After reading Mourngrymn's Voting Practices sub, and commenting how useful it would be for each person to have one for others to better understand the inner workings of why they vote the way they do on subs; I figured I might as well lead by example and do so.
(I almost added this as an idea to Mourn's sub but figured this way it would be better to have it separate so people can find my submission easier when looking for info on how I vote.)
The current voting texts reads as follows:
1-1.5 Needs some serious work - not ready for public consumption
2-2.5 Okay idea but flawed. Has a few issues but can still be useable by some
3-3.5 Good solid idea, nothing fancy, just a great, useable, quality submission
4.0-4.5 Sweet idea with some artistic flair or increased usefulness that really set it apart
5.0 Exceptional Submission. Extremely useable, well written, and organized.
Now to take them apart, elaborate what they mean to me, and how often each gets used by me:
1: This is borderline spam, a sub so far removed from anything coherent it's a total waste of space better devoted to a sub that has at least a glimmer of hope of being something useful to someone, somewhere.
1.5: Horrid spelling and an absolute lack of grammar make this nearly impossible to read, yet somewhere in there is the hint of an idea a very desperate (or bored) Gm may be able to turn into something useful. Not quite a complete waste of space, but close.
2.0-2.5: Now we're getting somewhere! This is the rating I give subs that present an idea but fail to fully develop it beyond the "here's a concept" stage. When voting this low I take extra effort to give the person feedback on the idea presented and tips on how to turn it into a fully finished work, with perhaps some added encouragement if it's one of their first few subs to the citadel.
3.0-3.5: This is the rating I give subs I read and think "nice idea, I can maybe find a place for this in one of my games someday." While it may not make me stare in wonder, or impress me with its originality it does present itself clearly, and with enough detail to be readily useable by the average GM.
4.0: Similar to my 3.5 but reserved for subs that show the author has put a lot of work or thought into it, and gone the extra step to provide additional information to make it easier for a Gm to work it into their game with minimal fuss. (Plot hooks, variations, extra histories/origins etc..)
4.5: This goes to subs that are unusual, or a unique (to me) take on a familiar item/creature/location etc.. These ones are the subs I want to use simply for their refreshing appeal or variety that will make my next session feel less typical and add something special. A lot of the well written subs on Strolen's wind up getting this from me simply for the creativity and well thought out presentation/usability they contain. (Articles that provide useful feedback also get this vote from me as well.)
5.0: I save this one for the subs that have immediate use in my games due to their quality and content, and for those that are an obvious labor of love and quality the author has spent a great deal of time on. It's also the rating subs get that give me the "whoa" feeling upon finishing reading it due to the usability of info provided, or an appealing presentation that hooks me, and makes me want to run a game (or start a new game entirely) just to use that sub.
HOH's: These I give out a bit more freely, either on a sub that I notice hasn't gotten much attention and could deserve more publicity, or subs that strike me as particularly memorable/useful in some way. Subs that have gotten a recent overhaul/update will usually get a HOH from me as well, to help encourage others to give the piece a second look and perhaps re-vote.
Up/down voting comments:
I like to use about 1/2 my available votes to up (or rarely down) vote comments on various subs, as a way of thanking the author for taking the time to provide a useful or friendly/witty/amusing comment, especially one that leads to an improvement of the sub. Hopefully it'll start a trend and encourage others to do the same, but if not at least the commentor will know someone out there found the comment notable.
Whenever someone does an update to a sub I've voted on, (assuming I'm aware of the update) I make a special effort to go back and review it and adjust my vote upwards if the sub has improved significantly. Sadly getting people to re-vote on subs is difficult, and many authors feel it's a lost cause to update because of this, so I go out of my way to let them know the enhancements are appreciated, and worthy of a second look.
Penalizing for grammar/punctuation:
There was a time 3 or so years ago when I used to take off a half point for misspellings and lack of punctuation, but I've since realized upon my return, (after my 2 year absence) it's not worth it. Why? Well mainly I'm not a English teacher, and playing at one was tiring, and often such critiques added nothing to the piece and only served to detract from discussion of the idea/sub itself.
These days I'm willing to ignore the occasional misspelling or misused comma and focus on the idea itself, which is the reason I'm reading it in the first place. If I do notice something obvious I'll possibly mention it in my comment at the end, but won't penalize my vote over it.
With that said, a lack of line breaks is my one peeve, as it turns the sub into a giant wall of text and makes it otherwise impossible to read (by me anyway) without inducing eye strain and a headache in short order.
When encountering those subs I usually refrain from reading any further (or voting) and leave a comment about the formatting with a promise to read and vote when/if it's fixed. (Assuming I'm made aware of the fix at any rate)
So there you have it, why I vote high/low and what the different ratings mean to me, for better or worse.
Also when commenting I usually try to cover the points I liked and didn't like in a sub, and if voting lower then 4.5, some ideas on how to improve the sub to make it more useful/higher quality. Anyone who does wish me to elaborate on a comment with further info needs only ask on the sub, or contact me via PM and I will happily do so.
Oh and kindly remember, this is only how I vote, not how I feel everyone should vote, or what I think the "best" way of voting is. To be succinct, I view there's only one "good" method, the method that works good for you.