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 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.