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New Voting Rules Answered

First off, I just want to say that i love the site! I've been poking around fro quite some time now, and I've finally started working on posting my first Instructable. (I know this tags me as a noob; you can take this post with a grain off salt). However, I wanted to see how other people felt about the new voting rules, i.e. the fact that voting is open as soon as the contest is open. Personally, I don't like this. The blog post about it brings up three issues:

"Readers don’t go back to vote - Readers are most likely to vote when they first see an entry and want to give it a boost. With the old voting scheme, this favored those who entered on the last weekend and were featured."

Don't we want readers to go back and vote? In an ideal situation, I feel like you would want each reader to evaluate each Instructable. If a reader votes early in the contest, and doesn't come back to vote, votes will be favored towards the people who submit first. While I understand that maybe this was part of the intention, it still doesn't seem very fair to me.

"Authors enter late - Some authors took advantage of this and would hold off their entry until the last minute. This would lead to a cluster of last-minute entries. Part of this is regular procrastination, sure, but some was also intentional."

I'm not quite sure what the harm was with entering an Instructable late in the submission period was. There's a submission deadline, people must submit by that deadline. Did that affect how people voted? I would think not. And while I understand that people procrastinate, what about the people that are just really, really busy with other things in their life? Personally, I was going to enter an Instructable into the Krylon contest, but now that voting is already open, I'm going to save it for another contest. It seems to me that the new rule is punishing procrastinators/busy people based on the actions of a part of the submitting population.

"Lots of late entries hurt the contest - With an incentive for authors to keep their hand hidden there’s less of an indication just what people are putting together for a contest. Also,the more high-quality entries that come in on the last weekend, the more likely they are to be lost among the masses. With the new voting, authors would have more reason to step up their game and do a better job if they saw some cooler entries coming in earlier."

Again, I'm not sure I see the reasoning behind this. In fact, high-quality entries that come in on the last weekend are even more likely to be lost among the masses now, as people who vote early will never see them. And with the new voting, won't authors be discouraged by seeing the cooler entries with a ton of votes already?

Anyways, I was wondering what other people thought. As I said, I'm a bit of a noob here, so you can take this post with a grain of salt. I just wanted to voice my opinion.

Discussions

Your first point:

This is not an ideal world. Far fewer people vote in the contests than look at the projects when they are published. Most people look at a project once, when it is first published, or when they are directed there by a search engine. Having the "vote" option available immediately for every viewer should increase the votes for any particular project, and the awareness of the contest in general.

Votes will (hopefully) not be slanted towards first entrants, but towards good entrants, since every entry will have the vote button functioning when it is viewed. Remember - most readers do not go back to projects they have read before.

Your second & third points together:

Projects are listed chronologically - latest entered are seen first. People hung back so that, when people went to the voting pages, the late entries were seen first. Internal data shows that a lot of people only look at the first couple of pages of entries. This disadvantages early entrants, because their entries could be quite a few pages back, "lost" from the view of the lazier voters.

Regarding discouragement:

Votes are not displayed during voting. You can only see whether you yourself have voted for a particular entry or not. You cannot tell how many votes any particular entry has, including your own.

We have fairly regular issues with members creating false accounts, purely to bump up their own ratings and votes. There are systems in place for dealing with such votes, but only after voting has closed, so any publicly-visible ranking by votes would also be inaccurate until the cheats are dealt with.

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Please, don't feel I am dismissing or disregarding your points; I am just another member, but I've been fortunate enough to get some insight into the inner gubbins of the contest process over the years.

The system has had a number of revisions over the years, each time with a view to improving the experience and chances of those who truly matter in these situations; the contest entrants.

You certainly aren't dismissing or disregarding my points! Thanks for your polite feedback. :) I've got to say that the Instructables community is one of the most polite and well-behaved communities I've seen on the web.

Anyways, after thinking about it, it seems as though the revised voting rules trying to fix the symptoms, and not the cause. If the projects arre displayed chronologically, thus favoring late entries, why not change the way in which projects are displayed? My best guess would be to display them in a random order. I don't know if this is feasible, or if this is the correct place to suggest such a thing though.

This is exactly what I am saying. Why funk around with voting when you can simply change how entries are displayed? It's entirely feasible and eminently reasonable.

I'm generally in favor of the changes - it will stop a lot of the bizarre attempts at gaming the system that currently go on. However, the changes will mean that - to an even greater extent than was the case in the past - the finalists can essentially be selected in advance by the ibles staff simply by putting the projects they like in the newsletter = 10k views for free. That's a long way from a level playing field.

Speaking as someone else who has gained some insight into the inner gubbins of the contest process:

>Votes will (hopefully) not be slanted towards first entrants, but towards good entrants, since every entry will have the vote button functioning when it is viewed. Remember - most readers do not go back to projects they have read before.

Except first entrants will now have more time to get those votes, as opposed to the current system where (very significant flaws in the process being addressed in a moment) at least all projects have the same amount of time to be voted on. A slant is almost inevitable when some projects have 3 months in which people can vote and others have one week.

>Projects are listed chronologically - latest entered are seen first. People hung back so that, when people went to the voting pages, the late entries were seen first. Internal data shows that a lot of people only look at the first couple of pages of entries. This disadvantages early entrants, because their entries could be quite a few pages back, "lost" from the view of the lazier voters.

This needs to be addressed. It is a problem - not a point in favor of the new voting system. How can you blame someone for deliberately waiting to enter when that's the only way they have a chance? Level the playing field by changing how projects are displayed on the voting pages; don't introduce MORE uneven advantages.

The actual fn GUI gives an advantage to late entries by showing them first and by default.

If you can only vote after all entries are in, how, exactly, is it possible that late entries have an advantage in voting *unless* that advantage is in how they are displayed? 


>With the new voting, authors would have more reason to step up their game and do a better job if they saw some cooler entries coming in earlier.

See, I hate this. It's great for the website, but sucks for authors. I do my hobbies to get away from pressure and deadlines; adding pressure and deadlines just makes it like work again. I'm sure it doesn't matter to anyone (though I'd be shocked if this is a unique POV) but that just ensures that I don't feel like entering contests. I want to make projects for their own sake, not for some artificial urgency.

>If a reader votes early in the contest, and doesn't come back to vote, votes will be favored towards the people who submit first. While I understand that maybe this was part of the intention, it still doesn't seem very fair to me.

Exactly. People aren't going to come back to vote 99 times if you're having trouble getting them to come back once. This just skews the advantage the other way - hardly great.

Ah, I didn't realize that later entries were shown first by default! Now I understand the "holding off" business. Thanks for clearing that up.

As someone who submits late (which isn't technically late since it is before the deadline) I figured I was often at a disadvantage because historically the final entries are not posted until well into the voting phase. More often than not there are posts from panicked authors who are wondering why their entry isn't there when people can vote.

But we'll see. It would be easy enough to do a review of winner distribution to find out if there is a significant difference or not.

Overall, I've never seen a bad submission win, so something is working : )