Just out of curiosity, why aren't all the rounds anonymous?


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion


Umm, yeah, like the title says. Announce the winners each round, but display their submissions sans name. Then let the readers vote.

Dark Archive Contributor , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

I submit to you, one Clinton Boomer. I dare you, track down what he is(has done)...


Eric Hindley wrote:

I submit to you, one Clinton Boomer. I dare you, track down what he is(has done)...

I don't follow how this is an answer to his question. Could you sketch your thought process out in a little more detail?


Yeah, I don't get that, either.

Dark Archive Contributor , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

This may help. Anyone who has followed all the years of the contest will back me up on this.

P.S. whether it helps or hurts Boomer at this point, he played Hennet...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I believe what Eric means is that Boomer took RPG Superstar by storm, and through it, built a career for himself not only with Paizo, but with other companies. While his design and writing is reason enough for acclaim, he made himself into a recognizable name by people being able to follow his work round after round. If the contest were anonymous from start to finish, there's be way few people saying "I can't wait to see what Boomer will come up with next round!" And we want people to say that, cause it keeps people involved in the contest.

Grand Lodge

Eric Hindley wrote:

I submit to you, one Clinton Boomer. I dare you, track down what he is(has done)...

seriously????

Okay....

just to name a few (about 20)

THAT was an easy challenge! lol


Mark Moreland wrote:
he made himself into a recognizable name by people being able to follow his work round after round. If the contest were anonymous from start to finish, there's be way few people saying "I can't wait to see what Boomer will come up with next round!" And we want people to say that, cause it keeps people involved in the contest.

Thanks for this explanation. I can see the value in this; the rest of other possible reasons didn't make sense to me from the perspective of what makes the contest better.

Grand Lodge

Mark Moreland wrote:
I believe what Eric means is that Boomer took RPG Superstar by storm, and through it, built a career for himself not only with Paizo, but with other companies. While his design and writing is reason enough for acclaim, he made himself into a recognizable name by people being able to follow his work round after round. If the contest were anonymous from start to finish, there's be way few people saying "I can't wait to see what Boomer will come up with next round!" And we want people to say that, cause it keeps people involved in the contest.

while very true, it also makes a LOT of people not want to enter because they "feel" that "named" contributors will get an unfair advantage purely due to name recognition, and not due to the quality of their submission.

Now *I* do not believe that, myself. I think that a good submission will and should win regardless of who wrote it.


It does seem a little odd that anonymity is strongly enforced when the judges are professionals (and one assumes, more likely to care about the quality of the submission than the ID of the submitter), and tossed when the "judges" are the general public (and one assumes, more likely to be influenced by other factors).

Still, not complaining, just curious.

Liberty's Edge

In previous years for this competition, whether rightly or wrongly, I have tended to vote for people based on their body of work, including but not limited to their submissions for previous rounds of the competition. Sometimes a competitors first or second round (or whatever) submission might be so strong that I really want to see them write an adventure, even if they might stumble in a later round. I don’t think one poor round should necessarily eliminate an otherwise excellent contestant.

I’ve even voted for people based (at least part) on their work outside the Superstar contest. Not because they were funny playing Hennet or are a popular messageboard member, but because their previous work in conjunction with their Superstar submissions lead me to believe they would write a good adventure. I know there was one round in a previous year where Neil Spicer got my vote over another contestant with an equally good submission for the round because I was impressed by some of the fan adventures he wrote for Alternity StarDrive back in the day. And as soon as I read Boomer's idea for Monkey Pants in the joke items thread I wanted him to write stuff for Pathfinder, even if I felt a couple of his contest entries were not as strong as other contestant’s submissions.

At the end of the day, this contest is RPG Superstar not Pick The Best Anonymous Entry Unrelated To Previous Rounds contest. There is more to a Superstar than making a good submission for any given round of the competition.


Mothman wrote:


At the end of the day, this contest is RPG Superstar not Pick The Best Anonymous Entry Unrelated To Previous Rounds contest. There is more to a Superstar than making a good submission for any given round of the competition.

A setup in which it's possible to match the entries of a contestant from one round to the next but not with the other things they wrote or did decade previous is certainly possible.

I think Mark Moreland's explanation for why that isn't done is valid, but that doesn't mean it isn't theoretically possible.

Liberty's Edge

Dire Mongoose wrote:
Mothman wrote:


At the end of the day, this contest is RPG Superstar not Pick The Best Anonymous Entry Unrelated To Previous Rounds contest. There is more to a Superstar than making a good submission for any given round of the competition.

A setup in which it's possible to match the entries of a contestant from one round to the next but not with the other things they wrote or did decade previous is certainly possible.

I think Mark Moreland's explanation for why that isn't done is valid, but that doesn't mean it isn't theoretically possible.

Sure. But the argument of my post as a whole (rather than just the last paragraph) is that I will and do consider a contestant’s work outside of the current year’s competition if I am aware of it, as well as their current and previous round submissions in making my decision on who to vote for.


Mothman wrote:

Reasons

It's funny how two people can look at the same situation and come up with completely opposite perspectives. Pretty much everything you said made me believe that anonymous rounds would be a good thing.

Still, glad the contest exists and look forward to seeing the results.

Dark Archive Contributor , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

Mark Moreland wrote:
I believe what Eric means is that Boomer took RPG Superstar by storm, and through it, built a career for himself not only with Paizo, but with other companies. While his design and writing is reason enough for acclaim, he made himself into a recognizable name by people being able to follow his work round after round. If the contest were anonymous from start to finish, there's be way few people saying "I can't wait to see what Boomer will come up with next round!" And we want people to say that, cause it keeps people involved in the contest.

Thanks, Mark. This is exactly the point I wanted to get across, put in more succinct terms than I could muster at the moment.

Contributor

Because being able to vote for your favorite designer is important, because designers get their names on the cover and for some people that's an important element in deciding whether or not to buy a book.

Because you should be able to recognize that a particular designer may be good at wondrous items, villains, and adventures, but stink at archetypes. And you should be able to cast your vote for that designer despite a (comparatively) poor showing at an archetype design task they're not well-suited for because you want to see their awesome villain and adventure proposal.

(While "a superstar is good at everything" is a nice ideal for the competition, the truth is that people have different strengths and weaknesses, and it's important for someone strong in some areas to let that carry them through their weaker areas. After all, if we have someone in the Top 8 who's crummy at archetypes but great at everything else, that's still someone I can tap for some non-archetype freelance and create some excellent work.)

Because non-anonymous voting means that competitors can brag about their role in the competition and bring more attention to the competition, which increases interest in it and Paizo.

Because non-anonymous voting means that a competitor who is a jerk or generally unsportsmanlike has plenty of opportunities to prove those qualities--qualities that probably make them a real pain to deal with as a freelancer or a guest at a convention.

And because following this sort of competition always has a human element. People want to cheer for their favorite. Or root for the underdog. Or the "comeback kid." Or be surprised and amazed when the unknown, quiet participate suddenly breaks out of the pack and does something awesome. "That's good television," as they say.

And so on.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Reasons

Thanks for the reply, Sean.

I would like to point out that I didn't mean "anonymous" as in "no one ever gets to know who won," but more like "anonymous" as in the way the first round is handled. Judge anonymously, then reveal the winners each round.

But again, not complaining, just curious.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 aka Scipion del Ferro

I don't mind so much especially since contestants are required to be so hush hush regarding talking about their entries. I would really hate it if it was just a popularity contest for who can attract the most attention on the internet.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Another important element of the whole RPG Superstar contest is the development of a "cult of personality." The eventual winner of RPG Superstar...and, really, anyone who makes the Top 8...has a door open for them in the industry, an opportunity to be a freelancer. And, name recognition is a good thing to get established early on. Not just after you win and finally publish the finished product through Paizo. Rather, if you establish a bit of a fanbase for your work or style, etc., then that's a good thing to let play out over the course of the actual competition.

In other words, much like a designer is building his or her skills by running the gauntlet of round-by-round assignments and eliminations, they're also building a name...an image...a personality, to a degree...at a professional level. It's a growth thing, both in skills and image. And you want your name to be associated with that image to start developing a fanbase. Not simply among the voters in the competition (though, that's very important), but also for what will hopefully become future customers who buy your work through whatever publisher you might freelance for...

So, the anonymity thing is important in Round One, because the judges don't want to be biased. With everything being a blind submission, they can maintain integrity and just select the best designs or those that seem to have the most promise. After that, the anonymity gets dropped, because you want the competitors to start showing who they are to the voting public. You want their name associated with their work. And, even if some of the voters do recognize a name (from earlier work or some kind of established presence on Paizo's messageboards), that's okay. In fact, there's nothing wrong with doing some up front amateur design work to get your feet wet with regards to what freelancing might entail. And Paizo actually wants designers to get involved (and stay involved) with their messageboards.

There's really a marketing angle that overlays RPG Superstar. And, the wise competitor not only acknowledges that, but finds a way to insert themselves into that equation and play it to their advantage. It'll pay off not only in the competition, but also in your future career as a freelance designer. And, it pays off for Paizo as they publish your work and it draws people in when they see your name on something. By playing that part of the game, you're helping Paizo and the contest...and yourself.

Now, all that said, that's just one element that overlays the RPG Superstar contest. It has multiple layers, though. And, the most important element is...and always will be...your talent and skill as a designer. Your work in each round will speak louder for you than anything else. But, how you conduct yourself (both before and during the competition) will also influence the voters. Your prior work (both before and during the previous rounds of the competition) can and will influence the voters. And, the trends and memes and nuances of what's currently driving the public interest will also influence how they vote. To take the prize, an RPG Superstar has to recognize all of that...do amazing work...and play the game within the game to win over everyone.

That's also what makes RPG Superstar such a great spectator "sport" in the world of freelancing. In my opinion, it's the best thing going. It's the coolest way to break into the industry (but not the only way). And it's something I'm really proud to have been a part of...and continue to be a part of...

Hopefully, everyone who enters the ranks of the Top 32 year-after-year will feel the same...and, give back as they're able.

My two cents,
--Neil


Have you amassed jars of pennies earlier on in your career? :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Two words:

Spoiler:

Piggy bank.

Look into it. ;-)

What? You thought I was going to write explosive runes, didn't you? :->

--Neil


Mynameisjake wrote:

It does seem a little odd that anonymity is strongly enforced when the judges are professionals (and one assumes, more likely to care about the quality of the submission than the ID of the submitter), and tossed when the "judges" are the general public (and one assumes, more likely to be influenced by other factors).

Still, not complaining, just curious.

The judges must appear to be entirely impartial. I play with Neil. (I have the highest respect for Neil and doubt that would affect how quickly he threw my entry out.) But if I somehow passed into the second round, there might be accusations of favoritism from people who didn't make it out of round one. That's a good reason for first round anonymity.


Krome wrote:

while very true, it also makes a LOT of people not want to enter because they "feel" that "named" contributors will get an unfair advantage purely due to name recognition, and not due to the quality of their submission.

Now *I* do not believe that, myself. I think that a good submission will and should win regardless of who wrote it.

I am prepared to manifest a personality and vast greatness once I make the top 32.

:-)

(In the meantime, I'm just trying for mildly amusing and friendly.)

Contributor

Mynameisjake wrote:
I would like to point out that I didn't mean "anonymous" as in "no one ever gets to know who won," but more like "anonymous" as in the way the first round is handled. Judge anonymously, then reveal the winners each round.

Well, because... for all the reasons I said? If in R2 you didn't know *who* you were voting for, then the competition would lose that human element.

Understand that voters get multiple votes each round. So, if you got 8 votes for R2, and you used 7 on 7 archetypes you thought were really good, you could use that 8th vote on Bob, whose wondrous item you liked but whose archetype wasn't as good but you'd still want to see how he does in the villain round. For example.


Man I almost jumped out of my chair and started rocking to "Cult of personality", but then read the rest of Neil's post and I must admit I hope your piggy bank is big for you are racking in the pennies this year baby...

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Hassan Ahmed wrote:

Have you amassed jars of pennies earlier on in your career? :)

Rumor is that Neil actually makes an entire dollar per word, but sets some aside for charity.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Well, because... for all the reasons I said? If in R2 you didn't know *who* you were voting for, then the competition would lose that human element.

Understand that voters get multiple votes each round. So, if you got 8 votes for R2, and you used 7 on 7 archetypes you thought were really good, you could use that 8th vote on Bob, whose wondrous item you liked but whose archetype wasn't as good but you'd still want to see how he does in the villain round. For example.

And again, thanks, Sean and Neil, for taking the time to respond.

Although I am beginning to regret asking the question in the first place. ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 8

Quote:
Rumor is that Neil actually makes an entire dollar per word, but sets some aside for charity.

I guess that explains why his forum posts are so long. He does get paid per word for those, right? All in the name of charity.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka KissMeDarkly

Krome wrote:

just to name a few (about 20)

THAT was an easy challenge! lol

BUT... your Paizo.com-only search excludes: The Hole Behind Midnight by Clinton Boomer. Which I just might have to purchase being a fan of that mad man Clinton Boomer. What else might be out there?

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