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May 19, 2011, 12:30 am

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Ancient Gamer
Cheka Man
Michael Jotne Slayer (2x)

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What's in a Vote?


What’s in a Vote?

Within every system is an inherent ability to be abused, and the voting structure of the Citadel is not exempt from this. While many of the most obvious methods are countered, such as voting multiple times for the same submission, or voting for your own work. Other examples that are not countered by the system, but by the diligence of the Admin Team is creating multiple accounts to vote on your own subs, and other account based wrangling.

we’ve come a good ways since the old Citadel. There are now half point increments, challenge submission options, as well as the Hall of Honor and Golden Submission options. A few of us can remember the old Sepia citadel with the 1-5 flame logos for votes, and the original chat, pre-shoutbox.

What is in a vote?
In a nutshell, a vote is the accolade of your peers, or the jeers of your peers in the case of the Bad Example freetext.

5/5 - While it is occassionly argued that there are too many Fivers in the citadel, these are really supposed to be the cream of the crop, the best the place has to offer. There are a few subs that have unnaturally high votes, or in many cases, an unnaturally high vote, since only one person would have voted or commented on it. Think twice before giving someone a 5/5, if it isn’t blazingly obvious that it is top notch material, then give it a 4.5/5.

4.5/5 - I call this the Scras, since I have more 4.5 submissions than any other ranking. The 4.5 is a good all round post, it can be witty, innovative, fun, or just a damn good read that really doesn’t fit to well into a gaming situation.

4/5 - The general thumbs up, this is the lowest of the good scores. Many people will vote 4/5 on a submission in a way to not hurt feelings, even now that the votes are hidden. This isn’t quite as effective when there is only one vote, mind you.

3.5/5 - most often given to great ideas that aren’t presented well, or solid posts that have a lot of grammatical errors. This is the kick in the pants vote of you can do better! And many subs that are given a 4 often really deserve this vote instead.

3/5 - A low vote, often given grudgingly to an unliked post that has lost potential, or is not really a very good post in originality or context that has been presented in a decent fashion. In a sense often given as a take this vote and go away fashion.

2.5/5 - Now things are getting snippy and ugly, with many posts in this range getting as much coverage if not more than much better 4 and 4.5 vote submissions. Often stat bearing submissions get this vote, as well as longer and better assembled cliche subs.

2/5 - Things are about the same here as the 2.5 though often glaring grammatical errors and continuity problems are painfully present, but there is some idea worth salvaging.

1.5/5 and 1/5 - not going to split these two because in this range, the responses are polarized between encouragement and hints to do better, a tip of the hat to the indomitable Mr. Moon. The other end is the merry bashing of a dead horse, and nothing gets more attention in the Citadel than a 1/5 submission. Drizzt? Arkrrash? These have been long favored whipping boys for no real reason.

The Hall of Honor
Once upon a time, we all had a lot of HoH votes. We used these to excess so that the HoH box was often the largest part of the Citadel main page. We now have fewer HoH votes, and for some reason, this has made us stingy with them. It has become rather uncommon to see a sub with more than one or two HoH nominations, and I find it hard to believe that with over 2,500 (2,641! at time of writing) submissions, there are only FIVE considered good enough to be Golden Submissions.

It is not uncommon for the voting on a sub to run either high, in difference to the author of the sub, or to run low, such as in the case of the Melnibonean Event. In my honest opinion, each submission should be voted on by its own merit, and not its outside factors, such as its author, or what others have voted on it.

The Ice Skating Vote
It can be amusing the watch ice skating, those score cards can go all the way down to 1, but even if a skater falls in mid-performance, they are given a 7, or even an 8 as average scores. Is this a sample of the scores being elevated beyond their norm, or is it a function of the level of competition? The Citadel can perhaps be seen in the same light, the demands are heavy, the work must be interesting, innovative, well presented, and unlike skating which gets allotted performance time, it has to be timely. I would use myself as an example, perhaps not well, but I am the only Strolenite I know well enough to comment upon. The majority of my submissions are in the 4.5 to 4.8 point range. Is this because I have a loyal base of people who consistently vote high for me, placing my work at a higher level than it deserves? I am sure there are people who think so. Or could it have something to do with the fact that I have studied the art of literature and writing for quite a few years, as well as being a gamer?

The worst trend is indifference, apathy. It is easy to read through some one’s submission and make a comment to yourself, be it a simple nod of the head, or to sigh and say something bout the latest uber-sword being a piece of crap. Then to move on to the next sub, or the home project. Please, if there was one thing I would eliminate it would be this one. I don’t care if you vote low on my submission, I will try harder on the next one, I am glad if you like my work, write, comment…tell me. Last time I checked, we weren’t a psychic network and couldn’t read each others minds.

I have heard/read that no one can/should really expect votes or comments on their submissions. I find this rather distressing, if we can’t expect votes or opinions, what is the point of having the voting feature? Why have a comment box, or a suggestion box?

Bad Form
Bad Form is hard to define, but like obscenity, it is easily recognized. Some prime examples of bad form include asking people to comment or vote on your own work and not reciprocating the favor. When I myself have the time and frame of mind, I have gone through the lowest number of votes/comments sections and used ALL of my votes/comments for a single day.

It is likewise more poor form than bad, to use a comment in someone’s work to promote your own. This sort of comment is more along the lines of commenting on your own work, and not theirs. If you intend to plug your own work, a gray area, then at least have the decency to comment something relevant to the submission at hand.

Don’t know how to comment?
I have a basic critique guide that gives a very basic formula for a successful critique.
1. Note something good about the work
2. Note something bad about the work
3. Note something that could be better, and HOW it could be better.

If you can’t do #1, then you have 1/5 submission that likely should be challenged. If you cant do #2, then you probably have a 4.5 or a 5/5. If you cant do #2, and it has that Whoa! factor, then you have a HoH.

I will leave you with a parting quote from a great and often overlooked American pioneer, Al Capone.

Remember folks, vote early, vote often.

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Comments ( 27 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

June 12, 2006, 14:20
I won't be the first to vote on this as it hits so close to home on a sub I did a while ago. I agree with everything in this post however. Of course this goes in with the Bad Form category I suppose but linking to my sub I think is relevant as it gives a different perspective on the Voting Numbers, while Scrasamax here goes in to more detail on the rest of the voting practices. I give kudos regardless.

Voting Practices
Voted Murometz
June 12, 2006, 14:53
You didnt cover how your supposed to vote on a submission about voting. I'm stumped..hmmm..4?

but seriously, this is a timely topic. Nicely done!

I will use Council of Bone as an example to explain why I gave it a 4.5 (My system works only for me :D)

I enjoy Scras' work. His writing doesnt worsen as he juggles different ideas. His stuff is consistently well-writen, hence, I usually fall into that 4.5 category he mentions when voting on his pieces.

Is Council of Bone the penultimate word on literature? no..its not, so -.5. Is it a unique concept I have never before encountered? no..so -.5. Is it well-written? Enjoyable to read? Well-phrased? yes so +2 1/2. Can I use/steal cool ideas from this for my own campaign world or simply use them as inspiration for my own ideas? (bone-fetishes, ash-mortar,Sarcomancy, etc) YES! so +2 1/2. Additional +.5 for the verisimilitude of the post, and how the Bone Council ties into the campaign. That is how I arrived at 4.5.
Voted Mourngrymn
June 12, 2006, 14:56
I'll second that Muro.
Voted Cheka Man
June 12, 2006, 17:05
5/5 for this interesting submission. I only make my 5/5 votes *public* normally.
Voted Strolen
June 12, 2006, 18:54
I was on the edge of my seat waiting for a solution to some of the mentioned problems. Alas, human nature cannot be altered enough to solve world hunger, let alone a voting system.
Voted Priv8eye
June 13, 2006, 3:18
Really good article, well laid out.

I admit to not always voting or commenting, partly because I have 'real'work to do and I could loose myself within Strolen for the day otherwise but they are good points well made and I will try to do more in future.
Voted Ancient Gamer
June 13, 2006, 13:17
Well, I gave you a Scras for this. It was a nice read and while I did not agree with everything, most things made me nod my head in recognition. I use votes a little different than you. For me a 4 is a good score. A 4 has been approved, albeit by a marginal degree. There is no shame or dishonour in a 4 and many 4's are way better than some 5's I know.

A vote is a thing connected to more than the submission. I have been around here for a while and I am fairly certain that I can claim the following:

-The vengeance voter is a person that has received low votes from, or had a dispute with another person here on the citadel. His vote has nothing whatsoever to do with the sub and mirrors the antipathy of the person.

-The "boycotter" is a person that refuses to acknowledge the existence of another person's subs on the citadel for some similar reason. A boycot-activist won't reply to, or vote for any sub written by the person they loathe, though they often read them.

-The self-voter is a person that goes to great lengths to vote on their own subs. Though it is technically impossible to vote on your own sub, there are work arounds. Some are refined and use different computers to achieve the effect, and others are less so and use the same computer for all their activities. The less refined self-voters are hopelessly easy to spot as they vote top score all the way, often with accompanying bad grammar.

-The envious voter is a person who works hard, often really hard, to write their own subs, but still they are beat by some other person(s). With time resentment and envy gnaws at their core and suddenly their votes starts dropping when they reply to the successful person's subs.

Why did I mention these? Well, because now that I have semi-retired from the Citadel I must confess that these people were the ones that bothered me most. Their insecurity and weak character undermined the work of the real workhorses around this place. Watching someone vote for their own stuff, blatantly disregarding the rules and consciously bypassing the system to cheat... Well, it just stank. It still does.

I have never cheated and while I am but a minor figure of this place, I take great pride in my own work. I have gotten many high scores, but you know what? My personal favourite was a sub that is around 3.0-3.5. Yes. Other people dislikes it, but I LOVE it. And I would never cheat to prove my point, nor would I vote low against the people that voted it low. It was their honest opinion and I respect that.

So if y'all would have pride in your subs, good as bad, and stick to the rules - this place would be great.
June 13, 2006, 13:21
I agree with everything you just said. Semi-retired?
Voted Pariah
June 17, 2006, 23:27
Good job here Scras. I don't really view 3 as a bad vote though, it's one that is just lacking something. It's kinda what you'd expect a random author to write, there are better and there are worse, but this is the median. But that's just me.
Voted valadaar
October 15, 2006, 18:37
Excellent post, though now those Under 3 votes I get hurt even more now :)
April 28, 2008, 21:15
Useful stuff, although I admit to being mystified on why someone would try and manipulate their subs rating. (Really, a lousy 1 star sub that they manipulate to a higher rating will still be just as lousy as the day it was written so what's really the point?)

One suggestion I do have to improve this thread is to add in a bit of details about how one goes about voting and how many times per day one is allowed to vote.

Other than that pretty handy.
April 29, 2008, 20:29
If I had my way about your setup I would make your 3.5 description for the 3 and move everything else down .5 as well.

A 3 should not be considered a low vote, it should be the solid center of the system.

Still love the post though!
Voted MoonHunter
October 1, 2008, 12:52

The scale for voting has changed. We now have concrete guide points for your base voting, which you can then adjust up and down due to personal preferences, style of presentation, and so on. Look at the vote pull down and read the benchmarks, it will go far.
October 2, 2008, 12:16
I wouldnt say concrete, but there is a guideline.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
September 27, 2010, 15:09
Only voted:)
Voted axlerowes
October 21, 2010, 14:48

I really like most of your stuff Scrasamax, particularly your high tech post/sci-fi posts.  But this article is a little much, I was hoping it would be a flippant and amusing piece. But it is instead another argument for talking oneself and by extension gaming too seriously.  Maybe I missed the tone, but how can you write a article like this with out a sense of irony or absurdity? 

Ancient Gamer
October 22, 2010, 2:39
I can only talk for myself, but at one time I put every ounce of my being into these subs, giving it my all and then holding my breath when I published it to the citadel.

Perhaps I took myself too seriously, actually I think I did, but at that time, waiting for someone to comment and vote (and sometimes they never did) was kinda hard.

But you are probably right. We should give it our all, then accept that it might not get lavished with attention and praise. It might be ignored, or flamed for that matter.

But it is hard, axle.

October 22, 2010, 6:53
I do think it is polite to comment on all the subs you can. People post things here in part because they want comments. But people also post things to give a wider audience to their work. Role-playing can be a media, like theater, comic books or any other type of narrative art. Yet in role-playing we often have a very small audience. This site gives us a chance to share our work with others who have similar interests, and sharing our work is one of the reasons we have this hobby. So think AG is right, it is important to be an audience on this site as well as an author, because a reciprocal relationship where everyone is an author or performer and an audience member is what makes role-playing games more than just games.

I do think voting serves a purpose. It allows the readers to feel more of an interaction and involvement with the posts. The voting is also a type currency which people can barter around and it creates a loose hierarchy. So in essence you have a game, these currency and hierarchy relationships are also the chief mechanic of most facebook “games”.

That is why I think we should view the game part of this site as absurd or superfluous. When you start to think that the your average post rank or experience reflects you talent or ability then I say you are ascribing to much value to the votes. A ascribing to much value to the game part of this interaction demeans the other more important interaction. I think Scras’s post, which asserts that his ranking are based on years of experience with literature and gaming, places too much meaning on the voting mechanics.

But just in case I am wrong, here is some exp.
October 22, 2010, 7:47
This submission was written more than 4 years ago, and the Citadel was a different place. Arguments about voting etiquette were rampant and this was my two cents on the matter. Some members left during this point because of some of the things mentioned above. There was a lot of trend voting, and if you want to open a can of worms ask about visible votes.

October 22, 2010, 8:18
so at the time your wrote this voting was a problem? Was it hurting the function of the site?
October 22, 2010, 9:31
In hindsight, it was not quite the problem we thought it was. There were still a number of talented writers who did leave and didnt come back. Some deleted all of their content, others simply left in disgust.
August 5, 2011, 7:50
I do not consider myself one of those "talented writers", but I left when the the voting troubles started. It was just a bit much to deal with. But, I came back. Today is my first day back in a very long time and so many things are different now. It is going to take a while to adjust to how things are done now.

If I remember correctly, I deleted the stuff that I posted that was picked to death by some folks. I do not remember their names or the content involved, it was a long time ago. From the looks of it, the Citadel has entered a more civilized age.

I know this was posted last year, and I am a bit slow on getting back to things, but I found the article useful. It gave me a sense of some of the things that happened while I was away.
August 9, 2013, 12:37
Scras deletes posts that don't score well and still posts a lot, I think deleting poor scoring posts is standard for those that really care about their scores.
Michael Jotne Slayer
November 8, 2010, 10:06

I am HoHing this since it seems that the old debate of votes is once again alive, as it should be. I think the article itself is a good one, but I do not, however agree with your point that a 4.0 is the lowest of the good votes. A 3.0 is in my opinion a good vote for a short but solid submission. However; if my post has received a 3.0 and is 20 pages long I should have a look at it. So in my view, votes are not always just votes, they also reflect the submission itself. But there are no rules(there are guidelines) and forcing rules on people could very easily drive them away and work against the very concept of this page. What do we want? We want RPG related content, the votes are simply a guide trough that content. And the indicator as to the quality of the content is decided by the average of the votes cast by the people. It is not a perfect system but it is the best we have.

To quote Winston Churchill:

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

Voted Black Jack Rackham
November 10, 2010, 7:16

I agree with most of the later posters that your scale is quite a bit skewed toward more room for the worst posts.  A Likert Scale (which is what this is, more or less) should be equally distributed between 'points' (something like, poor, fair, average, good, excellent).  But it did get me thinking that I take a lot from Strolens (I've been lurking quite some time) but rarely if ever comment on things.  So, I vow to give some back.  I don't know how much I will contribute of original material, but I can certainly give feedback.


May 19, 2011, 0:30
Update: Moved to Citadel Help Section. Thanks Scras!
Voted Kassy
August 10, 2014, 2:04
Only voted


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