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Category: Hidden Gem Award / Best Under-appreciated Comic
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Should we have this category?
Yes, I think we should.
43%
 43%  [ 14 ]
No, I don't think so.
56%
 56%  [ 18 ]
Total Votes : 32

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wendyw
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:13 pm    Post subject: Category: Hidden Gem Award / Best Under-appreciated Comic Reply with quote

Edit: The poll is now open and will remain so until the evening of Sunday 9th.

Please be sure to read the following discussion through before voting. People have brought up some interesting points and they may or may not change your mind.

-----------------------------------------

This thread is just for discussing whether or not we should have a category for those comics that people feel deserve more attention than they get and not for anything else.

I will open a poll based on the options suggested in this thread on Sunday 2nd August between 9 and 10pm GMT and close it around the same time on Sunday 9th August.

One issue that has been previously brought up is whether or not people would feel insulted or put out in the event that they win or are nominated for the award. Any thoughts?
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dooky



Joined: 11 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since this one was sort of my idea, I want to explain some of the reasoning behind it.

Based on my observations of various prior awards, it seems as if they're pretty much closed to comics that aren't already super-popular. It's no real surprise: awards are popularity contests, after all. But due to the difficulties in promoting new webcomics (most webcomickers have a limited advertising budget, after all), things are skewed in favour of hugely successful, long running comics, and you'll generally see these same names being nominated year after year.

The one exception is the "Best New Comic" category, which forces the organisers to look for something that hasn't been around for ten years with a cast-iron fanbase. This is the one category where unknowns have the chance to get some exposure. But here's the thing: if you miss being nominated while your comic is still new, you won't get another chance.

So, this award came to me as a sort of extension of the Best New Comic idea... Another award that seeks out relative unknowns, but is dedicated to comics that have been going for a longer amount of time.

Now, I'll say right here that I'm not entirely sure what the criteria for this award should be. I don't like the idea of basing it off readership, since stats are unreliable, and we shouldn't be asking people to disclose their stats anyway. I suppose an obvious criteria would be "Never been nominated for a prior award", but we really need more than that. There should also be a lower limit on how long the comic has been going, but that's a seperate issue.

Note that the existence of this award might not be necessary depending on how the other awards end up being run. If we see a lot of unusual nominees then there won't be any need. My opinions about the need for this award are based upon prior experience: Perhaps this time, it will be different.

Note also that I'm not married to this idea or anything. I put it out there as a vaguely-formed idea and I'm surprised it got any consideration at all. What's odd, though, is that the arguments I've seen against it aren't the arguments that I would have made. My problem with it would be a practical one: that it would be hard to decide on fair criteria for who would qualify. I'm not sure I buy the argument that people would be offended by it, though - Most webcomickers will readily acknowledge that they're under-exposed. And this is coming from somebody over-sensitive enough that I'd have a problem being nominated for the "Most Improved" award. If somebody gave me an award for the greatest disparity between early work and current work, my first thought would be "Wow, they must have thought my early stuff really sucked." Just sayin' :P


EDIT: To kill one of those friggin' automatic smilies. I hate smilies and so should everyone else.
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mooncity
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we saying, "Hey, this comic doesn't get Penny Arcade numbers, but it really ought to be up there running with the Big Dogs," or "Nobody's heard of this comic much, but they should because it's that good."
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Zaron



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dooky wrote:
I'm not sure I buy the argument that people would be offended by it, though - Most webcomickers will readily acknowledge that they're under-exposed. And this is coming from somebody over-sensitive enough that I'd have a problem being nominated for the "Most Improved" award. If somebody gave me an award for the greatest disparity between early work and current work, my first thought would be "Wow, they must have thought my early stuff really sucked." Just sayin' Razz

I see a big difference between the two awards, though. Saying you greatly improved over time is a huge compliment, even if it comes with the implication that your earlier work sucked (which even most professional artists will readily admit, anyway). This category's implied insult may not be much more serious, but it doesn't come with a very strong compliment. It just says "nobody else thinks I'm worth attention, but these guys think I am." And it's just a normal reaction to think "if everyone but TWCL thinks they suck, what's wrong with TWCL?"
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jaygee
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the award it this category strongly depends on what's going to be nominated in this area. Coming up with criteria prior to any judging might be tricky. Why not simply ask people to suggest comics that they consider "hidden gems". The term "hidden" should make it clear that there's no point in nominating Penny Arcade etc. Let them name two or three. Then take a look at the nominations and judge based on by how many different people they've been nominated. If there are ties, judges might then use criteria relating to art, writing, fun content, etc...
Any thoughts?
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Chilari
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty much on the fence with this one, personally. I'm also hesitant to add another award to the ever-growing list. May I suggest we leave this one for this year, but come back to it next year? That way, we can test the waters this year with regards to what we can realistically do, maybe get some feedback from the voters and nominees, and then take another look at this category and see if we have the resources to include it.
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funnyninjas



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chilari wrote:
May I suggest we leave this one for this year, but come back to it next year? That way, we can test the waters this year with regards to what we can realistically do, maybe get some feedback from the voters and nominees, and then take another look at this category and see if we have the resources to include it.


I like that idea. This one would just be hard to pull off: rigidly defining criteria would make it pointless, but having the criteria vauge would make it a messy confusion. Confused
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dooky



Joined: 11 May 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was actually going to suggest this myself, since this idea was a reaction to how other award ceremonies pan out. For all I know, the TWCL awards will include a diverse range of comics, thus rendering this whole idea pointless. In fact... I'd go so far as to say that requiring this award is a sign that the awards ceremony as a whole isn't doing its job...
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Midtoon



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awww.

I think everyone thinks their comic deserves more attention than it gets. After all, it is their creation, their work, their precious...
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Novil



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it’s impossible to come up with a stringent classification which comic qualifies as a hidden gem and which doesn’t. Is “One Swoop Fell” a hidden gem? It has several hundred readers a day. That’s a joke compared to “Penny Arcade”, but it also updates only once a week most of the time and its numbers are still in the top 10%...

So I am against this category.
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ttallan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem is we are all looking for a way to have the webcomic equivalent of a "Best Indie Comic" award, to recognize the smaller names. In print comics it's very easy to distinguish between "pros" and "independents", because it's very clear which comics have been published by a big company. I don't think you could even do a "Best Webcomic with a Readership of Less than 1000 Viewers" award, since none of us can even agree on how to get accurate statistics. Best Webcomic that Isn't on the Fleen List? I dunno.

Unless and until we can come up with a really good way of defining a small-time webcomic, I vote we let this one slide.
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jpcline



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this category sounds like a nice idea...good exposure for hidden gems...but being able to classify and define unknown comics is way too subjective. I am against this category as well
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Dutch
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm the first to admit my strip's a hidden gem. Most of the responses I get from new readers are along the lines of 'wow... I should have given this strip a chance earlier when I first saw it in such and such a place' or 'where has this strip been hiding for so long?' to which my reply is usually 'right here'. Do I have any idea how this sort of award could be handled? Not really.

Saying 'leave this one cos there are too many categories already' is a bit of a cop out though, as I've read through lots of threads this morning talking about splitting art and writing and character and even bloody CLOTHES into their own awards. I'd see more value in an award like this than 'My Characters Have The Best Threads!'

How do you qualify for something like this award though? No idea. Been around a long enough time? That's more an award for perseverance, although the 'I Persevered And Still Have No Audience' is a little lame for an award.

I'd like to see something like this get off the ground because I know there are lots of hidden gems out there than don't get the recognition they deserve, and if I can be brutally honest for a moment, not everyone's strip here I would put in that category. I only put mine in that category because, like you lot who think the same, it's mine! Smile

Anyway, you lot will make the final decisions. Smile
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wendyw
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dutch wrote:

Anyway, you lot will make the final decisions. Smile


Hey, you're one of us lot too. Very Happy
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LukeSurl
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dutch wrote:
even bloody CLOTHES into their own awards

Yeah, but I'm pretty sure that one's not going to happen.

The problem is, at some stage in the process we're going to have to go through some form of semi-public vote (it looks like a peer-voting system is likely). If we ask people to nominate comics they think are "hidden gems", then sure, we'll get a lot of great comics we've never heard of.

But then those ones with the most nominations, i.e. those which would go through to the next round if we have one, are they the most hidden, or the least? The concept fails by its own design.

The only way you could do this is to have a jury read every single comic on the internet.



OK, how about this: When we go through the list of nominees for best comic, and see some with a fair degree of popular support that no-one on the commitee has heard of [probably one that's rallied a small but committed readership], we'll check it out, and if liked, it can go on some sort of "committee's pick" list [jury members could be in on this too]. Not formal awards, but on the level of a kinda half-time-show of any awards ceremony.
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