Entry #12

Some thoughts on Audio Portal Voting

2009-01-03 10:34:14 by DonaldFletcher

I've been thinking about this for the last couple days, but prompted by some shit that happened in the last 12 hours I decided to put it in writing to see what various users' thoughts might be.

Of course, I know that anything I or anyone else has to say about the issue is most likely never going to be taken seriously by anyone in charge here, so all this is purely hypothetical.

Here are my three main points:

1. Only flash artists and experienced audio reviewers (defined by having submitted a certain number of helpful audio reviews) can vote zero. The purpose of the Audio Portal was, face it, always just to support the flash. So to keep with NG tradition and to keep random or malevolent users from outrightly bombing tracks out of the sights of talented flash authors, this is probably a good idea.

2. If an Audio Track in one genre is presently ranked above the highest ranking submission of a voting Audio Artist, any votes cast by that artist that would lower the score of the voted track beneath the voting artist's highest ranking submission are voided by the system. This would largely prevent artists from competitively bombing each other's tracks to climb through the first page.

3. After any user votes on a single track more than five (I'm pulling a common number out of my ass here for example) times, the user must write a review for the track. This review will replace any previously submitted review for said track, if applicable. The score shown will directly reflect the user's votes cast on this submission. Not only will this encourage a little more constructive criticism on the Audio Portal (which is severely lacking, as I think you'll agree), but it will force repeat voters to defend their positions with their name attached. That way, those who go out of their way to repeatedly bomb (or 5, for that matter) a certain track will have to go out of their way to explain why before they can continue to vote (Is that really too much to ask?). Any retaliatory bombing against a well-reasoned and thoughtful low review will of course be subject to the same rules, thus this factor in any track's score will also be severely diminished.

Those are my thoughts at the moment. Feel free to tell me I'm full of shit ;-]


You must be logged in to comment on this post.


2009-01-08 01:13:57

number 1 seems like a half-decent idea.

the main problem i see with #2 is that it fucks over artists who genuinely think that a submission is shit. it potentially means that paticularly well scored artists won't be able to vote less than a 4 on a lot of things. maybe this rule should only apply to submissions that have 20 or more votes?

dunno what to think of #3. i agree that there needs to be more incentive to review and review well. it isn't really rewarded in any way at the moment

(Updated ) DonaldFletcher responds:

Your point on 2 is a good one. You're right, some of that stuff that ends up on top (because everyone does [and OUGHT TO vote 5 on their own work upon submission so it will get a little early exposure) is absolute rubbish, and established artists are some of the most qualified people to make that judgment.

I've also seen some good stuff on the tops of the charts that absolutely does deserve a 4 or higher, then it gets nailed by someone who, for all I can guess, is just intimidated by its quality. I've been around long enough to pick out those real chart dominators with near professional level work put into them, and it's scary for those of us who don't have the equipment, time, or most importantly talent to meet that level of excellence. Defensive zeroes like that seem to be commonplace, unfortunately.
But maybe I wasn't so clear on the specifics of that point- I mean, if, say, I've got a track with a cumulative score of 4.30 and there's a track below me that's got a score of 4.25. If that track is shit by my judgment, I can give it the one or zero it deserves because doing so wouldn't actually affect the rank of my best work (so what I did clearly wasn't just to move my own track up a rank). Meanwhile, the guy above me who's got a 4.35, who might have done a decent job, only has ten votes and if I downvoted him that would boost me up. How many times have you seen your new track suddenly fall off page one and the track that was immediately below you go up by a fraction of a point in the same 5 minute period? That proves to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this kind of competitive bombing is going on all the time around here.

I like what you had going with the 20+ votes deal- at least it's a filter to differentiate the cream from the crap. The problem is, though, anything that never sticks near the top of a chart for a reasonable period of time might take at least 10 days to get 20 votes, assuming the author doesn't get bored with high fiving his own material each day to compete with the level 13 jerk who's been air mailing him a goose egg each night. By then the track would be without any hope of ever getting recognized anyway. And since no human could neither physically nor objectively judge each vote on its intentions, and no computer could ever be programmed to make that kind of judgment, an overall rule is the best bet.

Unfortunately if that track is shit, and the author and his friend and maybe the dog on a proxy server voted on it over three days to get it up to where it was then ideally I should be able to put my two cents in. But I'd be willing to sacrifice that little bit of satisfaction to promote overall fairness toward my own material as well as everyone else's.

One thing that would really help would be if NG would actually promote the audio portal. On the front page audio gets a 505 by 185 pixel rectangle and that's IT. 93,425 pixels is a big number but it's not much for promotion. Each and every flash receives hundreds of votes at minimum and even my oldest audio barely scrapes 150. More people in the world listen to music than those who play games - thus the discrepancy is explained obviously. Voting flash gets you XP here, and voting music gets you nothing. Encouragement of more honest votes here would really help the audio portal, even if no changes in actual voting rules were implemented.

Speaking of XP, how come we don't get it for reviewing? Or for rating reviews? No incentive at all. So I agree with your last point 100%.
And believe me, I wish I could go and review every track I think is shit and tell the author why. Of course, I COULD do this... At the expense of possibly having my own material bombed back to the stone age. If reviews were encouraged, and there were more reviews, if people were forced to review a track after so many votes like I mentioned in point 3 above, this would make my 'job' a lot easier. On top of that, constructive criticism is only a good thing, so everyone wins. And since the author on the receiving end of my review would be bound by the same rules proposed in my news post, the malicious repercussions against me would be an option only to those who don't care if Newgrounds' userbase can see plainly they're a cockroach.

A thought I had this morning after reading your comment was a "featured reviewers" section on the front page. This would give a little more esteem to those of us who think critically about what we hear, and well-argued reviews, be they positive or negative, would garner us a little bit of credit of our own. And this would give reviewing itself a lot more value, which would be good for reasons we've already established.

This has been an extraordinarily long response, and I have to piss, and I want a cigarette, and if the procrastination demons permit me I have to get some work done on my current audio project. So, yeah, thanks for the comment!


2009-02-12 16:44:04

A good way to get around the zero bombing is leaving good reviews yourself on other's music. Because I have come to find out that if you take the time to put forth a good review and vote for someone, they will return the favor.

My stuff always stays at the top of the charts, and I don't vote on any of my own work. I've just spent a ton of time leaving constructive reviews for people. And especially the ones that I know are working hard, but just don't have that polished sound yet.

The audio nooblets I guess you could call them. :-)

They are always eternally grateful for good advice, and almost always return the favor with votes of confidence in your music. So my songs get zero bombed every single time I get to the top of the charts. But they always rise again soon because I have a lot of people who think my work is good, and they stop by to balance the bombing out.

Although, it isn't a guaranteed or perfect system by any matter, it does work. Because most of the time when I get a song in the top of the charts, I get at least one worthwhile review from someone. And maybe a vote or two that is worthwhile before getting bombed. The reviews are the important ones though, rather than the votes.

So for the most part, if you help teach people things, and give inspiration to them as well, it can all balance out.


P.S. - Nifty tunes btw. :-P