Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

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Moonbeam
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Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Moonbeam » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:23 am

Now that we're halfway through, I thought I'd propose an idea and get feedback about it and the general running of the poll.

Early on, there was some discussion that fewer obscure albums and songs were qualifying, perhaps due to the new point system. When I explored the effect of the point system for 1981, I didn't find much evidence of the point system changing which songs and albums qualify, but it got me thinking more broadly about these polls and their purpose. It seems there may be a few competing viewpoints about the purpose of these decade polls (at least this 80s poll):

1. The purpose of the decade polls is to canonize our favorite songs and albums from the decade, with discovery of new music a secondary purpose.
2. The purpose of the decade polls is to discover new music by perusing the lists of others. The canonization aspect happens, but it is less interesting.

I can understand and support both viewpoints. I think historically, the first viewpoint is more prominent for the decade polls - they serve as mini versions of all-time polls, and discovery is open to those who want to dig deeper. As an aside, we have recommendation threads for each year, but these generally don't get a ton of traction.

As it is, things are going well from my perspective. Participation has been great, with generally over 40 voters in the album poll and 50 voters in the song poll. In addition, the new point system has meant that there are long lists posted, perhaps longer than there would be under the old system. This in itself opens these polls up for more discovery.

I've thought of a couple ways to make these polls (or the result of them at least) more fun for those seeking discovery, or at least to highlight some of the less ubiquitous favorites.

One possible game I've thought to launch after the decade polls is a song-based tournament called 80s Mania, in which the N highest ranked songs in the wildcard system that didn't qualify for the decade poll would compete. I have thought of different values of N, my current favorite being 800. This would mean the songs that are typically placing around 16-95 for each year would qualify for 80s Mania. However, I worry about poll/game fatigue, particularly with games like Unacclaimed, Biggest Fan, Moderately Acclaimed, Overlooked, and the AMF chart (among others) competing for participation. As a huge fan of the 80s, I absolutely would love to host a tournament like 80s Mania, but I wouldn't want to launch another game without discussing it first.

Another option I've recently thought of is to extend the qualification for the final 80s poll. The original incarnation of this poll saw 10 albums and songs qualify each year, then it expanded to the current 15. The longer lists I mentioned and the great participation has me wondering whether it would be of interest to extend the qualifications for this poll, to perhaps 20 albums per year and 40 songs per year.

Why these numbers? These are the mean and median number of albums per ballot so far:

1980: 21.8/16
1981: 28.7/18
1982: 20.6/15
1983: 20.0/15
1984: 20.0/15

The mean and median number of songs per ballot so far:

1980: 76.3/50
1981: 74.9/40
1982: 81.6/47
1983: 74.5/40
1984: 75.6/44.5

It seems like the depth of participation could support a bigger final poll. This would also address concerns about less obvious picks failing to qualify by expanding the pool, and there was a suggestion of an expanded qualification pool at the end of the 1984 thread. My one concern is that I don't want to establish a new precedent for an expanded qualification pool that other hosts of future decade polls must follow. I'm pretty good with spreadsheets which helps with the amount of time to manage these polls, but it does take a fair amount of time to compile everything.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts. Happy to follow what the majority feel is the best approach, including a third one, which is to leave things as is.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Elder » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:01 pm

I like the idea of an extended list
Now let's wait for the other members to comment on the number of songs / albums that should be sorted for the final vote and from which position the presentation should begin.

I find interesting 400/300 songs to vote for and the presentation start with a top 200 to keep the suspense.
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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Jirin » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:00 pm

I don’t think these decade tournaments are discovery tournaments for those who have already broadly explored, not like certain other forum games are.

But, it’s nice to have a model which allows oddball forum favorites to have a chance to bubble to the top without being at a huge disadvantage against albums more people have already heard. So that album all the regulars have heard and loved doesn’t automatically lose against the more we’ll known album everybody includes on the lower reaches of their list.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by bonnielaurel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:17 pm

The results of 1984 are practically a carbon copy of the official critics' list. That's a pity, because I don't see the point of organizing a huge year-long poll if the results are roughly known in advance. Maybe a tournament like 80s madness would be an idea, although there are so many tournaments that the results become less important. Maybe there could be a user based tournament where every week someone gives five albums and ten songs that didn't make the top 15, and people put them in an order.

Expanding the final list drastically sounds like too much. Ranking 150 albums and 150 songs is already a lot of work. I don't really want to rank 400 songs; it would become pointless. On the other hand several of my favourites finished between 16 and 20, so perhaps expanding the song list from 150 to 200 would be fine. I just don't think that huge lists would make it much more exciting or less predictable.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by DaveC » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:39 pm

For the 1990 decade poll, 14 of 29 submitters of lists didn't rank all 150 albums. Also noteworthy that there were fewer voters than for the year polls. Expanding the decade songs poll makes more sense than expanding the album poll.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by jamieW » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:09 pm

I think the top 150 from each is pretty good the way it is. Expanding the songs to 200 might be a good idea, but I think expanding the albums any further would likely just mean more people not ranking everything (which is pretty common as is). As bonnielaurel said, I doubt expanding the list will change the overall results much.

A while back I considered suggesting keeping the current format, but with everybody's #1 song/album also making the final cut. This way, the final would be loaded with unknown choices without compromising the consensus favorites. Obviously, the major disadvantage to that might be "strategic voting," with 40 or so people listing their #1 song/album of each year one that would otherwise have no chance of making the final. The other disadvantage would be, if many aren't interested in exploring other people's lists now, I'm not sure the final would change anything. They probably just wouldn't vote for those they hadn't heard. (Another disadvantage to me personally is that I dread finding out that everyone thinks a song that means so much to me sucks, which is probably why I never suggested the idea. The vast majority of years, my #1 song and album have absolutely no chance. I'm always stunned that so many people seem to like exactly what the critics like.) :(

I do like your idea of the 80s Mania game, Moonbeam. If you decide to do it, you can count me in!

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Jirin » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:43 pm

In other words, maybe the decade polls shouldn’t be about discovery, but all the albums that did well in the discovery tournaments should have a fair chance. So the final list represents the unique tastes of the forum. And that would mean designing scoring system to reduce the benefit of volume.

Maybe weight each album’s highest 5 scores higher? Like the top 5 scores an album gets count double and the rest count normal.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Dan » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:14 pm

I'm also inclined to think that expanding the number of songs and albums would result in more work for participants but with anticlimactic results... there won't be much difference in the top 100, whether there's 150 or 400 songs in the final. But that's just the nature of year-end or decade or all-time polls.

Most of us use critics' lists as a guide, and even if our individual lists subsequently end up including a few songs that the critics might have missed, it hardly ever happens that us forumers list the same songs that were missed by the critics. So our overall list always end up being similar to the critics'. To me, that's OK. I've learned not to expect many surprises from these kinds of polls and to look out for subtle differences between critics' lists and our own.

If it is a discovery game we're after, or more of a surprise element, then Moonbeam's 80s Mania game idea would be much more interesting.
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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Moonbeam » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:04 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! Let me just clarify that an expanded qualification pool in no means imposes participants to rank all of the qualified albums/songs - I've got a method for aggregating lists inspired by Jirin that will allow for any list size to be useful in the final poll.

Maybe we should have a vote as there doesn't appear to be a consensus.

Option 1: Normal qualification pool only (keep things as is)

Option 2: Normal qualification pool + 80s Mania

Option 3: Expanded qualification pool only

Option 4: Expanded qualification pool + 80s Mania

If people go for an expanded qualification pool, we can then determine how much to expand.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by jamieW » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:14 am

I think I'm going to vote for Option 4. (Only because, upon further consideration, I'd be in favor of expanding the songs poll to 200 while keeping the albums at 150. And I'm all-in with the 80s Mania.) :music-rockon:

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Listyguy » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:33 pm

Like others have said, ther only thing expanding the finals lists will do is give people more albums/songs to rank (and those extra rankings will likely be for naught, as most will end up at ther bottom of the list anyway).

So my vote is for option 2.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by DaveC » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:34 pm

Vote for option 2

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Henry » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:22 pm

option 4

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Elder » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:09 pm

4
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bonnielaurel
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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by bonnielaurel » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:14 pm

150 albums, perhaps 200 songs and 80s mania.
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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Father2TheMan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Option 4

Songs expanded only.

Honestly I am MUCH more song oriented than album oriented: In any given year, it is hard for me to find 50-100 "great" albums but I can easily name 50 even in years I'm less conversant with.
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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by bonnielaurel » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:13 am

It's normal to have more favorite songs than albums. A great album contains at least two great songs and there are extra songs not from a studio album.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Rob » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:51 am

Option 2, I guess.

For me polls and games are all about discovery and the discovery process is more in the month leading up to making my year list than in the final results, although I haven't been as thorough this year poll as for other decades.

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Jap123 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:31 pm

Option 4 but only expand songs ballot

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Re: Halfway through the 80s poll: thoughts and ideas

Post by Jirin » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:44 pm

Option 2, no rule changes halfway through, but consider changing scoring rules to offset the advantage of wider exposure for future polls.

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