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zircon

The WIP Feedback Checklist (READ BEFORE POSTING)

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None of us have the interest and availability to regularly review WIPs and judge submissions at the same time.

Regularly? What I was saying was that if a judge, once in a while, would listen and comment on a WiP, the casual reviewers would correct themselves upon comparing their feedback to the judges', and thus are reminded of where the bar is, in practice rather than in theory.

The number of constructive replies would increase, which Zircon said y'all wanted.

I wasn't saying the judges should run the WiP forum, what would the rest of us do then? I was saying that with a little more attention to the WiP forum, you'd be killing two bords with one stone. One bird is that reviewers then know what NOed remixes sound like, and how far a particular remix is from being accepted. Another bird is that the remixers get quality feedback from the judges.

Just giving us a form isn't really helping that much. I'll admit that the form will be useful to people who have difficulty finding words for what they hear is wrong... which is good. And like I've said throughout, the checklist is good. But it can just as well make reviewers lazy so they're just filling out the form, and just a bunch of forms can be discouraging.

And like I've said, the tone of the feedback form post implies that good reviewers use the form (whether or not they use it properly), and bad reviewers don't, regardless of encouraging words, useful suggestions, and other comments.

The checklist serves better as a summary than a template.

And the checklist doesn't turn people's ears into production ears, regardless of how well written the feedback form post is!

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(while sitting in the middle of Tax Accounting)

I dunno, I really don't see the point in this unless people who actually know what they're doing are doing the critiquing. I guess I don't look at the WIP forums as a place to "learn what's wrong" with my mix as much as it's just me letting people know that I'm working on something at the moment. Usually I post something in a rush of just having rendered it out and want to share that track with others (often listening to the next day and wondering what I was thinking).

It seems that putting a check in anything, (too repetitive, too loud, wrong notes, etc) is going to require a comment just to explain that check, so why bother? I don't have anything wrong with the checklist, but I doubt I'll be using it. I'm big on Coop's idea of positive feedback too, but his list is kinda long. :P

crap, groupwork...I'll post more later maybe

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I dunno, I really don't see the point in this unless people who actually know what they're doing are doing the critiquing. I guess I don't look at the WIP forums as a place to "learn what's wrong" with my mix as much as it's just me letting people know that I'm working on something at the moment. Usually I post something in a rush of just having rendered it out and want to share that track with others (often listening to the next day and wondering what I was thinking).

That's fine, and pretty much why I post my tracks here as well, but MOST people don't use the WIP forum to simply share, they do it to get feedback.

It seems that putting a check in anything, (too repetitive, too loud, wrong notes, etc) is going to require a comment just to explain that check, so why bother?

Well, a few things. First of all, organizing it into an itemized lists makes it easier for the remixer to hone in on the core issues before scrolling down to the comments. If they're looking at three or four forms, and they all say "Too Loud", it has more of an impact than four comments about loudness buried somewhere in the post. IMO.

Also, you don't HAVE to leave comments at all. Many of the things are self explanatory and don't require much (if any) explanation. Additionally, if you are the one leaving the feedback, the list may guide you to leave a comment that you wouldn't have otherwise, had you not seen it, which is another benefit.

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ARRANGEMENT / INTERPRETATION

[X] Too conservative - sticks too close to the source

PRODUCTION

[X] Unrealistic sequencing

[X] Generic/cliche sound choices

PERFORMANCE (live recorded audio/MIDI parts)

STRUCTURE

[X] Pace too plodding

[X] Too repetitive

OTHER COMMENTS (positive feedback, and specifics on criticisms from the form)

It's an improvement. The lack of bold chunks of text make it more easy on the eye and kills some of the formal tone, although the language might still need some humanization.

The inclusion of an example at the end makes it feel more complete, and here the language is human. What bothers me most is how intuitive the checklist is and yet you find it necessary to explain its use at "Place an "X" within the brackets next to any critiques you feel are applicable".

Speaking of which, this doesn't emphasize enough that the feedback is still not on the level the submission standard is, regardless of how elaborate the form is. Listeners are not judges, and might think they hear things the judges don't.

"...you are strongly encouraged to use the WIP feedback form at the bottom of this post" seems to me like it's a demand in disguise. Since you've already established that the site offer the checklist "as a tool to help with WIP critiques", the whole "strongly encourage" part feels redundant.

One last thing, the comments should be more emphasized, not placed at the bottom, as it makes the checklist take precedence. Alternately, the form could be renamed checklist and "other comments" removed. This post could then merely state that using the checklist, copy-pasting it into a feedback post is encouraged.

It's an improvement, but I think it's not quite there yet. It doesn't cover all the ground it could, tho another guide could cover what the remixers can do to get the best feedback and how they should deal with the feedback given. Overall, better. Still needs work tho.

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I think the form is a great idea and would also encourage people to use it in it's current state. I'm pretty sure the reason there would be a form in the wip (OC-REMIX WIP) forum is to give EVERYBODY a list of criteria that directly correlates with the criteria the judges look for. One major problem I see on this forum is that the "advice" that people receive is hit or miss--sometimes I'll post something here and, lets be hypothetical here, be told that I, oh I don't know, need more compression. So I may take the same example to a judge with the same question, and find out that, no, quite the opposite--I need LESS compression!

I suppose that what we're trying to avoid in this forum is BAD advice. And of course, not everybody is going to agree with ocr's submission standards. But don't forget, you are looking at wips of POTENTIAL OVERCLOCKED REMIXES in this forum, so putting your own conflicting two cents into your reviews is actually counter-productive.

And about the form being "negative"... come on people. We're lucky to have a very high bar here that people for the most part don't fight against, and that bar hasn't moved at all. Sugar-coating feedback too much is just going to turn you into this guy:

his definition of constructive criticism is "say something nice first, and then say something that they could improve but don't be too mean". This is actually extremely nonconstructive. This form isn't negative, it's direct. But if we're all going to be nice and prance around the wips here, things aren't going to get posted!

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his definition of constructive criticism is "say something nice first, and then say something that they could improve but don't be too mean". This is actually extremely nonconstructive. This form isn't negative, it's direct. But if we're all going to be nice and prance around the wips here, things aren't going to get posted!

No one's suggesting playing nice and walking on egg shells with people, DU (at least, I don't think they are). But if someone views an aspect of a WIP as something that works or has potential, it's every bit as important that they bring it up, and not just focus solely on what's wrong.

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It's more helpful to know what you did wrong, and most of what we write in our votes tends to be why we're NOing it anyway. In other words, it's not usually that a remixer doesn't have enough good stuff, it's that they have too many problems... and that's why we're focusing on the problems. It's pointless to make a list of all the possible POSITIVE things you could have. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of things you can do right. But there are a select group of NEGATIVE things that MOST people do over and over and over and over.

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don't get me wrong, I fully support pointing out good things--it's important for a musician to know why some musical choices are more effective than others. And it is good to have moral support as a developing musician. Still, I hardly consider that form to be "too" negative, and any less negative, to me, is walking on eggshells

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It's more helpful to know what you did wrong, and most of what we write in our votes tends to be why we're NOing it anyway. In other words, it's not usually that a remixer doesn't have enough good stuff, it's that they have too many problems... and that's why we're focusing on the problems. It's pointless to focus on all the possible POSITIVE things you could have. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of things you can do right. But there are a select group of NEGATIVE things that MOST people do over and over and over and over. You haven't had a remix posted in 5 years and you rarely submit so maybe you're fallen out of the loop a bit with how we evaluate things.

Pointless? That's rather disheartening to hear a fellow artist say.

Unless the word "critique" has somehow changed in definition in the last six hours, I doubt I've fallen out of any loops. In any good, constructive critique, you will learn what works, what doesn't work, what's cliché, what's interesting, what's dull, what's overdone, and at least a dozen other traits that will bring up the pros and cons of what you're presenting. Some points will be purely opinion, some will be factual, and others will be guided by a set of rules that are generally adhered to in that particular art form. This is true for the visual, aural and written arts.

And frankly, my lack of submissions here has nothing to do with knowing what a good critique is. Focusing on nothing but the negative aspects, without bringing up what you feel are the positives (if there are any), can be destructive. Talking about nothing but the positive aspects, without stating what you feel are the negatives (if there are any), can be destructive. In both of those scenarios, something stands a good chance of being overlooked, passed over, or possibly lost, because it wasn't given a voice for whatever reason.

If you want to get people to critique the WIPs of this place... to really critique them... then you can't leave out one side or the other. Both must be covered to truly benefit the person who's work is being looked at. That doesn't mean pussy-footing around the facts to soften the blow, or being a complete dick in how you put forth your opinion. It means you give truthful, matter-of-fact points as you see them, and let them know what you feel is good and bad. To do otherwise, is doing the artist a disservice in my opinion.

I know you're trying to streamline things zircon, and I understand the motives behind it. Getting useful info into the hands and heads of remixers is something this site has been fighting with since the day it started receiving WIPs from people other than djp. Unfortunately, the way you're setting this up, to me, is downplaying half the useful info that can benefit the remixers... and that's bad (m'kay?).

Edit: Keep in mind, this isn't a personal attack or anything, zircon. I'm not insinuating any lack of knowledge on your part, as I'm only discussing this thread's topic of the form.

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I feel like you guys are just over-thinking things here. Here's the deal in very simple terms:

We judges have identified common problems with submissions. We've compiled a list of these common problems in checklist format. We'd like for a listener to use this checklist when listening to a WIP and formulating their feedback so that the problems we usually see in submissions are addressed at the WIP level.

That's pretty simple.

Nobody's saying you can't write extra comments, positive or negative, that have nothing to do with the checklist, but the point of the checklist itself is to guide listeners towards giving feedback that improves a submission's chance of acceptance.

Positive reinforcement is great, so go ahead and use it if you want. You don't need the checklist for that.

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Nice work. I totally cribbed this for the intro!

I feel like you guys are just over-thinking things here. Here's the deal in very simple terms:

We judges have identified common problems with submissions. We've compiled a list of these common problems in checklist format. We'd like for a listener to use this checklist when listening to a WIP and formulating their feedback so that the problems we usually see in submissions are addressed at the WIP level.

That's pretty simple.

Nobody's saying you can't write extra comments, positive or negative, that have nothing to do with the checklist, but the point of the checklist itself is to guide listeners towards giving feedback that improves a submission's chance of acceptance.

Positive reinforcement is great, so go ahead and use it if you want. You don't need the checklist for that.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There's too much assumption on the form discouraging positive feedback. We're specifically saying everyone should provide it. But if someone is to also improve areas that are lacking, it's important to place the emphasis on those issues.

If a listener doesn't have the common sense to understand that potential good traits of a song are based on the opposites of things listed on the form (e.g. realistic sequencing, creative sound choices, energetic drums, tight timing with the performances, coherent structure, etc.), that's more an indictment on the person than any failing with the list.

We can't hold everyone's hand and bloat the list up with what are essentially redundancies on the assumption that people are incapable of knowing what good things are and giving positive criticism. Just extrapolate what the good traits are from the bad ones listed.

If someone gives unconstructive or stupid criticism, slap 'em down. That the same as always, and this form doesn't change that. It's up to the staff and community-at-large to encourage an overall positive environment for critiquing music. But to think that people will interpret the form as "I shouldn't [or can't] say anything positive" is selling everyone short and needlessly pessimistic.

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Well, if I can go Obama for a moment, I'd like to give a story...

A back in my first semester of college, in my Illustration class, the instructor we had was using a form for people to fill out. This came about because over the years of her teaching, she'd grown weary of critiques that went about as far as "I like it" and "I don't like it" from fresh-out-of-High-School college students. When asked why people liked or hated it, they just replied "I just do" half the time, according to her. So, she whipped up a form that covered a lot of bases for what was wrong with a given illustration... stuff like color usage, dead space, composition, negative space, and all sorts of traits. She left a portion of the page's bottom for people to elaborate on their choices, and after each form was filled out, she'd ask people why they felt as they did to each specific area. Sure, it seemed a bit like third grader stuff to me (giving crits was rarely a problem for me), but it got people talking, and got them to delve more deeply into why they felt something was wrong or bad.

Up to our class, hardly anyone expanded on why their choices had been made. In fact, she had commented early on that about 75% of the time, that area was either empty, or littered with doodles from people who got done early. I asked her about three or four critiques into the semester, why there weren't any positive choices. She didn't know what I meant. I asked her again why on the list we got, there weren't any positive choices for us to mark off. She said that we could fill all those in at the bottom. I then asked her why, if all her other classes had been deemed too lazy to give oral critiques (resulting in the list in the first place), she felt people would take the time and write in the good points themselves.

She thought about it for a few moments, and carried on with the critique. The next crit we had featured a list, with small bubbles to fill in, that rated each area from 1-5 (very good to very poor). After these were filled out, she then went around the room and had everyone explain their choices. The amount of positive feedback people got, coupled with the negative, was great. I could hear what people saw as bad and good in my works. It helped me a lot more than just finding out what was broken, while leaving the rest to mystery, or leaving me wondering if it was something people forgot to mention (as it had been for the first few crits in that class). It allowed me to further develop my strengths in the following assignments, and work on my failures and weak areas as well.

I guess in a way, seeing that form on page one reminded me of all that (and the frustration that came of it), and brought me to make the comments that I have. I know this changes nothing in people's opinion with my stance, and I don't expect it to. But hopefully it explains reasonably well why I feel as I do about the form as it stands right now. I'd hate to see remixers who are just getting started, being left in the dark about what's good in their work because no one filled in the bottom of the page as it were.

I think it's a great idea at heart, so don't take my critiques as bashing the thing in its entirety. I'm not. That odd form setup got people to improve their feedback levels for that class, and I think this could do the same here. I just feel what it makes easier, could use some expanding.

Anyway, I've bothered you guys enough over this. My apologies if I pushed my opinion a bit too hard, or pulled a DeadHorseFan.gif.

Good luck with this, and I hope it results in people getting better help here :-)

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Coop's point: People might not be able to specify what they like about a WiP.

Coop's solution: A form for the good stuff.

Problem: Aside from making it a big form, the idea of a template easily kill the personalized feedback, even with comments fields.

The Judges' point: The feedback people get is often not good enough.

The Judges' solution: A form for the bad stuff.

Problem: The template focuses on the checklist of negative aspects, which is likely to take precedence over the positive feedback. As a template, it easily kills the personalized feedback.

Rozovian's first point: Templates easily kill the feel of someone actually having taken the time to listen to the music, not just the things on the list.

Rozovian's solution: Use the judges' form as a checklist (not template) for the bad stuff. And let's work out a checklist for the good stuff.

Problem: Now there's two lists to keep track of.

Rozovian's second point: With or without a template, people don't always have the production ears needed to fill out the form appropriately.

Rozovian's solution: The Judges can occasionally visit the WiP board to review a WiP, to show where the bar is at for the reviewers who have already reviewed that particular WiP.

Problem: Aside from that this can make other reviewers lazy, the Judges have neither time nor interest in this.

--

Nobody's saying you can't write extra comments, positive or negative, that have nothing to do with the checklist, but the point of the checklist itself is to guide listeners towards giving feedback that improves a submission's chance of acceptance.

As a "feedback form", it's implied it must be used. With comments at the bottom, the much more dominant checklist takes precedence. I'd lose the "other comments" from the checklist and instead state the list is only half the feedback. Maybe the comments field should be moved to the top of the list, written like this:

(Your comments here)

ARRANGEMENT / INTERPRETATION

[ ] Too conservative - sticks too close to the source

[ ] Too liberal - not enough connections to the source (too much original writing)

[ ] Too much direct sampling from original game audio

[ ] Borrows heavily from non-source material (eg. a theme from a movie)

I'm liking it better now that it has been renamed "checklist".

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I don't think it's quite appropriate for the judges to be posting in the wip forums. I normally try to get at least one to listen to a remix before submitting--so I just hound them down on my own.

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So do I. But that's because I still don't know where the bar is, exactly. If they'd occasionally post here, I could compare the quality of a WiP to my own and hear if my WIP is closer or farther from submittable.

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I don't think it's quite appropriate for the judges to be posting in the wip forums. I normally try to get at least one to listen to a remix before submitting--so I just hound them down on my own.

I do the same, and go to different experts depending on what aspect of my mix I think needs work. Guitar, drums, production, synths; I go to people who I respect in all these areas for and it usually works out decent.

For the most part, I find the WIP forums to be overly full of useless critiques, much like what Dr. Coop described about his art class (my design classes were like that too. It was infuriating).

Crits like "I don't know how I could go about critiquing this, asides from...FINISH THIS SONG!!!! Cuz it rocks :D" don't help anyone, and are basically just an asspat and +1 post.

In conclusion, I think Snappleman should be crowned emperor of the WIP section and should rule over his domain with an iron fist. If people can take one of his critiques and not be a little bitch about it, then they have a chance of improving.

PS. I think the form idea is excellent, and something like that would encourage me to be more active in this place.

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Just as a point of note, you are welcome to begin using the checklist now... it's a bit silly to say what it will and won't do until you actually try it. :)

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I do the same, and go to different experts depending on what aspect of my mix I think needs work. Guitar, drums, production, synths; I go to people who I respect in all these areas for and it usually works out decent.

For the most part, I find the WIP forums to be overly full of useless critiques, much like what Dr. Coop described about his art class (my design classes were like that too. It was infuriating).

Crits like "I don't know how I could go about critiquing this, asides from...FINISH THIS SONG!!!! Cuz it rocks :D" don't help anyone, and are basically just an asspat and +1 post.

In conclusion, I think Snappleman should be crowned emperor of the WIP section and should rule over his domain with an iron fist. If people can take one of his critiques and not be a little bitch about it, then they have a chance of improving.

PS. I think the form idea is excellent, and something like that would encourage me to be more active in this place.

Ow OA that hurts man, I honestly didn't know how to critique him on that one :S, and this forum hardly ever gets enough attention - so I had to say something nice :S

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Ow OA that hurts man, I honestly didn't know how to critique him on that one :S, and this forum hardly ever gets enough attention - so I had to say something nice :S

eh, don't take it personally, dude.

I think the default form will help out for those times that you can't figure out. It gives you specific things to listen to when helping to critique.

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eh, don't take it personally, dude.

I think the default form will help out for those times that you can't figure out. It gives you specific things to listen to when helping to critique.

alright then, I guess I shall do that then. Too bad we have about 2-3 active reviewers at the time being. Rozovarian (I think I spelled that right) should be getting a prize for all the reviews he's been doing recently, very detailed ones too at that, unlike me :P

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Most of the Production/Performance/Structure sections could be completed by the remixer. People shouldn't have to be told if their remix is too quiet or loud and those kind of things. I think it's expected to compare simple things like that to other tracks, but this is the place to work out mistakes for the remixer to improve their work.

I would like more things on the checklist, but generalized. Maybe simple keywords like "volume" that are relative and/or exist on a spectrum (ex: bass drum stood out from the rest of the percussion because it was too loud). I like the checklist because there could definitely be things the commenter didn't think of. Even if someone doesn't use it, they are still aware of some things they might not normally be aware of.

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Most of the Production/Performance/Structure sections could be completed by the remixer. People shouldn't have to be told if their remix is too quiet or loud and those kind of things. I think it's expected to compare simple things like that to other tracks, but this is the place to work out mistakes for the remixer to improve their work.

Yes they do, because we get submissions that are too quiet or too loud. You think its expected for people to compare stuff, but you know what? They don't.

Look, we didn't just think of things to put on the checklist out of the blue. This checklist is based on problems we, the Judges—the guys that actually have to listen to the final products—see in submissions. If there's a problem on the checklist, I guarantee we've gotten at least five to ten submissions that have suffered from that problem.

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The checklist, although named "feedback checklist", isn't exclusively for the reviewers to use. I see no reason why a remixer couldn't listen to their own track while looking at the checklist and considering the items on it. Compiling criticisms from the feedback onto a single checklist is another use of it. Neither of tehse uses exclude its use as a feedback checklist.

The checklist items are fine, imo, with the possible exception of "Abrupt ending". It could also cover an ending that just never ends. It'd have to be renamed, tho.

Since the Judges mostly hear (supposedly) finished or nearly finished remixes, they might not be fully aware of the many problems the wip forum has been able to find and point out. I'll have a closer look at the list, in case you missed something.

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The checklist items are fine, imo, with the possible exception of "Abrupt ending". It could also cover an ending that just never ends. It'd have to be renamed, tho.

Since the Judges mostly hear (supposedly) finished or nearly finished remixes, they might not be fully aware of the many problems the wip forum has been able to find and point out. I'll have a closer look at the list, in case you missed something.

Abrupt ending means an abrupt ending. People bitch about fadeouts/continuous endings, but there's nothing wrong with them if they're done properly.

And we're fully aware of every major issue that's found in a track. It doesn't matter whether the submitting artist considers it a WIP or not. You're not realizing that when tracks are submitted to OCR, even though they're supposed to be finished products, many are only good enough to be called WIPs. That's specifically why many don't make it. So we know what the issues are with WIPs.

The only issue that should be added is something on sound balance where one part is too loud or quiet compared to the rest of the instruments. That's just difficult to briefly phrase. Stuff that pushes tracks into violation territory generally aren't on the list, because they're pretty rare. I don't think you're going to find anything major that we missed, but you're welcome to try.

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