Monday, February 4, 2013

YUMMY - #11 - A Good Start

The purpose of the Cutie Awards, as I understand it was:

To recognize and reward talented offerings from singles, couples, groups, venues, products, events, service providers, and vendors of and to the dance community for the previous year with a ceremony and some type of decision-making process that isolates one or more  entities for their oustanding achievement(s). To that end, the Cutie Awards was a good start.

A primary purpose of this post is to start a dialogue by offering ideas to get people contributing to improving the process by making it more equitable or at least give the appearance of being more equitable than 2012 by creating ways to honor those offerings whose talent is, while notable, their reach as far as exposure might have them at a disadvantage of the more well-established and well-exposed talent. due to venue size, attendance, performance schedule, number of performances, culture, or newness while not penalizing those who are getting great exposure.

Below are an assembly of ideas posited to me by people as well as a few of my own.

I don't want to end up just being a loud opinionated-voice that is a non-contributor  and for  a second time yet....when asked to participate in the 'process'.

I was hoping someone else would step forward (this being such a hot-seat) with ideas but I guess someone needs to take a chance and start it off.

I wanted to have at least have several ideas to contribute not just from me but from others as well and and so here are a list of 16  ideas that you are invited to voice opinions in in a way that helps to advance the chances of having a 2013 Cutie Awards:

I welcome additions and modifications to the list of ideas since this is has been deemed OUR process.
If you voice disapproval, please, please try to provide an alternative. If you say you are REALLY opposed to one or more ideas then please idenfity ideas that you do show support for, if any.

1 - Divide award categories into 2 groups...the large exposure (red) and the small exposure  (blue) entities (singles, couples, groups,  venues, products, events, service providers, and vendors)  This means each category could be voted on in each group.  If you are up for an award as an individual and you dance at a large venue, or large and small venue, then you will  qualify as a blue-group contestant. If exposure does not factor into it then that entity (singles, couples, groups, venues, products, events, service providers, and vendors) will fall into the red-exposure group.

2 - Red vs Blue would take into account, a) group membership size (25 as dividing line?) , b) average traffic c) number of weekly events (1 vs 2 or more?)  d) aggregate weekly traffic
e) number of videos posted on DQ, f) approx. number of videos posted featuring the an individual, g) size of venue a dancer belongs to, h) frequency with which their name or identifier appears in DQ

I think Nottoo could decide 'dividing lines' but if she wishes to remain completely uninvolved in the process then maybe a poll should be posted and people can vote on where dividing lines from a multiple choice should lie?

3 - Each group (red-blue) could have a panel (could be last years winners for RED?) that decides who the 'decision-makers' will be?...even how many? The panel can elect themselves or others as decision-makers. The decision-makers then decide which
rules they wish to follow including max. number of nominees and how nominees and winners well be decided.

    Decision by votes or by the judges themselves for example or a combination. This would work well for the Red group with lots of options. The Blue group would need to be selected perhaps from non-winners and perhaps even the unnominated
if the idea is to recognize a wider pool of talent from the less-exposed. Those who wished to be on the panel submit their names and then there can be a vote.

4 - Every contestant up for an award is allowed time to submit a 90-second video of their performance or collage such that voters have a chance to witness all nominees for a given category. Those entrants having to do with choreographed-to-a-tempo should have
because its unfair to edit a video to make the performance follow the tempo if you are judging ones talent to match dance and tempo to submit unedited works to be fair.

5 - If 4 is adopted then voting should be done solely on the 90 second video and perhaps submission of other videos should be suppressed during the open-voting category. Seems unfair to allow long videos to compete against short videos.

6 -  Major-Entity Voting - Each entity gets 1 vote and you can't vote for yourself or for anyone in your Major-Entity must have existed prior to the current year. The definition of a major-entity can be honed and refined but in essence it would be a venue or something of similar weight.

7 - The margin of win between 1st and 2nd place should be posted (this adds some transparency and credibility)

8 - Previous winners are ineligible to win in same category in 2 successive years

9 - Previous winners are ineligible to be nominated in same category in 2 successive years

10 - Allow sponsors pay to perform at the award ceremonies - equal value - money for recognition

11 - The prior year's winners serve as judges for the subsequent year.

12 - Nottoo or an specially-appointed person decides winners in case of ties.

13 - Only those nominated in a category can vote for a winner in that category. If you don't vote you are eliminated from becoming a winner. You can not vote for yourself.

14 - You can be nominated for an unlimited number of categories but you can only win in X categories. If nominated for more than X categories then you must choose which X you want to be
     considered for. If you win more than X then the person with the 2nd most votes wins..And so on. You must prioritize the categories from most to least desirable.

15 - Allow a 'Best and Favorite' choice for each category such that a person who feels unqualified to judge technical merit can still voice their approval for the most likable entity. You could only
vote for one or the other but not both. You could end up with 2 winners...A best and A favorite OR you could just take the one (best of favorite) with the most votes.
So You Think You Can Dance boasts that it is about Americas Favorite Dancer, so the idea of acknowledging Favorite is not foreign to dance contests.

16 - A new category should be added for those venues that are training-grounds for new talent since they should be honored for their unique goodwill offering. I think here just being nominated  and just letting new people know that such places exist where you can learn and make mistakes without the scrutiny that comes from established venues would be worth this new additional category.
This might fall in the Blue group.

It appears that some offerings here go the extra mile to try and satisfy all involved in a more fair balanced way.

It this list appears to be garner a large outcry of sham, too one-sidededness or feel there is an agenda one way or the other then I will remove it as fast as I put it up without blinking an eye.

And this is Yummy's and others taste of things



  1. I'm sorry to be negativce, Yummy, but I do want to point out that hobbling troupes because they won previously doesn't seem to me to be a way to encourage or promote the best in category. Obviously I am not only saying that because it would render any effort we make this year irrelevant - we do not perform our show for the Dance Queens group, though we are delighted when we meet any of them.
    As you have asked for alternatives, I will offer just this: Divide the awards into "technical" and "popular" categories. Many people are not qualified to judge the quality of an animation - let that be a technical field, judged by a committee.
    Assume that shows that draw a large crowd do so because they are doing something right, and allow them to be popular. Anyone who is performing a show without regard to how it pleases an audience need not enter that category.
    Also, it has to be said, and I say it as someone who has served on many of them: A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and quietly strangled (att: Sir Barnett Cocks (1907 - 1989))

  2. "committee" - A group of the unwilling, chosen by the unfit, to do the unnecessary ...or... A group of people who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.

    I was/am expecting negativity but I don't consider your reply as negative. I think that having 2 types of groups gives you the flexiblity to choose which rules you wish to follow...unless you feel it imporrtant to be able to dictate which rules both groups follow. Allowing a choice for a group as opposed to imposing a rule needlessly to both groups from one group, should, I think, allow people to decide whats best for their exposure-level. The Red group could remove all restrictions on repeat winners and nominees but the Blue group might find it more beneficial if its in their interest to widen the net of recognition tot he smaller entities.

    I like your idea about technical vs popular, which I tried to express using "best" vs "favorite".

    "Assume that shows that draw a large crowd do so because they are doing something right, and allow them to be popular." We could have a category called "Largest Aggregate Crowd" which would be easy because it wouldnt require voting.

  3. I think you're making it too hard! There has to be some easier way than requiring groups to attend to all these rules just to be measured against other groups.

    It should go without saying that I liked the awards as they were. I think the popularity of a show could be an excellent indicator as to how the show performs - "bums on seats" and all that. I'll agree that could be manipulated - and likely will be, now that people realise what winning means to them :-)

    I have always believed that SL is prone to little cults and cliques, and I guess there would be a concerted effort, now, to have your clique join the Dance Queens group so you can marshall their votes. I think it's important to stress that did NOT happen this year, to my knowledge, and as we won 8 awards I think we are a very good example to use. Clearly, more people who liked us voted than people who liked other troupes. I think,this year, the process suffered from apathy, which is a very common affliction in my experience as a community manager.

    I think there should be as wide as possible a field for initial "entries". Then, I guess, some way for a nomination committee to "vet" the entries and choose a field. Then voting. And honestly, isn't the voting what everyone's objecting to? I lack any insider information, but it seems to me, from reading all the valuable air time that's been given to anonymous, that they object either to the way my group was nominated, or the way we gained enough votes to win.

    So do we focus on the voting process? Should it be made somehow "more" democratic than "one dancer = one vote"? Should more air time be given to publicising the vote, and the need to vote? And once a decision is made, do we then get to ignore whingers, safe in the knowledge that we have the one true democratic process?

    On another string, someone commented that it's Nottoo's group, and she has the right to decide how it's run, what it does, and how she runs what it does. That's really very true. I have never found her to be in any way partial in the events she runs, and I think she runs a really terrific event.

    I think it's clear some of us want some measure of what we do. I have already admitted to putting pressure on her (yes, I sent a notecard before the voting closed, I wanted to have my say before we lost and looked like bad losers *gulp*). I feel really bad now that I know it's contributed to her withdrawing her amazing energy fomr the event and possibly the group. That's a TERRIBLE outcome, so I think however we move forward from this, it's important that we protect those who oversee the process.

    I don't want to be forced out of competing because we won this year. I want to win again next year - even more so now that our wins have been slurred! I also think that all these rules will affect the functionality of troupes. What do I tell new dancers? "Welcome Aboard, I'm afraid you'll be unable to compete this year, because we won last year, but 2015 is looking great!". I have my sim limited to try and assist the show - shall I draw the sim number lower so I can get in a better category?

    All that said, I guess I am waiting for the other voices to join into this conversation, and prove they are not the trolls I suspect them of being. But a part of me hopes that so many voices will join in to say "it was great, let's do it again", that it will magically undo all the negativity, and allow us to do it all again next year. It bothers me that we broke something, and we will never get it back now.

  4. My end of feedback, no idea how better to do the voting.

    How hard is it too record SL on Windows and Macs? Could we tie in recordings of shows from smaller groups somehow? Think I would prefer ta see a series of small shows featuring 10 - 15 minutes from 5 or 6 groups on the run up too the voting for the next awards. Nothing mega, like the big DQ festival, more demos of each groups shows?

    On my end, have got ta make a proper effort at getting my note cards sorted from this years show and get them too N2 for next years MC (if its not me and if there is one).

    ~ Nai

  5. What do I tell new dancers? "Welcome Aboard, I'm afraid you'll be unable to compete this year, because we won last year, but 2015 is looking great!". Simply allow the highly-exposed entities to repeat wins. It was just an option for the less-exposed entities but even they can choose to disregard that rule and rules like it.

    You can remove all the rules in fact but have just 1 new rule...I think allowing the lesser-exposed entities to compete against themselves would go a longways to quelling discontent as well as maybe requiring entrants to post videos of photos of their performance or product or something that allows people to make informed decisions.

    I'd hate to think that winning affects our ability to judge fairness even though I know its human nature. I was a nominee, presenter, and award winner in a manner of speaking so maybe I should STFU? I should probably keep my mouth shut. I am probably unwittingly on the side that people are whining against.

    Australia has a House of Representatives that represents the popular voice and a Senate that helps give a voice to the less-populous. America has the same. I thought those were good models to go by. Give the less populous an equitable representatione. Just give them their own categories and forget all the othe rules put forth if need be.

    But...if the DQ community wishes to do the event the same next year with the same process then I will not talk against it and in fact suggest we go all the way and censor negative posts leading up to and subsequent to the awards so as not to taint the event next year and just force a pleasant outcome.

    "I sent a notecard before the voting closed, I wanted to have my say before we lost and looked like bad losers *gulp*)". We are all curious as to the type of complaint you were concerned about? If you have a big club with a good following, its hard to imagine there being a fear. But if you did have a fear, and had you not won, would you have ended up a post-event whinger? Does that mean others had good reason to voice concern that ended up in a place you feared you might end up in? What did you know that others may not have known? You may take the fifth...or drink it.

  6. well I would never have publicly lashed the event, I think that is the height of bad manners. It would always been as I did it, a notecard with what concerned me and what I thought needed changing *for an ongoing event*. I suggested what I have suggested here and elsewhere - that original nominations should have been as wide as possible, in order to get the best most representative field.
    My dancers didn't want to nominate themselves, they felt it was the kind of self-promotion that society frowns upon. They wanted to be nominated though, and I felt they deserved it, so I nominated long lists. I might add my lists included dancers and acts from other shows, too, as indeed, I voted. But we were only allowed to nominate one per category, so my lists were truncated to the first name, which meant that many of my nominations just repeated other nominations. I would have liked you all to come and see Susie Lapis' burly, I wanted Curti5 Rexen to get the credit he was due for the Time production. But those things got lopped off the list, and I think the voters information was less because of it.

    And I felt I had to send my complaints in prior to the awards because I was told we couldn't win anything - because of our timeslot and because we weren't known, which is easy for us to believe because even though we are honoured by those professional dancers who do attend, they do not make up the bulk of our audience - and I didn't want it to seem as though I was complaining simply because we didn't win.

    So with the best of intentions, I contributed to the pain, because I sure can see how one notecard from every troupe, added to IMs and anonymous blog posts, could combine to feel like an avalanche of complaint.

    It's my experience of these things that it takes one strong personality to see them through to being "established". And now that the one strong personality who could have pulled this off has removed herself from the process (and so my mea culpa gulp). I see it failing, without some kind of miracle of popular support. But it seems popular is very unpopular in the dance industry right now.