Spiritgreen wrote:Print based on merit? That's what Woot does 4 days a week with the dailies, plus they choose designs to run in the double-take derby and pick a week of ECs every quarter from that too. And they do that even though it's invariably the voted designs from the derbies that sell the best.
I have no clue why you'd say "Prints based on merit?" as though merit is somehow a bad thing to base reward on. i also think we should elect politicians on merit, not connections, or ability to scare a crowd into believing them. I tend to think that the businesses we frequent should be the ones that give the best service and product, not simply the cheapest most convenient ones. If you're the dating sort, you should be with women based on their best qualities, not just because they're warm and breathing. Feel free to play the field all you like, but have standards. And I certainly think that when paying someone for work, you should always pay for top notch work. This is something you can validate without needing to bring opinion into it. People are able to register effort, intent, originality, execution, et al without needing opinion to enter in at all.
So why is merit-based selection wrong? Why is any other concept right when it can be so highly flawed? At least when woot screws the pooch, like on their Rent tee Monday, there's no one, that we know of, that directly gets screwed. We might know our friend or favorite designer subbed something and got rejected, but we can't say it's because they preferred a piece of trash. It's simply that they didn't select that piece, silly as that decision might be. In the derby, if one of the top 3 sucks outright (and believe me, if you put a spoonful of realism in your coffee when looking, a lot of what prints is not that good), another tee directly suffers. If you are a submitting artist, that should be a huge concern to you. I've noticed artists can be damn gracious when great work beats them, but NO ONE who cares about their art is really happy to lose to, say, I Love Math.
That seems like a pretty healthy mix of business and pleasure, no? If there -is- serious vote manipulation in the derbies of course everyone would like to see that stamped out. I'm not convinced it's happening. I've been contributing my own designs for eight months straight and haven't seen anything that I couldn't put down to voter preference. You might not always like what the voters like, but that's consumerism for ya.
First: No. Business and pleasure can mix all in one place. A shirt like "Knock Knock" did both. Boots' "Think of the Children" does both. Long long ago, pieces like "Finding Technicolor" and "Angry Day" farmed creative avenues while selling well. Probably the first tee to lay legitimate claim to longest seller, "The Cake is a Lie," remains one of the smartest pop-culture tees I've ever seen. There is no reason to sell a quick cash grab when you can make money selling smarter and better pieces.
You can chalk ANYTHING up to voter preference. But, er, let's not forget that voter preference is decided by votes. At woot, there is no reason to think that a low selling tee wasn't bought by its vote base, but there's also no reason to think that a high-selling tee needed its vote base to buy at all. We have a site with literal millions of users. That most dailies sell above 1000 copies, which is a fair, if possibly high, "average derby vote" number, says that at any given time, those millions could pick a tee they've got no connection to and scoop it up. It's a contradiction compared to the proof that most tees outsell their votes, which could easily imply most people who vote buy, but both scenarios can be true on a shirt by shirt basis.
You don't see evidence because you don't want to. People have admitted to it countless times, especially in a "my accounts voted for you" manner, and especially on designs which have legitimate reason to be questioned, out of spite for people caring about the quality of design that wins a grand 'round here. But there are also people who have had multiple accounts found out through their error. There are people who sign up accounts for their kids, who don't vote, or vote with parental/spousal accounts that wouldn't vote but might buy from another site. There are people who made multiple accounts for some reason before shirt.woot existed. These are all things proven in posts. These are both great artists and bad benefiting from this. And of course, even without the direct proof here, let us never forget that there are users here known for their use of multiple accounts elsewhere.
I'm sorry, and I honestly don't mean to sound snobby when I say this, but it will anyway: you are basing your perspective on multi-accounts on what you want to believe, not what has been shown, and may even be too new here to realize it. People might have different views of whether it's harmful or not, but no one who has followed the derbies long enough can honestly believe they don't happen without blinding themselves to the admissions and evidence. Derbies have been decided on single votes. If even one person voting has a second vote-ready account, and it's proven that people can get a new one pretty easily, that is enough to change the entire game. And since some people have legitimate accounts from the same IP, and since demanding one commit to a purchase with a vote would only keep many potential buyers from taking the actual plunge of voting (besides, as I've said numerous times, all the economic class warfare implicit in such a commitment), the only fair way to fix the problem is to make it immaterial, by making each individual vote mean less.
If there was one positive change I'd like to see, it would be for the derbies to generate four shirts a week instead of three, with that fourth one being an EC. I think that would introduce a bit more variety and willingness to experiement and make late submissions. It would also be more unpredictable, more exciting for the artists and shoppers. (I don't think the quality of the double-take would suffer much as a result although if that was a concern it could be spaced out a little more)
My issue with this has always been twofold. Firstly, if the dailies are used well (and while flawed, they generally shake out this way in the end) they do a lot of things. they break up the monotony of one theme for three days. They feature four people a week who could be fringe design, or at least less populist than what we get in derbies. They allow woot to select anything they want at any time. Presumably at any given time, woot has enough good daily subs to print a month of tees. they just don't necessarily use them. But as I suggested, these tees are diverse, and on any topic under the sun, potentially. Derbies are about one topic. If I am the shirt buying public, I don't want to buy four shirts in a row about Prehistoric Art. If I've bought one of the three prior, a fourth may be overkill. Unless, apparently, it's the Kawaii or National Parks derby, but again, at least that was spread out across months.
But for me, the bigger worry is that, if we add a fourth, editor's print, we still have the other three. And the other three are still being chosen in a way that doesn't account for quality, and in a way that can easily be manipulated. A fourth print might give another tee a chance, but why not give that same tee a chance in place of the awful thing that won second? Sometimes this is indeed a matter of taste, but from an unbiased standpoint, a lot of times there are fogged designs that don't print despite being worlds apart from what does. You can chalk this up to what voters want, but if voters want something inherently disenfranchising to what is best for the whole (even if that is less popular), we need someone to challenge it. In America, California's Prop 8, which took away the tenuous ability for upstanding citizens to marry, is wrong from any educated standpoint. No one should be allowed to vote to abolish or block that freedom. And while I know it's a heavy-handed example to carry over to tees, art is indeed important, and we should reward it because it's right, not because it's what people want. People are flawed.
I've long (probably before the rise of the ramyoku, though it all blends now) advocated for a system that prints first by votes, second by fog, and third by total random EC (fog or anywhere). I don't like first by votes, because first is often the worst offender, but it is a logical concession. The other two do everything you suggest a fourth print would: people will be more willing to experiment or sub late, because 2/3 of the prints will be based, at least in part, on quality. It will add more suspense by far because you will have the EC element for the third print as WELL as the unpredictability of the Monday daily, not to mention the further difficulty of predicting "second place". But it also won't take away the reason for voting. It'll just give woot a way to say "hmm, ninth place is awesome and will probably sell alright, and second/third are both embarrassing". Let's put it this way: we wouldn't have to worry about Nevermore if woot had always done this. And yes, there will always be great tees that go unprinted. But while woot's picks will always run the risk of flaws, just as many HMs they give are questionable choices, it will nevertheless elevate the entire print schedule. More big-names will risk it in the derby, leading to more quality. More people will take time to put forth detailed work that might not resonate with voters but does resonate from their heart, which will lead to higher creativity. A woot-based hand will likely lead to a much more even distribution of wins/prints per designer, which is good for everyone so long as woot is selecting not on the basis of diversity of names but diversity of work. All helping the derby without harming the dailies. And all inherently fixing scads of the problems in the derby without needing to do any coding or even much rejecting.
1590 words before this quasi-paragraph, snarkmods. And while the breath is surely continually wasted, the content remains as true and valuable as ever. Fixing the derby isn't about what any one person wants to buy, and never has been or will be. It's about improving the experience for everyone, and respecting basic artistry.