Author Topic: Questions, Comments, Concerns?  (Read 79127 times)

SBC-B

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Reply #200 on: March 29, 2013, 09:46:13 PM
This has been so much fun!
I've really enjoyed the contest so far, and next round is going to be so much tougher.


MCWagner

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Reply #201 on: April 02, 2013, 11:53:42 AM
I note the close of the last couple rounds has occurred with no fanfare or comment or movement of the winners... since they're all going into a common pool are we to assume they're just going to sit there until round 14 closes and all the stories get sorted at once?  Just curious.



Ivy Wood

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Reply #202 on: April 02, 2013, 03:16:13 PM
I was wondering the same thing.  ???

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Bdoomed

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Reply #203 on: April 02, 2013, 04:33:41 PM
Yeah, the lack of fanfare has been life has gotten in my way recently.

I have decided, however, not to move the winning stories out of their groups until the semifinal rounds start, which will be after all of the initial rounds have finished.  I realized that in order to have nice, clean trackbacks to what round finalist stories were in (for record's sake, and for anyone interested), I will be having to move all the finalist stories BACK to their initial groups, and then back OUT to their semifinal groups.  That way we can have that nice "this thread has been moved to: _____" link.  I like those links.  Everything is super convoluted now and kinda messy, which I will be fixing .... hopefully sometime this week, but more likely after Tuesday of the coming week.  So much to do, so little time.

I WILL, however, be putting up names and such of authors later today.  I'm about to go to work so I can't do that now.  But I will hit up groups 9 through 12's closings after work today.  :)  Sorry!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 04:35:13 PM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


MCWagner

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Reply #204 on: April 02, 2013, 08:48:02 PM
No worries.  If anything I think we were more concerned by your disappearance than angry the groups hadn't been tended yet.  I was afraid that tiger'd got you!



MCWagner

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Reply #205 on: April 08, 2013, 12:22:42 AM
So, for the first group we had an even 80 votes.  By group number 14 we were down to 37.  Still an entirely respectable number, but definitely a drop-off.

Any thoughts on how we might keep the voting up all the way through?  100% retention seems unrealistic, but it would be nice to keep it above 50%.

Releasing the stories more rapidly wouldn't seem to address the difficulty:  I could barely keep up as it was.  Pre-screening the stories to reduce the numbers seems unfair:  it's supposed to be popularly determined.  Any thoughts?  Releasing fewer, larger groups?  (The current size is pretty big, but could it be expanded?)  Capping entry?  Any thoughts?  Is it essentially insoluable?  I managed to convince 2-3 friends to vote, but I'm pretty certain they've all dropped out by now.



Scattercat

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Reply #206 on: April 08, 2013, 02:32:20 AM
The effect you're describing is familiar to anyone who frequents Open Mic nights and poetry slams.  People stay just long enough to spout their piece and then shuffle out the door; they're in it to share their work, not see the work of others.  As you can see (43 out of 80), it's definitely the majority of participants, too.



KaylingR

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Reply #207 on: April 08, 2013, 02:40:03 AM
Reader fatigue hit me fairly early on. It wasn't a matter of investment, as my own story didn't appear until nearly the end. For me personally, the groups were too big. Having enough time to read all the stories in a group in fairly close proximity was just a real challenge. If I couldn't do that within a day, I found myself having to go back and read multiple times to judge fairly, and it was just often too much. This is a crazy busy time of year for me.

Maybe it was a natural leap for a contest in March, but I found myself wishing for a bracket system where I was just judging 2 stories head to head. There was a site (Maybe Helium?) that did that. You signed in and then it would give you 2 stories and you picked which one you did better. With a few minutes to kill, I could do that thoughtfully between 2 stories.

Of course, I have no idea what work that would require behind the scenes in comparison to what you're doing now (which seems pretty freaking awesome) so take what I say worth a grain of salt.




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Reply #208 on: April 08, 2013, 02:52:34 PM
Some of the "I'm done, leaving early" for sure, but yeah I think reader fatigue is probably up there.  I don't think switching to a bracket system would help me personally, it's just a lot of stories to read in that period of time.  I think spreading it out over more time would help reduce fatigue but would then be balanced by boredom at the longevity. 

I don't think there's any way to really get rid of this--people who want to stay will stay.  I kept up with all of it, but haven't been to the main story forum threads since the contest began.



DoWhileNot

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Reply #209 on: April 08, 2013, 03:14:26 PM
It's a tough thing, but my guess is that most of the people still reading and voting have at least one of their stories still in the running somewhere. 

I've got a job, a long commute, a relationship with my wife and kids, a calf born yesterday, a milking machine to fix, two sheep due to give birth any time, fences to fix, a loom to warp, and etc., and if I didn't have both of my stories still in the running, I might have been tempted to drop out because there's only so much that you can juggle before things start to drop.

Thank God the snow's over and we don't have to feed hay anymore.

Anyway, having said that, I consider this contest as part of my writing education along with podcasts, books, my writers group, and life, so I probably would have stayed anyway.  There's good stuff to be learned here.  I'm just kind of tired.



Thunderscreech

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Reply #210 on: April 08, 2013, 04:37:22 PM
I'd go the opposite direction almost; it felt like it's been spread out over too long a period.  It began to feel like a job; wait two days, then a new batch shows up in the 'To-do' pile.  I wonder if having them all (groups) at once or three groups at a time or something would have increased participation.  That way the initial 'buzz' of the contest can get high participation spread equally instead of 'new contest-itis' wearing off as the weeks passed.



DoWhileNot

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Reply #211 on: April 08, 2013, 05:00:00 PM
It might also help if Alasdair gave the contest a little plug during an intro or outtro and reminded people that the contest was still going on.



Thunderscreech

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Reply #212 on: April 08, 2013, 05:21:53 PM
It might also help if Alasdair gave the contest a little plug during an intro or outtro and reminded people that the contest was still going on.
YES YES YES.



Harley Warren

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Reply #213 on: April 08, 2013, 05:32:48 PM
It might also help if Alasdair gave the contest a little plug during an intro or outtro and reminded people that the contest was still going on.
YES YES YES.

It would help a lot.  And this is the perfect time, too.  Between rounds.  The next podcast comes out at approximately when the next round starts.




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MCWagner

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Reply #214 on: April 08, 2013, 08:46:31 PM
It might also help if Alasdair gave the contest a little plug during an intro or outtro and reminded people that the contest was still going on.
YES YES YES.

Agreed!  I think this is an excellent time to try and haul the readership back in again:  "Hey guys, no judgement, but you know those stories you were judging for a while and then didn't have the time for?  We're on to the next round!  You've already read half of 'em, and the rest of the groups have been knocked down to 3/11ths as many stories as before!



eytanz

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Reply #215 on: April 08, 2013, 09:03:56 PM
That would be a great idea; I'm worried, though, as I believe Al records his outros several weeks before the air. Still, maybe I'm wrong about that...



Sgarre1

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Reply #216 on: April 09, 2013, 02:28:21 AM
You're not wrong about prerecording but Al can record patches to be inserted into already recorded episodes.  I dropped him a line but I believe he has visitors this week so I don't know how free he is.

Shawn



Bdoomed

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Reply #217 on: April 09, 2013, 01:40:34 PM
OOOH!!! OOOH!!! Can I record a patch? :D

Also group 13 would totally be closed out but no lie EVERY TIME I get online at my house in Miami (here for only 2 nights total, leaving tonight for gainesville) the Internet goes out.  The probably more expensive service that my dad buys for the house keeps just dying and I'm left with no Internet for long periods of time.  It is so frustrating.

Edit: ooh hey it's back up!  Let's see if I can close out group 13 before it dies again.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


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Reply #218 on: April 09, 2013, 01:50:09 PM
I'd go the opposite direction almost; it felt like it's been spread out over too long a period.  It began to feel like a job; wait two days, then a new batch shows up in the 'To-do' pile.  I wonder if having them all (groups) at once or three groups at a time or something would have increased participation.  That way the initial 'buzz' of the contest can get high participation spread equally instead of 'new contest-itis' wearing off as the weeks passed.

I could barely keep up the way it was.  I have carved as much out of my day as I am likely to.  I would still be there, but if the stories were released at twice the rate, I would only have been able to read half of them.



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Reply #219 on: April 09, 2013, 04:40:15 PM
I would love a Bdoomed audio patch. Do it! The worst case is Graeme winds up with multiple patches for multiple weeks.

Balancing between burnout and character is tough. Would future competitions do better to restrict entries to one per author? Would an increased frequency (e.g. annually) of the competition mitigate restricting the entries to one per author? Would the competition lose character if they were pre-screened and reduced to a specific (and mathematically ideal) number of entries before putting them out to the public?


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Reply #220 on: April 09, 2013, 04:55:50 PM
Would the competition lose character if they were pre-screened and reduced to a specific (and mathematically ideal) number of entries before putting them out to the public?

I definitely would not want that.  I wouldn't want writers to have to pass slush to make it into the contest. Most of the appeal of the contest is that you get to get feedback from your peers.  If that feedback is behind a slushpile gate, it's not so appealing.

Restricting to one-per-author would be reasonable, I think, though I also liked submitting two stories.

Really, though, when the fatigue comes because we had such a large number of people interested in submitting something... well I am hard pressed to say that's a bad thing even though it wears me out.




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Reply #221 on: April 09, 2013, 04:57:00 PM
I'm guessing I won't be fully participating in the Podcastle contest when it comes around.  My participation in forum stuff is mostly done by establishing routines for myself, and I anticipate those routines are going to be all out of whack when the baby comes.



eytanz

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Reply #222 on: April 09, 2013, 05:08:45 PM
I think that for the next contest I run, I'd specify one story per author, with the option of extending the deadline and allowing second submissions if there's not enough participation. I think the sweet spot for a contest is between 50-100 entries; too few and it's not that exciting, too many and fatigue really kicks in.



DoWhileNot

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Reply #223 on: April 09, 2013, 07:23:06 PM

I definitely would not want that.  I wouldn't want writers to have to pass slush to make it into the contest. Most of the appeal of the contest is that you get to get feedback from your peers.  If that feedback is behind a slushpile gate, it's not so appealing.


My thoughts exactly - Plus the slush readers are already reading slush.  It'd be silly to add a second pile onto them, and I think it would really mute the dynamics of the contest.

I like the idea of limiting it to one story and having an annual contest.



DoWhileNot

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Reply #224 on: April 09, 2013, 07:30:22 PM
I'm guessing I won't be fully participating in the Podcastle contest when it comes around.  My participation in forum stuff is mostly done by establishing routines for myself, and I anticipate those routines are going to be all out of whack when the baby comes.

Heh, you'll actually have lots more time than you did before because you'll be up all night sitting with the baby in the rocking chair trying not to breathe too deeply or the baby will wake up.  You can't write while holding a sleeping baby, you can't dictate, or really even move very much, so that leaves a lot of reading time... unless the baby will only sleep if you're standing.  One of mine would only fall asleep if I was walking very slowly and singing "What should we do with the grumpy baby" to the tune of Drunken Sailor.