Updates and #OwlFight2023

posted: May 23, 2023

Regular sign-ups are now closed, which means that the event is now truly underway. There's many things coming soon, and many things still left to work on. First, let's talk about our moderator team for #OwlFight2023 and changes to the moderator structure. Thank you to Amber, Alexin, Kiwi, and Elliott for taking up the role of Lead moderators. Thank you to Cinna, Chaos, Creepy, Saso, Chase and Wren for taking up the role of Event moderators. We greatly appreciate their contributions in making sure this event runs smoothly.

As an overview, Lead moderators are essentially administrators-one level down from the hosts themselves in terms of hierarchy. They can act as stand-ins for the hosts whenever necessary and take up the arduous task of screening participants and dealing with internal affairs (not limited to ban actions, reviewing personal requests and managing event workflow). Event moderators are those who enforce the rules, answer questions and help mediate conversations. They also help the hosts with one of the most important tasks in the event: scoring participant attacks. Lastly, we created a new role: server moderators. Virtually the same as event moderators, they help moderate the now permanent Discord server outside of active events. At this time, we have no server moderators but will be announcing open positions in the Discord server.

Since we are fully leaning into the identity of an Art Fight spin-off (we are not official partners or collaborations of Art Fight but rather an independent group), we have reworked our scoring guide to be nearly identical to Art Fight's scoring categories. Our hope is to allow our participants to be able to transition to Art Fight easily and vice versa. The main differences are the points received for each element in the piece and a guide for written attacks. We also adjusted the layout for the scoring guide for readability. Special thanks for Elliott for creating the table draft the current layout is built upon! We hope these changes aren't jarring to our return participants and easily understandable for new participants.

Next, we have added a few new columns to the Team sheets: Weekly Event Prompts and Accommodations. Weekly Event Prompts are prompts that can be used by anyone and cycles out every week. While there are no score incentives in using one of the event prompts (we encourage friendly competition between teams), participants are still given a fair score for the effort they put into creating their attacks. They are meant to be more subjective with its meaning and interpretation that is entirely dependent on the participant. We are hoping this allows a certain freedom that participants would enjoy. In addition, we have recently been asking participants for blacklist or accommodation requests along with their sign-ups. This has led to adding an accommodations column in the team sheets, where participants can ask for conditions or restrictions towards attacks they receive. We can't "ban" a character from a show in everyone's attacks but we can help mitigate the discomfort around a particular character by marking it as a special request by the participant.

Lastly, and probably the most important change we have made, is the sign-up process itself. Because we have a permanent Community Discord, we have to crack down on the people who join our server. This means we require all members of the server to introduce themselves properly in the introductions channel. The members role is vital in being able to interact fully with the server as well as a prerequisite in participating in any A&M Art Fight moving forward. In addition to requiring the role, participants are now required to confirm their spot in the event-we've had several participants who never entered the Art Fight because they didn't join the server and finish their sign-up process. We don't blame anyone for missing a step or misreading the text and we understand that people just forget things. However, we felt it is unfair for active participants-their effort can't be fully appreciated because their opponent isn't even there to see it! This is why we're trying to be more proactive in contacting participants to ensure that they actually want to be in the event and making sure they complete the steps necessary to join the event. We understand the change adds extra steps to an already long process but it is necessary to ensure a fair environment.

That was a lot of things to cover. We've grown since the first event. The work we've put in to improving shows through our consistent numbers for attacks and participants and retention rates. We enjoy hearing feedback and implementing new ways our participants can enjoy the event. We still have a long way to go: a fully functional website with file uploading and automated scoring, a forum/chat system, tag filtering, paid staff and many more lofty goals. We hope you'll stay with us through it all and we're very excited for what the future holds.

Good luck with #OwlFight2023! May you enjoy the process of creating and sharing!