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    Winter Awards Feedback/Suggestions Thread
    • Hey everyone,

      Sorry for the delay in posting!

      So Winter Awards have wrapped up and obviously you know we changed quite a few things for this season. Most awards were Staff voted, with only Zelda and RP staying as community nominated AND voted.

      I'm going to be frank to all of you about awards so you understand my personal opinions. I love awards, honestly one of my all-time favorite community events, even though it is a lot of work behind the scenes to get everything done. It's been totally worth it. However, I'd say activity with awards is dropping. We get less nominations, and less votes, and overall it feels the community doesn't care much about them.

      Which is fine if this is the case. It may not be, and I could be totally wrong. But as someone who has been here since 2012, I have seen quite a few awards seasons go by, and it does seem by comparison not to be as important to most members. And it gets to a point where we have to ask "Is it worth it to run?" I want them to be. But if they really are losing interest, then maybe I'm in the minority as someone who wants them around.

      So my suggestion for this season, along with other staff opinions, was to try and make the awards more selective, thus more special when won. There were obviously a lot of pros and cons to this idea, but we figured it was worth a shot to see what would happen, and it was by no means implemented as a permanent idea. Some felt this would be more objective, some felt like it would be less so. I felt as staff we were responsible to be more objective towards the community, thus making the votes less likely to be swayed by personal relationships.


      So here are my questions to the community:

      1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?

      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?

      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?

      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?

      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?

      All I ask if for you to be honest, but to also be kind and respectful when giving suggestions. Seeing as I was the one mainly responsible for implementing this change with support from staff, I'm the one who will be in charge of making more changes going forward. Most of all I just want the community to have fun with this stuff. It isn't a super serious intense thing, its an event meant to span across all of the boards, for all members to take part in, to recognize the amazing diversity and awesomeness of our members, and I want it to remain that way.

      Thanks in advance :heart:


      "Defense against the dark farts, am I right?" -Pennington
      | This spot reserved for Dark Link Reigns |

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Lady Sunshine ().

    • Lady Sunshine wrote:

      1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?
      Yes. I enjoy and care about the awards, because it's a fun thing for the community.



      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?
      Up to you. I didn't mind it too much.


      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?
      Don't cut back on the number of awards again and revive some of the old ones back. And keep the awards suggestions thing open-minded. That's my favorite part about the awards thing.



      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?
      I think cutting back on the awards was a mistake. The turn out was dismal, if you ask me. I think you should add some of the old ones back and keep the award suggestions open-minded.


      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?
      It was a flop to put it bluntly.


      [Gayru Clan banner by Chel]
      (Fabulous gay sig by, Ciel Bell)
    • 1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?

      Yes I care, which is why I've been as vocal as I have been about them. I enjoyed them a lot last summer and care about our community events.

      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?

      Yes. Honestly it really confused me how taking people's right to vote away would increase participation in the awards. Knowing you have less influence over who wins makes participating less fun because it's up to a chosen few to vote on almost completely subjective awards. Aside from the creativity awards, where being good at art/music/video creation ect. requires talent and therefore can be measured more objectively, the awards all completely up to the personal, subjective, opinions of the people nominating/voting. Staff is no better than the community at making these decisions. In fact look at the winners of the awards this season. They are almost all staff/ex-staff/friends of staff. That's because the staff is no different than the rest of the community and can only vote for people we're familiar with and personally feel are worthy of the award.

      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?

      I've noticed that some people are afraid of hurting the feelings of anyone they don't vote for. I'm not sure how well this would work, but maybe see if there's a way for people to have the option to anonymously vote for who they want to win. That way they wouldn't have to worry about upsetting anyone. That might increase participation more. Oh and bring back suggestions. It gets the community more involved.

      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?

      I think it was good we cut some awards cause we had way too many with ones that were similar, ones that could be taken the wrong way, and ones like the sitely ones which were for people that never even visit the forum (the news, media, wiki, guides, and features team almost never post here so few know them and could vote last time. However, I feel like we cut a few too many and would like to see a few more come back next time. Maybe around 5-10.

      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?

      Again, I hate saying this cause it makes me feel bad, but I'm going to be honest and say it wasn't. There was much more of a turnout for the Summer and 2017 Winter Awards than the 2018 Winter Awards and I think there not being as many awards and more importantly not being able to vote for who you want to win making your picks not really matter are the reason. I hope we go back to community voting next time cause that was more enjoyable and fun.



      Check out my graphic design thread and get a banner for your thread today! Tru's Banner Workshop

      The post was edited 4 times, last by TruEdge67 ().

    • 1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?
      When I first joined ZU I was very excited about the awards, because I wanted to tell people things I liked about them and hear what they thought of me. But in seasons following, since the awards were mostly the same, I kinda felt like I had less and less to say. I'd like it if awards continued at ZU, but I do think some things need to change and I like that you are putting the effort in to try new things.

      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?
      YES.

      The reasons you gave in your awards OP for the change were
      (1) to eliminate bias from users
      (2) [to eliminate] the same user receiving the same award over many seasons, and
      (3) to offer a more objective and diverse view from staff.

      Addressing these in order,
      (1) I don't know which bias you mean, so I have no idea about this one,
      (2) Another way of tackling this -- first, structure the awards in a way that focuses on the last six months of activity (e.g., "of the season" instead of "best" or "most"), and second, accept that if a single person is consistently active and always putting out high quality material, maybe they deserve to win every season. This style of awards just isn't designed to recognize as many ZUers as possible for their contributions to the forum; by nature it highlights an elite few.
      (3) I am not sure how leaving the decision to a smaller, more homogeneous group is objective or diversifying in any way. I found it patronizing and it sucked the fun out of awards for me, which mostly hinges on voting for people I think deserve it, and feeling good when people vote for me!

      I also just want to point out that while some of the awards we've had in the past had an objectively correct recipient, most of our awards are subjective things. This season for example we had an award called Best Conversationalist. Unless you're actually setting out parameters beforehand as to what "best" means, and making those transparent to nominators, this is a subjective question! I like talking to some people and not others. Some people are friendly to me and not to others, or vice versa. Guinea got the most nominations for Best Conversationalist this season, indicating that several ZUers like talking to him, but based on his past experiences with staff do I think for a second that he was considered for the award? (What I'm saying is it's OK for a recipient to be chosen on a subjective basis but staff thinking they are being objective, but still voting on a subjective basis, less cool and more patronizing and also scary in a totalitarian sorta way. I mean it's just forum awards but still.)


      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?
      For myself, I think focusing on the last six months of activity with the majority of the awards could keep my interest in the awards. E.g., remove things like the personality awards (kindest member, etc) which focus on enduring traits and not recent activity. Focusing on the last season's activity could also motivate more participation in community activities, for those who like to receive awards. Back when I was playing Mafia a lot, the set of Mafia awards were my favorite to vote on and look at other peoples' votes! It was fun to reminisce about games gone by and the cool or funny things people did in them.

      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?
      I liked that the number of awards was severely cut down this season and that the suggestions were skipped. It was less laborious and I got to spent more time on each nomination. I think the current size (this season's size) is good. I might change a lot of the awards themselves though!

      I think the major drawback with cutting them this season is that few of them were changed to accommodate that cut. It was just a subset of the awards we had previously. I think, with the current size in mind, the staff should get rid of everything and go back to the drawing board on what should be rewarded.

      And as an aside, particularly aimed at non-staff who have never handled awards behind-the-scenes, the previous size was very time consuming to handle (tally nominations, tally votes, etc.) and keep in mind that staff are all volunteers with lives and so on. IIRC the last season's awards results were delayed by ages and I know I put a ton of (annoying AF) time into them when I hosted them back in the day.

      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?
      Successes --- skipping the suggestions period, fewer awards, nice graphics and well-presented threads.

      Drawbacks --- staff voting, having a nomination period at all (more below), the awards themselves left a lot of gaps for rewarding recent activity.






      OKAY, and here are some other bits of feedback that don't fit into the above answers.


      Nominations vs. Voting
      Multiple people nominate the same item or person for the same category regardless of whether it has/the person has already been nominated. The people who are voting are currently a subset of the people who are nominating. At this point in the lifetime of the awards, voting is redundant. I think we should skip nominations and just have people vote from the beginning, tally those votes, and voila we have our winners.

      Feedback on Specific Awards
      So I mentioned already that it might be good to focus on the last season's activity moreso than enduring traits or skills. I also think, now that we have far fewer awards, some of the awards need to be made more general to accommodate the variety of activities on ZU.

      I think these should be removed:
      Best Forum Game - The popular forum games like AvD, Count to 100, etc., have not changed since I joined in 2016.
      The personality section in general - This section focuses on enduring traits and not on seasonal activities or accomplishments. I would keep "Member You'd Like to Meet IRL" and "Newb who seems like an Oldb" as these are more seasonal.

      I think these should be changed:
      Best [Insert Skill Here], e.g., Best Writer, Artist, etc. - To focus more on recent activity and participation as well as skill, these could be changed to "[Insert Skill] of the Season" or similar.
      The Events Section - This section is Mafia-specific, but we do have other events that happen occasionally (at least one per season), like the Scavenger Hunt, ZU Fitness Club, etc. In this iteration of the awards I was unable to nominate or vote at all for the Scavenger Hunt and that was my favorite event last season (and Kae put a ton of work into it). I would generalize the Events awards by taking out references to Mafia and instead feature awards like "Best Community Event," "Participant of the Season," etc. Or some middle ground where we have a couple Mafia-specific awards but also a couple for non-Mafia community events.


      "Oh hun, ... somewhere out there, there's a planet for you. It's not this one." -- Foo
      [signature by RealmWings]

      The post was edited 3 times, last by boxes ().

    • boxes wrote:

      Nominations vs. Voting
      Multiple people nominate the same item or person for the same category regardless of whether it has/the person has already been nominated. The people who are voting are currently a subset of the people who are nominating. At this point in the lifetime of the awards, voting is redundant. I think we should skip nominations and just have people vote from the beginning, tally those votes, and voila we have our winners.
      Just wanted to come back and say I agree with this. Almost everyone that nominates also votes for the same person and it makes sense why a lot would because aside from just giving more variety (and making it harder for the person you're gonna vote for to win by giving them more competition that you aren't even gonna vote for), why would you nominate someone when you wanted someone else to win that season?



      Check out my graphic design thread and get a banner for your thread today! Tru's Banner Workshop

      The post was edited 3 times, last by TruEdge67 ().

    • boxes wrote:

      I think the major drawback with cutting them this season is that few of them were changed to accommodate that cut. It was just a subset of the awards we had previously. I think, with the current size in mind, the staff should get rid of everything and go back to the drawing board on what should be rewarded.
      Okay here's an example of what I mean.

      Here are the Summer 2018 Scrapbook Awards:

      Best Dressed / Best Sense of Style
      Best Facial Hair
      Most Attractive Female
      Most Attractive Male
      Most Popular Pet
      Most Memorable ZU Meetup
      Best Scrapbook Post
      Most Fabulous Hair
      Most Skillful Selfies
      Nicest Smile

      Here are the Winter 2018 Scrapbook Awards:

      Best Dressed / Sense of Style
      Best Facial Hair
      Most Attractive Member
      Nicest Smile
      Most Fabulous Hair


      Let's talk about this for a second. First, you'll notice that the latter list is a subset of the former list, with one change.

      The change was a great one in my opinion. We went from having two awards, Most Attractive Male and Most Attractive Female, which necessarily excludes ZUers who are neither male nor female, to a single award, Most Attractive Member, which anyone qualifies for AND we now have one award instead of two, cutting down on the cumbersome nature of the previous list. Excellent. In my mind this is an example of a thoughtful change.

      But now... what else. All of this season's awards focused on looks, with only one (arguably?) that focuses solely on someone's choices -- that is, best dressed/best sense of style. For comparison, 40% of the Summer scrapbook awards were not based on needing to look a certain way (ZU meetup, pet, best scrapbook post, skillful selfies). I don't grow facial hair so now there's a whole 20% of the Scrapbook awards I don't even qualify for (best facial hair). All of the awards in the Summer list that were based on something other than yo face (pet, ZU meetup, best scrapbook post) were removed, meaning if I can't or am not comfortable with posting a mugshot I shouldn't even bother. And like, who doesn't want to tell Moriquendi that his nature shots are awesome and pretty much the reason I watch the scrapbook?

      With the exception of the change to Most Attractive Member, the choice of which awards to keep has narrowed the pool of candidates who would likely win a scrapbook award... (the same people tend to get nominated for the most attractive and style awards each season) ... which I think is the opposite of what LS wanted for this season.

      So what I'm saying is... have 5 scrapbook awards instead of 10, but put a lot of thought into what those awards should be. Do we have something for everything that's posted in the scrapbook? Do the awards we had in the past actually work if they are one in a few instead of one of many? Do the awards need to be more general than they were in the past?



      Ideas for next season
      Best Scrapbook Post -- Bring this back. This was a great award, as it is straightforward but general -- anyone's post on any subject matter can qualify and it can be used by voters to reward, reminisce about, or discuss anything that they liked about something someone else did, and it's seasonal -- the implication is that the Best Post is taken from the last season's set of posts, since the previous season also had a Best Post award.

      Most Fabulous Hair -- This can be generalized to include facial hair. 2/5 of this season's scrapbook awards were hair-based, and I think that's focusing on a very narrow aspect of what gets posted in the scrapbook.

      Most Memorable ZU Meetup -- This award has the essence of something I'd like to see in next season's scrapbook awards. It's seasonal, and it focuses on an event so it's likely that the recipient would change season to season. It is, however, a bit too specific if we're only having 5 scrapbook awards; perhaps there is no ZU meetup in a given season, and it excludes people who can't travel, or are not interested in meeting other ZUers in real life. But. Perhaps this can be generalized to something like "Most Memorable Special Event"... which encompasses conventions, birthdays, Halloween, holidays, meetups, job interviews, graduations, and so on.


      "Oh hun, ... somewhere out there, there's a planet for you. It's not this one." -- Foo
      [signature by RealmWings]

      The post was edited 7 times, last by boxes ().

    • I don’t really have much of an opinion of the awards, as this was my first season experiencing them.

      As a community thing, I think it’s great! It’s a nifty little event.

      I personally don’t feel comfortable participating in the awards thing though. It’s even more uncomfortable for me that I won something. Especially considering I didn’t participate at all.
      Being uncomfortable is my own problem, of course. But it just doesn’t seem fair that I won something, when there’s obviously so many other people excited about partaking in the event. At the same time, how do you even avoid something like that happening? I would suggest giving people the option to be part of an abstain list, so they can’t vote or be nominated, but that can have a fairly negative impact on the event if that list becomes too long because it might discourage people from enjoying it.
    • Good idea Colu. (Foo, sitting beside me, also agrees.)

      Before I left staff there was talk about announcing awards on the ZU Podcast, and while I don't mind winning awards (which are announced on the forums themselves), I'm definitely not at all comfortable with being in any way mentioned in the Podcast. I don't know if they're still doing that, but if they are, then I'm glad I didn't get one this season.


      "Oh hun, ... somewhere out there, there's a planet for you. It's not this one." -- Foo
      [signature by RealmWings]
    • Btw I'd get rid of that Unluckiest Mafia Player award. That one is the only remaining award we kept that can be taken the wrong way and isn't something to be proud of. While I did deserve it for how terrible I was at mafia, getting that honestly made me feel bad. That is why I refused my banner and I can't see how getting that award would make anyone else feel good. At best they'd be indifferent. Better to replace it with a nicer award someone can be happy to receive.



      Check out my graphic design thread and get a banner for your thread today! Tru's Banner Workshop

      The post was edited 2 times, last by TruEdge67 ().

    • 1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?

      I love the awards! they're a nice community that let's some our fellow ZUers get the recognition they deserve. And I think people do care about the awards.

      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?

      YESSSSSSS! The voting is kind of, well the main part of the event when it comes to involvement. Not everyone can nominate people for all the categories, but when voting come everyone chooses the people they see fit. The community voting rather than staff kind of just paints a better picture of how ZU as a whole thinks and makes you feel like your input was actually worth something more than a option that could be chosen.

      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?

      Suggestions! Or at least for the sillier categories. Maybe a more anonymous voting system, but that might be a bit to hard to figure out.

      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?

      I don't think so, or well my ideas are kind of at the two extremes. Either redo the awards completely to make them better or allow people to suggest them.

      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?

      I'm trying to say this as nicely as possible, but I don't believe much was. I actually didn't notice that the award results had come out and from the post count it seemed like it was the same with many other people, that or they just didn't care. The fact that we couldn't vote and that multiple nominations meant practically nothing kind of, sucked the life out of it. That's just my opinion though.

      Also sorry if this offends anyone. I really tried my best to avoid insulting anyone so I'm sorry if someone got offended anyway.
    • Here's something that I truly think would help increase activity and participation. Work together with the community to decide how the next award season will go, not just discuss it on the staff board. Tell them your new ideas and see what they think before following through with anything. If we work together with the community and can come to an agreement on how the next awards will be run I think a lot more people would be happy and more people will participate.



      Check out my graphic design thread and get a banner for your thread today! Tru's Banner Workshop
    • I meant thats what we're kindof doing with this thread? Having an open dialogue with the community and figure out where to implement changes. I definitely want to work with the community here, but as you know certain things need to be discussed with staff eyes only. We've already gotten some great feedback from members, and I'd like to wait for more input as well.


      "Defense against the dark farts, am I right?" -Pennington
      | This spot reserved for Dark Link Reigns |

    • I’ve been here for a minute, and I have seen awards run differently by many people. Some where fantastic, some went barely under par, but that all just depended on how active the forums are. Given with that, I will go ahead with my input.

      1. Do people care about/enjoy awards?

      I know people don’t notice, but I don’t really participate with awards whether it’s nominating or voting. I peek yes, I lurk around to see what other members nominations are, but it just didn’t indulge me as they did when I first joined the forums. Now I am not necessarily saying I don’t care for them, I like how other people do and it shows when people vote for their friends.

      2. Would you rather voting be turned back to the community?

      1000 times yes this honestly shouldn’t be a question. Not trying to pick out by saying that this is “community awards” so yes it should come back to the community who voted for who they feel like should win. I can understand why turning it to staff would try to reduce the same person winning, or anything like that, but not all staff is friendly or knows every member on the forums. Leaving it to staff would almost leave it biased and that’s not the point of the community awards. Because if that is a route that staff wants to do, then it should all be discussed in staff.

      3. Do you have any suggestions that you believe could make things more fun?

      From a lot that I see, the activity in awards have always had the same atmosphere. Staff who runs the awards do a good job by trying to maintain the awards and keep it active as much as they can is very good. Maybe include back some fun awards, so that way it has a variety. Now I’m not saying have a list of 50, but the balance was good among the active members.

      4. Should we have cut down the number of awards? Should we cut more? Or should we add old ones back in (within reason)?

      While I enjoy seeing new awards, but there is just some that have always stuck since the beginning (Pietro award for example) and should stick around. There is also the lack of... awards directed towards new people. Just looking back at previous awards there was some that definitely stuck around and it tried to keep involvement of new people. I understand reducing the award list wil avoid repetition, but still keeping that small option would of been okay too.

      Now, just like how Zelda section, RP section, and Mafia section has their own awards, maybe include a small Newbie section for those who have joined within the 6 months so that way they won’t be nervious on checking things out. Now I am not saying there has to be a big list or anything like that, but 4-5 awards would definitely be more of a variety rather than mixing them with the main community, because I will be real with you, I don’t know every new person, but I know that majority of the new people stay around with forum games or the newbie section so they are around people who make them feel welcomed so I would hate for people to get skipped over in any case. It goes back to what I said in point 1, it’s fun to see people vote for their friends and I would hate it if things were more biased than fair.

      5. What was successful about this season, and what was not?

      Now, I can’t really say anything that was majorly successful other than the maintain of it staying active was good. The most that I can say from it being unsuccessful is that the awards should be up to the community whether it’s nominations or voting. I can’t really say, or pin point as to why staff chose the people they did whether it is solely based off of activity of being active or posting, or if it’s staff being biased. But leaving it to the community just makes it more fair all around.
    • Hm, something else maybe worth mentioning. I don't know if this is just me, but when I was newer to the forums and playing a lot of Mafia, after my first awards season I definitely thought ahead to what I wanted to vote on and be voted for. For example, a really funny moment happened in a Mafia game mid-season and my first thought was "LOL nominating that for best mafia moment!!!"

      This kind of thinking happened throughout the season for me when I was more enthusiastic about awards. But if staff are making Big Changes to the awards, and cutting or changing a lot of them, members who have thought ahead based on the last season's set of awards may be disappointed.

      So I wonder, maybe it might be good for staff to go back and discuss privately and make their changes to the awards lists and procedures, but then come back to us (the public) with their product well before the Summer 2019 awards start. That way the community can offer another round of feedback, more specific feedback this time. I mean, a general input thread like this one is good, but we have no idea, after this thread's activity dies down, if our suggestions will have been heard or understood or how they'll be implemented. And given the huge changes that were made this season and how that went, I think it would be nice to weigh in again after more changes are made.


      "Oh hun, ... somewhere out there, there's a planet for you. It's not this one." -- Foo
      [signature by RealmWings]

      The post was edited 1 time, last by boxes ().