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General Competition Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Story Competitions' started by Ched, Oct 8, 2018.

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  1. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I think we should work more on opening it up to outside of DLP as well. Making posts elsewhere to invite people into the contest. And letting them know it would be totally anonymous. I know that's extra work for mods, but maybe elect an ambassdor out of the userbase that isn't going to contribute to the contest to be the one to reach out and then handle all the submissions if they're not familiar with our system.

    There is a distinct lack of participation despite promises from others to do so. I get that shit happens, and even I made my excuses on why I didn't contribute, but many others seemed to indicate that they would and didn't follow through.

    I kinda find that annoying as a participant and a reader because the expectation bar is set high, only to fly right under it upon delivery. I'm not discounting those that have contributed by any means. I appreciate the time and effort you took to submit something, even you Millwall, but at the same time I expected more.

    Just a thought. Because with 4 participants each time, I don't see a way to keep this viable. Some of the people submitting now have done several submissions and I expect them to suffer some kind of fatigue at some point, and maybe not contribute. If the ones that have remained steadfast dont' submit something, where does that leave us?

    A dead competition.
     
  2. Striker

    Striker What's up demons?

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    I think we should have an original fiction competition.
     
  3. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    It's been proven that not everyone wants to make their original stuff public. There is merit but I'm not sure how much. Maybe short stories with a defined word limit on the min and max and a mixture of free-form and prescribed.
     
  4. Striker

    Striker What's up demons?

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    It's been proven that some people are huge pussies.
     
    Sey
  5. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    True enough. Next time I expect you to submit something then.
     
  6. Red

    Red Professor DLP Supporter

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    I think Zombro’s idea to reach out to other communities (r/HPFF, perhaps) is a good one.

    I would also like to suggest making the next competition a freestyle/choose your own prompt. I think there have been a couple prompts that have lost that people might have been more interested in writing. If you wanted, the freestyle could be limited to the losing prompt options from Q1-Q4. The open ended nature has the benefit of testing if people are not submitting due to lack of interest in prompts.

    Out of curiosity, for previous entrants. How long did you spend one writing your entries? I feel like three months are a bit long, but two months a bit short. What if – and I’m speaking out of my ass at this point – people submitted after two months, we had a week of reviewing, the authors could edit and improve based on the feedback and then we have a round 2 of final judging.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Chief Warlock DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I suppose we could create a DLP subreddit. I'm not on the platform myself, but it has the potential to blow us up.
     
  8. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    There is one, but there is no need to create more than one place.

    Its not owned by anyone related to DLP. There has been calls for this before its not something that was going to be followed through on. I think reaching out to existing subreddits is sufficient. WE have a forum. There is no reason for a forum and a subreddit, tbh.
     
  9. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    There is one but I think some dude with a vendetta against Taure is cybersquatting it.
     
  10. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, they are. Its not related to DLP, only in name.
     
  11. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Chief Warlock DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    Not all heroes wear a mask.

    --

    I think the idea of opening our own subreddit or evicting Taure and reclaiming the old one wouldn't really work out. We're kind of an entrenched bunch and as Zombie pointed out, a message board on reddit for a message board community seems redundant. I think we'd have a Discord/IRC situation again. Either way it ends up, it's not exactly cohesive.

    I think the idea of inviting external users is fine in practice, but the post wall may present a problem, and using an intermediary may not mean that we actually draw many in. It's low effort approach, ultimately, so it's probably worth a shot, but again I'm not optimistic.

    Opening up the prompts from the previous ones for a special 'choose whichever unused prompt you most wanted' sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how much impact it'll have on the voting profile and reviewer numbers.

    Rather, I think the idea of opening up fandoms might be the more attractive one. I appreciate it might be weird to be jumping between four HPs, a Worm, a Naruto and a Pokemon, but it may draw a lot more of the writers on this forum in that are willing to participate in challenges and it might draw in more reviewers, too. I think there's a natural point of fatigue really on reading many stories around a theme. I'm not saying I hate anthologies, because I don't, but I suspect if submission numbers improve, there may be some who don't want to read 10 Harry Potter 2000 word 'jump-scare' or whatever the key word is. I also think the idea of having different fandoms and therefore a bigger pool of authors might help with fluctuating levels of fatigue, that are likely to come.

    Of the things discussed, I think opening up the fandoms might be the thing that both increases submissions and reviewers best, at this stage. In the long run, it might be external contributors drawing in fans and becoming part of the community (but to reiterate: that's optimistically and would be a slow process).
     
  12. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    The thing about this is that the people reviewing have to review all fics, and if they're not familiar with all fandoms are their votes a)valid and b) are we going to sequester reviews/votes based on knowledge of the fandom v. grammar. As of right now its across the board. Plot, grammar, execution, etc.

    I feel like this would make entry of reviewing participants even harder because people don't want to read worm. I know several people that hate worm, but I could see worm submissions happening. I don't think there is an even middle ground on the multiple fandoms. We already allow crossovers, with the caveat that the fandom should be known or clear. And there was also the ability to write for other fandoms. So far, we've had some Helsing and I think a Dresden submission.

    So it really just depends. I think reducing complexity would be good. And I honestly would like to stick to just HP, because the fandom needs an influx in creative content. Other fandoms aren't suffering as much.
     
  13. Silirt

    Silirt Chief Warlock DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    We definitely can't have stories from different fandoms competing in the same thing, no. That it wouldn't be a fair or even logical comparison is a sufficient reason on its own. If, however, we were to have HP competitions and Worm competitions, we could have different moderators for the different competitions so they could run concurrently. I suppose we could put up a Worm C2 so that it could be the prize for winning.
     
  14. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Lots of good thoughts here. Let me comment on the ones that stick out most to me.

    @Zombie - I agree that getting more fresh blood in would be ideal. I'm not super active on other sites like Reddit and SB, however, so I probably won't be doing of advertising. If there's a specific thing that I can do then I will, but it would be nice if some of our members would advertise.

    That can be direct advertising by linking to the competition (after we've voted on the topic, probably) or it could be past contestants publishing their stories on ffnet, aoc, etc. with an author's note mentioning the contest, or whatever else.

    That said, I don't think it's too much to ask potential contestants to register on DLP and submit like everyone else does. I guess the only trick there is that there's a post minimum for WbA - perhaps we could relax that for the Story Competition, or else move the Story Competition out of WbA. I think I'd prefer that to having to develop a new method for collecting entries.

    I have tried to enter each time and haven't, and... honestly that's probably going to continue on my part. I drafted one story (Albus being drunk) but I haven't edited it, and it's very rough. I plotted out one with Luna and Snape for... something, I forget which one, that turned halfway into horror. And this last romance story I plotted to hell and back and I think it's going to turn into an original piece.

    But it's all excuses. I want to enter but haven't gotten my ducks in a row, and I can't promise that'll change. Other people might be in a similar boat. And yet others will get tired of entering every time.

    If anyone does go out and recruit I'd make certain to mention that you get feedback from various people as a result of entering. To me that's a decent draw to compete, the quality feedback.

    @Menace - There's plenty of real original fiction competitions to submit things to, and frankly I don't think most people want to read mediocre original fic. But like Zombie said we might be able to run that with a very specific word count. Between 500 and 1k maybe, so people would actually read it. But I'm not confident we'd have many people willing to read/review that.

    @Red - I don't really like the idea of "choose your own prompt" because I think that's a bit too broad, but... how about if we took every prompt that came in second place in all the past competitions and let people pick from those prompts?

    As far as the time spent writing... keep in mind that for an approximately 12-week competition we have 1-2 weeks for tallying the past one and voting on a new topic, followed by 9-10 weeks of writing/plotting, and tying it off with 1-2 weeks of voting.

    I think this is partially a thing unique to each person. It's not the writing itself that takes me ages but the plotting. I will think on a story off and on almost every day and it will often take that long for it to come together. Some people sit down and write.

    As for your idea about reviewing, editing, judging... I'll be honest, and this might just be me, but that would make me less likely to read/review/judge. I still would, because I'm sort of running this thing, but I don't usually read non-5/5 fanfiction more than once.

    I don't want to read something, review it, then have to read it again. Unless it was 5/5, in which case I wouldn't have had a lot to review to begin with.

    Here's an idea - what if we keep the Quarterly HP competition as is, but we can run another concurrent competition for another fandom. The voting could be on the fandom itself - I.e. the poll choices might be Dresden, Naruto, ASoIaF. Then each competition there is always for a single fandom, but it varies which one.

    I don't personally want to branch out in that way, but it might help with the frustrations a few people are expressing, especially if we made that a quarterly as well and staggered it with the HP competition.

    Personally I like how the competition is sorting out right now - but I can understand some might want to go more brief.

    I'd like thoughts on the above or whatever else, but for right now...

    Can everyone weigh in on the following:
    2019 - Stick with every 3 months or drop to 2 months and have 6 HP competitions?

    I prefer to stick to what we've been doing. If we had more interest I'd be more comfortable having more of these things, but I don't want to increase the number and end up with consistently fewer entries for each. Not until we've got things rolling more.

    But if we can get out and advertise and get interest up then going to 2-mo might be a good plan for 2020.

     
    Red
  15. Microwave

    Microwave Professor

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    A lot of the time what I see is that people seem to be afraid to come here in the first place. I'm not exactly sure about how well advertising the competition would really fare outside of here.
     
  16. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Well we aren't going to drastically change the forum. We are what we are and I don't think any of us want to pander to those who don't like it.

    However, two things. (1) We've changed over the years as the members have aged up a bit, and (2) if you link to this area of the forum they can see how the competition works and the types of feedback they're likely to get. That might go a long way in making skittish posters feel better, when they see that the criticism isn't mean-spirited when reviewing for the competition.

    But if we are going to link to past competitions we'd need to move the sub-forum out of WbA. I'm not sure how everyone will feel about that.
     
  17. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Chief Warlock DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    Stick with three months. I can only judge my own motivation and method.

    Like you, so far, I've thought about one competition, plotted and written two scenes for one, and half a story for the most recent - but am yet to enter a submission. I'm optimistic I'll get there, but a lot of RL stuff gets in the way and six comps a year and six plots to come up with and then try and execute a year sounds like a significant leap to me. I want to use and enter the competitions to make me better, but I don't want to solely be a competition/short story writer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  18. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    I'd say moving it out of WBA is better. It's always struck me a bit weird why we lumped Story Comp as a subsection of WBA (presumably because the main point for submissions was to get feedback rather than showing whose quill had the nicest plumage).

    Also ditto on having them come to DLP. It also aligns with the whole "let's get more people in DLP" thing we had ages ago, which never went anywhere but this might be a good first step in that direction.

    Consider it a trial period where they can get a feel for the community, and hey, maybe it works out. If it doesn't, no harm done. We already have tons of people badmouthing DLP on other communities, a few more won't change anything.

    People without accounts can't see WBA iirc?

    Other Fandom Story Comp

    Seems like a good idea. Would this be a double vote thing? Since we'd need a prompt as well, or do we decide both prompt and fandom in the same vote - which I have to admit might affect the results. There are certainly some prompts I'd rather explore in certain fandoms than others.

    Agree with Zombie that having a single prompt be open to multiple fandoms is difficult and there are legitimate concerns we probably have to address first before allowing this. Otherwise, we're going to have a bunch of people who may feel put off by the fact that theirs didn't win because "fandom obscurity".

    My opinions on it - All votes that aren't based on "because the story wasn't about Harry" are valid. If they can articulate why voted the way they did, it's valid. I think if we do let other fandoms compete, authors have to be aware that writing for a non-popular fandom is going to to be a risk they have to take and that they probably have a lot of dead weight to pull because they don't necessarily have the reader investment in the MC + reader understanding of the world that is practically intrinsic to HP (within DLP).

    Frequency

    No go for me on this one. I don't think the amount of activity justifies an increase in frequency quite yet and I'm worried this might just increase the pace of burnout in the few consistent contributors right now.

    What might be useful is to include a line in the Prompt Voting along the lines of "If you have no intention of writing or reviewing for the comp, please don't vote". I don't want to get too heavily into trying to enforce something unenforceable (which is what this is), but a simple reminder like this might help realign the results of the vote with the desires of the contributing community. I get the feeling (and I might be wrong), that the vast majority of the people who wrote / wanted to write / reviewed in the last comp didn't want Romance.

    Maybe I'm wrong and I'm just seeing the vocal minority, of course.

    Original Fiction

    Honestly a bit skeptical about this. We can try it out to see if there's any interest in short form OF, but based on my experience in the OWBA, I'm not entirely sold on the merits of it. We've had what? 3 OF that got more than 4 different people to actually leave a review? If that?
     
  19. Striker

    Striker What's up demons?

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    Who are you calling mediocre? I'll rock your fuckin socks off with original fiction.

    At any rate, I haven't cared about Harry Potter fanfiction in a long time. I could get behind an alternate fandom competition if it had the right pick, but that's about it.
     
  20. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I'm calling most of the original fiction written by people who haven't published mediocre. It's why we want feedback - to improve. People have a higher tolerance for that in fanfiction because they are already invested.

    I have no doubt you are capable of rocking us all with your original fiction.

    But why not enter it into an actual competition in that case?
     
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