META: Winning

I’m considering changing contests up around here so that there is no one “winner”. I’ll still pick out a handful of what I consider to be my favorites, but I won’t single out one to receive a prize.

I think people are getting too hung up on that one thing, when in reality anyone who enters is a winner. And once there’s just a handful of Finalists left, the selection of one person is pretty arbitrary. I mean, it’s just my subjective opinion.

Thoughts?

85 Responses to META: Winning

  1. I think you’d be making a mistake by doing that. In effect, you’d be rewarding an immature few for their childish behavior. This is your site now, not UGO’s. You don’t have to appease any corporate overlords anymore (at least with Heromachine :D), so why not tell these people to grow up and grow a thicker skin, or get the f**k out?

    On the other hand, if you’re getting sick of doing custom sketches or items, and this is your way of dropping that, then by all means, follow your heart, my son. :)

  2. The Imp: On the other hand, if you’re getting sick of doing custom sketches or items, and this is your way of dropping that, then by all means, follow your heart, my son.

    I can’t lie, that’s part of it :-p

    But it also does seem a little weird to me that the site and the application are supposed to be all about expressing your creativity, but then there’s this whole “You’re a winner and you’re not” thing going on.

    On the other hand, judging art is a fact of life. You’re judging professional artists every time you pick up one comic instead of another, or go to this movie over that one.

    On the other other hand, the people using HeroMachine aren’t professionals and shouldn’t be judged that way.

    I don’t know, I’m conflicted. Hence this post soliciting feedback!

  3. Master81385

    I’m cool with you judging Jeff, the contests of course say it’s your opinion that counts, and if some people aren’t ok with that, then tough. But if you wanted to do a new format, maybe have certain people judge the contests. Such as you and any other heromachiner that you would like to help judge. Or possibly have a community vote popularity style? I dunno just brain storming here :)

  4. You’re not getting out of seeing my stuff that easily! :)

  5. I think that the contests are awesome. Even if you change the format, I’d like to see them continue. I really enjoy seeing what the community is capable of. It astounds me how creative you guys are. Maybe change it from contests to just prompts, and everybody can just hang out and still be awesome and bask in the adoration that comes from being naturally awesome like yall so obviously are.

    *shakes fist*

    Bask in it, I say!

  6. Sorry been busy lately, but are people really acting this way? Really???

    Jeff, it’s your site, your program, your rules. Don’t let a few bad apples ruin it for you.

    If it’s a matter of not wanting to do the prizes anymore, then don’t, but keep the contest going. I haven’t been able to participate much lately, but I do look on, and enjoy seeing the entries, finalist, and winners – always learn something new from them.

    My two Coins worth anyway.

  7. ProwlerKnight

    Is this cause of what I said in the Pop Quiz results? lol

    I say go for it if it’s what you feel like you wanna do.

    On the other hand the prizes factor is a motivational point for a few people, I do the contests because of three things, one, I love challenging my creativity, two, I love seeing the prizes people choose who have won, and three, if I win i would love to get a sketch of the day of one of my heroes. But you’re the one in charge Jeff and I don’t mind sacrificing the prizes as long as there’s still a challenge every week.

    Also, People who can’t take the competition shouldn’t be doing the contests cleary, and everyone who participates should feel like a winner for atleast trying, I havent won a single contest yet but you dont hear me crying? right? lol it’s not a contest to me as more of a way to improve my creativity ^^

  8. I’d keep the contests going regardless. The wondering is over whether to just eliminate the overall winner, but everything else — contests, finalists, etc. — remains the same.

  9. Huzzah, PowerKnight! That’s it exactly!

  10. Does the one who comes up with the best solution win a prize? (wish there was an html code for sarcasm.)

    Really half the fun of the contests is seeing what eveyone else comes up with. The other half is the commonets — seeing what you (or others) think is good. The prize (I think for a lot of us) is arbitrary.

  11. Wow, with all of these other hands being mentioned, I’m starting to wonder if being born with only two sets me at a disadvantage!

  12. I dunno. On the one hand, I’m going to enter the contests whenever I can come up with whatever I think will be an interesting idea. And after I’ve had fun creating my picture, my next goal is that other people will appreciate it as well. And I love seeing what other people create as well. So I can still have that with the new format.

    And, when it gets right down to it, I’ve never entered a contest with the goal being to win it, anyway, because that’s never the way to think about it. Make something cool, and if you do a good job, maybe you might win one.

    On the other hand, I’ve never won a weekly character contest, and it seems like that would be cool to do. And I still have some prize ideas I’d like, but these are things I could probably still custom build pretty easily. At this point I still feel it would be more a sense of accomplishment than the acquisition of a custom prize. Just because that’s the only kind of contest I haven’t won yet.

    I’m kind of talking myself around in circles. Ultimately, what you have to do is decide what’s best for the site, which also means what’s best for you as well. If some people leave because they don’t see an incentive to enter the contests, then is that drawback worth people fighting over not winning? It probably is. And if the new job is making it hard for you to do prizes, then it’s not really worth it to offer them up as an incentive anyway. Do what you need to do, Jeff, I’ll still be contributing one way or another.

  13. A couple of thoughts.

    One, do I recall you saying that if the item sets got too large, Heromachine would bog down beyond usefulness? If we are approaching that point, then you need to change the prizes, at least.

    Two, one of the reasons you were doing this is to cover any gaps in items available due to any personal blind spots. it is probably fair to say that, by this point, the prizes have covered any glaring omissions in item availability.

    Three, anyone who can’t get past the win/loss aspect is the one with the problem, not you.

    Four, The contests do drive creativity in ways that people would have never considered themselves. For every Heromachinist with a thousand character library who just pulls out a half dozen previously made characters to fit any given contest, there are several who never thought of doing a character like that.

    In general, I’d say that if the prize drawings are becoming problematic (for any reason, not just the ones I’ve mentioned) then absolutely do away with (or change) them. But I do think that the contests should continue in some form or other. They drive usage, they drive self improvement, and the drive people lacking in creativity. I’ve never entered a character contest, but I’ve created pieces inspired by them that I would have never done on my own. I believe that what you suggested above, picking out your favorites and mentioning why they struck your eye, to point out interesting techniques or compositions might be just right.

  14. ProwlerKnight

    Yeah the Prizes aren’t the big thing of the contest, it’s the work that comes out of it, like the saying goes:

    It isn’t the destination but rather the journey itself

    I love seeing what people make and how much they put into it, sure some stand out more then others but everyones work is amazing and it’s fun to see who created what for the contest.

    As for a prize yeah the concept inspires people to create and put more into it but also inspires competition and greed. Having a prize makes contests harder because soo many people get upset when they lose because they want the prize, so i would say drop the prizes from the contests, and basically all the winner gets is people compliments and a pat on the back, because contests shouldn’t be just about the prize it should be about the fun of it, and there can still be a winner, obviously the one who puts more into the work, but you take out the prizes you lose alot of the greedy people cause now what’s there to compete for? right?, no prizes for them to win, just respect as a creator and their creation out there for people to see, along with everyone elses creations. you take out the gain and you take out the sore losers, because then people will compete just to have fun and create with other heromachinists.

  15. ProwlerKnight

    Actually I know the perfect solution:

    You do the contests every week, but of course it’s not a contest any more, and the next monday you don’t pick out “Finalists” you pick out your “Personal Favorites” and then you put up the one you like the most, don’t call it a winner call it “Jeff’s Favorite”, because really that’s all the contests are, you finding the ones you like the most. so take out the winner and loser situation and make it into what it really is, you going through peoples creations from your contests and finding your personal favorites and showing them to the masses, and also explaining why you like them

  16. ProwlerKnight:
    Actually I know the perfect solution:

    You do the contests every week, but of course it’s not a contest any more, and the next monday you don’t pick out “Finalists” you pick out your “Personal Favorites” and then you put up the one you like the most, don’t call it a winner call it “Jeff’s Favorite”, because really that’s all the contests are, you finding the ones you like the most. so take out the winner and loser situation and make it into what it really is, you going through peoples creations from your contests and finding your personal favorites and showing them to the masses, and also explaining why you like them

    Man, you’re on FIRE today, ProwlerKnight! Good thoughts. I’m processing … processing …

  17. I thought the prizes were a nice little way of collaborating with the Heromachine community at large, so bits and pieces of everybody get to be immortalized. I certainly still get a kick when someone posts a piece involving an item I won in a contest. Not so much as pride thing, but in the sense that I’m glad I could contribute to people enjoying the program that much more. However if you are indeed feeling bogged down in item requests or that the program is indeed full, I could live without that aspect of the contests.

    Regarding the idea of ‘winners’ and ‘finalists’ I think the contest set-up is fine. The competitive aspect pushes people (I’ve certainly learned a few things from looking at the work of my peers) to places they might not have reached on their own. Plus you’ve always made it abundantly clear that the results are based on your own personal opinion and nothing more. This is a natural and inherent process involved with creativity: some people like your work, some people don’t. Also you’ve never gone out to say anything bad about the other ‘non-winning’ pieces, or anything like that. It’s not as if you’re singling people out and telling them “Your work is bad and you should feel bad.” The contests are just a fun way to recognize the work that you (as owner of this wonderful little site) personally enjoyed from that week’s entries, and the piece you thought did the best job within the guidelines of the contest.

    I have to agree with the earlier sentiments, in that removing the competitive nature of the contests would be in a sense catering to an immature attitude. People who are unable to handle rejection (and really there is no rejection involved in these contests, just a lack of recognition I suppose) will behave themselves accordingly regardless of the context. If you remove the ‘winner’ from the equation, pretty soon you’re going to have people complaining about not being ‘Finalists’.

  18. I’ve only entered a small number of contests, and thus far I’ve only had one entry make it as a finalist. Frankly I don’t enter the contests with the expectation of winning. The only reason really was for the fun of it. The prizes are fun, but (in my mind) are not the main event and if they were to go I wouldn’t be too put out.

    While I’ll follow along with whatever is decided, I will say that I don’t like the idea of a everybody-vote-to-determine-the-winner type of judging. That just sounds like it would get complicated. (That’s just my opinion though).

    We must remember though, that we’re dealing with humans. There’s going to be nice people and nasty people posting nice/nasty comments no matter what is decided.

  19. i enter the contests that i think are interesting or that i believe i can come up with something cool. winning is a motivation. i was way excited when i won. i was also way excited that my first ever entry was a finalist. i hope you continue the prizes but do what ya gotta do.

  20. Sebastian978

    Jeff it’s all up to you, this is your site. I would say competition helps people grow and if someone doesn’t win it pushes them to try harder and get better. The sore losers (and the’re will always be a sore loser) will either eventually shut up, leave the site, or you can kick them off your site. The ultimate decision is up to you but I say keep things the way it is.

    Also bro, don’t let anyone influence your decisions because if they do people will walk all over you and persuade you to do things they way they want it done. Just saying…

  21. I have a Q: Who are the ppl who are whining? (Generally)
    Are they people who’s entries are always Dq’ed?
    Or Are they just sour grapes types?

    This is something to keep in mind!

  22. well, it is nice for someone to get the HM item they’d been waiting for, and it’s always cool to see a sketch of the day that someone requested. without an absolute winner, there aren’t good ways of having that.
    furthermore, the contests are what everyone looks forward to every week, and if the competition aspect were taken away, people wouldn’t be enthused, and the overall effort put into the compositions would degrade.
    so i say “NO” to this idea.

    also:
    IMP said it well.
    and:
    how close ARE we to reaching the item sets’ limit?

  23. FRM: how close ARE we to reaching the item sets’ limit?

    On a small handful we’re well over — Guns, Blades, Insignia, and a couple of others. But that’s not too much of a problem.

    The three main factors to consider for me personally are a) I’m tired of people whinging, b) I really have to stop adding items and start completing the missing sets (convert all the Right-only items to Left, etc.) so I can start selling this thing, and c) so many prizes go unclaimed that a significant percentage of people clearly don’t really care about the prizes at all. Not to say they don’t care about WINNING, mind you, just not about the prizes. And yet they do take a fair amount of effort to complete.

  24. another thing: i have always looked at the sketch you did for Kaldath a while back, and been mystified at the idea of getting my own poster-like sketch. and i think i speak for many heromachiners when i say that would make my day (and probably my month).
    after that i would look at the image and say “this is great. Jeff is awesome!”
    whether i win or not, i think the fun of seeing the prizes would be slaughtered if this new verdict were put into play.

  25. Jeff Hebert: On a small handful we’ll well over — Guns, Blades, Insignia, and a couple of others. But that’s not too much of a problem.

    The three main factors to consider for me personally are a) I’m tired of people whinging, b) I really have to stop adding items and start completing the missing sets (convert all the Right-only items to Left, etc.) so I can start selling this thing, and c) so many prizes go unclaimed that a significant percentage of people clearly don’t really care about the prizes at all. Not to say they don’t care about WINNING, mind you, just not about the prizes. And yet they do take a fair amount of effort to complete.

    a) if i ever whine, please tell me. i dont mean to.
    b) i do prefer only to use right items anyway (they’re easier to keep track of). if you ask me, i think there should be a single “items” category, not this right-left stuff. hey, people! you can move and rotate stuff now!! that is, if the only difference between right and left is the default position.
    c) prizes unclaimed?!!? when?!?

  26. ProwlerKnight

    Hmmm one last idea, I’m on a roll let’s see if I still am.

    Instead of prizes for every single week and every contests and pop quiz and all that stuff, make one major contest one week out of every month that involves prizes, make for the regular week time frame and such and the “winner” of the contest gets to choose a prize, then the rest of the month can be just for the sake of having fun while you work on the items you need to finish as well as just one prize for one winner, instead of stacking up prizes every 2 days out of the week.

  27. It’s your website, Jeff. Whether you want to change the rules, take a break from contest prizes, or shut it down completely is your call.

    Though I appreciate and enjoy the unlimited entries because they spurn creativity, I think a limit of 1 to 3 would be appropriate. Some HMers have a lot of free time. Some have such mastery that they can create dozens of characters with ease. Others put a lot of work into one or two creations.

    For the first two types, it would be on them to filter what they feel is their best. For less experienced HMers, an opportunity to try new techniques. For experts, contests are an outlet for pent up creativity. For those who only submit one or two entries, they might not feel ignored.

    Personally, I like the PollDaddy and Friday Night Fight formats. Your designs are being judged by your peers. It takes pressure off you and is a direct way of providing feedback from the community.

    My enthusiasm hasn’t waned. I have been really busy in my personal and professional life. It’s summer and I am house-sitting. In fact, I was supposed to mow and water the lawn today…

    Anyway, Jeff, it’s whatever you want.

    On a technical note: Consider removing duplicate items. For instance, you have the same helmets in Headgear > Standard and Headgear > Fantasy as well as Headgear > Modern. Might not be much, but it will free a few spaces.

    An aside to the community:
    I hate to repeat this nor do I speak for Jeff. However, he is one guy with a full-time job. If you were ever a Dungeon Master, president of a fan club, or worked part-time as an assistant night-shift supervisor at McDonald’s, you can relate. All the work that you put in behind the scenes so all the different personalities get along, enrich themselves, and enjoy the experience. Yeah, it’s like that.

  28. Sebastian978

    I say it doesn’t matter about winning for me (at least on here). I love doing the contests and seeing all the entries. Above all this site should be fun for everyone, especially you Jeff. If it turns into a “job” then the fun is over. Like me with Karma, I love helping other people and less fortunate people. If it ever turned into a “job” for me then I’d probably sell the foundation and walk away.
    If you want, then temporarily change the rules until you’re caught up on everything then when you feel you (and the site) are in a comfortable position go back to having a winner. Sounds like the’re are alot of people who would love the award for winning a contest.

  29. Sebastian978

    The Atomic Punk:
    It’s your website, Jeff.Whether you want to change the rules, take a break from contest prizes, or shut it down completely is your call.

    Though I appreciate and enjoy the unlimited entries because they spurn creativity, I think a limit of 1 to 3 would be appropriate.Some HMers have a lot of free time.Some have such mastery that they can create dozens of characters with ease.Others put a lot of work into one or two creations.

    For the first two types, it would be on them to filter what they feel is their best.For less experienced HMers, an opportunity to try new techniques.For experts, contests are an outlet for pent up creativity.For those who only submit one or two entries, they might not feel ignored.

    Personally, I like the PollDaddy and Friday Night Fight formats.Your designs are being judged by your peers.It takes pressure off you and is a direct way of providing feedback from the community.

    My enthusiasm hasn’t waned.I have been really busy in my personal and professional life.It’s summer and I am house-sitting.In fact, I was supposed to mow and water the lawn today…

    Anyway, Jeff, it’s whatever you want.

    On a technical note: Consider removing duplicate items.For instance, you have the same helmets in Headgear > Standard and Headgear > Fantasy as well as Headgear > Modern.Might not be much, but it will free a few spaces.

    An aside to the community:
    I hate to repeat this nor do I speak for Jeff.However, he is one guy with a full-time job.If you were ever a Dungeon Master, president of a fan club, or worked part-time as an assistant night-shift supervisor at McDonald’s, you can relate.All the work that you put in behind the scenes so all the different personalities get along, enrich themselves, and enjoy the experience.Yeah, it’s like that.

    I like the idea of us voting for each other, but you might wanna limit how many votes someone has. Like let everyone have 1-3 entries in a contest and 1-2 votes for all the entries. Then everyone here feels they have more input on the site, it makes it more fun for everyone, and it takes pressure off Jeff.

    Jeff, owning my own company I know the pressure you’re under and the behind the scenes work you put into it.

  30. The contests for me are fun. I’ve only entered a few of the character contests mostly because of the lack of time in my schedule. That’s why I usually only go for the caption contests. Well, that and the fact that I’m not that great an artist.

    It’s flattering to be considered a finalist but I do it mostly because I like to make people laugh. It’s a bonus that there are so many people on these forums that have made me laugh. This really is a great community.

    I can honestly say that whenever I enter I have absolutely no idea what kind of a prize I would want. If I ever should win, I think it would be more effort to come up with request than it would be for you to make it.

    As for the vocal and whiny minority, let them whine. When I produce a spot or record a narration, if other people don’t like it, I don’t get paid. It’s a different kind of art but it still under the same basic rules. If I do a character or caption and it doesn’t win, I move on. They need to learn to do the same.

  31. ProwlerKnight

    The Atomic Punk: .An aside to the community:I hate to repeat this nor do I speak for Jeff. However, he is one guy with a full-time job. If you were ever a Dungeon Master, president of a fan club, or worked part-time as an assistant night-shift supervisor at McDonald’s, you can relate. All the work that you put in behind the scenes so all the different personalities get along, enrich themselves, and enjoy the experience. Yeah, it’s like that.

    I can relate to that and understand, I work as a daytime Front desk clerk at a Super 8 Hotel, run my own Airsoft team and lead an RPG group on a chat site called IMVU, it gets overwhelming at times and takes up alot of ur time, then to come on here and moderate an entire website really pushes you to the limit, so Jeff I give you major props for eveyrthing man.

  32. Sebastian978

    ProwlerKnight:
    Hmmm one last idea, I’m on a roll let’s see if I still am.

    Instead of prizes for every single week and every contests and pop quiz and all that stuff, make one major contest one week out of every month that involves prizes, make for the regular week time frame and such and the “winner” of the contest gets to choose a prize, then the rest of the month can be just for the sake of having fun while you work on the items you need to finish as well as just one prize for one winner, instead of stacking up prizes every 2 days out of the week.

    I like this idea. You could have a winner each week. then four winners a month, then have us all vote on those four for the monthly winner, then that monthly winner gets the prize

  33. ProwlerKnight

    Sebastian978: I like this idea. You could have a winner each week. then four winners a month, then have us all vote on those four for the monthly winner, then that monthly winner gets the prize

    I was going a different way with it but that is another awesome option right there.

    Jeff I do not speak to control you, just since you’re soo busy with alot of thing’s I know from my experience as a leader that it helps sometimes to hear what your team, friends, or even just fellow creators have to say, ultimately the choice is yours i’m just throwing out random ideas for you to read and see if it feels good to you ^^

  34. William Peterson

    So, as had been suggested on UGO a few times, maybe you give out a ‘prize’ once a month, pooling the ‘Winners’ and maybe the runner-ups from that month into a Poll, and letting ‘bragging rights’ be the prize for everything else?
    I didn’t want to do this with the HotW, but there wasn’t really any prize for that other than recognition…
    What do you think? Does that help solve anything, or just confuse the issue some more? {I’m usually pretty good at that!} ;)

  35. The Atomic Punk: Personally, I like the PollDaddy and Friday Night Fight formats. Your designs are being judged by your peers. It takes pressure off you and is a direct way of providing feedback from the community.

    My enthusiasm hasn’t waned. I have been really busy in my personal and professional life. It’s summer and I am house-sitting. In fact, I was supposed to mow and water the lawn today…

    Anyway, Jeff, it’s whatever you want.

    On a technical note: Consider removing duplicate items. For instance, you have the same helmets in Headgear > Standard and Headgear > Fantasy as well as Headgear > Modern. Might not be much, but it will free a few spaces.

    We’ve done polling for the winners before, but that’s actually more work for me. And people complained about it taking too long … I guess I could do a same-day kind of thing.

    As far as dupes go, that’s actually by design. The “standard” sets are supposed to be the most common or popular items from the various sub-sets all in one place for those people who don’t want to go hunting around for the major stuff. It’s a compromise between the power user requirements and the casual person who just wants to get in and out ASAP.

  36. William Peterson: So, as had been suggested on UGO a few times, maybe you give out a ‘prize’ once a month, pooling the ‘Winners’ and maybe the runner-ups from that month into a Poll, and letting ‘bragging rights’ be the prize for everything else?

    Possible. I don’t know how practical it would really be since there are only two Character Design contests a month, and I don’t know that it’s fair to pit the Pop Quizzes (meant to be a one-day sort of creative affair) against a full contest (can take a whole week), but it’s something to consider.

  37. I personally think the Pop Quizzes seem the least challenging for you, since you don’t have to go through 300+ pictures and choose finalists.

    Maybe a couple of Pop Quizzes per week could give people the entitlement they need. <:D

    Also, any winners of any contest shouldn’t be able enter another contest for 30 days, giving other users a chance to try and win. Or even better, they could be judges for the next contest! Just to take a load off your back.

  38. You could always pick out the finalist and put them into a poll, so overall each contest takes about two weeks, the first week people submit and you pick the finalist and the second week is a block of voting to pick the overall winner.

  39. Sebastian978

    ProwlerKnight: I was going a different way with it but that is another awesome option right there.

    Jeff I do not speak to control you, just since you’re soo busy with alot of thing’s I know from my experience as a leader that it helps sometimes to hear what your team, friends, or even just fellow creators have to say, ultimately the choice is yours i’m just throwing out random ideas for you to read and see if it feels good to you ^^

    Very well said. Jeff, as you know it’s always good to listen to the opinions of others.

  40. I’m just going to toss my two cents in here…I’ve been doing Heromachine for i think a little more than 3 years now and have been entering the contests on and off the entire time. For me personally the contests have always been about fun and entertainment, not winning. The idea of having contests with a set number of finalists and no actual winner sounds pretty good to me.

    I think there are people who take the winning too seriously and become very (with no offense intended) arrogant because of being a “winner.” I also think that focusing on finishing the items and being done with the program is a good idea. U do what you have to Jeff.

    (as a side note if your specifically worried about “judging” people’s creations then wouldn’t having a set group of finalists defeat that purpose as well. I mean you’re still looking at some images and saying they aren’t to the same caliber as others. In my opinion people will still complain and whine about that as well.)

  41. Definitely don’t want to make more work! Fair point with the duplicates.

    Speaking of work, though the payoff might be worth it:

    Since everyone knows how to upload files, any way to create an upload that would automatically rename files to the preferred format? WordPress has a feature similar to that.

    First Textbox would be “Name” (which is already on the board). Second would be “Character Name.” Then a Radio Button for file format (PNG or JPG).

    Entrants would click the Upload Image button, select their files from their local drives, then the script would concatenate the file as “Name-CharacterName.PNG” directly into the Contest Directory and posted as a hyperlink on the Contest board. Which would mean one character per entry and a cleaner board.

    And so far… “Black Dynamite” is incredibly lame.

  42. My preference is for a poll chosen from a set of finalists, but a poll that lasts no more than 12 hours. I want to know the results the same day, not a week later….

    And why do I prefer a poll? Because it’s the only way I’ve ever won a contest…. ;P

    “The goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.” ― Reiner Knizia

  43. Sean David Ross, your work is awesome. You definitely “deserve” to have won more than once, that’s for sure! I’m a big, big fan and I’m always delighted to see you post.

  44. Me, Myself & I

    Hey everybody,

    Long time no talk.

    Persanally I liked the contest as a way to help hone artistic skills. Competition can be a good influence and a way to motivate people to improve in various different ways. Like Jeff said, critiqueing is (and should be) ingrained in the artistic process. Even though most of the user community are amatures (myself included) I still think that critiques can be indeed useful. I know they help me anyways.

    Regarding the rewards, I think they are a good idea because they give the user community a stake in the whole Hero Machine experience. It makes the program more meaningful (and important) to the user if they’ve had a chance in helping develope the end result.

    That being said, I can recognize the time comitment these contests must take. Like The Atomic Punk mentioned, even though I haven’t been around much lately as I have been really busy in my personal and professional life, my enthusiasm hasn’t waned. Time constraints however have prevented my participation to a greater extent. I could see how they could easily affect Jeff as well. The contest winnings are not vital so they can be done without, even if they do add something. Perhaps having one reward a month or some such compromise might work out.

    Ultimately, I would like to see HM continue and prosper (and Jeff to be able to actually make some money on it as well). If that means Jeff has to spend more time getting it ready, then so be it.

    As a side note Jeff, once HM is ready to be rolled out as in beta, will you still be adding new items on occasion? Just curious.

    Whatever you decide Jeff, you have my support.

    MMI

  45. Thanks, Jeff!

    Oh, and one thing I didn’t touch on in my previous comment: I’m okay with not having a prize for winning a contest, that was never an incentive for me – I just enjoyed helping to push the envelope of what it takes to win. It’s great to see fresh faces like Alvacascus and Shiboreth stepping up to compete with the likes of Zyp, Papakrok, and dblade. So, definitely keep the contests, but don’t worry about the prizes; the works created in the attempt to win are a reward for everyone…..

    Cheers!

  46. I think the contests are a great way to motivate people to get involved. I like the idea posted earlier about picking some favorites instead of a “winner”, but maybe there is a way to make the prize random to anyone who participates in the contests? The advantage is hopefully increased participation on the site, while giving a wider group of people a chance to get one of the prizes, not just those who are most proficient with the program or have a lot of time to play around with it.

  47. Simple No Comment. I don’t want to start anything. Jeff do what you want to do.

  48. I like the idea of the winner being decided by a poll from selected finalists.

    If you do decide to scrap the prizes, I think an enduring an occasional item suggestion day may bring some nice goodies.

  49. Thundersong

    Heyla!

    I pretty much just started using Hero Machine late last year and only started entering the contests this year pretty much after the SODWA contest. I won’t lie, I entered to for the prizes…LOL! But that was only at the beginning. Now I just enter for the heck of entering, if I’m able to. I have seen how the contests have changed in just the short amount of time that I’ve been on. I think, not having “One” winner is a good idea. Or just don’t do the prizes anymore. I also think, having the winner of the last contest judge the next one, would be something to think about. That way, it is not just One person and the people who complain won’t be able to say the judge is biased. And also the Judge would not be able to enter the contest that they judge. That would be a Prize I could relish, at least once! LOL! The POWER! LOL!

    Ultimately, one must do what is best for them, Physically, Emotionally, Mentally and Spiritually as well as Professionally. I like the Contests and LOVE seeing the other entries. It just makes me want to make my characters that much better.

    Sorry, if I was talkin’ in circles are babbling…just got home from work and mentally tired. One should not post when one is mentally tired, I think…LOL!

  50. Listen, I am a profesional art instructor for a retirement comunity. I think art is subjective and is hard to judge good or bad art. That said, look at the stuff created because you challanged people to use their creative ideas by picking interesting challanges, to make characters types they would have never even thaught of getting into. So What if a couple of childish whinning crybabies are upset cause they never win. We forget that even guys like Rembrant, Michealangelo, Rapheal, all had contests to get there works into gallaries and salons. All the greats at sometime has gotten looked over, or had a bad review. I remember in college, I had a terrible critique of one of my pieces, and my teacher cheered me up by telling me that when Picaso started his abstracts one critique was quoted “Picaso’s new ‘art’, if you can call it that, makes me want to eat glass and drink gassolene”. I think not winning a contest should enhance ones artwork and make the next attempt better than the last. Greatness comes as much from failer than triumph. Hang in there Jeff and realise you are pushing people to do better by having these contests, who knows you may just find the next Stan Lee or Jack Kerby.

  51. I think in the end, what all these solutions that everybody has offered (and awesome solutions they are) boils down to, is that we’re behind you Jeff. No matter what you decide to do, we’ll stick around, because you, sir, are awesome.

  52. Thanks for all the support and the good ideas, folks, I sincerely appreciate it. I’ll take it all in this morning before I put up the next caption contest and we’ll see how it goes, but regardless, I am (as always) humbled and honored by your intelligence, insight, and generosity of spirit.

  53. I had a thought a while back, that when someone was a “winner”, then they should be able to then judge the next weeks contest. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to enter, but maybe putting the judging in someone else’s hands might take away some of what you’re feeling. And you could still have the final say either way. As a former winner of the caption contest, I was really proud of my win. Is it disappointing when you make a great pic, or a funny line and it doesn’t win? Yes, absolutely. But it keeps me striving to come up with something else to try to get another one.

  54. Dan: I had a thought a while back, that when someone was a “winner”, then they should be able to then judge the next weeks contest.

    I’ve thought about that as well, but people are fairly unreliable, unfortunately.

  55. William Peterson

    Jeff Hebert: I’ve thought about that as well, but people are fairly unreliable, unfortunately.

    Yup…
    Sad to say, that was the way I did it for a lot of the old UGO contests, and it got to be more and more work, as time went on, to chase down the winners, and have them pick the next winner…
    It worked well when it worked at all, though! {Le Sigh!}

  56. Well, I’m not going to repeat what others have said. Just that I agree with most of the comments.

    As far as haveing someone else do the judging, Jeff, if that IS something that you’re considering, then perhaps if people being unreliable is the main reason not to try it, instead of the last winner be the next judge, you could use your list of Power Users. That way, if somebody can’t judge that week, or they have a last minute emergency, you can just pick the next Power User on the list.

  57. Well, first it’s a bummer I might end up not seeing the item I wished to see for a while.

    Then of course the maturer part of me gets worried if my comment under Pop Quiz results wasn’t taken as whining because I lost. It wasn’t, I merely commented on your evaluation in the post (“some were too simple”) and stated that a flag in my opinion should be relatively simple. I know that I have no chance of winning against people who have been doing those contents for so long, and I’d never complain about it.

    And finally, I fully understand your reasons for thinking this and I would be okay with no new items for a while if it means some crucial things can be completed. But, maybe, one day, can we get “item rewards” again, possibly? Please? *puppy-eyes*

  58. I got a idea…all are the winner.
    Jeff must create items for all winners.
    (Have you not slaves in your basement?)

    … ok i am excited for your choice.
    ( I hope there a two contests without prize)

  59. Kalontas: Then of course the maturer part of me gets worried if my comment under Pop Quiz results wasn’t taken as whining because I lost. It wasn’t, I merely commented on your evaluation in the post (“some were too simple”) and stated that a flag in my opinion should be relatively simple.

    No no, that was an entirely fair point. I don’t object at all to people expressing their opinions even if I don’t agree with them (although in this case I did agree). I didn’t take that as whining in any way.

  60. One idea that occurs to me is that instead of picking one winner and giving them a prize, once a month or whatever we have an open roll call for everyone to submit ideas for items they want to see, and we vote on them. Top 4 vote getters go into the pool.

    That way even if you don’t think you have a chance at winning a contest, you still have a chance to influence the program.

    One downside to that is some of the stuff people have requested has been awesome because they were so individualized. They wouldn’t have won a popularity vote but they were still really cool.

    So I don’t know, just thinking out loud.

  61. I think that’s a pretty good solution.

    I would like to add though that my participation in contests has been with specific niche items being created for HM3. The contests have been a great way for a lot of people to get something they really need into the program. I’ve never been a fan of the custom art since that only applies to you, when a custom item can be used to all kinds of crazy designs. One of my favorite things is to see an item that was drawn for me used in some out there design.

    So while I like the voting idea, it won’t be without sacrifice. I just hope that this doesn’t lead to a bunch of new, marginally different guns.

  62. Good point, Jake, the “MOAR GUNS!!1!” thing is a definite drawback.

  63. I got a idea…all are the winner.
    Jeff must create items for all winners.
    (Have you not slaves in your basement?)

    I shall call them … DRAW MONKEYS!

  64. Sorry I haven’t been around these past few weeks but I wanted to chime in to support whatever Jeff decides. This is an awesome program and an equally awesome community and I would hate to see anything happen to diminish the coolness. Personally I would hate to see the contest prizes go bye bye, but I also know what it takes to get these things completed so I don’t blame Jeff for a little burn out, especially with the added burden of some unsatisfied and vocal contestants.

    I personally have no need for item prizes (unless it is hair!) but the Sketch of the Day prizes and User Heads are so awesome it would make me cry a little if I didn’t get another shot at them.

    On as side note I forgot to award dblade’s Random Finalist Consolation Prize for the last character contest. Perhaps I’m experiencing a little burn out of my own. Maybe a break for a month or two. Sorry to make this about me for a moment.

    GO JEFF!!! GO HEROMACHINE!!! GO GO-GO’s!!!

  65. I would like to make a request…even if u change the way the contests are done PLEASE keep doing the “jeff’s notes” for the finalists. I love reading the thoughts and reasonings that went into picking them as a finalist and seeing your opinion on the images. It’s up to you but personally it’s my favorite part.

  66. I like the open suggestion day idea. Hopefully it will give you a better idea of what’s missing. As for the “MOAR GUNS” problem you can always restrict the categories we can suggest. I have plenty of ideas for items that have nothing to do with weapons.

  67. dblade:

    I personally have no need for item prizes (unless it is hair!) but the Sketch of the Day prizes and User Heads are so awesome it would make me cry a little if I didn’t get another shot at them.

    On as side note I forgot to award dblade’s Random Finalist Consolation Prize for the last character contest. Perhaps I’m experiencing a little burn out of my own. Maybe a break for a month or two. Sorry to make this about me for a moment.

    GO JEFF!!! GO HEROMACHINE!!! GO GO-GO’s!!!

    What?! No!!!
    You forget my random prize(hairrrrr!) months ago…

  68. That sounds fine whatever your need to do Jeff, does this mean the last few items to be added in will be whatever dblade submits and then things will be put on hold till youve cought up?

  69. Jeff Hebert:
    One idea that occurs to me is that instead of picking one winner and giving them a prize, once a month or whatever we have an open roll call for everyone to submit ideas for items they want to see, and we vote on them. Top 4 vote getters go into the pool.

    That way even if you don’t think you have a chance at winning a contest, you still have a chance to influence the program.

    One downside to that is some of the stuff people have requested has been awesome because they were so individualized. They wouldn’t have won a popularity vote but they were still really cool.

    So I don’t know, just thinking out loud.

    i like that idea.

    and i agree with dblade about SotD & winners head prizes.

  70. I agree with FRM that would be an alright idea, but i do like your SotD those are deffinitly cool, maybe you could do thos as special prizes or something.

  71. Me, Myself & I

    Jake:

    So while I like the voting idea, it won’t be without sacrifice.I just hope that this doesn’t lead to a bunch of new, marginally different guns.

    There are definately more than enough guns, especially with them all being sectional so you can mix & match pieces. They are really well done to offer a lot of flexibility.

  72. Me, Myself & I

    Kytana: What?! No!!!
    You forget my random prize(hairrrrr!) months ago…

    Hair or hair segments are always welcome by me. That is one part of the design that I still find challenging if the pre-made hair style is not available. Not impossible but difficult.

  73. Me, Myself & I

    Jeff Hebert:
    One idea that occurs to me is that instead of picking one winner and giving them a prize, once a month or whatever we have an open roll call for everyone to submit ideas for items they want to see, and we vote on them. Top 4 vote getters go into the pool.

    That way even if you don’t think you have a chance at winning a contest, you still have a chance to influence the program.

    One downside to that is some of the stuff people have requested has been awesome because they were so individualized. They wouldn’t have won a popularity vote but they were still really cool.

    So I don’t know, just thinking out loud.

    I think this is a great idea by the way. I meant to say that earlier.

    MMI

  74. Um? I was going to ask for a modular prize, but my scanner failed repeatedly and my attempt at pm didn’t work. Perhaps if sets are getting too large we could submit only modular requests? Difficult shapes to make with what we have, only.
    Also–randomly select prize recipients from contest winners? If my scanner was working, I’d be happy to do my part, but I won’t have it fixed for a while and I’m maxed out on errands / scheduling. I’m basically on here during my 2 lunch hours / day.
    I do think default position is enough for each item — pm my box on forums if you’d like me to attempt a spreadsheet / table of contents for a FAQ posting or something else.

  75. Oh, and hey MMI. It’s nice to see you’re still around, even if you haven’t been posting art like were before.

  76. I love getting prizes but thats not what its all about. I don’t know if this has been said yet because honestly I dont have time to read each post right now but I wanted to say something. Why not do like you have in some contests and pick the ones you thought were the best then let the users decide in a poll from there who the winner is. You may even make the prize just an item for HM that way you dont have to make all kinds of stuff if you dont have the time or patience. You could even have someone else that makes items on here make the item for you, *cough* ( dblade ) ahem sorry from in my throat, then you approve or disapprove item that way you are not trying to find time to make the item yourself. Thoughts? So where are we standing on this subject as of now?

  77. Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in, even though it looks like Jeff has made his decision. I support Jeff and this program in any direction it goes. If you need to lighten the load for awhile, than so be it. Cheers!

    And thanks to all the “whiners“ who pissed in our sandbox, now you have no prizes.

  78. I like the idea of having item pools say once a month as well then making it into a poll so people can have a chance of an item making it into the mix even if they didn’t “win”

  79. Kaylin88100

    Hmm…I like the idea of a monthly “what items should we add” session, that seems a lot fairer to me than having it as a contest prize. I’ve got quite a few that I’d like to suggest. :)

  80. @Jeff, here’s the schedule as it stands now.

    Monday: Contest
    Tuesday: Versus
    Wednesday: Bad Costumes
    Thursday: RPG Corner
    Friday: Open Critique/Sharing
    Saturday: Pop Quiz
    Sunday: Day of rest

    If it would be appealing to you we could chage a few things to lighten your load. I wish I had time to help with item making as well like DBlade, who does a great job by the way, but anyways back to what I was proposing.

    Monday: Character Design/Poll
    Tuesday: Versus
    Wednesday: Bad Costumes/Funny/Random
    Thursday: Item Ideas/Poll
    Friday: Open Critique/Q&A
    Saturday: Pop Quiz
    Sunday: Day of Rest

    On Mondays, instead of a contest we call it just a design and you pick your favorites the next week then “we” decide on winner and that person gets a prize from you or whoevers available whenever they can get it out. Tuesdays the same, then Wednesday can be the day for all the random post that you do through the week or bad costumes and stuff. Thursdays we spitball ideas around and then have a poll on what comes out of that and the top five or so go to the waiting area for whenever. Fridays are for open critiques and time for people to have question and answer time with you or any other user on anything. Then the rest as usual. What do you think?

  81. It’s an interesting idea, Tool, I’ll think about it.

  82. ams:
    Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in, even though it looks like Jeff has made his decision.I support Jeff and this program in any direction it goes.If you need to lighten the load for awhile, than so be it.Cheers!

    And thanks to all the “whiners“ who pissed in our sandbox, now you have no prizes.

    Ha! Funny thing is I keep reading the title of this thread as META: Whining which I believe is applicable.

  83. ams: And thanks to all the “whiners“ who pissed in our sandbox, now you have no prizes.

    That was only a small part of it. The bigger problems were the need to finish the program and not add any more stuff to it for a while; lack of time on my part; and the number of unclaimed prizes. Why hammer myself getting things done if people don’t really find them valuable anyway?

  84. Jeff Hebert: That was only a small part of it. The bigger problems were the need to finish the program and not add any more stuff to it for a while; lack of time on my part; and the number of unclaimed prizes. Why hammer myself getting things done if people don’t really find them valuable anyway?

    How hard is it, you win you get a prize, if people cant figure that out or remember to ask for something, oh well. There needs to be a time limit. Lets say for pardons sake you post another time the list of unclaimed prizes, if no one come forward after 48 hours those prizes are void and we move onto my new idea for prizes, if you like it that is.

  85. Here’s an idea: How about since you’re holding off on rewarding prizes and trying to get the whining down to a minimum, you could turn the regular Character Contest into a free-for-all. There would be no catorgory-which could increase the amount of Heromachinists per non-contest–(people who only like to create certain images, i.e. fantasy, sci-fi, horror, would be able to enter any given week). Since it’s not a contest, there would be no prize or overall winner. You could do the Jeff’s Favorites thing, picking half a dozen or ten or whatever that you want to mention what you like about them, and that’s it. So that, at the end of the free-for-all, Jeff could say that he likes the color effect of Red Syringe’s underwater landscape, he thinks Bluemoon’s superhero/wizard/robot is awesome and he can tell Bob that it really looks like that kid is enjoying that apple.

    Any consecutive week thereafter, anyone could repost an image, with the hopes that it will make the favorites list another time. Any images that have previously won contests or Pop Quizzes, have been finalists or previously been among Jeff’s Favorites would be exempt from being reposted.