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Changes for the Future


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#1 Aevin

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 04:54 PM

Screenshot of the Week is easily PureZC's most popular contest, and has been going almost since the inception of the site. It's a central fixture of the PureZC community, and we're excited to see it keep going well into the future.

With that said, participation has dwindled lately as a natural result of decreased forum activity. For quite awhile now, hosts have had to beg for shots each week, and even then, contests have frequently had to be delayed. Because of this, a weekly schedule is no longer sustainable. Based on the rate at which shots are coming in, it makes sense to make some changes so that the contest can operate as effectively as possible.

The staff's observations have been that shots come in at a rate more suitable for a contest every two weeks. To that end, we've decided to run Screenshot of the Week twice a month. The contests will run the Sunday of the first and third full weekends of each month. These dates will be announced well in advance. (It will still be called Screenshot of the Week.)

For the remainder of this year, Screenshot of the Month will run roughly every two months. In 2020, we will replace it with a contest that runs quarterly. Screenshot of the Year will take place as normal.

We're hoping that this new structure will encourage greater turnout for each contest, and make for more interesting competition and voting. And of course, all of you can help Screenshot of the Week continue to be a success by participating, whether that means submitting shots, or commenting and voting.

Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm and support for the contest for all these years.


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#2 Dimentio

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 06:14 PM

Can't say I like this change. The appeal of SotW was that you get a chance to show off your stuff in a contest every week. If I have to wait an extra week each week in order to submit, then I'm just going to hold off until the last minute and then forget about it, or I'm just not enter since I have no patience and I want to show off my screenshots this week while it's still relevant, not next week when it's already outdated and irrelevant. Alternatively, now I have more pressure to make sure I choose the right screenshot, since I can only choose one, and I can't just submit one this week and the other the next, since next week is now just an extension of this week.

 

I don't see myself participating as much with this change, sorry.


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#3 Hergiswi

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:37 PM

Can't say I like this change

 

i don't like it either, but it's definitely getting painful seeing the staff have to beg for shots every single week. even with what we have now, some people are only submitting half-hearted shots just so we can get the contest running for the week. it's unfortunate but i think it's more of a symptom of a larger issue, that being lack of activity on the site. given the circumstances i think this might be the best bet until (unless) we see an increase in interest.


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#4 Matthew

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 08:28 PM

Some people are only submitting half-hearted shots just so we can get the contest running for the week. 

 

I'm guilty of this, personally. Although my last submission was still decent, or so I'd like to think!

 

Anyways, this is unfortunate but I can understand why it is happening. On the bright side, I think that I'll definitely have something made that I'm comfortable showing off within 2 weeks. Hopefully this ends up helping turnout. If the change doesn't help, or even becomes harmful, it's not like its set in stone or anything.



#5 Avaro

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 08:00 AM

Hope this helps SotW! I think the change makes sense.



#6 Sheik

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:10 AM

I am not a big fan of the new schedule. Let's see how it turns out, though.


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#7 nicklegends

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 12:31 PM

Another option that could be considered is starting a contest whenever the following are true:

1. There at least three shots
2. At least one week has passed since the last contest

The difference between this scheme and the one the contest has used for the last while is that there is no expectation of a regular day that the contest is posted. This would cut back on the "begging for shots" posts and also get the contest posted as soon as possible so entrants don't have to wait any longer than necessary--especially for the weeks with good turnout.
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#8 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 03:25 PM

Can't say I like this change. The appeal of SotW was that you get a chance to show off your stuff in a contest every week.

Problem is, people have stopped making 'stuff'. You can't show off stuff when there's nothing being made to show off (at least not as much as a contest would need).



#9 Aevin

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 08:11 PM

There's certainly no reason this has to be permanent if activity picks up. nicklegends's idea doesn't sound like a bad one, either. One of the reasons we chose this schedule is because it's what the contest seemed to be leaning towards in the first place. I personally prefer having a regular schedule. My thought at the moment is that we'll go with this for awhile, but if it seems like something else is going to work better, then we'll change things accordingly.


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#10 Dimentio

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 09:03 PM

I like nicklegends' suggestion; it allows for fast paced when there's activity, but doesn't require the staff to beg.


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#11 Nathaniel

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:09 AM

I think we should at least go with the schedule through the rest of this year, and during that time we can see how it goes.  Nicklegends' suggestion could possibly be considered starting in 2020.  To be clear so that everybody knows, the twice a month schedule was my suggestion.  And either way you do it, a lesser frequency would have an impact on Screenshot of the Month, which would seem pretty weak just having one or two SotW winners each month, thus my suggestion toward a quarterly contest (starting in 2020), leading to a simplified one part annual contest (no semifinals).

 

It would be great to have a magical way of getting people to submit more often, but that's just not realistic, nor is it fun for hosts to have to constantly bother people to submit.  An unpredictable or inconsistent frequency (which Nicklegends' suggestion would likely lead to) also runs into the problem of how to handle the monthly/quarterly contests, with a lack of consistency on how many screenshots would appear in them.  It also may lead to further problems down the line, of people submitting less and less often, and people just forgetting that the contest still exists.  I also think that if most SotW contests consist of three screenshots, it's less like to be interesting, due to what is likely going to be less variety among the screenshots.


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#12 nicklegends

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 11:40 AM

And either way you do it, a lesser frequency would have an impact on Screenshot of the Month, which would seem pretty weak just having one or two SotW winners each month, thus my suggestion toward a quarterly contest (starting in 2020), leading to a simplified one part annual contest (no semifinals).

[...]

An unpredictable or inconsistent frequency (which Nicklegends' suggestion would likely lead to) also runs into the problem of how to handle the monthly/quarterly contests, with a lack of consistency on how many screenshots would appear in them.

I agree that changing the frequency affects the meaning of "Month" just as it affects the meaning of "Week." One way around this would be to do what we did for most of the contest's history and always put a fixed number of shots in SotM. (The number used to be fixed at four; at one point, TS tweaked SotM to follow the calendar because participation was consistent and we were ending up with 13 "months" per year.)
 

It also may lead to further problems down the line, of people submitting less and less often, and people just forgetting that the contest still exists.

I'm concerned that this would happen in both situations.
 

I also think that if most SotW contests consist of three screenshots, it's less like to be interesting, due to what is likely going to be less variety among the screenshots.

This is a fair point. Ideally we strike a balance between shot variety and the length of time participants have to wait to see their shot in the contest. The minimum number of entrants' being three has been the standard for a while (at least since SotW 157, with some one-off exceptions in the meantime), which is closer to the contestant-convenience side of the scale. I don't have any strong opinions here. It seems like adjusting the minimum window to be two weeks (rather than the one week I proposed) would be a way of satisfying both our ideas.

#13 Jared

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:55 PM

If it helps, I can see myself entering more, now that I'm back in a quest making mood.



#14 Joelmacool

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 12:55 PM

I'm fine with any schedule, but SotW not running every week kind of defeats the name of the contest, so maybe a temporary name change could do? I do enjoy creating screens specifically for this contest - which is why I submit entries so frequently lol. I dont think a change of schedule will affect this.

Edited by Joelmacool, 22 August 2019 - 12:56 PM.

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#15 NoeL

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:10 PM

I'm kind of in favour of scrapping the competition altogether. There just aren't enough contributors to sustain it IMO, and that's true for both weekly and bi-weekly contests (since we often see the same handful of users competing week-in week-out).
 
When it started, SOTW was one of the few high-visibility ways for creators to showcase what they were working on, since most of the community would check out SOTW. Since the advent of dedicated quest project pages SOTW has lost that part of its purpose since people now just post updates to the project page instead. I don't use Discord, but from what I've heard of the community migration it wouldn't surprise me if people are just sharing their quest updates there.
 
I disagree with NJF when he says there aren't enough people making "stuff". ZC's golden age may be behind us but there's still a fairly strong community of content creators as evidenced by the "What did you accomplish in ZC today?" thread (replies may be sporadic but there's a good variety of contributors) and Expos still having good turnouts.

 

Considering all this, I have an alternate proposal: instead of SOTW why not have a monthly(?) ZC showcase? A centralised place for people to share what they've been working on, whether it be screens, maps, subscreens, enemies, music, scripts, etc. - essentially mini expos without individual user-made project pages. Just a single post (or multiple if the month has been productive). Much like the site news actually, but with community feedback. You could even showcase select updates made to project pages in addition to submissions made directly to the showcase host, since some creators might not know (or care) that there's a showcase.

 

Related to that final point, I think whatever changes with SOTW the happen going forward, it would be a good idea to PM users with active quest project pages and or known to be developing quests. Begging in the SOTW Announcement thread doesn't do enough to reach out to the community so it's not surprising interest has waned. It's a bit spammy, yeah, but maybe users can "unsubscribe" from community announcements in their inboxes?


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