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Contest Schedule and Feedback

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Poll: Screenshot of the Week Schedule

What's your preferred schedule?

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#1 Aevin


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Posted 05 January 2020 - 04:46 PM

With the year closing out under a new SotW schedule, we'd like to get some feedback from you all and pin down the ideal schedule for the contest going forward. How do you think this current schedule is working out? Would you like to see anything done differently? If you like, you can use this as an opportunity to give general feedback on how the contest could be run more smoothly. But please vote for your preferred schedule from the following options.


Twice Monthly Schedule

This is the schedule we're currently using. Under this schedule, there are two contests every month, which take place on the first and third full weekends of each month. This means that if a weekend is split between two months, such as the 31st on Saturday and the 1st on Sunday, we'll skip that week and do the next one. Effectively, this means that contests are usually every two weeks, but there will sometimes be a three week gap. One advantage to this is that it ensures a regular amount of entries in Screenshot of the Month contests, which translates to fair and organized monthly and yearly contests.


Bi-weekly Schedule

Under this schedule, contests would take place every two weeks, regardless of where that weekend falls. Some have suggested they prefer this schedule because the twice monthly schedule can be confusing, and sometimes lead to too large a gap between contests.


Weekly Schedule

This is the old style, where contests take place every Sunday. I'm including this here in case people strongly prefer it, but my personal observation is that we don't have the entries to support it, and contests are more active and exciting when we wait at least two weeks. Because of a lack of entries, this often resulted in waits of at least two weeks anyway, so this schedule could really mean "as soon as we have enough entries." Personally, I'd like to avoid this one, but if a strong majority thinks this is still the best way, then it's still an option.


If we go with the twice monthly schedule, Screenshot of the Month would take place regularly every two months, with an even four entries, resulting in six shots for Screenshot of the Year. If we go with either of the other two, we'll likely need to make some judgment calls on when to run these contests, which may result in uneven monthly contests or SotY brackets. It's hardly the biggest deal, but it could mean that some contestants are at a disadvantage if they're placed in a bracket with five people instead of four, or something.


Anyway, please give this a vote and leave your thoughts.

#2 Shane


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Posted 05 January 2020 - 10:54 PM

I feel like bi-weekly is the best of both. It will give time to get plenty of shots while being more frequent and consistent.

#3 Jenny


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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:02 PM

Bi-weekly is a consistent, good middle ground that also potentially solves the issues of why the weekly format was dropped in the first place. Voted bi-weekly.

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#4 Magi_Hero



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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:22 PM

There's definitely been some loss of traction certain weeks. Bi-weekly would ensure a more robust contest IMO.

#5 ywkls



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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:34 PM

Voted Bi-Weekly.

An advantage to that pattern is having more contestants in SOTM.

I don't feel going back to Weekly would be advised, since there've been almost no appeals for more shots on the current schedule.

Whereas there almost always was on it.


My big problems with Twice Monthly is confusion about when it is as well as long gaps between contests.

#6 Hari


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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:43 PM

Vote bi-weekly.
Make SotW great again!

Post sponsored by Team Ambient Silence.

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#7 nicklegends


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Posted 06 January 2020 - 12:10 AM

The twice-monthly schedule has been working out better than I had expected it to when it was first announced. Some of the success is thanks to certain members who submitted many contests' worth of shots in advance, but that doesn't detract from the joy of regularly having more than three shots in a contest. Good call on this change.

I voted biweekly because I feel like contests separated by two weeks have a bit of a rhythm that longer breaks can interfere with.

I know the question of how to organize Screenshot of the Month in this situation is unsettled. I personally wouldn't mind there being an extra contestant in SotM every once in a while if that's what it takes to maintain the right cadence. (We encountered a similar quirk when TS pegged SotMs to actual calendar months rather than four-week periods, so this is nothing new to the contest.)
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#8 Lüt



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Posted 06 January 2020 - 09:47 AM

I voted twice monthly, but tbh I didn't see any big difference between that and bi-weekly except that the mathematics presented in the OP seemed more organized.


Though now that I think about it, I don't really know how often that would result in a 3-week delay. I thought it would only be like 3 or 4 times a year, but maybe it's more.


Regardless, the point was that once a week has consistently proven to be unsustainable, so moving back to every 2 weeks seems ideal, whether or not there's an occasional longer gap.

#9 Nathaniel


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Posted 06 January 2020 - 10:14 AM

I will confess that it was my idea to go with the twice monthly arrangement, at least through the rest of 2019.  I'm glad we had the opportunity to see how it ran.  I think the feedback on that has been very good in this topic.  It seems that there is a lot of agreement that the reduced frequency was better for getting enough screenshots with each contest without frequent delays.  Biweekly vs. twice monthly certainly each have their share of advantages and disadvantages, with our worst enemy being a historical one, with the inconsistency of month lengths.  It seems like for most, the disadvantage of inconsistency of time between contests (sometimes 3 weeks instead of 2 for twice monthly) is less favorable than having an inconsistent number of screenshots featured in each SotM (for biweekly).  We could also pick two different day numbers each month (such as the 1st and 16th of each month), but that also varies what day of the week they start on, which can also complicate matters.


Biweekly in retrospect (not just from input here) seems like the simplest arrangement for people to remember (as well as to run).  Whether we go with that or stay at twice a month, clearly SotM cannot be once per month, since that would leave just 2 (and maybe sometimes 3) screenshots in each SotM.  I think the best frequency for SotM would be to have it bimonthly, which would mean most of the time it would consist of 4 screenshots (how the old SotM typically was), and sometimes 5 under biweekly SotW.  The main disadvantage to this goes to the SotW winners when there are 5 of them, as this puts their average chance of winning at 20% rather than 25%.  But if it's in agreement that how SotW is run with consistency takes priority over SotM, a reasonable point for sure, then biweekly is naturally in favor.  So it all comes down to priorities, pretty much.


If SotM is bimonthly, then that would mean 6 winners for SotY after this year is over.  That might call for one single contest rather than semifinal brackets and a finals.  As interesting as that was, that was a better fit for 12 SotM winners.  SotY could then be simpler, with all the attention on one yearly contest of 6 screenshots, which could be good in that all the attention would be on just one topic.  But that's just me thinking out loud.

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#10 Avaro



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Posted 06 January 2020 - 01:48 PM

I was iffy and sad at first, because this felt like a big slowdown for SotW, when it has been a weekly thing from the beginning. But I think bi-weekly is much more realistic and appropriate at present.

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#11 Twilight Knight

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 04:23 PM

I actually voted weekly, because it is my preferred schedule.

However I understand why we need to hold the contest less frequently. Let's hope that the popularity of ZC grows again and we could perhaps switch back to the weekly schedule in the future!


But maybe I should be less of a hypocrite first of all and submit some screens myself...   :heh:

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#12 Geoffrey


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Posted 08 January 2020 - 08:59 PM

I'll vote bi-weekly if you change it to fortnightly. ;)

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#13 klop422


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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:39 PM

If SotM is bimonthly, then that would mean 6 winners for SotY after this year is over.  That might call for one single contest rather than semifinal brackets and a finals.  As interesting as that was, that was a better fit for 12 SotM winners.  SotY could then be simpler, with all the attention on one yearly contest of 6 screenshots, which could be good in that all the attention would be on just one topic.  But that's just me thinking out loud.

52 weeks is 13*4, so one could try 'SotM' as every four contests? Gives 13 'Months' in a year, and 13 contestants in SotY, which is also weird for bracketing, so idk if that makes things better.

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