(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