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  1. #1
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    Request: Contests discussion forum

    Since this new contest system was rolled out late last year, it seems to have drastically cut down on casual discussions taking place in contest threads. Not that that's a bad thing... arguments and negative commentary have been cut down as a result, reducing the instances of contests being over-run with unnecessary comments.

    But it also seems to have removed an important part of the contests. Since obviously only one person (usually) is chosen as a winner in a contest, money is not the sole motivation for participating. As discussed in another thread, amateur designers enter contests with designs that might not stand a chance at winning, but they are entered nonetheless in an effort to receive feedback, practice, and improve design skills. Yet discussions are limited as a result of the new system.

    How about a forum to go along-side the contests marketplace section? A place for general discussions, strategy, commentary that might not be appropriate for the actual contest thread, etc. I think it would be cool to have a place to say things like "Hey UserX, nice entry in the ABC Enterprises contest," or "How did you achieve that glare effect in the Johnson Systems logo?"

    Sure PMs can be used to ask questions like this, but i think it would be beneficial to have these discussions in public. Foster a desire to share ideas and improve skills, and that improves the overall level of quality seen in contests. Improve the quality levels, improve contest holder participation, etc. You get the idea.

    Just a thought...

  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    This is a pretty cool idea.

  3. #3
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    The contests conversation were always very highly moderated in the past. Some of the things we have always wanted to remove:

    1. That logo by Person A is awesome (as that could influence the CH)
    2. That logo by Person B sucks (obvious I think)
    3. Person C has just submitted an entry that he got from template monster (we want this reported instead of commented on in the thread so we can take action)

    and I don't think it's gotten any worse or better with the new system. The rules didn't change at all for the type of discussion in the threads.

    But your idea is an interesting one. I'm not sure the best way to implement it or the best place to put it. The only thing I'm afraid of is if the CH follows that thread. Will he be influenced by the things said. if 20 people come in and say someone had a killer entry, will he think.. wow, maybe I should choose that one? Or if someone asks how you did some kind of effect and you explain it and then someone comes behind you and uses that affect and wins, it could get complicated. It's definitely something to think about though. We'll have to see what others think.
    Sara

  4. #4
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909 View Post
    The contests conversation were always very highly moderated in the past. Some of the things we have always wanted to remove:

    1. That logo by Person A is awesome (as that could influence the CH)
    2. That logo by Person B sucks (obvious I think)
    3. Person C has just submitted an entry that he got from template monster (we want this reported instead of commented on in the thread so we can take action)

    and I don't think it's gotten any worse or better with the new system. The rules didn't change at all for the type of discussion in the threads.

    But your idea is an interesting one. I'm not sure the best way to implement it or the best place to put it. The only thing I'm afraid of is if the CH follows that thread. Will he be influenced by the things said. if 20 people come in and say someone had a killer entry, will he think.. wow, maybe I should choose that one? Or if someone asks how you did some kind of effect and you explain it and then someone comes behind you and uses that affect and wins, it could get complicated. It's definitely something to think about though. We'll have to see what others think.
    I agree with you on many points here but I don't think 20 people can influence the decision of a person who is sure of what he is doing.
    LOGORAMAN
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  5. #5
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electroskan.com View Post
    I agree with you on many points here but I don't think 20 people can influence the decision of a person who is sure of what he is doing.
    Whether they can or can't I can't even tell you the number of contestants that will report a comment like that because THEY are scared it MIGHT influence the CH. It's the perception I think is what people seem to have a problem with it. Personally, it's not a big deal to me and I am a CH.
    Sara

  6. #6
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909 View Post
    ...The only thing I'm afraid of is if the CH follows that thread. Will he be influenced by the things said. if 20 people come in and say someone had a killer entry, will he think.. wow, maybe I should choose that one? Or if someone asks how you did some kind of effect and you explain it and then someone comes behind you and uses that affect and wins, it could get complicated...
    I could see a positive in this effect as well. If someone really does have a killer design that should win, why not let them win? I've seen alot of contests where amazing work was submitted, and one of the worst logos in the bunch ends up winning. It works both ways. Discussion about the logos in this way really would only help ensure that the design that is truly the best is rewarded as such. Sometimes I think the CHs really do need help in making a wise choice.

    Plus, I've seen CHs come back here months later saying "I no longer like the logo I picked, so we're doing anotheer contest for it." I don't think it would be so bad if in the original contest, they based their decision on discussions taking place and made a better decision as a result of those discussions.

    Regarding the explanation of an effect and someone coming in and duplicating it... I really doubt that someone pggy-backing on someone else's idea with an effect that they just learned would impact the outcome. Odds are that the more experienced person using that effect has a better mastery of it and will execute a better design utilizing it.

  7. #7
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    Just thought of another good reason to have a discussion area for contest participants.

    Often in a contest that looks to be heading towards abandonment, entrants are reluctant to comment in the contest or PM the contest holder to find out the status of the contest. I'm guilty of this myself. I've always felt that when I call out a CH about the status of a contest, that pretty much eliminates me from the running. Sadly, many CHs take offense to being called out like that, even though we are completely justified in doing so.

    Lately I've contacted CHs running contests I'm not participating in, to try and get them to return and declare a winner in contests that are suspended or abandoned. I think if we had this discussion area, we could post requests for impartial people to reach out to contest holders in questionable contests. It prevents an entrant from having to do it and risk their status in the contest.

    I also think we really need a place to discuss the CHs themselves. It would be great to be able to say "This contest holder is excellent," or "This contest holder abandone 2 contests." It would encourage people to participate in contests run by upstanding CHs, and avoid contests run by people like to abandon the contest.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Bleys's Avatar
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    I think the key might be getting more contest participants to start using the forums SitePoint already offers for this stuff.

    For example: "How do you do that cool glare effect?" could be discussed in our current graphic design forums. Or, "How do I make sure no one uses my non-winning logo comp?" could go in Business and Legal.

    I've noticed that a lot of people come to SPF now solely for the Marketplace and don't always participate in the forums... but it would be great if we could find some way to motivate them to use those areas more.

    As for the last point about abandoned contests... please feel free to contact an Advisor or report contests that appear to be neglected. A gentle reminder from an Advisor that a contest needs a decision or feedback can go a long way, and you don't have to worry about us telling the contest holder who reported them. (Also, Jelena is the Team Leader in charge of the Marketplace now... for particularly tricky situations, you can always PM her about it!)
    Josh is a ghost
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  9. #9
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleys View Post
    I think the key might be getting more contest participants to start using the forums SitePoint already offers for this stuff.
    I think those forums are too far removed from the contests. Not for me personally, but I'm just saying in general. Just look at how many contest participants and contest holders have zero post counts. I think a forum more closely alogned with the Contests might actually encourage some of the newer users to come out of the marketplace and participate in the regular forums.

  10. #10
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    I can see points where this would be both beneficial and "trouble"..... I have been a member for a little while now and for the most part, didn't visit the forum, but I am an active participant in the contest section and help out answering CH questions or whatever when I can, so I am wondering why when I have posted ALOT there, and thought that was part of the forum, why I have no posts.....do those posts not count as posts? just curious...

    Thanks

  11. #11
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbie2274 View Post
    I can see points where this would be both beneficial and "trouble"..... I have been a member for a little while now and for the most part, didn't visit the forum, but I am an active participant in the contest section and help out answering CH questions or whatever when I can, so I am wondering why when I have posted ALOT there, and thought that was part of the forum, why I have no posts.....do those posts not count as posts? just curious...

    Thanks
    Right now they don't count Barbie as they are seperate systems entirely. It would be great if there was a way to compile them together as we have a lot of people or are site contributors, but their post counts don't show that because they are active primarily in the MP.
    Sara

  12. #12
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    ^ you are right......I would have reached atleast 500 posts if the posts in the MP counted.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbie2274 View Post
    I can see points where this would be both beneficial and "trouble"..... I have been a member for a little while now and for the most part, didn't visit the forum, but I am an active participant in the contest section and help out answering CH questions or whatever when I can, so I am wondering why when I have posted ALOT there, and thought that was part of the forum, why I have no posts.....do those posts not count as posts? just curious...

    Thanks
    No, they don't.

    The Contests system and Marketplace are not based on vBulletin, and only tie into the userbase to prevent people from having to re-register. Everything else is completely seperate.
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Member
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    Helix7, contests discussion forum is a great idea!

    I am quite new to SP design contests (participated in only 5 contests so far). I must admit that I expected much different outcome... I am dissatisfied with some CHs that don't end contests for ages, don't give any feedback or posts useless one, such as "Thanks". But I guess you probably know all that already...

    Anyway, at the moment I have two out of five contests still unresolved (after weeks passed by since the contest expired) and for one still waiting for some effective feedback or anything at all. I know others have even worse experiences but still... In regards to all that I would expect to have at least some kind of support in the forum. For me it would be most helpful to have such contests discussion forum.

    Just curious about something else... why are some contests currently closed for comments? Is this common or is there something going on?
    Moni

  15. #15
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoniM View Post
    why are some contests currently closed for comments? Is this common or is there something going on?
    Can you provide an example of a contest where you're unable to comment?
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Member
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    Just a few contests with "Sorry, comments on this contest are currently closed.":

    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/1713
    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/1507
    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/1702
    http://www.sitepoint.com/marketplace/contest/1591

    I thought that maybe this sites were 'under construction' or something like that.
    Moni

  17. #17
    SitePoint Member
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    I still can't post comments on three of abovementioned contests...
    Moni

  18. #18
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    What is going on? I don't get any feedback on anything around here. The comments are still closed even though I reported a few.

    And what is going on with the contests anyway... Is it just me... that I don't get any constructive feedback or the contest is still in "contest expired" status after few weeks, even more.

    And after all... I always give my best, always follow CH's design brief, his wishes and likings... and never get anywhere.
    Last edited by MoniM; Jun 26, 2007 at 00:48. Reason: Changed my mind... :)
    Moni

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast imagineinternet's Avatar
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    I took a look at your links and I don't see anything wrong with your designs. In fact, I think you do pretty good work. SitePoint is an interesting place - still the wild west in many ways because it is still a very new way to do business and all the kinks have yet to be worked out. I can tell that I have observed SitePoint's commitment to making this the best place to get work done and submit work. They really are working to make this a great tool.

    There is no excuse for some of the bad contests you cited, and there is no excuse for a lack of feedback. I post an average of 1 contest a week, so I know what is expected of me. Believe me, if I am not giving good feedback or if I am don't declare a winner on time, I feel the heat pretty quick. If you are getting little or no feedback, don't be afraid to ask for it and remind the CH (in a constructive way) they have an obligation. Part of what makes the contests work is that it's self policed to some extent. If someone is not playing by the rules, call them on it; constructively and privately at first, or publicly or let an admin know if necessary.

    One thing to keep in mind when a CH is running a contest, or multiple contests, is that time is an issue when you have 20-50 or more entries to comment on. It doesn't excuse lack of feedback, but it's something to keep in mind.

    Also, take a look at the CH's record. A quick search on their username in the contests will bring up any previous posts, and will quickly tell you their track record. You then have the choice of whether to work with them or not. Those of us that post a lot of contests work really hard to keep our good reputation.

    I hope to see you in one of my contests.

    Joey
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  20. #20
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    Wish all the CH's were like you Joey.
    LOGORAMAN
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  21. #21
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    Imagineinternet... Joey... thank you so much for your kind words. You made my week brighter! I was quite upset the other day... Sometimes I'm like

    I agree with almost everything that you wrote. I totaly understand the situation here and I also know that SPs are working really hard to get us the best possible. I know that there are mostly good CHs here. I somehow always pick the wrong one, although I check the CH's history. Sometimes it's hard to determine, since many CHs don't have any previous contests or posts and just maybe some of them are not bad for that reason at all (just posting the first contest).

    I know that it's sometimes hard to handle all the submitions if you run multiple contests. However I doubt that someone who post and run one contest doesn't have time to even post one sentence long comment in the thread at least once a week, than declare the winner and finally give some reasonable explanation why he/she/client decided so. Namely sometimes there are some odd/weak decisions.

    Well... this time I've submitted my design to contest, posted by CH which had quite a few contests around here this year and she always provides constructive feedbacks. And what is most important -declares a winner. Though I probably won't get the 'title', I know that this contest is for real and not some 'joke'.

    P.S.: I must admit that I've already noticed your contests before (I even have your name written on the 'good CH' list) and I even planned to go for one... but I don't really know why I didn't. Maybe I was frighten of the opponents
    Moni

  22. #22
    SitePoint Member frogydesigns's Avatar
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    Seems like SitePoint doesn't care about Designers. I don't think a contest discussion forum would be so difficult to implement.

    Out of the 12 contests i've appeared in, 5 have been abandoned, 2 I managed to win but on both occasions the contest holder never got in touch with me. These are problems which have to be solved. Last year the number of abandoned contests was very less. This year my experience has been really bad. I'm sure rest of the designers would also be having problems with all these abandoned contests.

    There must be a place where we can discuss all these issues in detail.
    FrogyDesigns.com - Launching soon
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot LYM.randy's Avatar
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    theres an entire SP team that has been doing nothing but coding and testing and designing a new system for the contests in light of that part of the website taking off past...probably anyones reasonable expectations...you might wanna look around the forums...
    ...and if death comes so cheap,
    then the same goes for life - the CLASH

  24. #24
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    yes. You have to remember that with any software development and throw in users...it's a learning process. What you think is going to work initially may not always be the best way...so you have to go back and make changes or sometimes start over. And these changes do take time. Change is happening though and just try to hold on so you can see these changes!
    Sara


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