Election Year

If Saimoe is like the US Presidential campaign (it sort of is, and it even ends around November!) then we’re sort of doing something like the Primary here. Except for another country. And it is irrelevant for the most part, with each other. Plus, we’re about March Madness.

It’s sort of off topic, but I just want to share a few insights about moe elections and, well, this kind of fan activity in general.

1. Purpose.

One thing I really like about Saimoe is how it is impeccable in terms of getting a large group of people on the same page and voting for what they want. I guess that’s the Japanese for you. However it’s a terribly poorly designed contest even compared to its Korean counterpart. But that’s really only half the story. The purpose of Saimoe is somewhat tangential to the purpose of Korean Saimoe in that the latter is really just a popular vote-off. The former is almost a community building event as there is a standardized platform (2ch) where the fan community on the whole recognize as “official.”

When planning something like a moe election, you need a clear goal as to what you want to accomplish, and design around that goal. I like fun, fresh madness. I don’t care so much who wins. I do care about heated competition and excitement and entertainment generally. YMMV, I guess. I think it’s good to have a selection of stuff like this, Touhou Saimoe, SaiGAR, whatever.

2. Design

This is something that’s a little harder and require people who think it through, with experience. But it’s not hard–just get a good feeling as to who are your participants and take their interests into account. Usually after doing it a few times, you get pretty good with it.

3. Promotion

Don’t even bother. Just pick a group of people you want to do this thing with, and do a darn good job. People who enjoy it will just get others to join you. Maybe you want to throw the good word to the people around you just so they know it’s happening, but that’s really all you need.

4. Rules

It’s good to have well-communicated, clear rules. It doesn’t have to be fair, even, but it can’t appear to be partial. In fact even with sucky rules, if people playing the election game think it’s fun, they’ll do it anyways. And usually when their favorites are at stake, there’s plenty of motivation already. Don’t be afraid to take people’s suggestions freely, and freely reject them too. As long as you think it through before committing.

It’s a different bag when it comes to moderating the actual polls. It’s good to be familiar with what technology can offer you, and find people who can work with you. It’s great if people know what’s going on, that there’s transparency in the process. People like fair contests, and they’ll enforce things themselves if it’s made possible that way.

5. Incentive

It’s good to have incentives beyond the mere exercise of the contest. It’s optional for the most part, but sometimes it just makes life a little more fulfilling, even if what you get at the end is a bunch of fanart doodles you don’t like. The way I see it, if people are going through the motions and effort to make it happen, you might as well ride it as much as you can. For the little contest we’re running, we have some used goods. YMMV.


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