referees: (saso 2016)
SASO Referees ([personal profile] referees) wrote in [community profile] sportsanime2016-08-31 09:18 pm
Entry tags:

SASO 2016: re:Talkback

Talkback


This post is a response to the comments left on this post.

You guys said a lot of stuff! In addressing everything, this post became super long. Sorry!

Table of Contents

CONDUCT BONUS ROUNDS MAIN ROUNDS VOTING MOD PROFESSIONALISM



Conduct

Sportsmanlike Behavior

There was a lot of talk about the overall tone of the event this year. A lot of people expressed that the community was more competitive and mean-spirited, and we certainly saw some of that come out in the talkback post itself. We have a few points in response.

We'd like to bring your attention to the code of conduct, which you had to read and agree to in order to participate in SASO. Many people in the talkback said "Someone was mean to me or said hurtful things in the event, but it's not your job to police that, mods." It's kind of our job to police that, actually? That's why it's in our code of conduct. Please come to us if you're seeing or experiencing trouble in the event, whether it's points/rules clarification stuff, or inter-team stress stuff, or stress with another participant. If someone is breaking the participant agreement, please come talk to us. We'd like to help.

It is never okay to engage in inter-personal drama on the dreamwidth community. It breaks the two rules of "don't start drama" and "remember private vs. public spaces." The SASO is not a place for fighting. Disagreements should be moved to private spaces or taken to the mod team so we can help mediate. For future reference: if you see that happening, get a mod's attention asap, or get your captain's attention so they can get us.

It's also not okay to insult or vent about other teams/people/ships/entries/etc. on your public twitter/tumblr/DW/etc. Sure, it's not a formal SASO space, but it's still hurtful to other participants who have to see that stuff. It breaks the code of conduct rule to "remember private vs. public spaces." If you see inflammatory stuff in basically any public setting, please contact a mod so we can intervene.

We acknowledge that there's a difference between stating your opinion and starting a flame war. You can do the former without causing the latter. But a lot of the latter happened on talkback and (so we heard) on twitter, and we're honestly a little disappointed in the people who engaged in that behavior. Please be polite.

The code of conduct is super important. As a result, breaking it comes with consequences. The mod team will discuss implementing a penalty system for causing drama or otherwise unpleasant behavior, beginning next year.

Competition and Quality Control in the SASO

SASO is a competition, but does not aim to be competitive. The goal of the points system is to give you external encouragement to create stuff. It is not so that you can trounce other people, or prove your superiority, or whatever. You get literally nothing if you win. If you are looking for a more intensely competitive event, then SASO is not the event for you.

SASO will never place value judgements on anything created during the event, and we have stated this in the past. The only thing the mod team will ever judge is whether a work follows our formatting and work limit requirements. We do not appreciate the insinuation that others aren't doing their best in the bonus rounds. If you're angry that (for example) someone "only" wrote a 400 word entry when you "went out of your way" to write a several thousand word fill, and feel "that isn't fair," then you've lost sight of the event. The event isn't about the points, and as one talkback participant stated, "effort is invisible." If I write ten 400 word fills and I'm disappointed in all of them, that's the true loss. If you write one several thousand word fill but you're super proud of what you've accomplished, you're going to carry that with you long after the event is over. In addition, you don't know the filler; maybe they're a specialist in drabbles and 400 words is actually a lot for them. Maybe the story they wanted to tell only needed 400 words to tell it in. It's not anyone's place to tell someone that their creative method is worth less than anyone else's.

There is no good way to game the event or guarantee victory because the event is not about winning, it is about doing your best and being proud of your efforts. You cannot predict the whims of main round voting; everyone has at least one MR entry that they adored, but which didn't do well as they expected it to. At the end of the day, you're getting meaningless points for a free & voluntary online event that gets you zero reward. What you can take with you, no matter where your team places in the final rankings, are the friendships you build, the lives you touch with your fanwork, and your own pride in the work you create. (That's why in some ways, commenting on a main round entry is more powerful than voting for it.) If you lose sight of that and start making main round or bonus round work just for points, and the work you're churning out isn't something you can feel proud of, then we think it would be impossible to enjoy the event.

Please don't spend so much time in the event looking at other teams. Spend it focusing on honing your own abilities. You will be much happier, we promise.

Cliques in the SASO

We talk about this a bit more over here, and we plan to do as much as we can, as mods, to help people make friends in the event. Last year we had a chatroom and some people said it helped community cohesion. We didn't have the chat this year because we didn't have time to run it. We'll see what we can do for next year.

We hear and understand the concern about cliques etc., but unfortunately there's not much we can do about that one as mods. We do hope that people make friends within their team, at least. We also encourage everyone to try talking to other teams/participants in the bonus and main rounds. If a br fill or MR entry touches you, please let them know! That's where a lot of friendships start.

We heard that some of the prompts made seemed exclusionary. We understand where you're coming from on that, but we hesitate to implement some kind of system to keep those kinds of prompts out. We think it might do more harm than good. Still, we'll see if we can come up with a good solution for it.

The Anonymity Policy

Please take a moment to re-familiarize yourself with the policy here.

It's difficult for us to overstate how important the anonymity policy is, because it prevents drama. It works in two ways. The first is so that a BNF can't say, "I made this! Please vote for me!" and have all their fans flock to them. The second is so that someone can't go around saying, "XYZ worked on this entry and I HATE THEM, so NO ONE should vote for them."

It's not actually about the work itself—of course art and writing styles are recognizable. But the anonymity policy keeps the conversation away from who created what, and focuses it on what was created. In so doing, it stops a lot of interpersonal nonsense.

We know it's frustrating and hard to remember, and that it seems counter to the excitement that we encourage everywhere else in the event. But the mods have witnessed some serious nastiness when people break the anonymity policy. It is because of this that we force you to read the policy and literally-copy-and-paste a sentence saying you read it before you can sign up for the event. It's why there's a point penalty attached. We know it's harsh, but we think it's necessary because of how badly things can turn out if it's not this harsh.



Bonus Rounds

Timeliness of BR Scoring

We use a program created by codermods to score bonus rounds. The mods cannot score bonus rounds by hand. We did so in the past and the workload destroyed the mod team every year.

We began creating and using prototypes of the program last year, but this year we discovered that dreamwidth had changed some of its internal coding, rendering our program unusable. To make matters worse, our codermod was having serious computer issues, and so reworking the program took a long time. This is why there was such a lag between round close and and scores appearing on big kahuna in the beginning of the event. Once we got the program fixed, we aimed to have each br scored within a week of the round closing.

We apologize for the delays, but it was a technological hiccup we could not anticipate, and which we fixed as fast as we could. Thank you for your patience.

Cooldown Periods

Someone mentioned wanting a day off between bonus rounds. In a previous year we suggested that to the participant base and nobody liked it. If you think you'd like a day off between bonus rounds, please leave a comment to this post saying so—if enough people think it sounds good, we'll consider it for next year.

Bonus Round Caps

Some people wondered if we could put bonus round point caps in place. We go into this a bit more over here, but this is one of those situations where there's no right answer. We've tried bonus round caps in the past, and the feedback we got at that time was: teams that are very active in bonus rounds would hit the cap every single time. And then, teams that don't hit every round's br cap couldn't make it up later, because they couldn't do more in later rounds to make up for it, because they too would hit the cap. Placing a cap on bonus rounds has a freezing effect on bonus round creativity, and actually ends up making the event feel more unfair.

The compromise we've made is that each fill after a certain point is only worth 2 points. At some point you're just farming for 2 points, 2 points, 2 points; it's so small as to be almost discouraging, but it also gives you a way to stay competitive if your team wants to catch up or stay ahead. With all that said, we will continue to tweak the point amounts slightly as we do every year.

Tagging/NSFW Fills

We will probably implement headers for bonus round prompts and fills next year that participants can copy-and-paste, to make things easier to use.

Because people wanted bonus round prompts to be tagged, we threw a format together on the fly. We understand that this caused some confusion as to what those tags were meant to communicate, and we apologize for that. We hope that the header we create for next year will help to alleviate some of this confusion. To clarify, we intended for prompt tags to tag only for what was contained within the prompt itself. Prompt tags were not intended to act as a guideline for resulting fills.

As stated before, we will be implementing dreamwidth posting for NSFW fills next year. We're considering making a dreamwidth community which participants can use to post NSFW bonus round fills.

We understand that there was some confusion over what deserves what kind of rating re: violence and sexual content; in other words, when does a work become NSFW? We'll do our best to clarify this for next year, but please understand that this is a really subjective topic, and it's always going to be a bit of a gray area.

Please also see the next section.

Satisfaction with Prompts and Fills

Some people expressed dislike over the prompts or fills they received, especially regarding tagging-required topics.

SASO is not a gift exchange. We require that fills 1) be inspired by the prompt in some way, 2) be properly and thoroughly tagged/behind a NSFW clickthrough if necessary, and 3) must be about the ship that was originally prompted. (In the future, if you see a fill that misses any of these things, please message the mods so we can take a look; that fill shouldn't actually receive points.) Besides that, there's no requirement that the filler has to make something you will want to engage with. It would be impossible for a filler to read a prompter's mind and know what they wanted to see. Also, the idea that "every fill must be loved by the prompter" would be paralyzing to many competitors, and encouraging that fear runs counter to our mission to encourage as much creativity and fanwork as possible.

With that said, of course most people create fills with the enjoyment of the prompter in mind, and no one should ever create a fill or prompt with the express intention of making another participant uncomfortable—if that happens, please let the mods know so we can address it. If a prompter mentions what they don't want to receive in their fill, it's polite to respect their wishes. But also, the fills that run in unexpected directions with a prompt are often the ones that are most delightful. We encourage that kind of free thinking.

Prompt & Fill Tracking/Filtering

We thoroughly support the community's interest in indexing bonus rounds to make them easier to filter through. If the community wishes to create such an indexing system, then we will happily link to and promote it during the bonus rounds. We leave this in your capable hands.

Someone also mentioned making a google spreadsheet, etc. for remix permissions. If you guys want to do that, go forth and let us know about it! We'll link to and promote anything you create.

We cannot make a DW community for each bonus round. It would be difficult to navigate, nearly impossible for the mods to score, and difficult for the mods to create and upkeep seven different very active communities. We will continue with our current kinkmeme-style method for bonus rounds.

Promptless Rounds

Themed promptless rounds will appear again in the future. They may not appear every year, and there will never be more than one per year, but they'll be back. Every bonus round type has people who love and hate it, and promptless rounds are no exception.

However, the feedback about not having so many promptless rounds in a row makes sense. We plan out all the bonus rounds months before the SASO begins, and we didn't realize that remixes and recs right after myth & lore would feel like one promptless round after another. We apologize for our lack of foresight. We won't arrange the rounds like that again.

One person said they thought Grandstand had nothing to do after br4. That's not true; Grandstand is encouraged to create fills as much as create prompts. Every participant is welcome to create fills, even if the round is promptless.

Recs Round (& Remixes)

We got a lot of feedback about recs this year. We received suggestions to cap the round, make the round not count for points, make fills to this round count for less points, make the fill minimums more stringent, or even extend it to last for the entire event. We'll take all of these suggestions into consideration and see what we can do for next year.

We'd like to make it clear that the recs round is not going anywhere and will probably be for-points, but we'll definitely try to modify it some.

The remixes round is staying too. Remixes and recs rounds are a shipping olympics tradition—they have ended the olympics every year since the event began in 2010. (Yes, the shipping olympics as an event has actually been around for seven years!) We think that, like br0, the two rounds encourage people to recognize each other, give each other gifts, and feel more like a community. Since you can opt-out of having your works remixed, and since there's another place where you can get points (recs), we don't see any reason to remove it.

We'd also like to mention that all rounds are open forever? Literally forever, you can go back to SASO 2015 and post fills to the prompts left in those rounds if you wanted to. We screen comments once the round closes so we can tally up the scores, but after that we do our best to open the rounds back up and unscreen everything that got screened before—it's just that nothing after the close of the round counts for points. So therefore, the recs round is actually open forever too. You could go post in it right now if you wanted and we'd unscreen it once the event was over. We're slow about unscreening because it's a lot of work and we'd rather spend that time towards other more important/pressing tasks, but we do mean to do it.

Some people also discussed remix/rec timing. We've tried a lot of different arrangements over the years. We did remixes, and then recs, and people said that each round individually wasn't "exciting" enough. We did remixes and recs concurrently and people said it was impossible to manage the workload on top of MR2. This year we did remixes for 2 weeks and recs for 3 to try and stagger the workload, and we appreciate your feedback on how that felt to you guys. We'll keep trying to tweak the schedule and improve it.

Encore Round

For those of you just joining us this year, sometimes we throw in a last, previously-unannounced "bonus bonus round" at the end of the event, with various themes that are always extremely freeform.

Some people said they missed having the bbr this year, specifically with last year's "encore" theme. The mod team did consider running this bbr. However, we couldn't handle any additional work at the end of the event, and from what we saw in community conversations, it seemed like most people were too exhausted to do another bonus round anyway. That's why we only ran remixes and recs this year, which are intended to be "cool down" bonus rounds. With all that said, this was the first year we've ever not run the bbr. We'll see how next year goes.



Main Rounds

Work Limits

Media types: One person wanted further clarification on "what counts as a game" and "what counts as a mixed-media entry." Basically if you're not sure, you should ask the mods which one your idea counts toward, but we count things like "choose-your-own-adventure" stories as mixed-media entries. A general rule of thumb is if your game involves advanced coding or, well, looks like a game (usage of sprites and save files, etc.) then it's a game.

Also, just so people know, we expect you to give credit to everything used in your entry that was not created by your team. If you don't give credit, we assume your team made it within the 30-day creation period. Credits don't count toward an entry's word count, either. (We will make all of this more clear for next year.)

What's allowed during the editing period: We posted about it here, but will also endeavor to make this more clear next year.

Audio Limits: We understand that there was a team who felt negatively impacted by the audiovisual work limit this year. Dear team furusawa, we do apologize for the trouble. Please understand that we didn't mean to insult or belittle your fanwork type of choice. The topic as a whole is kind of complex and we'd like to talk to you about it more in the comments section of this post over here, if you're down—it would take up too much room in this already-too-long post.

Point Balancing

A few people questioned the balance between main and bonus round point distribution. Please know that the mod team has carefully tweaked the points over a period of several years, and we think the point distribution we have now is pretty good.

As you know, the event is a mixture of quality and quantity, which themselves are intended to be different spins on the same focus: hard work. Main rounds are the star of the event. Placing in one is a big deal, and that's reflected in the huge point reward you get from winning one. But we want to encourage people to work persistently and create a lot throughout the event, too, so bonus rounds should also have value.

The current system is balanced so that a little more than the average amount that a team will make (a number we reached after years of data crunching, and a number we continue to monitor and adjust toward), added up over the course of a month (or two bonus rounds), is worth slightly less than doing well in a main round. The points are calibrated so that a single br alone cannot equal the points won by reaching final vote in an MR.

A team that works hard in the bonus rounds and does so persistently will do well in SASO, even if they can't place in main round. A team that reaches final vote in the main rounds but for whatever reason can't do much in bonus rounds also stands a good chance of doing well. But to do very well in the event based on bonus rounds or main rounds alone is difficult, perhaps even impossible. Our goal is to allow teams that are behind in points or that don't take an MR final vote spot to still take heart, while also ensuring that placing in a main round feels like the huge accomplishment that it is.

The two comments that talked about this topic asked for opposites—one for bonus rounds to be worth more, one for main rounds to be worth more. We take this as proof that the current system is well balanced. With that said, we will of course continue to fine-tune the numbers as we do every year.



Voting

Preliminary Vote - Customization

We'd like to apologize one more time for all the voting downtime. We'll do our best to fix it for next year. This was our first year using the full voting program, and we had no way to beta test it thoroughly before using it in the event.

We've received a lot of feedback on the preliminary vote layout, ranging from its usage of the RNG, to "only having" ten entries to vote from, to fairness, to adding the ability to exclude entries from your chosen pool.

We will consider the idea of adding a "free vote" slot. We also think the idea of being able to reroll your assigned ten entries one time has merit, though we may not be able to code either of these things into our program.

We think the idea of refusing certain tags or a certain number of NOTPs is interesting. However, we may not physically be able to code it; this is a much harder task than adding an RNG reroll or adding one more vote. The mod team will look into it.

We also wanted to talk more about the idea of wanting to exclude entries from your voting pool.

SASO allows you to create whatever you want. However, all creativity is about risk. For example, if a team makes an entry that requires downloading a file, they may be able to make something more impressive and beautiful than if they used a more accessible format. However, that team would also have to accept that not everyone is going to be able to download and access their entry, and that they might lose votes because of it. It is not a participant's fault if they are not able to access a risk-taking entry and therefore feel like they can't vote for it. It is okay and valid for a participant to not vote for that entry. The risk-taking team knew when they decided on that entry format that some people would encounter trouble with it.

We think it would be much worse if we banned people from (for example) making games that required downloading a file. We think that is much more limiting than allowing people to create whatever they want and risk losing votes. Inversely, we literally can't force people to download files or whatever. We think the current system—you can create whatever you want, but with the knowledge that it may cost you votes—is the best one.

We used entry format as an example here, but we think the same logic applies to entries that require a lot of tags. Still, we'll see if we can find a good compromise to implement for next year.

Preliminary Vote - Format

Some people asked for a way to access their assigned voting list even if voting was down. We think this is a good idea, but we might not be able to make it work from a mod/coding perspective. We'll try, though!

We also received criticism for the layout of preliminary voting itself. We would like to say that we are not changing how preliminary vote is conducted: we will continue with our system of 10 randomly assigned entries.

We wrote a longer post about why we do voting the way that we do, which you can read here. In addition, we received a lot of positive response to the system during talkback, so we're confident that the majority of participants like the current system.

However, we understand the concerns with the current system, and they're not wrong; it's just that every other system we've tried is worse. A free-for-all where you vote for your top three favorites out of the full MR entry pool does not work—people repeatedly tell us they don't have time to look at that much fanwork.

Previously we tried a division system. For example, let's say the event has 50 teams. We'd split it into 5 groups of ten, or five "divisions," A, B, C, and so on. Division A would vote for Division B in main round 1, then move to voting for Division C in main round 2, etc. This was an attempt to let people consider/vote for every single team in the event for at least one round.

But it doesn't work for two main reasons. First, this was back when the event had four main rounds. Because we had lots of rounds, the divisions could be smaller, and people could still shuffle from one division to the next with manageable reading lists. Now that we only have two rounds, people would have to read a ton of work each round to get a chance to read all of it. It's not workable. Secondly, not every team submits a MR entry every round, and the mods could not recalibrate divisions on the fly (the mod workload is too much, and it would also ruin the attempt to let people read as many other entries as possible—there would be repeats). That resulted in some divisions being super competitive with ten entries fighting for recognition, while some divisions only had five or even three entries fighting for a position in final vote. Inversely, the same dropoff meant that some divisions had many fewer voters than other divisions, so we couldn't even accurately judge based on straight vote amounts. We eventually discarded this system in favor of the current system.

All this is to say that it's not that we don't want to improve voting, and as stated in the previous section, we do plan to consider some of the suggestions made this year. It's just that at its core, we don't think there's any method of preliminary voting that will work better than this one.

Voting Transparency

A few people have wondered why voting is "closed-box"—we don't say how many votes each team received.

The current mod team has been running shipping olympics events since 2013. This is the first year we hid voting numbers, because for the last four years, participants said they hated having them public. They said that knowing the numbers of votes received raised competitiveness to a toxic degree. Sometimes people lose by a single vote, and the feeling of "if only we'd gotten one more vote" really crushes people, or makes people think, "they were only x votes ahead of my team, they didn't deserve to place higher than us."

Some people have questioned whether the lack of transparency means the mods are "hiding something," or tried to suggest that if we hide votes, we must be changing them. First of all, revealing the vote numbers after voting is done wouldn't help to alleviate this concern—we could be changing all the votes before releasing the numbers, or something. The only way to be sure we're not "hiding something" is to ensure the numbers are transparent at all times—that you can see real-time numbers of how many people have voted throughout the entire voting period. That means you'd know how many votes your team had at every second during the round, how far behind/ahead you were relative to every other team, etc. Anything less than that level of transparency is provides an opportunity for the mods to fudge votes.

That system of total transparency is what we did for the last four years, and which year after year of previous participants had protested so strongly. Previous to this year, we hosted at least some voting polls on dreamwidth. We did it because it's a third-party program that the mods cannot influence, and because it shows real time voting data. However, people found it incredibly stressful to be able to "monitor" how their team was doing minute by minute in the round like that. Also, since you could see how each team was currently doing in the round, it would color which teams people would vote for: "This team's doing really well, so I won't vote for them. I'll vote for this other team instead."

So we no longer show real-time voting data, and we use a website that we control. That automatically means the mods could fall under suspicion for "cheating," because there's a period of time where the numbers are hidden. But man...why would we? We pride ourselves on our integrity, and besides, remember how you get literally nothing if you win SASO? Yeah.

(Mod professionalism is something we take seriously. But more on that later.)

Tl;dr - some people asked for transparency with voting numbers but we did that for four years and people loathed it, so we're not in a rush to change it back again. With all that said, we will consider making the final number of votes each team receives public if we feel there's enough of a demand for it. Don't leave comments about it right now—we'll return to this topic next year before SASO 2017 begins.



Mod Professionalism

Twitter Tone / Dissemination of Information

Many people mentioned that the twitter felt too clique-ish, too informal, and/or too cluttered this year. We would like to apologize to anyone who found it difficult to use, isolating, or hard to navigate. We will endeavor to make the twitter more straightforward next year, and strike a better balance between community tweets (like final vote advertisements and #baitmesaso) and informational content.

We know we're not beyond making mistakes or needing improvement—that's why we run the talkback every year, for example. It's probably a lot to ask—we understand that bringing problems to the mods can be hard—but please know that you can come to us if you think the mods are messing something up. We definitely want to know if there's something we're doing that we could improve upon.

Some people said we didn't use the tumblr enough. They're right: we didn't. We meant to use the tumblr more than we did. We were trying a new method of dividing the mod workload this year, and it meant that our communication platforms fell through the cracks a bit. We've learned from it and will give better, more clear information next year.

Just so you know, how it's supposed to work is that the dreamwidth is where formal "something is happening" posts go: bonus rounds, team switches, main round themes and results, etc. The tumblr is for event advertising and "announcements," things like "this post is up," or "we'd like to clarify this question a lot of people are having," or "this deadline has been extended." Twitter is a way for us to help make the community feel more like a community ("tell us why you love your teammates!") as well as give a more rapid and (for some) more accessible method of getting at our tumblr announcements (by linking them). Useful tools created by the community such as the friending meme at the beginning of the event, or indexing of main or bonus round entries, should be linked to on the DW posts relevant to them and/or cross-announced on the twitter/tumblr. Obviously this system didn't work as well as we would have liked this year, and we're sorry for that. We'll try to do better next year.

We're also looking into services like feedmyinbox or ifttt.com to help make information more accessible to people.

We'd also like to mention that we consider it very important for captains to get information to their teammates. There's no way for us to personally get information to all 300+ of you. The system's set up so that captains will find important information and then pass it to their teammates. Thank you to the captains who do their best to herd their team and keep them updated on the latest goings-on.

Response Time

On the whole we believe our mod response time was greatly improved from previous years. Sometimes we could get people answers in less than sixty seconds, especially if they DM'd the twitter. But for more complex questions, sometimes the mods would have to put their heads together and discuss for a while before we could answer. No amount of reorganizing could improve the turnaround time on stuff like that, really. But as always, we will do our best to continue to improve response times for next year.

Mod Cheating/Bias

Someone said they don't want the mods to participate in the event. Listen, we love you and we love this event to death. Almost every mod started as a participant of the event first. We avoid talking about the effort we put into the event because frankly it's not important, but in case you're curious: we start working on SASO in January and we don't finish up until September. We work on it when we're on vacation/at conventions. We pay real money to get the mod account a DW subscription so we can access more powerful DW tools if the need arises. At one point a codermod was typing code on their phone because they couldn't get to a computer with internet access, just to try and get stuff fixed as quickly as possible.

We love SASO more than words can express. So to run this event and give so much of ourselves to it, and then be told not to play in it, is beyond unfair.

Remember when we said there's literally no reward for this event? There's no reward for winning the event.

Being a mod is a huge responsibility, and we take our positions as mods very seriously. We understand that you all trust us for three months to run an event that is both enjoyable and fair. We're humbled by that trust, and endeavor at all times to be worthy of it. Also, participating in the event lets us see things from the participants' perspective. That means we can find pitfalls faster, understand participant concerns with more empathy, and make the event better from every angle.

The only condition we place on ourselves is that any participating mod has to be able to handle the workload of both the event and the mod team. Besides that, we do plan to continue modding and participating in the event—just as many of you have said you had fun and so plan to return next year. (Thank you, we're looking forward to seeing you again.)




If you read this whole post, you're incredible—thank you. Please know that we did not address every point brought up in talkback, but we tried to hit as many as possible. If we didn't hit something you mentioned and you want us to address it, or if you want to discuss something further, please kindly reply to this post and we'll get back to you. (But also, please mind the code of conduct.)

Thank you again for participating in the SASO. We're so glad so many of you had a good summer. The final results/party post will go up as soon as we're done tabulating scores and making some graphics. ♥

(Also hey, if anyone is interested in joining the mod team next year, drop us a DM!)
kazuyas: (distressed kags)

literally just me musing out loud im sorry

[personal profile] kazuyas 2016-09-01 03:22 am (UTC)(link)
this is a lot of rambling/different thoughts i'm so sorry this was really just self-indulgent

re: conduct
standing_ovation.jpg [i literally don't have anything else to say, y'all hit on everything and hit on it so very well]

re: cooldown periods
i really think we’d benefit from this, even if it was half a day. even if people didn’t like it, this kinda seems like. taking our medicine, really—it’s not totally enjoyable but it pays off in the long run because you feel better. maybe not you don’t even need one after every round—maybe having a BR end, and then announcing the MR theme, and having a day (or two, or three!) days off from BRs so teams can rest, do some housekeeping, and start brainstorming without distractions/feeling like they have to juggle MR planning with BR filling?

idk. it's self-centered to bring it up again but smth i suggested on the original talkback post was having mini-rec BRs—one after BR3 and one after BR6, each open for a week, letting people rec stuff from the first three and then the last three BRs. let the brain take a break from constant creation while they worked on MR planning/maybe the beginnings of MR stuff, instead of trying to do new BR fills on top of it, y'know? plus then recs become more manageable since it's in chunks, y'know? (AGAIN THIS IS JUST ME MUSING ALOUD ignore me if i'm being presumptuous orz)

re: BR caps
tbh i don’t remember seeing a lot of fuss over BR caps with the exception of the rec round? i might be misremembering, but that’d be the only round i think a cap would make sense and might actually be an improvement.

re: nsfw fills
maybe think of it like movie ratings? if it’d be rated R for violence, have it behind a click-through?

re: prompt/fill tracking
Someone also mentioned making a google spreadsheet, etc. for remix permissions. If you guys want to do that, go forth and let us know about it! We'll link to and promote anything you create.

[thumbs up moj]

re: promptless rounds
One person said they thought Grandstand had nothing to do after br4. That's not true; Grandstand is encouraged to create fills as much as create prompts. Every participant is welcome to create fills, even if the round is promptless.

this was my initial reaction but then i thought about it, and i think it’s important to point out that many people in grandstand are likely in grandstand because even creating fills is something they don’t have time for, or aren’t necessarily comfortable doing in that it’s not their thing. the people that throw things at writers and artists and other content creators are as much a part of this process as anyone else, ya feel? i talked to a lot of grandstand folks i otherwise wouldn’t have talked to because i filled their prompts and those discussions were a+, so removing that side of the equation does take a pretty large chunk of participation for a lot of team grandstand members.

re: point balancing
this is literally just me speaking into the void bc i'm just agreeing w you while providing my perspective as a participant:

so i’m on team krmy—we didn’t make it past the prelims of either MR, and we managed to scrape into the top 15 (and break 2k points!) and i’m really damn proud of us as a team for accomplishing that. we worked our butts off in the BRs (and for the MRs too, for that matter, which i don’t say because i’m salty but bc i think it’s important to acknowledge everyone that submitted an MR worked hard). we even managed to place above teams that made it past the prelims of both MRs bc of our BR output. other teams ahead of us didn’t participate in BRs as much as we did (i’m talking 100+ point differences in some rounds), but their MR entries bumped them ahead of us, which i think makes sense—pulling together a polished quality product between 4+ people in a month is hard.

at the end of the day, I feel like the point system put us more or less where we were meant to be. so take it as further validation, i guess, lol.

re: MR entry formats
We think the current system—you can create whatever you want, but with the knowledge that it may cost you votes—is the best one.

i think highlighting this in the rules would be a solid idea—i completely agree, fwiw, but making sure that this idea is widely known and understood might help in both the process of creating and the process of voting.

re: voting transparency
Some people have questioned whether the lack of transparency means the mods are "hiding something," or tried to suggest that if we hide votes, we must be changing them.

this idea is literally laughable to me like what do y’all have to gain by this?? sorry, i know y’all said not to comment on this, but i just had to interject there.



again, thanks so much for doing this, for being open to discussion, for hearing people out and taking the time to just write this all out. <3
Edited 2016-09-01 03:23 (UTC)
flippinflakes: (Default)

[personal profile] flippinflakes 2016-09-01 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
COOL DOWN DAY OFF WLD BE NICE but honestly I understand it might ruin the fast pace that I LOVE about bonus rounds. If people rather not have 24 hr break it cld be just like a slightly longer break than 2 hours? 6??? 12????? Idk haha

Again thanks so much for this event!!! It was fun and hell at the same time what more could we ask for? Hope to join next year!!
garciraki: by kiwibon (riko)

[personal profile] garciraki 2016-09-01 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you very much for answering my question about the media types! I really appreciate the clarification.

I'm also in favor of the cool down day (or half-day or days or whatever).

Thanks so much for taking the time to address everyone's concerns clearly and thanks once again for operating SASO!
winterstuck: (Default)

[personal profile] winterstuck 2016-09-01 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for typing all of this up! I was reassured on a lot of points and I'm very excited that there will be a set header for prompts/fills next year.

If I may offer a suggestion, would it be possible to include the series/canon as a part of the header? I know it's currently only optional, but it'd be very helpful for prompt/fill tracking purposes. From what I've seen, most people include it already, so it shouldn't be much extra work?

Again, thank you for your hard work and consideration!
flippinflakes: (Default)

Re: literally just me musing out loud im sorry

[personal profile] flippinflakes 2016-09-01 05:17 am (UTC)(link)
I agree with everything u said but especially the br rec rounds being after br3 and br6 (or maybe 5?) OR if not u cld put the cool down periods then so ppl can take a breather to focus on MRs.
yusukesjeans: (Default)

[personal profile] yusukesjeans 2016-09-01 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
i reallh appreciate the comprehensive nature of this post!

I just want to add that I think a cool down day between bonus rounds would do a world of good. Speaking for myself only, I know it would have prevented some of my own burnout towards the end of the summer!
alder_knight: Just me and my buddy Haru, chillin in Kanazawa. (Default)

[personal profile] alder_knight 2016-09-03 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for all your hard work, mods, this is an enormous labor of love and I hope y'all feel appreciated. xo
kiwiaste: (Default)

[personal profile] kiwiaste 2016-09-04 08:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for all the hard work!

The clarification explained a lot already (especially re: voting) and I'm so glad that saso have such thoughtful and responsible mods- it feels like whatever decisions and changes you're going to make will be for the best with all the thought you're putting into it!

I think the cooldown period between bonus rounds is a good idea- it would help with them not to get so overwhelming, even if it ends up being just few hours more or something (a day sounds best imho)

Once again thank you!
kiyala: (yab)

[personal profile] kiyala 2016-09-07 08:47 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for putting this post together, I appreciate the way you've addressed every concern with care, and I appreciate all the effort that goes into running this event.

I'd like to second winterstuck's suggestion for having some kind of uniform header for prompts with fandom and possibly even ship/s. I feel it would make prompts a little easier to navigate.

Also agreeing that a cooldown period between bonus rounds would be preferable! Doesn't have to be a full 24 hours, but something longer than it was this year.