Alright, time to make my thoughts on this matter known:
Let me start off by saying that I am not keen on voting for contests to be a thing. Why is that? Multiple reasons. As it has already been brought up, rightly so, the voting process is, in the majority of cases, either easily manipulated or simply unreliable, whether this is through site, discord ("emoji voting") or through third-party systems, having demonstrably experienced such manipulation against me personally on several occasions, excluding site itself for the lack of a system to soundly prove manipulation. I, however, expect people to vote with multiple accounts, precisely for the fact that there is no way to prove it and that there will, most likely, be no consequences. People get creative when it comes to cheating a system. Sure, it could work, but in the event that it'd be implemented let's take this thought a step further. Would that serve to make the whole process any more objective? No, it wouldn't, in fact, I think that it would instead serve to make it more subjective and biased. Instead of keeping a clear picture and direct approach that treats all members equally and fairly, the process of determining a winner for a contest would, in all cases, devolve into a popularity contest. Of course, there is an argument to be had about this, but overall, I unapologetically trust staff more than the average member with determining winners for certain events like this lineage contest, which is my own little piece of bias ;). This is precisely the case because I myself and the other staff members work on these systems every day and are selected specifically because of our knowledge around them, and thus, in set cases, know more about them than a regular member. Perhaps this serves to explain the distribution of winners for the lineage contest. Now, to think that thought a little further, doesn't that mean that staff has an unfair advantage when it comes to contests that involve rules and mechanics? The same way people who know how to draw would have an unfair advantage when it comes to fan-art contests. I would consider it a skill that everyone can learn, and some people are inherently "better" at certain things than others, including, of course, systems, rules, and mechanics. It's hard to deny this fact. Now, that does not address that creativity and lore, for example, also played a role, but much less so than the actual mechanics utilized by these lineages.
Now, on the overall topic of unfairness being a thing, one could take this a step further and suggest that staff members should be barred from entering contests, but wouldn't that be the epitome of unfairness? Staff are, beyond the powers and sometimes overwhelming responsibilities, also just normal members of this site in more than one circumstance, contests being one of these circumstances. Everyone is given the same opportunity to win using the tools they have available to themselves. In some cases, these tools are more useful than others, depending on the context of the contest, but that is simply a reflection of life as a whole. There will always be things some people are better at than others, that is a simple fact about humanity as a whole that will most likely remain true forever. There is a discussion about inclusivity to be had here, but this is not the point, especially considering this has not been touched on and I present this as a just-in-case.
Now, to go back to an earlier point, some of the pre-made lineages are inherently better than others. That is also simply an undeniable fact. Whether this stems from their actual effect or universal applicability depends on the case, but this contest was aimed at giving people, new players, in particular, better tools to work with. We are also currently working on "fixing" generic lineages in the sense that all of them should be on the same level regarding usefulness in terms of the abilities they grant, and of course, the contest lineages were also judged under that same pretense. Perhaps that was not clear, and that is no one's fault but mine since I was the one writing this contest up. I will try to be better, or specifically, more clear in this regard in the future. However, I also feel that a lineage should be well-balanced. An effect can be great, but if the lore and creativity part of the lineage is lacking, that would, of course, be a negative as well. Overall, after having seen the process behind the lineage contest, a point system that created scores for every aspect of a lineage before adding them together, with some parts being more important than others, I can say with 100% honesty and great certainty that the lineages that won were the ones deserved to win. That sounds like I'm patting myself or other members of staff on the back, of course, but that only brings us back to the point I made earlier.
Naturally, one could also argue that the person behind judging this contest is subjective and/or biased, which, if we are all being honest with ourselves, people in this thread have been more than happy to imply. Saying this is not the case is either a purposeful misconstruction of and the intention behind what has been said or simply ignorance. Not only do I think this is not true, but it's also a personal attack on the staff member that has put in the work to judge this contest, a fact that surely doesn't escape those that have made the point. On this point, there is no real "objective" way to disprove this, of course, as it is a matter that is based solely on trust and understanding, something that takes a long time to develop and is easily shattered. If you do not trust the staff members judging these contests to be objective, that is not an issue that can be fixed on our end. But let me say that I, subjectively, trust said staff member with every fiber of my being, as do other members of staff and Sei himself. Otherwise, we would not be entrusted with judging these contests in the first place, as judging them is a direct mandate from Sei himself. On this note, let me say that accusing staff members of being unprofessional, whether it be directly or in implied form, is also a personal attack that is simply not a valid argument. Staff is selected specifically for their professionality and objectivity. Still, we're all human, and everyone makes mistakes. There are no exceptions to this rule, whether it is staff or non-staff. Similarly, personal attacks on members from a staff position are also not tolerated if/when they occur in the discussion. As far as I can tell, everything thus far has been specifically presented as a personal opinion, and it should and will be treated as such.
Taking this thought further, I do realize that some people feel unfairly treated by staff. I myself have witnessed the bias and unfairness of certain previous members of staff first hand on a plethora of occasions, and for the longest time, held a similar viewpoint to what is being presented here and I am certainly sympathetic to the sentiment. We have been and are still, around the clock and without compensation, mind you, working hard to mend the schism that has been formed between staff and members. We would love to create an environment where everyone can present their opinion and suggestions such as this one in a constructive manner and without personal attacks or biased responses, but that is a two-way street. If members are unwilling to embrace this change of pace, that is fine with me personally, but do not expect understanding, trust or respect if none is given. This is universally applicable to ALL site systems, by the way.
Now, I don't mean to be unfair at all, so I acknowledge that having members vote on certain contests is, in and of itself, not a bad idea, of course, but this point only brings me back to my opening statement. On this point I concludingly state that, and let me clarify that this is also my personal opinion, I agree with what Leah has presented almost entirely, the reasons why I do hopefully being clear from what I have brought up above. Please let me know if you agree or disagree and why that is the case, as I wish for this conversation to be both fruitful and constructive from this point on.
Last edited by Johann on 18th July 2019, 12:17 am; edited 1 time in total