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Popularity Contests - How to Handle Running Them on TT 3.0

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
Hello! Dracula brought up a good point about something I posted about in my Enemy Popularity Contest that I feel we should discuss separately. His post is as follows:

Wildcat, I appreciate the challenges of creating all of this content. However, I'm wondering if you've thought about the ramifications for other people who want to run lists.

My thoughts: Posting three times a week for a regular top 50 would take 16 weeks, assuming one entry per post. But since this list is extended to a top 60, we're talking 20 straight weeks of thread, and that's if you maintain your self-imposed schedule, which we are not allowed to question, per your stated rules. I recognize that you're excited to share your art and storyline and make a fitting production of TT 3.0's first-ever list, and live up to the tradition of fun and exciting Top 50 list threads. I get that and I respect it, having been excited to share my own dumb photo comics in the past. But it's worth noting that four months of one list means that's four months, at minimum, in which other posters don't get to make lists of their own.

So if you're committed to your schedule above, would it be worth considering running more than one list simultaneously? That way others could have a chance at it and you'd feel less pressure from having to get yours finished.
In the past, Johnny Unusual would solicit new topic ideas from the community when the current list hit #25, and the voting process for the new list would run concurrently with the last few entries and start when the current list was finished. However, Dracula brings up a very good proposal that I feel would help both the current list runner not suffer from burnout and posting constantly AND would generate more interest in these contests as two could theoretically run at once. There are potential downsides to this idea, namely that it might create a bit of oversaturation in this subforum for popularity contests drowning out other discussions, and the less likely but still possible chance for some conflicts between the organizers of contests running at the same time for whatever reason. I'd like to hope not, but I feel it should be said.

For the record, I don't have any issue with another contest running alongside mine. I put in a three day update schedule as that is common for these contests and I don't want to burn myself out, but the timespan is quite long as Dracula points out, and I don't mean to rob others of doing their own contests. I think some level of moderation should still be in play for these, and perhaps a mod or an assigned community member (Johnny has done a great job up to this point) can oversee all this in 3.0. But I'll open the floor to the rest of you to chime in. What are your thoughts?
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
First off: running lists is a LOT of work. I know the one that I was working on required me to do at least an hour of work per post on average, which translates to 50 hours per list, more if you're doing bonus entries. My posts also didn't involve original art most of the time, which I can imagine increases that time exponentially. I have great respect for everyone willing to subject themselves to that much commitment for one of our popularity contests.

I think the forum can handle two lists running simultaneously. What might be important in that case is very clear nomination/scheduling procedures so that people know who's starting when.

Personally, I also think that the contests tend to do best when they're run relatively quickly and on a regular schedule. It seems to me that interest in lists can peter off after about a month or so. This, of course, runs directly counter to the amount of effort it takes to make the posts in question. My proposed solutions to that are: giving the list-maker more advance notice to prepare posts ahead of time, and overtly stating that some posts don't need as much effort as others.

That might mean spending less effort on the bottom 25 and posting 2 entries per posting day, or posting more days per week to keep things up. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to set a target "posts per week" standard moving forward for anyone who wants to run a list, with the understanding that sometimes the rest of life can get in the way. I'd also love to hear if people would prefer shorter entries for low rankers or not.
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
Personally, I also think that the contests tend to do best when they're run relatively quickly and on a regular schedule. It seems to me that interest in lists can peter off after about a month or so. This, of course, runs directly counter to the amount of effort it takes to make the posts in question. My proposed solutions to that are: giving the list-maker more advance notice to prepare posts ahead of time, and overtly stating that some posts don't need as much effort as others.

That might mean spending less effort on the bottom 25 and posting 2 entries per posting day, or posting more days per week to keep things up. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to set a target "posts per week" standard moving forward for anyone who wants to run a list, with the understanding that sometimes the rest of life can get in the way. I'd also love to hear if people would prefer shorter entries for low rankers or not.
Moving ahead, I think some sort of expectation of the work involved in running a list could be beneficial, as well as a possible timeframe things would ideally be wrapped up.

For my list, I would probably be ok with the structure of how I planned to do the 60-51 entries up to #25, which is just a series of drawings of the enemy with my characters commenting or reacting to them, and then push the top 25 into the more elaborate sketches with more backgrounds and potentially more than one panel of art. I have the first week of enemy comics more or less done and planned to get a head start on the month ahead this weekend, so I can potentially up my post rate at least for #60-26 to either a post per weekday or 2 on M/W/F, and then see how the final 25 shape up and determine if I can maintain that schedule or not. That would condense the timeline significantly into more of a two month thing versus a four month thing, which I think everyone would benefit from.

My situation may not be the same as someone else's, though. Someone might have the time to really go all in on their #50-26 just as much as their top 25...I'll see what others think before commenting further.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Yeah, as everyone who's done one agrees, these things are a *lot* of work, even when you're *not* doing original media content (and god I can only imagine when you are). With things pretty busy at work and home, between the research I was doing and coming up with the increasingly elaborate tournament story, I definitely struggled to keep up with a schedule of 5 main entries per week plus some extras, but I didn't want to fall too far behind that for the reasons Drac brought up... I know there's people waiting in the queue behind me.

I think running two in parallel might be a decent solution, especially if they're staggered so one is in setup and voting while the other is mid-list. That way the kick-off of new lists and grand finales of old ones are ideally a bit staggered and not stealing each other's thunder.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
That might mean spending less effort on the bottom 25 and posting 2 entries per posting day, or posting more days per week to keep things up.
When Positronic Brain and I co-ran the video game soundtrack list, the schedule we had was to post two entries a day for each weekday, then slow down to one a day when we got to the top ten (in practice, we actually kept doing two-a-day till the end). That exact pace may not be feasible for everyone (after all, it was two of us splitting the load), but in general I think a quick pace is something to aim for— at least at the beginning of the list.

Because one thing to remember is that, even in the more popular lists, the stuff at the bottom of the list generally only has a handful of people voting for it (in the VG OST list, #1 had 23 votes; #49 had 3.). So there's usually not much discussion to be had about, say, #46. Posting the lower entries in quick succession increases the chances that someone has something to say— if I post five entries in a week, that's five posts that someone might be able to react to— and even if not, just generally keeps the topic moving.

If that means the bottom half of the list has shorter write-ups, or sketchier art, or fewer photos, or whatever else, than one prefers, I don't think that's a problem. Starting small is, if anything, standard practice: in reading these lists, it's actually pretty typical for list runners to gradually do longer, more in-depth, more complex entries as the thread goes on.

That said, I don't want this to be taken as a comment on your upcoming list, Wildcat. You clearly have a plan, and I'm not trying to upset that— you should fulfill your vision. Nor do I have any problem with a longer timeframe. Just some food for thought for whoever runs one next.
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
As stated, I'm fine with making the bottom 60-26 shorter in both art and text to post more frequently. I'm leaning towards M-F at the moment for those for sure, and seeing how I feel by the time 25 rolls in. I'm agreeing with what's being said for my particular contest and I don't want to hold up the next list by taking too much time. I'm going to go ahead and officially modify my posts to state that.

This is productive! Thank you everyone who's replied so far.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Well, I don't think I hear a complaint about getting a second list underway in the near future. I guess my fear is always a mix of disinterest if there are too many lists going on at once and interest burn out. There are definitely people who have stated that they would be hyped for more than one list at once but the attention economy is a fickle thing and I often have trouble getting one list under in under the wire. But this is a situation where the list is already compiled. I feel its a bit similar to when Octo did his unofficial but also official Simpsons episode list, which was free to come out whenever he felt he could while other lists were going on. As long as the scheduling is fine and everyone is happy, I don't foresee any real problems. Is everyone cool if we start accepting submissions for the next list... I'm going to say starting next weekend? I don't want the attention of a potential new list distracting from the one currently underway if at all possible, so starting on a Saturday might be the best. Or is there an issue with this I'm not seeing (I'm good at missing this stuff).
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I would mostly just feel bad if two lists were running and one was getting more attention/responses than the other. As everyone has said these things take time and work and to make a lot of effortposts and not have any response. It's crushing. And I'd hate to have that someone here.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I definitely agree, which is another reason why I've never wanted simultaneous lists if I can help it. But if Wildcat needs four months to accomplish what he wants to do, if might be best to allow another list at the same time. But I think things could be done, such as alternating posting days.
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
Let's make a proposal here; since the initial concern was my schedule taking 4 months and I have addressed that by offering to do a weekday schedule for over half the list (and will try to maintain that through the rest), which should significantly reduce that timeframe by at least a month and a half, can we refrain from starting the next topic vote for two weeks, let that run two weeks, and then around the time I'm getting into my top 10 we can start the next popularity contest? That seems like a good compromise that won't undercut my list and will remove any delays in between my list and the next.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
With different lists covering different topics, I don't think there is too much danger in one list stealing the other ones thunder. While making the lists is a lot of effort, reading and commenting isn't nearly that. So I don't think tat should be too much of a problem. There could be an overload with a ton of multiple lists, but two sounds great, from my reader viewpoint.

Also, I'm not sure if there should be a new thread for this, but it's an idea abeout how lists are organized. Maybe we could have a subforum for them? On the same level as the subforum about meatspace games? In the old forum, people seemed to have missed that there was a contest at all, if they didn't look into meatspace games. There was ar least one instance where madhair made an extra thread in the tv games to bring attention to it, and someone said they would have missed it. Plus, there would be a space to easily find the lists, if you wanted to reread them.

And maybe a global announcement? If it wouldn't be too much work?

Sorry if there should have been a new thread for this, I just thought it fit with the theme of the topic.
 

Issun

Could be a fren
I'm on board with Popularity Contests having their own subforum. We probably should have done that long ago. Possibly put Musicdomes and Mafia there as well.
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
I think that's a good idea as well for Popularity Contests and Musicdomes. Mafia feels like it should stay in here tho...it is a game people play, after all :)
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
Just to throw in, obviously since I brought it up I'm in favor of having a couple of lists run at once, for the reasons I stated. If they end up petering out organically and we eventually go back to just one list at a time, I think that's also fine. Right at the moment it seems to me we have enough traffic and interest to do multiple threads of this type.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I'm not necessarily against having Top50s/Thunderdomes/other lists or popularity contests in their own subforum, though I'm not sure it's really necessary. In the past what we've often done is if a list theme significantly overlaps with the contents of a different subforum, someone will also post a notice there for better visibility - i.e. a note in Television Games for game-focused lists, in TV and Film for show lists, I posted in Books for manga/comics, etc. We'd probably *still* want to do that even with a new subforum, so I'm not sure whether it would make a lot of difference.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
In response to requests, and because we think it's a good idea, too, we have created a new forum dedicated to Top 50s, thunderdomes, et al. Enjoy.
 
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