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Solace 2008-03-12 05:43

Signature of the Month Contest Generic Discussion Thread
AnimeSuki Fan Creation Forum Signature of the Month FAQ

About the SOTM:
The Signature Of The Month contest is open to all members of the Animesuki Forums. The goal of the contest is to provide a fun and competitive way of showing off and improving the signatures and personal skills of contestants. The winner of each months contest is given the privilege of choosing the theme for the next month.

The contest begins on the first of each month and consists of roughly two weeks of entry creation/submission, one week of voting, and one week off. The entry and voting periods may be extended or shortened slightly as needed.

About the SOTM Theme:
Each month prospective contestants are given a theme to base their entries on. This theme is decided by the winner of the previous contest. The theme can be anything, as long as it does not break forum rules regarding inappropriate material. At the end of the month, voters choose which entries they liked best out of all submitted entries and a new winner is decided. Themes cannot be used twice in a row.

The Rules of the SOTM:

1. Contestants are allowed to create, work on, and submit their entry from the start of the contest until two weeks from the start date. This period of time is specified by the organizer every month. Once the entry period expires, all submitted entries are gathered up and sent to the Voting Thread.

2. Contestants must submit original works. This means you cannot simply cut a picture out, slap your name on it, and call it your own. Claiming someone else's work as your own is also not allowed. Anyone caught doing this will have their entries removed from the contest.

To further expand on this rule:
2A. Unless proven otherwise, all entries made by contestants are derivatives of works made by someone else. Thus, no claim of "ownership" shall be made in reference to the image(s) used in the signature entry.

2B. Misrepresenting someone else's signature work for your own is prohibited and will result in an immediate expulsion of the entry and disqualify the contestant from the current month's contest.

2C. In the spirit of originality, "crop" sigs are frowned upon, but not discouraged; however, the contest organizer can call upon all contestants to show the source of their entry(ies) at any time.

2D. Also in the spirit of originality, new signatures are encouraged. However, if you feel one of your older signatures is perfect for the theme and wish to enter it, you may. Just remember that the signature still has to follow the rules stated above.
3. Contestants are allowed to create as many entries as they wish, but are only allowed to enter one. To submit an entry officially, the contestant must mark the post in the Offical Entry Thread containing that entry with the words "Final Entry", or they can submit the signature to the contest organizer using the private message function.

4. Contestants who wish to keep their entries private until after the submission period can private message the contest organizer with their entry. The entry will not be displayed until submissions are closed, unless the contestant displays that entry publicly.

5. Entries must comply with Animesuki rules regarding signature size. This means each entry can be no larger than 500 x 160, and must be less than 50,000 bytes. They must also comply with forum decency rules. If you think your entry will be offensive or reported to the moderators, don't post it, even as a joke.

General Questions:

1. Where can I find a list of previous contest threads?
1a. You can find a list of all SOTM links in the Fan Creation Forum Rules and Index Thread that is stickied at the top of the forum.
2. What about contest winners? I'd like to see the entries that won!
2a. The winners are listed next to the links in the sticky mentioned above, we are currently working on gathering an image list of previous winners.
3. What about the entries that didn't win from each month? It would be nice to see those too!
3a. Currently we have no way of keeping track of previous entries beyond the winners, mainly because of the limits of the various hosting sites used for the entries. Besides that, we average 30-40 entries a month.....the list would be rather long!
4. Why does the contest restrict users from larger sizes for entries? This other forum I visit lets me use whatever size I want! It's cramping my style!
4a. Short answer - The contest obeys the rules of the forum. The site staff set the limits, so we comply. If that's an issue take it up with the site staff, but unless they change their stance on the matter, our rules are their rules. Sorry.

4b. Long answer - The argument of image quality is often brought up when file size is a topic. Essentially, file size hurts contestants in two ways. First, is animation. Smaller file size equals fewer frames and colors to work with. The second is transparencies. Due to PNG being the only method in which real transparencies can be displayed, the size tends to be larger since PNG does not have an optimization feature. It's all or nothing.

What this means is that you have some challenges to fit your idea under the size limit. Transparencies can be faked, but animation will cause some hair pulling if you try to be fancy. However, there are many tutorials on this site and others that will teach you tricks for optimization while still achieving the effects you desire.

The contest is about challenging yourself, to produce the best you can to hopefully win, but to at least come away with better knowledge. If a little challenge is going to scare you off, perhaps this contest isn't for you.
SOTM Promotional Video created by our members Escimo and ~Eps: Check it out!

Ayame_ 2008-03-12 10:02

Personally, I like the nomination phase idea, but it does take away from the comp a bit. It is nice to get the best entries, but it may discourage people because they know already who most of the better sig makers are here and might not enter as they will assume they have no chance.

I like having a plethora of entries to pick from, creates a more competitive environment and there are hundreds of people who visit here everyday, I'm sure that enough votes will get handed out and that there will be a consensus winner.

Miko Miko 2008-03-12 11:13

Good ideas. but the Nomination does seem a little unfair, when you work hard on your signature and then you don't get through.

Oh well, i will be thrilled if mine makes it through!! :)

Cyz 2008-03-12 12:32

Weeell, if you put a nomination phase thing, some people might not ended up not joining....that's my opinion anyway.

Solace 2008-03-12 16:03

Well as I said, it was a consideration. I'm not going to implement it without throwing it past everyone first. :p

But still, if anyone has some suggestions I'm open to them. Another idea I'm toying with is upping the votes from two to three. That might allow some sigs that might otherwise get passed up a chance to get some votes.

Mainly I'm just trying to ensure that everyone gets a chance. Especially since we have such a large range of skill levels.

kayos 2008-03-12 16:40


Originally Posted by Solace (Post 1456678)
Another idea I'm toying with is upping the votes from two to three.

Three votes would allow us to freely choose more... even if it's just one more.

Let's go for three votes.

Ledgem 2008-03-12 16:58


Originally Posted by Solace (Post 1456678)
But still, if anyone has some suggestions I'm open to them. Another idea I'm toying with is upping the votes from two to three. That might allow some sigs that might otherwise get passed up a chance to get some votes.

I'd been considering a similar idea: have one vote for every 10 entries (so ≤10 entries gives people one vote, ≤20 is two, ≤40 is four, etc.)

The problem is that beyond a certain point it gets too difficult to sort. Even with five votes, sorting through 50 entries would be very difficult, especially since we can't really see them all at once or do side-by-side comparisons too easily. Also, with more votes people may just start throwing votes away. Having the votes limited makes them carry a bit more weight in people's minds.

A nomination phase could work, but another play on that idea would be to have sub-competitions, a sort of bracket system. I'm not hard-core enough to be able to come up with bracket categories, but off the top of my head I'm thinking of animated signatures, render signatures, and crop signatures (there are probably more). The distinction between crops and renders isn't always apparent, so people would have to submit to each sub-category on an honor system. Have the top two or three sub-category winners go up in a final SOTM round, and there you have it.

There are a few problems with that; renders/crop signatures might still be extremely numerous, and animated sigs might just be Jinto vs. Kira Naruto :D (just kidding, I know there are more of you animators!)

Sephi 2008-03-12 17:11

The sky banner competition had 3 vote for 100+ banners. I think any more vote would make votes less valuable. As Ledgmen already mentioned, to much votes and people might trow around with it without putting to much thought in to it. Imho 3 should be the max vote we should be looking at for this.

Aoie_Emesai 2008-03-12 17:25

I'd say 3 vote max. It's never good to give humans too much choices when you want a straight answer when all the information is already laid on the tables. But I agree with what Ledgem said about for every 10, add a vote to a max of 3.

geki~ 2008-03-12 18:31

I think it would also be interesting to make all the entries anonymous aka without a name and no sigs will be posted until the voting starts. I personally don't look at the name when choosing favorites but some people do that. Well it's just my opinion...

Ledgem 2008-03-12 19:06

geki~ that idea was discussed previously before, as brought up by marina (follow the short discussion starting here). It was ultimately rejected for various reasons.

I argued in favor of it at the time it was mentioned, but in hindsight I'm not so sure. Doing that would cut back on the open nature of helping each other to improve. It'd also prevent people from using their works before the contest started, or even during it. I was initially drawn to the contests because I was taken in by Kasumi Girl's signature and then followed her link to the contest. If people can't show their stuff then forum participation will become stagnant, as "recruitment" to the contests may drop off only to those who already know about it.

In the end I'd prefer to keep it open so that people can receive feedback. I like to think of this more as a community-wide motivational effort to improve, learn, and try new things in the guise of a contest rather than a pure contest in itself :)

Ice Climbers 2008-03-12 19:16

3 votes max, that way there is one more vote to go to some other well deserved sig and also not make the whole vote counting process hectic :)

geki~ 2008-03-12 20:45

I know it was already discussed but I decided to bring that up again. Guess that was wrong. Just ignore me anyway. I'm just a random person.

Ledgem 2008-03-12 21:27

I think it was fine to bring it up again, I just provided the links because I don't expect everyone to have been following that entire thread or to go sifting through it before making a suggestion :)

Bonta Kun 2008-03-12 23:09

I will vote for the 3 votes idea, its always a nice to know whats taken Gold, Silver, and Bronze!

also if you are having trouble finding entries then like KiNA said ppl should label OFFICAL ENTRY for easy searching! maybe put it in PINK too for extra easynesseses!!:heh:

KiNA 2008-03-12 23:16


Originally Posted by Ledgem (Post 1456785)
There are a few problems with that; renders/crop signatures might still be extremely numerous, and animated sigs might just be Jinto vs. Kira Naruto :D (just kidding, I know there are more of you animators!)

There's Mikoo and Saphrye too. But the winner is stil Riker the godly animated sig king :heh:

I say we combined both; multi votes for nomination phase and single phase for voting. 3 seems to be a nice number too.

darkjester 2008-03-13 02:53

i like the nomination idea... but i think we should think of it as more of a "preliminaries" stage...

i was thinking of entering this competition as well, since i didn't do half bad in the last one... but when i saw how many people were entering, i decided not to.... imo, the voting will be TOO wide spread... and if u think about it, everybody has different tastes... and each of the sig makers has their own style and talents....

here's an idea, just throwing it out there....

change the nomination phase to "preliminaries" like i said before, and have it open voting, where people vote for their favorites..... (keep it at 2 votes per person...) then we choose the top 10... and we can have judges... decide on the winners judging on different aspects or features or categories if u will.... some examples of categories would be.... theme relativity, overall effect, cleanliness, style, choice of render, background, text usage, blending, lighting, etc..... there can be different ways on choosing judges too, like asking previous sotm winners to judge, or actually nominating them, or choosing them due to previous works and tastes (ie so we don't choose 3 judges that all LOVE animated sigs, or all love c4d render style sigs... etc...)... i would say 3 judges would be an ideal number...

it's just an idea, and its a rough one at that... it would involve a little more effort, but i think it would make a better sotm experience in the end... we could have more entries w/o worries about having TOO many to choose from, and even if u DON'T win... those who make it in the top 10 can at least say, "HEY, i made it to the top 10...."

well thats my 2 cents, sorry for the long post too... heh...

k thxs...

bkg9990 2008-03-13 03:31

I'll go with the 3 votes, as for the nomination stage; just like the others said, there will be prolly a loss of contestants here as seeing only a few will make it to the top.

Solace 2008-03-13 06:03


Originally Posted by geki~ (Post 1457117)
I know it was already discussed but I decided to bring that up again. Guess that was wrong. Just ignore me anyway. I'm just a random person.

I have a few things to note but I'm going to respond to this first.

There's nothing wrong with bringing that topic up, in fact I kind of expected it (perhaps not from you but from someone at least). It's one of the reasons I created the generic thread, actually. We needed a central place to discuss things like this without derailing the other threads.

Now I'll say that yes, I shot down the idea. And I'll outline why:

1. We all know each other pretty well (as forum goers, at least). Pretty much all of the contestants have their own threads and those who don't (or just recently started posting because of the contest) are easy to spot. That right there means at least 90 percent of the entries are going to be easy to figure out who did what.

2. Many of the signatures used in the contest are currently in use by the contestants. It's for that reason that the rule to abide by Animesuki sig rules exists. People have different reasons for showing off their sigs.

3. This is ultimately a pointless contest. There is no real prize (yay theme), but people are still joining in and having fun. They're learning and getting tips and feedback from other sig makers here. That's a good thing, in my opinion.

4. I'll be blunt and admit that there are very good and very bad artists here. I'm somewhere near very bad. Some of the sigs are going to be amazing, and some are going to be terrible. What's important is that people don't get discouraged by this. The sign of a bad artist is someone who doesn't strive to be a perfectionist. A good work of art is never done (no matter how much personal skill and public opinion influence upon it). Seeing revisions and new attempts over weeks of the entry phase, from every level of skill, is great to see. It's my hope that the contest continues to foster this, but that's hard to do if everything is anonymous.

5. Almost 500 posts and 50 contestants in the entry thread shows to me at least that interest in discussing and working on signatures in a public manner is something people want to do. I have given people the option to be private in every aspect of the contest except for voting. The reason I have not made voting private (the name is tied to the signature) is because at that point privacy is pointless. Having sigs private isn't going to ensure a better spread of votes, because people vote for various reasons. They might vote on style, adherence to the theme, quality of the image, what the render is, who made the image, they'll simply vote because everyone else is voting for it too, etc.

It's impossible to control what people are going to vote on. Are we trying to dissect each entry based on certain criteria? There's already people who are "afraid" their sig isn't good enough, or that x person is going to win no matter what, or simply choose not to enter because they don't like the theme. Is adding even more rules something we want to do?

For the March contest I'm sure many have noticed that I have not placed the signatures next to the contestants name in the list. Why? Partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm going to shuffle the sigs around when the voting goes up, and partly because of me trying to give a little bit into the wishes of people who want things a little more "anonymous". Never mind that all entries sent via PM are not posted until voting unless told otherwise or publicly posted by the contestant.

In any case, I've outlined a small essay of my thoughts on the subject. I'm not going to coddle someone because they feel they just aren't good enough, and I'm not going to start changing rules because a few people prefer things differently.

Show me a good argument and I'll be willing to discuss any matter. Until then, what's here is here, it's subject to change based on actual input and interest, and participation is not mandatory.

Sorry if I'm coming across a bit mean/harsh/bitchy, it's not intended. If there's a little bit of a vent/rant in all that, sorry.

Anyway, moving on.

Three votes seems to be popular, and there's some good ideas on nomination/voting. I'd like to see some more thoughts before posting a condensed version/outline.

KiNA 2008-03-13 07:08

I would say 3 votes maximum for nomination phase, with clear indication that the voting phase is for the best 10 signatures to allow poll to be created by ourselves. This would ensure that each vote is very valuable and by spreading your options too much, you'll risked that one of them not having enough vote to proceed to the last round.

We probably see a drop to the entries, but then seriously, why must you not participating when there is nothing to lose but everything to gain for. You'll learn something during the contest, thats good enough. I sulked tru most of the voting phase last contest, only voting at the very last day but that dont stop me to join again this time, knowing full well that my signature style are not from the main stream and such, I'll never win the contest.. but its just for the fun of competing alongside friends :D

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