that this is, and it seems to be successful in its current format - it's the fourth iteration, after all, and its gotten more submissions each time round. I certainly think that we could do it other ways, but I personally don't see the need, nor do I want to (which isn't to say I'm trying to shut down discussion on this, just giving the perspective of one of the people involved running contests here, albeit not the person in charge of this particular one).
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2015, 11:17:28 AM »

My comments were only meant to be a suggestion from one participant.  I certainly don't expect anything to be changed during the contest (that would be disastrous and unfair)--rather, the issue might be something for the editorial staff to reconsider in future iterations.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2015, 11:50:46 AM »

The way I voted in the prior rounds of the contest:

I would open the group in a new window and open all the stories in individual tabs.

I'd move the story to the left of the poll if I liked it. I'd close it if I didn't.

Then I would read the comments to help me narrow my choices down to three.

How have all of you been voting?
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Kabal
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« Reply #125 on: October 07, 2015, 01:01:05 PM »

The way I voted in the prior rounds of the contest:

I would open the group in a new window and open all the stories in individual tabs.

I'd move the story to the left of the poll if I liked it. I'd close it if I didn't.

Then I would read the comments to help me narrow my choices down to three.

How have all of you been voting?

Pretty much the same. No amount of conversation is going to sway me on entries I just didn't like.
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Sir Postsalot
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« Reply #126 on: October 07, 2015, 01:49:25 PM »

The way I voted in the prior rounds of the contest:

I would open the group in a new window and open all the stories in individual tabs.

I'd move the story to the left of the poll if I liked it. I'd close it if I didn't.

Then I would read the comments to help me narrow my choices down to three.

How have all of you been voting?

I haven't done that, but I don't think I could, because I often don't have time to read a whole group in one sitting, and some I read from different computers.  I just read them all, reading comments after the stories before making my own comments, and then vote in the poll and move on.

I'm a curmudgeon and I don't think there's much chance my choice will significantly shift from reading other people's feedback.  The one case where it might be more likely is if I just didn't understand a theme or event because I am not always great at details, and someone's explaining the point allows me to see that it's supported by the text, then I might be more likely to vote for it then.

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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #127 on: October 07, 2015, 02:25:02 PM »

The way I voted in the prior rounds of the contest:

I would open the group in a new window and open all the stories in individual tabs.

I'd move the story to the left of the poll if I liked it. I'd close it if I didn't.

Then I would read the comments to help me narrow my choices down to three.

How have all of you been voting?

In the first couple of groups, I didn't really think about the comments as I read them along with the fiction pieces.  As I went along, though, I began ignoring the comments until I voted just in case the comments were unconsciously swaying me one way or another.  Groupthink is human nature, no matter how independent-minded we may be as individuals.  At any rate, it's just an observation.  I'm not advocating for removing story comments--just separating them from the story text itself.  Thanks for hearing me out.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #128 on: October 07, 2015, 02:31:31 PM »

The trick is to read all of the stories at 1am EST after I post them Cheesy

be the first comment!
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Jon Padgett
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« Reply #129 on: October 07, 2015, 03:03:45 PM »

The trick is to read all of the stories at 1am EST after I post them Cheesy

be the first comment!

:laughter becomes weeping:
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benjaminjb
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« Reply #130 on: October 07, 2015, 06:17:33 PM »

The trick is to read all of the stories at 1am EST after I post them Cheesy

be the first comment!

:laughter becomes weeping:

I call dibs if :laughter becomes weeping: isn't the name of a story or an emo album already...
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starktheground
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« Reply #131 on: October 07, 2015, 07:02:44 PM »

My two cents:
I like to read other's opinions but don't really influence my own. I usually-but not always-read the story and type up my comments before I read the other comments anyway. Then, copy paste and done.
I also don't comment on a story if I don't feel like I have anything productive or nice to say.
Which is why I may or may not have commented on my own...which may or may not have already been posted.
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MCWagner
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« Reply #132 on: October 08, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »

The trick is to read all of the stories at 1am EST after I post them Cheesy

be the first comment!

I'm trying, dangit!

This voices a concern I've had looking at a lot of the stories.  Quick one-off dismissal comments of stories that immediately follow them seem to get propagated throughout the thread, and it takes a good bit of effort to redirect later in the thread.  (This is true even when there's a basic factual misconception in the comment.)  Whether that affects voting or not is up in the air (picking three from a group of 13 means that there's usually strong feelings about the ones you vote for, which are unlikely to be reversed), but it does affect the overall tenor of the thread.  As three stories have already been pulled, I would suggest caution if you are one of the early commenters on a story:  try a some-positive, some-negative approach to get your points across without simply condemning the piece.

I know my own opinions can be swayed, not reversed entirely, but a negative thread can push me in a more negative direction than perhaps I initially intended...
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Devoted135
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« Reply #133 on: October 11, 2015, 01:17:21 PM »

I do exactly as Fenrix does, except that I tend to read/skim the comments along with each story. The comments have definitely swayed me on a small handful of stories, but that was for the story's benefit just as often as it was to its detriment. Personally, I think that separating the comment threads would increase the required clicking to the point of many fewer comments per story, which would weaken one of the contest's unique strengths.
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eytanz
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« Reply #134 on: October 12, 2015, 06:08:20 AM »

So far, the comments have swayed me in a positive direction in a few cases, where I missed or didn't understand something in the story but when I saw it noted in the comments I reread the story and understood it better. I don't think there was a case where the comments affected me negatively, at least not on a concious level.
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Moritz
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« Reply #135 on: October 13, 2015, 08:15:00 AM »

Same for me.
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Ryan H
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« Reply #136 on: October 13, 2015, 09:30:33 AM »

Agreed. If there was something I liked in the story but the comments were more negative, I'm even more likely to add my own comment and point out what I enjoyed. And I'm probably going to show the story some love with a vote.
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8BitDlite
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« Reply #137 on: October 13, 2015, 12:41:16 PM »

Yeah, I think I'm swayed by the previous comments in that they impact what I choose to discuss about the story. If there's already a number of comments talking about the stakes being too low (for example), then I'm much more likely to mention the dialogue or sense of place.  I generally don't want to feel like I'm "piling on", and I know that critiques can certainly feel that way at times.

As far as voting, I don't think the comments affect me all that much.
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Kolin Gates
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« Reply #138 on: October 14, 2015, 03:06:04 AM »

As far as voting, I don't think the comments affect me all that much.

The first rule of Group Think, deny that it affects you!

I agree though, while comments do sometimes change the way I look at a single aspect of the story, I don't think they have ever made a story that I didn't like any better. The inverse applies, no matter how much battering a story takes, it doesn't change the core vote or no vote concept. Sometimes, I've been on the fence and ended up throwing a vote at one because there were too many, "Not my kind of story."

More than anything, I'm trying to be objective and look at each story individually and without my personal distaste for a subject present. I think that you can go either way with that though, obviously you will like stories that speak to your life.
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Chicken Ghost
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« Reply #139 on: October 14, 2015, 09:12:40 PM »

I've generally been putting stories in "maybe" and "no" lists immediately after reading.  A few of the maybes I've visited the comments to help make a decision.
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