The 'Shroom:Issue 138/Hooded Pitohui's Awards Reflections
On the topic of Awards this year, I feel like there are two points which I’m equipped to discuss and on which I have something useful to say. That said, I’ll betray my nature and try to keep my thoughts relatively brief and focused on presentations and tournaments, or more specifically, timing and variety of tournaments.
First, on presentations this year, please allow me to extend my thanks to everyone who made a presentation for Awards this year. They were all quite wonderful. That said, the only issue I can point to is the recurring issue of backup presenters having to make a large number of the presentations near the end of the process. This year, as Anton noted, four backup presenters (Edofenrir, The Pyro Guy, Meta Knight, and DragonFreak) made twenty presentations, or a third of all presentations. I was actually somewhat surprised by this when the ceremonies arrived, as I had been watching the presentations sign-up page earlier in the process and I thought we were doing much better than that; it certainly seemed as though there were less unclaimed presentations than in previous years. Of course, some of the presentations which were previously claimed may have been dropped as the deadline approached, which is unavoidable and understandable. Life gets in the way at times, and that’s why the backup presenters are there in the first place. All of that aside, I’m sure Anton and others are better able to discuss the issue of unfilled presentations than I am, so, instead of continuing down that thread, I’d rather focus on trying to dispel doubts and encouraging more users to sign up for presentations next year.
There are a number of reasons why someone might feel that they can’t make a presentation, including a lack of time, a perceived lack of ideas, or a perceived lack of abilities. For all of these issues, though, it’s worth remembering that not every presentation has to be groundbreaking or showstopping. A simple but effective and complete presentation is worth more than even the grandest of unfinished ideas. Of course, there’s certainly nothing wrong with ambitious presentations and I would certainly encourage anyone to put in their best personal effort to making and polishing a presentation, but no user should be dissuaded from making a presentation because they feel it won’t live up to some greater community standards that mandate perfection and high art in Awards presentations. This statement may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s actually a thought that I ran into a few times while I was reaching out to users and encouraging them to make a presentation. There is a general sense that presentations are held to a vague higher standard that disqualifies most users from contributing them; that is an incorrect assumption and I certainly hope that anyone who feels this way no longer does so by next year.
If you can create an interesting and well-structured presentation that accomplishes the basic task of revealing an award’s results in an engaging way, you should sign up for a presentation. You don’t have to be an amazing artist, a top-tier novelist, or an expert of any sort. Even if you aren’t the most confident in your abilities, take it as an opportunity to challenge yourself and improve your skills. You may not be able to make some of the presentations you see, but you can put your own skills, whatever they may be and whatever level of experience you have, to use. Time can also be a valid concern, and there may very well be no way you can make a presentation with your particular schedule, but time is another resource which you may find you have enough of if you change how you think about making a presentation. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to schedule out three weeks’ worth of your time to make the most astounding presentation of all time; aim for a smaller, less-intensive presentation if that is all your schedule will allow.
Of course, if you truly feel that you lack the time, idea, or skills needed to create a presentation, you can also turn to collaborations. I’d recommend saving it as either an option of last resort or trying to keep it down to one award if you truly do want to go for something spectacular and feel you need the help, since two presenters filling two slots is better than two filling one. That said, though, if you find someone you can work with and you can coordinate things, you and your collaborator may be able to cover for each other, splitting the burden of time or mixing your areas of weakness and strength. I worked in a few collaborations this year because of discussions in which other users expressed a desire to make a presentation but felt they wouldn’t have enough time or wouldn’t be able to properly handle parts of the presentations. In the end, these collaborations allowed other users and me to split the required input of time among ourselves and focus our skills into the parts of the presentation which could most benefit from them. If you want to make a presentation but are absolutely convinced you cannot do it alone, then you should reach out to someone who you might want to work with. Having a pair fill a presentation slot is still better than allowing it to go unfilled.
Now, moving to the topic of tournaments, allow me to begin by encouraging anyone who is considering hosting a tournament to do so. If you are willing to put in the effort required to come up with a solid set of rules, a plan for scoring of some sort, and a potential plan for token distribution, then you should find the process is fairly easy. Anton and Turboo are extremely helpful and, speaking from my experience, are willing to assist during the whole process, as I’m sure others would also be. Of course, be sure to remember that putting the tournament together does not guarantee it will happen; you always run the risk of not having enough participants for a viable tournament. That said, though, it was interesting to note how the variety of tournaments offered this year changed in comparison to previous years. Scavenger hunts of all sorts, from Lakituthequick’s online Anniversary Scavenger 2018 to The Pyro Guy’s Hint Hunt to the Super Mario Odyssey Scavenger Hunt
It was also interesting to note that most tournaments seemed to get a bit of a later start this year, with some starting as late as August and most of the activity being in late July and early August. It’s not like most tournaments were previously starting on the first of June, anyways, but, still, it seems this year has been back-loaded. This isn’t a bad thing; it may simply reflect changing schedules in the community. That said, it is worth monitoring this change in coming years. There’s no need to act now, but if the collective schedule of the community noticeably shifts in the coming years, then it might be beneficial to shift the Awards schedule to keep the events as accessible to everyone as possible.
My observations and thoughts are, of course, my own and may not reflect the actual situation. Feel free to agree with or disagree with them as you wish. That said, I hope, if nothing else, you look forward to Awards next year and will be an active part of it. Make a presentation and join some tournaments; you will not regret it. Awards were wonderful this year, and I’m looking quite forward to next year!