Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some thoughts on voting and community


Wow, after two days of intense competition entries, we now have 51 solid competition entries for Miami Motors. The voting lasts through June 24th, so cast your votes and make your comments known. Given that this is an intense time for thought and consideration of design, I wanted to offer some thoughts.

In short Local Motors is all about community. Community of like-minded enthusiasts from all over the car world. We are here for our community, and without them we would be nothing.

Given that we have placed such a premium on this interaction, I would like to point out a few trends that we have observed from where we sit watching the interaction.

1) People are respectful and very interested in the design to be found on the site. Lesson: The internet in web 2.0 is not anonymous, and you must treat people as you would treat a good neighbor.
2) Some people are better than others at personally spreading the word of their design entries and bringing in friends and family to support them. While there is nothing wrong with this, in fact we encourage those folks to come and vote, we would like to see these friends and family vote with an eye not toward how to help their friend rack up points, but rather toward what they themselves would spend money on to buy. Lesson: Vote on what you like in your heart.
3) Many entrants have done an incredible job of soliciting the community for feedback along the entire length of the competition, and their works are far more refined for that effort. Lesson: Use checkup.
4) Some entrants shared no ideas with anyone, and simply lobbed in their designs at the last minute. These tend to be less well prepared entries. Lesson: Don't use checkup at your own peril.
5) Many entrants have written to the community in one form or another announcing their own submission for competition, but in the same breath, they exhort people to come and to vote for everyone. Lesson: Want the best feedback for everyone.
6) Some entrants have voted only for themselves and not for anyone else. This is really, in my opinion, the worst thing on our community because it is all take and no give. For those few of you who might be guilty of this, take a moment to look at some other design and vote....better yet and more valuable, MAKE COMMENTS. These comments go directly to the designer and they are an amazing piece of feedback for a designer to recieve. Lesson: Provide the best feedback for everyone and they will do the same for you.

So how to vote? There are many schools of thought on this, and here is mine.

a) Pick a center for your "curve" and call that a "3". This "center" should be one designer who provided a good design, who spoke to the competition inspiration, and who has provided interactive community feedback for others.
b) then adjust off of there. For example - AND THESE ARE JUST SUGGESTIONS:
>Good design, not based on the competition, good community member = 2
>Good design, not based on the competition, non-participating community member = 1
>Poor design, not based on the competition, non-participating community member = 0
.....and on the upside, you probably get the picture......
>Good design, fantastic inspiration based on the competition, solid community member = 4
>Class-leading design, fantastic inspiration based on the competition, solid community member =5
......and, of course, regardless of the score you choose to give, if you can see yourself opening your wallet (regardless of whether you know the designer or not) and forking over a sizeable amount of cash for a vehicle, then click "I Want It".

Whatever personal method you choose, be consistent and you will be doing the best job possible for the designers. And last of all, MAKE COMMENTS. Comments (especially those with visual additions) are the food that we all live on. Give some to get some. The nice thing here is that it is easy to do. Don't listen to anyone else, listen to your head and your heart and make comments on how you feel about a design. I guarantee it will be appreciated.


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