lloyd2002


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lloyd2002

As most community members seem to have noticed, the vote totals of late have been very anemic, sales have flagged, and a number of popular/quality artist submissions have decreased. I'd say this can be contributed to one shirt.woot process change and a (possibly) correlated shift in the increased insularity of the community.

1) We've been trying out the new Derby rules (#1 vote getter prints Friday, EC on Saturday, Guest Artist Pick on Sunday) for several months now. If you look at the change in the rules and correlate it to declining vote totals, you've got a fairly strong negative statistical correlation between the two (and yes, correlation does not equal causation, but it's always a good place to start).

Socially, this makes sense, as well. The Derby went from being "the voice of the people" to a crap shoot. Sure, #1 gets printed, but often #2 and #3 don't even get an Honorable Mention, so that they can at least show up in the Double-Take derby. The EC, most often, completely ignores the will of the people and chooses a design lower in the fog - usually a design that was submitted on day one, and often by an artist that is in their Daily rotation. The GAC pick has been a complete crapshoot, often picking a non-fogged design that had also been around most of the derby, but not supported by the will of the people.

One of the stated reasons for the rule changes was that it was supposed to help those designs submitted late in the derby receive a chance at printing. Honestly, isn't that what the Honorable Mention was originally for? As it has worked out, though, the EC and GAC haven't functioned this way. Instead, what we've gotten is this:


  1. The top voted shirt (usually from a very short list of designers) is printed Friday
  2. The EC is rarely the #2 vote getter, but rather a seemling arbitrary pick that has the perception (real or not) of personal favoritism between Woot staff and the selected artist
  3. The GAC is almost never the #2 or #3 design, but a rather seemingly arbitrary pick that has the perception (real or not) of personal favoritism between the Guest Artist and the artist he/she selects.


It should really be no wonder that the vote totals have decreased. What's the point in voting if your vote is only good for the first place design, and the other two winning designs have pretty much nothing to do with how a design placed in the derby? And oh, by the way, the designs that would have printed in the past (#2 and #3) don't even get an HM so that they can be voted on in a Double-Take derby. It should be no surprise that the average number of votes each week has dropped off a cliff.

2) Rightly or wrongly, the new system has also created a further perception that if you're a new artist in the derby (or an infrequent designer, or a designer that doesn't have time for making lots of comments in the design threads) you have absolutely no chance of printing, because you aren't friends with the Woot staff or the Guest Artist.

I know several artists that have stopped designing things specifically for the derbies. They still submit dailies, and then if the derby theme matches a rejected daily design, they'll submit it. Otherwise, they've decided there's no point wasting their time on a Thursday night busting their butt to come in #2 or #3 in the Derby and have zilch to show for it.

3) Adding to the perception of cliquishness between some artists and the Woot staff has been the recent practice of the rejectionator ignoring the posted rules of the derby to allow their personal friends/popular artists to post designs that should be rejected. Certainly, the rejectionator has been hitting designs submitted on the wrong template, wrong colors, use of photos and other technical issues, but when it comes to judging the actual rules of the derby, the rejectionator turns a blind eye to violations by popular/inside artists.

If you look at the current derby (Fictional Band Tour Shirts), one of the rules states: "No real bands". At this point in time, a third of the designs in the fog (from frequently-printed artists) violate this rule, with two of them creating a design for the same real band!

And if you go further down, there are quite a few more that are for real bands, or are not tour shirts, but just a fake band w/ no tour correlation.

By not following the posted rules (and/or bending them only for designs already in the fog), the perception of favoritism only increases.

In summary: When you combine the perception of favoritism and the lack of "fairness" in the derby, both in the new rules and in the adherence to the weekly derby rules, it is no wonder the vote totals have cratered, artists have given up, and the overall quality of designs has suffered.

SO WHAT TO DO?

1) Most obviously, go back to the old system of voting.

2) What about late-submitted designs? If a worthy design is submitted late and doesn't get enough votes, that's what the Honorable Mention is for. OR, better yet, save the "Monday Shirt" slot for an EC from the Derby.

3) At the very least, if shirt.woot isn't willing to go back to the old system, guarantee an HM to the #2 and #3 shirts (or even #'s 2, 3 and 4), so that the artists at least know they're not wasting their time in a crap-shoot if they don't get first place in the derby.

4) If you're going to post special rules for the derby (like "No real bands"), follow them - especially for designs higher up in the voting.

My family has dozens of woot shirts (with my wife as the primary buyer), but when I do a quick look through them, I see only one that was designed since the rule changes took effect. She doesn't pay attention to any of the politics here, other than listening to me talk about it, but even she's noticed the slide since the rule changes took effect.

So, shirt.woot gods, perhaps it's time to make some changes (or undo some changes) for the good of the community.

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn
lloyd2002 wrote:...

4) If you're going to post special rules for the derby (like "No real bands"), follow them - especially for designs higher up in the voting.

...



This is probably my biggest peeve. There has always been some favoritism, and a general slacking in rule enforcement after Tuesday, but it's gotten worse in recent months.

The change up in the selection process has been interesting, but I don't know that I agree with it being the cause of sales declining. I think people have a limited amount of funds for 'fun' purchases, and the site changes have a) increased the number of items available for purchase, b) made all items available more visible and c) increased the price, meaning that people can buy 5 or fewer tees where previously they would have bought 6 first-day tees.

There have been a few first time prints from EC or GAC, though, so I don't think there is favoritism there. I'd be ticked off if the EC and GAC did pick from the fog each time--that would defeat the purpose. Ditto for always giving the top honorable mention. Defeats the purpose of the changes.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

lloyd2002


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lloyd2002
Mavyn wrote:This is probably my biggest peeve. There has always been some favoritism, and a general slacking in rule enforcement after Tuesday, but it's gotten worse in recent months.

The change up in the selection process has been interesting, but I don't know that I agree with it being the cause of sales declining. I think people have a limited amount of funds for 'fun' purchases, and the site changes have a) increased the number of items available for purchase, b) made all items available more visible and c) increased the price, meaning that people can buy 5 or fewer tees where previously they would have bought 6 first-day tees.

There have been a few first time prints from EC or GAC, though, so I don't think there is favoritism there. I'd be ticked off if the EC and GAC did pick from the fog each time--that would defeat the purpose. Ditto for always giving the top honorable mention. Defeats the purpose of the changes.



My point about favoritism isn't that it definitely is occurring, but rather that instituting a completely arbitrary system for Second and Third prints only adds to the appearance of favoritism.

I would agree that there are a number of factors that have led to the vote/sales decrease and artist flight, but when you look statistically at the changes (switch from AA to Anvil, addition of Woot+, and the rules changes), taking into account the time at which the changes were added to the system, the biggest negative factor on sales is the switch to Anvil; the second biggest factor is the rule change switch; and the third is the addition of Woot+. If you look at votes, rather than sales totals, the percentage drop in votes is statistically greatest when correlated to the rules changes, second to the Anvil switch, and third to Woot+.

If you go back to the original post on why they were making the changes, the accomplishment of those results is highly questionable, with the drop in sales figures for the GAC as the most starkly dismal, when compared to the drop in sales between #2 and #3 in the old system.

Also, if we're trying to retain artists, submitting quality designs to the derbies, having some guarantee of an Honorable Mention for #2 and #3 if they don't print is is a pretty easy fix (since that would only be ~30% of the HM's given out), and would at least swing the pendulum back towards the voting community and away from arbitrariness/perceived favoritism - at least a little bit.

Monday - Thursday are already taken up with Editor's Choices (just from submitted Dailies instead of Derbies), so why eat up Saturday and take away from the perceived fairness of the old system?

tjschaeffer


quality posts: 7 Private Messages tjschaeffer

I tend to disagree that the new rules had a negative effect on vote totals. Or rather, the new rules weren't the primary driver of declining vote totals.

Looking at the vote totals (month by month) and comparing to the month where certain changes started:

2012:
Jan - 816.5 - Price Increase
Feb - 946.5 - Blank Change
Mar - 914.8
Apr - 769.25
May - 820.75 - Site Redesign
Jun - 686.2
Jul - 686.25
Aug - 641.4 - New Rules
Sep - 597
Oct - 610.5
Nov - 368 - All Designs
Dec - 354.75

Note that there's no science or statistical analysis applied to these numbers or anything.

In my opinion the Site redesign and the sale of all designs had the biggest effect, as they turned woot, specifically shirt.woot, from a 5-10 minute experience into a mini job. And since everyone has only a finite amount of time in their day, I think that derby voting is ultimately what took the biggest hit.

Most likely what we're seeing is the result of the numerous changes that have occurred in the last 12 months.

I haven't looked at how sales correlate to any of these changes, but I expect there might be a similar result.

Narfcake


quality posts: 289 Private Messages Narfcake
tjschaeffer wrote:... Most likely what we're seeing is the result of the numerous changes that have occurred in the last 12 months. ...



If there's another aspect that has come into play in the past year - "The Ramyb factor." No matter what has been argued about over the past 4+ years, he brought plenty of sales and returning customers ... and Woot losing out on their #1 volume artist has got to have an effect.

If I had to put some numbers to it, shirt.Woot has 17k+ likes; TeeTurtle has 80k+. And trying to go back to sleep a few nights ago, instead of counting sheep, I was counting shirts. 291,959. No collabs, no side sales.

I'm sure that number is higher now already.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
Narfcake wrote:If there's another aspect that has come into play in the past year - "The Ramyb factor." No matter what has been argued about over the past 4+ years, he brought plenty of sales and returning customers ... and Woot losing out on their #1 volume artist has got to have an effect.

Since he didn't stop submitting, you're saying his fan base stopped coming here? Would they not still vote then?

move along

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn

He doesn't submit with nearly the same frequency, and why come here to vote when they know that a shirt he submits here will end up on teeturtle if it doesn't print at woot?

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

neuropsychosocial


quality posts: 171 Private Messages neuropsychosocial

I have data that might shed light on whether there might be favoritism in Derby prints under the new rules. I don't have time to analyze it right now, but I'll try to get to it soon. It's amazing to run into a wooter so passionate about the Derby rules despite only two woots purchased in the past 504 days! I applaud your commitment to this analysis, even though you don't have any vested interest in the outcome! As I said, I don't have a ton of time to respond right now, but I was hoping you could clarify a few points.

lloyd2002 wrote:I would agree that there are a number of factors that have led to the vote/sales decrease and artist flight, but when you look statistically at the changes (switch from AA to Anvil, addition of Woot+, and the rules changes), taking into account the time at which the changes were added to the system, the biggest negative factor on sales is the switch to Anvil; the second biggest factor is the rule change switch; and the third is the addition of Woot+.

What statistical test did you use to generate these results?

If you look at votes, rather than sales totals, the percentage drop in votes is statistically greatest when correlated to the rules changes, second to the Anvil switch, and third to Woot+.

Hmm, what type of correlation did you calculate? I've always believed that one cannot correlate a non-continuous variable with a discrete event. I'd love to learn something new!

the perceived fairness of the old system?

I recall much complaining that the old system wasn't fair. The complaint that the Derby rules aren't applied consistently certainly extends back years; I believe part of the "problem" is that removing a fogged design after Monday(?) requires a review from Legal. And we all know that internal services at Woot operate at the speed of SnailPost. I believe another part of the problem is unclear Derby rules that do not clearly express what Woot means. For example, when they say "No real bands. We don't want to get a horse's head from somebody's agent," I suspect they really man "No bands with trademarked names and/or better paid lawyers than woot's."

Narfcake wrote:"The Ramyb factor."

I think that's a red herring in this particular discussion. However, as long as we're talking about whether woot artists who print frequently get a pass on Derby rules... Kansas is not a fictional place!

RIP A.A. Blanks (Obituary)

lloyd2002


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lloyd2002
neuropsychosocial wrote:I have data that might shed light on whether there might be favoritism in Derby prints under the new rules. I don't have time to analyze it right now, but I'll try to get to it soon. It's amazing to run into a wooter so passionate about the Derby rules despite only two woots purchased in the past 504 days!


I have two primary artists I follow, though I vote for shirts I'd be interested in. Both live here, locally, and I hear them make numerous observations and complaints about how things work. They also say they'd never comment about it, as they don't want to piss off the community (which just loses votes).

My wife and I only have one credit card, and it's attached to her account, so we make all of our purchases from hers. I created this account to try and buy a fourth shirt on the day it printed, to no avail. We own a closet-full of Woot shirts, as it is, though.

What statistical test did you use to generate these results?


I used a control chart, time-banded to specific run conditions. I also used a student's T-test comparing aspects of the populations (controlling for day of the week and some additional factors).

I've always believed that one cannot correlate a non-continuous variable with a discrete event. I'd love to learn something new!


Again, if you time-bound your run and eliminate known point-causes, you can get rough correlations.

I am treating each day's sales as a discrete point-in-time event, along with overall sales and derby vote totals. This allows me to treat the overall shirt.woot daily sales as a continuous process.

I realize that artistic quality and appeal of each shirt is a source of variation, but you would expect that this is a discrete set of variation, rather than just random noise.

I believe part of the "problem" is that removing a fogged design after Monday(?) requires a review from Legal.


When did this happen? Is it documented or folklore?

Narfcake


quality posts: 289 Private Messages Narfcake
Mavyn wrote:He doesn't submit with nearly the same frequency, and why come here to vote when they know that a shirt he submits here will end up on teeturtle if it doesn't print at woot?


Yep.

I'm not saying that all of his customer base would have left, but certainly not all of them would have stayed either.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
Mavyn wrote:He doesn't submit with nearly the same frequency, and why come here to vote when they know that a shirt he submits here will end up on teeturtle if it doesn't print at woot?

Might be a bit of Recency effect? Other than the recent holidays/end of school, his submission rate hasn't appeared to drop off.

move along

kwilder


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kwilder
lloyd2002 wrote: [Correlation...Snip]



As someone who is reasonably familiar with statistical analysis, I have a couple of questions, I'm not trying to be difficult, just asking in the hopes of better understanding.

*I see you discussed having done a correlation, did you run actual statistical analysis or just look at (roughly) a comparison of before and after voting?

*Assuming you did an actual correlation analysis, are you open to posting the results of the analysis? I would be interested to see the magnitude of the relationship, also given the still relatively small sample size of derbies post change.

*Lastly, assuming you did do a formal correlation, I am curious if you considered chosing a test that would handle pre-post results better. If I were doing the analysis I might choose a test that can make a better mean vote comparison pre-change and post-change. A correlation is best suited to managing two continuous variables (such as votes, and time). Certainly you could say that votes are going down over time, but to strengthen the position (again, as you say, not proving causation) that any woot changes have negatively impacted voting, I would suggest doing an additional statistical test. If a correlation shows a downward trend in voting, you would want to clearly establish (perhaps via visual graph) the duration of the downward trend (was there a downward voting trend before the change) and to see if the downward trend increased following any woot implemented changes. If there was a pre-existing downward trend, then any negative correlation could be just general derby disinterest, you'd have to find (via a pre-post analysis) that the downward trend in votes increased (assuming there was a downward trend to start with.)

Edited to add: I see I am not the first to have some of these concerns. Sorry about that.

You can, I realize do a correlional analysis with a dichotomous variable (like before a change and after, or with variables like gender) in which case the correlation coefficient would be interpreted very differently.

Again, I would like to know the magnitude of the correlation we are talking about. While a small correlation between taking aspirin when having a heart problem is "significant" in it's life impact, not all situations are life and death and the magnitude of the correlation does matter.

I maintain that using a test that is better suited to pre and post change analysis would allow for more clear interpretation and also analysis of the effect size of any change to allow us to interpret the meaningful "significance" (as opposed to statistical significance) represented by the analysis.

lloyd2002


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lloyd2002
kwilder wrote:As someone who is reasonably familiar with statistical analysis(snip)


one of the other posters here asked me for the data I was using, and I sent it to him in excel (which was where I was running most of my calcs).

He says he's got a high-end stats package, and will run them tonight.

lyonscc


quality posts: 6 Private Messages lyonscc
lloyd2002 wrote:one of the other posters here asked me for the data I was using, and I sent it to him in excel (which was where I was running most of my calcs).

He says he's got a high-end stats package, and will run them tonight.



With no offense to Lloyd, his spreadsheet doesn't include everything I'd like, specifically first-day sales data and the shirt's artist. If someone has a spreadsheet with that data and is willing to share it, it would save me some time.

I will try to run it tonight if I have time.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
kwilder wrote:If a correlation shows a downward trend in voting, you would want to clearly establish (perhaps via visual graph) the duration of the downward trend (was there a downward voting trend before the change) and to see if the downward trend increased following any woot implemented changes. If there was a pre-existing downward trend, then any negative correlation could be just general derby disinterest, you'd have to find (via a pre-post analysis) that the downward trend in votes increased (assuming there was a downward trend to start with.


I've been maintaining a simple votes over time data set, and it shows a continuous downward trend in votes since about the site redesign.

I take that back.
It started with the supplier change, then dipped with the site redesign, then it held on for a while and dropped again in the October-November timeframe. (Not sure when the catalog went live)
Still, the point stands that low votes results in an easier to "game" derby turnout, and is likely why the rules changed (in addition to the predictability of turnout for the printing process)

move along

Mavyn


quality posts: 22 Private Messages Mavyn
j5 wrote:Might be a bit of Recency effect? Other than the recent holidays/end of school, his submission rate hasn't appeared to drop off.



Perhaps he's not promoting the submissions here as much? It looked to me like there were fewer, but I've not really tracked it.

My speech is not parsing. I am speaking in ellipsis.

kwilder


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kwilder
j5 wrote:I've been maintaining a simple votes over time data set, and it shows a continuous downward trend in votes since about the site redesign.

I take that back.
It started with the supplier change, then dipped with the site redesign, then it held on for a while and dropped again in the October-November timeframe. (Not sure when the catalog went live)
Still, the point stands that low votes results in an easier to "game" derby turnout, and is likely why the rules changed (in addition to the predictability of turnout for the printing process)



See, exactly, if the downward trend pre-dated a particular discussed change (for example the derby printing process), any negative correlation would not be meaningful to interpret. Actually, nor would a pre-post analysis (as a general continued downward trend would result in a higher mean before and a lower mean after). Given the longitudinal nature of the data, some kind of regression is probably best, but would be complicated. You could, for example, take a set of data and code each day of data as whether or not certain policies were in place on that particular day. Each policy would need it's own code and variable. You could, then, figure out the relative weight each policy has on the total continued downward trend.

As an example of the codes I mean, for AA v. Anvil you could have a "T-Shirt" variable coded 0 (AA, original) and 1 (Anvil). You could also have multiple variables related to the derby, for example "1st Print Only" could be coded as 0 (1st, 2nd, 3rd print) and 1 (1st guaranteed only).

To be as comprehensive as possible, you'd ideally have a variable for each change occurring over the course of the longitudinal data, recognizing of course that some might not be meaningful. A regression analysis would then be able to tell you the magnitude of the impact each variable has on the total relationship.

I think this might be good to try. Granted, I could be wrong. It's been a while since I was heavily involved in regression studies.


neuropsychosocial


quality posts: 171 Private Messages neuropsychosocial

kwilder, you've just described my data set, except it was more complicated; for example, there were five possible combinations of AA/Anvil (all AA, all Anvil, two adult AA/kids Anvil, one adult AA/one adult kids Anvil, two adult Anvil/kids AA). Derby winners (1,2,3) are coded differently pre- and post-rule changes with Dailies and ECs coded separately. And I tracked artists (any artist with more than two prints got an individual code), color... I forget what else. And then I ran a bunch of regressions, including logistic regression with blanks as the criterion variable... I'm not in a position to access those results right now (I'm posting from my phone in an airport!) but there were two clear results:
- no one variable accounts for very much variation in sales, although several combinations of variables were significant.
- sales are not normally distributed and there is restriction of range problems (and frankly, sales are not independent events)

As time as gone on, I'm increasingly convinced that there isn't an actual reduction in overall sales: sales are simply split between the Reckoning and Woot Plus sales.

RIP A.A. Blanks (Obituary)

tjschaeffer


quality posts: 7 Private Messages tjschaeffer
j5 wrote:I've been maintaining a simple votes over time data set, and it shows a continuous downward trend in votes since about the site redesign.

I take that back.
It started with the supplier change, then dipped with the site redesign, then it held on for a while and dropped again in the October-November timeframe. (Not sure when the catalog went live)



Without running any fancy statistical analysis, this is what my perception agrees with. There was a drop-off in votes after the redesign (wherein woot became very busy with all the side sales) and then again after the catalogue launch (where shirt.woot became even busier, leaving less time for derby voting for the average user).

That's my belief, and I'm sticking to it.

neuropsychosocial


quality posts: 171 Private Messages neuropsychosocial

If we take j5 and TJ's stance as our starting point, we're still left with a major concern, which is - what is our concern?

Is it the "fairness" of the Derby rules? I spent the first 18 years of my life in a subjective Olympic sport: ain't no such thing as "fair" when subjective perceptions of "fairness" are involved.

Is it the decrease in sales and the impact on the artists' paychecks? It seems like sales are shifted, not diminished, but if that's our concern, maybe we or the artists should brainstorm marketing strategies.

Is it that the forums have become boring? Well, the invective and volume of posts is always highest when an artist is suspected of using sock puppets. So... anyone volunteering?

RIP A.A. Blanks (Obituary)

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
j5 wrote:I shall leave this here:



neuropsychosocial wrote:If we take j5 and TJ's stance as our starting point, we're still left with a major concern, which is - what is our concern?


Not sure about "our" concern, but the OP's concern seems to be that his favorite artist(s) would have printed under the old rules and isn't under the new rules, therefore...treachery!!

move along

blanked


quality posts: 10 Private Messages blanked

Im a sockpuppet, oh wait, I just a normal puppet. Or is that poppet?

So many places I go wind up trying to reverse engineer this kind of data. But they always seem to be missing vital data until it is no longer useful.

lyonscc


quality posts: 6 Private Messages lyonscc
neuropsychosocial wrote:kwilder, you've just described my data set, except it was more complicated; for example, there were five possible combinations of AA/Anvil (all AA, all Anvil, two adult AA/kids Anvil, one adult AA/one adult kids Anvil, two adult Anvil/kids AA). Derby winners (1,2,3) are coded differently pre- and post-rule changes with Dailies and ECs coded separately. And I tracked artists (any artist with more than two prints got an individual code), color... I forget what else. And then I ran a bunch of regressions, including logistic regression with blanks as the criterion variable... I'm not in a position to access those results right now (I'm posting from my phone in an airport!) but there were two clear results:
- no one variable accounts for very much variation in sales, although several combinations of variables were significant.
- sales are not normally distributed and there is restriction of range problems (and frankly, sales are not independent events)

As time as gone on, I'm increasingly convinced that there isn't an actual reduction in overall sales: sales are simply split between the Reckoning and Woot Plus sales.



Well, then you've saved me some time, as your conclusions are roughly the same as mine, and unless lloyd can get me a list of first-day sales, I don't have time to manually go back and collect them.

The only additional test I was thinking of doing would compare pre-rule and post-rule changes to see the % change between Day 1 and Day 2, and the % change between Day 2 and Day 3. I think you should be able to expect the whole AA vs. Anvil thing, and the addition of Woot+ to be completely negligible, since you'd be looking at internal sales/vote ratios only within each derby. If there was really a difference between pre- and post-rules sales, you'd expect to see it there.

odysseyroc


quality posts: 33 Private Messages odysseyroc
neuropsychosocial wrote:If we take j5 and TJ's stance as our starting point, we're still left with a major concern, which is - what is our concern?

Is it the "fairness" of the Derby rules? I spent the first 18 years of my life in a subjective Olymlic sport: ain't no such thing as "fair" when subjective perceptions of "fairness" are involved.

Is it the decrease in sales and the impact on the artists' paychecks? It seems like sales are shifted, not diminished, but if that's our concern, maybe we or the artists should brainstorm marketing strategies.

Is it that the forums have become boring? Well, the invective and volume of posts is always highest when an artist is suspected of using sock puppets. So... anyone volunteering?



Creating a sub forum specifically for art related posts, and moving the pre derby threads to the derby section of the forums killed the "world of woot shirts" section.





lonelypond


quality posts: 436 Private Messages lonelypond
odysseyroc wrote:Creating a sub forum specifically for art related posts, and moving the pre derby threads to the derby section of the forums killed the "world of woot shirts" section.



Yes, I forget to check for the art threads when previously I used to happily run across them and read/learn from(and occasionally contribute to) them.

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday

ugh...long post. tl;dr version at the bottom

I know people like to get caught up in the numbers, but I'm struggling to figure out what the point is. We all know vote totals are down. Probably every change woot made recently has had an effect on votes and derby participation. That's pretty obvious. It is completely impossible to know which change might be driving that or even if any of them are a primary factor. For example, one thing j5 is missing from his chart that is probably super important is when woot actually replaced most of its AA stock. There was at least a month delay when you could still reasonably expect to get shirts of some colors on AA.

Beyond that, I'd say a few of the premises are incorrect. First, woot's EC choice most certainly does represent the will of the people because it is always (maybe once not?) from the fog. If you're in the fog and not first there really isn't a big difference in the votes. Second, woot often just picks the second place shirt. I don't know the exact numbers on that, but to say it's rare is a massive stretch.

However, my primary problem with all this how the conclusion is that we should go back to the old way. The old way sucked. The shirts sucked. It was way more favorable to popular artists and waaaaaay more prejudicial against new artists except in a few rare occasions (patrick). The quality of the designs coming out of the derby is much improved over the past year or two.

Going back to votes isn't going to do anything but make the derby worse, and here's why. There has been a massive diversity drain going for a long time. Some of the better ones stuck it out longer than most (Drakxxx, Boots, Jewelwing, Robbie to name a few), but even they are gone or extremely reduced. ramy and seki single handedly destroyed this site. They changed the customer base in a huge way and they opened the door for patrick to clean up the rest.

From shirt what's last stats patrick printed almost 30% of his submissions for 55 prints. That's 18 entire derbies worth. ramy printed 20% for 56. That's not even counting their recent prints. When seki was still here she had also printed 20%. You could tell a lot of artists lost steam well before any of these changes. Compound that with how many other options there are and people just aren't coming back because it's not fun and it's not worth the effort.

The change in the derby is completely geared to counteract the ramy and patrick effect and it has. They aren't printing as much. More diverse designs are printing and of higher quality, but the problem is that most who might care are already gone. The derby might rebound if woot would stop wasting its pick on the same crap no one wants and start picking better quality designs from out of the fog. There are always a few late entries that are amazingly good and they go nowhere because the voters don't care, woot won't pick them, and for the most part the guests have been artists who make the crap that's in the fog.

tl;dr version

I think I typed that other stuff mostly for my own benefit or for anyone who might read it. Here's the real problem that no one is talking about that explains everything. Woot is printing a ton of derby artists as dailies, which they never did before. Woot has a ton of side sales. Woot has (or had for a bit) its entire catalog up for sale albeit with dubious print quality. Are you ready for the revelation?

Woot buyers are pathologically cheap. The shirts are too damn expensive. There are too many damn things to buy. "Why would I waste my one shirt purchase a week on rooting for the thing I like that isn't going to print when there's a massive backlog of shirts I wasn't here for that are better? Or maybe I'll just buy a hoodie..."

You're welcome.

Narfcake


quality posts: 289 Private Messages Narfcake
Mavyn wrote:Perhaps he's not promoting the submissions here as much?


As far as I could tell, he doesn't promote them at all. From TT, I only recall seeing one link to Woot and that was when he was artist spotlight. Even then, it was a few days in before he posted it.

That said ...

neuropsychosocial wrote:... I think that's a red herring in this particular discussion. ...


You're right.

The timeline of lessening activity just so happens to coincide with other events here at Woot. Perhaps the only real answer is "all of the above."

mrwednesday


quality posts: 12 Private Messages mrwednesday
Narfcake wrote:You're right.

The timeline of lessening activity just so happens to coincide with other events here at Woot. Perhaps the only real answer is "all of the above."



No you were right. As I said above, if there was a vibrant diverse community (artists and buyers) all of the changes could have been stomached. You've been reading the threads. The supplier change, the mind-destroyingly white website, the price increase...they were just the last straw. I think a lot of people sat and thought, "Is this really worth it?" and realized the answer was no.

lonelypond


quality posts: 436 Private Messages lonelypond
mrwednesday wrote:ugh...long post. tl;dr version at the bottom

I know people like to get caught up in the numbers, but I'm struggling to figure out what the point is. We all know vote totals are down. Probably every change woot made recently has had an effect on votes and derby participation. That's pretty obvious.



Yes, sometimes, for those of us who aren't that drawn to the minutia of statistics, the threads can seem like arid tundras full of numbingly cold, whistling winds of numbers, which is why I rarely venture into the reckoning threads anymore. It was fun when there were designs people were actively rooting for or against and conversations about Doomkittens and ninjas happening, but that's now in the happens rarely category.

With the artists, it was always interesting to see when someone would hit the sweet spot and get a few designs printed, then rotate out of the choice spot. Editor's Choices make it a much more personal affront than votes if you can never snag that second or third place spot.

tjschaeffer


quality posts: 7 Private Messages tjschaeffer

I'm still not too sure what the takeaway from this is all supposed to be?

Since the derby rules changed, I think we've seen a nice variety of winning derby artists. As Mr. W said, there are lately fewer RamyB and Pspens prints (of course .

As for the selection of derby artists to print as dailies, I wonder if that has more to do with derby artists being the ones to submit dailies than it does with any sort of favoritism or whatever.

I really don't know if sales are down overall. There have been a lot of low selling designs recently, but there are any number of factors that could be responsible for that.

So at the end of the day, I'm not sure what it is we or the OP are hoping for. The derby rules probably won't change, woot won't be changing the site back, and I doubt the all designs catalogue will be going away considering the capital investment on woot's part.

A better sense of community would be nice, but that's something that everyone who hangs out here would have to foster. It won't just happen on its own or on woot's whim.

j5


quality posts: 63 Private Messages j5
mrwednesday wrote:I know people like to get caught up in the numbers, but I'm struggling to figure out what the point is.

The point of the numbers or the point of this thread? Someone says hey I think X, everyone pulls out the numbers to prove/disprove it.

We all know vote totals are down. Probably every change woot made recently has had an effect on votes and derby participation. That's pretty obvious. It is completely impossible to know which change might be driving that or even if any of them are a primary factor. For example, one thing j5 is missing from his chart that is probably super important is when woot actually replaced most of its AA stock. There was at least a month delay when you could still reasonably expect to get shirts of some colors on AA.


I slapped a line on the chart for July 12 (The day the AAs died). It didn't reveal much.



Looking closely at the chart, there hasn't been a 1st place vote total over 500 since the full catalog went live.

eta:

tjschaeffer wrote:Since the derby rules changed, I think we've seen a nice variety of winning derby artists. As Mr. W said, there are lately fewer RamyB and Pspens prints (of course .

As for the selection of derby artists to print as dailies, I wonder if that has more to do with derby artists being the ones to submit dailies than it does with any sort of favoritism or whatever.

I really don't know if sales are down overall. There have been a lot of low selling designs recently, but there are any number of factors that could be responsible for that.

Valid points.

So at the end of the day, I'm not sure what it is we or the OP are hoping for.

The OP stated what they are hoping for. Specifically: "The new Derby rules aren't working, here are numbers to prove it, change them back"
Motivating factors are suggested, but I won't restate them.

move along

orabbit


quality posts: 31 Private Messages orabbit

My 2 cents: the AA thing is not as big a factor as some think. Those who are disgruntled about blanks are a very vocal minority. But I submit that most people don't care, and can't tell the difference anyway. As a screen printer, I found this to be true when customers chose their blanks. Those who wanted American Apparel wanted it and would accept no substitutes. Most others either wanted the cheapest option, or good bang for their buck, i.e. Anvil 980 or Gildan SoftStyle, or some of the other smaller manufacturers I offered.

Even I can't tell the difference sometimes. One of my Woot shirts which I was sure was AA turned out to be Anvil, and vice versa.

/two cents

kwilder


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kwilder
j5 wrote:The OP stated what they are hoping for. Specifically: "The new Derby rules aren't working, here are numbers to prove it, change them back"
Motivating factors are suggested, but I won't restate them.



tl:dr - I'm not sure that I agree that vote decrease matters that much anyway. There have also been so many derby changes, not one can be really the source of any vote decrease (assuming a decrease does matter)

-------

I also agree that the derby artists printing more as dailies may be the result of more derby artists submitting (or fewer non-derby artists submitting).

Going back the the OP's seeming purpose of the thread, I remain unconvinced that the change in derby rules is the direct cause of decreased derby votes. Given that, I don't know that reverting the rules would increase votes. The truth is votes do matter less in the derby now, only one shirt is printed based on vote, as opposed to three shirts. If a vote matters less, it is reasonable to assume that there will be fewer votes (although I haven't seen evidence I find overwhelming to say that this is true, just that it is a reasonable thought).

But, frankly, I don't know that I mind that there are fewer derby votes, and I don't know that woot minds there are fewer derby votes.
Woot doesn't care so much about derby votes so much as sales resulting from the derby.

In what way is a vote, in and of itself, inherently beneficial to the site? Especially to the degree that we should try to encourage more voting. One could argue that it represents wider interest in the derby, or in the community. However, a statistic like page views for individual submissions or number of voters participating in the derby could also be valid measures of derby interest. But, again, I still don't think derby disinterest (assuming it exists) can be dated to the rule change.

Many people, such as myself, became totally disinterested in the derby (and woot as a community) for entirely different reasons and also a long time ago. You could point to many events in the derby history that have had a huge impact on how the derby is done. You could look at the arbitrary rejection of jamesscho's penguin way so long ago. You could look at the expansion of the fog to 9. You could look at the original derby which only printed the highest shirt and all others totally ignored. The invention of the re-dux derbies. The start of honorable mentions. The arrival of RamyB and Seki. The controversy of printing artists that used unoriginal material. Further changes to the derby printing order. Printing of ECs after re-dux derbies. The addition of shirt.woot plus. The site redesign. The addition of the back-catalog. The addition of any other woots to the woot family... and on...

All of these are changes that have impacted site traffic broadly or the the derby more specifically in ways people may or may not have liked. Without documenting every change over the entire history of the derby and having stats for votes AND sales in each instance, you can't make the argument that any one thing has had an overwhelming impact.

I tend to be of the view someone else (who did do a multiple regression) stated that there are multiple factors, of which no one fully accounts for a meaningful part of the variance.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
neuropsychosocial wrote:If we take j5 and TJ's stance as our starting point, we're still left with a major concern, which is - what is our concern?

[snip]

Is it that the forums have become boring? Well, the invective and volume of posts is always highest when an artist is suspected of using sock puppets. So... anyone volunteering?



that would imply individuals have more than one account each! shocking! *cough*

thumperchick


quality posts: 245 Private Messages thumperchick

It always amazes me that there are people here willing to spend so much time analyzing and trying to help with this community and site. You are all awesome. Please don't take what I'm about to say as a commentary on your work - your efforts here are great and I did read through most of it.

As a sort-of active shirt.wooter - I can tell you that it just doesn't matter to me anymore. All of the changes have eroded my involvement in shirt.woot and voting in the derby (which was really enjoyable for me.)

*The price increase slowed my purchases.
*The blank change right after soured me.
*It doesn't matter if you check the site daily, the shirt will come back; in a w+ sale or the catalog, it will return.
*Rule change just means that the fogged shirt(s) I like have a 1 in 9 shot, instead of 1 in 3. What's the point?
*If you do end up paying for a shirt, your odds of having one without errors is lower.
*Customer Service has become much less efficient, if they get your emails in the first place.

All of the above sucked the fun out of it. It just got too damned hard to vote for a shirt that I won't buy, and if I do buy it - that I won't be happy with.

Woot made me a t-shirt person. I would not wear one before, unless there were a reason (event, etc.)
Now, unless is American made, soft, comfy, well printed and $10... I'm not interested. So, I guess woot made me a cheap t-shirt person. Then they stopped being all of that.

TL:DR Meh. I don't vote anymore. Unless I'm asked to check something out by the artist.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
thumperchick wrote:*Rule change just means that the fogged shirt(s) I like have a 1 in 9 shot, instead of 1 in 3. What's the point?



honest question: you've never preferred a design out of the fog over the ones in the fog?

bluetuba


quality posts: 58 Private Messages bluetuba

I think Wednesday had a fantastic point about the rules change for all the people cranky about their votes not mattering anymore. Woot almost always chooses #2 from the fog, and often just picks the #2 vote getter anyway. The only wildcard has really has just been the guest editor and that's usually a woot employee or derby artist who's going to pick something in the fog or something familiar anyway.

I really don't think it's that drastic of a change aside from people just being afraid of losing direct power. I still think the change is good, it gives the editors some wiggle room to avoid the top vote getters if they aren't good designs.

Some of us wanted way more drastic change, away from the familiar, cute, and pop culture that the derby has become.

"You can't just dress a Minion like Spock, and add a caption that says "Logical Me". There's a prison for people like that. Below my house."

dramallama56


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dramallama56

Wow. This thread is a good read. I didn't know about these things being true on woot until like...oh...just now. I especially didn't know about the fact that the top votes does not equal print anymore. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, it's kind of nice that if I design something really quality, it may get printed even if I don't get a surge in votes. On the other hand, it sucks because if I design something that people really like but they don't like the absolute most, I could be slighted a print.

I don't know, just my two cents on it. Thanks for posting this. Some of us (namely me) were apparently clueless.

thumperchick


quality posts: 245 Private Messages thumperchick
no1 wrote:honest question: you've never preferred a design out of the fog over the ones in the fog?



I have. But personally think the HM's usually take care of those. I don't think the old voting works better, just pointing out that it's less rewarding to vote.

mkdr


quality posts: 35 Private Messages mkdr
j5 wrote:The OP stated what they are hoping for. Specifically: "The new Derby rules aren't working, here are numbers to prove it, change them back"
Motivating factors are suggested, but I won't restate them.



The first thing I noticed on this excellent graph was a very obvious change in the rate of drop off in votes right around the beginning of October. It appears to be the derby of Oct 13, which is the one directly after the Shirt as a Costume Redux Derby. The Sunday shirt was highly controversial, (I happened to love it and bought one for all of my family members) and was a low vote getter. Looking back again at the comments I can see how it may have led to a dip in voting the next derby. I certainly don't have the data to do a true analysis, but just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in as well. That is one discussion I vividly remember.

forever fighting the urge to buy something just because it is cheap and cool...wait, it's cheap and cool, let me click that big yellow button!