Discussions (75)

Eroding essence of SHIPtember

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lingonils says:

Congrats to everyone completing this years SHIPtember! Great to see all the SHIPS and all the work that has been put into theese creations.

Unfortunately I didn't complete my SHIP. But that's okay, it turned out more like a space station anyway. =)

I really like the concept of SHIPtember. The restricions (100 studs in one month) makes it a real challenge. The voting gives it a healthy competetive element. The final poster however emphasize that what really matters is everyone joining in and sharing their love for big spaceships. =)

I really like the blend of exhibition and competition and the spirit of the whole thing.

There is one thing that bothers me slightly though, and that is what this thread is about.

When casting my votes I want to promote the builds that I feel capture my view of this competition/exhebistion/event/group. So when I cast my votes I want to vote for ships that:
- was built in September
- was built physically
- was built using my (highly personal) principles regarding 'purism'

So some nice looking SHIPs have been "disqaulified" by me when casting my votes. But I had to go back and change my vote twice because it wasn't clear that the SHIP was digital (photography skills and rendering quality are closing the gap between digital and physical). And I had to edit my second when I found out the ship was built in august.

I just feel that we are eroding the apprication for builders sticking to the essence of SHIPtember:
- 100+ studs
- month of September
- making a 'seriously huge investment in parts'. =)

It is a pretty serious investment in time, effort and bricks that people are committing to. And if people are to continue building SHIPs, I think it is important they feel they are only outcompeted in building skills and not outcompeted because of unfair competition.

So is there perhaps something we can change to next years event to elevate our appriciation for builds sticking to the essance of SHIPtember?
1:58AM, 10 October 2018 PST (permalink)

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LEGOHungary says:

Although I agree with you at some points, let me point out some things.

People build in August, because they have school/work starting from September, and they don't have the time then, that's why Simon introduced the pre-SHIPtember rule. Still, the 30 days deadine should be observed, but it is hard to prevent "cheating" whichever month you start in. This rule is based on the honesty of the competitors, and I haven't really seen anyone violate it - only people who unwittingly did so, and realized their mistake.

Digital SHIPs used to be ineligible for trophies and posters, but I don't see a problem with people who have limited budgets/bricks following along. Maybe there could be an explicit rule that you can't vote for digital models?

I don't think many people feel that they are up against unfair competition, since out of almost 70 entries there are 6 LDD SHIPs, one (I think) that is not purist, and maybe a handful built in August, as far as I can tell. I don't really see any that are smaller than 100 studs.

The problems I see are with SHIPtember going a bit "less professional" - No trophies anymore, and god knows where the posters went... I don't really blame anyone, since "they" (as in: mostly Simon) are doing this in their free time. The posters are also really hard to make if a lot of people have poor photos, and don't include the length of their SHIP etc.

I agree that SHIPtember seems like it's past its golden age, but I don't share your concerns to the same degree.
16 months ago (permalink)

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jhbparley says:

So, I discovered SHIPtember just this past year accidentally while doing some google image searching and was blown away to see some of the builds from past years! Really innovative stuff that helped me start exploring whole new ways of building. Not only was I really eager to see what would get shared this year but I was totally excited about joining and building to a size I’ve never approached before!
I’m married with two young boys, full time job, and other hobbies so I wasn’t sure when I’d get to build something and even less sure how to protect it from four small destructive hands. I get one week in July when my family goes out of town without me and I actually did all my set up, sorting, framing and exploration building then (I didn’t pre-plan my build at all, just winged it). During that week, while still working full time, I spent nights cramming in building like I was doing a college project. Since that week I basically get a couple hours late on Friday nights, after my adult soccer league, after everyone is asleep to tweak and rebuild.
It wasn’t until this years’ official call was posted that I learned builds were supposed to all take place within the month...I really thought the September part was just the reveal, sharing, voting, discussion and praise. From photos I’d seen I never thought those ships could be built within 30 days given a “normal” lifestyle! Some looked like year long labors of love and time and money! My total building time ended up clocking at just about 25-30 hours total.
Disqualify me or write me off if you need to, but in my mind, what excited me about SHIPtember when I discovered it was not the competitive details - it was the insanely awesome builds and the chance to see what other LEGO maniacs would come up with and create and share! It appeared like a festival of sci-fi wonder that came once a year! Halloween is at the end of October but I’ve spent well more than a month creating decorations and costumes in some years - doesn’t ruin it for me; just extends the joy.
I’ll shoot for a September only build if join again next year, but that restriction will make participation difficult. Really for me, I don’t care how long you spend or when you spend it, I’m happy waiting till September just to see what you all create!
As a suggestion, maybe extend the concept with categories and challenges: offer a summer long build period but change the challenge every year (ships must be self supported on landing gear, or build a 5-ship fleet, original design, minifig scale cockpit, or require a lighting effect, moving part, or things like that to focus the designs); have a digital category; keep a category for September-only “contest classic” builds...things like that? SuperSHIPtember!!
16 months ago (permalink)

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lingonils says:

I'm generally not for a lot of rules and I prefer contests and groups with an open and easy attitude.

So generally I'm happy for everyone that takes an interest in Shiptember.

I think the rules around Shiptember are very easy and including. Build a 100+ studs ship in September. For me this contest captures the beauty of building with Lego - creating with constraints. If I have all year to build a 100+ studs ship - It's not going to happen. if I have one month - it's not going to happen (are you crazy you can't build that in one month). But if someone calls it SHIPtember and I know there are other people doing the same things, then for some reason things start to happen.

I'm a little concerned the concept of SHIPtember is eroding and we get more digital builds and more "off-sesson"-builds, until it's not SHIPtember any more. Perhaps there is nothing to be concrned about, maybe it's just me. That's why I started this thread, to hear others thoughts.

I want to make clear I'm not proposing making more rules and kicking people out. If there really is a problem here there are many different actions one can take.
-There could be separate categories for digital, "off season"-builds, etc.
-There could be a rule that builders should declare some additional information in the voting thread (digital/physical, non-purist elements, build date etc)
- there could be seperate rules for entering a submission and entering a submission to the contest.
- the rules could be loosened up - you can build any month just post it in September.
- or perhaps some other ideas
16 months ago (permalink)

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Nick Brick says:

Vote according to your criteria and I'll vote according to mine.
16 months ago (permalink)

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Si-MOCs is a group administrator Si-MOCs says:

So I will take all the blame - it really is the erosion of Simon.

You all make some excellent points - and there does seem to be less participation than previous years, which may or may not be due to simons ineffectiveness.

Over the last 6 iterations there have been some changing of rules to try to make SHIPtember the best it can be. This included changing up some of the start/stop dates to try to keep accessible to more people. The common complaint first year was: they would love to try but they were away from their bricks. And not everyone is into digital building - hence the preSHIPtember / 30 day sliding window - which is the only other rule after 100 studs.

And while I have never actually disqualified anyone, people already cheat, and have since the first year. Though when there were more trophies there were safeguards in place in the event that someone blantantly cheats.

And that’s probably the other misconception, SHIPtemeber always was suppose to be a challenge. A very personal one. Though I did totally muddied things up by offering trophies and engraved bricks and even prizes once. That’s my bad. I stupidly thought that some builders went well above and beyond and deserved recognition - which equated into a contest. Opps. Though every year the categories for awards were never announced so you could never build for an award, and categories were tailored based on the builds from the month...

But really I really hoped SHIPtemeber should be the personal challenge. What’s the best SHIP you can build in 30 days. For some the challenge is to build space! Others it’s building in the short time they have in SHIPtember.

And while we might dipped participation it’s still heartening to see so many still build, and new comers coming into the challenge, even without the same carrots. Cause frankly carrots got really expensive to ship around the world.

It’s also interesting to note that it appears the challenge is the reward itself, as it seems way more people built than even bothered to vote in people’s choice.

While more rules might make people’s choice slightly more prestigious I’m a firm believe that it’s the people’s choice - as Nick put it use what ever criteria makes sense to you.

But If I was ever going to turn this into a contest, I will ensure many of these types of rules will be be explicitly spelled out, to level the playing ground.

Which probably means we’ll never see the return of carrots.
16 months ago (permalink)

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audavo says:

I love Shiptember. I found Shiptember 4 years ago while searching for ship ideas online. Ive only participated twice because time is a real challenge for a dad with 3 kids and a full time job. So I really like the floating start date. But the reason Im here is for the ships. There are so many awesome designs and techniques to take in each year. Dont change a thing - it works, its fun, and I'd hate it if people didnt participate just because they felt the rules were too confining.
16 months ago (permalink)

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nantucketdink says:

I agree that I don't like digital builds or people putting in submissions that they worked more than 30 days on because it goes against the whole concept of what Shiptember is as defined. You actually made up an additional rule that doesn't exist and added it to your criteria for voting. I don't like that either. Think about it. I missed the Lego purist rule completely for this contest. Where is it? It would be fine if it was there, but it isn't. It is one of the few building challenges that allows it. What if I decided that I didn't want to vote for anybody who hadn't spent more than $1000 in parts for their SHIP? Would that be fair for the rules of this contest? This can be a very fun contest. It is crazy obsessive building these big SHIPs within a month with all the time constraints people have. Clear rules are good things in my opinion. Making up "personal" rules is silly. Note to self however-don't use non-Lego brand parts in the future for any contests no matter what the rules. People discriminate. One little piece of my SHIPTEMBER fun has been diminished. Thanks. I agree I don't like what may be considered cheating by not following the rules of any contest. We are in agreement there.
16 months ago (permalink)

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nantucketdink says:

I am desperately waiting to see last year's poster as it was the first year I actually submitted a poster shot. Would love the personal glory of seeing my SHIP in the fleet somewhere. That would be my reward.
16 months ago (permalink)

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NS Brick Designs says:

Personally, I build for SHIPtember because of the challenge it holds, as Simon elegantly expressed. I don't care about winning or losing, or if there are prizes involved. If there are to be no more prizes and winners in the future, fine by me! I always build for the fun of it, and I can honestly say that I never build to win something. That's not what building should be about, at all.

If there is going to be an ongoing debate about the "future" of SHIPtember, I say just make it a challenge to test your own building abilities. No prizes, no rewards, just your own satisfaction (also as Simon said above). Keep the 1 month, 100 stud restrictions, but don't make them law. The idea of the challenge is to build a model within the month, but if you go over, no problem. It's your own challenge. Build a digital model? No problem! Again, it's your own challenge. You're still building a 100 stud (minimum) model like everyone else.

I do think it would be cool to continue doing the posters, if the hosts are willing to do that, just because it is really cool to see all the SHIPs put together. However, if it never gets done, no biggie!

Going forward, perhaps SHIPtember should only be addressed as a challenge, and not use the word contest. It's a challenge for those who wish to undertake it.
Originally posted 16 months ago. (permalink)
NS Brick Designs edited this topic 16 months ago.

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nantucketdink says:

I think the more the merrier for sure and wish many more people were participating. It really is fun and is a great building challenge to look forward too. At the same time, if Seriously Huge Investment in Parts built in September (or a months worth of time close to September) is the name of the challenge, then participants should join in the actual challenge as outlined. If no parts were used whats the point? If you spent three years building a fantastic spaceship why put the photo in Shiptember? Also, if the challenge is supposed to be named Shilptember where the l is for Lego, then so be it but just add it in the guidelines. What I like about it the most is it is a fun month to share with others while building some ridiculously huge ships. How can we make it even more fun while eliminating things that may feel negative to participants and get more people to join in? Clearer guidelines that aren't constraining??? Maybe
15 months ago (permalink)

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woodelph says:

I discovered SHIPtember about 5 years ago…and I’ve been in school since. But I graduated, so this was the first year I could do a big build in September. So I was really excited to participate, and had a great time despite some frustrations (of my own making).

For me, the rewards are (1) building a SHIP and (2) getting my creation included in the group poster. And having a defined set of dates is really helpful on #1, for me.

For what it’s worth, I consider the “Lego” part implicit, but I don’t have any purity concerns (i.e., if it’s mostly Lego but uses some other brands or non-brick bits (like Pierre’s), that’s good enough). I have 3 MegaBloks pieces in mine, because I didn’t think it was worth it to Bricklink 3 pieces you can’t see just to make them Lego. :-)

If I ran the zoo, I’d probably say that anybody who posts in September gets included in the group poster, but only physical builds built in September are actually part of the “contest”, such as it is. That feels like a good compromise: everyone can participate, whatever their means/collection and available time, but there’s a distinction made for those who meet the stricter “rules”.
15 months ago (permalink)

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kɹɪstəfɚ hafmɪn says:

I don't think you're gonna win on the purism front. It's a very subjective thing and one of the great things about most space challenges in my opinion is that they're one of the few communities that either turns a blind eye or actively encourages non-purism. This goes back to people like nnenn influencing a whole generation of space builders who are usually running these things. As Nick said, you can vote the way you want and others will vote the way they want.
15 months ago (permalink)

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: VolumeX : says:

Some interesting points, but SHip's are personal beasts so its a self journey only the builder can take, its the late nights, the .. I should of, I wish I had this parts kinda vibe. Its a chance to share our madness on a global scale! Not everybody has the time these days, and yet a few make the time and contribute to this once a year gathering of bricks!
15 months ago (permalink)

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Greeble_Scum says:

So I've developed a stance of purism, even with stickering, in my builds because I like the challenge of figuring out how to build what I see in my head with the parts on my table. My acception is if I need a non-Lego armature or something for strength that isn't visible or affects the aesthetic of the "brick built MOC," I can use it. This basic canto is my own though, and not something that I would ever expect others to maintain or follow. You can't tell another artist how to create or what tools to use.

Pierre's ship is fantastic, a beautiful SHIP. Does it bother me that part of what makes it so amazing isn't Lego? Maybe it would if he wasn't completely open about the fact that he used clones and other materials, but that wasn't the case at all. He says in the comments exactly what's Lego and what isn't. It doesn't stop me from staring at it in awe for minutes on end.

As for the competitive aspect, Ive followed this challenge since the beginning, (in fact it was the very first SHIPtember poster that inspired me to join the online community and post for the first time.) Even when prizes/trophies were a part of it, i really dont remember a prize being awarded to anyone who didn't use 100% Lego, though I could be wrong. But if that issue did come up, it would have been for the judges to decide.

if purism were a part of the rules it would be different, which as a purist i admit I would prefer, but it isnt.

As for the rest, < 100 studs, off-season building, digital builds, and the rest, there are 2 rules for SHIPtember: 1 SHIP in 1 month, and 100 studs plus. If you want to post/compete in people's choice, I agree you should follow the rules. But as was stated by others above, it is people's choice and they can vote for whatever they want.

That being said, it's our love of the brick that brings us together here, not our adherence to rules. Build what you want and encourage others to do the same.
15 months ago (permalink)

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jediknight219 says:

The thing that drew me to SHIPtember was that it provided the motivation I needed to stop procrastinating and build a SHIP. I always had grand plans to build something, but those ideas stayed in my head far too often. But SHIPtember gets me out of the “gray ages” and back to the table for another round. Even if the SHIP in my head is too big to fit into September, it gets the ball rolling. And it has worked! 6 SHIPtembers, 5 1/2 SHIPs.
15 months ago (permalink)

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