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Monday, August 2, 2010

SpinTunes #2 Planning: Discussion

I figured it was as good a time as any to start planning the next edition of SpinTunes while Kevin & Ross are hard at work. There are a lot of things that could be changed before the next competition starts. Some of them large issues, but most of them small tweaks. This blog will be divided into 3 parts:

1. Things that I've already decided on.
2. Possible major changes.
3. Possible minor changes.

It's Been Decided:
These issues are not open to discussion here. If you really want to, you can catch me in ArtiFiction sometime, and I'll talk with you about them. I won't be debating them on this blog though. You can address the issue, but don't expect a response here.

- I will remain as the alternate judge. It's just so much simpler if I'm the alternate.

- I will be posting my reviews on Spintown, but they will not come into play unless someone fails to do their job.

- There will be no "Entry Round" or "Round Zero". I told people I wanted to go in this direction, because of the high round 1 drop out rate, but I've come up with another solution I want to try. I did this because most people didn't think highly of the whole entry round idea. So expect 4 rounds just like we have now. The change I've got in mind is very minor, and you'll learn about it later.

- I will be running the LP for SpinTunes #2. Jules was a big help this time around, but I think it's best if I take over in the long run. Joe "Covenant" Lamb already offered to do it, and I'll keep him in mind as my back up. (you know....should I totally fuck things up)

Possible Major Changes:
These are things that could change the whole structure of the contest to some degree. Most of these things have been brought up by other people, and I'm more open to change some of these things than others. But I'm willing to listen, and a strong majority opinion could get any of these options included in SpinTunes #2.

- Popular Vote: I'm not a strong supporter of the popular vote, but a number of people have suggested I make it a 6th judge. I will not incorporate the popular vote any more than that; no matter what the majority thinks. So your options are leaving it the way it is, or making it a 6th judge.

- Scoring: A couple people have suggested that I should not reset the scores each round, and go with a cumulative scoring system until the last round. Once again I'm leaning toward leaving things as is, but it's open for discussion. Edric Haleen made some good points about this topic to me...hopefully he'll post them in the comments section.

- I HAVE THE POWER: This is NOT my idea...just to be clear. Joe "Covenant" Lamb actually suggested it. He suggests that I decide on all the challenges myself, and only allow the judges to suggest things to me. He made some good points about what type of challenges should be made, but he didn't sell me on the idea of taking this power away from the judges. As of right now, in the judges meetings, it's a group effort to come up with ideas & decide on things. I of course have veto power if I really don't like something. If I was in charge all by myself the challenges would definitely have been different, but that does not mean better.

Possible Minor Changes:
These are relatively small issues, that aren't a big deal for me to change.

- Molly Lewis Rule: This is a bit hard to decide on at the moment, because the final round is still going on, and I don't know how well my current rule works. If the whole idea of shadows from 3rd round competitors being alternates doesn't work out, I'll need to come up with something different. Right now I'm thinking of having 3-4 people in the final round, but I'm looking for other suggestions as well. I do not want to have someone win by default if it can be avoided.

- Judges Term Length: As of now all the judges will be new each tournament. But if at the end of a contest, everyone is happy with 1 of the judges, would you be against having that judge return for a second tour of duty? I don't know if that will happen, but I want peoples thoughts on the issue. I like having new people being judges, so I don't expect to keep many people for multiple contests in a row.

- Schedule: What were your thoughts on the schedule? I already plan a minor change (extra day between deadline & LP), but is there anything you didn't like about it, or would change? More or less time to record? When things should be announced? This is one of the few areas I did really well with in SpinTunes #1. I only missed 1 self set deadline, and that was only because of a power outage. #BlameHeather

- E-Mail Reminders: Should I e-mail you each round about the challenge & deadline? Personally I think you should be able to find that stuff out on your own. I mean between the blog & SpinTunes Twitter account I didn't expect people to want e-mail reminders for those things. But it's not that hard to do if people want them. I just don't want to spam people if most don't want them.

- Widget: Should I keep the widget or just use bandcamp only? I'm leaning toward getting rid of the widget. It seems a bit unnecessary, and it would make keeping track of the stats easier if everything was in one place. But again....I'll keep it if you want it.

- Shadow CD: Should I place the shadows on their own CD or have a cut off point for submitting shadows?

- Judging Guidelines: Should I give the judges some sort of guidelines to follow while reviewing? Edric had an idea about this I kind of liked, but I would probably modify it slightly. *waits for Edric to post his ideas in the comments*

- SUGGESTIONS: Is there ideas or issues you want to bring up that I haven't mentioned? I know I probably forgot a couple things I meant to bring up.

This blog post is just a place to discuss possible changes. We are not deciding anything here now. I will use your ideas from this discussion, and later create some polls for you to vote on the issues. Then 'I' will decide on matters taking your thoughts & opinions into consideration.


  1. Graham Porter (Emperor Gum)August 2, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    In regards the voting system:
    I have thought long and hard about this, I was even half way through sending you an email with a detailed spreadsheet of an alternative. The problem of cumulative scores is that it handicaps low scoring people going into further rounds. The advantage is that if you come 1st, 1st and 3rd rather than be eliminated you would go through. I consider NOT handicapping people in an amateur song writing contest through cumulative scores the lesser of two evils.

    In regards the judges:
    I have nothing against them all returning. I don't mind if the popular vote becomes a 5th or 6th judge. In regards guidelines for judges, I think they have been fair enough not just to rank them in terms of production value.

    In regards the eliminations:
    I think you should eliminate less people each round and have more people in the final. I think having those eliminated in the third round sorta obliged to write a shadow is a bad idea.

  2. Okay. Here you go. My thoughts...



  3. Popular vote: Yes, as a judge, but I'd keep an odd number of judges. That would mean 4 judges + the popular vote.

    Scoring: I'm for cumulative scoring. It was one of the best changes to Song Fu. The problem there was not cumulative scoring, but that it was 100% popular vote. Then, in the final round discard the cumulative vote and go head to head from a flat start.

    "The Power": I'd keep it with the judges. But with 4 judges (see above) and 4 rounds, there's room for each judge to choose a challenge.

    "Molly Lewis Rule": Would be nice to find another name for it.

    Judges Term Length: Why not multiple terms? But post competition, let the competitors vote judges "off the island"

    Schedule: I'm for a set schedule. A week. It adds that "Iron Chef" sense of urgency.

    Email Reminders: I don't see the need. Tweets and posting on the website should be enough, especially if the schedule were regular.

    Widget: Lose it.

    Shadow CD: Whatever. I'm OK with one CD, but add "SHADOW" to the names of the shadow entries to make it clear.

    Judging Guidelines: I'm 100% in favor. I'd also be in deciding them WHEN the challenge is created and having them posted WITH the challenge so competitors aren't blindsided by hidden criteria. A simple paragraph, "Entries will be judged according to..." would suffice for competitors and judges.

    I know that discussion won't change it, but I'll say it anyway, and it's tied in with cumulative scoring. I think eliminations is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Again, one of the best changes to SF was cumulative scoring, and that included removal of eliminations. One weak round doesn't then eliminate a very strong competitor. The big downside is that it could lead to an unwieldy contest, which could be addressed with an audition round, open to all, with, say, 20 competitors allowed through to compete for 3 rounds.

  4. "I think you should eliminate less people each round and have more people in the final. I think having those eliminated in the third round sorta obliged to write a shadow is a bad idea." - Graham

    Yeah, that's kind of why I'm thinking of just having 3 or 4 in the final round. Other suggestions would be great though.

    Dave: If we go with the pop vote as another judge, I'd probably keep 5 judges. I may want to put something to a vote quickly, and still want an odd number of regular judges.

    Molly should consider it an honor. She inspired a rule of her very own. Honestly it's a crack at Molly, but I do like the girl (and her music).

    Set Schedule...I can attempt to make a more set schedule. But it may not be perfect...holidays & my schedule could come into play.

    Adding (Shadow) to the end of the titles of shadow entries isn't a problem.

    The advice about the guidelines being taken care in the meeting is a good idea...I've got a few things to fix about the judges meeting.


  5. THOUGHTS!!!!


  6. Popular Vote:
    Unlike some, I would not be opposed to making the popular vote be an extra judge. There was a certain amount of thrill in Song Fu to writing music and not knowing who was going to hear it or how they were going to vote on it. Granted, this favored those with an audience, but part of being a musician is having or building an audience. Largely as a result of Song Fu's popular vote, I ended up getting a Twitter and Facebook account, and finally starting a blog. I recognize the problems inherent in a popular vote, but judge-based systems have their own potential problems, such as trying to write only to please the judges, and not promoting songs. Having a mixture of the two makes a certain amount of sense to me. Under the current system, I felt very little incentive to publicize my works. That said, I wouldn't be disappointed if the current system stayed around either.

    Cumulative Scoring:
    Edric made a strong case against it, but I think Dave made a decent case for it. I'm OK either way, but if you were to make it cumulative, the points would have to be normalized as a percentage of total points in each round, so that earlier rounds don't give an unfair weight.

    Judges creating challenges:
    I don't mind letting the judges come up with ideas, as long as Travis has the final say, to ensure that the challenges are fair and generally "doable" for the competitors.

    Maybe mention in the rules that it is acceptable to just upload to a bandcamp page, and submit a link to that. With your permission, I submitted that way each time, and found it to be easy and straightforward without having to attach multiple large files or worry about conversions on your end. Do you know if it's possible to link to a hidden file on bandcamp? Because that would make it possible to submit without making a submission public to the rest of the world.

    As a full-time worker (and having had "mandatory overtime" during much of the duration of the contest), I was glad to have a little extra time in the schedule. Like Kevin, I am restricted largely to the weekends, at least for large-scale recording and mixing. Thus I like having the weekend come near the end of the period. But all that time leading up to it, I'm thinking about the challenge, mentally trying to make sense out it, coming to terms with whichever concept I end up going with, and creating little fragments of lyrics and melody. If the only weekend comes too early in the period, I end up wasting it, because I haven't figured out what I'm doing yet. But I don't mind having two weekends either. :-)

    I don't care for the widget. I just download the zip from bandcamp. I also felt a bit conflicted over whether to publicize the link to the bandcamp page, where people could easily see the songs, or the link to spintunes, where they could vote. In the third round, someone I sent to Spintunes said they just watched Sara's video, because they couldn't find the other songs at first. Also, as a general usability rule, don't use generic words like "here" or "linkage" as the hyperlink text. Hyperlink the actual text that describes what is being linked to.

    Judging Guidelines:
    This is a hard one for me to comment on, because I'm not sure that there is such a thing as completely objective voting. I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't be able to do so. Music contains a certain amount of subjectivity, and I'm not sure its desirable or possible to restrict the judges from considering their subjective response at some level. It is useful to know what judges think of various elements (concept vs. music vs. lyrics vs. production, for example), but that can be described in the comments, at least when something stands out.

  7. Having just read Edrics post, I would like to say that I agree with him that the judges should confer and agree as to WHO fulfilled the parameters of the challenge right away, and eliminations whould be 1. those who didn't submit at all 2.those who didn't follow the challenge and then when they are all agreed they can 3.judge the ones who did follow it. I say that knowing that some judges thought that my song didn't meet the first challenge. Of course, an appeals process would be nice for competitors also. I am still more then ready to argue my case that I did, literally, follow the challenge *grin*. I am a very literal minded person. (There was no "either" statement in the challenge- implied is not stated!)
    Edrics second point which I liked was the idea of announcing the next challenge the same night as the results are posted, or (even better) at the end of the listening party. By the end of the LP I was all revved up and ready to start working on ideas for the next song, maybe others felt the same. Waiting for the judges results, or for 24 hours after the judges results cooled the engine a little, I would rather go from inspired by others right into the next one. Also, for folks who really need more time/weekends to work on thier songs due to regular work, this would give them a little extra breathing space.

  8. I typed out a LONG response and blogspot burped and it disappeared into electronic ether.

    This is good. I will be briefer. I like the idea of the Popular Vote having the same weight as a judge. But, I think the judges scores should be Olympic Figure Skating style, where the HIGH score and LOW score are tossed out, and the remaining four scores are tallied. That way, no ONE judge (including the Popular Vote) could skew the vote enough to eliminate someone or have someone move on. I still think the Popular Vote should be used as a tie-breaker, even if the Popular Vote was discarded as a HIGH or LOW vote for one of the contenders.

    I liked the mix and balance of judges in SpinTunes #1. I think ALL of them did a great job. They were honest, diligent and fair. I didn't always agree with them, but I generally understood their point of view.

    Joe lent the prestige of being a Song Fu Master. It would be nice to find another Song Fu Master or Song Fight or Nur Ein winner to be a judge.

    Niveous gave us the perspective of Nur Ein and SongFight. This kept SpinTunes from just being Song Fu-Lite.

    Jules was a great team member. Not just her hosting the Listening Parties. But I think with the exposure from her blog and her own Geeky-celebrity brought a new audience into the mix.

    Sammy knew Song Fu and songwriting and has a rep as an outspoken reviewer of Song Fu and Song Fight on SpinTown. I appreciate his shoot-from-the-hip, "I'll call it exactly as I see it" approach.

    And Heather. In many ways Heather embodies the Spirit of SpinTunes. There was no "reason" for her to be a judge other than her own interest and enthusiasm. Her reviews were in many ways the kindest and most encouraging. I think that played a very important role in SpinTunes success. Heather was a sober Paula to Sammy's Simon. I think SpinTunes #1 ran smoothly, fairly, was exciting and fun and I blame Heather! :)

    If you are looking for new judges, I would look for people who could fill similar roles to your existing crew, to maintain the diversity and balance that you have.

    If you could cajole other Song Fu Masters or Finalists into being judges, that would be cool. I wonder if you could talk any of the RiffTones or Berg and/or Jerry into it? Maybe Mike Lombardo or Jeff MacDougall. I would LOVE to see a tradition of the WINNER of the current SpinTunes do a tour of duty as a judge for the NEXT SpinTunes!

    It would be nice to have celebrity judges. Professional Songwriters or Music Industry insiders. Or people with a large Internet following. Len Peralta. Wil Wheaton. Paul and Storm. Widget Walls. Ken Plume (I'm absolutely serious. Maybe Joe could ask him). Hank Green or Alan Lustafka would be PERFECT! They bring Internet Celebrity, their skills as professional songwriters, and are Independent Music Industry Insiders.

    As far as the challenges go. I like the idea of a song about a specific subject that would appeal to a specific demographic. It was easy to talk my friend Marc Fishman into doing an article for ComicMix.com when there were such a direct tie in. You might try to think of challenges that will have a large fan-base of their own outside of the songs.

    I don't want to get TOO specific. The Mole-Man challenge from Song Fu left us with a bunch of clever songs that make NO sense outside of their mole-man context.

    Ha! And this is SHORTER than my comments that got eaten!

    Anyway, thanks for the SpinTunes.

  9. "I think everyone here would agree that Edric performed consistently better than I did across the span of the contest. He came in 1st place twice; I came in 1st place once... but by a stroke of luck, the challenge I won was the round that led to the finals." -Kevin

    Don't short change yourself. I see the first 3 rounds as being the regular season in baseball...you don't have to be in first place, but you need to put yourself in playoff position. You did that, now your in the playoffs...and now you or Ross HAVE to win. You could have the best record in baseball all season long, then lose in the first round of the playoffs.

    "That one little bit of uncertainty for the next round of competitors seems to be the only reason to swap judges out every time." -Kevin

    Judges no matter how fair they are, will have certain types of styles they like or dislike more than others. And if someone has a particular style that 1 or 2 of the judges is not much of a fan of, they would probably like to see a fresh batch of judges each time. Otherwise they might feel like they don't have much of a shot a winning. That's one of the reasons I want to keep bringin in new judges.

    "Just call shadows shadows. Since you're not guaranteed to receive an album's worth of them, keeping them with the regular submissions makes more sense." -Kevin

    For now at least, I went & added "(Shadow)" to each shadow song on the profiles page & the bandcamp page.

    Weekends: I will attempt to give people a weekend toward the end of each challenge...this seems to be important to multiple people.

    " Under the current system, I felt very little incentive to publicize my works." -Caleb

    That's one of the reasons that sort of left me open to changing it's role in the contest.

  10. "Maybe mention in the rules that it is acceptable to just upload to a bandcamp page, and submit a link to that." -Caleb

    Technically I guess it is mentioned since I say you can use hosting services, but I will directly mention bandcamp in the next edition. It is by far the easiest way to share everything. The next time I will not need MP3's at all though, so the submission rules were going to be a little different anyways.

    "Judging Guidelines: This is a hard one for me to comment on, because I'm not sure that there is such a thing as completely objective voting." -Caleb

    Right now I'm thinking along the lines of making sure all the judges are on the same page in terms of what song meets the challenge...encouraging song notes on songs if needed & having judges read them. I don't think I meant to imply that I want to take the subjectivity away from judges.

    "I still think the Popular Vote should be used as a tie-breaker" -Russ

    If we do use a popular vote as a 6th judge, I will probably just use the 5 judges in tie breakers.

    "I think the judges scores should be Olympic Figure Skating style, where the HIGH score and LOW score are tossed out, and the remaining four scores are tallied." -Russ

    I'm not sure about that. I mean the judges are going to take time & effort into ranking & reviewing them...so I don't really want to throw out anyones vote because it's too high or low in comparison to someone else.

    " It would be nice to find another Song Fu Master or Song Fight or Nur Ein winner to be a judge." -Russ

    I am looking into doing just that, but not just because someone happens to have won one of those competitions, but because I know a few people I think would make good judges....who happen to have won those competitions. I have a list of people I want to ask...Mike Lombardo, Glenn Case, Jeff MacDougall are on that list, but I won't officially ask anyone until after SpinTunes #1, and the rules are sorted out. (except Dave...he's already going to be a judge)

    "and I blame Heather!" -Russ

    You can only blame Heather for the bad things. :p

    "It would be nice to have celebrity judges. Professional Songwriters or Music Industry insiders." -Russ

    Bryce already suggested this (or at least using music bloggers) awhile back, and it is something I considered as well. I'd like to get people with a background in music & a strong following, but the most important thing to me is getting people I can trust. People I know a little, and will be reliable. I'm a fan of MOST of the people you mentioned, but don't KNOW any of them well. I still might try to ask someone like Hank or Alan down the road, but most of the judges will not have a huge level of internet fame.

    "You might try to think of challenges that will have a large fan-base of their own outside of the songs" -Russ

    If a challenge happens to be something I think I can get some free press from...I'll try. But I don't think we'll be going into the judges meeting thinking about making challenges that could get press. I spammed countless blogs, twitters & e-mails during the round 1 challenge. Only 1 person replied...and it was just the other day that someone did reply...weeks after the e-mail. I am grateful to your friend though, and anyone else to tries to bring attention to the artists in the contest.

    Thanks for the feedback....keep it coming.

  11. Popular Vote:
    I'm not a fan of the popular vote. I would prefer 5 judges with Spin as the tie breaker.

    I think it's fine just the way it is.

    The Power:
    As a contestant I don't really care how you come up with the challenges. If I were a judge I'd like to have some influence.

    Molly Lewis Rule:
    I think that you should have at least 3 competitors in the final.More than that if you actually think someone might drop out.

    Judge Term Length: I don't care if the judges repeat as long as they give everyone a fair shake. I think it's important that you keep a diversity of tastes on the judging panel.

    I think that the schedule was fine. It was long enough to be able to do it but not so long that you could really procrastinate too much. I agree with the other folks who would like to have a weekend near the end of the songwriting period.

    E-mail reminders:
    Not necessary

    Don't need it

    Shadow CD:
    No opinion

    Judging Guidelines:
    I like the idea of the judges agreeing on whether a song meets the challenge or not.

  12. I am not in favor of the popular vote as a judge.

    One tradition at nur ein is that the winner is a judge for the next one. That might be a fun way to begin mixing up the judging a bit.

    I don't have feelings about most of the other discussion topics here.

  13. Right now I do plan on offering you or Kevin the option of judging in SpinTunes #2. Just waiting to see who I get to make that offer to. Of course if you or Kevin would rather compete, that's great as well.

  14. -Popular Vote: I like the 6th judge idea (although I also like Dave's idea of making it a 5th judge and cutting to 4 human judges... ya know, for math reasons.)

    -Scoring: I am -against- cumulative scoring (that's speaking as the person who would be, I think, 1st alternate, if we were using it). Resetting the scoring made things a lot more interesting (as a competitor anyway) than Song Fu ever was, in my opinion. Anybody can win and anybody can screw up, regardless of past performance.

    -TEH POWERZ: Not being privy to the judges meetings I can't really comment on how it happened this round, but having five people try to determine the challenges strikes me as likely being a "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation. I would be fine with either way, though, not having any real evidence of problems with either approach.

    Molly Lewis Rule: Change the name. I think 3 finalists would be about right, maybe slightly more exciting than 2. Plus we could go Gold/Silver/Bronze medals. :p

    Judges Term Length: Hard to say. I think it would be best if at least one judge (maybe more like 2) "cycled out" per contest. Alternately, you could just say that a judge can only do two iterations of Spintunes (whether that's "in a row" or "in total, ever" is up to you).

    Schedule: The length of each wait seemed just about right other than possibly the length of judging time for the first round (but I get the reason for that -- 11 more entries were expected). I think setting the length of time for recording at something solid for each round might be better. My personal vote is 8 days.

    Email Reminders: Well, it's probably worth noting that the whole world isn't on Twitter right now and the blog doesn't have so much as an RSS feed as far as reminders (or does it?). The whole point of a reminder is in case the person wasn't already checking. I don't personally see what would be difficult (since I thought you already had a Spintunes distribution list anyway?) about sending out an email when the challenge is posted -- all that would need to be in the mail is "The challenge is over here: (link)". And then maybe one email say 2-3 days before the deadline that could just be a copy/pasted #ticktock tweet. All of that said, -I- don't need this at all, I'm always acutely aware of when the next announcement/deadline is coming up. :p

    Widget: Having the music in two places is confusing. However I think the worst thing is that the voting is only available in once place. I've been linking people the blog in my promotional materials because at least that puts voting and listening in one place. I have a fear that the public might become apathetic to voting (or worse, listening) if they have to go to two places. (Being a tech support analyst I'm used to people being lazy or thick about this sort of thing though, that might be coloring my perception. :P)

    Shadow CD: Don't care about the separate album. I see no particular reason to cut off shadow submissions unless it's because you don't want to bother with the possibility of the album never being "complete" (which is valid enough).
    Judging Guidelines: Yes, but somewhat like the Popular Vote issue I think it'd be best to try this one round and then re-asses. If I had any single complaint about the judging (don't take this wrong, judges ;) it would be that the internal logic/justification/whatever for why songs were ranked as they were was not always understandable or consistent.

    No suggestions at the moment. I'll post them as they occur to me.

  15. After the Round 4 verdict, I'll be posting a lot more thoughts. For the time being, I just want to share that, right now, the notion of an alternative to the Molly Lewis rule feels like far more than a minor change to me, especially with me having placed third in Round 3, so many people already showing support for the idea of a larger number of finalists, and yet both finalists having turned out to come through with Round 4 entries :)

    I really appreciate the idea of not wanting a situation where someone could win by default. But "a shadow might not be a shadow" is a *really* difficult position to be in. Survivor used to have two finalists but moved to three. Project Runway has three. I'd definitely throw my hat in the ring for the idea of having as many finalists as would be thought necessary to sufficiently ensure that at least two would come through with submissions. This would not only address the win-by-default issue without having "shadow might not be a shadow," it would also likely make for increased quantity and quality of output in the final round, more people with more of a stake, and therefore in the end a more exciting unknown in the final round.

    More thoughts to come...

  16. Another possibility...

    SpinTunes #2.

    Assemble a pool of competitors.

    Have four rounds of challenges. (Don't hyperventilate yet -- it's a good idea. Hang on.)

    No eliminations. Judging as in SpinTunes #1:

    Round #1: Top two are given a spot in the final round.

    Round #2: Top two are given a spot in the final round. (It's possible someone may "repeat.")

    Round #3: Top two are given a spot in the final round.

    Round #4: Top two are given a spot in the final round.

    FINAL ROUND: The people (up to eight of them) who made it into a "top two" spot sometime in the previous four rounds duke it out for the title.

    It encourages quality.

    It encourages people to improve.

    If early winners want to use it as a "bye," swell. But early winners can force the finals pool to be SMALLER by striving for "repeat wins." They can effectively eliminate competition in the finals. The finals round could be as small as two people, if they're really whiz-bang at meeting the challenges.


  17. I've just published two posts inspired by my SpinTunes experience.

    One is a more personal description, a blog of sorts:

    The other describes more general thoughts on songwriting contests and how they could be run:

    Many of the things mentioned in these posts, especially the second one, serve as feedback to the kinds of things being talked about here for SpinTunes. Some of the suggestions in the second post probably go outside of the bounds of the kind of contest SpinTunes may want to be, but most or all of what's in that post would probably be of interest to a lot of people associated with SpinTunes.

    If you've read some other things of mine, you know I can write a bit long. And these posts are no exception! At the beginning of the second one, though, you can see a quick summary of my recommendations and suggestions, in case you want just some bullet points. If you want more detail, then, both in the thoughts post itself as well as the experience post that includes some of what led to many of those thoughts, believe me, the detail is there for you!

    One last note. As you'll see if you read the first post on my experience, I discovered pitch correction with my Round 3 entry and then used it again for Round 4. That accounts for an improvement you may hear in the vocals from those later two rounds over the two rounds before. You'll see in my experience post how I came to justify using this feature as something other than cheating. For posterity, I've gone ahead and corrected the pitch on the vocals for my entries for the first two rounds. I'm hoping the revised recordings will end up at BandCamp soon. A note in that section of my experience post will be updated to indicate if and when they are available. I don't expect to change opinions too much. Pitch correction can't turn me into a great singer. But, when the revisions are available, I hope you'll give a listen, and I hope that maybe you'll think at least a bit better of them compared to first impressions.

    Mark a.k.a. OHB

  18. Since the votes are going up for the SpinTunes #2 format in the newer post, I'll make another argument in support of my preference to keep the "start fresh" method for each round.

    Edric already made a compelling case against cumulative scoring, considering that competitors can be logically eliminated from the finals an entire round early.

    I just wanted to go further into depth on this for those who may have missed it the first time around. I think this contest has a superior format by not relying on a popular vote... I don't want to see the judges' panel get compromised. And it's precisely *because* we don't have a popular vote that Edric's argument holds water.

    There is a fixed number of points available to be distributed amongst the competitors. Furthermore, those points are earned under different circumstances each round because the challenge is different every time. Cumulative scoring under a contest like this is effectively double-counting points earned elsewhere under circumstances that no longer apply to the challenge at hand.

    I think people are trying to get a handle on the scoring system by comparing it to other contests/activities, but some of the other things it's being compared to aren't quite accurate. Remember, Travis is a sports guy.

    Let's imagine a football game between the Bills and the Patriots. The Bills kick the Pats' asses, winning by 28 points. Meanwhile, the Dolphins play the Cowboys and win by 7 points.

    Next week, the Bills play the Dolphins. Should the game start Bills 21, Dolphins 0? Of course not. It's a new game. You can't reward the Bills points for being better than the Patriots when they're competing against the Dolphins.

    The analogy isn't exactly perfect, but it illustrates why it doesn't make sense to keep counting the points earned in previous rounds of the contest. The challenge is new every time, so the score needs to reset every time.

  19. As I've thought more about eliminations vs. cumulative scoring, I've thought about what Edric said above -- http://spintunes.blogspot.com/2010/08/spintunes-2-planning-discussion.html?showComment=1281633139917#c3763869475891299457 -- and I think something along these lines might be worthwhile. I'd suggest some tweaks to add some key benefits without taking any away.

    Win a round, you're an automatic finalist. Three rounds before the finals = up to three guaranteed finalists, depending on the possibility of repeat wins. If there were to be 4 finalists, then that would mean at least one spot would still be open, possibly as many as three, again depending on repeat wins. How to fill the spot(s)? Preferential voting based on the final results of the first three rounds, excluding the already-finalists since they already have their final round spots.

    I've already recommended preferential voting as a way to take judges' results and arrive at solid and meaningful results for each round. One can then take those rounds' results as if they themselves are three individual voters expressing ranked preferences, and preferential voting would then reveal something very much like a cumulative vote.

    Benefits are all the same as what Edric mentioned, but also:

    --It guarantees a specific desired number of people in the final round, where the idea already seems to be to make it a large enough number to address the winner-by-default concern but small enough to be an exciting and tight final match.

    --If you win a round, you don't need to prove consistency, nor do you need to worry about flukey timing, e.g., whether you won round 1 or round 3 doesn't matter, you won, so you're in. If you didn't win a round, then you do need to worry about consistent performance across the first three rounds. Thus, it strikes a nice balance in getting good things from both worlds in terms of what people argue about over eliminations vs. cumulative scoring. And in that, sense, it can let everyone be happy no matter how they voted in the election between these two things, because both would be present.

    Mark a.k.a. OHB