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Can We Reward Quality Content? [Theme Week]


Renomitsu
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With the recent report of decreased forum activity, I felt I could combine this theme week with the S79 Deadline Suggestion Drive idea and devise some new awards specifically related to bringing attention to entries on the site.

 

Any attempt to describe all of the factors leading to a decline in forum activity is impossible at worst and exceptionally tedious at best. Based solely on post count, it's unlikely that recognizing many Into the Stands or Create a Player threads (as examples) would generate more forum engagement without a significant overhaul – and that would likely lead me away from talking about awards. Instead, we'll look at the majority of user-generated content – media spots, graphics, and podcasts. I think it'd be pretty straightforward to create an award for the best of each of these over the course of a season, though it'd likely have to be done through a committee of some sort to limit bias, or possibly be split in two awards (one for popularity that's put to a vote and one for critical acclaim that's evaluated by a committee).

 

There's currently no true incentive for producing quality media spots – not even so much as a nod outside of reviewing TPE if someone forgets to do trivia in a given week. Even I'm rarely reading more than a few entries in the Media Spot forum per season, for example, and those that I do read are typically from users I already know. Some of that is from extenuating circumstances (I have little free time), but there's also been a general decline in quality of media spots and I'm not terribly interested in reading more than a couple per season as a result. I'll also regularly listen to 3PPAO, but that's particularly because it's a combination of users I'm familiar with and interesting content; were either of those aspects no longer holding true I might not listen to podcasts posted on VHL at all.

 

So, how do we make media spots, podcasts, and graphics more engaging without making it seem stilted or artificial? Recognize a user with a great entry once per week per medium over the course of a season. Heck, you could even take an 'expert' or two from each type of point task and make each division a job. Users like @enigmatic for graphics and @fromtheinside for media come to mind almost immediately, for example. It'd be their duty to review entries on a weekly basis and pick one or two to nominate for weekly (and end-of-the-season) recognition, with no user selected able to have more than one entry entered into the end-of-season poll (or critic's award eligibility, or what have you).

 

Does it have to be a weekly award? No – I think it'd be far more important to let a user know they're being recognized for their hard work. EFL used to have a "point task of the week" highlighting a quality graphic or article on a scrolling header – and if that could be implemented here, it'd give the community a good 'focus' on a quality point task. Give the top 1-3 media spots, graphics, and podcasts each season an award and start giving TPE for a job well-done.

 

"What about TPE inflation?," you might ask. And that's a fair point. If the same user is winning a media, graphic, or podcast award every season, that'd be a few extra TPE to their player. Better yet, if they're talented enough to win a seasonal award in multiple point tasks domains each season that'd be up to 30 TPE per career (though I'd expect multiple award wins for this in any season to have vanishingly small probability). Limit these award wins to once per 2-3 seasons, which is easy enough to keep track of with a spreadsheet. That lets plenty of users rotate in for recognition, it's still worth striving for even if the reward is small, and maybe users start paying attention to those that produce quality content as guides for how to improve.

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1 hour ago, Renomitsu said:

there's also been a general decline in quality of media spots

 

Yes. I like scrolling through media spots here and there, and lately I haven't come across as much worth reading as I used to. 

 

...which is why I think forum activity is an important thing and part of why I've been talking/complaining about it dropping off recently, because if nobody's going to care about what you write, then why write something interesting? And if you're not writing anything interesting, then why would anybody care about what you're writing? And so on. Objectively speaking, it's the same TPE either way. 

 

One thing to note, though, and one reason why I'm not super for giving out TPE for solid tasks (even though I think I'm capable of winning in the media spot category every now and then) is that some may overestimate what a small bit of TPE means. We'd probably see a handful of people (certainly not all, certainly not most either, but I think some) doing things like artificially inflating their word counts or ripping graphics from other places to try to win that extra bit, something that violates the integrity of a point task even more than doing the bare minimum that's approvable in my opinion. And with any sort of voting process, as we've seen countless times, comes drama. More influential members could end up campaigning for themselves or their friends in a public vote (just imagine a shady GM rallying their team for that sort of thing), and any decision reached by a committee would be called into question and accused of having been reached due to favoritism or corruptness. I think ANY TPE-related reward would be uglier than it's worth.

 

do agree that putting an emphasis on doing things well, rather than just doing things, is worth it. Perhaps a "best of this season" article from VSN would be cool, and maybe we could kick off another graphics tournament at some point. It's been about a year and a half since @Nykonax  ran his, and I still remember it as a cool event that I had a lot of fun engaging with.

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53 minutes ago, GustavMattias said:

do agree that putting an emphasis on doing things well, rather than just doing things, is worth it. Perhaps a "best of this season" article from VSN would be cool, and maybe we could kick off another graphics tournament at some point. It's been about a year and a half since @Nykonax  ran his, and I still remember it as a cool event that I had a lot of fun engaging with.

i'd be down to run it again, just need to figure out a format that works. double elim is way too long, but single elim might be too short? perhaps some round robin into single elim bracket?

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