I like to think my voting system is pretty simple.
If nothing in the article bugs me, I'll give it at least a 3.5.
Things that bug me:
- Grammer and speling are a little lucklaster. Stencence framgents. Exmample?. . .:
- No content. / Idea incomplete. Example: "You've told me what it does, but what does it look like?"
- Bad logic. / Bad science. Not an issue in most subs, because most subs have magic, and magic can handwave stuff. Example: Chitin is only produced by arthropods and certain mollusks for mouthparts. What's up with this chitinous space turtle?
- Seen it before. / Unoriginal. / Taken from somewhere else. Example: Pretty much everything in Avatar.
There's more ways to do something wrong than there are to do it right. Therefore, all the space below 3.5 is reserved for the wonderful rainbow of things that I don't like. So, if nothing infuriates me, I have four options remaining: 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, or 5.0. If the basic decent score is 3.5, there are three things that can give a +0.5.
- +0.5 Creativity. When I can honestly say "I would never have thought of that." and "I wouldn't have seen this idea except from Strolen's Citadel."
- +0.5 Usefulness. How easy it is to plug into a story or a game, or how easy it will be to give into my players. This is genre agnostic: Cyberpunk / Shadowrun's not my thing, but I still think Gadreel & Mastema Corporation is an awesome sub.
- +0.5 Awesomeness. This is tough to quantify. All I know is that things can be creative and useful without being interesting or fun. And you gotta have fun. It doesn't have to be epic. Little things can be useful and awesome, too, like Everlasting Chalk.
There's some flexibility there. These "+0.5" things aren't binary, and sometimes greatness in one area can partially make up for other areas. Please note, that I try to judge on a 0.0 to 5.5 scale. A 5.0 doesn't have to be perfect, just extremely good. And there are subs that really should be higher than 5s.
And the Hall of Honor. I'll click the HoH button if one of two criteria are met.
- I want to share this with the world, and so I'll put it on front page. Maybe we can talk about it some more?
- I can't give a 5.5 and so I'll just have to settle for clicking this HoH button AS HARD AS I CAN.
It's not a perfect system, but it works for me. Anyway, I hope this gives some insight into how I vote. There's a lot of great minds on this site. You all have sexy, sexy brains. And I'm glad you chose to apply your neurons towards fantasy instead of, say, learning Finnish. (. . . I wish I knew Finnish.)
For what it's worth, I would like to TOAST to the people who have rated subs honestly. That's all I can ask for, really. It's a messy, imperfect system of opinions and favorites. But I think its also one of the best ways to improve our ideasmithing. Thanks, you strangers from the internet.
Additional Ideas (1)
Given the evolution at the Citadel, my voting practice has changed a little as well so I'm updating this but nothing major has changed from when I just wrote this.
I am not really that active a voter really but I am quite interested in how different people vote so I thought I will share my own system of voting here for those who felt this topic is interesting. Actually, in essence, my voting system is really quite similar to that of Forganthus. The differences are:
1. The score of 3 is my benchmark score for submissions that do not have obvious problems with respect to spelling and grammar, content and logic (but in reality, I’ve hardly ever given a submission just a 3, I somehow always managed to find something that I like enough about the sub to rise it up to 3.5)
2. I mainly judge a sub by two parts: content and write-up. (I am not a gamer, I just visit this site as someone whose hobby is writing fantasy related things) Regarding content, I only grade its originality and underlying logic, with more weights given to logic (after all, I think there’s really nothing new under the sun, a lot of original ideas are just new spins on existing ideas). And write-up obviously includes anything basic and objective from spelling and grammar to more complex and subjective domains such as expression, tone and atmosphere etc.
3.(NEW!) With new developments at the Citadel such as the Oekaki Challenge and the Weaver Guild Quests etc. that are various forms of Writing Challenges, my votes now adjust for the inherent difficulty of these writing challenges. So a sub that's normally just plain 3 for me is now 3.5 if it falls under one of these challenge categories. I will explicitly mention such deviation from my normal grading scheme in my comment as well.
4. My 5’s are what I think perfect. Of course, that doesn’t mean the submission has to be perfect with respect to both content and write-up. I think a submission that scores 4-4.5 on one aspect and 5 on the other aspect will already get a 5 from me.
5. I also have a habit of abstaining from voting on particular submissions. These are either: 1) those that I don’t have anything to say about it for whatever reasons, mainly subs that are not really my type- I'm an avid fan of fantasy whereas sci-fi is really not my thing; 2) those below my benchmark score for which I usually leave a comment on suggestions on areas to improve and might revisit if revised; 3) those that I read and found I didn’t agree with the existing score but didn’t want to downvote without providing some constructive feedback on how it could be improved (and usually for these I couldn’t).
6. My Hall of Honour isn’t really reserved for submissions with high scores. It could be something voted low for the write-up but has an underlying idea that’s quite interesting. But of course, it could also well be an old but quality submission that has already been acknowledged by existing votes but maybe hasn’t received enough votes from my point of view or I felt was inspirational and deserved to be looked at again.