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Signing Compo Entries
by Cactus/Oxyron/Padua

I have recently noticed that more and more party releases are being signed with their author's handles. The rules followed by C64 sceners for many years have been clear: no signed entries in the compos. But nowadays most of the party stuff seems to ignore it permanently. Some claim that an entry signed with the handle of a famous or a legendary scener (or more likely by your friend) would automatically receive more points during voting than it actually deserves. "Why not giving more points to a legend or to your friend?". Although it's a matter of reliability and honesty, the rule of not signing compo entries seems to prevent such actions. What's your view on this subject? Should the compo entries of single artists be signed or not? And does signing lead to faking the compo results? Here come opinions...

A LIFE IN HELL/UNREAL/W.O.W.

Absolutely, people name vote. It's human nature - we all pretend to be impartial, but really it's just intellectual wanking. Of course when the rules clearly state that competitions are anonymous, people should follow the rule. Of course, people don't, but I see that as the probelm to be corrected, not the anonymity. I understand that artists like to tag their work like everyone else - but that's what compoversions are for!

AGEMIXER/SKALARIA

I don't think such graphics containing an author name visible while showing it at the compo is deserved to be shown. And the competitions shouldn't show the authors names until the actual voting was already done to be fair to all the contributors.

BRITELITE/DEKADENCE

If the rules state that the entries shouldn't be signed, then the organizers should have enough balls to actually not show any signed entries, even if it's just a mistake from the graphician. They could of course ask the graphician to submit a new entry without the signature, but if they're unable to cope then the entry should not be shown. I personally think that certain artists attract more votes because of their status and fame, so entries should be shown "anonymous". If the composers aren't shown in the music compos, then the author of a picture shouldn't be shown either.

BUGJAM/THE DREAMS

I don't see any problem in signing a picture. You can normally tell the author by the style anyway. And the signature is part of a picture (see my "rastafari style" signature on my compopic from RCC). Just my 5 cents.

CREAMD/DMAGIC

Yes, compo entries of single artists should be presented anonymously. Musics should be played anonymously with blank screen (or some screensaver animation) instead of the credit screen. As far as gfx entries are concerned, it depends on how strict the compo rules and organisers are. If it's not in the rules, it can't be demanded later. Organisers should set stricter rules and keep to them if they care about this.

Ain't you afraid that setting stricter rules will reduce the amount of entries delivered for the competitions because of not satisfying these rules?

I don't think it will influence the amount of entries, rather than amount of rejected entries. If really necessary organisers still can use some technique (hand? ;)) to cover the areas with the author sign.

CREDO/RESOURCE/SCS*TRC

Well, it's an interesting and quite complicated to answer question. I'm not 100% sure, but I think this rule (which is only a rule for graphical and musical entries, since demos were always "signed") came from the Amiga and PC scenes and wasn't that strict rule on C64.

Technically it was harder to apply for C64 graphics, on Amiga and PC graphicians easily save a signed and an unsigned phase from 'DPaint'/'GFX2'/'Photoshop', but C64 graphicians have to link both versions (unsigned for compo and signed for release) with a display program (in extreme modes a really special one), pack it (for orthodox C64'ers doing everything without PC/Amiga this also takes some time), etc. Probably because this technical difficulty only a few people followed this at a few parties, therefore I don't think we have to set new rules or force the mentioned ones harder. Of course theorically results would be a little bit more fair if all compo entries would be unsigned and would have to be packed with several workphases (honestly I think many graphicians are wiring these days, of course just like in the old days, fortunately we have some extremely real talents on the C64 scene too with own and easily identifiable style, we can spot their works easily without their signature), but in reality C64 scene is really small now, even with the "no signature" rule everybody will know his or her friend's gfx on the display and vote for it (unfortunately nobody follows the non-selfvoting rule these days which I find a bigger problem), at the same time since the C64 scene is smaller (with more legends coming back, I must add) I think the fame factor is also smaller, people don't vote for Hein Design anymore just for being himself.

Most of these things can be said about the music entries too, of course there's no technical difficulty with the sign problem there, even if the player displays the composer's name and group, the projector can show something else (a simple entry number) so hiding the spoiler is not a technical problem. In this case following the rule is easier and wiser, so I advice this to every organizer who doesn't follow it yet.

I must add at the end that I wasn't at a party for many years, so I'm not sure what are the trends on these fields nowadays, I just read/listen the reports and check the sometimes finished, sometimes unfinished releases.

DECOMPRACID

I prefer unsigned entries, but you can often see who the maker is anyway by his style. I dislike friendship voting very much as I think the best one should win. It's called a compo for f**ks sake. :) Someone that is serious about his work should be able to handle taking a bad place, so why vote high for someone, just because you like him? Without criticism your work will never improve. I don't do friendship voting. People get what they deserve and they shouldn't take it personally. Only when doubting between two grades I might choose the higher one. Besides that, it won't be of any influence.

DJINN/WRATH DESIGN

I personally agree with showing unsigned entries for compos, because of how easily biased people are. And yeah, there's always been a bit of a trend on parties that signed entries from famous people tend to get high votes even if their contribution occassionally "suck". It sucks, really. :) That's why all personal entries should not be signed during display, just to promote completely objective judgement.

FRANTIC/HACK'N'TRADE

I thought about this too this year at LCP and I have been wondering if I should perhaps not show the C64 screen while playing the tunes at least, or if there is even reason for making that a rule (non-signed entries only) at LCP'2006 or so.

However, I tend to refrain from stating rules for other sceners when organizing LCP. If someone wants to hand in an entry for the graphics compo that also contains background music, then I don't feel this is my concern to allow this or not. If people think it's lame then they should shout and yell when it's shown on the bigscreen and vote accordingly (low points if there is some aspect of the production they don't like). Same goes for signed or unsigned entries. According to this way of thinking, the rules of the scene is in the hands of the sceners themselves, just like in the wild west. :) In a way I think it's nice somehow that the voting/compo is not so "objective" and formally defined. It just adds a social engineering dimension to the task of winning the compo. ;)

HCL/BOOZE DESIGN

First of all I agree that knowing who is the creator of any msx/gfx/demo/etc. *will* affect your rating. Just check the voting mess at CSDb, that's a clear live proof of that.

To my knowledge, unsigned compos are very rare today, and also it only works on gfx and music compos I think. On last Floppy there were a few demos that didn't reveal the group behind it, and that's kind'a cool, I think. But you can hardly have that as a requirement on demos since the logos with the group's name is still a central part in the demo making. If you have made a really cool effect, there is nothing you would like more than having your groupname on it, if it's possible. Further it's the nature of demos, showing off and making your group famous.

So left are the music- and gfx-compos. There has been some successful music compos on the Internet lately, with hidden authors. Really great! Sometimes you can almost guess who made the music anyway, but that only makes it even more fun. The same should be possible with gfx-compos. However, this is on the Internet. You have the time to listen carefully through the songs several times, and judge them from different aspects before you make your rating. If we're talking about a party-compo it's totally different. You only get a *first impression* (that doesn't always last ;)), and it's good to have a handle on the entries to be able to separate them. Hmm, that should be fairly easy with just a number though.

So, to resume. I like the idea, and if I ever organize a party-compo, I'll try it.

JAZZCAT/ONSLAUGHT

I like the idea of music compos that don't show the credits on the bigscreen of who composed the music. Same with any compo. It should be the tune that is voted for, not the musician in name only. The name earns votes if it does a good tune to start with.

JEFF/CREST/VIRUZ

I still like the idea of non-signed entries. It's a lot more fun, for me at least. I remember at X'2004 when the music competition was going on. I found it interesting to try to guess who did the different tunes. I actually thought that Drax's tune was Jeron Tel's, but that was my bad. ;) And I think it gives a more reliable competition-result, if people don't always know who did what and so. At least in the old days it was a bit of a problem in diskmags that people voted for friends and such.

JUCKE

Well, I think making compo entries anonymous to get some sort of justice might not be the best idea. :) But yeah, sometimes it affects the voting that a scener is famous, but it depends on the situation I guess. On the parties here in Sweden in later years (LCP & Floppy) I would not guess we've had much of these problems. People seem to know how to vote, and try to do it in a fair way.

MAGERVALP/M&M

At LCP and Floppy I have never felt that this was a problem. Musicians and graphicians deserve to proudly put their name on their pieces just like everyone else.

NAFCOM/P.O.L.

No compo entries should be signed with their pseudos to avoid friend or oldschoolers legend votings! Even newcomers deserve a chance, and some are very very good! :) Also it's in the responsibility of the demo compo to switch off the beamer while the compo tunes do play!

ORCAN/REACT

Absolutely never sign. I was always preferring this way of rating musics and other productions at the parties and other compo events. The reason is simple. Compo is about quality of a production, about mood and atmosphere, definitely not about names. If we sign, can we be sure about objectivity of voting? I know for example many composers that can be simply indentified by people who know their music style, but other people would rely on composer's names. If people have no chance to promote their favourite composer on a party, they can do it always when filling voting sheets of the charts in disk magazines. So my opinion is clear: never sign.

PUTERMAN/FAIRLIGHT

This seems to be a rule that's popular at Polish parties and in online SID compos. I don't quite understand why pictures and tunes should be anonymous, when demos obviously can't be. And it's not like it's hard to guess which one of the 5 active graphicians in the scene drew which picture...

SKATE/GLANCE

Well, in my opinion not signed entries would give better results, but I'm not sure if signed entries always affects the results positively. To be honest, sometimes I evaluate some elite productions with a different perspective. But it's not always positive! For example I sometimes think that "I know X (X: Crossbow, Graham, Krill, etc.) could make this effect bigger and smoother. Why didn't he do a better one?". But if I didn't know the author, I'd probably think much positive about the effect. I hope you get my point...

TCH/BRUTAL/OXYRON

First of all, I wasn't aware of the (silent) "signature-rule". Luckily I have only participated in one compo when I write this, so I will refrain from signing future compo-pics. To be frank, I think voting for anything will always be subjective. From what I have seen, many artists are quite easy to spot, even without searching for the name-tag. Strange as it may sound, as the C64 is quite limited when it comes to pixels, most graphicians have their own style. Thus, when being at a party and knowing who will participate, it will be very simple to vote for the one you think should win. Eventually it is about "taste", so a biased vote will be hard to spot anyway. ;) It does make me wonder though, if the demo-compo only allowed demos where it is impossible to determine who made it (no group-logos, no names in scrollers, etc.). The outcome could be quite surprising. ;)

This opinion poll was prepared and performed on September, 2005. Thanks for your attention.

Regards,
CACTUS/OXYRON/PADUA.

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