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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: How about myArmoury Awards for best....?         Reply with quote

This is a thought addressed in part to Nathan and his team, but also to all the users and supporters of this fine site, to see if there is any interest.

As the TV award season drones on -Golden Globes, Oscars, etc- it reminds me of an idea I had a while back to give out publicly-determined awards for best replicas completed in the past calendar year in various categories. I don't mean financial awards, but simply public awards of recognition, where the awards are determined by the votes of MyAmroury members.

I could imagine historical categories like:

-best new production line sword below $500
-best new production line sword, any price
-best custom sword overall
-best viking sword
-best medieval sword
-best renaiscance sword
- best helm
- best shield
- best set of armour
- best DIY project
- best...

I think to be consistent with myArmoury's mandates, there would need to be two judgement criteria: historical accuracy and easthetics.

I'm not sure of the technicalities, but imagine something like either people in the industry or members themselves would nomiate to the moderators by providing a picture and short description, a short list would be posted, and then the members would vote, much like on the current poles, except it would remain private until the day of unvealing the awards. It might be good to allow people to discuss the historical accuracy before the votes close (not everyone's an expert on each category) without arguing about aesthetics.

It seems to me that this could be a lot of fun for the fans and bring attention to good work in the industry, and even shape the drive toward historical accuracy. I realize we would likely asking the team to do even more work, but the attention could be worth it. It might also give myArmoury more clout within the industry.

Anyone else think this is a good idea? Perhaps others have been thinking along similar lines already.

-JD
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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's a very good idea that can inspire people about what to acquire for their collection (as if we needed more incentives to go about Mortschlag-ing our bank accounts! Razz ).

Do you think the description could or should include characteristics such as length, weight, POB, and ideally other ones (blade width etc. ?) I'm not entirely sure it's necessary, but it'd be probably better (since handling can't really be included as a criterion ; characteristics would somewhat balance that out and also are important re. historicity). Anyway, the point is mostly important for custom works, since the characteristics of production swords are found easily enough.

Again, great idea, hope it will come to fruition.

Cheers,

Simon


P.S. - just a point I'd be a bit worried about - diversity and constant change in what makers are nominated for the shortlist. There are some clear "favourites" around here - and I certainly don't mean people are biaised towards them for wrong reasons, but there is a "risk" of always seeing the same names coming round, Albion, A&A, etc. (disclaimer : I own an Albion and agree that it's just great, so I emphasise that I'm not going Albion-bashing here). In a way that's good and fair since such makers do produce quality blades and are probably the most historically accurate. On the other hand, I do love learning about previously unknown makers who make interesting products, and seeing for instance all the Albion Viking swords get elected one after the other as "best Viking sword of the year" would get tedious quickly, I believe. Not because they don't deserve it but because it would pretty much defeat the purposes of such awards.
So some proposals :

- there could be a "industry hopefuls" category for makers that are not in the same class as Albion, A&A, etc., making products that are not as historicaly accurate and not in the same price range, but who clearly do strive to make interesting things and should be encouraged to get even better (I think this would go well with the objective of "striving for more historical accuracy", as clearly someone like Peter Johnsson doesn't need any encouragement in this quarter).

- there could be rules about the same maker not being elected for two consecutive awards (in the same category).

- there probably should be a rule of "only one entry per maker per category".


Last edited by Simon G. on Wed 02 Feb, 2011 6:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have an interesting concept. I must admit that the title of the thread immediately made my mind jump to the conclusion that you were going to list:

* Most Realistic Special Effects
* Most Historically Accurate Garb
* Least Amount of Anachronistic Armour in One Scene
* Most Realistic Fight Sequence
* Best use of a Trebuchet
* etc., etc., etc.

I like your idea better. Wink

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:
Do you think the description could or should include characteristics such as length, weight, POB, and ideally other ones (blade width etc. ?) I'm not entirely sure it's necessary, but it'd be probably better (since handling can't really be included as a criterion ; characteristics would somewhat balance that out and also are important re. historicity). Anyway, the point is mostly important for custom works, since the characteristics of production swords are found easily enough.


I was thinking of just basic measurements of the sort that Kult of Athena provides. It would be tough to expect detailed reviews of handling etc of all these items. But, taking the academy awards as an example, I think they only provide screenings and let their members judge base on their own opinions, word of mouth, and available reviews.

I'm not sure how they limit the number of nominees. One way to limit spurious nominations might be to require a nominal donation to support myArmoury. Starting conservatively, $20 x 5 nominations x 10 categories (= $1000) would do a lot to support this site.
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not sure how they limit the number of nominees. One way to limit spurious nominations might be to require a nominal donation to support myArmoury. Starting conservatively, $20 x 5 nominations x 10 categories (= $1000) would do a lot to support this site.

Interesting idea, although it could be argued that it can be unfair for less wealthy people. If such a system was used, I'd recommand $10 instead (I believe it is the usual minimal amount to enter a contest here, but I could be wrong).

Also, 5 nominations is perhaps not that much and certainly a minimum. 10 would probably be a maximum, I'd rather see something like 8 or even 10 nominations.

Finally, I'm not sure I see how a nomination could be "spurious". Of course there is the probability of deliberate trolling but it's not much of a problem on this fine forum, where people are remarkably adult and polite. Other than that, I can only think of the case of someone not very expert in historical weapons (I for one know markedly less than many others here), but how to gauge the level of knowledge where nominations someone makes stop being "spurious"? Plus, the system you propose would not stop an ignoramus with cash to burn.

An alternative ideas : drawing by lot among all myArmoury members a number of people who can then make either one nomination in one category or one nomination in each category (either system could be chosen or both combined).
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:
Finally, I'm not sure I see how a nomination could be "spurious". Of course there is the probability of deliberate trolling but it's not much of a problem on this fine forum, where people are remarkably adult and polite. Other than that, I can only think of the case of someone not very expert in historical weapons (I for one know markedly less than many others here), but how to gauge the level of knowledge where nominations someone makes stop being "spurious"? Plus, the system you propose would not stop an ignoramus with cash to burn.


Sorry Simon, I meant people making nominations without thinking seriously about it, or crashing the system with multiple nominations. The second is easily dealt with by limitiing nominations. The first - maybe there are other ways. I just thought that Nathan Robinon could use the support. There would have to be other rules (like people not nominating swords they just bought).

In principle any member could create such a award themself simply by posting a thread, asking for nominations, and asking people to vote on those. However we could not enforce any rules we set up without help from the administration, so ultimately Nathan would need to be on board with this. (my experience is that most often people break rules not from bad intent, but just because they did not read them thoroughly). Moreover, manufactorers would not take it seriously unless the administration was involved and they could call it a 'myArmoury Award' rather than, 'an award some guy made up on myArmoury'.
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Jason Elrod




Location: Winchester, VA
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 4:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to admit that this would be a fun ideal and maybe I'm just being negative but I wouldn't want it sponsored on myArmoury.

Nathan, the moderators and the other myArmoury members behind the scenes do a great job of keeping this place neutral in the petty and not so petty politics of the sword manufacturing and western martial arts communities.

I'm afraid that a contest like this, where you are essentially pitting one sword and one company against another company, would create too much animosity between the individual contestants and the contestants and myArmoury.

I much prefer the reviews, which everyone and anyone in the community can take the time to do, if I want to find out about a "modern" sword.

I just don't want to give anyone any reason to doubt the "open-ness" of myArmoury.

Besides, for me, the historical information that can be gleaned from myArmoury is imminently more useful than the modern sword reviews. I think a "production sword" awards show would minimalize the historical knowledge and research that is available here.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2011 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
I have to admit that this would be a fun ideal and maybe I'm just being negative but I wouldn't want it sponsored on myArmoury.

Nathan, the moderators and the other myArmoury members behind the scenes do a great job of keeping this place neutral in the petty and not so petty politics of the sword manufacturing and western martial arts communities.

I'm afraid that a contest like this, where you are essentially pitting one sword and one company against another company, would create too much animosity between the individual contestants and the contestants and myArmoury.



I have to agree with Jason that the pitfalls might overwhelm the potential " FUN ". Wink Worried

Also personal taste and preferences are so very subjective that naming " The Best " of anything would tend to be arbitrary and near impossible to judge on a totally fair and objective basis.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the model for such a contest is the Academy Awards or anything similar, I'm not sure "fair" or "objective" are attainable or realistic goals.

If it was handled correctly, it would serve to be informative in both directions. It would show potential customers what various makers are working on as well as show makers which pieces the market is especially excited about. Which can be valuable business information. In that regard, trying to ensure that historical accuracy is an important criterion may not be the best choice. Might be better to let the voting public use their own criteria, with the intention of choosing which piece in each category they'd be most inclined to buy.

As far as avoiding having the nominations flooded by pieces from one maker, one could allow the maker or a representative from the manufacturer choose one piece, which was a new custom or production piece in 2010, that they feel is their best new offering or custom project. Those become the candidates. Then they get sorted into categories based on price and, if there are enough entries, some basic types (sword, polearm, armor, helm, Eastern sword vs. Western sword -- whatever is necessary to make the voting manageable).

Might not hurt, if one were to set up such a thing, to allow voting on the SBGforum and SFI as well. Maybe others. Sure, creates the opportunity for some (or all) to vote more than once but it also makes it a broader, livelier exercise. Just so long as it doesn't turn into a flame war or an open invitation for non-constructive criticism, I'm not sure what the harm is. It wouldn't be a contest between makers. It would be, essentially, a poll to see what sorts of pieces in various categories most appeal to the collecting community.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
I have to admit that this would be a fun ideal and maybe I'm just being negative but I wouldn't want it sponsored on myArmoury.

Nathan, the moderators and the other myArmoury members behind the scenes do a great job of keeping this place neutral in the petty and not so petty politics of the sword manufacturing and western martial arts communities.


I hadn't thought of that. In that case if this were to ever happen, it would be better for the myArmoury team to have no involvement in judgments or even filtering, perhaps just be involved in holding up the rules, and allowing it to be completely controlled by members. I only imagined this as a positive thing. I believe there are a number of awards given out by a small group of experts at blade shows, but nothing like a people's choice award; a truly international community rewarding the industry for excellence.

Ahhh...perhaps it was only an idle thought.

Or perhaps the basic idea is OK and there's a better way to do it...like only allowing industry professionals to vote, and not allowing them to vote on submissions from their own company. If they were interested enough.
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think this is an idea that has a lot of merit. Look, myArmoury already does reviews of all kinds of things. What this is, really, is nothing more than a super review. I can see a lot of manufacturers and custom fabricators would be very eager to win a category. Given the classy job myArmoury does, winning best production hand and a half sword or best post 1000 A.D. helmet would be pretty prestigious.

One nut that would be tough to crack would be logistics. A sword isn't like a movie or a book, there aren't an endless supply of copies, even of production items. Would there be a meeting of judges or would an item be shipped from evaluator to evaluator.

Another issue that might actually be a blessing in disguise of sorts is that doing such a thing virtually demands that there be established criteria. Don't get me wrong, I pay close attention to the reviews here but the are, only reviews, and one man's opinion can be very different than another's. Imagine deciding what makes an excellent Viking style sword, then imagine setting criteria for an excellent Viking sword under $500.00, now work your way through Oakeshotts typology, now go on to spears, axes, maces, on and on. This would be a huge job and would probably have to start simply and fairly small and be "built" over a period of years.
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason, I don't think there is a risk of this turning into a biased contest that ignites flamewars - provided it's done right.

Everyone has bias, everyone has opinions, including the myArmoury members, including the myArmoury team. Everyone is already displaying his or her preferences here, just (usually) in a polite and mature way. Nathan, Chad, and Bill are already, in a sense, showing what makers and what models they prefer through their reviews and their collections. I don't think anyone has a problem with that, nor is there any reason to. I don't think there's much ado about this other fact that some makers show up here far more than others and could be considered as overall myArmoury "favourites" (Albion, A&A, Tod's Stuff, etc.). Perhaps I'm being naive and overly ignorant of the petty politics you speak of - I've never been much interested in bickering among HEMA groups, for sure, and I'd consider it a shame if it were to have a "chilling effect" on interesting initiatives such as (in my opinion) this one.

The set-up of the nomination and voting procedures can do much to avoid a biased vote. There can be rules to limit the number of submissions, nominations, or elections per maker, for instance, as Michael Rivet or I have proposed.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's safe to say myArmoury itself won't be running a contest like this officially, though Nathan is the final arbiter on that. Happy By and large, we see our role as a journalistic one when it comes to reviews and a goal of any review is to give the reader enough info to help them make a buying decision one way or another. Yes, newspaper and magazines to pick winners of various contests, but picking "best in show" is not a direction we've tried to head.

Picking one item or series of items and declaring them the best opens Pandora's box in many ways. If we would happen to pick a maker whose work we own or who we have a good rapport with, there will inevitably be claims of bias. That's just issue number 1.

Then we have the particulars of the contest.

Quote:
-best new production line sword below $500
-best new production line sword, any price
-best custom sword overall
-best viking sword
-best medieval sword
-best renaiscance sword
- best helm
- best shield
- best set of armour
- best DIY project
- best...


Who defines "best?" Best value (defined how?), lowest price (in what currency?), most durable (defined how?), most accurate (defined how?), most attractive (defined how?), best handling (defined how?) or some combination (or something else altogether)? Getting agreement on what constitutes "best" will be very likely impossible. Even if the myArmoury team agreed among themselves what "best" was, that doesn't mean others in the community would agree. So we have problems of definition.

Who votes on the nominees, assuming we could work out the details above? The myArmoury team, who may not have examined the pieces personally and who may have different ideas of "best"? Registered forum readers, who may not have examined the pieces personally and who may have different ideas of "best"? Any visitor to the site, who may not have examined the pieces personally and who may have different ideas of "best"? Happy

If the contest is run on multiple sites, who ensures that people who are members of more than one site don't get to vote more than once?

I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer, but to be a contest that's more than a simple popularity contest, a lot of work needs to go into definitions of the awards, the logistics of running the contest, and insuring that the outcome doesn't cause issues.

Readers are free to run their own contests, with the knowledge that they aren't officially myArmoury-sanctioned awards, just readers' opinions (which are still extremely valid and important).

We kind of have a popularity-based system in reviews and collection items now, since we let people mark if they "Like" an item. While it's cool to see the results, they don't tell us why the item was liked. And since this feature only works for reviews and collection items, it does not include every item out there, just the ones we own or reviews people have been kind enough to submit. So it's a fun tool to see that will yield some interesting data as more people use it, but it's hardly a way to tell what's "best".

I think it would be fun to see a reader-run contest, a kind of People's Choice awards for arms and armour. But I think more work needs to go into the criteria used to define the categories. For example: Do daggers, knives, non-armour kits get awards or just swords and armour?

Happy

ChadA

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guess I really know how to kill a thread... Happy That wasn't my intent.

I still think it would be fun to see some reader-sponsored popularity contests. Someone (or some group) would need to define the parameters and do the legwork, but I think people would have fun with the ability to nominate items. The finalists in a category could be voted on via the Poll function in a post. Because votes in polls are limited to forum users, we wouldn't necessarily be inundated with votes from friends and family of the nominee unless they all registered here.

Don't let my words of caution stop people from organizing this. I think it would be fun, it just needs to be defined is such a way that it's as black and white as possible.

Happy

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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Feb, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad, I don't think you killed it - I for one was just out of touch for a few days. Thanks for chiming in.

The questions you ask have been addressed in different ways by different industries. I originally mentioned the entertainment industry, but perhaps a closer model is the automobile industry where various magazines have their awards. The car magazine example would be more like the myArmoury team 'test driving' some swords, armour, axes, daggers, whatever, and then voting amongst themselves. But as a myArmoury member, I would personally be more engaged in something I could contribute to myself. I doubt any of these award contests could be perfect, but they are what they are, and most people like them. The key is is to celebrate excellence in some media widely available to a lot of the people who buy the product.

But obviously, its up to you and other members of the myArmoury Team (and organizers of the other 'sword' forums) to decide what direction you want to go.

I expect the industry (especially the big names) would take a more wait-and-see attitute toward a member-initiated award. But it might gain ground if it was very well coordinated and people were willing to persist year after year until it took hold. One-off contests that amount to "vote on which sword you like"; I think would not get much attention from the industry. (But of course they could be fun for anyone who feels like doing that - not to discourage anyone either.)

Well, I'm afraid that I'm much too lazy to organize any of this myself, it was just a thought I wanted to throw out and see if it bounced. (I'm inundated enough by award committees, nominations, and writing letters of reference in my professional life). But I really hope someone does start up something like this some day, because it would indeed be a fun way to give back to the industry- even if the results were sometimes frustrating (like in most award shows)! At least it might get people talking.

-JD
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