State of the Contests Update

Hey everyone, it’s time for an update.

Over the last nearly two years, Meso and I have endeavored to facilitate the running of a new series of canon contests for the BIONICLE universe, focusing only on characters from Generation 1 that were featured prominently and had speaking roles. While we never sought out the creation of these contests, the concept of them was brought to us and when the BIONICLE community voted in favor of them occurring, we felt that we were the right folks for the job.

In the time since their inception, we have been saddled with immense amounts of public pressure, stress, responsibility, and work. None of this has been what we would consider easy. The sad part is why.

While running the first two contests, the main issues that plagued us were that of growing pains. Determining the infrastructure that would be necessary to carry out voting, and working with a large variety of people from around the BIONICLE community in order to achieve a fair, reasonable, and agreeable ruleset. It has always been our intention to work with the community that voted for these contests so that they can be the most fun for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, we have been plagued by two main issues: A lack of staff/aid, and the unyielding energy of detractors, of whom have dedicated themselves to having these contests shut down. This group is small, and not representative of the large number of individuals from the community that wished for these contests to take place. Their reasons vary, from legitimate concerns about the impact on the community, to infantile, wishing only to shut them down out of a perceived dislike of us, our platform, our content, and our involvement.

While these contests have always been community focused, due to the history of their beginning and our unique infrastructure, they have been hosted here on The TTV Message Boards. As a result, participants in the discussions and creation of entries have been subject to our rules, in addition to the contest rules that have been laid out. But despite that, and especially as of late, select members have felt it acceptable to come here and act disrespectfully toward us, our staff, and other members. This has resulted in the second greatest loss of morale for Meso and I, only surpassed by events that took place between August 2017 - February 2018.

As such, we had to remove ourselves from the situation, after members opted to turn up the dial and increase their toxicity and misbehavior. This was done for the sake of our mental well being, and to give us time to reassess the situation and determine the best path forward. At this time, we are finally ready to make this statement.

Moving forward, we shall no longer be tolerating this disrespect on our website. We have always endeavored to work with the community and not claim sole ownership of these contests aside from managing them, but this is our site. We will, from here on out, be permanently banning any members that participate in the behaviors that brought us to this point. The disrespect, the attitude, the instigation of controversy. It’s done.

We will stress, this is a version of a site-wide rule that is contest specific. Whenever a member on our website breaks its rules, we will generally (most instances are handled case-by-case) opt to warn a member three times before moving into suspensions. After the second suspension, the member is permanently banned. Due to the high degree of toxicity and volatility shown by a select few members during these contests (behavior that could have very easily been avoided, especially considering what this is all about), we are forced to adopt a no-tolerance policy for this behavior. As our general board rules state: “…while we don’t require you to always respect the person, you are supposed to respect the position they are in.”

We would never and have never been in the business of shuttering discussion, and just because there are people that disagree with us doesn’t mean that we don’t want to hear it. But disagreeing with us and disrespecting us on our website are two different things, and we want to make that perfectly clear. If you have an issue with something we’ve done, or something we’re considering, then please understand your voice is welcome. But we will not be talked down to, berated, or disrespected any further.


With that all out of the way, allow us to move on to a few updates.

On the subject of TheUnderscoredDouble: Taking his previous conduct into account, both in the Helryx contest and in this one, and considering the immense trouble he has caused with his actions, his behavior, and his conduct, we are making the decision to bar him from any further participation in any contests held on The TTV Message Boards. This includes Canon contests, member run contests, and other related TTV contests. As for his entry, it will remain the basis for Bomonga, but his actions will not be permitted to happen again. We will not be reprimanding him further at this time, but a note of this will be added to his account for staff to view and any further inappropriate behavior will be heavily scrutinized.

On the subject of the polls: Based on the feedback from many members on the site, we will be re-evaluating the entries that were sent in, and reaching out to the creators for any corrections that are found. Members will have a week to make corrections if requested, and if not made in time, the entries will not move on to the polls.

On the subject of help: We need it. Send Meso and I a PM if you have any interest in assisting with entry curation for these contests. We aren’t offering moderator powers, but you would be tasked with helping us make sure entries are following the appropriate guidelines.

On the subject of the future of the contests: This continues to be a source of discussion and debate between Meso and I. Personally, I would not like to see all of this effort, all of this passion, and all of the creativity and drive the community has shown go to waste all because of the effort of ~10 people. I still feel the potential is there. But at this time, we’re going to get through this contest first, wrap it up, and focus on deliberation during a break between this one and the possible next one.


And as of now, that covers everything. One last note, we are going to be keeping a close eye on several members that have been at the center of major controversy instigations, and we are banning a couple that have no intention of contributing to this website or these contests in a constructive manner, and that have been personally harassing us on and off the Boards for months.

Thank you all for reading, we hope to hear your thoughts in this topic while we reassess and clean up the other one to reopen for further discussion pertaining to the contests. We don’t anticipate this topic will be open forever, but for now this is the place to speak your thoughts.

-Eljay

77 Likes

good on you for finally opting to fix the staff problem, something you could’ve fixed a year or so ago

19 Likes

This is our first example. We’re not tolerating this any longer.

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Well said by Eljay! I pretty much echo all of his thoughts and support these decisions wholeheartedly.

We’re never going to be in the business of shutting down discussion or dissenting opinions that conflict with our own; none of this fatigue and lack of morale stems from engaging in discussions with people who have contrasting views, or even those who disagree with how we’ve handled things or who criticize us. Truthfully, it’s simply the vitriol that has been weighing us down and affecting our desire to engage.

Some may say “Well, you chose to take this responsibility on so you don’t deserve sympathy” and to that I’d say… yeah, ultimately, at the end of the day, this was our own choice. Nobody forced our hand to start these contests or anything like that. That being said, we also could have and SHOULD have stamped down on some of the conduct of people long before now, as it’s been building and getting more severe for a while. It’s entirely possible to have a conversation and express your opinions in a polite way without being overly snarky or disrespectful; most people who engage in the canon contest discussions are totally capable of that, which is why we’re stressing that we know it’s only a minority of people who are being overly antagonistic. Still, it’s enough to take action, and by just leaving it alone and trying to shrug it off, we perpetuate the attitude that it’s okay to come on our website solely to troll us or make our lives more difficult; it’s not, and it won’t be going forward.

We know we’ve made mistakes throughout this process, and we know we’ve dropped the ball more than a few times. Month long gaps between entry periods and polls certainly weren’t how we wanted things to go, nor were any of the various problems we’ve had throughout the run of these contests. We’re striving to improve but… yeah, as Eljay said, it’s a lot to deal with between the two of us. We get no help from any other sources and if these contests are going to be sustainable, we will need to recruit some more people to help us. The extra manpower will help dramatically, and more pairs of eyes will help us to catch mistakes that we may otherwise miss. If these contests are to continue, they’re only going to do so with extra help. It’s not sustainable with just the two of us.

We’re going to get this back on track and bring you guys the polls as soon as possible! Thank you all for engaging with us and helping to facilitate the positive aspects of these contests.

32 Likes

Thank you for looking out for the community as host for major stuff like the Canonizations. Glad you prioritized your mental well-being as admin. Going forward, we, as a community, need all the mental fortitude to put up with all the coming chaos lol

Looking forward to seeing the good changes around here. Hope you find the staff help you need, y’all.

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Not that I want to get smacked, but why did you guys wait to bring on more hands for this?

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This was a wonderfully put update, Eljay, and I greatly applaud it and your candidness.
But has Greg responded to any emails yet?

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I love this. Trolls & toxic people deserve no mercy.

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Glad that you guys are feeling more refreshed, I know my blood pressure raises from the contests just being on the outside. No fault to ya for needing a breather.

Do you have a certain criteria in mind for… well I guess a term could be created… “Assistants?” For the contest? Or is that still just an open thought/WIP?

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I don’t think I’m in any position to help but I sincerely hope you get the extra hands you need. I’m a newcomer to the contests and to this forum but delays aside I do like the contests and hope they continue.

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Highkey seconded. While I believe people do deserve second chances to better themselves and learn from mistakes, prolonged and repeated toxicity only harms the community and by the gods am I sick of all the gatekeeping and destruction.

People be disguising their malicious commentary as subjectivity and biases, and hopefully changes around here help people learn some manners.

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I obviously won’t be able to help with this contest, but when the next contest rolls around (And still really hoping it does), I’d be happy to help with the MOC section of things.

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For the time being, anyone can apply. We’ll certainly be paying attention to Board activity and previous conduct (like warnings or suspensions), but anyone is welcome. We would just like people that have a good attention for detail and want to help, even if they aren’t the biggest fans of things.

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We’ve been looking for a long time now, trying to scout people and figure out who could perhaps be of some assistance; we’ve even asked a few people, both internally in TTV and externally on the boards. For some reason or another, nobody panned out, either due to lack of interest, lack of time, lack of knowledge, or a lack of trust on our part. We were very selective in what kind of person we were looking for because there’s a lot of “reply to 20 posts in a row asking very specific questions about X loophole or Y incredibly specific scenario” involved in moderating these contests, and if we bring on people who can’t handle that, things may slip through the cracks even with extra eyes.

That being said, we’re forced to acknowledge that the lack of extra help isn’t sustainable any longer. We need to find more people, or else the contests probably won’t be able to continue in their current form: plain and simple. So I guess the best answer to your question is that we weren’t as fatigued about it a year or so ago, but now we are.

16 Likes

I am happy to hear that Eljay didn’t almost die again. In the future, I think the community might be a bit less uppity if you are more open about the fact that you just need a mental health break (unless you said that and I just didn’t see it?).

I’m currently busy with job-hunting, but once I actually get a source of income, I may send a DM your way to help out with the contests now that you’re accepting it. It’s probably only fair of me, given how vocal I’ve been thus far about various contest-related subjects.

Honestly glad to see some action on this, as much as I think people deserve to voice their opinions, there’s a point at which I think I’ve seen enough of the exact same complaint with the exact same rationale behind it.

Better late than never. At least they’re willing to admit they need help at all, that takes a degree of humility that, yeah, they coulda shown sooner, but they’re showing it in time for all but 3 of the contests to benefit from that help.

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That’s totally fair you guys need a breather. The general mood hasn’t exactly been… conducive, just for us non-staff people, so I can only imagine how it must be for you two. That sort of stuff has a tendency to snowball. I do genuinely hope this topic stays relatively clear and healthy, if only for your guys’s sake.

Presumably this role would prohibit the person from entering any future contests (ie, Tuyet, Lariska, etc)? Or otherwise is mutually exclusive with being a contestant in the Hagah Art Portion? Additionally, is there a cutoff date for when you’d like the PMs by?

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Since nobody else has commented on this yet:

Thank you for this. My biggest concern with the “radio silence” wasn’t the delay on the polls (I’ve waited ten years, I can wait another few months). It was the fact that the entrants wouldn’t have a chance to fix any small issues and could be disqualified. This new position is a good solution that is very fair to the people involved.

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We could also y’know. Use this post as an opportunity to come clean and have us people who have engaged in toxicity openly acknowledge our part.

I had been toxic. I am aware. I’ve had a lot of other stressors in my life and I had definitely been using the forums too much during that time. Not really an excuse, just something I needed to recognize.

I have been trying to be more positive and going forward I just want to be positive. I hope others feel the same. Passion can be a strength and a weakness. I’ve often let the dumpster side of my passion spill out. Just acknowledging it openly.

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Thanks for the update! That seven day grace period for fixing artworks is incredibly generous as well, so thank you for that too. I really hope the extra manpower and reduced toxicity levels help you guys out a lot! I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that these contests have been a lot of fun in spite of their issues, and it would be a shame to see them ruined by people being petty.

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Big agree here, this might be beating a dead horse, and I know there’ll always be the people who aren’t satisfied with anything, but I feel like an awful lot of the people upset about delays would have been a lot less so if they were warned at any point before hand, and not ghosted for a month.

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