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CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:42 pm
by Bruce N H
Hi all,


We here at Classic-Castle are excited to announce the winners of the 14th annual Colossal Castle Contest. As always, this contest brings out the best in castle building, and judging was very difficult. Please join us in congratulating the winners and the honorable mentions. Thank you to all who participated in this year's contest.

If you are a category winner, please contact Ben (Architect) with your mailing information.

-The CC Team

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:42 pm
by Purple Wolf
Congratulations to everyone! I must say this year had a lot of great entries and am not surprised at all at some of the winners. Also first time winning a category is pretty cool.

Thanks to all the Admins for this :D

PurpleWolf :)

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:59 pm
by Mark of Falworth
Congrats everyone! Quite a good looking lineup! :)

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:29 pm
by AardWolf
Congratulations to all of the winners! As always, I'm very impressed with the creativity and skill shown by everyone who entered this year. It's inspiring to see the high level of building in this community. Well done to all!

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:44 pm
by Disco86
Congrats to all winners and runner-ups ! Was great fun and a tough competition this year. Every year one of my most enjoyed contest, so also thanks to the admins.

I possibly could foresee this years MasterBuilder

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:59 pm
by soccerkid6
Yes! Always a great pleasure to look through the CCC winners, and admire the beautiful builds :D

@Disco86: There does seem to be one builder that was a little above the rest...

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:24 pm
by blufiji
Congrats to the winners! I saw several stunning entries that have blown me away, so to me it was an honor to have one of my entries selected as a category winner. Thanks to the judges for running this amazing contest year after year, that allows some known and unknown builders to showcase their talents.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:19 am
by TheLordOfBricks
Congrats to the winners! Although I didn't win, this was extremely fun to compete in, sorry judges for asking so many questions cause I am new to the CCC... :D Again, congrats winners, and thanks judges/admins and mods... :D

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:25 am
by rogue27
Great job everybody!

I'm not even sure how to describe this year's winners. The entries get better and better each year. It's amazing.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:50 am
by Armored Archer
Congratulations to all the victors! I hope to be able to participate again next year.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:43 pm
by Fletcher Floyd
Okay, since I'm not taking contests too serious and I have great respect for all the competitors I have to say "Congratulations" -but not only to the winners / honorable mentions but to all the other competitors as well.

BUT: I must confess, I cannot give the organizators/judges the praise they may be expecting, because I think this year has once again shown that the way this Contest is held is totally outdated.

I think one of the main problems here is (still) the intransparent judging system. You never know why a MOC is ranked good or bad. How many judges are there? Are you using a certain scoring-system? Why aren't you publishing all the scores so everybody can see how he did? What qualifies an entry to be an "honorable mention"?

There are so many people spending lots of time for the Contest without getting any feedback -if they do not make it in the top four or five.

To make things worse, I have the impression that you are rather judging the Creators themselves and not the MOC's they are building for the Contest. What I mean: Long-time-participants seem to have a bonus -no matter what they are building, at least this was my impression. Not only this year but the year before as well.

This -in my opinion- is the reason for some of the more than strange results, which are in several cases simply not comprehensible.

Also judging is still taking far too long. I understand the "Jobs & families"-argument, but the same thing goes for me too and surely other builders as well who have been building more or less nonstop for two whole months -with jobs, wifes and children. Last year you have been taking more time to judge, than people had time to build.

At this point I want to make clear that I'm not only talking about my own results but also many other participants -but since I'm not sure if they'd want me to be namely involved in this statement, I won't name the concrete cases of (sorry for being so rude) "misjudging".

Another thing I want to complain about: If you really think my "Misc. Small"-Entry "Old Marys House of Love" is violating Contest rules (big laugh for me as a European:-), it would have been fair to give me a hint or at least put it onto the naughty list early enough so I could have replaced it with another build. And not letting me ask "what about my Entry?" last minute.

I know this is hard stuff and you could make it yourselves easy by interpreting it as the babbling of a sore loser, but if you really hang onto your contest, you'll think about it and maybe make some changes until next year's CCC.

Thanks for reading! And my respect again to all the participants and their great MOC's!! And please excuse my bad English.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:40 pm
by Bluesecrets
I may not be the only member of staff to address your comments, but I will tell you everything I can.

Judging, as much as you do not like to hear this...yes, it is due to life. There is a big difference between building and running this contest. We spent countless hours starting in the summer to get this contest prepared and running.

For my part this year, I approved every single entry. This took me upwards of 8 hours a day to do. Once that is done, you then have to look at every single entry...checking for the rules we have stipulated. Does it fit the category? Does it have any violations? Does it have play-ability? Are the photos right? And that one is the worst because about 90% of the entries that came in had photo violations. I spent days trying to help people get those cleared up. And before judging can happen, we have to clear the naughty list. There are STILL private messages sitting in my outbox from people who did not respond. I was all over flickr, email, and whatever I could to clear those up as fast as I could.

These "misses" in judging, you need to remember that in this contest, you are only allowed to win one category. If someone wins more than category, they get to pick which category they win. They may not pick the category that has their best build because they may prefer the prize for the other category. Then the second place person wins, if they won a second category...they then pick. And we moved to the third person in the category. So yes, it is entirely possible that the best build in a category is not labeled the winner...because the winner themselves did not pick that category to be the winner for.

In terms of your specific entry, it violated the Terms of Service for Classic Castle, which is actually bigger than the CCC itself. (See this link, rule number 3, it took me a little while to get back to you about that, but I was discussing it with the other staff. We do discuss everything and make a group decision.

I am not sure what kind of feedback you want. I'm not sure I have seen a contest that gives feedback. Please link me to one so I can see what you are asking for so I can address that.

We absolutely do not judge based on who a builder is. I don't even look at the builder's names when I was approving entries, let alone when I was judging them. There is just too much to be looking at to even consider who built it or not. And I can tell you that there is no bonus given to anyone.

I appreciate your comments. I hope you realize that I am answering you honestly and not being at all defensive. We will take what you said into consideration for any upcoming contest.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:56 pm
by Fletcher Floyd
Hey Bluesecrets,

first of all, thanks for your quick response.

There are some arguments which I'd like to talk about a little further.

The Example of a Contest which gives you Feedback would for Example be the "MOC Olympics" on my German LUG "".

As wished by many of the Participants the judges are scoring every MOC and leaving a line or two, how they came to this very result. I'm still at work, but later this evening I'll send you a link.

It's important to me, that you understand that I'm trying to be constructive here.

Nontheless I can't understand some of the things you're doing, for example the "Cleaning of the naughty List". Why are you doing this? In other contests, people who weren't able to deliver a correct entry on time,are out of competition.

Another aspect I totally dislike is the Image size limitation. Why do I have to upload low-resolution pictures on my flickr-account? Why is a size-limitation important for judging? A minimum-Resolution would make sense to me, so you can really see all details.

I have to get back to work, but we may discuss some more later on!

Edit: Finally back from work:-)

One thing I must confess: I wasn't aware of the fact that a winner of several categories must choose one of them. That you can only be number one in only one category-ranking. Until now I was thinking, this would only affect the prizes. Like "you won three categories, but you'll get only one price, so choose a price. But nontheless you'll be ranked #1 in the three categories".

I hope I got it right now:-) Okay, this would explain a lot.But I don't know if I like it. Shouldn't be the builder of the best MOC always be declared the winner of a category (totally separated from the "prize-system")? Isn't this usually the main aspect about a contest -that the best builder/MOC is number one?

And again -please don't get me wrong. I really like the Contest, that's why I'm writing this. Not because of prizes (I don't really care about the prizes) but for the competition and the interesting categories (this year you came up with some really nice ones)!

Of course, holding a contest is a lot of work, especially one with almost 200 entries. Can't say that I have been part of an organization-team or a judge in an event with so many participants. So regardless of the things I've mentioned, thanks to the CCC-Team for all the time you've put into this!

To come to an end I'd like to thank you for your kind response but also I hope that there may be some slight changes in the upcoming CCC.

Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:41 pm
by Bruce N H

Thanks for the contest feedback. A few responses to try and shed some light on things, not trying to be defensive:

The judges are the active admins - me (though quite frankly it's hard to call me super active right now), Blue, Ben and Dave. I'm pretty sure we've stated that explicitly in the past, but probably didn't say so this year.

Specific scores - we've actually had a policy of never giving out specific scores or rankings aside from saying the winners and honorable mentions (which are usually the next 5 - this year there were only 4 entries in one category, and another has 6 listed because there was a tie). The reason comes down to a couple of things. First, we want to encourage everyone to participate, including less experience younger builders, and I for one don't want to tell them they scored really poorly. To make an analogy, I teach organic chemistry at the university level. When I pass back exams, I never tell people the high and low scores, even though some students always ask. The reason? That student with the 97% already knows they're doing great in the class, and patting them on the head and saying they were the best doesn't really add anything (plus, the top 5 or 10 students all know each other and are hyper-competitive, so they're going to go out and compare scores anyway). On the flip side, that student with the 42% already feels like garbage, and if I stand up in front of a class of 160 students and point out that they were the worst of the lot, it only makes things worse. So too here. Those that did great did great, and they know they did great. The honorable mention list gives you a grouping of those who did the best, but there were other great entries as well. On the other hand, those who are just starting out should be encouraged rather than have it pointed out how far out of the lead they were. The second reason is endless bickering. There are always a few students who want to come in and argue this or that point of partial credit - not all, not even all that many, but some. And in a contest like this, if you give specifics, there will always be a few who just want to argue the points (and I'm not pointing any fingers here, let's just say that in my 16 years of active online AFOL life I've seen it happen), even though there is always going to be subjectivity in something like this.

Feedback in general - I've done this in the past (for example see here and links contained therein) (as have Tony and Josh) (previous admins), and was thinking about doing it again. On the one hand, I personally refrain from commenting on entries while the contest is running to avoid the appearance of being partial to this or that, so any commentary has to come after judging is done. On the other hand, it's a bit of living in the past, spending time navel-gazing on MOCs from a couple of months ago, when I'm more excited by commenting on something new - like for instance see the great castle that Kaarde posted this morning. It does take a ton of time to do a massive feedback thread with any justice, I literally would spend hours on individual posts. Plus, there is always some pushback if it begins to feel like such a thread is expected, due to the ton of time involved.

As Blue said, we have no consideration of the builders. Yes, you see some of the same names year to year, but those people happen to produce really nice MOCs. I'm never happier than when a completely new builder shows up with some amazing entries. For instance, we all know Mark Stafford now, but when he first entered the CCC I was like "who is this guy? this is awesome!" (okay, then I dug back through his Flickr stream and saw that he'd done a lot of great Space stuff, I just am not on top of the space theme in the same way I am in castle). New builders are judged on exactly the same scale as older builders.

As to disagreeing with results, well, I suppose there is inherent subjectivity in a contest such as this. The judges don't even necessarily agree with each other on the top MOCs, and the results come out of the combinations of all of our opinions. Are there some categories where I personally preferred a different MOC? Sure. Do I think the ones that did come out on top are great, and in the top few of the category? Yes to that as well. Would I have batted an eye if the #1 and #2 in a given category were swapped? Probably not, because those top scorers are all amazing.

Timing - yes, I take this as a valid critique. Most of it comes down to communication back and forth, from the builders to the judges, from the judges to each other, from the judges to the winners in those cases where something has to be resolved before winners can be announced. I have to admit to some culpability in the week where every single person in my family spent a day throwing up, and as a dad that pretty much took me out of the running for a week in getting things moved along. Similar things happen with everyone.

Oh, on the TOS, remember that LEGO is a toy for children, and a site like this attracts some very young members and even younger readers. Do I personally give a darn what you build? Nope. I'll happily swear and drink and tell off-color jokes with a bunch of other adults. Do I want my 7 year old looking at more risque entries? Also nope. Most of the TOS limitations come down to a recognition of those younger readers and their parents. Is this prudish? Maybe.

On the size limitations, and really other rules involving entries, most of these come down to the experience of a decade plus in a contest with some participants who are very young and inexperienced. Rules are not created to deal with those people who build nice MOCs, take photos against neutral backgrounds with good lighting so you can actually see the MOCs, edit their photos to remove unnecessary margins, chooses a few good pictures that highlight the build, and post them to a good photo-sharing site like Flickr. Instead they're for the kid who has never done this before, and simply takes a ton of photos of their MOC sitting on the kitchen table, with a bunch of other junk behind it, takes the raw feed from their camera and sticks 50 photos on Photobucket. Its like the raw feed from my camera, that every so often I'll download literally hundreds of photos, most of which are bad, or complete duplicates because you get the kids standing there and you take several photos to pick out the one that turns out, but they all get dumped into my hard drive. I recently got a 5 terabyte external drive to save all of my photos to (also audio files), because both my laptop and my desktop computers were well over 99% full. But then you sit down, go through the photos, pick out the best, and make a nice scrapbook. Looking through the nice scrapbook is great; paging through the gigabytes of raw photos, not so much. Anyway, the imposition of a set of rules is essentially a teaching moment (remember, I'm a teacher), trying to help those younger builders learn to be good citizens of the Legoverse. Plus, 1600x1280, with screen-size set to 100%, is a larger image than can be seen on my screen at work, which is about 30% wider than my laptop. I'm clicking through images on Flickr right now and 1024x768 is probably the perfect size for viewing images, so image resolution is not really a problem here.

Anyway, I've really got to go. Seriously, thank you for the feedback, and I hope this helped give a little more understanding.


Re: CCC XIV Winners!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:34 pm
by Bluesecrets
Adding a little to what Bruce said:

Why do we have a naughty list? Because no one is perfect. Heck, I am guilty of not having the proper size for photos when I was not a member of staff. It is easy to make a mistake. Giving people a second chance is a good thing. The simple reality is disqualifying people doesn't promote creativity or positiveness. Someone took time to build for our contest, we value that, honor it, and want them to have their chance to compete.

Yearly we examine our photo rules. We used to have 3 photos max and a size of 600x800. We've adjusted that to more pictures and a bigger size. We added the white background at my request to speed up the judging process.

Please understand, I was not always an admin. I used to compete in the CCC. I've been a competitor, a prize donator, a winner, an honorable mention, a non-placing entry, a moderator, and now I'm on the admin side. I believe if there is something to have experienced with this contest, I've seen it, heard it, done it, or witnessed it. I've listened to members for years talk about it. When I became an admin, it took me TWO years to learn the whole entire process of running this contest. This surprised me as I have been running contests for years both here and at another website. The CCC is unique. It is not like any other contest I have participated in or run before.

And as every year, once we are done, we discuss how to refine the process. We adjust the rules, requirements, and categories.