Culture Judging Q&A

TiurTiur ProducerMember, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 468 admin
edited January 12 in Harpy's Head Tavern
Hello everyone! What follows is the promised feedback thread on the Culture Contest. I'll explain how we did the voting, throw in some of the major comments that happened across the board, and then open things up to questions from you. Feedback I'd appreciate would include thoughts on improving our judging process, and ways we can get away with subjective events without the salt budget for a small nation.

The How

  • Every Room has 6 sections:
    1. Room Description
    2. NPC Description
    3. NPC Script
    4. Item #1 w/ Interactions
    5. Item #2 w/ Interactions
    6. Item #3 w/ Interactions
  • Each section had 3 scores of 1-5
    1. Theme
      1. Mostly "How well did it mesh with the city and other parts of the exhibit"
    2. Quality
      1. Flat out "How well done was this"
    3. Appropriateness
      1. How well did this fit in the celebration exhibit?
      2. How did Delve feel about this room?
      3. Did it hit any really good points with Delve?
  • And each exhibit had a summary 1-5 score, with comments, but that was not used for decisions or scoring. It was just for completeness.
That breaks down to each room being worth 90 points. With 5 rooms, each exhibit had a possible 450 points.

    The judge pool was comprised of
  • Two paid staff
  • One mostly Spirit volunteer
  • One mostly Shadow volunteer
    For a total of 1800 possible points.
Average points/450 were used to determine winners.

Comments

I'm not going to post every single comment, and I'm also going to avoid throwing any salt in wounds. Instead I'll summarize our feelings on the exhibits, and call out glaring errors. If you really feel like a specific thing might have been overlooked, MAYBE some one on one discussion of actual comments.

Duiran
  • Really got the concept and thought about what they emphasized.
  • Solid design all around. While this ate into anything showing up as amazing, the quality is high and consistent.
  • Delve walked in here and learned what Duiran is. Even the admin learned some history.
  • Average Theme: 141/150
  • Average Quality: 125/150
  • Average Appropriateness: 140/150
Bloodloch
  • Best overall room design, looks perfect as an exhibit, everything meshes
  • Good writing, but might have missed the diplomacy concept here and there
  • Shows a feeling of "We are warriors, and a little crazy". Delve can get behind that, in general. Some specifics are a bit offputting to non-vampires.
  • Not everything flows item/npc wise. While the rooms are gorgeous, sometimes the NPCs are off-putting. Tongue-in-cheek jokes hit the admin, but not Delve.
  • Average Theme: 134/150
  • Average Quality: 120/150
  • Average Appropriateness: 124/150
  • Special Callout: Average Room Quality: 5/5
  • Secret note: The ylem gauntlet was hugely divided, either we thought it was a hilarious joke about Rhyot, or Delve was just confused as to why their own tech was being shown to them.
Enorian
  • Time constraints do show, room consistency is a little off
  • Biggest malus: Room building components. While it fits Enorian dead on to build everything out of marble, it's a bit much for the Celebration exhibit grounds.
  • Some problems with long scripts without any emotive breakup in the content.
  • Much love for the pudgy Aspirant.
  • Average Theme: 130/150
  • Average Quality: 121/150
  • Average Appropriateness: 126/150
  • Special Callout: Ascendril Apprentice Averages 5/5, 5/5, and 5/5
Spinesreach
  • Doesn't really fit as an exhibit. Superb museum, but not really fitting this competition.
  • Retrospect and discussion with creators has rectified this, but walking through casually, the theme is hard to catch right off the start.
  • The voidstaff may have gotten the admin fuming. No quality for giving us our own descriptions back!
  • Frequently nailed the appropriateness in items, just not in room, and the NPCs could have discussed the items to help explain their connections. Like the Umbral constellation.. which forced a regrade when we were shamed for not immediately recognizing the purpose.
  • A lot of consistency confusion in judges
  • Average Theme: 129/150
  • Quality: 120/150
  • Appropriateness: 126/150
And that's that!

Salt

Someone has to lose. I'm sorry, that's just how it is. I accept as a valid complaint that you don't want subjective contests like this anymore. That's fine! Let's discuss it, maybe there's a compromise. In this case, we felt the sheer builder nature of this would help offset the large number of credits we gave out for things that frankly, can be triggered and scripted.

We went to great lengths to keep this fair. I think the scores reflect that. I will NOT accept any claims of bias in the Pools, or that we purposefully discredited your efforts. This was fun for us, until those complaints flew. Please recognize that we are people, and yes are fallible, but also are not automatons immune to insults.
Post edited by Tiur on
XeniaLeanaMarienaVyxsisPhoeneciaZailaIshin

Comments

  • LeanaLeana Member Posts: 157 ✭✭✭
    edited January 12
    Despite losing, the results made me happy in many ways.

    Edit: Thank you for this event. I hope the salt hasn't prevented another in the future or smaller scale city vs city competition.
    Vyxsis
  • MarienaMariena By a lake. Member, Guildmaster Posts: 610 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I enjoy a more thorough feedback given in this format. Thank you very much for offering a look into what you guys had thought of.

    In the future, if you do a subjective contest again I think it needs to be VERY VERY clear from the start that it is a contest that is roleplay subjective based on the area hosting the event. The biggest criticism I have is that this was not as apparent as I think you guys thought and we figured it out half-way into the construction.

    That said, I thought this was way cool! And I also really loved the ice-sculpting contest. These types of different contests allow those who do not do the scripting thing a chance to shine and I appreciate that.

    I think I can speak for Bloodloch a little when I say that we had a blast collaborating together and were proud of our work when finished. (We are a little crazy)


    LeanaVyxsis
  • XeniaXenia Member Posts: 943 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Personally, I had a great time with this. I don't care that Spinesreach got last place. I can abstract myself from it and see where aspects of it as a whole were weaker. That said, it was fun, I enjoy the rooms and it's kind of fun to be in a position and think, 'Oh how the mighty have fallen'.

    It's good to be humbled from time to time. Gives Spinesreach something to work towards, keep 'em hungry!
    image
    LeanaVyxsis
  • VyxsisVyxsis VyxsisMember Posts: 218 ✭✭✭
    i don't have issues with subjective contests. in fact, i've liked pr much all the crafting/writing contests that i've participated in. sure, i haven't personally won any, and while i think i submitted mostly good work, i'm not salty about losing. i am a little salty about the cooking contest that opened the celebration since there was a rule that was not clearly stated, and i really found your post addressing it disappointing, @Tiur. i don't know if maybe there was humor that was just lost on me because i don't have a sense of humor, but the line about "the contest isn't for looking cool for yourself or your friends" seemed in really poor taste. appealing to a different post in an OOC news section about a different contest as showing we should've known also seemed unreasonable to me, as did retroactively saying "well, Delve wouldn't like this about Duiran, or this about Spinesreach, etc". those examples are counterfactuals - interesting, i guess, but what actually happened is that all the Bloodlochian entries (that i knew about) were disqualified for the exact same """error""". the explanatory post, then, was pretty much directed at us - at three individual players - and it felt hella crumby to be accused of basically just trying to be edgy, etc.

    to be clear, i'm not currently claiming there's bias in the Pools, just that y'all done goofed, and the 'explanation' just made it worse (at least for me). if we're going to have subjective contests - which, again, i'm all for - i simply want to see the rules and judging criteria spelled out better. you ever have a teacher or prof hand out their grading rubric for a paper or project? maybe do something like that. don't wait until it's done to spell out what you were looking for, or we'll all feel kinda tricked, and def don't give non-apologies that blame us for not knowing things you didn't say.

    on an unrelated note, i'm a bit confused by how much 'love' there was for the ascendril aspirant. although no names were named, that npc's script pretty directly talks unicorns on someone specific whose identity was pretty immediately recognized by... well, lots of people, which felt neither appropriate in general nor appropriate for an exhibit intended for a foreign government.
    Indoran'i is back baby. It's good again. Awoouu (wolf Howl)
    An Atzob cultist says, "Is a shamatato as tasty as a potato?"
    (Tells): From afar, Mephistoles hisses harshly to you, "Hey baby, show me your ovipositor?"
    (Research): Cariv says, "Itsa me, Buggio."
    LeanaEliadon
  • VyxsisVyxsis VyxsisMember Posts: 218 ✭✭✭
    i'll echo the folks above, too: i had a good time helping make Bloodloch's exhibit, and i'd love doing similar things in the future.

    and like @Leana, i'm actually pretty delighted by the exhibit results, despite not taking 1st place.
    Indoran'i is back baby. It's good again. Awoouu (wolf Howl)
    An Atzob cultist says, "Is a shamatato as tasty as a potato?"
    (Tells): From afar, Mephistoles hisses harshly to you, "Hey baby, show me your ovipositor?"
    (Research): Cariv says, "Itsa me, Buggio."
    Leana
  • EydisEydis Member Posts: 108 ✭✭✭
    I think contests like this are great for the game and it's engendered an even greater sense of community in Spinesreach icly and oocly. I think it's cool the admin have been open to a rubric in the future so players and admin are on the same page with expectations. Subjective contests are difficult for everyone to navigate. Thanks for being so accessible to hear player complaints, @Tiur. You've been fielding lots of questions and concerns in a very healthy and helpful way. I appreciate everything you've been doing. It's neat to have someone who is ultra accessible.


    (Spinesreach): Xiuhcoatl says, "Oh man, grab the children-corn. This is gonna be good."
    TozXenia
  • ZailaZaila Pacific TimeMember Posts: 350 ✭✭✭✭
    Vyxsis said:
    on an unrelated note, i'm a bit confused by how much 'love' there was for the ascendril aspirant. although no names were named, that npc's script pretty directly talks unicorns on someone specific whose identity was pretty immediately recognized by... well, lots of people, which felt neither appropriate in general nor appropriate for an exhibit intended for a foreign government.
    I'm 90% sure you're referencing the joke it makes about the magister of water (and therefore Zaila). For the record, I was super chuffed and thought it was hilarious and give a big high-five to whoever came up with that XD.

    Regarding it's appropriateness to a foreign government, I would disagree! It's not at all explicit, it's self-aware of how much trouble the ascendril had of keeping membership up while saving face (blaming Zaila for being naughty-naughty, not taking responsibility for the lack of active leadership), and it's fun and gossipy: and everyone likes gossip. Especially politicians.
    RazmaelVyxsisKodaXenia
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 515 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 12
    I love creative contests like these whether it's the crafting contests, Iron Epicurean, the ice sculpture contest, and now the cultural exhibit. The latter two were especially fun and challenging because it required you to think a lot more about what it was you were writing as you were writing for a very specific audience. In particular, it required knowing what your org was about, and how it fit into the world at large. I also really like that unlike other events that are over in a matter of minutes, this was something where you had to have people come together to work on it, discussing it, and discussing their org in a way that doesn't really come up too often.

    I was kind of fortunate enough to recognize right off the bat that the judging was going to be done on an IC level, so we had to really think about what it was we wanted to show people what Duiran is, and what it was we were proud of. Kind of forced you to think really hard about the image you project when dealing with orgs that *aren't* in the know about your city, and I figured that being very careful about wording was key. The culture exhibit was kind of a lesson in writing propaganda and making your org look good to foreigners.

    Ex: Duiran's more 'savage' aspects were addressed with only a few throwaway comments, but largely glossed over. 

    The other fun challenge was trying to condense a city's history into objects and dialogue while still making it fun and interesting, and giving the exhibit NPCs personalities of their own. Each city has over 300 years of history or more, and it's a lot to sift through, so figuring out what to show off and what to leave out can be difficult. The approach Duiran took sort of boiled down to 'Write everything like you're writing for newbies who have no clue about anything about your org', and I think it paid off.

    I feel having a few 'hidden criteria' for judging was a brilliant move. It forces you to think about the audience your writing for, and can and should influence how you spin things. Every org will have things that will impress them, and things that will turn them off, and figuring out/knowing what those things are I feel add an extra dimension to it. I don't think of it as sneaky as it is rewarding people who are able to pick up on those things and use it to their advantage.

    I'm kind of hoping this contest helped people really look at and think about the themes of their orgs, and that it helps bring it about more in-game. I'm also hoping this ends up influencing how diplomacy is handled, both player-side and admin-side.

    A few criticisms:

    1. The contest deadline: This is probably the biggest gripe I had, even though we did manage to get everything done before it needed to be handed in. Despite being kind of experienced with writing these kinds of things, 14 days is kind of short to be writing as much as there was. (5 rooms, brief and verbose. 5 NPCs with appearance, dropped, examined + dialogue trees with up to 6 subjects to talk about. 3 items per room + object interactions). I know the deadline had to be kind of short, but I think 3 weeks probably would have been a more comfortable time frame. And it would have granted a bit more wiggle room in case of emergencies or someone being forced to drop out for whatever reason.

    2. Clarity on the nature of judging: This wasn't as huge a problem for me or my team, but I think in the future it could be made a little more clear that everything in a particular contest is being judged on an IC basis (especially one where the rewards are huge), that way no one can really claim they didn't know, and helps make the playing field a bit more fair.

    3. Distribution of rewards: Minor thing, but I think next time rewards for something like the cultural exhibit competition get distributed it might be better to deposit things like items into city stockpiles? Just makes them easier to keep track of. 

    All in all, despite the time crunch and amount of work involved, I had a ton of fun doing this, and I'm really happy with how the exhibit turned out (even if I'm still kicking myself over things I forgot to add/correct until it was too late), and it was interesting seeing what each city thinks of itself, and what it wants to show to others. I know I've definitely learned a few things, and if anything, the competition has kind of relieved a ton of anxieties I had - both in terms of writing and in Duiran's theme/direction. I hope to see more of this kind of competition in the future!


    Post edited by Phoenecia on
    Leana
  • VyxsisVyxsis VyxsisMember Posts: 218 ✭✭✭
    edited January 12
    Zaila said:


    I'm 90% sure you're referencing the joke it makes about the magister of water (and therefore Zaila). For the record, I was super chuffed and thought it was hilarious and give a big high-five to whoever came up with that XD.

    Regarding it's appropriateness to a foreign government, I would disagree! It's not at all explicit, it's self-aware of how much trouble the ascendril had of keeping membership up while saving face (blaming Zaila for being naughty-naughty, not taking responsibility for the lack of active leadership), and it's fun and gossipy: and everyone likes gossip. Especially politicians.
    aight, cool, i'm glad you found it amusing rather than hurtful. you seem to be pretty thick-skinned and able to let things roll off your back, which i'll admit are not traits i've ever been known for. like, i know i'd be really less-than-pleased to be singled out on a game-wide level, and i found it kinda discouraging that what appeared to me to be bullying was so unanimously loved by admin. since it wasn't about me or anyone else, though, i'll let it rest.

    edit: aaarrrrrrgh why is quoting being a buttttttttttt. edited to fix... maybe?
    Indoran'i is back baby. It's good again. Awoouu (wolf Howl)
    An Atzob cultist says, "Is a shamatato as tasty as a potato?"
    (Tells): From afar, Mephistoles hisses harshly to you, "Hey baby, show me your ovipositor?"
    (Research): Cariv says, "Itsa me, Buggio."
    Zaila
  • MagnhildMagnhild Member Posts: 4
    edited January 12
    This whole cultural exhibit was such a fun ride. Not just the creation part - getting to see what everyone came up with was really fun too. Thank you for sharing the thoughts and comments on how the decisions were made, Tiur. It really helps clarify everything. As far as 'ways to stop people from getting upset about losing' I think transparency like this is definitely one of them.

    I hope something like this happens again next Celebration. I love the huge, collaborative writing project thing.
  • ShachalaiShachalai Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭
    edited January 12
    Vyxsis said:

    Zaila said:


    I'm 90% sure you're referencing the joke it makes about the magister of water (and therefore Zaila). For the record, I was super chuffed and thought it was hilarious and give a big high-five to whoever came up with that XD.

    Regarding it's appropriateness to a foreign government, I would disagree! It's not at all explicit, it's self-aware of how much trouble the ascendril had of keeping membership up while saving face (blaming Zaila for being naughty-naughty, not taking responsibility for the lack of active leadership), and it's fun and gossipy: and everyone likes gossip. Especially politicians.
    aight, cool, i'm glad you found it amusing rather than hurtful. you seem to be pretty thick-skinned and able to let things roll off your back, which i'll admit are not traits i've ever been known for. like, i know i'd be really less-than-pleased to be singled out on a game-wide level, and i found it kinda discouraging that what appeared to me to be bullying was so unanimously loved by admin. since it wasn't about me or anyone else, though, i'll let it rest.

    edit: aaarrrrrrgh why is quoting being a buttttttttttt. edited to fix... maybe?
    Chiming in, as the person who wrote the Ascendril NPC and thus, that particular joke: I chose to make it because Zaila and I are cool OOC. It's also a joke on the Ascendril in a way, for exactly the reasons Zaila described above.

    This is, of course, a wildly inappropriate digression for any curator to make, which is part of the joke that the apprentice is out of her depth during the events of the Celebration (and also very, very high on myrrh.) She is supposed to seem unprofessional and disorganized. This is part of the broader joke on the Ascendril; just as they can't muster a full cadre of leaders, they can't find anyone better for presenting this exhibit than this apprentice, either.

    If I had any suspicion whatsoever that Zaila would have been annoyed or put out by it, I would have had the apprentice say something else. More notably, the things we do as players are culture; guild culture, city culture, order culture, what have you. If you say that specific player actions or jabs or references to players and their actions are off-limits, you lose a huge realm of the game imo.
    Post edited by Shachalai on
    Zaila
  • RasaniRasani Member Posts: 160 ✭✭✭
    I just wanna say, Duiran killed it and you all should be mad proud. 
    And I'm glad you liked my chubby aspirant, they're trying their best. 
    Shachalai
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