Judging Criteria concern...

I was just looking at the Finalist in the Coded Creations Contest sponsored by Microsoft. There are very few where the main part of the project they built was "programming" based, One I read even stated right in the instructable that they just "copied the code from somewhere online which they could not remember were". Another showed how to install software which did involve programming...

While the finalists chosen were definately cool and Great instructables were they really "Coded Creations"?

Of the entries submitted there were several that did not make the finals that took advantage of thing specifically mentioned in the contest description:  "use of Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Kinect/Xbox, Windows Phone apps, or any Windows app". One entry did a phone app that even had voice control.. it was super cool and showed great programming tecniques and cool features but again did not make the finals. 

Should the judging not have looked closer at the theme of the contest when picking the best to be finalists? It is like if I build an awsome Jet car from scratch and as part of it I programmed the clock by using code I found online... would that deserve to be in the finals? Sure a Jet Car is awsome but copying code for a non integeral clock while technically it is "coding" but it is not what makes the jet car awsome. I bet if it was stricktly a team from Microsoft doing the judging it would be a totaly different list.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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Kiteman2 years ago

Judging doesn't happen until the finalists have been chosen.

About half the finalists are chosen by member votes, the rest by staff and contest sponsors. Once the finalists are chosen, a panel of independent judges apply the contest criteria more rigorously to select the top-prize winners.

MadDocks (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

But Kiteman, they selected 19 "Finalists" and there are 19 prizes so Judging HAS happened because Every Finaliist is guaranteed to be "judged" as a winner. So if the "contest criteria" was not rigorously applied to select the Finalists some very deserving Instructables that ADHERED to the contest criteria will be left out and Instructables that just barely adhered to the criteria are guaranteed to win a prize because they made it to the finals. This is even more so with the Judges prize as it has even stricter criteria.

But we don't know which entries have won the decent prizes, and which have just won t-shirts. That's the judging.

MadDocks (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

Whether you call it "Finalist Selection" vs "Judging" it comes down to the same thing, entrants cannot win if they do not make the
finals. And as the selection process is IMO not rigorously applied to the theme of the contest then there are deserving entries getting no prizes because they were not "selected" to be a finalist (i.e. they were judged to not be worthy).

( PS. there are better prizes in this contest - https://www.instructables.com/contest/codedcreations/ even the last 9 Runner Ups will receive a Spark Prototyping Bundle. )

I understand what you are saying MadDocks, and I agree, to a certain extent.

For example, I spent many hours working on a really cool project using rubber bands for the rubber band challenge awhile ago, and was very upset that I was not able to finish it in time to enter it. I was even more upset to see at the end of the contest the winner was someone who made a wooden gun that shoots rubber bands, when there were many other projects that made more use of rubber bands and, in my opinion, fit the theme much better. The contest was supposed to be about making things with rubber bands, not woodworking. But I tend to take things much more literally than most people.

As the others have said, at least half the finalists are chosen according to how many votes they receive. And the big shiny stuff gets more votes. People who have more friends and followers, who are into the whole social media thing, as Kiteman pointed out, also have an advantage.

Similarly, the judging is, in most cases, done by members of the Instructables community, and they are also likely to be impressed by the really awesome jet car. Though there are criteria for the judges to follow, judging is still largely subjective. They may think they they are being objective, but even an objective opinion is still influenced by the subjective. I personally would judge the really awesome jet car more harshly, being that it would most likely be made by a professional awesome jet car maker, and look for any reason to knock it down a peg. In this example, I would deduct points because it doesn't fit the theme of the contest. It seems very logical to me, but that is my own subjective opinion, that professionals should be held to a higher standard and that entries should fit the theme of the contest. Others may not feel the same way.

It would be nice if entries could be always be judged objectively and of all the most deserving people could win, and maybe some of the little guys could catch a break once in awhile too. But that's just not going to happen.

Sorry, MadDocks, nobody can control how rigorously the members apply the criteria when they vote, and neither can anybody dictate the generosity of the contest sponsors.

Yes, that often means that "deserving" projects do not win, but that's democracy for you. When that happens, you just have to move on to your next project.


If your making is motivated by winning, then, before you start your next project, spend some time going through the finalists and winners of past contests and see what their entries had, in content or style, that perhaps yours did not. People being people, there can be an element of popularity in the voting process; you might also want to cultivate a following on social media, so that you have a group of "ready made" voters for the next contest.

What I'm hearing you actually being upset about is the contest entries not the finalists. All the entries were deemed by staff to adhere to the contest criteria or they wouldn't be in the contest in the first place. Because a certain number of ibles are chosen as finalists purely on votes, you have to understand why some of the more "shiny" entries become finalists regardless of the contest criteria. People like them and vote for them. This is in the spirit of rewarding those that create what members like to see.

What you could argue for is a more rigorous application of the contest guidelines when staff approve or deny entry. However, IMO, this goes against what the contests here are all about. They are inspiration to garner any new and hopefully innovative content. By limiting the entries with strict guidelines, you damper what one may create or publish in response.

MadDocks (author)  Brooklyntonia2 years ago

Actually that is not what I am saying, and I know no one will comment on why one instructable get picked and others do not BUT Let me use an example of 2 instructables in this contest: One a finalist and one not.

The "High Five Game" https://www.instructables.com/id/The-High-Five-Gam... made it as a Finalist in Coded Creations and will win a prize. I admit it is a cool instrcutable and deserves to be ENTERED in the contest BUT as a finalist in a coding contest I would not expect them in Step 15 (programming) to say:

""Honestly, if I took half of the credit I would
be exaggerating my own part in it. However, I did type most of it into
the program while others directed me.."
They got: 1,407 views 12 favorites


Now look at an instructable that did not make the finals: Use RPi, Azure, and Cortana to Automate your Home! https://www.instructables.com/id/Use-RPi-Azure-and...

This one got 37,429 views & 390 favorites so a way more popular instructable BUT also Way more coding as they created a voice controlled windows mobile phone app, programmed a Raspberry Pi and also used Azure Cloud services. To me it fit every criteria of what the contest was asking for. While I admit it does not have sexy pictures just mostly screen shots and diagrams. But that is what you would expect from a Programming challenge, no?

I honestly thought that the above Instructable was going to win the Judges Prize but it did not even make the finals... Yet a project where only 1 step out of 16 talks about programming where they admit they did not do most of it themselves (and was also much less popular with readers) makes it to the finals, it boggles my mind.

With every bigger contest, or those that have good prices, we see the same happening.
People are wondering when a finnished contest will be really finnished as the dates presented are less than guesswork.
Maybe instead of giving fixed closing only it would be better to state when the contest ends and to remind people that judging can take 3 weeks or longer in some cases.

I also often wonder about some contest entries that (at least for me) have nothing at all related to the topic of the contest.
Some people even just dump a collection of words and images found on the web without doing more than writing a few lines to start the first page.
Similar thing with featuring an Instructable, there are so many unfeatured out there that are more than just good and some don't have many other Instructables for competition.
But you see Instructables being featured (even within contests) that are incomplete, impossible to do yourself or in some cases are based on the work of other people.
Judging is exactly what it sounds like: A personal opinion that is based on more or less input data.
Understandig the true meaning of a contest is not in any way easier than having an opinion that fits all.
If there is a (phantasy) contest on how to make things that fly you will see people adding helium balloons to a table for an entry and the entry will be granted as the table does fly....
Again, only my personal opinion but if something does not tick all boxes for a contest it should not be taken into consideration for granting the entry.
As for the actual judging, why not only state that finalists have been found (but not how many) and once done judging to present the winners? At least it will stop some of the confusion.
But with some contest I have a hard time understanding what made the winner actually win the contest...

Slightly off-topic, but if you see a project that really deserves to be featured, but the featuring staff have missed it, just drop a PM to a member of staff or the Community Team and let them know.

(It's a long time since the site was small enough for me to be able to read every single project that got published each day - I need to sleep occasionally!)

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