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General Competition Discussion Thread

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

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  1. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene High Inquisitor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I'm fine with spoiler tagging reviews.

    On another note, can I just say that it blows my mind that a story which gave such a tongue-in-cheek wink to the required prompt managed to gain so much favor in the scores this round? I get it, Entry 2 was a funny story and probably the second best submission after Joe's as far as characterization/quality/enjoyment, but it did about fuck-all with Death and that in my opinion should have been the largest deciding factor at this point of the competitions.

    If anyone can just write a good story in every aspect but for the prompt, then what is the point of even having one? It just bugs me. I'd definitely read more of 2, and I hope there is more, but it did not belong in this round.
     
  2. Silirt

    Silirt Chief Warlock DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I was under the impression the prompt was just there so the reviewers could compare the stories a bit better. I honestly thought 2 was entirely too far away from the prompt, and though I liked it, it wouldn't have made an appearance in my rankings(probably mine wouldn't either, but that's beside the point). Having read all the reviews, it didn't seem like 'prompt adherence' was anyone else's chief concern, so I suppose I'm alone on that.
     
  3. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    @Zenzao, you've got your excuse to write, the prompt is fine too. And like @Silirt said, easier to compare if there's at least a semblance of a common theme. Aren't the competitions just a scheme to have more good fanfiction for all of us to enjoy? Case in point, Joe's winning entry might not have existed without the competition.
     
  4. Newcomb

    Newcomb Minister of Magic

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    Enjoyment > Quality > Prompt Adherence, IMO.

    I'd rather someone submit something that kind of dubiously fits the prompt than not submit anything at all. If people want to ding their scores because of that, more power to 'em.
     
  5. Sey

    Sey Not Worth the Notice DLP Supporter

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    Not just limited to writing.
     
    Joe
  6. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    Requesting spoiler tags is hardly a large ask or anything, but... idk, I don't see why it's only being applied to competition entry reviews. Discussion in WbA threads isn't required to be spoilered. If you don't want to read other reviews, just don't read them imo. It's hand-holding.

    On that note, I myself did skim over other reviews before writing my own. From a writerly perspective, it's definitely helpful to see when multiple people have the same issue, but there's a point when it's redundant. Like Joe's story for example, I didn't mention the epigraphs because it seemed like he'd get the point from the other reviews. Instead, I tried to look deeper and find something else to remark upon. If we end up deciding reviewers should write their thoughts in isolation and submit them to a mod to be posted all at once, my own reviews would be 100% worse for it. Half my word count would probably have been about the epigraphs.
     
  7. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Chief Warlock DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I know I didn't review this time, and I'm sorry, I will again in the future.

    I support this. Firstly, the actual impact will be minimal, you can still read them with a click if that's your jam. For me, it would be easier to write my own without accidentally seeing any, because I like to do a review without reading them and then a portion after having read them, and as above, having reviews spoilered would make it easier to scroll between the text and my reply.
     
  8. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Someone mentioned having reviews submitted to a staff member and posted later, but I don't think anyone suggested it. I'm staunchly opposed to it for a few reasons so unless it gets a huge following behind it you can all stop worrying about that. In particular because I think it would kill excitement and momentum for the competition as a whole.

    There is something to be said for both (1) saying the same things in reviews over and over and (2) looking for something new to say.

    That bit of advice that you've all mentioned is from Neil Gaiman, I think:
    When people tell you somethings wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

    It's one reason why my reviews often include vague comments about sections that don't work - even if I don't know why.

    When I get reviews I do hope that people will at least say "I second what X said" if they have a similar problem for that reason. So repetition isn't exactly bad.

    What's bad is when you read a review and things you didn't have a problem with suddenly become problems, or else you change your mind about your first impressions based on what someone else said, or if you can't decide what to say at all and just copy.

    It's also great to try and find new aspects of things to comment on. So if you did read the reviews, and make your own comments, but then decide to try and find some new aspect of the story to review. That's a good use of prior reviews.

    So yeah. I do NOT want to go hardcore with a you aren't allowed to read reviews mentality. I do want to make the standard "don't read" as opposed to "just keep scrolling and read all the current reviews before getting to the reply box for yours."

    Make your own choices with reviews, at least for this next competition. We can revise the process if needed. But that said, all of you who have written a story for the competition, now or in the past...

    How did you feel about the review you got? Was it solid and useful critique?


    And... shit, what was the other thing I wanted to comment on? I have like 30 seconds before I have to go...

    Oh! Right, the prompt itself.

    I considered Entry #2 in Q1 2019 to meet the prompt because to me the story was an AU based on what if Petunia told Harry that magic killed his parents. The addition of Pettigrew at the end added to it, but...

    On a scale of 1 to 3, Entry #2 for a 1/3 for prompt use. If it had gotten a 0/3 I'd have personally disqualified it in my mind, but it snuck in there. If it had gotten a 3/3 then I'd have given it first place instead of #4.

    When using the metric was required and was giving us scores out of 30 or whatever, I think the prompt was worth 5 'points' or thereabouts. So it was always a consideration but not more than other things like plot or character.

    If the prompt isn't used at ALL then yeah, I'm on board with disqualifying. But so long as it's technically used it's going to be another aspect for me to consider, same as plot, character, etc.

    If we want to make it a bigger deal I'm open to discussion on that.
     
  9. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    Since we've kept the Story Comp behind WBA, is the idea that if this were to be advertised to other groups (say, r/HPFanfiction), we'd require them to create an account in order to view / participate?
     
  10. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    No. Just no.
     
  11. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    This has come up before - we talked about advertising on other groups, I think. I'd be happy to pull in entrants from elsewhere, though they'd need to join the forum to participate (or so I assume). If it ever gets 'too big' somehow then we might have to revise our reviewing requirements to be less stringent but I don't see that happening.

    If we do any drastic though I'm not sure how we'd want to handle it with regards to WbA and having accounts. And that's something I'd probably need to run past other staff members if it's going to bring an influx of n00bs into the forums. But I don't think we have to do much other than advertise and they can join or not?

    I did put the "info" thread in Announcements though, so it's not behind a WbA wall. Should be able to link people to this thread for information without them needing WbA access. My assumption is that if they like the idea they can join the forum, participate a bit, and then just... be a member and enter like the rest of us you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  12. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Okay people, I want some input:
    @Sorrows @Xiph0 @Selethe @Halt @Typhon @CareOtters @BTT @Blorcyn @Jeram @Zombie @enembee @Dicra @Lungs @Perspicacity @Zeelthor @Zenzao @Jarizok @Red @Shinysavage @Microwave @Joe @ScottPress @Silirt @Newcomb @Sey @Selethe

    Yes, I'm sure I missed someone. Provide input anyway.

    I've toyed with the idea of sometimes having an additional, shorter competition that runs during the Quarterly competitions. Personally I'd enjoy the occasional 'Flash' competition. Stories from 500-1500 words and 48 hours to write, or something like that, and since it's so short remove the 'review' requirement and do voting in a poll format. Or maybe do a month-long competition to write the start of a crossover, or "write a story based on your favorite quote," or even "make a bad trope into a good story."

    Competitions like these would run in tandem with the Quarterly ones but often for shorter periods of time with rules that might vary some. I'm pleased with how the quarterly competitions are working out and I don't want to screw with the format there so long as it's working, but this would let us mix it up a bit.

    I bring this up now because of the great Daphne vs Azkaban battle of Q2 2019.

    Option 1: If Azkaban wins, Daphne could be the first of these 'additional competitions' in a new format. Personally I see no need for a Daphne story that can go up to 17.5k words, maybe a traditional short story format of 2.5k-7.5k and one month?

    Option 2: Combine the prompts, but give full 'prompt' credit for using either. So entrants could either write an Azkaban story where Daphne is mentioned in passing, or a Daphne-centric story where Azkaban is mentioned once. You could use both prompts fully, but no 'bonus points' for using both prompts to their fullest extent. This basically lets authors pick which prompt they preferred to write while technically using both.

    Option 3: We have 50+ fucking voters, guys. We could consider having entries submitted to Xiph0 with either "Daphne" or "Azkaban" in the title and running two separate competitions which would each produce a winner. Read, review, and vote on them as if they were separate competitions.

    I'd prefer to do 1 or 2. The third option will create more work for me and Xiph0. If Daphne wins then Option 1 is out, because I suspect that a lot of people already have Azkaban ideas written and I don't want to screw with the rules on that one.
     
  13. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Well, the poll closes in 2 days so the vote could still go either way between Daphne and Azkaban, but unless there's a huge surge to put one clearly over the top, I think Option 2 looks best. We already adhere to the prompt technically at best when reviewing, it's a kickstart to get juices flowing more than a hard requirement.
     
  14. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    In cases where there are two clear favourite prompts which are fighting for first place. I like the second solution. While logically you would think people have more Azkaban ideas, the voting is split down the middle so there may be as many people with Daphne ideas. I for one have a Daphne centric idea despite having been looking forward to when Azkaban finally wins one of these things. I don't think it stretches the structure of the competition any if people can choose out of two in cases like this. It feels silly to have a 'lesser' competition for a prompt that looses by only a couple of votes.

    I doubt we will get enough entries for two competitions and solution one feels lopsided. If we do end up with a ton of entries for both you can ask people to split their voting for top three Azkaban fics and top three Daphne fics and have a winner for both.

    I like the idea of flash competitions, pariticularly for the weirder or more experimental prompts or ideas.

    Either way, nothing is set in stone. We can always try something for one competition and see what the results are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  15. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    I like the idea of 48 hour flash competitions. They wouldn't share ground with the Quarterly competitions like a Monthly one might (although I'm still in favor of making the quarterly comps monthly ones instead-- it seems like, as whole, people aren't utilizing the full timespan to write a story anyway). Regardless, I'm in support of Option 1.

    ... but I don't like Option 2. If you can just make a throw-away mention to Daphne/Azkaban, one which anyone who isn't aware of the competition would hardly think about, it seems kind of pointless. Similarly, I'm not a fan of letting people submit entries for both the Daphne and Azkaban prompts. There's only 4 prompts in the poll in the first place-- why not let everyone write for any of them?
     
  16. Microwave

    Microwave Professor

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    I'd prefer option 2 because considering the amount of votes for both prompts there's probably quite a few people that are already set in their ideas for either option, and that would most likely guarantee a bit more entries.
     
  17. Silirt

    Silirt Chief Warlock DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I agree with Selethe that it seems kind of pointless if you make a throwaway reference to the prompt and proceed to write something unrelated, but I think the last go-round established that you can do that. I'm aware that this could bring in more participants, but how many is too many? If Xiph0 posted like 50 stories one round we'd have to seriously consider removing the requirement to read all of them. It's not remotely likely, but it's possible.
    Historically, that doesn't mean anything. If Xiph0 gets like three stories he'll probably just put them back into one competition, and then we would have a harder time comparing them.

    The prompt is an arbitrary requirement, but I would think it helps reviewers compare the stories, which is their whole job. The only possible way people managed to rank the crack fic we received last time was by not considering prompt adherence, and if we're not going to consider that, we should remove the requirement so that each participant can be equally unconstrained. In fairness, the reviewers were probably being more forgiving to prompt deviance after last year's Q4, where no one was really using the prompt except the story that basically wasn't finished.
     
  18. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    The idea isn't that you make a reference to the prompt and then write whatever - the idea is what you write for one of the prompts that tied (Daphne or Azkaban) and make a throw-away reference to the other.

    The requirement to read at least part of all of the stories will remain regardless. But if we get an enormous number of entries that the rules can be revised somewhat. For example, if we have 50 entries, perhaps 100 words of review on however much of the story you read could be required. I know in the past there have been a few entries that I would have dropped after the first 500 words or so, so for those I might just review what I read, explain why I stopped, and move on to the next.

    I disagree here, and commented on it several times in the Q2 2019 thread.

    But in my opinion your statement that "the only possible way people managed to rank the crack fic we received last time was by not considering prompt adherence" is bullshit.

    It met the prompt in two ways. One being that the point of divergence for the AU is that Petunia told Harry that magic killed his parents - which deals with death - and the second being that there was a death at the end of the story (Pettigrew). Considering both of those things then yes, that story didn't do a GOOD job of meeting the prompt. I myself rated it at about 1/3 for prompt adherence, but since it wasn't 0/3 it counted as an entry.

    And for things I tend to think of in terms of "out of 3" we have prompt, plot, characters, pacing, etc. So the fact that the story in question had good pacing, fun as hell characters/concept, clever jokes, etc. managed to make up for it's weak prompt adherence when compared to the other entries. I actually enjoyed reading it more than the entry I marked as the winner, but the winner adhered well to the prompt, so I marked it as first.

    If we get a story entered that doesn't even technically meet the prompt requirement - for example, an entry for Daphne Greengrass in which her name is not even mentioned - then I'm all for disqualifying it. But how well the prompt is met is going to be subjective, and should be one thing among many for judges to consider.

    In this case the idea would be that you pick which prompt you want to adhere to - Azkaban or Daphne - and adhere to that one while referencing the other. But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I want to keep getting feedback from everyone and hearing thoughts, plus I am super curious how the poll will actually turn out.

    It's good to hear from people on this! Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I want to keep this competition going as something people enter and enjoy, and to do that I have to know what you all (authors in particular) are thinking.
     
  19. Nexis

    Nexis Third Year

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    I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of having to write a story that mentions two of the prompts (even if one of them only very briefly). I'd prefer to keep the quarterly competitions as they were and just organize a quick 48 hours or so competition once in a while.
    So, I guess option 1 would work the best for me.
     
  20. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer DLP Supporter

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    From my POV, the prompts are pointless. You either end up with something incredibly specific, which then nobody feels inspired to write for, or you end up with something so vague that basically anything is admissible. Then, in combination with those two things, you have the issue that reviews of stories in these competitions only ever really take things at face value, meaning that attempts to subtly or cleverly employ the prompt as theme are actively punished, rather than commended.

    Now that I'm done answering a question you didn't ask, 2.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
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