Hey there, everyone.

This thread will contain all information for the new SotM competition. As we'll be doing a new format which will involve a little more contribution from the design team and introduce new elements into the competition, we figured it'd be a good idea to bring everyone who's interested in this new format into the loop with the game plan. Before we get into the good stuff, I'd just like to take a moment to thank all members who partake in the competitions, whether through entries, voting, or just general discussion. With this new format, we're hoping to reignite interest and a little flare into the competitions, encourage new people to enter, introduce new prize pools and concepts (as much as I know you all loved repeatedly doing freestyle competitions), and essentially just make the competition much more interactive and beneficial to everyone involved.

The TL;DR of the thread: With the new guidelines and participation requirements from the designing team, everyone who has their submissions accepted will receive individual feedback from each of the "judges" (or basically whichever designers choose to contribute that month), followed by a formatted rating scale used to judge/rate the qualities of the submission based on the format for the competition. Once all accepted entries have been voted upon by the design team and the critiques have been provided, the scores that each entry received will be averaged out, then a winner will be decided based on who had the highest average scores. That winner will then receive the "SOTM Winner" rank for the duration of the following submission/voting process of the next competition along with any other prizes that were mentioned for that competition.

Anyways, enough babbling. Here's the useful stuff:

Below we'll look to outline any common questions someone may have regarding the new competition. If your question isn't here, please don't hesitate to contact myself through PM so I can outline more information and quite possibly just add that question to this list. I'd like the details for the new format to be as clear and easily understood as possible.

How does the SOTM competition work?

A thread will be posted some time before the beginning on each new month and will remain locked until the very 1st. Once the thread has been unlocked, it will be open for one week to receive submissions on people who wish to participate. Members will be required to follow the format or special instructions to each competition in order to be accepted. After one week has passed (with a day or so grace period as we all have lives here), a voting thread will be created with all accepted submissions. From there, members of the official designing team will go through each of the applications and provide constructive feedback/voice their opinion, then they'll give the piece a set of different 1-10 ratings based on a rating scale that will be presented with the competition (in other words, what sort of elements that month's competition will be ideally focused on - this could include emphasis on depth or lighting for one month, where it might be flow or contrast for another). The idea is to keep things interesting and to encourage members to go a little outside of their comfort zones while receiving reliable feedback.

How do I enter?

Wait for the aforementioned entry thread to be unlocked at the beginning of each month and then you have seven days to create a piece that follows those guidelines. The idea behind posting the thread earlier is to allow members a little more time to review the upcoming competition details and plan their entry out (if not get a jump start in doing it). When you've designed something that fits to the guidelines of that month's competitions, simply link the image within the entry post and wait for a confirmation reply saying you've been accepted and that's it. Once the entry thread has closed, your submissions will be moved into the voting process where it will receive the respective feedback and ratings.

*Entries that do not meet the required criteria for that month's competition will be declined and given the reason why.

What's the prize for winning?

The prize may change from month to month; some months may just be reputation from a few of the judges, others it might be a gift card of some sort, and some months it might be absolutely nothing. The competition isn't being held for people to win prizes, but more so for people to compete in a more beneficial way and receive feedback and expand on their comfort zones. The one constant in prizes though will be the "SOTM Winner" rank, which will be given to each competition winner for roughly a month to hold onto.

I don't agree with the ratings I got from the judges, what do I do?

You do absolutely nothing. The feedback received from each judge, including their ratings, is entirely up to their own discretion. If one of the designers who's frequently participating in the competition seems to be negatively reviewing most work or is arguably not contributing productively, they will be spoken to privately. The idea for this competition is for each member to receive feedback from different perspectives and then to receive their panel rating; it's not to maliciously attack people who take the time to enter. Ideally, the end result is everyone coming away with something gained.

I've won, so what happens now?

If there was a prize to be won for that month, you'll be contacted privately by either myself, another designer, or a member of staff. The "SOTM Winner" rank can only be given by the administrative team, so a message will be sent to them requesting the rank be transferred as necessary and then it will be up to them to manage the transfer. Winning signatures will also be features on the bottom of the website for the same duration as the winner has the custom rank.

How are the judges picked?

The judges are entirely volunteer based, however they'll only be members of the current [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. A discussion has been had within the private section and a number of designers have expressed interest in taking the time to evaluate and judge each of the submissions every month. With this in mind, I'd like to take the time to emphasize that these members are doing this purely on a voluntary basis and that's to be respected. They're taking the time to analyze each piece, provide beneficial feedback to the contestant, and then give an unbiased rating based on the chosen criteria for that month. Members who are unhappy with this system are simply advised to avoid the competition. The idea behind using judges is to make the competitions a little less of a popularity contest and a little more productive.

If you happen to have a question that wasn't answered, please don't hesitate to send me a PM and I'll make sure to clear any confusion up. As mentioned, I'd like this new competition format to be as simple as possible.


*This thread will be updated as necessary with additional information.
*This thread was last updated: March 28th, 2019