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the guest of honour: are site awards detrimental?


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I’m going to preface this by stating that this discussion refers to of the month and other similar awards on roleplaying sites specifically. Having such awards on directory sites and non-roleplaying sites is an entirely different kettle of fish and I think completely separate from this discussion. So the question is: what do you think of such awards on roleplaying sites?

 

Personally, I’m not a fan of your standard Of the Month awards such as Character of the Month or Member of the Month where roleplaying sites are concerned. A lot of my prior experience with these is that it turns into a popularity contest with the same characters showing up over and over again.

 

Perhaps more importantly than that, members with characters that are not the tropes people like at the moment often find it difficult to even get nominated and they have little to no control over it.

 

Now with that in mind, I do reward people on my own site for being in the top six posters for any given month. Based on a combination of how much they write (words) and how often (posts) members will be acknowledged for contributing to the site in a way in which they can control. This isn’t so much an award, however, as a ‘thanks for contributing’.

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I agree that awards tend to shade those who may be awesome writers but are not faves of the masses . Those reasons could be completely ridiculous and I personally am not a fan of them .

 

I do like stories of the month sort of thing- any award that is for a group or the forum is awesome. I just do not like the single out ones because you begin to notice it is the same few people . 

 

I think much like the points system I am also not a fan of - the idea of it made sense in a way maybe in the beginning. But see.. I am a writer. A storyteller. Those things are not part of what I strive for.

 

I strive for grand stories, great writers to write with and a good tale no matter what it is.  

 

The awards thing to me takes away from that. It reminds me to much of a popularity contest and that just gives me hives.

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Anything that relies on members voting consistently on something is going to be like herding cats, plus I've observed that on a lot of boards these days, people don't actually read each other's stuff, so they're essentially voting blind - and therefore generally for their friends. It makes the whole thing pointless.

 

The only "of the month" kind of thing I've ever liked has been the monthly spotlight format which highlights either a new member or a longtime member who has contributed a lot to the board. Both of these are chosen by staff and, on the boards I've played on anyway, ensures that everyone has the opportunity to be recognised. 

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I've never been a fan of voting for the member of the month or character of the month. I feel that it, like you said, turns into a popularity contest. Either the same character shows up or it is a character written by the same member. And someone's feelings usually get hurt. I'm not here to make my members feel like they are "less than" because they can't win a popularity contest. 

 

The way we do it is that we throw all of our characters into a pool and have a generator randomly pick the spotlight character. If you won the previous month, none of your characters are submitted- so you can't win two times in a row. It's a nice way to show off our characters and lets people get a bit of attention for the writing they've done. It isn't perfect, I admit, but most of our members have had at least one character in the spotlight so far. 

 

 

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Definitely not a fan of "of the month" type spotlights. I think encouraging an atmosphere of celebration all the time (we have compliment threads, or calls to tell everyone a thread you really love that you're not in) goes a long way and prevents some of the potential bad feels. Voting for "of the months" is inherently a popularity contest, and I just don't find the reward compelling enough to justify it.

At the end of the year we do have a "yearbook" where folks can nominate and vote on a ton of different fun and silly categories, and I find this ends up offering a much wider range of diverse awards for folks. 

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I don't love it for reasons already stated, but I definitely appreciate that the good feelings they inspire in people who get them are worthwile!

 

Instead, I'll put out a call a few times a year for players to write kind, anonymous blurbs about other players, characters, moments, etc. We're fortunate in that we have a lot of love in our community and players who will deliberately write blurbs for the less...conspicuous? members, plus I and other staff flesh out where needed so that no one is excluded.

 

These blurbs are also PMed privately unless otherwise stated. Less circle jerk, more acts of kindness ❤️

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I was once on a site where no one liked me because I was a very annoying 13 year old, and I was always jealous of people that got OTM rewards cause I never got one, but one day I made two new characters and created a thread, left itnopen, invited every single one of the staff and as many members as I could think of, and it became the Thread of the Month completely unexpectedly. Even the staff said they didn't expect to enjoy it as much as they did. I don't deal with that jealousy anymore, but I remember the feeling. It still crops up in different situations now, as an adult... But... Like. I already got mine. I don't care as much, and just wanna write nowadays. But it was nice to be recognized. But would I have felt that way in the first place if no one was getting recognized? Maybe. Maybe not. 

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Personally, I don't particularly put much thought into site awards. They can be fun to have and give people something to talk about, but they do also come with the risk of making people feel excluded. However, I feel the majority of people probably do not pay much attention to site awards if it does not directly involve them or their friends, especially when they are on a monthly basis.

 

The main reason I do not bother with monthly awards is because it would require too much maintenance.

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I'm not a fan of the OTM's or points systems either. They can breed too much negativity as mentioned as popularity contests or rooting friends on. A long time ago I simply had a Shout Out thread (much like the one here) that I would have others pat the folks on the back for good stories and what have you. I just brought it back because I missed it. It wasn't getting much use the first time around and so I removed it. I brought it back for the members to once again Shout Out to those they want to. I think that brings more community to the forum than the other types of systems. 

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On my site we put all characters into a pool and randomly choose one every week. This way it's fair and no-one feels left out ❤️ I'm not a fan of popularity contests either because, inevitably, someone's feelings will be hurt.

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I tend to agree. 

 

In the past I've tried such things, hoping to encourage more activity and the like. But, as many of you have pointed out, it ends up as a popularity contest, and the last thing I'm after is repeating high school.

 

Instead, I've found better success with monthly quizzes with the winners of those quizzes getting some kind of recognization or reward. The quizzes of course are always set up based on the site, lore, and rp threads - so to pass them you have to dig into the rp's and often times find out more fun stuff while doing so. 

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Definitely dislike OTM recognition.  It's totally a popularity contest and it's very cliquey.  We have character awards that you can earn on the site of your own merit.  I've also started doing a character weekly spotlight.  The character I choose is 100% random and I have a spreadsheet with a date on it so I don't reuse them until everyone else is used.  I usually just make a pretty graphic for them and post up their member directory bio.  I tie extra post points to starting a thread with them in that week as well.  

 

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This is something I thought on implementing but decided against for many of the reasons mentioned by others here.  If I was to implement something I would rather it not be voted on but a different character or story being promoted on a rotating basis so that everyone gets the spotlight before starting anew.

 

My main issue is where to put that information so it is highlighted in a way to actually be helpful but that's a different problem.

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Not a fan of OTM. It's definitely always been a popularity contest and always makes me think back to one site I was on 10+ years ago (it's dead now), where the admin always talked about how 'fair' and fun it was. Of course,  a couple years in I found out the admin was using multiple OOC names on site and had been voting and participating with all of them so it was a little more disappointing after that. Maybe it could be done fairly but it's always going to have a shade of an unfair nature unless members are really reading other people's threads and characters and voting honestly and a lot of times people don't read threads they aren't involved in, neither do they pay attention to plots that people aren't talking about in the discord.

I like to highlight group threads/events that people have started up. If it begins to involve more than 3 people and they've made it open to anyone to join I like to draw attention to that because I find those kinds of things are fun and really build community. I love the idea of highlighting a random character that @Everglowshared as well, as it's a fair system to just randomly choose. I would probably go as far as to mark on the spreadsheet the OOC name as well and not highlight any other characters from that person until each member has had one highlighted and so on, but I tend to be paranoid about causing dissension! Lol

I also like when sites have awards that people can earn by posting or something like that, an award they get for effort put in basically. I don't have a points system on either of my sites and I'm not good at making graphics or anything and neither are my staff so I have not implemented something like that, but it's been fun on sites I've been on in the past where people have those talents they want to share.

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