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Shades of Grey Awards

Request for Advice - Starting a new awards in another fandom

Shades of Grey Awards


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Request for Advice - Starting a new awards in another fandom

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I just posted a request for comments on my own journal, and I thought I'd post the link on this comm to see if I could generate more advice. Basically, a friend of mine wants to organize a new judged awards in the Harry Potter fandom, and I don't know enough about the behind the scenes logistics to be much help. In addition to those reading this who do have that behind the scenes knowledge, I'd love to hear from judges about things you've seen done well (or not), things that made your task easier (or not), things you've often wished the mods of an awards you were judging would think about or do. Thanks in advance for your time.

Oh, and shannon730: next time I agree to judge for you, I promise to turn in my scores on time. Or more on time, anyway. Thanks again for that.

  • A few days late when you give me notice is absolutely not a problem. And as it turned out my grandmother died on April 1st so I was no where near ready to get winners up anyway.

    As for behind the scenes stuff to running an awards site...it's a lot of work. Especially in an active fandom. SoGA has slowed down a lot since I started it 6 years ago back then it wasn't uncommon to have 300-400 nominees each round.

    What kind of stuff specifically do you want to know? I've changed things so much over the years you wouldn't believe it because I had no on to ask and was changing stuff each round until I finally got what I wanted and what worked.

    You can email me at shannon_prano@sbcglobal.net or shannon730@gmail.com if you want. It may be easier to ask questions in email. Or if I'm online I have YIM (shannon_prano).

    But top 5 list of behind the scenes stuff...

    1. It's a very time consuming type site to run. Make sure you have the time to do it well or it'll die fast.

    2. Make sure you have at least a few very reliable judges who will help bail you out of someone (or many people) don't do their scores. If this is a multipairing site make sure judges can fairly judge outside their comfort zone (I'm in the HP fandom too and that can be challenging)

    3. Don't make too many categories. I did this at first, I had over 40 categories....Winner and Runner Up in each...that's a minimum of 80 awards to make. It's not pleasant.

    4. Even if you think a rule is stupid and just common sense, list it anyway. Some moron will do it and say "but it wasn't in the rules." (Example of this. I once had the special category of Best Willow/Angel Fic, someone nominated a Spuffy fic. Why? Because in the rules I did not say it had to be Willow/Angel.)

    5. You're setting the deadlines so set them realistically. Awards sites that are constantly late with getting winners up or rounds open lose people fast, especially new sites. Give yourself time to do what needs to be done. Don't give the judges a week to judge 100 fics, they can't do it and they'll flake on you. Don't give yourself a 2 day deadline from the end of judging until Winners and banners are posted. You may think you can do it but things happen. Judges need an extension, RL issues come up (see Grandmother's death at the beginning of this comment), or it may just take longer than you thought it would.

    Anyway, I hope that helped. I'm more than willing to answer any questions you have about starting a site. SoGA has been up and running for 6 years (in July) I also have 2 other awards sites, and judge for a few more.
    • Howdy! I'm the person in question, about to run HP awards, and ... yeah ... I think I may have too many categories! LOL Or, at least, we're judging in every category that people will also be voting on, and I'm hoping that means we'll have a lot of categories (because that will mean we've had lots of nominations) ... How would you suggest cutting down the number of categories? Best to do it by 'ship? By genre? Currently, we have 15 genre categories, which depending on the number of nominations will be split into 'ship + genre categories or not: (we might have 'best ss/hg romance', 'best slash romance', etc.) So, I think the total number of categories to be voted on will be around 40. But that's too many to judge? I guess it is ... too many to award, too, as that'll mean a lot of awards floating around!

      Judges will have a month, so I'm hoping that'll be enough time. I doubt I've got ENOUGH judges, though. Maybe around 10, all with personal preferences, etc. I'll try and advertise for more when I pimp the comm. Oh, this is going to be work. Hopefully it'll be fun, though!

      This has been really useful to hear. Thanks hob for starting this thread and shannon730 for replying! :-)
      • Ooh, I did it that way for a while. God, I've been doing this too long. Well I never did voting and judging on the same categories but I've judged at sites that do.

        Whether or not 40 categories is a lot to maintain depends a lot on your free time. If you're site takes off and is popular quickly you can be looking at several hours of work a week. At one point I was trying to work full time, go to school, and still had to spend around 2 hours a day answering email and updating nominees. It can be overwhelming if you do it alone.

        Anyway, if you're not sure what to cut right now, my suggestion would be to do the first round with the categories you planned and use this round or the first couple rounds to see which ones work and which don't. You'll likely find that they aren't all popular enough to maintain.

        I'll also warn you that the dividing categories up while taking nominees can get complicated. Make sure you have clear rules as to when you'll do that and how. My rule was more than 4 fics with the same pairing in one category and they'd get their own category as long as it still left 4 fics in the main category (reason was I wanted there to be enough to make it worth the category before dividing it.). Also makes assigning judges a little more complicated because you don't have set categories from the beginning. Not saying it can't be done, it can, but it's work...

        And no if you're expecting around 40 categories 10 judges isn't going to be enough. My experience says to expect at least 1/4 to 1/2 the judges who say they can judge to not do it. Sad, but true, it's not a paying job and when they fully realize they have to read fics they hate or are just badly written they'll quit. If this is an overall site, not pairing specific (at least a pairing I dislike) or slash one I'll be happy to help with judging if you need it.

        And again, my email addresses are in the previous response feel free to email me to bounce ideas off of or if you have questions about things I found work or don't work.
        • The categories will be divided up after all noms are in. Because we're only dividing up by ships, people will nominate based on genres and then the categories built up after all the noms are in. I'm not sure whether to hope for lots or few categories! LOL I would love for you to do some judging if you want to. Here is the site we're talking about: http://community.livejournal.com/tnl_awards/

          And its mother site: http://community.livejournal.com/the_new_library/

          Hoping to have a membership surge when pimping starts! If you have preferred pairings/genres, let me know. The rules for the awards are... complex. It's going to be interesting. Luckily, school ends about two days after noms begin! LOL
          • I will absolutely judge. I can't guarantee I can judge every round because I have 3 awards sites, SoGA is the biggest and most hassle but not the only one but I can certainly help out occasionally. I do (as does everyone) have preferred pairings to read and write but there is very little I won't read at all. I have issues with anything graphic that is seriously underage. By that I mean I don't want to read about 11 year old Ginny and 12 year old Harry. I find that icky, but 15-16 is fine.

            May I make a suggestion or two from experience?

            Okay so I'll make them anyway and feel free to ignore me.

            One, your rules are kind of complicated with the nominating process.The seconding and narrowing it all down and everything...too much complication at that stage can be exhausting to maintain. But then it appears you have a few mods which will help.

            And two (and this is really the bigger one in my opinion), for this first round don't limit the number of categories a fic can be nominated in. Normally I'm all for limiting because there will be that person that will nominate a fic for everything. But you have a lot of genre categories and I will bet given free reign in choosing categories to nominate in you'll find that some of those categories will be nearly identical and can be combined in future rounds.

            • I actually had thought a little about your second comment because we initially didn't have a 'drabble series' or a 'drama' category: I felt they were close enough to 'drabble' and 'angst' that we didn't really need them, but people on TNL felt otherwise, so they're there right now. This does feel very much like an enormous wet-run! LOL I think that the rules will get tweaked just so they look simpler to people coming in. I want people to be able to nominate fairly simply, and as we're not a ship-specific site, that would be difficult if the categories were already separated out by ship. If they WEREN'T, some categories would get much too big, though, I think. Certain ones, anyway. I'm expecting it to subsume my life for a few days during noms and during voting, though. I will warn the authors I beta for and the other admins at TPP well in advance about that fact! It'll be an interesting social/personal psychology experiment.

              There won't be anything excessively squicky like the underage things you mentioned. At least, we have yet to have anything even approaching that recced, and barring an incest fic (my fault), I think we've been fairly squick-free in general. This is the google group for the judges: http://groups.google.com/group/tnl-awards-judges-group

              It's up to its eyeballs in privacy settings! LOL But there should be a link letting you apply for membership. If not, I can email you an invitation to it too. Would be great to have a few experienced people in on this!
              • Oh you can't possibly start out listing every possible pairing in HP...I tried in BTVS and failed miserably and it's much smaller character wise.

                And nothing icky is good. Running an awards site has made me extremely tolerant of what I'll read but really young kids having sex...just no. There are other things but mostly it's stuff that is a small part of a fic that I can sort of gloss over and still read.

                The first few rounds will be very experimental for you. If none of you have done this before there will be problems that'll crop up that you weren't expecting and will have to figure out how to work around in the future.

                I applied at the google group. And yeah I can relate to the privacy settings thing. I did that on yahoo groups with SoGA at first. We just started using this comm last year because all the judges had LJs and used it more than Yahoo.
                • Yeah. I wanted to limit the amount of complexity for everyone nominating. And you just KNOW someone's going to show up and be like 'hey, I want to nominate this Voldie/Molly fic, why don't you have a Voldie/Molly category?'!

                  The only major reason for the privacy settings is that if we have tiebreakers, etc., then some people might want to 'advocate' for their faves or whatever, or I might want to post the comments people gave with their scores, and I just felt like it was easier to do that in a discussion thread. But not a discussion thread I want all and sundry to be seeing! LOL
                  • Exactly. I once had someone ask me why I did not have a Genfic Romance category at SoGA because I have Slash Romance and Het Romance. Sometimes it's really hard to be nice when answering questions.

                    And the privacy settings are good. It's good to have a place where the judges can talk and vent if they want about something they're reading for judging without having to worry that the author is going to find out accidentally.

                    Oh and if you plan on distributing comments to the authors I would make sure the judges know that...and you may need to plan on...editing...them. Judges can be harsher than necessary at times when reading something that is total crap, that they know is total crap and still have to read.
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