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FlisKits: Contest Rules - General comments

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jflis

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Greetings folks!

I am starting this thread as a place where we can discuss the rules of various contests that FlisKits, Inc. presents to the rocketry community. At this time we only have the DOM, but that will change over time.

We were also involved in the DESCON 12 event, but only as a vendor not as a contest director.

Over the year or so that we've been running the DOM, we've received feedback from time to time with someone questioning a rule's purpose or trying to understand a confusing rule or even complaining about a rule. Each time we've worked hard to explain the rule and help the person understand. In other cases it has even resulted in the changing of a rule and the like.

It occured to me that this information would be useful to a forum such as TRF and thought this would be the best place for it. I didn't put this in the *contest* forum as I felt it would be best to be perminant and in the vendor forum (please feel free to move it if this isn't the case)

In any event, I will begin this discussion with the next reply.

thanx,
jim
 

jflis

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Seeing as our only current (and ongoing) contest is the Design of the Month (DOM), I guess this is a good a place as any to start... :)

We are interested in input as to how folks feel the contest is run, how the rules are structured and how it is presented to the community.

We are also specifically interested in feedback on the changes that have been made in the rules and how these changes have been implemented and announced.

From the beginning of the DOM, the rules have stayed the same with the following two exceptions:

1) We originally posted entries as they were received. We changed this in October of 2003 and announced that we would keep all designs secret until after the contest closed such that folks would not become discouraged if they felt their potential entry wasn't "up to par" with what they saw already posted.

2) In May of 2003 we changed the prize offering from a $20 gift certificate to the following (quoted from our RULES page, under PRIZES:

"NEW RULE - 13-May-2003: Due to some low turnouts in our new contest, we are implementing a slight change to our prize offerings:

* If there are 3 or more entries, the prize is a $20 gift certificate as described above.
* If there are 2 entries, the prize will be a model rocket kit. The winner can choose between the following kits: Pheord X-150, Tumbleweed, Flea, Overdrive, Cougar 440, or Cougar 660
* If there is 1 entry, the prize will be a grab bag of model rocketry components to be defined at a later date but whose value is between $5 - $10
"
In both cases we made an annoucement on site that these changes existed and also mentioned them in various threads (though I would see *this* thread as the new place to make such announcements in the future).

Thoughts about the rules in general? The changes to the rules? The way we announce and highlight changes in the rules?

Thoughts? Comments?
 

slim_t

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Jim, I think the rules are just fine, but I'm glad to know suggestions are welcome if we have any. I had hoped to enter last month, but couldn't get my rocket painted. I started painting it today, and hope to enter for January.

Keeping the entries hidden until the contest is over actually adds to the excitement for those that enter, wondering what they are up against.

I think I read one month though that you chose the winner by a random # generator. Is this how you do it for every month? If so, that would be something I would suggest changing. As hard as it may be to choose, I think the winner should be the one with the best design. While no group of people will all agree on a single best design, I still think you or an appointed "judge" should choose the winner. I think that will keep people thinking and entering good looking and well thought out designs. Otherwise a simple clone of an Alpha could beat something like Jason's Terrier Sandhawk, and to me that just wouldn't be right.

I'm not suggesting that complexity should be a factor, since simplicity can be just as appealing, but originality should be a factor in the judging.

Just my opinion.

Tim
 

jflis

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We do NOT select DOM winners randomly

whew, had to say that one quick! :) :) :)

That "random selection" you recall reading about was to select the winner of the Tres model rocket kit as a corporate First Anniversary promotion last september. The winner was selected randomly from all of our customers from the past year.

The winner was Dan Westley of the UK (congrats again guy :) )

DOM winners are selected by a small group of people here at FlisKits. It's hard and agonizing, but someone's gotta do it! :)

jim
 

teflonrocketry1

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Jim,

I think you should award prizes to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the DOM contest. Why not give the $20.00 gift cert. for 1st, then model rocket kit choice for 2nd, and the parts grab bag for 3rd. This may encourage more people to participate, since there are more chances to win! If you really want to make 2nd and 3rd place interesting, give out your OverDue kit for one of them! If the prize amount is getting too high, and the participation stays low then go to a bimonthly or quarterly format.

Thanks again for offering this contest! I enjoy the DOM contest it keeps me thinking, building rockets and trying new designs.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
 

eugenefl

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I absolutely love the rule change regarding keeping the entries a secret. Traditional mail order contents did this anyways. I imagine for those builders that entered designs it was gut wrenching waiting for the next publication to announce the winners. Heck, I have yet to enter a design of my own (that will change very soon), but I still look forward to seeing the new designs and winners.

BTW, I did get to see Jason's award in person. WOW! Folks, this IS NOT a cheap printout! This is the real deal watermark-seal-stamp of approval-signed certificate on elegant paper. Screw the prize (well not really :) ), wait 'til you see the DOM winner's certificate! The participation certificate is cool enough as is and is certainly motivation enough to make me want to enter a design of my own. Coming soon...<crosses fingers>
 

powderburner

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FlisKits has done an outstanding job of setting up their design contests, and I cannot find fault with any of it. Thank you for sponsoring these contests!

It is great (from the perspective of us builders/fliers out here) that if you only receive one contest entry for the month, that you are willing to proceed anyway and hand out a prize. However, I doubt anyone would complain if, in the case of a single entry, you simply combined that offering with the next month's contest.

I am looking forward to some specialty contests for your DOM. Definitely gotta have an 'Oddball' design contest in April. Could we have a 'Mid-Power'-themed contest for July? Maybe we could work in a 'Flying Saucers' contest sometime, or an MMX or a BT-5-based contest for one month. But you have to give us a little warning time because it takes some of us a long time to get the homework done.
 

Maelstrom

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I think themed contests are a great idea Powder, Jim could even make the theme to bash one of his kits, generating business to fund the prize pot. :p

Jim, I think your rules are just fine, and reducing the prize potential for low turnout is fair.

As for the idea of prizes for 1st-3rd places.. Maybe, as you've done already, you can expand the prize potential not just downward, but upward too. Such as, if you get 6 entries there is now a prize for 2nd place, or if you get 10 entries there is also a prize for 3rd place.
 

illini

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Originally posted by powderburner
However, I doubt anyone would complain if, in the case of a single entry, you simply combined that offering with the next month's contest.
I think that's an excellent idea. If fewer than 3 entries, then roll them over to the next month. 'tain't interesting until there are at least 3 entries anyway.
 

jetra2

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Reading through this thread, I have a couple of comments.

  • I like the idea of on months with 2 entries or less, you award both the entrants a small prize, say, the grab bag of components, and roll them over to the next month, just to make it more interesting and there would be more participants per month.
  • I know that the first time I entered the DOM, when I received my "Rocket Scientist" plaque, that made me want to enter again and again, even if that meant getting a nice thick pile of Rocket Scientist plaques and no prizes. I disagree with the idea of awarding a prize to 1st-3rd places, since the plaque in itself it pretty dang cool, and there would be no real reason to award something to somebody who didn't truly win. Maybe 1st-3rd will be better off when the DOM gets 8-12 or more entries a month, not the 3 or 4 it gets each month now.
  • I like the idea of awarding a prize to Special Mentions, like you did with Jim Myers (sp?) Deucester Booster. Even if it's only a small prize, I would be glad to know that my the work I put into this design wasn't put to waste.
  • The rule of having to fly your entry before entering it is a tad restrictive, especially to entrants with extreme winters. Maybe instead, you could change it to just having to build and paint it and prove that it's stable with a swing test or something like that!

That's about all I've got for now.

Jason
 

illini

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I agree with all of Jason's comments except for the last bullet. There's more to a flight than stability. Take your own Terrier Sandhawk as an example...complex recovery mechanism for the booster. Very cool. Did it work? How did you know until you flew it?
 

jetra2

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Ok, I see your point, illini. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Jason
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by illini868891
I agree with all of Jason's comments except for the last bullet. There's more to a flight than stability. Take your own Terrier Sandhawk as an example...complex recovery mechanism for the booster. Very cool. Did it work? How did you know until you flew it?
Ditto...I agree with Jason as well and I also concur with illini's assessment of the stability proving. Besides, a build isn't complete until it's been flown successfully.

I like the idea of only 1 award. The participation certificates are well worth the effort of submitting a design.

I don't know that rolling prizes over would be very beneficial either. Sure, the pot gets bigger, but in reality the loss is that someone out there left a freebie on the table. I know the "bigger pot" stirs competitiveness, but so does the whole concept of this project.

I also would like to follow up on the themed contest ideas. Those seem like they extract more creativity while giving everyone an idea or concept to focus on.

I am actually anxious to get started on a concept I have in mind! Woohoo...I can't wait to get my parts in!
 

illini

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Originally posted by eugenefl
I also would like to follow up on the themed contest ideas. Those seem like they extract more creativity while giving everyone an idea or concept to focus on.
I like the idea of themed contests also, but wouldn't want to see them replace the regular DOM. Instead, howsabout having a quarterly themed contest in addtion to the regular DOM? Quarterly themed contest would also give you more time to address the theme requirements.
 

slim_t

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Originally posted by jflis
We do NOT select DOM winners randomly

whew, had to say that one quick! :) :) :)

That "random selection" you recall reading about was to select the winner of the Tres model rocket kit as a corporate First Anniversary promotion last september. The winner was selected randomly from all of our customers from the past year.

jim
Thanks for clearing that up Jim. I'm sorry if I mislead anyone.

So now I think the contest is perfect the way it is. The prizes depending on # of entries is completely understandable. I think you could only warrant 1st - 3rd prizes if there were at least 10 entries, which there usually aren't. I don't know if I would like the entries being rolled to the next month, since that would reduce chances of winning, unless more prizes were offered.

Maybe in the case of just 1 entry, that person could have the option of receiving the grab bag prize or being rolled to the next month, or be allowed to enter again, so that they see some competition. Since it's only 1 individual, it wouldn't have to be a rule, but an option.

Just thinking out loud. I really think it's fine the way it is.

Tim
 
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