Sunday, January 20, 2013

Imperfection


Imperfection 130120

We have entered the final phase of the DANCE QUEENS Dance Awards for 2012 (The Cutie Awards). All of the details are documented on the page for the awards. This note is not about the details, rather it is about the perspective I am developing as we go through this.

Of all the things that DANCE QUEENS has done, none comes even close to the level of interest and intensity of interest that the Cutie Awards have generated. I am having many conversations about the Awards of which at least ten a day are about concerns with the awards. Let me call them issues.

Issues have been raised about every aspect of the awards. These are things like whether to have them at all, how the nominations are done, the inconsistencies of documentation, the nominations committee members, the selection process for the final list of candidates, to "why was my performance not on the list" and on and on. All of these issues are real and legitimate. 

For the first time DANCE QUEENS is moving from just sharing of information to recognition of performance excellence. I think all of us to some degree are proud of the dance work we do and to put this into any type of competitive environment causes all sorts of emotions to flow. 

Many of the issues raised are aimed at the fairness of the Cutie Awards process. I have concluded that the process is imperfect even unfair in some ways. I designed the process and outlined it last November. Of course, my intent was not to have an unfair process. Each of you had an opportunity to comment on the process, but as is often the case, there were not many comments. Since this is the first time we have done anything like this, there are some things I did not anticipate. In a sense we are learning as we go along.

Although the design of the process may have elements that make us uncomfortable, I can say that the process has been operated pretty much as designed. 

One person described this as the 'beta' Cutie Awards. That made me laugh because I think it's a good description of this first effort. Imperfection it is. BUT, there are some really significant pluses that are coming out of this in terms of enthusiasm, awareness of other's performances, development of the dance community and recognition of excellence.

I know that some of you are quite frustrated and a few even angry. Please, channel that energy into the effort that will follow the 2012 Awards Ceremony of improving the process. I don't think we will reach perfection ever, but we have started.

xxx
Nottoo


15 comments:

  1. You call them imperfections. I call them something a little stronger.

    First of all let me state, I am not a dance queens member. Whilst my partner is, I am looking at this personally pretty much from an outsiders point of view.

    The issues that you have been talking about from my understanding is a gross conflict of interest.

    In your "outline" you talk about a "committee of DANCE QUEENS members". I am looking at this post and immediately I am asking the question. How is the committee formed? Do they represent all forms of dance? Will the committee be working as a team to reduce the numbers down to 7 per category. Also why 7 per category? Why not put them all into the voting and then only announce the top 7 or even top 5 at the awards ceremony itself?

    In addition it was not made clear if committee members were allowed to be nominated, and if they were whether they would have any part in the selection process. Also it was not made clear how such conflict of interest would be avoided. At this point I will point out that it does not matter is the process that took place in Jan 2013 was done properly or fairly.

    What is vital to the success of the awards and to the reputation of the Dance Queens is that the process is "SEEN TO BE FAIR".

    Allow me to share with you all a couple of examples of how competitions are run by large organizations, there is a specific clause that is fairly standard which I will draw your attention to in more detail.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/competition/rules.shtml
    http://media.americanidol.com/season_12_auditions/ai12_rules.pdf

    I chose those two organizations as they both run competitions that are related to dance. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) runs the strictly come dancing show. And as SL is a US based company, I chose the American Idol program.

    To paraphrase the the relevant parts of the documents. They both say "People running the competition cannot take part in the competition". They also go on to say "People related in any way are not allowed to take part either".

    "Issues" as pointed out in the main post were not made clear in the "outline". There was no mention of the rules of the competition. There was no mention of if the committee members were allowed to take part in the competition.

    This is WHY the ethics of this competition have been called into question.

    If you allow this farce to continue the integrity of a new award will be damaged, maybe even irreparably.

    At this point, I am calling on the Nottoo to step in, show some strength of leadership and make the hard choice.

    For the sake of the community as a whole, I am going to implore you to stop the voting at this stage. Before it is completed.

    Why? So that people can stop crying foul.
    Then what? Call a public meeting, allow both dance queens and non dance queens members alike to attend. Prepare an agenda for the meeting.

    In that agenda, put in all the points that people have raised. Allow everyone their say, regardless of if it is justified or not. You can of course address the issues directly as part of the statement. But address each and every point fairly and objectively. Listen to the concerns that the community have brought forward.

    Someone mentioned it's like a beta test - beta tests can have have been stopped when a fatal floor has been discovered. It gets dealt with then the test is rerun.

    In order for the cuties to be a success, to achieve the objective of bringing the community together, they need to be not only fair, but the process needs to be transparent. The process needs to be SEEN TO BE FAIR.

    Zak Darkfold.
    (cloe.darkfold zak.doulton)

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  2. ... Great info sounds like you know your stuff... where were you in November when she asked for input, and she had no idea the committee were from Florida.

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    1. I did not even know that the group existed. Interesting that you say the committee are from Florida. We were told that the committee did not know each other.

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  4. We could set up a Carny dunk and all the people that are upset (me included) get three tosses to try to dunk her..

    Make her wear post 2010 shoes

    or make her create a new sequence everyday to to a Justen Beaver song till next year

    Many things can be brought to every ones attention about how things should have been done. lets make note and change them for next year.

    The top nominees in the major categories deserve to be there and should be given recognition and awarded.(that is my personal feelings and i am sure most would agree).

    i do agree that members of the committee should not be eligible and on that note i am with drawing my nominations..

    P.S. Please vote for me next year ..thats Diawa Bellic and you can read about me at ffs.OMG.wrong

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    1. Setting up a curry dunk, would just add insult to injury, as would doing any childish punishments that are ultimately meaningless. This really makes a statement that you don't seem to be taking the process seriously at all.

      All the nominees in every category should be treated with the same respect. They were nominated. Just because they are no.8 does not mean their part is any less worthy.

      I am glad to see that you have officially pulled yourself from the voting. I understand that the forms probably can't be edited though. Which means there are categories where nominations are incomplete. Especially those with only 4, 5, or 6 entries when there were more than 7 in the line up to begin with!

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    2. Di ~

      It's not about pulling your nominations *now*. As *now*, nothing can be done about it. So really, it's just taking up a space, because the forms will not be edited, and even if they were, no one who has already voted can go back and re-vote.

      There are a lot of HARD working dancers that got passed over for those categories where committee members remained. It all comes down to a question of ethics, as Zak pointed out in his original comment, several times I believe. And in regards to your comment before this, Di, about where was Zak when the process was outlined in November... it was not stated in the affirmative or the negative about whether committee members would be allowed to keep their nominations and knock others out of the running completely. I'm pretty sure most of us (myself included) assumed that if people were chosen from the committee, their nominations would be forfeit... because that's how it's done everywhere else.

      Some of us have had to make that choice in RL... keep a nomination, or be on a committee choosing who's nominated. Never is it both, because the ethical organization of such event does not allow for both.

      So while I'm sure some may appreciate you officially withdrawing your nominations, perhaps the process could've accounted for this sooner, rather than waiting until some hard working dancers had their opportunities taken away from them. Suggestion for next year, if there's enough support to keep it going, I guess.

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  5. Thank you for the comments. I think all of us can now see some of feelings that people have expressed about the Cutie Awards and the process we are following. I have gotten quite a few suggestions and ideas about the process, although very few with the intensity expressed by Zak Darkfold. I do want to clarify that the Nominations Committee members were selected based on specifc criteria that I posted and represent a good cross-section of DANCE QUEENS members. In the nominatins process each Committee member was allowed up to seven selections in each category with more than seven nominations EXCEPT in categories in which he/she or a his/her group were nominated. Nomination Committee members were not allowed to vote for themselves or his/her own group. All of this was included in the many notes about the Cutie Awards. The process we are following has been posted prior to following it and I have asked for input from members about it. Almost no input was given before we followed it and we have followed the process pretty much as designed. I think the process can be improved and welcome all ideas.

    Although I originally envisioned the Cutie awards as a way of recognizing excellence as selected by dancers in SL, the Awards have also done some very positive things including creating a much greater sense of community in dancing, an awareness of other's performances, an increased emphasis on documentation, and increasing respect for other dancers and styles. I stand by my post that the process is imperfect, but let's have fun with this, finish it, improve it and make dancing even better and more fun.

    xxx
    Nottoo

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    1. So far in my life I have been the chair for several committees, organizations. I have been a leader of educational organizations, bands, charities stretching back over the last 20 years or so. One thing that I have learned is that when one person voices a concern, there will normally be another 100 voices afraid to speak out. In an organization with say, 1000 members, that will be higher. It is best to listen to the undertones of what is happening beyond the ones who are confident and vocal enough to speak out.

      "creating a much greater sense of community" from where I am standing it looks to have had the exact opposite effect.

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    2. Nottoo ~

      Specific criteria... well, let me share with everyone the criteria that you told me you chose committee members off of, just how you wrote them.

      1.) Experience in SL dance

      Ok, great. It doesn't exactly define how MUCH experience someone has in SL dance... only that they have experience. Anyone, from spectator to dancer, has experience in SL dance. They may have a little or a lot, but, again, the amount was not defined. So everyone is eligible at this point.

      2.) Represents a perspective in SL dance

      Believe it or not, everyone represents a perspective in SL dance, because everyone has their own perspective. *Giggles* Now... that said... whether that lines up with other peoples' perspectives and can be categorized in a general GROUP perspective is a completely different story. BUT, again, that's not what this criterion said. All it said is that the individual represents a perspective in SL dance. At this point, everyone is still eligible to be a committee member.

      3.) Works hard

      I think to say that anyone here DOESN'T work hard would be an insult, really. I know plenty of dancers that work just as hard as those chosen for the committee. I know some that, with all due respect, work harder. So what was it that kept them out of the running? EVERYONE here that still does what they do works hard at it. The only ones that don't work hard are weeded out pretty early... because they're the ones that grab a hud and some animations, try it out, and say, "Oh forget this, this is too hard." Those who stick around... like those in this group... work hard to do what they do. So, again, at this point, everyone is still eligible for this committee.

      Based on those three criteria given, and the fact that after looking at those three criteria, EVERYONE was eligible for the committee... it was down to your personal preferences, which hints at a bit of bias, as much as I hate to say it. Do I think that you, yourself, are a biased person, Nottoo? No, not at all. But the unfortunate part of this is that the lack of SPECIFIC criteria forces you to have to use personal bias to select your committee, because the criteria didn't narrow down the choices. In my understanding, that's what criteria are supposed to do.

      Suggestion for next year, I guess, would be more specific criteria for the committee members to be chosen by... and then, of course, the understanding that if they are chosen, they will be forfeiting their nominations... leaving them open to accept to deny the invitation.

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  6. If I might make just a small suggestion...Zak, if you're that interested in all of this, why not join the group? :) Just sayin'....

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    1. I am thinking about joining the group, but will not be seen to be supporting a process that I can clear see crashing and cause a huge amount of distress about the dance community.

      I will likely join the group after the awards if they go ahead. Then I'll be able to be completely vocal and objective in doing what I can to ensure that the process is fair and unbiased next year. And before anyone even thinks about it. If my partner wishes to compete, I will not be part of any committee.

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  7. Gosh it is only the first year...maybe improvements for next time can be made, I dont know, but i personally I want to congratulate the organisers for doing their best.

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    1. Yep, in the first year, I would have expected a little research into what established organizations do to avoid these issues. Only took me 5 minutes to find and read two examples.

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  8. DANCE QUEENS is all about having fun with dancing. The DANCE QUEENS Awards are intended to recognize excellence in dancing ... nothing more. It is not a contest of personalities, organizational skills, research capailities or anything other than to have fun. Unfortunately, some of the discussions above are getting beyond what I believe are reasonable. We are not here for drama. I am takng the very unusual step of cutting off discussion at this point. Any additional posts along this line will be deleted.

    When we review the process for the 2013 Cuties, we can again discuss the process looking to the future.

    xxx
    Nottoo

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