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Forums - Website Topics - Ideas for improving our year-end awards thingy

(I honestly have no idea what forum a topic like this belongs in; whether it's here in Website Topics or over in General Discussion. I took a wild guess.)

Since our last year-end awards celebration thingy, I was thinking about the structure thereof, mainly because it seemed to kind of end in disaster with lots of quarreling over the ultimate winner of Game of the Year and also because, in our discussion thread for the awards at the time, we also seemed to be able to reach almost a consensus that indie games needed their own category, or perhaps more than one category even. Anyway, it all got me thinking about how the annual awards stuff could be restructured in the future such as to both garner more community trust in the fairness of the process while also ensuring more visibility and recognition for games created by smaller development teams. I have a couple ideas that I just wanted to float for everyone's consideration, and they kinda need to go together to work in my mind:

1) We might start using one vote per person instead of weighting staff votes. I know what VGC weights staff votes, which is to try and ensure fairness toward less visible games...but at the same time, being honest, I lost a lot of trust in the weighting system because it really, really seemed like a lot of the staffers were abusing it last time in a perhaps coordinated fashion specifically to deny the clear community vote winner (and we all know what that was, so it needn't be said) the ultimate award by any means possible and this poisoned the well, I think helping to create, or at least exacerbate, the climate of bitterness that we saw in the end. Without staff votes counting disproportionately, there's no question that the title in question would've won at least two more awards and carried Game of the Year by a handy, non-questionable margin and I feel that this would likely conferred a greater sense of legitimacy around it that might have avoided the level of quarreling and bitterness we saw. We ought to make coordinated political campaigns to rig awards like Game of the Year structurally impossible by abandoning our little "super delegate" system, as I think that's the only way to really rebuild trust in the process.

2) Every award might be given to two games instead of one. Like for example, we could have a "Best Indie ____ Game" award and a "Best AAA ____ Game" award for every genre of game, including Game of the Year. (e.g. "Best Indie Game of the Year" and "Best AAA Game of the Year".) And, to avoid this change doubling the number of articles needing to be written, both the indie and AAA awards corresponding to any one genre or category could be revealed in the same article. Like Best Indie Action Game and Best AAA Action Game could be awarded in the same article, for example, and so on and so forth.

In this way, I think we could both re-establish trust while also enhancing the visibility of outstanding games made by smaller, ordinarily less visible developers. I think that would create the maximum amount of overall fairness that can be achieved. What do you (anyone) think of these ideas?

Last edited by Jaicee - on 20 March 2021

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Was there really that much quarreling? Can't remember, although I followed the thread.

I am generally not a big fan of an elite group having more power to decide than the community, but it seems in this case the result is pretty close. Probably as staff is still part of the community. Also we have a purely community decided thingy.

I like your idea for two awards per category, I just see a problem in the definition of Indie and AAA. This will inevitably lead to discussion, but maybe we can agree on something.

Anyways, the genre categories for the games were often odd. That is due to the fact, that VGC don't want one game getting most of the awards. That is something I applaud. But the result of one game only fitting into one genre category made it difficult, as genre often is fluid. How about this: every game can be nominated for each fitting category, but it will be eliminated in all genre categories except the one it gained the most votes. That way not one game dominates all categories, but the community is also the one deciding via it's votes which category is the most fitting.

Last edited by Mnementh - on 20 March 2021

3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]

Jaicee, I appreciate you being thoughtful about ways to improve the process and make the experience better for everyone involved.

However, you first bullet point levels some pretty serious accusations at VGChartz staff. Do you have any proof of this? Because I can say confidently there was no coordinated staff attempt to steer the results in any direction.

We are happy to entertain ways to make this community event more enjoyable, but it doesn't sound like you're arguing in good faith.



I agree that weighted votes are improper for something like this. The only exception I might allow is that the VGC official reviewer of a game, if one exists, could be given three votes or something. The problem there is that it favors games that were reviewed, so it may not work. But, the general idea of staff getting extra voting rights is not cool. If they need special treatment, they should get their own "staff picks" award category. But, the official VGC winners should be those voted on by all community members equally.



As for the Indie/AAA.... Those category names don't work, because there are many A and AA games that are not indies. And, while I don't mind separating them for genres (Best Indie Platformer, Best Major Pub Platformer, for example), I do not think there should be a separare GOTY category for indies. A game is either the GOTY, or it isn't.



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so what game was so controversial?



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Veknoid_Outcast said:

Jaicee, I appreciate you being thoughtful about ways to improve the process and make the experience better for everyone involved.

However, you first bullet point levels some pretty serious accusations at VGChartz staff. Do you have any proof of this? Because I can say confidently there was no coordinated staff attempt to steer the results in any direction.

We are happy to entertain ways to make this community event more enjoyable, but it doesn't sound like you're arguing in good faith.

I wasn't intending to argue anything, but rather to propose two ideas for the improvement of our annual awards process: one aiming to further democratize the process and the other seeking to balance the inevitable consequences of that out with a structural guarantee of visibility for games created by smaller developers. I see that we're not going to discuss either here though, so let's just forget I ever posted this thread and move on.

(I remarked about my emergent distrust of the process only in order to suggest that further democratization of the process has merit. That distrust was rooted primarily, but not exclusively, in this post explaining that the overall winner was separated from the runners-up by a margin of 1.5% while also pointing out that the winner was neither the first nor even the second choice of the staff. In consideration of the fact that staff votes are weighted, effectively counting as more than one vote per person, this math suggests that TLOU2 in reality got substantially more votes than the competition and that the weighting of the staff vote is the only reason the contest was close. This had been my primary, circumstantial basis for suspicion, but I had other reasons as well. Regardless though, if you say there was no coordination involved, I believe you. Sorry for being I guess kind of an annoying sore winner; I just really liked TLOU2 and the reaction to it winning, together with the staff positions, has unfortunately left me a little bitter. Anyway, my aim was to highlight the difference that a simpler, more transparent process might make in terms of ensuring trust. Though it appears I've been the only distrustful person in reality. *sighs* Whatever. I'm done with this thread and will not respond to follow-up posts. Bye.)

Last edited by Jaicee - on 20 March 2021

Jaicee said:

(I honestly have no idea what forum a topic like this belongs in; whether it's here in Website Topics or over in General Discussion. I took a wild guess.)

Since our last year-end awards celebration thingy, I was thinking about the structure thereof, mainly because it seemed to kind of end in disaster with 1- lots of quarreling over the ultimate winner of Game of the Year and also because, in our discussion thread for the awards at the time, we also seemed to be 2 - able to reach almost a consensus that indie games needed their own category, or perhaps more than one category even. Anyway, it all got me thinking about how the annual awards stuff could be restructured in the future such as to both garner more community trust in the fairness of the process while also ensuring more visibility and recognition for games created by smaller development teams. I have a couple ideas that I just wanted to float for everyone's consideration, and they kinda need to go together to work in my mind:

We might start using one vote per person instead of weighting staff votes. I know what VGC weights staff votes, which is to try and ensure fairness toward less visible games...but at the same time, being honest, I lost a lot of trust in the weighting system because 3 - it really, really seemed like a lot of the staffers were abusing it last time in a perhaps coordinated fashion specifically to deny the clear community vote winner (and we all know what that was, so it needn't be said) the ultimate award by any means possible and this poisoned the well, I think helping to create, or at least exacerbate, the climate of bitterness that we saw in the end. Without staff votes counting disproportionately, there's no question that 4 - the title in question would've won at least two more awards and carried Game of the Year by a handy, non-questionable margin and I feel that this would likely conferred a greater sense of legitimacy around it that might have avoided the level of quarreling and bitterness we saw. We ought to make coordinated political campaigns to rig awards like Game of the Year structurally impossible by 5 - abandoning our little "super delegate" system, as I think that's the only way to really rebuild trust in the process.

6 - Every award might be given to two games instead of one. Like for example, we could have a "Best Indie ____ Game" award and a "Best AAA ____ Game" award for every genre of game, including Game of the Year. (e.g. "Best Indie Game of the Year" and "Best AAA Game of the Year".) And, to avoid this change doubling the number of articles needing to be written, both the indie and AAA awards corresponding to any one genre or category could be revealed in the same article. Like Best Indie Action Game and Best AAA Action Game could be awarded in the same article, for example, and so on and so forth.

In this way, I think we could both re-establish trust while also enhancing the visibility of outstanding games made by smaller, ordinarily less visible developers. I think that would create the maximum amount of overall fairness that can be achieved. What do you (anyone) think of these ideas?

1 - Happens every year, regardless of the winner. Will continue to happen every year, regardless of winner. You're never going to satisfy everyone, and the people most likely to comment on an article or post in the thread are those most dissatisfied with the winner. 

2 - I wouldn't say a consensus, because I do remember some strong objections. But I have taken notice of the desire from some for a separate Indie category and have provisionally listed it as a new category for the 2021 awards, pending staff discussion/debate and an ultimate decision on it.

3 - This is just fucking nonsense, it really is. Firstly, for the Overall GotY Award, The Last of Us Part II won the community vote and it was solely because it won the community vote by such a large margin (25% to AC's 18%) that it claimed the site's Overall GotY. The staff's first place was actually Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The Last of Us Part II wasn't even in the staff top 5.

But to your pretty offensive accusation of us coordinating to deny the community's pick winning out. Well, firstly, as I've pointed out above, the community pick claimed the award, so if we (or some of us) did coordinate to deny The Last of Us Part II its win then we/they fucked up pretty badly. There's never any conspiracy, we don't even discuss our actual votes (although we do suggest games to one another in a thread, throughout the year, that we think deserve GotY consideration and intend to vote for ourselves, and encourage others to play and form their own opinions on the game(s)). As for voting, I put up a voting thread on the staff forum and staff then post their votes individually as lists and that's the end of it - there's no voting coordination, although all votes are public to fellow staff. I then add up all of the votes once voting has closed for staff and community, average the percentages, and those are the final results.

4 - What game are you talking about; what categories? The staff vote certainly swayed some results, but I don't think in the way you suspect lol, not least because, like I said above, you're wrong about TLoU 2 not being the community winner.

Our GotY voting is basically first past the post - it's about the most liked single option. A game can be hated by say 60% of the community, but if 40% love it to death then it's going to win, regardless of how the staff vote (as in 2020), unless the 60% coalesce around a single rival. 

5 - No, we're not getting rid of staff voting. For a few reasons:

  • It's one of the few perks of becoming a staff member - that your vote basically has more vote come GotY season. It's a perk of the job.
  • The community almost always votes along 'party lines'. Sad to say, but it's true. The staff almost never do this, because their votes are public to all other staff members, so even if one was inclined to voting along console lines it'd be looked down upon by other staff. Basically the staff vote helps to balance out some of the worst excesses of the community vote.
  • The system we have in place is already the product of compromise with the community. It used to be that only the staff voted. Then it was that we had a staff winner and a community winner, but only the staff winner 'counted' officially. Now we have what I think is the best middle ground option of a single winner but where the staff vote contributes 50% and the community the other 50%. If a game is the clear winner in a certain category with the community then it will win out and we on staff will accept that verdict even if we don't 100% agree, just like we did this year.

6 - Not sure I like the sound of this... I can get behind an Indie category, but an Indie winner for every single category? That's a bit much.

P.S. If you decide to reply to this post and you continue to push this bonkers idea that the staff coordinated a voting campaign to deny xxx game xxx award then I'm not going to respond. You're accusing some of the best contributors to this site of something they simply haven't done just because you don't like the Overall GotY one year. Well join the club, it happens to me most years lol. I still remember being pissed off that Portal 2 lost out to Skyrim for Overall by like one vote, but that was the result and I accepted it.

Last edited by Machina - on 20 March 2021

Jaicee said:
Veknoid_Outcast said:

Jaicee, I appreciate you being thoughtful about ways to improve the process and make the experience better for everyone involved.

However, you first bullet point levels some pretty serious accusations at VGChartz staff. Do you have any proof of this? Because I can say confidently there was no coordinated staff attempt to steer the results in any direction.

We are happy to entertain ways to make this community event more enjoyable, but it doesn't sound like you're arguing in good faith.

I wasn't intending to argue anything, but rather to propose two ideas for the improvement of our annual awards process: one aiming to further democratize the process and the other seeking to balance the inevitable consequences of that out with a structural guarantee of visibility for games created by smaller developers. I see that we're not going to discuss either here though, so let's just forget I ever posted this thread and move on.

(I remarked about my emergent distrust of the process only in order to suggest that further democratization of the process has merit. That distrust was rooted primarily, but not exclusively, in this post explaining that the overall winner was separated from the runners-up by a margin of 1.5% while also pointing out that the winner was neither the first nor even the second choice of the staff. In consideration of the fact that staff votes are weighted, effectively counting as more than one vote per person, this math suggests that TLOU2 in reality got substantially more votes than the competition and that the weighting of the staff vote is the only reason the contest was close. This had been my primary, circumstantial basis for suspicion, but I had other reasons as well. Regardless though, if you say there was no coordination involved, I believe you. Sorry for being I guess kind of an annoying sore winner; I just really liked TLOU2 and the reaction to it winning, together with the staff positions, has unfortunately left me a little bitter. Anyway, my aim was to highlight the difference that a simpler, more transparent process might make in terms of ensuring trust. Though it appears I've been the only distrustful person in reality. *sighs* Whatever. I'm done with this thread and will not respond to follow-up posts. Bye.)

OK I misunderstood, my bad. Apologies for that - I would delete my previous post because it's largely based on that misunderstanding of mine, but I won't for transparency reasons. I thought you were saying the community winner was something other than TLoU 2 and that the staff had forced a TLoU 2 win in order to prevent the real community winner from winning the award.

Yes, TLoU 2 was a lot less popular with staff than the community, which is why the overall result was fairly close. TLoU 2 won the community vote with 25%, to AC's 18% - so a 7% margin of victory. After the staff totals were added it narrowed to 0.5%. But AC wasn't the staff's first pick either (like I said, it was Ori), but logically would have been had our aim been to 'defeat' TLoU 2, rather than us individually voting for our own preferences.

I will re-emphasise though, there was no coordination. The staff voting just panned out the way it did based on our own individual tastes, as it always does.

Last edited by Machina - on 20 March 2021

People had been complaining about TLOU2 rightly or wrongly (dunno, haven't played it, probably won't play it) since before release. Don't think anything the staff did would have prevented that. Not sure how them mentioning how their picks panned out exacerbated it.