Dark Crusade: GFX Competition Concerns (Discussion)

Aidan Kincaid

11-03-2013 15:36:15

Copy/Pasted from News Post:

Recently, I compiled a list of members who participated in the events of the last phase and included the numbers of those who submitted entries and either their entries were not counted because they did not get to finish their submission or, specifically in the form of graphics, their entries were disqualified because they did not meet the criteria.

The following individuals are people I disqualified:

Krayiss II:




Why did I disqualify these entries? The biggest issue was when I looked at these entries, specifically from Krayiss II, I didn't see a Force Ghost or something that looked like any species from the SW-universe. I received entries that were jokes on Scooby Doo, the Ghostbusters, or generic images that people recognize as a ghost.

I understand what the intent of their image was for however, the prompt asked for the image of Jev Sunrider and I did not see that in these entries. Some entries were very detailed and others were more simple in their design. Their quality was not what hurt them. It was the interpretation of the prompt that hurt most.

Now, I thought I had added this in both competition prompts recently but I see that it is only on the Rhelg competition. For that, I apologize. However, let me be clear for this phase's prompts, "Realism, creativity, and originality are huge factors."

If you feel that your entry may not match this criteria, you are encouraged to resubmit an entry to make certain that your unit receives participation points for your entry. I will remove the original entry if I see a resubmission to make sure the most recent image is the one that will be judged.

In the future, I will create graphics competitions that will focus on humor and will state as such in the title of the entry in the form of [HUMOR].

However, what about the entries that are already submitted for the previous phase? I stand by my decision. I know that many do not like my decision to disqualify entries and I know it is a very unpopular action for me. However, this is a competition.

I've not asked for people to be the greatest design nor did I feel that I asked for much in any graphics competition I ran or supported. What's made this time different from the others is I'm asking for people to take the competition and the prompt a little more serious than before.

So, I will leave nothing to chance. I will make certain the prompts are as specific as they possibly can as leaving it vague for the sake of creativity has been counterproductive. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me either in email or PM.


Tarax Kor

11-03-2013 15:44:37

For a participation-only phase, everything counts except the most extreme idiocies. If you can tell what the image is and what it's trying to represent (and it meets the stated requirements), then it counts towards the unit's participation.

You do not get to disqualify them from being counted as participation, but you do get to disqualify them from placing in the Top3/Top5. 99% of the submissions in a - say it with me now - PARTICIPATION-ONLY PHASE will NOT be made for the purposes of placing anyway. So any additional/arbitrary/subjective standards placed after-the-fact are just wrong.

It is just wrong.


11-03-2013 15:51:36

This is not meant to single Shik out alone, as I think this is a general lesson that a lot of leaders can learn from, but this is a direct response to what just happened with disqualification of a number of submissions of which many of us would find acceptable.

The key factor here is that membership were provided an example on a news post which was narrow in scope and suggested that the key feature needed was to read the prompt. To many members, reading about a ghost in a prompt means... drawing a ghost. However, if the intention was to only allow one specific type of ghost (that is, a translucent human), that is something that should be specified in the prompt. Furthermore, there was no indication that amusing images would be disqualified; in fact, the original news post in question specifically references having fun with the competition. It does not stress realism, but creativity and fun.

Membership did not know that they were being evaluated on a level outside of what was given in the prompt and subsequent news post. While for some it makes sense to strive for realism in everything, others take pride in silliness and creativity that goes outside the box and stretches reality a bit. This should not be punished, even if such images are unacceptable for canon usage. If this sort of outlook is not something the Crusades want to promote, that should be clarified.

In other words, PLEASE help us by increasing transparency. Let us know what you expect, so that we can be sure our submissions meet those expectations. In general, leaders should strive for a level of transparency in running events that guarantees that all participants know what they should do to get credit, especially given the difficulty and subjectivity of assessing effort level.


11-03-2013 15:58:02

First, this was my submission: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22086981/The%20Hunt%20-%20Halcyon%20-%2043.jpg

The original prompt is copied below:
Forward reports from scouts tell of a disembodied Force Ghost deep in caverns several hundred clicks north of the landing zone. With troops deserting after encountering this spirit, little is known except the name 'Jev Sunrider'. You are to capture this spirit using any means necessary. This graphic event must display the ghost of Jev Sunrider in some manner.

In life, the Jedi master Jev Sunrider was a human male who served as a Watchman of the Darada System. In death, Sunrider was defeated by Lord Malignous in 4,009 BBY and bound to the library-temple of Krayiss II.

Jev Sunrider is a slave to the will of Lord Malignous and will protect the library-temple at the command of his master; however, the former Jedi Master will extend extreme effort in maintaining the library-temple's secrets against Sith knowledge seekers

Jev Sunrider is a Jedi Master-level combatant capable of manifesting ghostly form. His abilities include telekinetic strike, mind trick, and force push.

This graphic event must display the ghost of Jev Sunrider in some manner. Images must be a minimum of 500 pixels by 500 pixels. Winning entries will be made canon after a vetting process.

My image depicts a ghost that is purported to be Jev Sunrider and is over the 500x500 pixel limit. My submission e-mail included my name and pin as well as links to where I took the original images from, since I did not create everything myself.

Is my image crap? Yes. Will it win any awards? Hell no. Does it follow the rules as they are stated? Yes, it does. It followed the rules as laid out.

Now, I'll do a little ego-stroking...I've helped plan a lot of competitions in my time so I can probably be considered an "expert" in this area. I have just as much, if not more, experience in this sort of thing then anyone currently on the Dark Council. As such, the idea of putting in subjective criteria for disqualification is against the very spirit of the competition. Subjectivity must be used only in the judging phase. If people in this club follow the rules then it is not our job to tell them their entries are "not good enough". DQing any entry must be made on the basis of quantifiable criteria. The only events that have ever attempted to use such subjective reasoning has been graphics events and only those run by the current GM and HRLD. We have never includes such subjective criteria in things like fiction competitions, multimedia, etc...

Next, it appears that the HRLD did have specific criteria in mind. Things like the ghost should follow the "canon" Force Ghost look. Again, if you're going to use such criteria that must be told to the membership. It is clear that there was something very specific that the HRLD wanted us to make, yet did not say a single thing on what it was. We were never told either before we submitted or after. It is only now, almost a month later and after having to yell and scream about it are we told what he had in mind. It is not the fault of the participants. it is the fault of the grader. You do not get to punish participants for your failure in communication.

Last, the whole point about "splitting" competitions. We are all here to have fun. Why gives you, the GM, or anyone else the right to tell us when we should or shouldn't use humour in a competition? Any format should be viable. For many of us utilizing humour or not being completely serious is how we enjoy participating. There is always talk about how much the leadership wants the membership to be active and participate in events and yet they turn around and find ways to clamp down on such activity.

I have been in this club for over 12 years. I have been in nearly every leadership position and have worked on this very Dark Council creating these very competitions. This is wrong. I am telling you it is wrong. The membership is telling you it is wrong. Your job, as Dark Councillors, is to work for the membership to ensure we are enjoying ourselves and continue to be invested in the club. Telling someone they're not good enough, even if they followed the rules TO THE LETTER is a good way to turn someone off the club. Do the right thing and fix this and ensure it doesn't occur again.


11-03-2013 15:58:21

Well, as a person that's on the above list I won't even pretend to be a disinterested party about the situation. But there's no sense in going on a rant about me personally.

That said, there's something that I feel should be stated given the date (March 2013). There is a lot of talk in the Dark Brotherhood about the Emperor's Hammer, and it grinds on my gears. Many people in this club laud the freedom of the Dark Brotherhood and denigrate the evils of the Emperor's Hammer. They do it without having been members of the EH. I say this not to chide on those people that do not know of what they speak, but rather to clarify my position. I was a member of the Emperor's Hammer during and after (still am on the roster) the split. I got the emails that Jac and Firefox sent. I also received the replies from the Command Staff (of which I was one only a few months before):

Never in the Emperor's Hammer would a member be told that their work was not good enough to even be counted. Baring cheating (say, pilot file editing) or plagiarism - everyone was counted.

Think about that as April 2013 draws near.


11-03-2013 16:22:45

Well judging by the image that was referred to in the first news post about the level of work was required which you can see here http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb302/LT-moolik/NametheSons_zps04315dbc.jpg

I don't quite understand why some of the entries were disqualified for participation, if the prompt says it's a ghost then anything that looks like a ghost should count towards participation, I could understand it if someone had submitted a drawing of a car instead or something.


11-03-2013 16:33:00

I think the core concept here is that in a Phase dedicated to driving participation, where is the line drawn between what is technically acceptable as "effort" and in keeping with the criteria and topic.

I think that entries should be graded on a technical basis first: "Did this entry meet the requirements?" If no, the member is told that they did not meet a requirement, ie. "Members, your submission was 450x480, and not 500x500. Please consider re-submitting if you would like your entry to count."

Then an entry is graded on artistic quality and the Judge's taste. By it's very nature, art is subjective, and ultimately the judge has to pick what they like BEST. That is how placement is determined.

Shikyo Keibatsu

11-03-2013 16:43:13

I've discussed this with Wally in an effort to find out where a lot of the issue lies and as Halc pointed out the prompt, there were a number of entries that failed to do one key thing, they failed to depict Jev Sunrider as state in the prompt. Their technical aspects of the images were correct however many missed one vital piece of evidence in the prompt:

"In life, the Jedi master Jev Sunrider was a human male who served as a Watchman of the Darada System."

A human male. Can I determine a human male from a sheet ghost? Can I determine a human male from a floating orb? I cannot. Further, information had been provided on Jev Sunrider in the description of the planet provided for that phase. I was under the impression people would read it over. This did not happen. There is no excuse for me in making certain that this information was instantly available.

Discussing this with Wally, there will be a number of corrections to this to ensure the highest level of participation.

1.) All information that can guarantee the highest level of accuracy for the image will be provided on the competition page.

2.) Before any image is finalized as "disqualified", it will go through a system of checks and balances to ensure every image has the opportunity to count as participation for their respective Clouse.

I will discuss this with Raken and Muz to see if we can do more to make certain that an issue like this does not happen again. I know this doesn't make up for the past but if this is necessary to make certain nothing is left open to interpretation and things are well understood then so be it.


11-03-2013 16:53:03

In life he was a "Human male", but you are asking for a ghost. We gave you a ghost. Again, it is your job to ensure we followed the rules. You are allowing subjectivity to come into play in determining whether a submissions should be "allowed". We followed the rules as they were stated.

Also, only graphics have had such stringent criteria applied to them. This was never the case before and it is not the case with other events. Why is this one event suddenly have such "rules" applied to it? That too is an issue, and I am talking from directly experience in this. The last few Vendettas have also had this issue, although this is the first time such wholesale DQing has occurred. Why? Probably because participation was determined by the individual grader


11-03-2013 16:54:58

Iím a disinterested party. My graphic, despite the fact that I spent less than 5 minutes on it, was not disqualified. Howlader obviously spent much longer than I did, and his was disqualified. Howlader sat down, crafted an image, and submitted it. I took a picture of myself with a towel draped over my head, added a background, and submitted. Does any of that seem right to you? It sure doesnít to me.
Shikyo, your argument is that you want the ghost to be a human male. Tell me, what does the ghost of a human male look like? Show me a picture of a human ghost. Not one of your excellent graphic designs. Show me an actual photograph of a ghost. You canít? Oh? Could that be because what a ghost looks like is OPEN TO INTEPRETATION? You are INTEPRETING someoneís artwork on what YOU think a ghost should look like. In this case, a corporeal male thatís a little bit transparent and white. Maybe wearing a cloak. Maybe carrying a lightsaber. This is all subjective. Not objective.
Therefore, begin rant. I take issue with the fact that entries were summarily disqualified by Shikyo for reasons that he has, until today, failed to provide clarification for. The Herald, in a blatant lack of transparency, didn't even inform the individuals that their entries were disqualified.
To borrow a line from the Dark Covenant, "Every member has the right to be adequately acknowledged and rewarded for time, activity and efforts, and shall not be denied adequate and timely recognition based on personal bias and prejudice of their superiors. All rewards and recognitions are given according to merit."
I feel that Shikyo's actions deprive the Dark Brotherhood of a fair and just form of competition. Grading an entry based on the quality of the graphic, skill of the artist, or any other matter left to the whim of a judge is subjective. Disqualifications have, until this very competition, been the subject of objective grading standards. Failure to correctly size your image, failure to attach in the requirement file format, and failure to submit it properly. The rank and file membership have no problem with following objective standards.
It is disgusting to see the Herald state that mere participation is worthless if your submission isn't good enough for the Herald's subjective standards, and as such is disqualified. It is a direct denial of our RIGHT to be acknowledged and rewarded for the time and effort, as dictated by the Dark Covenant.
Recently, we've seen quite a bit of talk about the how horrible things were under the Emperor's Hammer. However, even with the intolerable conditions that have been pointed out before the split, members were never told that there participation in an online club wasn't valued.
It is a travesty for Shikyo to be allowed to, in no uncertain terms, tell the membership that their work isn't valued unless they happen to be a great god of graphics design as he no doubt is.
To quote the Dark Covenant, "The first goal of the Brotherhoodís leadership should always be to protect and serve the members, followed closely by a drive to meet their needs and wants as much as possible."
Shikyo had already been approached about this issue prior to the competition taking place. He categorically stated that his (still subjective) rules were to prevent MS Paint stick figure entries which he could not identify as characters. When a member submits a picture of a ghost, after Shikyo asking them for a force ghost, it is ridiculous that he disqualify their submission simply because he wanted a corporeal form rather than a traditional image of a ghost. Iím sorry if all of us arenít capable of drawing the human form on a computer. Weíre not all elite graphics gods. Weíre here for the fun and enjoyment of this club, and denying the membership the right to participate because theyíre not good enough angers me.

When did we become so rich with members that we no longer care about the work a member puts into a submission? This is a slippery slope. It opens the door to the Dark Council altering the course of a competition based merely upon their whim. Furthermore, what's to happen next? Will fiction submissions be rejected because they're not entertaining enough? Will we be tossing out gaming results because one opponent was a much better player than the other? I hardly see Shikyo's actions as serving the membership. Shikyo possessed the ability to properly receive, score, and rank submissions to the competition, as has always been done. Instead, he opted to set a dangerous precedent by using his own personal feelings to disqualify submissions, robbing membership of the possibility of reward, and influencing the competition unjustly. If you donít think someone did a good job, donít score them highly. Donít award them medals. All we ask is that you acknowledge that this person took time out of their day or night to work on something in service of their Clan or House. To ignore that is to ignore the very principle that this club is founded upon.
We expect and deserve better from our Dark Council than this. I hope that my brethren from other units will join me in requesting Shikyo be instructed to work for the membership rather than against them.

Dark Council guys, we get it, you can make awesome graphics. Not all of us can. I canít draw a person for crap beyond a stick figure. That doesn't make me a second class citizen of this club. It shouldn't make anyone else who goes out and participates in competition that, either.


11-03-2013 16:57:17

You're not focusing on the actual problem, Shikyo, you're focusing on specific issues regarding the event in question in order to ignore the more important issues at here.

You told members that their work wasn't good enough.
You applied subjective standards to a competition and told members of this club that what they did in order to participate in a Club run event wasn't good enough.

That's the problem. We discussed this before the event, and my opinions on the matter haven't changed.

Telling a member of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood that their activity, however minimal or unrealistic that you believe it is, that isn't good enough, is wrong.

You seem to feel differently about this. You're wrong. Our members are supposed to be encouraged to participate in the activities this club gives them. Our members are who you as a leader of this club are supposed to cater to. They are not here to cater to you.

It's a competition. You want to make the WINNING entries Canon. Fine. Make the WINNING entries Canon. If 57 out of 58 entries are stupid and silly, then the 58th wins the event, and it gets made Canon.

You do not have the right to tell me that anything I submit, that meets or surpasses minimum quantifiable standards, to this club, is not worthy of recognition and participation. Nobody has that right.

That is the problem you're not addressing.

DJM Keirdagh Taldrya Cantor (Sith) / FM / House Taldryan
GLS / DS / SB / GC-PoDP / SC-SoR / AC-ToSC / DC-DP / GN-AuL / SN-AuL / BN-GL / Cr-1D-2R-2A-3S-2E-1T-6Q / CF-GF / CI-GC / DSS-AgL / LS-GL / SoL-BE / S:-4M-2D-2Dk-6P-14U-33Dec-5Aff

Son of Taldryan


11-03-2013 17:13:16

I will discuss this with Raken and Muz to see if we can do more to make certain that an issue like this does not happen again. I know this doesn't make up for the past but if this is necessary to make certain nothing is left open to interpretation and things are well understood then so be it.

Yes. Stop disqualifying entries just because YOU don't like them or they don't quite meet the brief. My own entry was a stick figure, this is true, but I lack the skills to do anything better..nor do I see why I should when I have submitted much worse entries that have counted. The fact was that I still ATTEMPTED to meet the brief. If I had drawn a space battle, or something else totally unrelated, you may have had a point.

It's not been done at any other point in the 15 year history of the Brotherhood. There is a reason for that. That you have tried to implement it for a competition where participation and not placement is the key is frankly an insult to the membership. The least you can do is re-instate the seal awards for those of us shafted by your 'standards'.


11-03-2013 22:15:12

In other words, PLEASE help us by increasing transparency. Let us know what you expect, so that we can be sure our submissions meet those expectations. In general, leaders should strive for a level of transparency in running events that guarantees that all participants know what they should do to get credit, especially given the difficulty and subjectivity of assessing effort level.

I think Mav sums it up very well. The key is for both the judges and participants to maintain an open and steady course of dialogue. Participants can and should contact the judges when they want to do something that could be misunderstood by the rules. One the same hand, judges need to make it very clear what they want, but the judges also need to remain extremely flexible in how they handle entries (IE time and effort) of our members.


11-03-2013 22:35:45

For the record my entry did absolutely depict a ghost. Nothing in the original prompt asked for a realistic depiction, in fact it says to depict Jev's ghost "in some way." I believe my submission to be an effective, if abstract, depiction of a force ghost. It also took me more than five minutes.

Aidan Kincaid

12-03-2013 21:07:21

This is really, really simple:

"This graphic event must display the ghost of Jev Sunrider in some manner. Images must be a minimum of 500 pixels by 500 pixels. Winning entries will be made canon after a vetting process."

Some manner is vague in the extreme, I assumed intentionally so because you're dealing with "art". An abstract piece is "some manner" of representing the prompt. You want to disqualify people that's fine, but play by the rules you've set up. I've seen a flipflop from "amount of effort" to "not following the prompt" as a way to argue against this. The fact of the matter is any effort is still effort and if someone submitted it HAS to count as participation... by submitting an entry you've participated--that's the very definition of it. As for following the prompt, it was vague and art is subjective (to both the artist and whoever is judging). I look at Picasso or a "can of soup" and see something utterly worthless, yet others pay millions for that crap. As judge you get to decide which you like better, but not whether they're both art.

Worse, these disqualifications were blatantly kept from the Summits and the members in question. Why would that be done? Because it is so obviously something that would be argued and refuted. Why obvious? Because this phase of the vendetta is based PURELY on participation numbers. Of course people will freak out if their efforts are deleted without being notified. How is arbitrarily disqualifying entries helpful to the DB in any way? What does it do or who does it help? All I can see is it causing problems--unnecessary problems--for everyone involved.


12-03-2013 21:11:06

That piece of art sold to a National Gallery for 1.8 million dollars. Art is subjective. Or, as they say, Art is Art. Stop telling people that their art isn't good enough. Stop telling our members that their efforts are worthless.



13-03-2013 00:37:57

I want to thank the organizers of this event for letting me know my entry was disqualified this round so that I could submit a more acceptable entry.


13-03-2013 08:34:06

I'm still waiting for a response one way or another...


13-03-2013 10:12:13

From Shikyo to me:

"Muz has reviewed the images that were DQ'd including yours. Given that there was dedicated work done for the image, the decision of disqualification has been overturned.
Others will be informed if their images have been overturned.

Thank you for bringing your grievance forward,"

So I am no longer wronged, and I very much appreciate the reversal of the decision. That said, the larger issues raised by these new and largely unprecedented policies remain. My graphic was divined to be a "dedicated work" - another subjective and completely unquantifiable standard. The very reasonable and on point objections to these types of subjective policies raised by others, however, remain unanswered. I think we should continue our discussion.


13-03-2013 10:35:55

I suppose I should complain so mine is accepted too. :P


13-03-2013 11:35:58

Guess mine wasn't deemed to have enough "dedicated work", which again is another subjective requirement that hasn't been used to such a degree in the past. I guess a more formal complaint is in order


13-03-2013 12:03:36

Maintaining subjective requirements, even for the amount of "Dedicated Work" you put in, is still unacceptable to the membership.

What time span constitutes dedicated work? Is it 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 30 minutes?

Again, we are using subjective standards that cannot be quantified.

All we're asking is for you to remove your head from your fourth point of contact and reward work that is on topic. Did Halc spend 3 hours crafting his submission? If I had to guess, no. You asked for art involving a ghost. You received art involving a ghost. Just because you don't think it's "arty" enough doesn't mean that it took any less effort on his part, or any less of a submission.

The Dark Covenant is very specific. If you want to be a leader, try reading it sometime. I suggest Article 2, Section 2.01, paragraph H. The members have the RIGHT to be acknowledged and rewarded for time and effort. Just because you don't think that it was sufficient doesn't give you any right to summarily disqualify an entry.

If you want serious canon images, congratulations, you're the Herald. Do your job and create them.


13-03-2013 12:39:42

I will simply re-iterate what I said.

If it was even a VAGUE attempt at following the brief, it's insulting that it was disqualified.


13-03-2013 12:50:36

For the record: I first made my lines in MSN paint then I used GIMP to include different effects including the effect I applied to the ghosts "face" that I thought harked to traditional force ghosts. I know my GFX isn't amazing, I simply don't have those skills, but I was going for fun and unique and it did absolutely take effort.