Monday, May 18, 2009

New Competition Voting Method?

Over the weekend an intense debate reigned in the community about the way in which we vote for Competition entries. Many questions were asked and many answers given but the bottom line seems to be that a vocal group of community members feels that the voting system for Local Motors Competitions is inadequate to express all of the feelings of the community.

Here is the current system:

The Scale is a single rating from 0-5 that begins the day that a submission is made and ends the day in which voting is declared over.

The scale is meant to be a combined judgement of all that a voter feels about a project. A separate button is provided to answer simply whether you would want to own the vehicle regardless of your vote.

The end day of voting is usually a week or so after the submission deadline so that all designs whether entered upon opening of submission acceptance or right at the end of the submission window receive a time of scrutiny side-by-side.

Furthermore, our policy is not to display voting until the winner has been selected. This choice is to avoid attack on the site during the voting window by those who might feel the votes are "breaking unfairly" and to allow all who come, to vote unbiased by the early returns.

Here is the basic issue:

Members of the community have pointed out that the scale is not adequate to distinguish between those which are beautiful renderings and designs which meet the specifications in the brief. The basic complaint is that some winners may have the best looking design but may not have fulfilled the brief specification.

This is not to say that each designer did not follow the rules. All contestants must follow the strict guidelines (four wheels, convertible, number of doors, number of views, etc) or they are not allowed into the competition; the complaint is more subtle. Many contestants fulfill the guidelines but seem to take differing levels of care with the essence of the brief (relationship to a region, intent of the use of the vehicle, inspiration of the user type, etc). Unfortunately, when the design is very well executed from a technical rendering or sketching point of view, some feel that community members will vote a "5" even though the vehicle really might not meet the brief intent. Said simply, Good Sketches that are inappropriate are being thrown in with Poor Sketches that are totally appropriate and it is difficult to distinguish them with the current voting.

Such voting for good technical skill alone was not the purpose of the voting system. Though the scale and the process was meant to create a fair and clear voting scheme, it is clear that we need to review it and assess the need for change. Along those lines, Local Motors is hosting a live chat tomorrow with anyone from the community who wants to join. Here are the details.

Live Chat Address:

When: Tuesday 5/19 at 6:30pm EDT (-4 GMT, 3:30pm PDT)

Please join us if you want your voice to be heard or if you are simply interested in listening to others thoughts.

We are looking forward to working on this issue. Anytime where the community becomes intensely engaged is a great time for our community and our team. Join us as we learn and grow together.


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