Mister Phes

[CONTEST] How can we make future contests BIGGER and BETTER and MORE EXCITING?? 💥

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This may come as a surprise but the Return of the Classic Pirates was a success by Eurobricks standards and attracted more than 117 entries - almost three times the Eurobrick contest average of 40 entries.
 
But certain aspects of the contest could have be managed better, ultimately, the largest shortcoming was insufficient personnel to organise and manage the contest.
 
So the two question posed:
 
  1. How can we make future contests better? 
  2. Who would like to join the Classic Pirates Crew to make it happen?


@Rogue Redcoat and @Brickshipyard have already volunteered but is anyone else interested in embarking on this exciting journey?

We have positions* ranging from temporary contest assistants to ongoing Moderators, so we can tailor a position to suit the amount of time you're able to contribute.

* Regulators, Moderators, graphic designers, bloggers, news scouts, indexers, etc.

 

But if you'd just like to provide feedback or ideas, feel free to share in this topic...

 
How can we make future contests better?
 
  1. More crew on deck would be an immense help!  So who is interested in joining so we have greater capacity to manage future contests? 
    And how do we allow people to fairly assist while also participating in contest?
     
  2. What can we do to make future contests better?  How could contests be run differently or more efficiently?
     
  3. How can contests better engage the forum, blog and  Classic Pirates social media network?

    Much to the chagrin of the dedicated forum users, this is not the 2000s when social media was an emerging phenomena, and thus, we don't have the luxury of forum exclusive contests and forgetting about everything else.  We need a cohesive strategy that encompasses everything.
     
 
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The Formalities of The Return Classic Pirates Contest
 
For those who like details, here are some underlying factors which influenced the contest:
 
  1. The current Classic Pirates crew lacks seasoned contest veterans, and while they contributed ideas, most of the organisation and execution was left up to me.
     
  2. It was the worst time possible for me to arrange a contest!  I was already in the process of organising a voyage spanning seven countries across three continents.  That was time consuming enough, so there wasn't sufficient time to arrange a contest properly.  I did what was necessary to get it launched and hoped I could pick things up when I got back.
     
  3. The contest couldn't be announced until Eldorado Fortress was officially announced as we have 100% certainty that the set would be released.
     
  4. I was absent for the first month of the contest, so 4 weeks of promotion and management wasn't possible.  There was an incident during my absence but fortunately the staff and crew performed admirably to ensure it didn't escalate out of control.  So I thank them immensely for handling that!
     
  5. The biggest shortcoming was I spread myself too finely across too many different fronts,  which resulted often carrying out tasks late night while half asleep.

    But I've had some wonderful assistance from participants in the later stage of the contest, so thank you to everyone who's stepped up and contributed.

And thank you for participating in the Creative Critic - your contributions were quite strong towards the end!

 

----------------------------------------------

 

UPDATE 2 October, 2023

It appears the "I spread myself too finely across too many different fronts" descriptive failed to convey the monumental amount of time I spent managing this contest.

So cue the violins because here are yet more details:
After spending around 10 hours providing commercial services to clients, I'd then be up until 3-5 in the morning overseeing the contest.  Every weekend I'd spend all day and evening, both Saturday and Sunday preparing everything for that weekend and the following week.

Subjecting yourself to these hours for a prolonged period is not healthy - the contest wrecked me and towards the end I was severely burnt out. Furthermore, due to the vast amount of time it consumed, I've had to postpone other important aspects of my life.

So when F1stzz states"You've stated that final report is on its way — so let's finally bring it in, make the right conclusions out of the whole situation"; aside from mental exhaustion, I now must catch up on everything I've postponed because they have deadlines, and those deadlines are now looming. Not submitting your tax return by the due date time has unpleasant legal consequences for where I am!

But I'm still not finished finalising the administrative aspect of the contest. I'm currently in the process of compiling the analytics report the LEGO Group requires so they can be assured their sponsorship is justified.

I could go on, but I'm hoping that is sufficient supporting  information to provide greater context to the situation as I do not feel obliged to divulge into every detail of my personal situation.

 

----------------------------------------------

 

UPDATE 21 October, 2023

Pressing life commitments have been fulfilled so let the final reporting begin!

 

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How can we make future contests better?
 
  1. More crew on deck would be an immense help!  So who is interested in joining so we have greater capacity to manage future contests? 
    And how do we allow people to fairly assist while also participating in contest?
     
  2. What can we do to make future contests better?  How could contests be run differently or more efficiently?
     
  3. How can contests better engage the forum, blog and  Classic Pirates social media network?

    Much to the chagrin of the dedicated forum users, this is not the 2000s when social media was an emerging phenomena, and thus, we don't have the luxury of forum exclusive contests and forgetting about everything else.  We need a cohesive strategy that encompasses everything.

     
 

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I'd like to help! Although i don't know in which role i can be of help :pir_laugh2: I don't plan to enter any contest, so there will be no conflict of interest at least :pir_laugh2:

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I couldn't participate, i was in holidays and now i'm moving so no time and no bricks :pir_laugh2:

Anyway I would have been intimidated by the level of the others. I didn't have a look at each entry but for the few I've seen, wow, you guys rocked.

For the future, i think that if you want to open the contest to a maximum of people, the mini-category is a great idea. It's less pressure, and if someone wants to build the set for real for the contest, they might have enough bricks.

Also the old style is great. It could mean MOCing without knowing all the new building techniques could be enough. You could have fun by imitating the original presentation, instructions etc. If I had the time, I had an idea that could have fit in it.

I can't say much more about the rest,but thanks for having organised that.

 

 

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I think that the contest was very well managed and everything went smoothly. The only thing I'd change is the categories. Completely new designs based on older Pirate subthemes and their style should be separate from reimagined more modern versions of old sets.

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4 hours ago, SpacePolice89 said:

I think that the contest was very well managed and everything went smoothly. The only thing I'd change is the categories. Completely new designs based on older Pirate subthemes and their style should be separate from reimagined more modern versions of old sets.

I guess they would do that if they could give away more prizes, but then again approving entries to such categoties could be controversial, as we've seen some "remakes" that were different enough to be considered completely new builds, while some "originals" seemed to have be too similar to older sets ;) 

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I think if everything was laid out in a clear and concise order before the contest, like categories, voting process, etc., I think the contest would have gone smoother.

Now if you had a helper or two I believe that the contest would be in perfect order, nobody's plate too full and nobody have to stay up late to provide for the community.

As for future contests if it's promoted on all the social media platforms (perhaps promote someone as a social media moderator for contests), and also perhaps create a poll, to see what others would like for future contest prizes classic pirate sets (1990s) newer pirate sets (2015), or other things like a bricks and minifigure pool prize or an army builder prize like the (bayonets at dawn contest).

Other than this I hope to see others contribute to the forum and help with the contests but with 117 entries I think you did pretty great @Mister Phes:pir-triumph:

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About the future...

I think in order to run a smooth contest it should be all about the setting clear rules and enforcing them among contestants, cause everyone said they had a great time, but we still had some issues in here. Like with voting, the most important thing is to decide whether we won't to give future prizes to well deserved entries, or do we want to give them domocratically, cause democratic way will always give advantage to popular entrants, or someone with more friends, family, followers, like in all those controversial "most likers = winner" contests on FB. Having contests were someone gets advantage not because of an amazing entry but because he/she has more friends, who will vote for him/her without even checking others kills fun and is an insult to someone's elses effort.

Thus, perhaps voting for oneself should be out of the question too. I mean, it wouldn't be a problem if someone should realy think his/her entry was the best. But it's problematic when people have different ethical approach, a lot of folks didn't decide to vote for themselves even tho they had excellent entries, and we saw some bad entries getting votes from their own creators, o courtesy voting, where it was clear that a vote was given to an entry for other reasons then it's attractiveness and compliance with contest's rules.

After all, i thought the sole idea in this contest was to pitch ready-to-produce sets and to then draft those best among them, finished sets, digital or hand made, NOT ideas. Still we saw some of those ideas getting a lot of votes or even winning in one case, which was not fair for those who worked hard to have their own sets finished.

One particular set managed to kinda roll over the rules, as i thought it was goofy and got accepted only because it was obvious it wouldn't generate votes, or so i hoped, but it turned out people did give quite a lot of points to it, hell, even its builder voted for himself, and i find it very distastefull.

And that's just one of the examples of sets that didn't realy follow the basic rule, to pitch someting that could be greenlighted and in compliance with classical Pirate theme, as we've seen quite a lot of builds that Lego wouldn't allow, because they went into a sphere of fantasy, or gore or alcoholism... or because they were just MOCs, not something that could be a legit set. 

So in the future perhaps it would be best to dissalow such entries from even entering the voting phase, since a lot of folks vote for them anyway, which should be against anyone ethics. Or we should just consider dropping the "legit classic sets" rule and allow everything, no matter how MOCish or goofy they are, or if it's leaning too much into other themes.

I'm just sad i've witnessed a couple of contests for new toys recently, and they always have rules, and then a lot of entrants and voters don't realy care about them, often leading to chosing winners that should be actually disqualified because they didn't fulfill original requirements... and yet, everyone is cool about it, completely ommiting the fact that it turned out unfair, ignoring the fact that some people even dropped from entering because they thought they would fail to fulfil requirements.

So it's important to talk about this issue in my oppinion.  

But the biggest problem of our contest to me were not those controversial entries i've mentioned above, but all the repetitive stuff. It was very tirying to see so many similar ships, or remakes of ships charging at me at the very end. I hoped that people will use this great occasion that this contest had offered to them to think about builds that would be quite new and original, that they will come up with things that weren't done in the Lego Pirate world before, but for some reason many of them decided to do yet another version of a Clipper or Barracuda, whether it was called that way or not. 

So i'd like it very much if we could come up with ways to encourage more diversity and originality among builders, like, maybe in the future contestants could pitch their ideas first, and then they could build them only after getting approval from organisers? So that they would have to "register" that idea first and and slots for rafts or treasure islands would be limited to those who would pitch it fist.

Like, that they would have to come up with ideas for new types of vessels before actually building them, so that we could "ok" it before they will do anyting? Say, someone says "i want to make a merchant vessel that is is not realy a merchant vessel, but a pirate ship disguised as a merchant vessel", and so we would respond "great plan! go with it!". And then when someone else would ask "could i make an another galleon with plenty of guns?" we could respond "no, to hell with it, we've seen this already, go back to the planning desk!" ;)

And so on...

Anyway, whatever turn a new contest will take, a contest is always a contest, it's always fun to follow, and it's always a chance to win something ;)  And finaly, it always brings more people to the Forum leading to many of them staying on message boards and creating new topics and sharing more builds. 

         

And lastly, i think we would all agree that @Mister Phes should be properly reimbursed for all his time and effort, right boys? I mean, a lousy million $$$ is the least he could do with ;)  

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12 minutes ago, Mazin said:

And lastly, i think we would all agree that @Mister Phes should be properly reimbursed for all his time and effort, right boys? I mean, a lousy million $$$ is the least he could do with ;)   

With a million dollars I could invest it wisely for the future procure the largest prize pool ever seen in an AFOL building contest! :pir-stareyes:

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8 minutes ago, Mister Phes said:

With a million dollars I could invest it wisely for the future procure the largest prize pool ever seen in an AFOL building contest! :pir-stareyes:

Seriously though you have done amazing here Phes and I cannot thank you enough for injecting a huge amount of life into a lego theme I love dearly!

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I pretty much agree with all of the points provided by @Mazin, albeit I think we can dive deeper into this discussion & specify some things, so by the end of it all we will have some sort of a formula for the future. I'm waiting for the Creative Critic winner to be announced, so the curtain could be called for both contests & we can focus on this conversation for real, as I'm about to bring up various things that IMO could be considered as serious flaws. Also, I think it would be fair and very informative to show the exact examples of what we consider was "meh" with the whole event, so people participating in the convo can get the full understanding of complaints & discuss 'em thoroughly. That's why I'd like @Mazin to "point fingers" & name the entry he had a tough feeling with:

1 hour ago, Mazin said:

One particular set managed to kinda roll over the rules, as i thought it was goofy and got accepted only because it was obvious it wouldn't generate votes, or so i hoped, but it turned out people did give quite a lot of points to it, hell, even its builder voted for himself, and i find it very distastefull.

That'll help to make the outlines for the criterias of "what shouldn't be" much clearer :thumbup: 

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3 hours ago, Mazin said:

I guess they would do that if they could give away more prizes, but then again approving entries to such categoties could be controversial, as we've seen some "remakes" that were different enough to be considered completely new builds, while some "originals" seemed to have be too similar to older sets ;) 

That's true. Maybe the current format is the best one after all.

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Thanks to @Mazin for his post! That makes it easier to build on it with my poor english :pir-laugh:

2 hours ago, Mazin said:

Thus, perhaps voting for oneself should be out of the question too. I mean, it wouldn't be a problem if someone should realy think his/her entry was the best. But it's problematic when people have different ethical approach, a lot of folks didn't decide to vote for themselves even tho they had excellent entries, and we saw some bad entries getting votes from their own creators, o courtesy voting, where it was clear that a vote was given to an entry for other reasons then it's attractiveness and compliance with contest's rules.

Voting for oneself should be forbidden. It's sad that such rules are needed... :pir-sceptic:

2 hours ago, Mazin said:

After all, i thought the sole idea in this contest was to pitch ready-to-produce sets and to then draft those best among them, finished sets, digital or hand made, NOT ideas. Still we saw some of those ideas getting a lot of votes or even winning in one case, which was not fair for those who worked hard to have their own sets finished.

One particular set managed to kinda roll over the rules, as i thought it was goofy and got accepted only because it was obvious it wouldn't generate votes, or so i hoped, but it turned out people did give quite a lot of points to it, hell, even its builder voted for himself, and i find it very distastefull.

And that's just one of the examples of sets that didn't realy follow the basic rule, to pitch someting that could be greenlighted and in compliance with classical Pirate theme, as we've seen quite a lot of builds that Lego wouldn't allow, because they went into a sphere of fantasy, or gore or alcoholism... or because they were just MOCs, not something that could be a legit set. 

So in the future perhaps it would be best to dissalow such entries from even entering the voting phase, since a lot of folks vote for them anyway, which should be against anyone ethics. Or we should just consider dropping the "legit classic sets" rule and allow everything, no matter how MOCish or goofy they are, or if it's leaning too much into other themes.

I'm just sad i've witnessed a couple of contests for new toys recently, and they always have rules, and then a lot of entrants and voters don't realy care about them, often leading to chosing winners that should be actually disqualified because they didn't fulfill original requirements... and yet, everyone is cool about it, completely ommiting the fact that it turned out unfair, ignoring the fact that some people even dropped from entering because they thought they would fail to fulfil requirements.

I have also followed various Lego contests and in some the entries have nothing to do with the topic at all! People then find a name for the entry that fits the topic and always get away with it. It's kind of the highest art of participating in Lego contests. And people will often get a lot of praise for the funny twist :wink:

The thing with our particular contest is that most mocs will never fit into the narrow boundaries of classic pirate sets for one reason or an other. When building people get carried away and that's only natural because 30 years of new parts and techniques can not be "unseen". Focus so much on classic pirates is a big hinderance imo. We will never get the best ships when everybody is trying to (re)create a classic ship. Then, if you really want to apply the rules most entries have to be disqualified. Classic Lego is rather simple by modern standards and a full blown moc easily can get an advantage. Not speaking about modern minifigs and minifig accessories. So i really hope the future contests in this forum will not focus on classic pirates but Lego pirates (and imperials, islanders,...) in general!

I also think that people should only enter one entry per category. I'd rather see more categories instead. Something like:

  • Figbarf (min 5 figures and small sidebuild but focus on figures)
  • Small vignete with min 8x8 / max 12x12 studs
  • Big moc contest
  • Ship contest
  • ...
2 hours ago, Mazin said:

So i'd like it very much if we could come up with ways to encourage more diversity and originality among builders, like, maybe in the future contestants could pitch their ideas first [...]

I dont think that will work and it would make things very complicated. Just drop "classic" and it will not be a problem :pir_laugh2:

2 hours ago, Mazin said:

Anyway, whatever turn a new contest will take, a contest is always a contest, it's always fun to follow, and it's always a chance to win something ;)  And finaly, it always brings more people to the Forum leading to many of them staying on message boards and creating new topics and sharing more builds.

To be honest, i am pretty pessimistic about this. If one person comes to stay, it will be a win already. Also in that regard, it puzzles me that most people who are interested in pirate mocs never ever comment on mocs from the pirate RPG. It's the same with Star Wars and i guess the other RPGs as well. I don't get it :pir_wacko:

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On 9/23/2023 at 12:22 AM, Mister Phes said:

What can we do to make future contests better?  How could contests be run differently or more efficiently?

This went pretty smoothly IMHO.  Clearly it generated a lot of interest, traffic and engagement, which is the main thing.  One issue that I saw is that there were too many things competing directly against each other: someone could build a perfect 1995 pirate set (indeed, I would argue that someone did just that with the Islanders set) and they wouldn't stand a chance of winning, simply because a modern building style is more popular.  There should have been multiple smaller prizes for different categories: small ships (classic), small ships (modern), ships > 2000 pcs (classic), large ships (modern), structures and islands (classic), structures and islands (modern).

Additionally, voting was a bit awkward.  Just use a poll and restrict who can vote to 1 vote per IP and accounts with > 10 or 20 posts and/or who joined before the contest started.

On 9/23/2023 at 12:22 AM, Mister Phes said:

How can contests better engage the forum, blog and  Classic Pirates social media network?

I dropped some ideas in another thread with @Jim -- mostly about image hosting directly on EB and about upgrading the forum software to have some newer features.  Just modernizing the site would go a long way, especially for mobile users.  I have had really good luck with Facebook ads to promote events, and while Facebook is definitely evil, it seems to be the place on the net where people hang out.  A well-targeted campaign could draw in a lot of new EB members.  To survive, forums need to offer something that FB doesn't, and contests like this are certainly good.  Build threads of MOCs that take months/years to put together are another strong point for forums, since FB is very much about the end result, not the process of getting there.

7 hours ago, Mazin said:



So in the future perhaps it would be best to dissalow such entries from even entering the voting phase, since a lot of folks vote for them anyway, which should be against anyone ethics. Or we should just consider dropping the "legit classic sets" rule and allow everything, no matter how MOCish or goofy they are, or if it's leaning too much into other themes.

It seems like a lot of people didn't get that the contest was to create a modern set.  Perhaps some appointed judges could approve/disapprove entries, and then people could democratically vote on them?

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What can be done to make future contests better? I know I'm in the minority here, but my answer is: never mix digital entries and physical builds in the same category. This just isn't fair and will never be.

I am aware that someone in one of the entry threads stated something like: "Allowing digital entries lets the people who cannot afford real bricks participate in contests too". This is obviously true, but it works both ways: It also forces the people who cannot/do not use digital building software to spend more money and/or time to make their real builds, in order to compete with those who make their entries basically without never even having to move away from their comfortable chair in front of the computer. I don't see how this can be fair either.

I know there are many people who build both digitally and physically. I personally know a few who start digitally, and then when they know the necessary pieces, they stand up from their computer and build the real thing. I have much respect for them. But I also know there are quite a lot of 'old school' AFOLS (myself included) who never learned how to 'build' digitally and probably never will, because they are too busy with, you know, that thing called building with bricks.

In my opinion, the best and really the only fair way to go is to make separate categories for digital and real entries. That way everyone would be satisfied, and there would be no need to engage in unfair competition. I also remember that Eurobricks did organise some contests with exactly these rules in the past.

Edited by Dreamweb

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I read through most of the above critiques on how the voting and entry acceptance criteria went - I generally agree with the constructive feedback. To summarize the main issues so far is a strong request for sharpening of the rules and better organization of categories. I thought not voting for one's own entry was already understood and that's an etiquette rule on every other Lego contest I've participated in. Simple fix.

Per the better org. of categories - I realized too late that my medium sized fort build was up against a tsunami when competing against the big ships and biggest fort designs. Therefore, categories with base size limits or ship class limits have to be control mechanism to keep pineapples to pineapples. The mini category, with it's part limit, worked spectacularly well, but beyond that category no piece and size constraints were in place. The obvious flaw with such finely tuned categories is almost irrevocably the contest needs a prize for each category or else it's back to square one if competing for the same prize across all categories. The issue of can EB's budget support 5 smaller to medium prizes becomes relevant. Perhaps it can (?) with some elimination of runner up prizes.  I love me some runner up prizes! But that may be the trade off.

I am still in favor of the grand prize winner because that usually is a flagship set and should be excellent marketing on all social media for Eurobricks. *However* I draw the line of popular voting an entry at the Grand prize stage because that is when the dark side of democracy (yes I made that term up) comes into effect: bandwagon effect, entrants abusing their social media connections in a vast way, even if their build is not good to average. Or in the rare cases like this contest saw, fake account and vote rigging.

Even in the non grand prize stage, aka the category stages, appointed category judge(s) could help keep the entrants in line with true spirit of the contest. Granted, that's a lot of power in 1 to 2 people's hands so the judges would have to follow some strict criteria and probably need some trustworthy credentials (proving they have built a well regarded MOC in that category beforehand). Rejection (of a MOC) power with a chance for the builder to appeal is also warranted. 

Digital vs. real builds... that's always a tricky subject. Having worked in both dimensions, I definitely agree real builds take way more resources. Plus I get very annoyed with popular opinion voting for perfectly rendered sets. That is a level even a talented physical brick builder can rarely match unless they have pristine pieces, photography, etc. I am in the pro separation camp (that means digital builds vs only digital and vice versa) and about fed up with competing against a digital builder who always seem to have an advantage in these contests. I don't know what the solution is, but what we have now isn't working.

What sucks are that these fairness measures will require more resources, complexity, and time, but maybe the end result is worth the cost? I tend to believe more builders will participate in a contest they believe is fair and well moderated, no matter their build level or talent.

To address Mister Phes overtaxing themselves to run the contest, Eurobricks needs incentivized volunteering and delegation of tasks. Some members here demonstrated they are exceptionally good at excel spreadsheets and tabulation, so they could offer their services at set dates of the contest. Other volunteers have the writing and publicity talents. Other members could apply to be judges of the categories (which is essentially a moderator). That way Mister Phes and other admins can focus on the big picture items in the contest. Yes, they may have to get down into the seaweeds from time to time to address issues, but generally can let things run and semi autonomously govern themselves.

The incentivized part obviously cannot be direct compensation, but maybe exclusive access to a special monthly or quarterly volunteer only raffle with a small prize, plus some sort of frontpage recognition. As long as you volunteered up to expectations that month or quarter, you would be eligible. Maybe a discount to a 3rd party affiliated site that sells Legos? Maybe some Eurobricks swag (that's slang for a branded hat or shirt)? Whatever connections Eurobricks has could really make a difference here. I have personally worked with non profits that absolutely depend on volunteers and this is the way they give thanks in a cost effective manner. Volunteers are useless without training though. So a required, standardized training course is probably required. Training can also be learned OJT (on the job training) style.

The key part of this volunteering/delegation is that a rotation is happening each month and quarter. That way no issue of bias crops up and it solves a problem of volunteers still wanting to enter contests across all forums because a volunteer should not be an entrant to the contest they are helping with. A schedule showing 1 year's worth of planned contest would help in this regard. I personally want to help moderate some contests, but don't want to be excluded from others. I realize some members here will have a very black and white outlook on this proposal, but I would love to hear a better solution. The volunteers will come from the pool of regular forum users and contest participants, no escaping this fact.

That's about as far as I can stretch my analysis without access to some concrete Eurobricks data. But everything I suggested came from years of observations and participation in Eurobrick's contests of many types. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Brickshipyard said:

Plus I get very annoyed with popular opinion voting for perfectly rendered sets. That is a level even a talented physical brick builder can rarely match unless they have pristine pieces, photography, etc.

Exactly. In order to have top quality pictures of a real build, you need a real photographic studio and whatnot. When you work digitally, you just make some cool renders and you're fine, and it's easy to add custom backgrounds and other fancy effects.

Also, there are things like dust, cracks, etc. - this happens to real bricks, even if you're super careful about them. This especially concerns the old ones, and there are a lot of useful bricks which can only be found in vintage Pirate sets, and not in new ones. And don't even get me started on old sails and what could happen to them. Digital models on the other hand will always look brand new, perfect, almost sterile. That's another reason why those two kinds should never compete against each other.

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I second the idea of adding a rule of forbidding to vote for yourself - either we all vote for ourselves or none does.  

I second the idea of adding a rule of minimum 10posts - I would add to this no accounts (even with 10posts) which are made after the voting starts.

....

I suggest adding a rule of mandatory vote for all the contenders.

Brief explanation: If Builder has time to make an [ENTRY] post, he has time to vote. Failing to vote falls either inside the category of 'tactical voting' or plainly showing no respect to fellow builders, their ideas and effort, or the community at large.

This goes also for giving his feedback and thoughts about Creative Critiques in given time frame.

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Alright, just as we're having some weird conversation about the Creative Critic contest results, I feel like now is the right moment to finally bring about things I wanted to discuss with the community. I thought I'd wait for @Mazin to reply & @MstrOfPppts to join us with his takes first, but the fact that winner of CC contest wasn't announced until @durazno33 had to actually remind about it has really just pushed dat button for me :pir-grin: Plus Mazin's post here contains a lot of points that I'd like to progress on discussing, so here we go :pir-triumph:

DISCLAIMER: ladies & gents, what I'm about to say next IS NOT an attempt to compromise the results of contest nor the effort of its participants (albeit there are some entries I'm about to mention which, IMO, shouldn't have been allowed to compete at all due to... the lack of any cohesive build at all?..). I highly admire the lvl of imagination & skill that was showcased during the event and I do consider the Return of the Classic Pirates Contest a true Pirates theme celebration :thumbup: What I'm about to put focus on mainly is some flaws (sometimes — critical) within the rules of contest itself and the impact those had or might've had on the event overall, so in the future those mistakes won't be made again. I encourage everyone to look through my post thoroughly & discuss everything I'm going to mention in detail, bcuz after all — that's exactly why this topic was created in the first place.

 

1. THE RULES & THEIR ENFORCEMENT 

Rules is basically the core foundation of any competition or contest in general. The more thoroughly thought through rules are — the better, that goes without saying tbh. Unfortunately, due to the reasons mentioned by @Mister Phes in The Formalities of The Return Classic Pirates Contest part of his initial post, the rules we ended up with were not quite as thoroughly thought through as they could've been — which resulted in a platter of problems within the contest itself that were slightly touched already by community members above and which I'm about to dive deep into, showcasing the examples.

On 9/24/2023 at 5:30 PM, Mazin said:

I think in order to run a smooth contest it should be all about the setting clear rules and enforcing them among contestants, cause everyone said they had a great time, but we still had some issues in here.

Totally agree. One of the biggest problems was not only the rules being kinda unclear & straight up lacking in certain areas (again, I'm gonna provide actual examples down the road) — there was basically no, let's say, "appointed regulators" to ensure the set rules are being strictly followed. There were only random cases of users pointing out the violation of rules — the most obvious one being Alexu's 6274 Caribbean Clipper Remake, which was pointed out initially by @Rogue Redcoat right when Alexu posted his entry, but it was FINALLY disqualified only 10 (!) days after the voting has started, when @Dreamweb had to put the spotlight on the violation for the second time. Other than that no actions were taken towards the rules violators whatsoever — and I gotta say, there were plenty of them. Let's finally get to the examples, shall we?

The Frequently Asked Questions part of the Return of the Classic Pirates Contest rules states as follows:

Quote

What does "Classic-Style" mean?

It implies a design heavily inspired by official LEGO Pirate sets, released 1989-1997, 2009-10, 2015 or 2022 Barracuda Bay.

Therefore, 4+ Pirates, Duplo Pirates and licensed themes are excluded, so no entries based on Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, etc.

 Pretty straightforward. But somehow, despite @Elephant Knight clearly stating (albeit only after Governor asked him directly) that his Pirate's Inn was built purely for fun — the [ENTRY] tag hasn't been taken off the topic & the build still made it to the voting.

Moving on to the next point of Frequently Asked Questions, here's another quote:

Quote

Can I submit a minifigure or parts pack?

No. The emphasis is on building a new design.

Well, I want everyone to look at the entries provided in the links down below and answer a simple question: taking the given FAQ statement, in your honest opinion — could these entries be considered a minifigure/parts packs & be allowed to participate in the contest or not?

1. Great Pirate Treasure by @xoona (the violation was kinda mentioned by @Mazin in his final review)

2. 6235 Variation by @CJCx3_Legos

3. The Little Ripper by @CaptainDarkNStormy

Continuing on "building a new design" part, I'd like to mention those entries that barely had any design whatsoever or any specific Pirates attributes at all, but for some reason they were still allowed to compete and be a part of the voting. The question stays pretty much the same as I'm giving you links to these entries:

1. Renegade's End - Sequel to 6234 Renegade's Raft by @Johnnyopies

2. Verification dock by @Spacedude studio

3. The Lizard by @CaptainDarkNStormy (the minifigure in this one also violates the ban of licenced themesuse of non-authentic LEGO components part of the FAQ)

Not to mention the fact all of the examples above basically fail to meet the requirements of the foundational rule:

Quote

1. Design a new Classic-Style set

Imagine you're a designer working for the LEGO Group and you've been tasked with designing a brand new classic-style LEGO Pirate set.

The emphasis is building a creation that could pass as an official LEGO set. The design could be pure classic 1989-1997 style or modern like Barracuda Bay.

 

2. Remake an existing Classic set

Which classic LEGO Pirate set should the LEGO Group remake next? You show them how it's done!

The objective is [...] rather "update or modernise an existing LEGO Pirate set" in the same way 10320 Eldorado Fortress and Black Seas Barracuda from 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay have been officially updated by the LEGO Group.

Speaking of "non-compliance with the foundational requirements" — here are some of the entries for you, mates, to decide if they were compliant with the previously mentioned rules or not:

1. The Golden Ship by @CaptainDarkNStormy

2. 6280 Armada Flagship Remake by @bingowaldorf

3. 6500 A Promiscuous Sailor Captain  by @JopieK

Unfortunately, the list of "what went wrong" doesn't end here. You see, the foundational rules also had this little nuance to them:

Quote

1. Design a new Classic-Style set

[...]

The emphasis is building a creation that could pass as an official LEGO set. The design could be pure classic 1989-1997 style or modern like Barracuda Bay.

But remember! Official LEGO sets have a more limited part count than MOCs and the onus is to convince everyone your creation is an official set.

 

2. Remake an existing Classic set

[...]

The objective is not create a full blown MOC based on an existing set, rather "update or modernise an existing LEGO Pirate set" in the same way 10320 Eldorado Fortress and Black Seas Barracuda from 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay have been officially updated by the LEGO Group.

As @Yperio_Bricks has already stated:

On 9/24/2023 at 8:27 PM, Yperio_Bricks said:

[...] if you really want to apply the rules most entries have to be disqualified.

Sums it up perfectly, unfortunately. I'm not going to try and link every single entry that violated these requirements. I'm just going to mention a couple for each category that are representing the problem the most. Some of these have made top-10 or even top-5 as a result of voting.

1. The Lost Lagoon by @The Brick Stop. First & foremost — yes, this build (like all those I'll be mentioning next) is absolutely magnificent & awe-inspiring. But guys — 2123 (!) pieces & 13 minifigs for a set, that's supposed to portray something officially released by TLG back in the 90s (the Islanders set specifically). If you check out the Bricklink items catalogue, throughout the 90s there was NOT A SINGLE LEGO PLAYSET containing minifigures with the piece count exceeding 1500 parts. Playsets with more than 900 pieces were not a thing before the latter half of the 90s. I'd like @TalonCard & @Aanchir to correct me, if I'm wrong, but that's pretty much the data Bricklink provides, or at least how I understand it. How is any other Classic entry supposed to compete against something like "The Lost Lagoon"? What @BrynnOfCastlegate is supposed to feel, when he sees that his perfectly compliant with the rules 6269 Islander Palace is being surpassed by The Brick Stop's behemoth, which, while being a truly grand & wonderful build, doesn't quite meet the given requirements? 

2. Caribbean shipyard by @Cincinnati. This build is a masterpiece just like pretty much any other design this guy makes, outstanding. Now mateys, I need you to ask yourself a question and sincerely answer it: does "Caribbean shipyard" look like a legit official TLG set to me? Wanna know my honest answer to this question? My answer is "Caribbean shipyard" reminds me a whole lot more of the custom builds produced by third-party manufacturers like Medievalbricks, Mould King, Letbricks etc — but no chance this could be an official TLG product for the Pirates theme. If you've answered the question the same way I did, then this entry, unfortunately, doesn't meet the requirement of convincing everyone of the creation being an official set as well as not creating a full-blown MOC, because Cincinnati's build contains a little under 9000 (NINE THOUSAND!) pieces.

3. Imperial Trading Outpost by @aex383. Again — mesmerising build. But also the one to which you can apply everything said about the "Caribbean shipyard". Just compare this build to any other Lagoon Lock-Up/Broadside's Brig entry in the contest, including the prize-winning 6267 Lagoon Lock-Up/Soldiers’ Tavern Remake to get the point.

4. Skulls Eye Schooner remake (6286) by @Quotenotto. Astonishing build, yes — but does it meet the established requirements in comparison to other ship designs presented during the contest (like Elephant Knight's Caribbean Clipper 2015 or Cross Bone Clipper Remake, to name a couple)? I'm sorry, nope. At least Quotenotto managed to keep the piece count under 2000, that's kinda good news.

There are many more builds like the aforementioned ones which made it to the voting despite clearly not going in line with what's established in the foundational rules of the contest. How was that allowed to happen? First of all, you can clearly see that some of the participants have taken the rules quite literally & followed them closely, while others seem like they didn't care as much. Second — you know, there could possibly be some problems with the entries when you read one thing in the rules, but you may find something quite different/opposite in a given list of Existing Examples. The solution to these problems is what we've been talking about earlier — cleaning things up in the rules (using the principle of "less is more" when it comes to the list of inspirational examples) & appointing the enforcers to prevent full-blown MOCs from entering the contest and ensure ALL of the competitors are taking the rules literally. IMO, Creative Critics ideally should've been delegated with authorities to do it, so their efforts could've made a particular sense, but I'll talk about the CC contest & question its usefulness later. Now it's time for the second point — the imperfections within the rules.

 

2. IMPERFECTIONS WITHIN THE RULES

I've seen people already making some valid comments related to selection of categories, so I'm not gonna repeat it all over again. I'll only say that we've already had an opportunity to segregate the Main Building Category to "Classic Style" sets & "Modern PoBB-style" sets and give the second 10320 to the winner of one of those categories, but oh well — the CC contest has taken one of the prize spots earlier 🤷🏻‍♂️ We'll continue to discuss the category selection, guys, but for now I'd like to focus on something that went unnoticed.

So, in the aforementioned Creative Critic contest there is a rule that states:

Quote

Can I Get Disqualified?

Yes. You'll be removed from the contest if:

[...]

  • Your posts plagiarise other entrants posts or material from other sources.

Again — I'm leaving the CC competition for my next big point. But why would I immediately bring up the part of CC rules then, you might ask? See, here's a thing: for some reason, there's NO SUCH RULE created for the Return of the Classic Pirates Contest itself. You may ask "what's the point of creating such a rule in a contest, in which we have 5 Caribbean Clippers, few Lagoon Lock-Ups etc?". So here's why.

On July 4th, few days after the start of the contest, @LetsBrick has posted his entry — Cutless Reach. IMO, it's one of the absolute best entries that is 100% meeting all of the established requirements. It's also the one that's fallen victim to full-blown MOCs, but we've talked about it more than enough already. IMHO, another reason why this entry was underappreciated is the fact that on August 2nd, almost a month after LetsBrick has posted his set, the Saber Island 2023 by @TomSkippy has emerged. As you all know, it went on to become a prize-winning entry... By stealing (it is what it is, lads, despite Tom giving a "shout out" to LetsBrick) the gimmick of "Cutless Reach" & applying it on literally every part of the build, starting with the form of the tower itself, insignias — hell, even the flagpole was turned into a saber :pir-triumph: According to the rules — there's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with someone taking someone else's original gimmick for a new set and straight up copy pasting it into the remake of a classic set. Thanks to a circumstance of rules not taking this possibility into account, the display model of a remade classic set took the full advantage of a gimmick presented by another competitor, who created an original new playset. Now, it's not a crime if the rules don't address plagiarism at all. But IMO, it's a VERY important lesson for the future about legal use of the loopholes provided by the existing rules.

Moving on, let's also speak a word or two about what could've (& did, in fact) influenced the voting process negatively. Let's take another look at this part of the Frequently Asked Questions:

Quote

Can I share my entries on social media?

Yes. The more people you can attract to your entry, the more votes you're likely to get.

Be sure to tag @ClassicPirates and use the #ClassicPiratesReturn hashtag for easy identification of your entries.

I guess no explanation is needed to why this particular allowance could possibly go wrong. In fact — it kinda did go wrong in case with @MyFirstMOC-Hun entries. First of all, I'd like to mention that half of the entries he submitted were, ONCE AGAIN, not meeting the requirements set in the rules. But what's more interesting is the incident that occured during the voting process, when several new accounts were registered on Eurobricks with a single purpose of making all of their votes in favour of MyFirstMOC. Once I spotted this activity I immediately checked Hun's Insta page (he does have one, 600 followers, if I'm not mistaken) — and what do you think? Of course he has posted a promotion of his entries on September 2nd (four days before the suspicious activity started, which also makes me think if these accs were genuinely Hun's followers or...). More than that — I think @Mister Phes was completely aware of Hun's post, as he (I assume that was him) has left his reply in the comments. If that's the case, I imagine Governor could've asked MyFirstMOC about everything that's happened on Insta by sending Hun a DM there (if the latter didn't reply on Eurobricks) with a request for an explanation of some sort, as multiple community members were demanding to take measures towards Hun after all of the sus accounts failed to answer the questions they were asked on forum (some have failed to visit Eurobricks ever since). To this day the situation is not resolved, so I think next time we simply prohibit any sort of self-promotion. We're on Eurobricks, gentlemen, and Classic Pirates forum is one of if not THE biggest hub for "Adult Fans Of Pirates" in existence. I guess if there's a need to promote the contest & entries — we could organise it from the inside, hence why the question of volunteers & staff expansion was raised.

I'm sure we'll continue on pointing out the flaws in the rules, I'm also looking forward to expand this convo, but for now I'd like to finally discuss the purpose of Creative Critic Contest.

 

3. CREATIVE CRITIC COMPETITION: WHY WAS THAT EVEN A THING?

Being a nonnative English speaker you can only imagine how tired I am of typing at this point :pir-grin: So I'll try to tell long story short here: I'm absolutely, 100% sure that the sole purpose of creating the Creative Critic contest was to try and gather a certain amount of users to constantly visit the forum & provide the activity for it — but hardly anything more than that. The offering of EF as a prize (which I find ridiculous, tbh) obviously serves as a bait for people to try their best to post messages on this forum during breakfast, lunch & dinner. Why am I so sure & why am I using such words as "bait" 'n stuff? Well, the Governor himself explains:

Quote

Why would you offer such a large prize for this?

Because we want people to engage with builders, each other, and the entries.

We don't want entrants creating entry topics and then only receiving a couple of short replies.

So we're offering YOU a HUGE incentive to invest the time to provide detailed responses.

Basically what this says is "we give away the Eldorado Fortress to someone who's registered as CC and has the biggest amount of longreads across the board". "So what's wrong with that?", you might ask? Well, the problem is there's no OBJECTIVE metric to measure someone's SUBJECTIVE opinions on the entries, apart from the sheer number of messages & their length. You may say "yeah, but come on: if the guy has lots of messages, they're all detailed — why can't we consider him a winner purely by the eyetest?". Well, mates, there's a little contradiction hidden within the rules, which doesn't allow us to "simply apply the eyetest", here it is:

Quote

How the Winners will be Determined

Between September 17 and September 23 the Classic Pirates crew and Eurobrick staff will review registrant posts to assess:

  • The helpfulness of your critiques and feedback
  • Whether the builders consider or action your feedback
  • Whether your engagement has stimulated the discussion

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do builders have to consider Creative Critic feedback? 

No. Builders may choose to ignore the Creative Critics - it's probably not the best strategy for attracting future votes, but it's the builder's choice.

So just like that multiple detailed comments could mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING if the creator of the entry chooses to ignore them, while a couple of short comments with propositions may actually be taken into account by the builder, hence become "helpful". Simply brilliant :pir-thumb: So again: how is "Eurobrick staff and CP crew" supposed to objectively measure subjective opinions, which are defined as subjective in the CC rules and are not necessary for creators to follow? What's the point of "critics" then? Well, I've explained the point of CC competition from the get go, but here's another question to ask: even without having an actual tool to rate the Creative Critics input properly — did the aforementioned "review by the Classic Pirates crew and Eurobricks staff" actually take place "between September 17 and 23"? Considering the weird conversation on the matter, which I've mentioned early on, the winner was determined only yesterday by the Governor himself based on the data he collected on August 21st, after me and @durazno33 have pointed out the absence of any reports on the results of the CC contest. Given the fact that during the convo Governor constantly complains about the lack of time & being the only one to do all the work (even asking me to do his work after the CC contest has ended), which didn't allow him "to provide the feedback as was the intention" + the absolute absence of any promised updates or reports since August 21st (while the CC contest lasted for over a couple of weeks further till September 16) & up until yesterday — I'd say the existence of the CC contest was either completely forgotten or moved so far to the background that in the last possible minute it was considered not worthy of fulfilling the obligations. My personal opinion, not necessary to agree with it — nah, it was just purely a message-farming machine to guarantee the activity during the contest, that's where all this mess is coming from. If you think about it — some of the other troubles we've been talking about all this time (such as a green light for self-promoting)  may also be coming from this exact desire to buff the activity on Classic Pirates forum. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not, but once it comes in a way of competitive integrity & general flow of the contest... Yeah, it could very possibly cause havoc, and we all see that it did.

How Creative Critics could have been utilised more effectively? I've said it before: making the appointed enforcers out of them. In the future, should they be rewarded with an expensive main prize, when we have SEVERAL different categories with people actually creating something majestic? Certainly not. "Rewarding the biggest amount of subjective opinions by God knows what metric named helpfulness" shouldn't be a thing at all, especially when no one gives a flying F about actually measuring the "critics" input thoroughly from start to finish & how in the world to do it in the first place. So we either reward people with something small and nice for helping to clean the mess up & regulating the flow of a competition — or we make some people Classic Pirates moderators to do it on a regular basis. That has also been voiced previously, so let's focus on gathering the actual staff, mateys.

 

CONCLUSION 

That's been a LONG read, guys. A LONG typing session for me as well. I'm aware that I've repeated some previously mentioned points several times here, but I thought someone needed to be "tHaT GuY" & provide some actual examples to what was described very generally. Conclusion is we need regulators to lay down the law & secure the commitment to it. The existing rules themselves, while being a little flawed in few spots, are generally alright. It was mainly the lack of control & character behind the decision-making that made some things real messy. Also, let's quit these "activity rush games". It rather did more harm both to Main & CC contests than benefited the platform long-term in any significant way. I'm sure I've missed tons of nuances along the way, so I'm open to continue on discussing all of it further with you, mates. Feel free to comment on every point u see being valid or not — and we'll be finding the right passage together in a conversation :thumbup:  

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Dude, You do know this Forum and the entire Contest is just a virtual bonus to our everyday lives, right? It's a form of escape from problems, not the place to create problems, it's not like anyone here is part of the US Congress, we are not working on amendmnets to the Constitution or anything similarly serious.

We didn't have to sign anything, we didn't have to give away our intelectual properties, we didn't have to pay to be taken under consideration, we didn't have to invest money, and this wasn't a contest that could seriously affect anyone's career or something any of us would write into a Portfolio. It also wasn't run by a big staff of professionals to complain the way You do, just like it wasn't organized to give prizes away to preselected winners, or to commit a tax fraud, or to bring publicity to the site and not give any prizes after all...  

And here I thought I was the one who wrote and complained too much. Sure, i thought there were few things to discuss, few things that i didn't like, which is completely normal during such events, but there's always a line. I think. And problems with this contest can't even compare with problems i'v witnessed in plenty of others.

So boy, I hoped we were going to have a beer already, celebrate, and additionaly talk about few ideas for the future. Few things that could be changed, upgraded. And it's turning into a COURT ROOM battle, and i don;t realy want to be a part of this. On the other hand my brother owes me 100k, and other owe me millions, them i could take to the court room, and since You're an acting lawyer here, maybe i should hire You. Then we could use all that money to reimburse MisterPhes and sponsor tons of prizes in dozens of categories and hire an army of regulators. 

So i'll just use few words to defend MisterPhes and the whole Contest...

This thing started 3 months ago, THREE MONTHS, and it wasn't in a hiatus for even a moment as it kept going and going trough different phases all the time, and i'm pretty sure most of us, including builders, critics, voters, Eurobricks staff and myself, may have been quite tired after a while and may have already forgotten about certain aspects that were set out in the beginning, as no one kept those rules printed and pinned into the fridge all the time, and the same way we might have forgotten about certain entries that may have been too similar, too big, too small etc. Especialy that some of those rule-breakers You bring up were't even in the rules, but are based on Your own assumptions. So after all those weeks I may have forgotten about certain things in the rulebook, other folks had the right to forgot about them too, even MisterPhes included, and most of contests tend to change as they go. Especially those that aren't ment for serious business, but are for poor fun. 

After all we all did this after hours, and we all had to invest HUNDERDS of hours, if we wanted to go trough every entry, write reviews, respond to each other, and drop few posts in other contest-related topics. Now do the math. Was it worth doing this just for those xxx dollar worth prizes? Nope. Definitely not. If i was here just to win Eldorado i wouldn't get so involved, and i'm based in Eastern Europe where every Lego set's real cost is typically 4 times more than in the West. Now do the math to guess how much more work MisterPhes had to do. And he's the one who won't be getting any prize, even tho he's the one deserving it the most! Cause we all were only having fun, we were the one basically playing with toys. We didn't have to respond to dozens and dozens of private messages, notifications and reports he probably had to deal with on a daily basis. 

I'll tell You, I've organised a couple of contest myself in the past, much much smaller of course, and i'm shocked HOW WELL this entire show had been run, considering how big and long it was and that we only had MisterPhes behind the wheel from start to finish. As You obviously have no idea how shitty they can be, with entrants breaking rules constantly, to the point one have to start adjusting those rules in order to finish the whole thing, instead of disqualifying almost everyone, and to stay sane, cause after a while even organizers might get sick and tired of the whole thing ;) It all starts with stricts rules and with a dream it will go smoothly... and then people come in and everything takes a turn.

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It's been a busy couple of weeks for me to finish all the duties and now getting another son kept me incapable of serious discussion for a couple of days and since now I'll be physically absent ... (; 

I've had this post here as a draft for a few days now. Editing it in the few spare minutes as the replies flew in and finally decided to delete it all after the last couple of replies. Although I agree with most points @F1stzz stated, I also agree with @Mazin to a degree. But I too am an idealist, always trying to improve things further, yet maybe it has gone a bit too far. And since I don't want to make another impression of neglecting all the hard work from @Mister Phes first of all I'll say kudos for the organization! So I've decided to just reply in a couple of lines with further discussion possible upon request. But first let me just add that I have some concerns about the below statement, although some more explanation would be appreciated, before expressing them prematurely. Or maybe it's a subject for another topic about activity? Please do mention me there if one arises, to attract my attention!

On 9/23/2023 at 6:22 AM, Mister Phes said:

Much to the chagrin of the dedicated forum users, this is not the 2000s when social media was an emerging phenomena, and thus, we don't have the luxury of forum exclusive contests and forgetting about everything else.  We need a cohesive strategy that encompasses everything.

Build an official set is a very bad theme. We're AFOLs, we strive towards realism and perfection, we build awesome stuff out of bricks we buy in sets we usually complain about, despite we all know and sometimes even understand the restrictions and strict rules the designers are working with. Either it is accuracy, poor design, wrong color choices and what not, and yet the rules want us to replicate all that? Also combining the "categories" of modern and classic style as well as set remakes and original ideas was a mishap. Both pairs are tough to compare yet here we ended up with a four-way.

Quite some unnecessary work - an entry registration topic with links to all the entries by their authors would automatically build us an entry index.

I too am a huge supporter of no digital entries and am really glad I'm not alone!

My support also goes to only one entry per member per category if multiple!

I've already written a lot about the voting rules in the other thread and would rather not repeat myself here. I clearly suggested a registration prior to the contest + at least 20 comments!

The creative critic prize was too generous, considering more could be used for the builders.

The mini category was a blast and with a few little tweaks it could become an awesome category for future contests!

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So here's my two cents on the contest:

I enjoyed it, I had plenty of fun building MOCs in the style of sets, but I do feel that I was one of the the few that actually understood the concept fully and right from the get go. Many of the MOCs were clearly that: MOCs. There was really only one entry that truly felt like a set to me. A handful of others did some decent attempts. Trying to design a MOC to look like a set was actually very challenging.

My biggest complaint was the categories. As someone mentioned above, the "Classic style New set" should have been a separate category with it's own prize from the "remake a classic style set". Looking at the winners, they were all Remakes, no "Design your own" sets. It really did feel unfair to all the entries built to be "Classic Style" sets.

Adding the mini set building category was great, but same complaint as above, should have been split.

And while I understand the idea of the Creative Critique, I agree with above that the prize should have been allocated to a main building category, and a smaller prize used for this. It was great seeing all the feedback, and I am glad for it, but the prize did seem a bit... excessive.

I think that's all for now. Looking forward to the next contest!

EKnight

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A great contest, thank you to everyone who participated and contributed.  :pir-huzzah1:
Just a few short comments.


1. Digital vs. Analogue separate categories.
2. Digital Voting Poll.
3. Size Constraint separate categories.
4. Mandatory Voting otherwise disqualification.
5. Democratic and Judge Specific categories.


I disagree with Mazin's proposal for people to register their builds.
That takes the fun and autonomy out of this forum.
If you want more people to participate, you have to make it fun.
The funny & friends entries will win the popular vote, but the judges will vote for the true winners.
 

Looking forward to the next one :)

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There's a lot of feedback here, and a lot of points. I want to add my two cent from both a entrant and a voter point of view.

 

As much as Mister Phes did good work single-handedly, it's a bad idea to have one person bear the whole load in organising something like this. It's an obvious risk of breakage if anything happened. It's also worth thinking about the burnout of Mister Phes themself - not all the feedback here is presented well, and I wouldn't blame him if he didn't fancy running another any time soon. Two assistants would go a long way. I'd advise an odd number (three or five) in case of disagreement & panel vote required.

Next time a competition is on, throw me a tag. If I have time at the time, I can assist. I am pretty decent with management, with graphics, with low level coding (although :thumbdown: to the Rich Text Editor on this forum).

 

There is definitely room for better-defined and just more categories. There were some tiny sets in the 'big' category that couldn't compete. This would require a larger prize pool, I don't know how possible that is. But it's pretty critical to know this before a layout could be discussed/decided. There's a big difference with how you would set up for a series of one-off competitions every 6 or 12 months, compared to how a rolling competition every other month could work.

At a base level, I think the simplest set-up is a common theme, broken down to tiny, medium, large categories in that (by piece count - maybe <50, 50-1500, >1500 ?). Each of those six to have a decent main prize & a small runner-up prize in each. I wouldn't differentiate between digital & physical entries - leave that to the voters to decide what they want to reward.

I think the competition suffered a bit because it was trying to do everything. Honestly I dislike taking 'build a 90s-suitable set' as a theme at all, but fair enough some people like it. But then having it in the same category of 'modern remake' was wild. I mean, as an entrant my own entry didn't really fit into either by the time I was done. And as a voter how am I supposed to compare these? Am I supposed to be the one to strictly apply the rules or no? Sticking to one of these themes might have been better. 

I would prefer to see a single broad theme, that can be built small/medium/large. Examples from the top of my head; 'Ships & Shipyards', 'Pirates at rest', 'Movement included', 'Island living', 'Battle ready'.

 

If there was a new competition running every say, two months - then you could focus on one theme at a time. You could also have a rolling comp which would allow people prep for the next one. A user commented during the comp how it takes more than two months to design & build a set which I think is true. So with a rolling comp, you could announce in January the full rules for an Islander build, but at the same time announce that the March theme will be ships. So if you don't like Islanders hey, why not just make something for the mini-category and start pondering a bigger build for the upcoming ships comp.

This would also allow re-definition & improvement of the rules each time where necessary. If three comps in a row are dominated by digital entries, then maybe we do need to separate it from analog.

 

I play an online music contest weekly, and have done so for the past five years. I mention this because it has the same goal of user engagement - keep people coming back to the forum. And every week people argue over the entries validity :D One thing I would say I've learned there is not to be too strict with either the rules or the application of them as a voter. Leave that to the organisers. If everyone is getting over-stressed about who is and isn't sticking to the letter of the law, bickering in thread etc., we'll scare away all the entrants. Lay out the rules at the start, have a few (more than just one) organisers who can tell users EARLY that their entries are in danger of being invalid. If there's a public vote later, then the voters can know that everything in the entry category is valid, and they can apply their own criteria within that. "Oh this is just too big", "Too similar to model xyz", "Too fantastical for my tastes" etc..

Is the theme strict, or is it just a starting-point for entrants (and voters)? If strict, only Brynn's entry was valid as he stuck to the available brick & colour palette of the time. If the rules were supposed to be as strictly adhered to as F1stzz reads them - how many entries would still have been eligible at the end of the competition? If this answer is less than ten, then does the competition even satisfy the initial aim of drumming up a bit more participation in the forum? Or do ye end up with a few competition-perfect entries but a ghost town of a forum.

A couple of the voting comments did highlight that their votes were being cast on a specific criteria; e.g. ~"The sets I'm voting for, I could all see on store shelves as actual sets.", ~"I've decided to pick sets I could see TLG producing over the really beautiful entries more akin to MOCs but voting was still very hard! " , so if you strayed too far from the criteria, you did take a penalty - and probably the groupthink was enough to knock you out of the running - but it was not one that scared users away too much.

For my own build, I started with the rules, but really my goal was just to finish a build for once. I figured if I was too far off the target, I'd get pulled up on it. And for what it's worth, I did try to tone down the "MOC-ness" of it, after feedback to that effect.

 

Votes

I liked the voting set-up as it was, barring a few small hiccups. All have been touched on by other users already.

I think accounts pre-existing should be standard. Oh you're new and want to vote? Hey no worries, we go again in two months!

I would think as standard we should not be allowed vote for ourselves. Maybe you give every entrant that also casts a full set of votes one bonus point onto their own entry?

 

Other thoughts;

Whatever happens, I'd suggest splitting ships into their own category/theme. I felt obliged to vote for a ship as they seem to be the essence of the Pirates theme at large, yet it was difficult to compare any ship against anything but the other ships.

The CC contest was a nice idea, but I agree with a lot of the criticisms of the concept. It must be noted that engagement was way up. Was the engagement beneficial though? For my part I only commented where I thought I had something worth adding to a thread that might genuinely improve the build. A lot of critic comments seemed to be for the sake of being seen to make a comment, which is not actually too useful.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Mazin said:

So boy, I hoped we were going to have a beer already, celebrate, and additionaly talk about few ideas for the future.

This topic exists partially cuz me & @MstrOfPppts were the ones who suggested it in the first place. And when suggesting it, we've mentioned that several problematic points are going to be raised up. Now when these points are actually being talked loudly about — you're reacting like it's something that wasn't announced beforehand & shouldn't take place. Nah-nah. If the goal is to make future contests better — we NEED to review all the problems that occured in depth. We need not only to praise the organisers for what was perfectly done — we also need to focus on some things that got outta hand due to one reason or another. That's how you make a change — by pointing out the cons, reviewing them & making the right conclusions. Not just by "having a beer" and letting things fly.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

It also wasn't run by a big staff of professionals to complain the way You do [...]

That's the main reason to complain indeed. That's not a great thing by all means when some "CP crew" is constantly mentioned in all of the official topics, but in the end of things it turns out a single person was responsible for making things work. That also means a single person is responsible for things that didn't quite work or went completely wrong way, you have to understand it. Problems caused by a single person being a ten-hand-working machine could be avoided by making the machine a ten-men-working. But it's important to highlight those problems to make the lack of staff standout & actually stimulate the resolving of this issue, otherwise it will all stay the same. As long as narrative keeps being "the Governor was all alone, but he handled things perfectly fine", other people won't see the actual need to join the crew lines — why would they, if "everything's a complete success with a single person running things"? Now, thanks to this discussion, I believe the depth of the trouble is actually coming to light.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

So i'll just use few words to defend MisterPhes and the whole Contest...

Except there's no need to. The contest in general was indeed a Pirates theme celebration, I've said it several times & I stand by it, cuz the amount of bookmarks I've made for possible future MOCs is off the charts :pir_laugh2: Tho I personally wasn't rooting for this topic to be created so we can pad eachother's shoulder for a 10th time & dismiss till the next event. As I said, somebody has to be "that guy" & speak about things without trying to sugarcoat every unpleasant detail. All the positives (and there were plenty, I never said there wasn't) were mentioned zillion times in other topics — this one is a surgery room of sorts, at least it was intended to be when it was suggested. So yeah, no wonder there's some gore in a surgery room 🤷🏻‍♂️

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

This thing started 3 months ago, THREE MONTHS [...]

Truly a Pirates Summer :pir-triumph: One thing tho — the first month of the mentioned three went completely without any control by organisers whatsoever. I believe the Governor has mentioned it in his initial post. I also highly doubt there was a lot of control in months that followed, cuz it took community members (including me & you) to point out the entries missing in the Building Index, the violators of the contest & voting rules (which were barely dealt with, look no further than my description of Alexu and Hun cases), the updates on CC contest that were missing 'n stuff. All of that is a problem and I believe we've outlined the solution very clearly :thumbup:

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

Eurobricks staff [...] may have been quite tired

Yeah, I also think our skirmish with Eggyslav caused some headache for the staff, but otherwise — there were none involved with the contest besides the Governor. At least that's how I'm interpreting his words:

Quote

When it's one person managing 95% of the contest [...]

 And that is indeed the biggest shortcoming. It's unfortunate that seemingly nothing could've been done to resolve it, but we're here to find a solution for the future.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

[...] may have already forgotten about certain aspects that were set out in the beginning, as no one kept those rules printed and pinned into the fridge all the time, and the same way we might have forgotten about certain entries that may have been too similar, too big, too small etc.

Sir, the topics containing the rules haven't been archived or deleted. They're still there, they have been around ALL THE TIME, perfectly accessible for everyone, ok? This ain't "a note on the fridge", this is an active web-forum, where you can access the available info any given minute. It's, once again, the lack of control & character to enforce what's written in the perfectly accessible rulebook that caused some trouble.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

Especialy that some of those rule-breakers You bring up were't even in the rules, but are based on Your own assumptions.

That's not "an assumption" — that's what has actually happened. The absence of solutions to certain cases in the rules enables such actions, so no blame on those who took these loopholes. It could be considered unethical by some, but no actions could be taken for it due to obvious reasons. That is what we need to take into account while creating sets of rules for the next contests. That's an adequate demand.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

So after all those weeks I may have forgotten about certain things in the rulebook, other folks had the right to forgot about them too, even MisterPhes included, and most of contests tend to change as they go.

Excuse me? Those who established the rules have "the right" to just forget about 'em & others are "allowed" to do so as well? Such a ludicrous statement, but yeah, it's me who's "crossing the line". Yikes. I wonder why am I even wasting my time then, if no matter how great the rules could be made — everyone "has the right" to say "F the rules!" overtime.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

After all we all did this after hours, and we all had to invest HUNDERDS of hours, if we wanted to go trough every entry, write reviews, respond to each other, and drop few posts in other contest-related topics. Now do the math. Was it worth doing this just for those xxx dollar worth prizes? Nope. Definitely not. If i was here just to win Eldorado i wouldn't get so involved, and i'm based in Eastern Europe where every Lego set's real cost is typically 4 times more than in the West.

Ah, that's where all this rant is coming from. I wonder if you've actually read the disclaimer I've written. Ok, so I'll say it to you personally: I highly appreciate the time & effort you've spent here over the course of several months, mate. It's not your fault that due to the built-in contradiction in the rules for CC & the absence of any objective tool it's honestly hard to measure your (and everyone else's) subjective input accordingly to these exact rules, especially when there were lots of critics working alongside simultaneously & Governor had virtually no time at all to comply the updates, the feedback & the report on you being the winner (the latter one came after another Creative Critic's reminder). I want to congratulate you on being the most active member amongst the Creative Critics with the biggest amount of detailed posts (as it was the only obvious metric that has actually meant something after all) & deservedly winning the prize. But at the same time I have my own point of view on the whole CC competition, which was cemented during the past couple of days, and for the next time I'd like this particular part of contest to be gone completely & replaced with actual moderators to monitor the competition & enforce the law. Again — TYVM and the critical (no pun intended) flaws within the contest's structure is absolutely NOT your fault.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

Now do the math to guess how much more work MisterPhes had to do. And he's the one who won't be getting any prize, even tho he's the one deserving it the most! Cause we all were only having fun, we were the one basically playing with toys. We didn't have to respond to dozens and dozens of private messages, notifications and reports he probably had to deal with on a daily basis. 

We also didn't force him to do all this work in the first place — it was his initiative as the organiser. Now I wonder if the Governor himself was able to "do the math" & decide if he actually needed to delegate some authorities & responsibilities to his comrades on Classic Pirates instead of organising things all by himself in a rush (due to a vacation routine or a constant lack of free time in general), only to be absent for a month leaving the contest he himself initiated completely out of control. I'll repeat my point again: due to the Governor being solely in charge of basically everything during the contest he created, all things that were great happened thanks to him, all things that were messy happened because of him. That's how it works. There's time to give him his deserved flowers — and there's time to point out things that weren't executed well. And here is exactly the place & time to do the latter.

19 hours ago, Mazin said:

As You obviously have no idea how shitty they can be, with entrants breaking rules constantly [...]

Yeah. No idea whatsoever indeed.

17 hours ago, MstrOfPppts said:

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me to finish all the duties and now getting another son kept me incapable of serious discussion for a couple of days and since now I'll be physically absent ... (; 

Oh, that's such a great news, sir, congrats with the baby boy 😊

16 hours ago, Elephant Knight said:

My biggest complaint was the categories. As someone mentioned above, the "Classic style New set" should have been a separate category with it's own prize from the "remake a classic style set". Looking at the winners, they were all Remakes, no "Design your own" sets. It really did feel unfair to all the entries built to be "Classic Style" sets.

I'd go as far as saying "leave it to TLG to produce the remakes". I think there should be no such option as "rebuild the 80-90s set with modern part selection", which is basically the "remake of a Classic set". New, original designs only is the way to go, IMHO, but if we decide to keep the "remake" option for the future — it 100% should be put into its own category :thumbup:

13 hours ago, hatchpattern said:

The funny & friends entries will win the popular vote, but the judges will vote for the true winners.

That's an interesting thought on the voting process, dividing it into "the public favourites" & "the scores of judges" is some Eurovision type'o'stuff, if done right — that might bring a lot of excitement :pir-laugh:

3 hours ago, Yoggington said:

As much as Mister Phes did good work single-handedly, it's a bad idea to have one person bear the whole load in organising something like this. It's an obvious risk of breakage if anything happened. It's also worth thinking about the burnout of Mister Phes themself - not all the feedback here is presented well, and I wouldn't blame him if he didn't fancy running another any time soon. Two assistants would go a long way. I'd advise an odd number (three or five) in case of disagreement & panel vote required.

Totally agree, that's where the main focus should be — having a certain amount of assistants to ensure we ain't going off-road :thumbup:

3 hours ago, Yoggington said:

[...] have a few (more than just one) organisers who can tell users EARLY that their entries are in danger of being invalid.

If the entry doesn't meet the requirements set in the rulebook — it shouldn't be allowed to participate. That's how contests work if they're built around the competitive element. Now, does the rulebook have to be straight & clear, so there's no way for interpreting what's said in it differently? 100%, that's why stipulations like "create something TLG would produce" (when we have NINJAGO, Dreamzzz & Bricklink program alongside, where builds are just going crazy) doesn't quite work as an effective requirement & could cause the confusion. So I'd say in the future we could start with original new playsets with a certain max piece count mentioned in the rules.

3 hours ago, Yoggington said:

A lot of critic comments seemed to be for the sake of being seen to make a comment, which is not actually too useful.

And I'm sure this is also the only actually measurable component, despite how it all was described in the rules. Considering the finale of this competition, I think it's fair to say this part of the contest either needs a complete thorough revamp — or just should be scrapped in favour of the actual judges/moderators concept. 

Edited by F1stzz

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9 minutes ago, F1stzz said:

This topic exists partially cuz me & @MstrOfPppts were the ones who suggested it in the first place.

Incorrect.  This topic was intended from the very beginning. 

In fact, the entire contest has been somewhat of an experiment for the purpose of acquiring feedback for future contests.

Due to the hap hazard nature of The Return of the Classic Pirates Contest I did not want to repeat the experience again.  Therefore, better preparation for future contests was a priority and the shortcomings of this contest seemed like the perfect launchpad for discussion.

16 hours ago, MstrOfPppts said:

And since I don't want to make another impression of neglecting all the hard work from @Mister Phes first of all I'll say kudos for the organization!

Thank you - it nearly killed me several times, but I'm still here.  :pir-grin:

 

16 hours ago, MstrOfPppts said:

Build an official set is a very bad theme.

Yes, I agree and I certainly wouldn't repeat that theme for a future contest any time soon.

But in this scenario, Eldorado Fortress was being released and it seemed fitting to demonstrate to the LEGO Group and AFOLs how other classic LEGO Pirate sets could be modernised or conceptualised.

I wanted stir nostalgia and excitement for the official sets and reactions like when @Yperio_Bricks expressed dissatisfaction regarding the upcoming LEGO Creator Pirates GWP 40597

On 9/19/2023 at 7:53 AM, Yperio_Bricks said:

It's not even funny anymore. We just had a contest with a truckload of amazing designs and the biggest toy company in the world....

 

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