2018 LSB Contest: Week 1 Wrap Up

The first week of the LSB contest has flown by in the blink of an eye and unfortunately the turnout so far has been tepid at best.  I do realize that it’s too early in the process to be alarmed and that most established builders prefer to wait until the very end to unveil their masterpieces.  That said, 7 entries in as many days seems to be a much slower pace than the last year, when there were 17 entries after the first week.  I don’t really have a theory as to why there seems to be a drop-off this year, maybe it’s fatigue with the topic, a lack of promotion on big blogs, a lack of the familiar front-man Cole Blaq, declining participation on Flickr in general, the Manifesto’s crappy prizes or even intimidation.  Some of you might be thinking “Intimidation?  Who would be intimidated by something as innocuous as a speeder bike contest?”  but there is some evidence out there that it might be a factor.  For example, Mike M. is an established builder of considerable skill who has been featured on this blog and many others.  In the comment section for his entry he had this to say:

“I shy away from lego related contest, not only is the competition fierce,but I know its filled with badass builders, and I’m way outa my league I’m sure, contest not over yet!!!”

While Mike did indeed offer up a viable contest entry, I doubt he’s alone in his line of thinking.  A few builders witnessed the quality level and competition last year and they appear hesitant to enter, fearing that their skill set is not up to the task, or that they will be crushed by veteran builders.  Instead of rising to the challenge, they shrink or worse still, refuse to engage.  Another prospective combatant, Dan The Imposter who has yet to enter the arena had this to offer in the announcement thread:

“I hope I can still be good enough to stand a chance!” 

Still another perfectly able builder Deltassius had this to say:

“Not going to lie, after last year’s builds I am a little intimidated. I liked this contest more when I didn’t know any better!” 

While Ted and I tried to offer encouragement from the sidelines, it would have been nice to see more voices (including the other two admins) jump in the conversation to urge these nervous Nancys to sack-up and get in the game.  Plenty of great builders got their asses handed to them last year by the likes of Carter Baldwin and there is nothing wrong with that, in theory it should only improve performance in the future.  I’m not sure what the solution is to the intimidation factor, but it’s a shame to lose potential participants over something so silly.

On to the bikes….I have to admit that I’ve been underwhelmed by the early crop of entries, although competent, none of them are particularly memorable.  We need a hero, we need the “Ice Breaker” as defined by Ted in one of his Talks:

Guest #1: The Ice Breaker – The “Ice Breaker” is the personal hero of every contest host.  They enter the contest first, and now you can breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Their entries offer you an early gauge of how the contest will go, and if you need to course correct if they are way off the mark.  Allowing people to swap entries until the deadline also relieves much of the risk of being the “Ice Breaker”.  It lets them rework their entry if a better idea happens to comes along…like one from…

I was hoping F@bz might be the Ice Breaker, when I saw him dive in early.  He possesses both the requisite mad building skillz, and a huge Flickr following that might bring fresh competitors, but his offering was kind of mundane.  While the saddle blanket is without a doubt a cool and clever detail and the bike as a whole is competently constructed, it doesn’t exactly bowl me over.  I won’t even get into the Chinese knockoff figure.

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Although there are a couple of  entries that have an interesting idea or detail here and there, the only other bike worth mentioning at the one week mark is this shark carcass bike by  Marcel V.  Much like F@bz’ speeder, it relies heavily on a single gimmick to carry the build and the rest of it is pretty standard boilerplate.  It reminds me of a La-Z-Boy recliner with a dead shark strapped to the bottom.

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It’s also worth giving some love to the contest’s first digital entry, by Luke, not only is it a nice looking ride, but the builder showed that he’s able to absorb apply constructive criticism.  He took good advantage of the contest’s rather liberal policy of allowing builders to improve and replace their entries right up until the end of the competition.  Ted Andes mentioned somewhere in the proceedings that the unspoken mission of the event is to promote feedback between builders, and that’s great, but I think it should be very much spoken, and spoken loudly…it’s really what separates this contest from so many of it’s brethren.

Unfortunately my favorite speeder in the LSB group pool isn’t even entered into the contest, it’s apparently from a Star Wars movie that I refused to see and it looks pretty great.  The builder is Inthert, and I sincerely hope he takes a crack at an official entry because he’s obviously got the mojo for it, providing of course he can break away from the pre-packaged theme.  The bike did draw my attention to a sort of confusing aspect of the contest, that there are quite a few bikes in the pool that have nothing to do with the contest, which seems both odd and unfortunate to me.   It made me wish that the contest existed in it’s own separate group, because I’m never sure whether or not I should comment on half the bikes in the pool.  I feel more jackassy than usual offering my constructive criticism on stuff that isn’t meant for the contest.  I’m also confused as to why you would post a speeder bike and not enter it?  I don’t know if it’s a reading comprehension issue or lack of clarity in the rules but I see a few people who don’t seem to be putting the bikes in the proper threads to ensure their eligibility for judgement and possibly a prize.

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I’m confident things will pick up in the coming weeks, but at the quarter mile post I was hoping for a little more action.

35 thoughts on “2018 LSB Contest: Week 1 Wrap Up

  1. Our third-place winner for the Real World Starfighter +200 contest last year was from a guy who built a really cool realistic NASA-style starfighter and didn’t realize the contest was going on. To be fair, his actual entry was a variant so it bypassed the “you must build it for the contest” rule. Also we figured as long as it was built within the deadline and fit the theme it was fair game. So if you see any bikes not part of the contest, just point them in the direction of the entry thread.

    Regarding the intimidation issue, I wondered how much of that is to blame for the lack of action on Flickr. But then I looked at all the crap people post in the Lego pool and it gave me… hope? That can’t be right.

    Anyway, I actually really dig F@bz’s entry. Yeah, it might rely on a “gimmick,” but the rest of it carries its own weight. I especially like that tight placement of the zip line pulley, and the rear shot of the engines is money. The digital entry is pretty neat too; the second iteration has enough retro futurism/art deco-ness to offset the prequel Star Wars heeby jeebies. At least those ships were pretty to look at though, unlike the regurgitated-beyond-recognition McQuarrie wannabies in the Disney films.

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    1. “Bypassed the rule”….that’s the kind of stuff I hate about contests. It’s only a rule until we need it to not be a rule, or until someone complains. Why bother with rules at all? Just lay down general guidelines and declare it a free-for-all? We have indeed been pointing the non-affiliated bikes builders towards the contest but it’s difficult to tell if it’s working because in the majority of cases, nobody bothers to respond. I think it goes back to the age-old problem that nobody reads.

      I don’t think Flickr has had any serious decline, I’m always amazed at how many new people I add during these contests, when I consider myself pretty well versed on the population of builders. I offered the decline of Flickr as a possible reason for the slow start, but that was more to cover all the bases than because I actually believe it. Even if some folks have moved on to other platforms like the hated Facebook, I think they still have dual citizenship with Flickr and return often to check out the happenings.

      I dig Fabz entry too, but it didn’t knock me out like I would have predicted. Unlike you though, I”m not feeling the engines at all, I feel like I’ve seen it a thousand times and I expect more creativity from that particular builder. He enjoys the highest visibility or popularity of the initial crop of entrants, and selfishly, perhaps foolishly I was looking for something more inspiring to light the fuse of interest with the masses.

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      1. Well, by “bypassed the rule” I mean it was a non-issue since Nick’s actual entry was built for the contest. But even if he tried to submit the Sparrow instead of the Kestrel, I don’t think we would have denied it. The point of that rule is to prevent people from entering previously published builds to try and cash in on prizes without doing the same legwork of the other contestants. And it’s a pretty commonly used rule; the LSB contest uses it, too. So if you’re gonna complain about the RW+200 results, then you shouldn’t be directing those non-affiliated bikes to the contest either.

        As long as it was built within the time frame of the contest, I’d say it’s fair game. I think the main reason Nick submitted the Kestrel variant over the original Sparrow is because the Sparrow was a cargo ship and the contest was for a starfighter. He even nodded at that in the description of the Kestrel: “In response to the growing threat of shipping piracy and bankrolled by the Astro-Miner’s Guild, the Sentec Aerospace Bureau proposed a strike-fighter loosely based on a modified cargo chassis…”

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      2. I wasn’t complaining about the results, I don’t even remember seeing the results, I lost interest in the contest pretty early on. I was complaining about the general tendency of contest hosts to treat the rules as flexible. I’m just not a fan of that approach I think it does more harm than good and penalizes the people who bother to follow the rules.

        As for your advice about the non affiliated speeders, I’m more directing the builder towards the contest in general than the bikes themselves because it seems like quite a few of them are not aware of the contest.

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      3. It matters a lot how you make the rules; many times the rules aim to stop a very particular thing, but usually they’re generic in enunciation and stop other things in the process. Let’s take something like “no editing allowed”, it’s obvious the idea of the rule is not altering the model, yet that would technically also ban photo editing (background clean-up, fixing lighting, etc), which is basically part of photography. Unless there’s an idiot at the helm, that probably saw the rule in other contests and borrowed it without thinking, nobody will consider photo ed breaking the rules. However, I dare you try to explain the distinction to the average mocpages player during mocathlon. :))

        Rules are should never be followed blindly, everyone should take a moment and think why rule x is there, and if it can be worked around, great. Also challenged, if it’s idiotic. Most of the time, that work-around is just some negative side effect caused by the rule’s existence anyway, and not something contest owners wanted to enforce.

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      4. Given our opposing viewpoints on the topic of the rigidity of rules, I’m no longer sure that you would enjoy the DA experience. It’s probably too authoritarian for your liking. The rules don’t change after the starting gun fires.

        Before DA, Every time I’ve changed or bent a rule in one of my contests I’ve regretted it because usually the people who ask for the exception never take advantage of it, it’s more about getting the exception than using it.

        Everyone is going to run their games and contests a little differently, I was just offering my opinion about what I prefer. When I’m in a contest and I see a player lobby for a rule change it makes me very frustrated. It might be a generational thing.

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      5. I have to say that I agree and disagree with both sides here and it is determined by the contest itself and the cats running it. In contests like LSB and +200, and even Mocathalon and Mocolympics, the contestants have a responsibility to know who they are building for. Ted explained that perfectly in his article. You always have to consider your primary audience to be the judge, not just in aesthetics but also in temperament. Knowing a judge will allow a certain level of wiggle room only handicaps those that take the rules as immutable; however, knowing a judge is set on the rules will only earn a DQ if you elect to color outside the lines. Blatant disregard not withstanding.

        That being said, there is a level of strategy engaged by directing questions regarding rules. Forcing a judge to set a precedent while understanding or speculating an opponents intentions can be a delicious game within a game that I may or may not have taken part in on many occasions. 😉 In the end, it’s why it’s referred to as “a judgment call.” It’ll be contested and argued, some will revel while others protest, but the only rule set in stone is the final word from the judge. The level of vagueness or specificity in the rules only allows more or less interpretation thereof by both contestant AND judge. Neither good nor bad, just the game. Structure and chaos are both necessary, and they are unavoidably codependent. And ultimately it then becomes what is determined to be a rule and what is a law.

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      6. Says the guy who turned the 100 part challenge into the 101 or 100 and whatever part challenge.

        I’m comfortable to be in the minority on this issue.

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      7. Remind me never to play chess with you guys: oh, you’re about to kill my queen? Well I always thought the way knights move is bullshit so let’s change that.

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      8. “the general tendency of contest hosts to treat the rules as flexible…it does more harm than good and penalizes the people who bother to follow the rules.”

        I think this is the gist of Keith’s point. And not surprisingly, I agree.

        General tendency of contest hosts… often, a host will bend a rule to accommodate a potential participant, to maximize participation. Most would agree that including is better then excluding. It’s a general concept. Shared by many. It might even be a guiding principal (like justice, or cleanliness…). Not everybody embraces the principal of inclusion, but it is intuitively appealing to most. I’m a fan. If it were a magazine, or a youtube channel, I guess I would subscribe… but it’s not universal. It’s just a popular notion (and exceptions are already popping in many of our minds as we read this…).

        OK, so flexibility increases inclusion… Martha Stewart tells us that “that’s a good thing”… So whats the problem Goldman? Why do you hate people?

        Well, Goldman hates people because he talks to me too much… but more to the point, the problem is exactly what Keith points out when he says flexibility often: “penalizes the people who bother to follow the rules”

        It says you have to enter the thread to be in the contest… so if you don’t… then your not. And every body who DID enter the thread is… IN the contest. They have already beaten everybody who DID NOT enter the thread. The read, and thought, and decided, and then acted… all in accordance with the hosts guidance (the rules). And for there efforts? Not a ribbon. Not a bon bon. Not a pat on the head. Just a simple achievement of inclusion. The entrants have SELF SELECTED into the contest. And those who did not self select? They remain in the outer darkness… not excluded… but simply remaining where there unwillingness to read, think, and act leave them. They have self selected themselves OUT of the contest. And… to the everlasting relief of many entrants… there bitchen MOCs will NOT be in the competition. Its a small thing. A simple thing. But at the same time… it’s crucial.

        Every time a contest host decides to “by-pass” a rule… he or she is allowing somebody a privilege or option… that is NOT available to EACH AND EVERY player. In short, it’s not fair. And fairness? Again… it’s one of those “Principal Level Concepts” Generally sought… often overlooked… and mostly “a good thing”… Thank you again Martha!

        The guys and gals who “Abide” by the rules have navigated certain inconveniences in order to do so. Maybe the rules were needlessly restrictive… poorly developed… just plane dumb… all possible (as well as pretty common!). But they did it. They jumped through the hoops, dotted the “I”s and crossed the”T”s. There tax form is correct, and they want their refunds on time.

        But often, a person who does not do all those things suddenly enjoys all the same benefits… and that constitutes an injustice to all who did. They don’t often complain.
        1. These minor injustices are the norm.
        2. They are motivated NOT to chastise the judge/host… it might cost them!
        3. They don’t want to be that one guy who yells: “unfair” because we all hate that person, and we all know that “speaking the truth” often takes a back seat to “looking tough”.
        4. Other contestants will use this unflattering utterance as an opportunity to highlight their own “toughness” by shouting the complainer down.
        5. When you talk to Greedo… you always have to remain vigilant, because he really just wants to shoot you so he can have cool points with Jaba… and everybody knows it.

        So CONSISTANT enforcement of the rules is paramount. An iron clad policy of uniform enforcement pre-empts MOST conflicts and inoculates your contest against public accusations of unfairness and injustice. We are all equal before the lash! Now row all you dam slaves! Row!

        It is the lack of consistency the chafes. Why would THIS guy be allowed options but THAT guy not? We must be equal before the lash! In other discussions this concept might be found under the header: Rule of Law. The law of the land. Or maybe: A nation of laws, not of men. Or maybe: And justice for all… the reoccurring theme is the consistency of application of law, the sanctity of the law, above and beyond each individual situation, and thusly above and beyond our own personal biases.

        Wait though! Wait! Wait just a cotton pick’n minute he-yah! This anit no court o’ law! This is just rules for silly contests! Lets all just simmah down now!

        True… the fate of nations and peoples hang not on this tiny scale! But…

        Remember the notion of “principals”. Generally agreed upon notions? Principals are not (well… should not) be concerned with scale! Dishonesty is dishonesty. Injustice is injustice. Big hurt, little hurt. It all hurts eventually! And in so far as we CAN… be mo-bettah… then we SHOULD be mo-bettah.

        But… there is another side to the coin. Every game, every court, forum… has a mechanism for “making the call”. The referee and the judge are both bound by similar covenants. Know the rules… and apply them at as they best fit… to the situations brought before you. It’s a system. A crude machine that has to operate in the real and chaotic and inconsistent human world.

        Several of you have invoked the notion of “blindly following the rules”… and in this, you are the salvation of humanity. Yeah… rules are often flawed. Invented before the fact, as we peer feebly into the swirling mist of the future. Trying in vain to imagine every contingency, and trying to basically “decide how to decide” before the fact. It’s an important thing… trying to be prepared to protect fairness and justice… but in the end… life reveals our efforts as feeble.

        So we have a judge, or a ref. Maybe its the right person, maybe it aint. But we choose one (or, as with online Lego endeavors, they self select). In the end, in a good system, he or she will assess the observable facts, site the relevant rules, and render a decision. The need to empower that individual with the authority to take half a step to the left or half a step to the right… is what makes the crude mechanisms of our rules, laws, and doctrines work!

        The judge MUST have the authority to round fractions up or down as they see fit!

        I committed to this notion in the rules for DA, when I said on the home page, that I would entertain requests for rules exceptions on a case by case basis… but that I also ultimately reserved the right to render final decisions. A systemic concession to the fact that NO RULES ARE PERFECT.

        Keith’s deal here is that we are generally to willing to bend the rules… often reaching for the low hanging fruit of inclusion at the expense of real justice.

        For my part, I agree. Talking tendencies here. Not specifics. Specifics are a case by case deal.

        Jesus Christ! Again, this feels more like an FFE than a dam comment in a thread!

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      9. ” oh, you’re about to kill my queen? Well I always thought the way knights move is bullshit so let’s change that. ”

        We’re talking about different things here. Game rules and general contest rules are not the same thing. It’s one thing to talk about photo editing or having a working link in description and another to want two pairs to win over a straight.

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      10. I think it’s exactly the same thing, but you and I are clearly not going to find common ground on the subject and I’m okay with that. As I said to our angry friend, I’m done with the topic and the blog for a while. It’s time for a break.

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      11. You bring up my decision to be flexible with the 100 piece count in the 100 piece contest by a couple pieces and I have to admit and agree that it was a horrible decision on my part. It definitely showed a judge to be too flexible with the rules to be more accommodating and inclusive. Definitely a bad choice i regret making. It did not help the contest by allowing more in nor did it sidestep any exclusion of contestants because they were incapable of building within the guidelines. In fact it muddied the waters so much that it just became a fucking mess. The worst part of all is that it alienated those that adhered strictly to the rules from the start. And that’s why I agree with rules and the strict enforcement thereof. I honestly do.

        However…

        No rule can be absolute in a contest that calls for the creative pushing of boundaries. Chess moves and card hands are more mathematical and mechanical calculations than creativity. Once you add the element of individuality, then you must accommodate the individual, which includes every possible interpretation of any rule. Impossible. That said, specifics should be adhered to. 100 pieces MEANS 100 pieces. No more. But that’s why Lego contests in general allow for questions and discussions on a case by case basis. It isn’t static like chess, it’s pliable to allow for creativity to NOT be handicapped in any way. Bobby Fisher was supremely creative in his moves; however, he never remolded the knight to be more impressive and lethal. Those rules are immutable and he worked within those laws. Lego contests haven’t had the history or pedigree of chess to be compared to, but I understand any and all frustrations as a result of the lack of laws and strict enforcement thereof.

        You’re not in the minority, you are the majority in this case. Those that push the limits and risk a DQ are the minority. We ALL agree to play by the rules by entering, it’s just when the rules have a bit of wiggle to them that it then gets convoluted and dangerous. Mainly for the judge(s) and the integrity of the contest.

        In the end, is it a league game?

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      12. Jesus fucking Christ this thread went off the rails. Did I mention yet that no rules were bent or broken in that contest? Or is this just gonna go in one ear and out the other again for you, Keith? All that happened was “Hey, this is cool, fits the theme, and (most importantly) was built under the same time constraints as everything else in the contest. I’d like to see you submit this or something similar. Here’s a link to the contest rules/thread.” How in the fuck is that controversial? The only thing I regret now is my poor choice of the word “bypass” in that first comment.

        And Rutherford, you need to hire a full-time editor/handler. It was fun at first but I find my patience growing thinner and thinner with every rabbit hole analogy and drawn-out statement of the obvious. Just get to the fucking point man. Your comments are starting to read like self parody at this point.

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      13. @Mike

        That’s only one way to look at things. I don’t see what relevance the road taken plays; it’s all about the result. And if someone found a shortcut to achieve the same result, more power to them. It’s all part of the game and it’s never a fair one. Especially here. We each have our skill and creativity. We each have different amount of parts. We each have our own insight and some are able to find a way to avoid the bureaucracy. And that’s a good thing in my book.

        @Matt

        Yeah, that was a weak move, unfortunately it’s also one of the most common moves when it comes to contests. Be it altering the game rule or extending the deadline, they are typical examples of hosts bending the rules for the sake of inclusion.

        If there’s one thing as sacred as chess moves in a building contest, it’s probably this part you decided to alter – the build subject. It’s the one thing that should stay constant throughout. But since we’re talking about a subject dealing with creativity, there can be wiggle room in here as well. For example if you’re supposed to build a plane and you can justify building a hippo, I’m game. However I don’t know if this should be considered rule bending at all.

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      14. “I think it’s exactly the same thing, but you and I are clearly not going to find common ground on the subject and I’m okay with that. As I said to our angry friend, I’m done with the topic and the blog for a while. It’s time for a break.”

        Won’t stop me from commenting further. 😀 Here’s why it’s not the same thing; one is a core mechanic of the game and the other is a whim of the host. To further give an example, the core mechanic would be the chess piece change you mentioned, the other would be the host to ask players to wear a pink shirt while playing chess. The pink shirt part is just a whim and has no effect on the game. And I’ll be damned if I submit; I’ll wear the black shirt or you can shave your game somewhere. I’m here to play chess, not to make a fashion statement.

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  2. Heh, didn’t even notice the shark in Marcel’s entry until you mentioned it, it’s perfectly camouflaged. The white digital one is probably my favorite so far, but it doesn’t really scream speederbike to me.

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    1. I agree the digital entry doesn’t really give off a strong bike vibe but it’s still better than most of the early offerings. I was more interested in the way he took critique and made the bike better.

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  3. – The “non-contest” bikes in the pool were built before the start of the contest. There may still be a few stragglers left, but pretty soon it will be mostly entries. Down the line, there will be still be a few people unaware, who will post just because they saw everyone else building speederbikes.
    – I’m not concerned about the turnout at this stage. Last year things didn’t heat up until week 2, and more than 50% of our entries came in during the last couple days. The comment “I liked this contest more when I didn’t know any better” points to the fact that everyone knows better now. They are likely taking their time to strategize and develop a cool concept, more than intimidated. They are gleaming their cubes… The “Districts” will also take more time to build.
    – I sent a direct announcement message to almost every participant of last year’s contest (that wasn’t already aware… or hadn’t expressed that they’d rather not ever hear from me again). Most who replied were pumped and said they were definitely going to enter. I also posted the announcement into a digital builder flickr group.
    – What I am concerned about is eclipseGRAFX not getting back to me on status for printing the “District 18” tiles for the participants. Know they are traveling to some early-year cons right now, but I’d at least like an ETA that I can communicate to participants. This is the carrot I am offering to EVERYONE who puts together an entry for the “District 18” category. It’s a badge of honor that they were an integral part of what made the 2018 contest awesome, and a reward for the effort they put in.

    … And I’m not sure if you caught this, but the “Rogue Bricks Builder’s Lounge” store in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area is offering building/photography support to their local customers participating in the speederbike contest (and a bag of bulk bricks to those who submitted valid entries). Ryan McBride is the owner, and he had entered last year’s contest (pic below). Now THAT is a cool story. Anyone reading from that area should get in on that action.

    AD 3816 Brough Superior SS800 on Donwarr in the Andromeda Galaxy

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    1. Ok, that was taken with a friggin’ Iphone? I really need to learn more about photography and how to avoid glare. And get a damn good camera to make up for the lack of skull, but I’ll have to put that off until summer or even later, I’m like a money grinder lately.

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    2. I’m glad you’re not concerned, because as the front-man yours is the only opinion on the topic that really matters. I’m not sure I buy your notion that the reason there are ten fewer entries after the first week is due to the fact that everyone is leaning-in to make the best possible entry. As I said in the piece, I”m not sure what the reason is but the whole endeavor feels flat this time around. I don’t feel that same buzz. I only see a very narrow group of people commenting on the entries as they come in, and what I do see is often less than two or three words strung together in the approximation of a sentence. Same goes for the sparring in the threads, I sense apathy. Now maybe that’s because I’m not playing this year but I don’t think so. Where we do agree is that it will no doubt pick up by this time next week and by the end of the contest the total number of entries will probably be competitive with last year.

      As for Eclipse, that’s why I like to have all the prizes in hand before I launch a contest, time and time again I’ve been burned by well meaning AFOLs and their promises to come up with the action. In this particular case I think he’ll come through (he has a good reputation) but it’ll be closer to the wire than you’re comfortable with. I would chalk it up to experience and move on next year to another vendor who is hungrier.

      That story about McBride is indeed a good one and I somehow missed it when you posted. The guy is going above and beyond, I just wonder how many builders will be able to take advantage of it because of it’s inherently regional nature. If you write a piece about the contest when all is said and done, you should get in contact with him and see if anyone took him up on the generous offer. I’d completely forgotten about his entry, that yellow background is striking.

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      1. In years prior, the LSB contest was struggling to get people to even bother with building a 4×4 stud display stand (and butcher paper could get you the win… cough… cough..). You and the cronies plucked a ripe opportunity to overachieve, be the “tone-setters”, and the bar of expectations were definitely raised. I don’t think everyone pushed the “reset” button in their minds after that (and we adjusted the rules a bit to account for it)… But if you aren’t buying that, we can always concede the difference in entry count being due to the “TBB effect” of a mainstream blog…

        Our mission statement, if forced to write one by you-know-who, would be “to inspire lots of people to build cool things, and have fun doing it”. I know that “lots” isn’t really quantified, but I’d consider >50 per category pretty good in most cases (the recent FBTB starfighter contest only got 30 entries total… over a 2-month entry period)… I also wonder the appetite for repeated annual contests. Feels like you can count the number of contests that repeat on one hand…

        I’m sure the vibe will be back to more “politeness” that smack this time around (I wouldn’t say apathy myself). That feels like the default for contests on-line; if you haven’t met the other people in real life, most tread lightly vs. throwing shade everywhere. We were fortunate to have a close-knit group of people enter together last year (aka your crew), who have more of a the luxury to let loose with each other. Otherwise, the personalities are the personalities (as you articulated in your Bricks LA write-up).

        … BTW – Don’t you think rowntRee has been suspiciously quiet since the contest was announced…

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  4. I’m surprised anyone has posted an entry already. It is pretty early, but I guess if you can change them at any point up to the deadline then it doesn’t hurt. I like Luke’s circular speeder, something different. Inthert is one of my favorite builders, but I’m actually not a fan of that speeder, maybe it is because I saw the movie and know that it is a part of a long, completely useless sequence of scenes from TLJ.

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  5. Ted,

    I agree that the first week numbers are not the final or even best determinants of the contests success. There is an implication, which I think it generally shared by most observers that participation is an excellent metric for contest success… and in so far as that goes, only the final tally of entrants will serve as a final grade.

    Further, a slower first week can easily be attributed to the minor fluctuation that occur from one iteration to the next, from year to year… seasonal variations. The first week is NOT the whole contest. Not nearly!

    But I also agree with you when you say in your article, that the right entrant can really set the tone early. The “Icebreaker” can really serve as a catalyst. An agent whos MOC calls attention to the contest, and establish a tone of fun and aggressive competition. And this year, that entrant has yet to arrive. As fuel for speculation… the icebreakers absence from the stage, while maybe not cataclysmic, can not go unremarked upon.

    I also agree with Keith about the intimidation thing. I mean, he even sited some actual quotes which is always fun but in this case even adds weight to the assertion. But I do not attribute the intimidation factor to the contest per say. It’s a larger, maybe even universal thing. In the interest of brevity, I will simply mention the FFE about competition and rules. Competition, as a tool for separating the excellent from the good and the less good… is celebrated less and less in modern culture. From the “every snowflake is special” cult, to the “Pay for upgrades and proceed to the next level” style marketing that permeates computer gaming… the notion “public risk” (as in risking defeat in public competition) is becoming down right alien to many. Young people do not see any utility in risking public defeat… ever.

    They want the exposure, and the credit that come with participation. Further, they covet public acknowledgement of merit, title and token (the name of “champion” and a little ribbon). But most platforms offer that without the risk of actual defeat. In computer games (especially in the most popular on line format) there are fewer and fewer moments of “game over” or “you lose”. As long as a timer is still running, the restart is automatic. You are killed and then re-spawn in a matter of seconds, and the game continues. If you are on line and not earning enough points to “unlock upgrades” by virtue of your playing skill… you can obtain the same benefits with real money and simply “buy upgrades” with a credit card. There is less and less exposure to public risk all the time. Less and less exposure to “emotional risk” all the time. Kids, like all of us, are trainable (and in this case… they have been quite well trained).

    Entering the contest is a risk. Its ultimately a zero sum effort, where no victory is possible without defeating every other entrant (in any given category). They run the odds in their heads and conclude that winning is unlikely. Grand Theft Auto is better. No risk of ultimate defeat. Sure, the other guy may “win” the round… but your defeat is hardly relevant. It doesn’t remove you from play early, and nobody is ever well known for how often they lose. Your nameless and forgotten within seconds. Grab the credit card, buy the upgrade and play again. Again, almost no risk of real permanent defeat. (as opposed to a public sporting event where one team will win on this day… and it will be recorded… and it will affect your teams standing in the league for the rest of the season).

    All these utterances by younger builders like “I didn’t get any feedback last year” or “I doubt I can compete” or “I’m out of my league” or “last years MOCs fill my nights with nightmarish images of my own humiliating defeat” … they are all indirect requests for “sanction” or for “permission” or requests for encouragement (or even more basically that any of that… requests for attention). Expectation management, self debasing assessments, thin rationals for NOT competing… They want to be told that it’s OK not to compete, or that we really want them to play, or that they are extra super duper welcome because they are the chosen one. They want to be begged onto the filed.

    But I say all that, not to blame the young, not to chastise them. The behavior is the product of today’s emergent chaotic mass media… marketing. Not our real culture. Not the traditional values of most people on earth. But the result of constant exposure to platforms and events that are designed ONLY to illicit consumption and payment. X-Box never wants these kids to feel so inadequate that they stop playing. Never. They tap into primal competitive impulses… the desire for triumph or survival… but it’s a pantomime of real open competition. You can always re-spawn and always pay cash for upgrades (which will help you beat others on line… in public). You can buy excellence. Determination, meaningful self assessment, and the coaching of others is NOT relevant. You can play alone and buy what you want.

    I know, I have wandered afield here Ted. And again, I clarify, none of this “risk aversion” I am railing about is a product of the LSBC structure.

    But risk aversion is affecting the behavior of people in many many contexts right now (and to my point, affecting the behavior of young people more so than in the past). Those young builders… they DO need to be led towards the light when it comes to a contest. Vigorous engagement, comments, recommendations, challenges… they are legitimate, ethical and effective means of public influence. And those elements in the LSBC could be greatly strengthened.

    Two of the contests three proponents are publicly silent. I’m nobody’s boss. Im not directing anybody’s actions here. But I do say that more talk, more engagement by the contest proponents, more positive public communication, will result in more participation… and I say as much based on the previously mentioned assumption that participation is a generally agreed upon metric for the contests overall success.

    To pull the notion back out of the clouds and put it right back here, connected unambiguously to the LSBC, my point is that robust communication with potential entrants, on the part of the entire contest proponents, might be an effective way of compensating for the lack of a powerful icebreaker in these early days of the contest.

    On that note, I would encourage all the readers of this wretched blog to go over and make some comments on the contest entries. Ted is a Manifesto confederate, and the LSBC has great merit. His contest was a highlight of Lego action last year, and it is one of the best things on the scope for this year. Weather I’m a dick or not guys, make no mistake about this: Our comments WILL matter to the entrants, and will improve the entire LSBC. I have seen some of us flapping our gums over there, but not bloody many.

    Rock on!

    Like

  6. “And Rutherford, you need to hire a full-time editor/handler. It was fun at first but I find my patience growing thinner and thinner with every rabbit hole analogy and drawn-out statement of the obvious. Just get to the fucking point man. Your comments are starting to read like self parody at this point.”

    Hoffmann!

    I’m glad I caught you! Look, I know your patience is growing thinner and thinner so I’ll give you the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front). Ready?

    You can skip right past my shite!

    I know right? Believe me, I was skeptical at first as well! But it’s true! When my drivel becomes to tedious for guys like you, you know, the fast movers who don’t have time for arguments, examples, analogy or discourse… escape is literally at your finger tips! Check this shit out!

    http://www.itbuddy.org/computer-mouse.html

    I did some checking… turns out these “mouse” things, or something like them, are already connected to almost every desk and lap top computers on Earth… so you are locked in tight! I’m off your screen baby! As fast as you can finger the wheel! Once again… you control the action! And I know I know… this seems like a statement of the obvious… but you don’t seem to know about the mouse so I just figured I’d go ahead and… tell you about it?

    And for real, don’t sweat that “thinner and thinner” thing. It’s normal for guys. Just part of growing up.

    Sorry I couldn’t explain all this with emojies. I know it would be easer to follow, but I couldn’t down load the app because reasons! LOL!

    Notice you didn’t have anything to say about the actual content of my post… (that boring talky part with all the words) Wall of text! Am I right?

    Hash tag: TLDR, justextmedotcom, ADD, Pattern Balding, specialedward, emoji4theWIN!

    ; )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nah, it’s just some old wounds getting poked – candid and blunt for sure though. Keepin’ it real has its good and bad sides, but bottom line is that everyone feels free to express their opinions here (in long and short form)… If people weren’t comfortable in that way, then you wouldn’t see any of the above. It’s best to read this stuff in the comments like everyone is in the same room together hanging out, not like trolls lobbing bombs from behind the walls of anonymity. New voices are usually spared from the terse responses, but sometimes the undertow is strong…

      Like

  7. Your reaching a little Keith!

    And if you don’t stop reaching… I’ll show your face some violence!

    Actually though… yeah… anger and violence are spelled and pronounced differently for a reason.

    PEMD, you should go read some of the articles from the writing contest (link at the top of the page) or read the commentary on the Saturday Night Fights… It’s good hobby/building stuff.

    Like

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