The following are the guidelines that we set out for voting in this community. Please adhere to these guidelines as they are explained below. Please keep in mind that while most of this voting tutorial is applicable to other LIMS communities, some parts may not be; please always read voting guidelines before you vote, anywhere.
VOTING GUIDELINES & EXAMPLES;
• You must vote for 4 icons of the least quality and for 3 icons of the best quality. Please evaluate the least quality icons based on overall technique, aesthetic quality, effectiveness, and theme adherence, not personal preference (such as favorite color or the icon maker you think made the icon). We reserve the right to void any vote we feel is unfair or petty. You do not have to give reasons for your best quality icon choices (though it is encouraged), but you must give at least two negative critiques per vote when voting for least quality icons.
• We encourage you to be as detailed as possible in your icon comments and critiques. Many participants here are looking to improve, and since we will give participants the comments their icons received after results are posted, your constructive criticism will be helping other icon-makers to improve their techniques. No icon maker will ever know who voted for or against them, and all icon critiques will remain completely anonymous. All votes are screened, so please be as honest and objective as possible. Please be constructive and non-insulting, and do not use 'I' or 'me' in your negative critiques.
• Do not vote for your own icon, do not feel obligated to vote for icons you might believe belong to your friends, and do not get your friends to vote for you. Do not vote in a strategic manner. Keep the entire voting process as objective as possible. Please look very carefully at each icon while voting, and please double-check your votes to make sure you've used the correct numbers in your voting comment. Votes are not weighted, so order does not matter. We prefer votes in numerical order, however, for our sanity in counting them. If you exceed the character limit for a single comment, feel free to post your votes in two comments.
• Here is an example vote for you to follow (4 least quality, 3 best quality);
#101 - The concept is good, but the execution is poor. The icon looks rushed and the overall effect is sloppy.
#102 - The typography is poorly done. The text is anti-aliased strangely, which makes it look both blurry and tacky.
#103 - The colors in the icon clash horribly, maybe as a result of the textures used and selective coloring.
#104 - The image quality is poor, too much dithering. Try using a better quality image as your base.
#105 - The cropping and coloring are beautiful.
#106 - Good use of space and text.
#107 - Great use of negative space.
Please be considerably more detailed than this, however. You must write and elaborate on at least two points of critique for each least quality vote in order for your vote to be considered. Your negative icon critiques must constructive and non-insulting, and remember that negative votes are NOT to be based on personal preference; please do not use 'I' or 'me' in your negative critiques. If you need additional assistance with voting, please see our comprehensive voting tutorial. Please note that if we ask you to revise your vote and you do not, your votes will not be counted.
If you would like, you may use the following code for your comment.
• ANYONE MAY VOTE. You do not have to be a contestant to vote! We encourage as many people to vote as possible so that the results are as fair as possible. Every vote is extremely important, as a single vote could decide results. Your vote against another icon could even save your own from getting eliminated, as the tallies are often that close.
Theme; Stage-effects: dramatics
#06 #07 #08 #09 #10
#11 #12 #13 #14 #15
The following are some examples of GOOD and BAD ways to vote for this icon set. Please note wording, tone, and focus.
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD WAY TO VOTE #1;
#01 - Though texture use was interesting (especially the scribbles along the side which fills in the space really well without being too distracting or heavy) and the cropping accentuated the character of the image while fitting the theme perfectly, the balance of this icon is awkward and a little heavy-handed. His skintone is too dark, with too much orange and reds that throws the balance off. The background tones are dark (with the grays), so making the subject of the image itself slightly lighter would have made a huge difference. Keep in mind that though individual elements of the icon may look fine, throwing everything together without considering its overall effect doesn't work as well.
#02 - The heavy texturing and overpowering greens/yellows make the icon dark and heavy without any sort of contrast within the icon. Lightening on the balance of his skintone with textures or removing areas of texture on specific regions to free up sections would have helped!
#04 - The colouring of the icon is way too sharp and the image looks pixelated/grainy. Too heavy on the reds and yellows for most of the icon (especially if one focuses on the subject's face) which comes off awkwardly.
#10 - "Uncomfortable" and stiff cropping of the icon which comes off like the subject was forced into the space. Poor utility of space and the placement of the text (which doesn't fit well into the icon and has to be rotated) is a signal that something is off with the base crop. Try creating empty space within the icon both to balance out the subject, as well as provide space for text!
#05 - Nice use of empty space with the texture on the top, and though the crop could have been larger on the bottom, polished colouring pulls off the icon.
#14 - Interesting cropping and use of blank space which is made exciting with textures and even colouring, well done!
#15 - Great cropping which brings out the flashy costumes and bright colours! Well-balanced colours if a little brighter on the blues but it works as an effect!
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD WAY TO VOTE #2;
#06 - The center cropping is visually uninteresting. It also leaves little room for text, which results in the text being crammed in the only reasonable space, which is right above his head. This distracts the eye from the subject's face, which should be the focus. Due to the refocusing and the cropping mishap, there is no visual flow here. The white text and the evenly-arranged negative space sort of stymie the eye's movement around the icon as a whole. Try a more dynamic cropping, which will give you not only more room for text, but also more interesting composition and better visual flow.
#08 - Each of the individual icon elements has a good deal of potential, but combined they seem to war with one another. The crop is perhaps too centered to be able to fully take advantage of the light texture's dynamism. Cropping the image more to the right (so the subject is a bit more to the left) would let the light texture highlight specific areas instead of taking over the image. The brownish tone from the light texture may be ameliorated by playing with selective coloring settings or increasing contrast. The swirly brush on the lower right doesn't really add anything to the icon and is a bit distracting. The black-ish, unsaturated tone also clashes with the saturated browns of the rest of the icon, which draws the eye downward and confuses the visual flow. Eliminating that brush would help focus the icon a bit more. Also, the icon doesn't actually fit the theme very well; there's really no sense of 'stage' to the icon, even if the mask suggests 'drama.'
#09 - The cropping is poorly done here, as it leaves too much of the image that isn't visually interesting (clothing) and cuts off the visually interesting parts (heads). Obviously it was cropped this way to leave room for text, but clothing really never works as a backdrop for text as it's hard to work typography into the arrangement. A better crop would cut them off at the shoulder/chest area, which would not only focus the eye on their faces but also give a better text background as well as allow the iconmaker to experiment a bit with fonts and colors. The visual flow is not optimal; the eye is drawn first to the white text, then to the red shirt, then to the splayed hand. Using slanted text (faux italic) and using a sans serif font (considering the casualness of the icon) would help direct the eye towards the primary visual focus, the splayed hand. The coloring needs to be played with, as well, to enhance the subjects and create more visual interest. Also, the icon doesn't fit the theme at all.
#11 - The icon has potential, as the crop is fairly well-done (though that sliver of black under his arm is distracting), but the coloring is so oversharpened that it's very grainy (if this persists, it may be an issue with your monitor). Try duplicating the layer that you're sharpening and sharpen only the duplicate, so you can reduce the opacity if you want to soften the sharpening... or just use spot sharpening at a low opacity. As great as textless icons can be, this one seems unfinished. The visual flow seems to be interrupted by the light blotches, too; maybe move the blue one to the left to create a better visual flow around the negative space, which would also be a good way to utilize it.
#01 - Despite not fitting the theme, this icon is colored and arranged beautifully. It's a little dark over his face, but other than that, gorgeous.
#12 - The text is a little big for the space (try a different font from that family) but the icon arrangement is beautiful and the colors are rich without being oversaturated. Great contrast, too.
#13 - The icon seems a little unfinished, somehow, but the contrast is striking and the theme is nicely expressed. Maybe increase the opacity on the scratch texture for more interest or add a dark border just on the left to define that edge better.
EXAMPLE OF A BAD WAY TO VOTE #1;
The votes are bad because they are subjective (use of 'I', 'me', and 'appealing', and they're a bit vague, even if they each have at least two points of critique.
#01 - I think the colour is really really dark and I can't see his face all that clearly. Plus I'd think that the choice of such a texture for an image with already poor balance is bad judgment and possibly throws the entire icon off into this heavy but just too textured thing that's really not appealing.
#02 - I would advise never to use such dark green textures on a close-up because it somehow doesn't work out. He just looks sickly in this one and it comes out a way that I would think isn't very flattering on a skintone.
#09 - I don't think you should have used such line-spacing on an icon which obviously doesn't have sufficient space for long lines of text to be used. Also the colouring looks too dark but not heavy enough.
#10 - The combination of slanted text on a bland faded background with a major monotone-ish doesn't work for me. The text doesn't look like he should be there, and Ryo just looks plain awkward and the icon isn't appealing at all.
#07 - Red is a great colour to use love it! And very pretty light textures.
#12 - I really like the colouring on the icon and how well it catches the eye!
#13 - Totally gorgeous! Simple icons are always very very nice and I know for a fact hard to do!
EXAMPLE OF A BAD WAY TO VOTE #2;
The votes are bad because they are extremely short, vague, and totally unhelpful.
#04 - Weird words.
#06 - Lol his face looks funny.
#08 - Can't see his face!
#13 - Too boring please, and totally common.
#03 - Nice colours.
#05 - Pretty texture.
EXAMPLE OF A BAD WAY TO VOTE #3;
The votes are bad because they are too vague and unsubstantiated, though they each have at least two points of critique.
#02 - Kinda dark, can't see anything, skin doesn't look good.
#04 - Too bright, needs less orange, text looks weird.
#08 - Light is weird like in the top part, there's something strange on the bottom right.
#11 - The dots aren't in a good place, you can't see much of the guy.
#04 - It's pretty.
#15 - I like the coloring.
EXAMPLE OF A BAD WAY TO VOTE #4;
The votes are bad because they are overly rude and mean, and rely on personal feelings for substantiation.
#06 - The text is really small and you can't see it, and the crop makes him right in the middle of the icon. He also looks all shiny and that expression makes him look just stupid, you should have picked a different image to crop. You also picked a crappy font for the text, you need to pick something more fun and less boring. It looks like you used Paint for this icon.
#07 - What is going on here?? It's SO overlayered and all the colors are all blobby and globbed on and so freaking oversaturated. Do you even know how to use Photoshop? Yamapi looks orange and you can barely tell that's his hand in the front, it looks like he's holding the light texture and it's kind of dumb.
#09 - Okay, wow, you must have spent a REALLY long time on the text for this, huh? You can't even SEE it because it's like, all over the white shirts. How obvious is it that you needed to change the color? It's also really badly arranged and doesn't even look right on the icon. The other colors are all dull and gross. This icon sucks! It doesn't even fit the theme!
#10 - Oh wow, so close but so far. It's like you tried to make a great icon and then realized you didn't have anywhere to put text at the end, but instead of recropping it you just angled the text to fit in the space. HELLO, it doesn't look right, and you ruined the icon!!! The font is too thick and doesn't work with the rest of the coloring or anything, it's like you're blind or something. Not only that, but the icon doesn't even fit the theme. What were you thinking???
#05 - This icon is pretty, even if it doesn't fit the theme. Maybe you should reread the post before entering!!!
#12 - It's an ok icon, even if the font doesn't fit great or anything.
#14 - It's ok, but it's blurry, like there's something smeared on it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What's the point of the voting guidelines?
These voting guidelines have several purposes. They tell you how many icons you must include in your vote, and it tells you how we would like you to vote. For this specific voting example, you will need to vote for 4 icons that are of the least quality (negative critiques), and for 3 icons that are of the best quality (positive comments). If you vote for a greater or fewer number of icons than specified, we will ask you to re-vote. To assist you in voting for the correct number of icons, we have also included a text box with code for your vote with the correct number of lines for each type of vote required.
Can I vote for my own icon? I have strong feelings about it!
DO NOT VOTE FOR YOUR OWN ICON, whether you would vote positively or negatively. If you do so, we will either ask you to re-vote or we will disqualify your entire vote. This LIMS was created to allow iconmakers to display their skills to others and see what comments and other opinions those other can give them so that they can improve. Voting for your own icon clearly defeats the purpose of the community and is therefore strictly not allowed.
How are the votes tallied? Do I need to put my votes in any specific order?
Votes are not weighted; an icon will receive -1 for a least quality vote and +1 for a best quality vote. We prefer that you arrange your votes in numerical order, but that is merely for our ease in counting the votes and is not strictly necessary.
Do I have to use the text box?
It is not required, but it makes it easier for you (the content is pre-structured for you, so you only need to fill in the information when you comment) and it makes it easier for us (the consistent formatting makes it easier to count votes and give critiques). If you do not use the text box, please be sure to arrange the votes in a similar format so that we can easily read them. Do not clump them into a paragraph. We appreciate being able to more easily determine the appropriate votes, which is why we include the text box for your use.
I missed sign-ups! Can I still vote even if I'm not making icons this round?
Of course! You do not need to be a contestant in the particular round or even the challenge in order to cast your vote.
How should I evaluate icons for voting?
All icon votes should be objectively evaluated, as a rule, but this is especially true for least quality votes. You should be judging each icon based on TECHNIQUE, SKILL, STYLE, THEME-ADHERENCE, and similar points. DO NOT base votes on how much you like or dislike the icon. Some points to think about when you formulate your votes are:
1. TECHNIQUE AND TECHNICAL SKILL - Does the icon show that the icon maker has good technical skill? Examine the cropping, the coloring, the sharpness, and the layout of the icon, as well as the use of textures, brushes, and other embellishments. It is also helpful to examine color saturation and contrast.
2. TYPOGRAPHY - Does the placement and treatment of the text accent the icon well? Does the font fit the icon? Is the typography well-executed? The text content shouldn't matter, except in some specific cases (such as theme-adherence).
3. STYLE - Is the style original, or have you seen it many times before? Is the style well-executed?
4. THEME - Does the icon fit the theme that was provided for the challenge? How was the theme interpreted for the icon?
These are just some examples... please feel free to suggest more for inclusion here.
How should I write my votes? Do they need to be worded a certain way?
The examples of GOOD votes are fairly accurate general indicators of how we'd like you to vote. Other guidelines to follow are:
• DO use a general and objective (non-preferential) viewpoint when writing. Note that the word 'appealing' is an automatic indicator of subjectivity.
• DO NOT use a personal standpoint for your negative votes, e.g. DO NOT use the words 'I' or 'me' at all in your negative critiques, even in comments about how to potentially improve the icon.
• DO write and elaborate on at least two points of critique for each least quality vote.
• DO be constructive, i.e. DO NOT be bitchy and mean just because you think the icon sucks. You must have solid reasons for voting icons as being of least quality, and you must be able to back up these reasons - this also means that you shouldn't be voting down an icon just because it isn't a style you like or are familiar with in your own icon-making. When you vote for the best quality icons, it is preferred that you include a comment, although you are not required to do so.
Can I use a personal standpoint for my best quality votes?
Yes, you are allowed to vote from a personal standpoint for the positive votes. However, it's much better if you have good (substantiated) reasons for the positive votes instead of superficial ones like the reasons we used for the 'bad' examples of positive votes.
What are the differences between the good and bad example votes?
The good votes are objective and constructive, substantiate reasoning for the votes, and focus on the technical aspects of the icons. The bad votes are too short and/or vague, don't substantiate the negative points, are based on how the voter feels personally about the icons, or are overly insulting. Please remember that you need to write and elaborate on at least two points of critique per icon.
Why should I bother to vote properly? It's too bothersome for me!
Voting properly is beneficial for many reasons. It helps the voter to develop critical skills and a better eye for icon elements, which will ultimately improve their iconmaking skills. Most importantly, we would like to give quality critiques to iconmakers, which means getting quality critiques. It just isn't fair to iconmakers who put a lot of work into making icons and writing critiques if they get shoddy and poorly thought-out critiques in return. Just as a sense of how votes are written, from our own experiences, typing out voting for a single challenge can take us from 10-20 minutes and beyond so we do understand how much effort is put into writing out constructive comments in hopes that they actually help participants in a certain way.
If writing votes of the appropriate caliber is too difficult a task, then it's readily apparent you are not willing, nor do you care enough, to improve your own icon skills. Why are you here?
What if I don't vote properly when I vote?
If you vote poorly or in an unclear manner, or if there is confusion regarding your votes, a moderator will comment to you asking for a re-vote, re-wording, or clarification. If you do not correct the error(s) or clarify, your vote may be disqualified. If English is not your first language, don't worry, we will take that into consideration in our estimation of your votes. Please be sure to check your votes over before submitting, as will will not fix errors (including spelling errors) for you.
You commented to me that I need to re-vote or elaborate. Why do I need to do that?
If we comment to that effect, it will be because your critiques are too short, too vague, or too subjective. If we ask you to re-vote or elaborate, and you do not, your vote will not be counted. We will also be forced to disqualify votes we feel are questionable. We don't want to be forced to disqualify any votes, because we need a relatively high volume of votes for results to be as fair as possible. However, we prefer fair votes over vote volume. Also, it may be a good idea to re-check your votes at the voting post before the voting deadline arrives, to be sure you have not been commented to by a moderator.
What do you mean by 'elaborate'?
Elaboration means that you need to add more information about the points you make in your vote. You must substantiate your negative points of critique by explaining your reasoning for pointing them out. Why are those items are detracting from the icon? When you're writing your votes, ask yourself why you are voting that in particular way, and then use that answer in the vote as well.
Ex. "The coloring is dull, and the text doesn't really work because it's placed weirdly."
This may seem to be an appropriate vote because it gives two points of critique. However, this vote is very vague and therefore requires elaboration as it doesn't give much information about the reasons or rationales for the points of critique, nor does it offer suggestions for improvement (which can also be illustrative, but are optional).
An elaborated-upon version of that vote may be, "Though the purpose of the coloring seems to be a muted, soft effect, it ends up looking fairly dull. Increasing the contrast would be a good start, but overall it needs to be more saturated for this sort of style - a strong base of color is needed to support the rest of the icon. The typography is poorly placed relative to the subject and the other icon elements, but is too distracting to be a focal point. The cropping is likely a factor there - a more dynamic crop would give you more room for text and help create both a focal point and better overall flow."
Note that the revised vote is more constructive while being specific about what is wrong in the icon and explaining why it is wrong in terms of the icon and what the iconmaker intended. This vote is also much more likely to be useful to the iconmaker.
Do I only need to elaborate on the least quality votes?
Yes, but it would be great if you'd elaborate on the best quality votes as well. Positive feedback is important, too!
Okay, I'll re-vote, how should I do that?
If you need to re-vote, for any reason, DO NOT edit or delete your old vote. Please re-vote in a new comment, but with the subject line specifying that you are re-voting; this will help us in properly counting votes. If you are replying to a moderator comment asking for elaboration, you may reply to the comment with the elaborated comments.
Livejournal is telling me that I exceeded the character limit in my comment! I wrote too much, what do I do?
First of all, thank you for being so verbose in your icon comments! Don't even think of editing your votes to make them shorter. Instead, please use two comments to post your vote.
I don't want people to know how I voted for their icons, will they find out?
No. Your identity (or idol) will never be revealed in regards to voting. This allows all voters to be as objective and truthful as possible without fear of repercussion or hurt feelings.
I'm nosy, and I want to know what critiques some other icons received!
Sorry, critiques will only be revealed to the icon maker for whose icon they are intended once voting is over.
ELIMINATION POINTS SYSTEM;
What are icon-points?
Icon-points are the tally of votes that your icon received in the given challenge.
Ex. #01; -2 +1 = -2 icon-points
In this example, icon #01 has earned two 'least quality' votes and one 'best quality' vote. The total of icon-points the icon received is -2.
Icon-points are accumulated per icon, and are therefore accumulated per challenge and expire at the end of the challenge.
What are idol-points?
Idol-points are overall points gained or lost over the course of the round. They are recorded as a tally of status points that each idol earns at the end of each challenge.
Ex. #03; ~ 1 + 1 = 2 idol-points
In this example, Matsumoto Jun received one (1) idol-point this challenge, which was added to his total from the previous challenge. He now has two (2) idol-points and ranks third overall.
Idol-points are cumulative, carrying over from each challenge to the next until the end of the round. Each idol begins the round with one (1) idol point. Idol-points tallies are used to determine who will be eliminated throughout the round.
How do you decide who to give idol-points to?
Idol-points are given to idols based on their icon-points tally and relative to the other icon-points tallies, assessed per challenge.
The icons with the top 25% (rounded up) icon-points will receive +1 idol-points. The icons with the bottom 25% (rounded up) icon points will receive -1 idol-points. We only use these percentages as guidelines, however. If there is more than one icon with the same number of icon-points, and the 25% point falls inside this rank, we will make a decision (based on several factors) as to which level of icon-points we will award the entire rank.
These values are discrete and additive.
How do you get bonus idol-points?
There are three ways to accrue additional idol-points. The icon with the most positive votes (people's choice) will receive +2 idol-points. The icon that the mods thought to be (one of) the best (mods' choice) will receive +1 idol-points. However, an idol may also lose idol-points; the icon that has the most negative votes will receive -1 idol-points.
These values are discrete and additive.
How do you decide who to eliminate?
No idols will be eliminated until the end of Challenge #03. At this point, the bottom-ranked 15% or so idols, based on idol-points, will be eliminated. This will happen each week until the final challenge. If there is more than one icon with the same number of idol-points, and the 15% point falls inside this tier, we will make a decision (based on several factors) as to the status of the entire tier.
What happens if I skip a challenge?
If you use a skip in a challenge, your icon obviously will not accrue any icon-points in that challenge. This does not mean you receive zero icon-points; it means that you are not in the resultant icon-points ranking, and therefore not eligible to gain or lose idol-points in that challenge. A skip counts as zero (0) idol-points, which will be shown in the results ranking.
If I skip a challenge, can I still get eliminated?
Absolutely. Skipping a challenge causes you to automatically receive zero (0) idol-points for that challenge. The idol-points ranking is executed normally following idol-points assignment. If your total accrued idol-points falls into the bottom-ranked 15%, you will be eliminated.
Why are there size and format limits for icon submissions?
The size limit (40.0 kb or smaller) and the format limit (.png, .jpg, or .gif formats) are imposed because the same limits are imposed by LiveJournal userpics. If you (or someone else) were unable to upload the icon you made to LiveJournal userpics, of what use would the icon be?
Which imagehosts are okay to use for hosting my icon submissions?
We require you to use an imagehost to which your name/username is not connected, or from which your name/username cannot be linked. It's all right if your name/username is in the site or the icon URL; we download and reupload all of the icons to a personal site for voting hosting. However, we insist that the icons not be public when you upload them, or shared afterwards. This is to preserve anonymity. If you continue to upload your icon submissions to imagehosts which we prohibit, you will be disqualified from the round.
Here is a list of frequently used imagehosts and our decisions regarding them:
Livejournal hosting: PROHIBITED. These images are public on your livejournal account and can be viewed by anyone.
Livejournal userpics: PROHIBITED. We shouldn't even need to explain this.
Other social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook: PROHIBITED. We shouldn't even need to explain this.
PhotoBucket: ALLOWED if the album to which you have uploaded your icons is locked, regardless of whether or not the URL contains your livejournal name.
Personal websites: ALLOWED if the directory to which you have uploaded your icons is not public. Be sure to change permissions on the folder.
What the abbreviations next to the deadline times mean?
The abbreviations are the time zones for which the times apply. We try to coordinate this for minimal confusion.
xenylamine lives on the East Coast of the United States, which means that either she posts in Eastern Standard Time (EST) or Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). stellazeee lives in Singapore, but the times she posts are in Eastern Time, based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), for your convenience.
What do those time zones mean?
GMT is the standard time from which the other times deviate.
EST is GMT-5.
EDT is GMT-4. EDT is one hour ahead of EST, so the analogy is EST+1. This will be used during the US' Daylight Saving Time.
Please note that Singapore is GMT+7 and does observe Daylight Savings Time.
When is Daylight Saving Time?
In the United States, Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November, with all time changes taking place at 02:00 local time. The clocks are moved ahead one hour in March, and moved back one hour in November.
I still don't understand! or I don't know which time zone I'm in!
The following websites may be helpful to you: Time Zone Check and The World Clock
The Eastern Time reference city is New York City. Since the United Kingdom observes British Summer Time, the London time will not always reflect Greenwich Mean Time. You may use the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) instead.
Alternately, you may use the Time Zone Converter.
If you have any questions about voting or about this tutorial, you may ask them here. If you have any further suggestions as they may relate to this tutorial, please also comment here! We would like to make this as comprehensive as possible. This tutorial will be linked in the community profile, main community, memories, and in each subsequent voting post for easy reference.
[Last updated July 20, 2009]