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    Majority vote contests

    Leila Vergious
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    Post by Leila Vergious on 17th July 2019, 9:01 am

    So just a really simple suggestion,

    Up until now, every single contest (at least to my knowledge) had its winners decided by the staff members. Nothing wrong with that, but I have been wondering if it would maybe be a bit better to let the members of the site decide to winners. This is already being done when choosing the featured mage for the next issue of the magazine, so we certainly have the tools to do so.
    Now, I do know people with multiple accounts can vote in site polls multiple times (once per account), but there are more tools that can be used for voting. If not any 3rd party program designed for collecting votes, Discord is also an option. I'd imagine plenty of guilds, mine included, does the 'emoji voting' to, again, select people for the magazine. It's also possible to get a bot for voting and even ensure voting anonymity with it, but that kinda goes beyond me.

    So yeah, just a really small suggestions to maybe try this format for an upcoming contest or something. Let everyone on the site express their opinion on who should win rather than a small group. Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with staff picking the winner, I just feel that people, in general, would maybe appreciate the option to support the person they think should win.


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    MarkusEldridge
    MarkusEldridge

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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by MarkusEldridge on 17th July 2019, 9:10 am

    So, I fully understand the idea behind why this is suggested, but I do have to disagree for the types of contests that have been happening recently. Most, not all but most, Staff Contests are high valued, and specifically are made to add things to site, or are directly from the owner and have high value rewards. Meaning, Staff have to be 100% certain the contests are as unbiased as they can, or that the winning items are truly the best(in case of lineages, spells, and other site creation stuff).

    That being said, we understand the want for Players to have a say in contests, and competitions, and have build mechanics for that. Including the various Sorcerer's Magazine votes, there is actually an entire mechanic for Players to create their own contests if they so desire. It used to be use a lot more in the past, however has fallen slightly in resent months. Personally as a player I actually always loved Player contests and competitions, as well as guild events that bring things such as that to the table. However, those are created by leadership in guilds, or individual players, and as such take time.

    I hope that helps, and is purely my thoughts, both as player, and staff, I am sure many others will think as they do.


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    Leila Vergious
    Leila Vergious
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    Post by Leila Vergious on 17th July 2019, 9:51 am

    No offense meant, but I think literally anyone can be a bit biased be it staff member or non-staff member. After all, we all have certain personal preferences and can be drawn to certain things without even realizing it.

    That aside, however, I can understand wanting staff to do the picking of winners in certain contests, especially ones like the lineage creation. Though in such cases, I'd also like to suggest more clear instructions. Might be just me, but the last contest I took it as a goal to create the most creative and unique I could have while the winners were mostly practical lineages. But that's more of me being butthurt. The main point I wanted to make now was that this would be most effective with contests that are gonna be far more subjective. Ones like the fan art creation, haiku creation, other things that are not directly tied to systems and rules which are set in place and which staff members should know the best. I'd also say it wouldn't hurt to at least try once and if it doesn't work, then just not do it again.


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    MarkusEldridge
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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by MarkusEldridge on 17th July 2019, 10:32 am

    No offense meant, but I think literally anyone can be a bit biased be it staff member or non-staff member. After all, we all have certain personal preferences and can be drawn to certain things without even realizing it.
    While I know you meant no offence, rarely does starting something with no offence, then saying something offensive work. Yes, anyone can be biased, however there are steps to minimize it, and we intentionally look for people who can separate themselves from a situation in staff. That is how the professional world works, and very specifically what we strive for.

    That being said, this entire suggestion sounds like one made from being 'butthurt', and I was trying to give you the benefit of a doubt when I first replied.

    That aside, however, I can understand wanting staff to do the picking of winners in certain contests, especially ones like the lineage creation. Though in such cases, I'd also like to suggest more clear instructions. Might be just me, but the last contest I took it as a goal to create the most creative and unique I could have while the winners were mostly practical lineages
    Please keep in mind, you do not know what goes into how staff grades contests, in fact all staff and Dev members that are apart of any contests can no longer make any vote, or even participate/see the discussion of how the contest is handled. All Lineages that fit in to the guideline of being Unique and interesting are added to the lineage list once updated, the winners(which I only learned after) were based off of many things including Uniqueness, Lore, Practicability, and Power which was put on a number scale and ordered with the winners being the highest numbered. None of us who participated knew how it would be handled, and in my case sense I went on Hiatus did not even learn I won till well after.

    The main point I wanted to make now was that this would be most effective with contests that are gonna be far more subjective. Ones like the fan art creation, haiku creation, other things that are not directly tied to systems and rules which are set in place and which staff members should know the best.
    Again, the two you specifically states, Fan Art, and Haiku, are contests put up by the actual owner of the site, which are handled by him. Hence why they had just high rewards for what was required. Also, you can once more have player made contests for fun that achieve the same thing.

    I'd also say it wouldn't hurt to at least try once and if it doesn't work, then just not do it again.
    This is actually where you are wrong, you would be surprised how many times "Couldn't Hurt" has come up, when the past has proven to staff again, and again, that it in fact can hurt. Staff have caught more manipulation and mini-modding on player votes than in ANYTHING else on site, and when the vote is a feature then it can be handled. However when the vote is a powerful item, a unique reward, or event more we have learned, the hard way, to either restrict everything possible in the vote, which ruins the fun, or handle it ourselves.


    This suggestion will remain up for the general time, to see what the rest of the player base has to say like any other suggestion, however I have to say the suggestion itself feels very bias based on you admitting self interest.


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    Akeya
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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Akeya on 17th July 2019, 11:29 am

    @MarkusEldridge wrote:however I have to say the suggestion itself feels very bias based on you admitting self interest.

    Yes, and your response feels very defensive of staff the moment someone suggests that staff is not immune to the universal trait of having a personal opinion.

    There's no such thing as an unbiased perspective, you can minimize it and try to make logic your primary motivator but anyone will at all times have their perspective and personal beliefs influence how they look at things and how they make decisions. One of the easiest way to bypass this is to try and get opinions/votes from as widely varied a group as possible, which is what this suggestion is based on.

    And there are also arguments against this suggestion. As has been pointed out it's not a flawless system to let the entire site cast votes, partially because there'll be people trying to sway the votes into one direction.

    However if you're claiming to strive for professionality then you should stick to the factual arguments, not throwing several accusations that the one bringing the suggestion is doing it for personal reasons. That's not professional, that's casting doubt on someone and discrediting them so they won't be taken seriously.

    For my part I believe there's contests which should be voted for publicly and contests which needed to be judged by a smaller group.


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    Majority vote contests CADlsHa
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    MarkusEldridge
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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by MarkusEldridge on 17th July 2019, 11:55 am

    Agreed, my statement was in defensive of staff. However, I specifically said no one is immune to Bias, and no one was perfect, so your first statement makes no sense? Since it completely ignores the fact I explained how we avoid such things. Of course I am going to defend against a bias argument that tries to state it is opposite. Specially since I specified these are my own opinions and not that of staff, nor did I specify that my argument was from an outside approach, and I originally tried to explain the situation at hand before the issue turned towards one of bias. In fact, it is the opposite of that because I personally would love to see more players trying to make contests, 'events' and situations.

    As for your last argument, I can say the same. Are you not throwing around accusations in a hope to discredit the other perspective?


    Now, back to the actual matter at hand, even though there are mechanics for all of this, it is not done, and instead the suggestion is for staff to change?
    I completely understand the want for more voting on site, and player input, however players can still literately do what it is she wants to do using player contests, suggestions, and guild events. There is nothing stopping players from putting up a suggestion of an event, or series. In fact I advised a player to do just that yesterday. As well as gave them several options to complete what they wanted using mechanics other than a suggestion, yet we still agreed that is the best approach for what they were looking for. Which I believe went up recently.


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    Akeya
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    Post by Akeya on 17th July 2019, 12:25 pm

    @MarkusEldridge wrote:Agreed, my statement was in defensive of staff. However, I specifically said no one is immune to Bias, and no one was perfect, so your first statement makes no sense? Since it completely ignores the fact I explained how we avoid such things. Of course I am going to defend against a bias argument that tries to state it is opposite. Specially since I specified these are my own opinions and not that of staff, nor did I specify that my argument was from an outside approach, and I originally tried to explain the situation at hand before the issue turned towards one of bias. In fact, it is the opposite of that because I personally would love to see more players trying to make contests, 'events' and situations.

    The first statement is to make sure everyone is on the same page on the fact that bias is a universal trait. I find it generally useful to at least go that far in elaboration. Also if I do happen to be dealing with someone who believes they're above bias they're quickly caught out by acting very haughty and offended.

    Leila's 'no offence meant' statement was her supporting the idea that everyone is vulnerable to bias, even subconsciously. That it was described as an offensive statement gives the impression that saying bias must always be considered is somehow offensive, which once again leads back to the idea that someone believes they might be above bias. Leila didn't say that she thought of staff as more vulnerable towards bias, so I find the idea of her neutral statement being offensive rather odd.

    It's very much possible that we're just dealing with people reading things as being stated more harshly than they actually were meant, but if that's what's happening I think it's happening in both directions.

    @MarkusEldridge wrote:As for your last argument, I can say the same. Are you not throwing around accusations in a hope to discredit the other perspective?

    My desire is not to discredit. You are currently replying to this thread in the position of a staff member, which comes with certain expectations. By pointing out that it appears like you're throwing accusations I'm trying to remind you that your words have more impact than that of most people. Even if you say that it's your personal opinion a lot of people will read more into it than if you weren't part of staff, so phrasing is something which has to be done carefully.

    I'm autistic, you can generally trust me not to partake in any of that fancy social warfare stuff. I have neither interest nor talent for it. Seriously I have the social grace of a squirrel with tourettes.

    @MarkusEldridge wrote:Now, back to the actual matter at hand, even though there are mechanics for all of this, it is not done, and instead the suggestion is for staff to change?
    I completely understand the want for more voting on site, and player input, however players can still literately do what it is she wants to do using player contests, suggestions, and guild events. There is nothing stopping players from putting up a suggestion of an event, or series. In fact I advised a player to do just that yesterday. As well as gave them several options to complete what they wanted using mechanics other than a suggestion, yet we still agreed that is the best approach for what they were looking for. Which I believe went up recently.

    So far as I understand Leila's position the suggestion isn't for staff to change, but for staff to maybe once again look at how contests are handled to see if there are previously overlooked opportunities to let everyone cast votes. Personally I don't think there's a pressing need for that, but on the other hand it's not like suggestions are the same as urgent requests or demands.

    If I had to guess at what prompted this suggestion it was that the lineage contest was won by three staff members. Now before this is interpreted as another accusation, let me start off by saying that I'm completely willing to believe that those three lineages did get the best scores and just happened to originate from staff members, that the judging was as fair as you can ask it to be.

    The crux here would lie in the fact that Leila, like me, suffered the brunt of the less pleasant attitude of the previous staff which departed from this community last autumn-winter. This doesn't mean that the new staff is anything like them but because we've been bitten once we can be a bit quicker to become suspicious when a coincidence like with the lineage contest occurred. That's not because it serves our own interests or because the current staff members are untrustworthy. It's just that once one group of staff members have taught you to watch your back it takes a while before you can stop doing that.

    EDIT: also this isn't supposed to come across as a pity thing/sob story if that's what it's sounding like. It's an explanation why Leila's suggestion most likely isn't fuelled by either selfish priorities or negative feelings towards staff.


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    Majority vote contests CADlsHa
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    ivyleaf33
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    Post by ivyleaf33 on 17th July 2019, 1:21 pm

    I am 100% in support of this idea! While I'm sure not all contests have to be player-voted for, I do think it would be interesting to involve the entire member-base in choosing for these more subjective competitions. Since opinion on the quality of a fanart piece or haiku can differ greatly among different people, having a larger number of judges can certainly make things fairer than just a very small handful of members deciding who should win. After all, if it's only perhaps 5 or so people at most voting, their tastes have a higher chance of being very similar when compared to perhaps 15-20 people voting.

    We actually did this in the Sorceror's Magazine, and it's worked great so far (switching from picking feat mage candidates ourselves to letting the guilds choose). Now, I understand that a site-wide contest with often huge rewards and receiving a feature in a site magazine can be quite different, but as Leila mentioned, it really couldn't hurt.

    Now, I've been around for plenty of disastrous player events on this site - I know all too well how insanely chaotic these "experiments" can get (see the ad event from hell lmao) but I genuinely think that simply letting players vote for one simple contest as an experiment isn't going to cause a giant uproar. The worst I could see is either someone cheating whatever voting system is used (which can be avoided by using a fairly foolproof voting system such as Discord emotes), or people being angry with the final results, and claiming bias (which is also quite unlikely, seeing as there hasn't exactly been a site uprising over staff members/close friends of staff members being chosen as winners in several past contests).

    I hold very high respect for the staff team, having seen how hard they work to keep the site afloat firsthand. But knowing the way in which contests are judged, I do think that benefit can be gained from bringing in the larger member base through voting.

    I'm not very eloquent at expressing my points, so I apologize for any awkwardness that might come through in this post! Please understand that I genuinely am not trying to attack anyone here, aha. But this is an idea I had also been thinking about for quite a while, and I do hope the staff will give it a chance ^^.


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    Majority vote contests OdNtuIpd_o
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    Serilda Sinclair
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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Serilda Sinclair on 17th July 2019, 2:47 pm

    Keeping my thoughts on this short and sweet:

    I'm fine either way on this suggestion. I think there are certainly some contests that it wouldn't be harmful to have a wider voting pool, but I also think there are some contests that should continue to be solely judged by staff. Particularly ones where the submissions are very rules/guidelines oriented or have very strong items for rewards. Though, I do know that vote padding by members has been an issue in the past, so I think if this were to be done it should be done either on discord or via PMing a staff member to ensure that a person doesn't vote more than once.

    Really the only other downside that I see to this is that if you have a public voting pool it takes away from the surprise cause you can already see who is winning. That's not necessarily an issue, but I feel does take away a little bit of the fun/suspense.


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    Post by Ruvel on 17th July 2019, 3:10 pm

    I just want to add something to Seri's suggestion since I believe it has merit.

    It could be that the first round goes to the site as a whole to see who the top like five favourites are for example and from those top five are the then winning three are chosen. The down side of this of course is there might be bias towards friends over quality.


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    Majority vote contests Ruvel1
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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Ahote on 17th July 2019, 4:14 pm

    O wow, y'all got into it. I'll drop my two cents and skedaddle.

    Our more recent contests offer valuable rewards to the winners, and while majority-voting isn't inherently a bad idea, I think it'll cause more problems than it solves. Yes, everyone is opinionated and biased, but in an attempt to keep things fair and as unbiased as possible, I think to maintain how we've done things so far is the best option.

    There have been absolutely no problems with our current method of determining winners thus far, and our staff team is thorough with determining winners from each competition. No one isn't carefully considered, deliberated, or reviewed for whatever they submitted, and I honestly think a majority vote ruins the elements of suspense and surprise for the winning players.

    This next statement is purely my own and does not reflect the thoughts and feelings of staff whatsoever: I don't think everything on-site should be democratic or player-driven. Like I mentioned before, it only complicates things more than necessary and I honestly believe that our staff team makes more careful deliberations over the winners than the average FTRP user would. In other words, I truly believe that the decisions made by a group vote wouldn't be as thorough or careful as the decision made by a staff team. Not only that, since everyone keeps talking about bias, a majority vote is so much more prone to and incredibly biased than how we've done thus far.

    Okay, teehee, bye~


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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Johann on 17th July 2019, 7:22 pm

    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


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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Gangting on 17th July 2019, 9:13 pm

    From experience I know that there are usually always people that disagree with a jury's ranking/decisions. That is just the way things are with such things.

    I do not think it would be smart to have members decide the outcome of contests similar to the lineage contest. It involves careful reading of the applications and the knowledge if they follow the rules. I think that is fairer for staff to grade such entries then members, as they more experienced with such thing for a reason.

    With contests like magic rules etc I do think it could be fun to have input from the members but a solid system needs to be found for that. A system that is anonymous but also can't be cheated to vote multiple times. It could be difficult to find that. I am in an education committee in university and we are there to advice the university about quality of education and that should, of course, happen unbiased. There are three ways to figure out if students are discontent: a question form that is offered during the exam weeks that can only be accessed through the students accounts (but is anonymous), asking around and thirdly, usually after asking around and hearing about discontent, a paper question form that has to be filled in during a class or after an exam. (The default digital question form kinda sucks and doesn't give full insight but we can't change it); most information we get from the paper question form. We would love to have a digital one as it takes hours to analyse and summarize those paper ones but we simply cannot find a system that is trustworthy to use. I think it would be even more difficult to find a system for the site that works adequate enough.

    Perhaps it might be something to be a bit more transparent about (staff) voting. It might be something to give 1 to 5 lines of commentary per winning entry; to explain why it won (other members can also use that commentary to improve for their next entries in a similar contest).


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    Majority vote contests Empty Re: Majority vote contests

    Post by Johann on 7th August 2019, 5:04 am

    As no one seems interested in further discussion after me prompting for such waiting for about 3 weeks, this thread will be locked and moved to rejected suggestions


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      Current date/time is 19th August 2019, 6:10 pm