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Is it wise to judge create-a-line contest on votes?

posted by SurplusGamer on - last edited - Viewed by 572 users

I know that there are all sorts of rules stopping the utterly WRONG making it into the game as a result of the current contest running...

... but when the top two entries are suddenly from someone who goes by the name 'The Silent Man', which were nowhere to be seen before... well...

What I'm trying to say is that it suddenly seems as if the winner will be the person who somehow manages to badger enough people to click on the Vote button (or cheat - not that I'm accusing anyone of that) rather than the person who actually has the line that everyone thinks is the best.

Those top two lines are not TERRIBLE by any means, but either I'm missing something and that guy has managed to create the TWO funniest lines in the contest which everyone loves so much that they've both suddenly rocketed to the top out of nowhere, or there's something else going on here.

Thoughts?

47 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I'll probably be seen as biased as I won the first week of the contest, but here are my thoughts anyway.

    [quote]... but when the top two entries are suddenly from someone who goes by the name 'The Silent Man', which were nowhere to be seen before... well...[/quote]

    Well the community isn't only on these boards (or any board, actually). I guess lots of fans heard of the contest and came because, well, what MI fan never dreamed of contributing a joke in one of the games ?

    [quote]What I'm trying to say is that it suddenly seems as if the winner will be the person who somehow manages to badger enough people to click on the Vote button (or cheat - not that I'm accusing anyone of that) rather than the person who actually has the line that everyone thinks is the best.[/quote]

    When you have 3000+ entries to the contest, there is just no way everyone will agree on one - or even five - lines. Because we all come from different places and have different opinions on what is funny and what isn't. So yes, there is a chance the winner will be a line that you, personnally, don't find funny. That doesn't mean it isn't. I know there are jokes in the various Monkey Island games which are very specific to the american audience and that I don't always get – and as such, don't find funny at all.

    [quote]I think its a great viral marketing tool. While I don't think my lines will win because I don't use twitter so I can't advertise my links, the fact that many people are voting and hopefully clicking on the demo link once they vote means that more people may buy the game.[/quote]

    Exactly. I asked all my friends to vote for me, of course. Most of them are videogame geeks, and most of them replied : "There is a new Monkey Island game ? Cool, I didn't even know !" So I think it's very interesting for Telltale to do such a contest.

    [quote]What would be nice, however, is if telltale would do a "judges winner" as well as the popularity contest winner.[/quote]

    I agree, that would probably make the contest look fairer to some. Maybe for the next one ?

  • @Marzhin said:
    When you have 3000+ entries to the contest, there is just no way everyone will agree on one - or even five - lines. Because we all come from different places and have different opinions on what is funny and what isn't. So yes, there is a chance the winner will be a line that you, personnally, don't find funny. That doesn't mean it isn't. I know there are jokes in the various Monkey Island games which are very specific to the american audience and that I don't always get – and as such, don't find funny at all.


    You seem to be missing my point. I wasn't trying to make a value judgement on the two lines that were occupying the top spot at time of posting (they seemed to be pretty standard fare in my opinion but that's by the by). I was saying that it seems rather ... well, spectacularly unlikely that out of nowhere one guy suddenly gets -two- lines rocketing to the #1 and #2 spot purely on the merit of the contributions, rather than due to his access to enough voters willing to click on his link.

    I was suggesting that maybe having a free voting system is not the best approach because it rewards the most resourceful contestant rather than the one with the line most people genuinely liked.

    One way to partially remedy this would be to enable voting for registered TT members only, so that they can't just spam the link everywhere... though I can see why they don't do this from a marketing perspective

    So I think the best compromise they could make at this stage would be to take the top 10 lines by votes and then use a panel of TT judges to pick the winner out of that.

  • @SurplusGamer said: I was saying that it seems rather ... well, spectacularly unlikely that out of nowhere one guy suddenly gets -two- lines rocketing to the #1 and #2 spot purely on the merit of the contributions, rather than due to his access to enough voters willing to click on his link.

    Maybe, but that's actually the whole purpose of the contest : to get as many people as possible to vote for your entry, even outside the MI fanbase.

    @SurplusGamer said: I was suggesting that maybe having a free voting system is not the best approach because it rewards the most resourceful contestant rather than the one with the line most people genuinely liked.

    I did get your point, and that's why I'm saying there's no such thing as "a line most people genuinely liked". There's simply too many contributions and too many different tastes. So yes, the most resourceful contestant will win. And however, that doesn't mean his/her line won't be liked by many people.

    Actually, when you think about it... What would Guybrush do if he wanted to win such a contest ? Would he try to win fair and square or use any resource at his disposal ? :D

  • @Marzhin said: Maybe, but that's actually the whole purpose of the contest : to get as many people as possible to vote for your entry, even outside the MI fanbase.

    I did get your point, and that's why I'm saying there's no such thing as "a line most people genuinely liked". There's simply too many contributions and too many different tastes. So yes, the most resourceful contestant will win. And however, that doesn't mean his/her line won't be liked by many people.

    Actually, when you think about it... What would Guybrush do if he wanted to win such a contest ? Would he try to win fair and square or use any resource at his disposal ? :D


    Of course there's such thing as a line that most people genuinely liked. It's not like what is funny is completely RANDOM, that's crazy talk! There are lots of varying tastes, it's true, but there's still room for general consensus. To suggest that there's no way of telling what lines the most people find the funniest is ridiculous.

    For example. Say there were 10 lines plucked completely randomly from that list, and 1000 people were asked 'which line is funniest?' Are you saying that it would just be completely evenly spread, about 100 votes for each? Of course not, it's far more likely that certain lines would be more popular than others because more people found them funny.

    Note that when I say 'most people found funny' I don't necessarily mean 'most of the people', I mean 'THE most people', i.e. more people compared to other lines.

  • @SurplusGamer said: Of course there's such thing as a line that most people genuinely liked. It's not like what is funny is completely RANDOM, that's crazy talk! There are lots of varying tastes, it's true, but there's still room for general consensus. To suggest that there's no way of telling what lines the most people find the funniest is ridiculous.

    Hey, no need to become agressive. As a matter of fact, I do believe that universal humor doesn't exist. After all, as Pierre Desproges used to say : "You can laugh at everything, but not with everybody". Of course, it is only my opinion. Yours is different, OK, I respect that. That doesn't give you the right to call my opinion crazy or ridiculous just because you disagree.

    However, that was not what I was trying to say in my previous post.

    @SurplusGamer said: For example. Say there were 10 lines plucked completely randomly from that list, and 1000 people were asked 'which line is funniest?' Are you saying that it would just be completely evenly spread, about 100 votes for each? Of course not, it's far more likely that certain lines would be more popular than others because more people found them funny.

    If there were 10 lines, yes. But there aren't, so what does that prove ? I said it before : there are already more than 3000 entries in the contest.

    What I was trying to say in my previous post is there is no way ONE specific line will emerge from those 3000 and satisfy everybody. And whoever wins, there will always be people who didn't like his line to imply he won only because he was resourceful or whatever and not because his line is funny - regardless of the actual opinion of people who did vote (which we have no way to know).

    Anyway, Telltale won't change the rules of the contest halfway through, so for the best or worse we'll have to do with it.

  • @Marzhin said: Hey, no need to become agressive. As a matter of fact, I do believe that universal humor doesn't exist. After all, as Pierre Desproges used to say : "You can laugh at everything, but not with everybody". Of course, it is only my opinion. Yours is different, OK, I respect that. That doesn't give you the right to call my opinion crazy or ridiculous just because you disagree.

    However, that was not what I was trying to say in my previous post.

    Again, you are missing my point. I hate to go over it again, so I'll try to explain myself properly this time.

    Let me use an example to make my point: Some people say that morality is not universal just like you are saying about humour. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong. But even the people who say that will agree that if you go around and ask people what is moral and immoral, there will be some disagreement but also quite a lot of agreement. So if you ask enough people you can spot patterns and identify the sorts of things people find 'good' or 'evil'. Let's say that less than 1% of people asked think that shoplifting is an okay thing to do. Now let's say (for argument's sake) that 25% of people think that it's okay to pirate games. Even though in those two (made up) examples most people put shoplifting and piracy as 'bad', you can still identify a trend showing that more people THINK one is bad than the other. Even though some argue the truth of the matter might be that neither are universally good or bad.

    So it is with you arguing there's no universal humour. That may well be the case, but that doesn't change the fact that there are certain trends to what people find funny.

    As another thought experiment to illustrate the principle, imagine that the contest is ending and there are two lines that are way ahead of the others, Line A and Line B.

    Let's say someone went around randomly and asked 'is this line funny?'. Let's imagine 25% of people asked found Line A funny and 5% found Line B funny. Now imagine that Line B is currently winning because that person got their link out to more people. In both cases, most people didn't find the lines funny - as you say, humour is like that, it's very subjective. But it would still be significant that 5 times more people found A funny than B, yet it got fewer votes.

    @Marzhin said: If there were 10 lines, yes. But there aren't, so what does that prove ? I said it before : there are already more than 3000 entries in the contest.

    What I was trying to say in my previous post is there is no way ONE specific line will emerge from those 3000 and satisfy everybody. And whoever wins, there will always be people who didn't like his line to imply he won only because he was resourceful or whatever and not because his line is funny - regardless of the actual opinion of people who did vote (which we have no way to know).

    Anyway, Telltale won't change the rules of the contest halfway through, so for the best or worse we'll have to do with it.

    I was using a simplified example to illustrate a principle, like I did above. This is a perfectly valid thing to do, in fact it's essential for our understanding of concepts. The fact that there are 3000 entries doesn't change the general principle that a greater number of people will tend find certain lines funnier than others, something which is likely to become obfuscated by peoples' resourcefulness in getting votes.

    What I WILL agree on is that it's unlikely that the winning line will satisfy everybody (and yes, when I used the phrase 'the line everyone thinks is the funniest' casually in my first post, I thought it was obvious that I meant 'the line more people found to be the funniest than any other line'). Like in my above example, maybe only 25% of the people will like the line, and some of the rest of the 75% will complain - but that's the internet for you. It doesn't change the fact that it would seem ideal for a line to win because more people thought it was funny than other lines (even if 'more' only amounts to 25% or something)

    What I am saying isn't controversial, it's just basic statistics.

  • I think we'd been down this path before. Voting is never fair, because the choices are not purposely made to be non-weighted, essentially reducing it to the simplistic popularity contest. That is why winners through voting are usually just more popular, not more capable, more humorous, more outstanding etc. Just look at the all-stars for the recent MLB All-Star games. How many players there are really deserving the spots?

    Yes, there are better ways of selecting winners. Selection by committee is one of the best way to gauge a winner, but the process is lengthy, usually taking weeks, if not months to decide. For a weekly contest and a large volume, selection by committee is just not economical.

    Here's my proposal as a compromise - put all the entry number in a hat, and get someone to draw an entry. If you don't win, just blame lady luck. :P

  • @smashing said: I think we'd been down this path before. Voting is never fair, because the choices are not purposely made to be non-weighted, essentially reducing it to the simplistic popularity contest. That is why winners through voting are usually just more popular, not more capable, more humorous, more outstanding etc. Just look at the all-stars for the recent MLB All-Star games. How many players there are really deserving the spots?

    Yes, there are better ways of selecting winners. Selection by committee is one of the best way to gauge a winner, but the process is lengthy, usually taking weeks, if not months to decide. For a weekly contest and a large volume, selection by committee is just not economical.

    Here's my proposal as a compromise - put all the entry number in a hat, and get someone to draw an entry. If you don't win, just blame lady luck. :P

    The problem then is what do you do with all the entries that aren't even the right sort of line because they didn't read what they were supposed to be submitting? How do you judge if a particular line reaches the standards of quality mentioned in the competition rules? It could get messy.

    I can't remember if I proposed this before - I think I did - but wouldn't it be easier to take a certain number of the top entries, say 10 of them and then judging by committee? It's not perfect, but at least it raises the chances of ending up with a line that fits the tone of the game.

    Incidentally I'm not saying all this because I think I should be winning. I -have- submitted two lines so far, but I don't think either of them are particularly worthy or unworthy of winning. I just don't like the idea of a line getting into the game because some guy managed to get lots of people to click a link. I know -why- it's done that way, it just bothers me that that is the potential consequence.

  • The only thing I have to add is that I hate most of the top 5 that are up right now. Like someone said, George Bush jokes don't belong here (he didn't even use proper spelling and grammar! I mean, "George Bushes language skills"? Really? Are we talking about multiple George Bushes now?)

    So yeah, I hope ultimately the line that ends up in the game is something hand-picked by Telltale.

  • @SurplusGamer said: The problem then is what do you do with all the entries that aren't even the right sort of line because they didn't read what they were supposed to be submitting? How do you judge if a particular line reaches the standards of quality mentioned in the competition rules? It could get messy.

    Again, voting mechanism doesn't take into account of the quality of the candidate. It just take into assumption that people who did vote for it have weighted their decision before casting. The assumption is the premise for the voting mechanism to work.

    Even though the premise/assumption have proven time and again that it doesn't always work, you would still have to rely it if you are using the mechanism.

    It's like using '1 + 1 = 2' as a premise in arithmetic. You can't question "why must 1 + 1 = 2?" if you are interested to use arithmetic to add things up. Similarly, you can't institute a voting mechanism halfway, and start questioning the premise of people make their weighted decision for voting.

    For all the evils popularity contest may post, you will still have to admit that sometimes it work.

    I can't remember if I proposed this before - I think I did - but wouldn't it be easier to take a certain number of the top entries, say 10 of them and then judging by committee? It's not perfect, but at least it raises the chances of ending up with a line that fits the tone of the game.

    Again, selection by committee takes time. How long will it take to determine the shortlisted entries to be judged by the committee? And how are you going to arrange for the committee to agree on the criteria in judging the entries? And for weekly contests the turn-around can quite rapid. Will the committee have time to decide on this? Is it worth all those effort to go through so much just for one line?

    Let say that we use the voting to determine the 10 most popular entries as shortlisted entry for the selection by committee. That is possible. But again, you have to state that selection out-front. If not, the repercussion could be that the most popular entry may create an outcry of unfairness or discrimination against his/her entry.


    Hmmm... wait. I could be wrong. I think there is a selection by committee, as stated in the rules:

    "5.WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION
    Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received. Telltale will post Submitted Material from certain Contest entrants on its website, telltalegames.com. From all Contest entries, Telltale reserves the right to select only a limited number of entries that may be posted to the website or to select no entries. One winner will be selected from among the entries submitted that week based on the highest number of votes received. Telltale may advise prospective voters of criteria upon which selection will be based. Additionally, Telltale reserves the right to select a different weekly finalist or no weekly finalist at all from among the entrants to the Contest that week if Telltale determines that such finalist's Submitted Material does not meet Telltale's quality and creative standards for written material in its games, as determined in its sole discretion."

    Hey! We should just stop the whining and get on with life! :P

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