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115909 No. 115909
Prelim Thread: >>113502
Accolades and previous event statistics: http://goo.gl/hgnDc
Stories: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/44658/Sweet-Music---Finals
Voting for the finals: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZSZKVQJ

Voting closes Mon, Aug 20 08:00 UTC

With the preliminary round finished, we are down to our thirteen finalists. There's some really good stories in there, so be sure to check 'em out. I hope everyone enjoys the show, and I hope everyone had fun participating.

What's left to say? Go read them stories.

Oh, and, obligatory: Comments and ratings highly appreciated!
48 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 116817
Speculation, yes. Shrouds, no.

I'll be the one doing the shroud dropping around here.
>> No. 116821
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In a mad rush on the last day, we almost quadrupled the number of voters. That's pretty sweet.

The continued efforts of all those involved to make this event work is much appreciated. You guys are awesome.

Anyway, the results.

. . .

(Elevator music)


Top 5

Gold Medal
Bittersweet Music by Duncan R. (8.61)

Silver Medal
The Good You Might Do by Pascoite (7.94)

Bronze Medal
Joie de Vivre by Eustatian Wings (6.47)

Copper Medallions
A Deck with No Hearts by RogerDodger (6.44)
His Heart Too Full For Words by I_Post_Ponies (6.28)

Top 10

Murky Medallions
Consonance by Props (6.25)
The WestFillya Waltz by Hayseed Turniptruck (6.17)
The End of the Season by Present Perfect (6.06)
Every Night Is a Swan Song by Dark Horse (5.78)
Made of Dreams by RazgrizS57 (5.38)

Top 20

Participation Certificate
My Sunshine by Flashgen (4.94)
Melody of Solace by Seidio (4.93)
Memories of Chaos by LunarShadow (4.21)
Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon by shortskirtsandexplosions
Can I keep it? Please, oh PLEASE? by Dumb Fabric
On Loyalty by Bulbasaur
The Sound of Raindrops on Slate by Dolfeus Doseux
Unwanted Song by <Warden>
War is Hay by AzuNyan
You'll Never Know Until You Try It by Demetrius

I extend again a congratulations to everyone who participated, no matter how well you performed!


Giant spreadsheet full o' numbers and graphs and stuff: http://goo.gl/Vpbub
Total number of voters: 19

Global Results
Previous event statistics: http://goo.gl/oKXkh


Now for the esoteric awards:

Artist's Choice
Every Night Is a Swan Song for Sweet Melody

Most Controversial
The End of the Season (2.44)
Joie de Vivre (2.17)
Consonance (2.17)

Least Controversial
Bittersweet Music (1.38)
His Heart Too Full For Words (1.48)
Memories of Chaos (1.64)

Most Consistent Reponses
Memories of Chaos with 9 (4)s

Least Consistent Reponses
Consonance with 3 (6)s, (7)s, and (8)s

They're all in the spreadsheet (http://goo.gl/Vpbub). Screenshots are for newponies.

– What did you think of the /art/ prompting? Would you like the next event to run similarly?
– What did you think of the preliminary round?
– What did you think of the web-form submission?
– Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
– Any suggestions for improvements?

As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.

Closing Notes
By request I've set up a mailing list to have you notified by e-mail when a new event is announced. If you'd like to be added to this list, send me an e-mail saying so, or drop your e-mail and a request in this thread (or otherwise find some way to let me know).

Again, thank you all—voters, volunteers, submitters, spectators, etc.—for your participation in making this a great success!
>> No. 116823
6th place ain't bad for my first time. I'll take it! Congrats to everybody that entered and the winners! This was a lot of fun.

I'd like to personally and publicly give a big thank you to everyone that read my story and to those of you that reviewed it as well. Thank you! Because of your feedback, when I eventually get around to editing this story, it will be far, far better for it. I hope everybody that read my story enjoyed it (or found it a better-than-average 6, anyway, haha!).

I'd like to say, I couldn't agree more with the chosen winners. Would I have liked to place in the 'winner's circle'? Sure! But I really feel that the chosen stories (I'm lookin' at YOU, "The Good You Might Do") deserved to win over my own. Damn, those were some good stories!

– What did you think of the /art/ prompting?

I liked it! My only wish is that there had been more pictures to choose from, but the art that was submitted was pretty dang great! Thanks, /art/friends!

—Would you like the next event to run similarly?

For the most part, yes. I liked that the prelims were done by the authors, even if the discussion got heated at some points. My only suggestion is that this topic should probably get stickied next time the public voting rolls around in order to keep it higher profile.

– What did you think of the preliminary round?

I liked it. I was given a lot of constructive feedback on my story, and found most of the discussion very helpful and mostly respectful, though there were moments where it became heated! But personalities clash and authors defend their stories; its the nature of things like this.

– What did you think of the web-form submission?

Worked like a charm!

– Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
Maybe? I couldn't say, this is my first time.

– Any suggestions for improvements?
Nothing that I can think of, really.
>> No. 116827
I will so take 8th! :D And Most Controversial! (Controversy is good!)

Bittersweet Music definitely deserved the win, but I am shocked, I tell ya, that WestFillya Waltz only ended up one above mine. On to responses!

>What did you think of the /art/ prompting? Would you like the next event to run similarly?

I think what worked best here was having a small group of prompts to choose from. That they were themselves based around a single prompt kept things somewhat consistent, without forcing every story into "Either about the same thing or fooling around with the prompt" territory. That said, I wouldn't say it needs to be art next time, but if those folks enjoyed doing it, I say why not?

>What did you think of the preliminary round?

Enjoyable. Got everything done early and kicked back. I think I've said a lot about this already, but it's a good change.

>What did you think of the web-form submission?

Seemed okay to me!

>Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?

There was still a long waiting period for the voting, but going straight from that to the results is a nice change.
>> No. 116839
Voting ended?

...Fuck, I was going to go through the list and pick one for Artist's Choice. Can I still do that?
>> No. 116840
Seems like this event was wrapped up pretty nicely. I'd like to be added to the mailing list , in case the next Write-Off comes with a Draw-Off, by the way!

Only suggestion I'd make is for the /art/ side: if the next event follows the same formula, having a small bit of text recommending people to create stuff with more space for interpretation would be nice, especially for people who were not present for this one. After all, it seems like writers had a preference for that, and with completely understandable reasons - it gives them less constraints.
>> No. 116841
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Sure thing.

All right, you're on the list.

There most likely will be an /art/ side next round. This one seemed to have turned out well, and I reckon with the knowledge of the previous round, the next one will be even better.
>> No. 116846
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I will gladly accept last place with all my heart. I really don't know what to say, other that I shouldn't have been a finalist to begin with, but whatever. I digress. On to the questions!

>What did you think of the /art/ prompting?
I enjoyed it. Also, I'll ask this for if there is a next time, but can /fic/tion writers also take part in the /art/istry side of things?

>Would you like the next event to run similarly?
For the most part, yes. I liked the prelims most definitely, especially how they were done by the authors. Kudos to whoever wrote that program to do the sorting!

>What did you think of the preliminary round?
I greatly enjoyed it.

>What did you think of the web-form submission?

>Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
This is my first time, so I'm clueless. However, the thread should be sticky'd next time.

>Any suggestions for improvements?
Nothing off the top of my head.
>> No. 116848
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Woo! Solidly in the middle of the pack! Not bad for the first thing I've written in a decade.

And first place was my picture, so I claim that too. (Kidding, Duncan took things in some directions I didn't expect, which is probably the most delightful thing about the experience. Plus some of the best pony banter I've read since Flight of the Alicorn.

I've learned fascinating grammar rules about ellipses, plus I got a nifty pencil sketch of Pinkie playing the pipe organ out of the deal. I enjoyed this.
>> No. 116850
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On the upper part of the top 20 participants list. Meh... okay.

Maybe I can do something with my story now.
>> No. 116853
Well, making it into the finals was more than enough of a surprise for me. Kinda shocked that the top 4 is basically my top 4, and Bittersweet really deserved first place. Congratulations to everyone.

>What did you think of the /art/ prompting?

I thought it was a great way to get two groups of people involved, and working off of art was different compared to working off a prompt.

>Would you like the next event to run similarly?

I'm not sure to be honest, but I think working off art again would be nice, especially if the /art/ turnout is larger next time.

>What did you think of the preliminary round?

A great way to narrow entries down. I think it was fantastic.

>What did you think of the web-form submission?

Made submitting much more simple.

>Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?

Yes, and I think what made it smoother was a longer period of public feedback.

>Any suggestions for improvements?

Not really.
>> No. 116856
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>but can /fic/tion writers also take part in the /art/istry side of things?

Yes, they can. That's what I did this time.
>> No. 116858
Holy crap. Seriously?

>Stares at the gold medal in his hands for a full five minutes.

Music this gold medal made me think of: "The Touch" by Stan Bush, from the soundtrack for "Transformers: The Movie"
This one ain't for me. It's for all of you. You can bleach your ears afterwards if you want... I won't be offended.

You know what? This medal is only the third best thing I got out of this contest. The second best thing is that I managed to get [/i]six whole reviews[/i] of my work. That's a lot of feedback, and all of it was hugely constructive and useful. I felt like people were actually talking about my work and saying stuff about it--good and bad--and really, that's the most exciting part for me. Not knowing that my story was good, or that it was well liked... simply that it was being read. You all have no idea how much I appreciate that. Well actually, you probably do. You are writers, after all.

The first best thing I got out of this contest was this quote from Hayseed Turniptruck, the artist who inspired my story:
>Just wanted to say that I only got one fic off of my pictures - Bittersweet Music - but it was totally worth it for the Fancypants dialogue and the spin on AJ's expression. Makes me want to redraw the whole thing with some fancy Canterlot types in the crowd...
I find it deliciously ironic and interesting that the art that inspired the gold medal for /fic/ also got one of the lowest rankings for the /art/ side of things. I also find it intriguing that the story I rated most highly (Dolfeus Doseux's "The Sound of Raindrops on Slate", to which I awarded a score of 9/10) didn't even make the top twenty. I'm a little uncomfortable about that, actually... makes me feel a tad hypocritical

And on that note, I'd just like to say how dang impressed I was with all the other entrants. The moral of my own story was this, and this alone: Do what you truly love. Great skill and popularity are merely side-effects, and they make for pretty poor motivators by themselves. Whatever you do, do it for yourself and then share yourself with the world... and we'll just see what happens.

I love writing very much, but this contest reminded me of how much I used to love reading. Thank you for that, everyone.
>Peels the gold foil off the first-place medal and breaks off numerous chunks of the cool, minty-white chocolate within
Every single entrant who actually enjoyed writing their story--or drawing their artwork--gets a piece, regardless of the ranking they earned. Seriously, you guys. There's plenty to go around.

>Blinks for awhile.


>– What did you think of the /art/ prompting? Would you like the next event to run similarly?
I thought it was marvelous! I thought of it more as a writing exercise, so even if I'd gotten last place I still would have enjoyed it enormously.

>– What did you think of the preliminary round?
A refreshing and intriguing experience. I ended up reading stories I never would have chosen on my own, and ended up enjoying all of them (yes, even the ones I gave mediocre scores to). I'm also relieved at how impartial it was: I never once felt like my judgements would have the slightest impact on my own odds of winning.
I don't know how it compares to previous contests, since this is my first participation.

>– What did you think of the web-form submission?
Don't have much to say here. The tools did their job admirably, without any major frustrations. I'm also glad that our merciless robot overlords were responsible for enforcing the various deadlines: that was one of the main motivators for me.

>– Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
I have no idea, as I've never participated before. If I had to go with my gut instincts, I think I prefer to do without a private judging round. Dunno why.

>– Any suggestions for improvements?
More magnets and sharks.
Seriously though, I was going to complain about having too few voters for the final stage but a whole bunch of voters waited until the very last day, so that turned out okay. I must say it would be neat to have a separate website for this sort of thing, but I also like how EQD was involved (I take back at least three of the mean things I said about them). Just... it'd be nice to have an extra buffer layer between EQD and the contest itself. That's all.
>> No. 116860
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Gracious winner is best winner.

Though come to think of it the whole lot of you have been much better sports than I'd expect from elsewhere on the 'net.
>> No. 116862
That's what kills me about this competition: it didn't feel competitive. It felt constructive. Probably because the writers were so elegantly involved in the preliminary judging stage, and because it interacted so well with the /art/ competition. It felt like there were three or four different-yet-simultaneous criteria for winning, and that was especially neat-o.
>> No. 116863
Totally not surprised this is the acceptance speech of the guy with the 12000 word story.

Lemme know if you want a redraw/edit for a story cover. I'm slow but hey, it's free.
>> No. 116867
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Congrats to all of the winners! Bittersweet was a delightful read, but it also had some pretty tight competition this round. Additionally, congrats to the new faces; it was particularly cool to see a solid story entry from an /art/friend, and a /fic/friend drawing a purty picture. I do so love the reveals in these competitions, because MFW is typically "Wait, HE/SHE wrote that?!" times twenty.

Yes it is :3 As a fellow 2nd or 3rd Most Controversial recipient from last round, I briefly considered giving you a Controversial Brohoof, but decided this would be unwise for my political career.
>pic related???

>six whole reviews
Plus the two on FimFic, don't forget~

>That's a lot of feedback, and all of it was hugely constructive and useful. I felt like people were actually talking about my work and saying stuff about it--good and bad--and really, that's the most exciting part for me.
Definitely agree. That's easily one of the best parts about the new voting/review system.


>What did you think of the /art/ prompting? Would you like the next event to run similarly?
Very cool concept! It's nice to see that the event seemed well-received on /art/. Hopefully it's something they're interested in continuing.

As was brought up earlier, a few of the prompt images seemed a bit too focused, but I think that was just because they weren't quite sure what we were looking for. I think /art/ has a much better idea now. On the converse, I know it had been said that it would be okay for authors to use an image thematically and not literally, but I think only one of the stories ended up doing that (Memories of Chaos). Most authors apparently weren't brave enough to write something that wasn't visibly tied back to its prompt image. I know I wasn't, which is part of the reason I didn't enter—my muse didn't latch onto any of these particular pics. The other reason was that I wanted to work on my existing fics instead, but PFFFT LOL

As such, I don't know that I'd want every contest to have an art prompt, since the text prompt offers a little more freedom. Maybe we could alternate between art and text prompts. Or, we do have other competition threads like >>114762, so we could potentially keep Roger's competition as the official /art/-/fic/ competition full-time, and keep the other competitions as text prompts. Dunno, just tossing out ideas at this point.

>What did you think of the preliminary round?
Good system! I like it. Gives everyone a good amount of feedback, even those who were knocked out of the runnings. Admittedly, I only skimmed this feedback so as not to bias my own reviews too much, so I was surprised to see that there was a spat at some point. I didn't read what/who it was about, but I was a bit surprised since usually we're used to giving/taking critiques in an objective, emotionally-removed manner. *shrug* I'm not interested in pointing fingers. I'll chalk it up as a fluke I guess.

The public voting week still ended up a bit anti-climatic, since most of the review posts had been made during the preliminary round. So, it was quiet and voteless for most of last week, til the very end. That can't really be helped though, unless we can draw in more non-participant voters.

>What did you think of the web-form submission?

>Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
While event #4 bucked the trend of the public and panel always agreeing, I'm inclined to say that the public system is probably best/simplest. Plus, it leads to faster turnaround of results.

>Any suggestions for improvements?
Our EQD post was, to put it nicely, completely useless in terms of generating buzz. Maybe we should be advertising this event on FimFiction instead?
>> No. 116870
>Lemme know if you want a redraw/edit for a story cover.

I'd be happy using this as cover art, but you can certainly do a redraw if you like. It's only fair, since I'm probably going to edit my story based on the (awesome) feedback I got. :)

Truth be told, I did my best to make the fic's climactic scene in the opera house match the events in the picture as closely as possible: The picture is the view from Fancypant's box-seat. A few things were only foreshadowed: one of the cutie mark crusaders doesn't use enough gaffer's tape on the spotlight, and Pinkie Pie takes out a creepy mask for an unspecified purpose. Other things never quite made it in: Diamond Tiara was going to complain about Silver Spoon sorting her sheet music incorrectly, which partly explains why Spoon is standing offstage... but that was never really developed.

>Totally not surprised this is the acceptance speech of the guy with the 12000 word story.
In my defense, two-thirds of that post was answers for the questionnaire. :)

My biggest regret was that I could probably have cut my story by a third. I'd almost suggest placing a maximum word limit on the next competition, but I don't know how restrictive that would feel.
>> No. 116873
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According to FimFic stats page:

>507 referrals from EQD
>239 referrals from PChan
>104 views or less on each story (Bittersweet Music receiving the most)
>22 participants in total
>19 voters in total
>2 confirmed voters (myself and Ezn, minimally) who were not participants

On the one hoof, 507 referrals is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hoof... I dunno, make of these numbers what you will.
>> No. 116875
I was going to make a snippy comment about EQD, but then this came up and I realized I don't have a clue about how the Black Box actually functions. Let's not complain about whether EQD is useless or not: let's ask how EQD can be useful to us. No point in using a hammer as a screwdriver.

As for numbers being meaningless: If a government official receives a single letter of complaint, they know that ten thousand other people feel the same way but were too lazy to speak up. Ten thousand! Sometimes, yes, the numbers lie... but sometimes they lie in the other direction.
>> No. 116893
Last place? Dude, you got 10th of 22 and a medal. What about that is bad?

I didn't think the art prompting was any better or worse than a text prompt, but since it did drum up a bit of cooperation with /art/, then why not?

The preliminary round was an interesting way of doing things, though it didn't seem to result in any more feedback than usual. Plus, a few people reneged on their rankings when it was clear it wouldn't benefit them to do so.

The web form submission worked great. No problems there.

I do like the idea of having judges who we can trust to see through eye candy that might appeal to the public. However, I get that the extra time tends to make people lose interest, and the public's only let us down on a handful of fics through 5 contests, so it probably wouldn't be a big deal to go without.

Yes, please include me on your mailing list.
>> No. 116897
>but I am shocked, I tell ya, that WestFillya Waltz only ended up one above mine
Bless you, sir, but I really think the voice I have in my head for Applejack is like fingernails on a chalkboard for some folks. There are at least three reviews that claim a grammar derp in the first sentence, I assume being on account as I allow AJ commit such atrocities against Strunk and White as using the phrase, "on account as". And I will maintain to my last breath that Applejack pronounces "wash" with an "r", whether you can stand it or not.

– What did you think of the /art/ prompting?
Would you like the next event to run similarly?
It's the only reason I knew you guys did this kind of thing. /Fic/ was for eggheads who wear berets and yammer endlessly about Carousel Proust and how they only read him in the original Fancy.

– What did you think of the preliminary round?
Took a while to get used to it. /Art/ is a little more of a round-table discussion of sorts; we're all shy shoe-staring introverts who are afraid of offending the others if we criticize what they're working on. Here, folks are not afraid to categorically state that semicolons DO NOT work that way, sir, and you are embarrassing yourself.

– What did you think of the web-form submission?
Nice and smooth, both for art and writing. I uploaded about three differents drafts of my story with no problem. Only feedback would be to make sure that it's OK to put your handle in boxes, because you'll be anonymized on the other side of the submission.

– Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
No idea. I kinda liked the rough and tumble of the "everyone judges everyone else", once I got used to it.

– Any suggestions for improvements?
I've put in my notes about the artist prompts elsewhere. Imagine another of these with five or six Keepsake-level prompts...
>> No. 116898
"round-table discussion"?

Well played, word filter, well played...
>> No. 116901
>in the original Fancy.
And here I thought I was the first to come up with that term. Was I at least the first to call it "Paris, Prance?" :)
>> No. 116903
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>What did you think of the /art/ prompting?
Indifferent. I suppose I enjoyed having a choice of prompts, but I also liked seeing all the different interpretations of the worded prompts. Didn't see that so much here.

>Would you like the next event to run similarly?
Actually... yeah. I initially thought the old system was better, but I ended up liking this one more.

>What did you think of the preliminary round?
Lots of good feedback churned out quickly. The load was small enough that I felt comfortable with it, but I also felt I was contributing.

>What did you think of the web-form submission?
Much better than the email submissions. Lots of info there when you want it (word count, sub time, other subs, etc)

>Do you think the event ran smoother without a private judging round?
Yes. The only thing this event didn't have that the others did were the long, thorough reviews from judges. It's a fair trade-off for the new system, though.

>Any suggestions for improvements?
Were we allowed to review more that one set of fics in the first round if we wanted? That wasn't really made clear (or I'm blind, one or the other).

I enjoyed the event and glad I got some solid feedback, but also disappointed I did not improve. In fact, I regressed. I'll have to write more...

By the way, Roger, I had A Deck With No Hearts pegged on tGaPT. Color me impressed; I liked that one.

I CAN FINALLY POST SURPRISE AGAIN! I missed the white party pony.
>> No. 116905
File 134551599533.png - (355.59KB , 948x680 , Supplies.png )
I do like Surprises.

(Anonymity is hard. Autofill kept putting my regular handle on posts and I'd have to scramble to delete them after I realized what I did.)
>> No. 116909
"She's speakin' in Fancy" is one of my favorite AJ lines. Paris, Prance, amuses me greatly, though.

But you have no idea how smugly proud I am of "Carousel Proust". I am sketching dozens of sallow mustachioed OCs as we speak.
>> No. 116916
File 134552125929.png - (308.34KB , 800x607 , ___scanty_and_kneesocks____by_re_sublimity_kun-d3a34kg[1].png )
>Here, folks are not afraid to categorically state that semicolons DO NOT work that way, sir, and you are embarrassing yourself.
Well for things like grammar rules, those have categorically right and wrong answers. There's rule books that state how you can and cannot use a semicolon, kind of like, um... how there's a categorically wrong way to draw pony legs, bending the wrong direction. Inb4 someone mentions surrealist art or lit, or other such loopholes For stuff like characterization, pacing, show-don't-tell, purple prose, and all that other stuff, there's certainly recommended styles, but it's all a lot more subjective. For instance, there's more than one way to pace a story, and you might even deliberately pace it slowly to achieve some effect. Reviewers might offer suggestions there, but those points are just informed opinions.
>> No. 116917
>Here, folks are not afraid to categorically state that semicolons DO NOT work that way, sir, and you are embarrassing yourself.

HA! Classic! Well played, sir.

>"Daybreak is my time of day," decided Applejack, "I know on account it's the same color as my backside."
The grammar derp is in punctuating the quote. The two parts of the quote are independent clauses, so by linking them with commas the way you have, she's speaking a comma splice:

Daybreak is my time of day, I know on account it's the same color as my backside."

"Daybreak is my time of day," decided Applejack. "I know on account it's the same color as my backside."

or something like:

"Daybreak is my time of day," decided Applejack, "and I know on account it's the same color as my backside."

would work. As to the accent, less is often more. As I commonly advise, the reader will fill in much of the accent for you. You don't want to make it difficult to read.

Good story, though. I thought all the finalists were clearly above average.
>> No. 116920

"Daybreak is my time of day;" decided Applejack, "I know on account it's the same color as my backside."

Do semicolons work that way?
>> No. 116924
No, you can't use a semicolon to end a quote.
>> No. 116939
Well, you can, though it's very old hat (Lord of the Rings and Dracula do it) and not recommended. You'll confuse a lot of modern readers for no real benefit.

That example still doesn't work, though.
>> No. 116958
Why, exactly?
>> No. 116960
Yeah, given that it's supposed to be a semicolon (were it one sentence, I would recommend one over a period), you'd have to use a period there. Which is a shame. I seriously hope no one docked you points for that, though, it reads just fine.

Oh, I would like to be on the mailing list as well. Including email with this post.

Are we talking about our stories now? :D Because that's always my favorite part.

End of the Season.

"Celestia and Granny Smith were an item" is one of my oldest ideas. I think. It could have come about after Family Appreciation Day, but if nothing else, it was surely improved by that episode's existence. (FAD remains one of my favorites for the sheer world-building grandeur.)

I'm very glad people got something out of this story. I know that the second review of it accused me of having written fluff with no plot, which I am entirely guilty of, and doubly so, as I've lately been grousing over just that in slice of life stories. (I've always considered the tag to, in fact, mean that there is no plot in the story. Upon realizing I had written such a thing myself, I shrugged and said, "Well, lots of people like that!") I'm not sure that's something I can get around with this thing, so I'll have to be content to be a hypocrite.

The other major thing that I think at least a few people had a problem with was the flashbacks. Rest assured, those are going away (save the last one; that was there originally). I finished the draft of this with about two hours left to spare the night of the deadline (I go to sleep earlier, so I have less time to work), realized it was only about 2k words, and panicked. Someone suggested flashbacks, so I threw them in, which is why they feel thrown in. I think I did okay with them for what they are, but yes, they don't add anything much, and I plan to take them back out.

Now for two things that no one brought up. First, I don't feel like I used the prompt well, at least as far as having to use a prompt goes. The symbolism in the story is not "a broken music box" but "a broken gift". I think I'll most likely keep it as a music box, given that it is quite the romantic notion and works as the gift, but in the context of this contest, I kind of dropped the ball. Still, not bad for a last-minute entry, eh?

The other thing, that I'm shocked no one pointed out: why the hell is this set in spring? Look at the damn title! It should be in autumn! What was I thinking?

Again, thanks to Roger for running an awesome contest, and thanks to Demetrius for providing a very informative review of my story early on.
>> No. 116962
Each clause split by a semicolon should be grammatically capable in its own right.
>Decided Applejack, "I know on account it's the same color as my backside."
The above doesn't work alone. In English, a verb-subject-object clause is rarely (if ever) grammatical.

Here's an example from Dracula:
>“Aha!” he said; “still at your books? Good! But you must not work always. Come; I am informed that your supper is ready.”
>> No. 116980
So long story short, the problem isn't Applejack's "on account of", it's that I need a period after Applejack and start the next quote as its own sentence. This has been genuinely educational.

(Just think, if I had taken the time to bother learning how to italicise for fimfiction format instead of having her talk to herself like a crazy person, I'd probably be that much cloaer to a bronze medal...)
>> No. 117076
File 134564705690.gif - (93.87KB , 459x500 , bloom-me-winx-bloom-and-flora-16558408-459-500.gif )
I figure I'll put my progress on the webapp in here to give anybody who's interested an idea of how it's coming along.

✓ Implemented
✗ Not implemented yet
— Half-and half

✓ Register
✓ Verify
✓ Settings
✓ View and manipulate own submissions (of implemented types)
✓ Access controls (e.g., restricting admin tasks to the admin)
Super-secret mining of all your data

✓ Create
✓ Event flow
✓ List
— Submission time logic
✗ Results

✓ Submit
✓ View (parsed BBCode and plaintext)
✓ Edit
✓ Delete

✓ Submit
✓ Thumbnailing
✓ View
✓ Delete

✗ Submit
✗ View
✗ Delete
✗ Comparison logic (ELO Ranking)

✗ Request
✗ Vote

Vote Records
✗ Distribution for participants
✗ Distribution for volunteers
✗ Relative voting (for prelims)
✗ Scaled voting (for finals)
✗ Prelim → Finals flow
✗ Results

✗ Everything
✗ Flow-chart of event operation

Fic submissions require a login. Art submissions don't, but you won't be able to manipulate your submissions without one. Art rounds and prelim rounds are both optional on a per-event basis.

I suspect that dealing with the vote distribution will take longer than other components, since a nice interface to the voting will take a bit of javascript magic. That said, the main algorithm for participant distributions is already written from earlier; it just needs a little wrapping to be more modular.

The only thing that isn't trivial is the volunteer distribution. I'm still thinking about how I should handle that. Suggestions are welcome.
>> No. 117109
Criminy. I doodle and write stories about ponies to get *away* from complex project management, and you appear to be thinking that hard for fun...
>> No. 117215
File 134578205859.png - (653.94KB , 872x917 , steampunk_gummy_by_sammullin-d4kc2f2.png )
You should also use simulated annealing with that distribution method. As you know, the optimization is a plain old downhill evolution, which probably couldn't find the lowest possible state (but is likely to get caught in an elevated "basin" somewhere, if you think of the state space as a landscape with σ as the height at any given point). The only part in your code that would need to be changed is the conditional statement for whether or not to transfer. The gist of it: if the transfer increases work, then transfer still if:

P < exp( (E1 - E2) / T)

where P is a random number between 0 and 1, E1 is the combined work function of the two workers before the transfer, E2 is the same after the transfer, and T is the "temperature", which decays according to a "cooling schedule". I used a decaying exponential for that, but you could probably use a linear cooling schedule and get equally good results in less time.

Another feature I found useful was to record states of minimal σ as the system evolves so that final state given isn't so highly dependent on exactly when the thing stops.
>> No. 117288
"You got programming in my writing!"
"You got writing in my programming!"

So, a question of etiquette. May I post an edited version of my story to my own FimFiction account now? Cause lemme tell ya, for a gold medalist, it needs a lot of editing.
>> No. 117293
File 134582808639.jpg - (13.90KB , 320x240 , _8no.jpg )
You can do whatever you like with it.

>saging useful stuff
Stop being such a sage horse, dammit.

There is only one "worker" when a volunteer requests a story. What's necessary is that; a) the volunteer gets no duplicates; b) the volunteer doesn't get their own stories; and c) the stories are each given to an equal number of volunteers.

The issue with the annealing is that the system has to be calculated all at once. With volunteers you need to calculate the sets individually; otherwise you risk stories being over/under distributed. You can't know how many volunteers there will be.
>> No. 117333
File 134586436130.jpg - (14.07KB , 201x216 , 132183438549.jpg )
> Stop being such a sage horse, dammit.
As requested.
> The issue with the annealing is that the system has to be calculated all at once.
That's where you're mistaken. The essence of what I'm about to say is that you do not have to use sigma as a quantity to be minimized; therein lies the beauty of it. You treat it as a thermodynamic system and use energy.

Energy is straightforward to calculate, and differences in energy even moreso. That's because, during each transfer, only two partitions of the system are being altered, and the energy of all the other other system partitions remains unaffected. Thus, the sum of the differences in energy between states for those two partitions is the same as the difference in energy for the states before and after the transfer system-wide. Here it is, in function "doTransfer":
That got a sigma of 11 at one point and ~35 numerous times, when the best that the simple transfer-if-less could do is around a hundred. The relation of energy to standard deviation between stories is, if I'm not mistaken, even (by which I mean lesser energy will often mean lesser sigma). Thus, minimize energy.

> With volunteers you need to calculate the sets individually; otherwise you risk stories being over/under distributed. You can't know how many volunteers there will be.
It's a shame, really, that the best thing we've come up with requires everyone to have the same number of stories. With N entrants and N' stories read per entrant, you can start out distributing the stories in a simple round-robin manner. With M volunteers, to give everyone the same number of stories, you'd have to chose N' specifically so that N+M divides N*N'.
>> No. 117348
Oh, cool. Suddenly CS and algorithms.

I was actually too nervous to check back, and I got bit by the "let's write graphics demos in Ruby" bug at the same time... so.

Wow. Thanks folks. I was super excited when I submitted because I thought (and still think) "Joie" is the best early draft I've ever written.

And then I saw the competition. Loads and loads of good stories this time*, so I was tickled even to make the qualifier. Then I guess people liked it about as much as "Deck," which really surprised me since that was my personal favorite of the lot - any story which compels me to slow down and read it aloud is special indeed.

(Even the "what the heck?!" stories were executed well. I had the sense that "Bon**6" and "Until You Try It" were more cases of authors making big bets and just not getting lucky than anything else.)

Particular thanks to Pav, upon reading whose review I knew exactly what revisions I need to make.

That is, once I get my inner child interested in fiction again. But now there's math and code to play with!


I read the Wiki page on Metropolis-Hasting. Like most Wiki pages about things I don't understand yet, it was only halfway clear.

M-H is a way to choose items (ways to distribute fics to judges) from a set (all possible distributions) something to do with probability distributions. It's a non-deterministic algorithm where each sample is related to the previous sample.

Not great. "Simulated Annealing" was better, especially with a quick glance through the code.

As I understand it:
- The basic move is swapping two stories between two judges ("workers")
- You keep this move if it improves your criterion -or-
- Randomly keep a move to a worse state. A parameter called T controls how often you do this. High T = more jittery. Low T = more greedy.

Other thoughts:
- Document your variables, especially your globals. Gah!
- Why global arrays instead of objects?

> workers[w[0]][j[0]],workers[w[1]][j[1]] = (workers[w[1]][j[1]],workers[w[0]][j[0]])

Nasty nested indexing, Batman! I'd implement that whole function like this:

def swap_jobs(workers, jobs)
# Swap a pair of jobs between a pair of workers.
2.times do |i|
workers[i].deljob jobs[i]
workers[1-i].addjob jobs[i]
workers.each { |w| w.update_e }
return nil

class Worker
attr_accessor :e
def update_e
twc = @jobs.sum { |j| j.wordcount }
@e = twc * (twc + 1) / 2

def deljob (job) { @jobs.delete job return nil}
def addjob (job) { @jobs.push job return nil}

== Or, actually, I'd do it with immutable Worker objects, 'cuz it'll make backtracking and multithreading easier.

def swap_jobs(workers, jobs)
# Swaps a pair of jobs between a pair of workers. Returns a new pair of workers.
return workers.collect.zip(2.times) do |w, i|
w.substitute(jobs[i], jobs[1-i])

class Worker
attr_accessor :e

def initialize(jobs)
jobs = jobs.clone.freeze unless jobs.frozen?
@jobs = jobs
twc = jobs.sum { |j| j.wordcount }
@e = twc * ( twc + 1 ) / 2

def substitute(sub_new, for_old)
neo = @jobs.dup
neo.delete for_old
neo.push sub_new
return self.class.new neo

Ruby! Come to the dark side. We have continuations. And mutable classes. And cookies.

Such a shame I have to work tomorrow. I was struck by the sudden desire to write an OpenCL-accelerated implementation. This is funny because I haven't ever actually written anything in OpenCL. But the sheer hilarity of throwing 160 thread processors @ 850 MHz at this problem is tempting, tempting.
>> No. 117349
> - Document your variables, especially your globals. Gah!
I did this originally (well, to some extent) in the first "version" of that script.
> - Why global arrays instead of objects?
Oh the irony. I originally used objects and had some comments/docstrings here and there, much like you suggested, so you're preaching to the choir. The blob of Python I linked to was tossed together in less than an hour and yielded results a hundred times better in one tenth the time, whereas the original thing I made was more elegant (hell, it would even draw a graph of the system at regular intervals, and that wasn't its main performance bottleneck).
Nevertheless, I really just wanted speed but was too lazy to write some C and parallelize the hell out of it; I'm not usually one to write code that obfuscates itself like that (though I'm a sucker for complicated one-liners and orderly languages like Python that permit me to indulge in writing them). So yeah, I understand, but the sloppiness you point out is exceptional and not really the norm for me. I piss off my boss all the time by going slowly and trying to write neat code.
>> No. 117360
If you guys are going to do implementations, it might be worth doing them in Perl.

That is if you'd like me to use it. Otherwise I'll have to rewrite it to work with the application anyway. (Not a big deal since I would have to anyway.)

My non-OOP solution used for the previous event is https://gist.github.com/3462311

It works fine for judge (participant) distribution, so I don't think that is worth worrying about. The volunteer distribution is what needs to be figured out (last event I just used a shuffle for that, more-or-less).
>> No. 117383
Ooh. Much nicer.

I suspect that the change in algorithm from move to swap is responsible for more speed-up than the change in implementation. In Python (and Ruby) methods and functions are entirely the same thing. Yes, there's an added lookup for function dispatch, but I'm sure the whole thing fits in the L2 cache...

Anyway, I can't believe that dropping OO is good for a 10x improvement in speed.

Are you using PyPy? I understand it's about 5x faster than CPython.

If you define a flat text format and system() the optimizer, it doesn't matter what language it's written in.
>> No. 117416
>it doesn't matter what language it's written in
Apart from adding more dependencies, extra layers of IO, and a loss in portability...

Maybe if the task was better suited in either of those languages, but for something entirely agnostic to implementation specifics (an algorithm), using a different language is just silly.
>> No. 117496
Yeah, I know that Ruby isn't exactly standard yet. Common for web development, but not standard in the same way that Perl and Python are.

Still, I can't think of any OSes that ship with Perl but not Python.


Fine. Perl it is. I'll give it a shot.

But I have to admit that the whole sigil thing is proving difficult.
>> No. 117708
Sage for unimportant status update.

So, I have to admit defeat with Perl. New language concepts plus algorithm hacking do not mix well in my brain. I'll try again once I'm happy with the algorithm.

On the other hoof, I think I have a cool new algorithm to show off. Multithreaded stochastic tunneling. I'll tell you how it works once it stops blowing up.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that there is a difference between a clever pony and a smart pony. You see, just because I'm clever enough to think of using a
sui generis object to emulate Ruby 1.9 Random#rand with 1.8's Kernel::rand like so:

rng = Object.new
def rng.rand(max=0)

does not make me smart enough to avoid writing a trivial infinite tail-recursion. It would be far more smart if I simply admit my mistake - accidentally letting 1.9isms loose in my 1.8 code - and fix it.

I also learned, from the backtrace, that JRuby will happily compile this method, allowing me to bust the stack with extreme alacrity.

Your Faithful Student,

~Eustatian Wings
>> No. 118772
I guess this got necro-bumped and the post deleted?
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