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Rules enforcement in game jams

A topic by Stand Off Software created Sep 22, 2017 Views: 242 Replies: 6
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I have a game jam ending soon (, and I am trying to figure out what to do about people who don't follow the rules. For example games that don't follow the theme or conform to the genre shouldn't be mixed in with those who follow the rules. I know I can throw their game out of the jam, but that seems far too harsh to me. I'd prefer if their games were just ranked underneath all the games that did follow the rules. This would be easy if there were weighted criteria, I could just make one criteria called "followed the rules" that is weighted like 2000% higher than the other criteria. But it seems on itchio, all criteria are considered equal.

Any ideas how to handle this situation?


I think this is probably a common problem jam hosts have but we don't have a solution right now. Weighted critieria would be an interesting idea, would you expect the other people to vote on it correctly or would you want to be the only one to be able to vote on it?

Why do you think kicking people out of the jam is hash? The rules should be displayed pretty upfront when submitting a game. Would you rather there be a way to disqualify an entry but still leave it as submitted?

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Keep it in but do not allow it to win anything?


Enabling game jams to have a "back garden", like the Spring Thing, where games can be entered with less stringent requirements but don't qualify for a prize, could prove a useful addition, now that the issue has been raised. (Much like creator pages could benefit from a "back room" for the less important or polished games, come to think of it.)

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The weighted criteria is sort of a good idea in general that would be able to use as a hack for this specific problem. Having weighted criteria would be great for jams that want to focus on certain aspects but have other criteria also come into play. For jams like mine that have a small panel of judges, it could work as a hacky way of solving the rules violation since the judges can easily come to an understanding about the rules and can be trusted to use it responsibly. It could be a disaster if this hack is used in community voted jams though. Yet weighted criteria in general is a good idea I think.

The ideal would be exactly what No Time suggested. A back bin of games that are excluded from the main ranking. Those games could still recieve scores, but they wouldn't appear in the main ranking list, or separated out at the bottom of it. Someone could choose to put their game there when they submit it, and the jam host can also choose to move games there as well.

melerski, the reason it's problematic to me to have them mixed in is that people who come to play the games in the jam will expect that the games they play, especially the highly ranked ones, will conform to the rules. Taking my jam as an example, there are plenty of people who love adventure games but don't necessarily care for other genres of games. They may well come play the games entered into this jam as a way to discover new adventure game creators. If there are platformers and shooters and all manner of other types of games mixed in, those people will start losing faith in the games and the ranking as it offers them up games that aren't even in the right genre.

I have yet to see how big of a problem this will be (or even if it will be a problem) in my jam, but it's something I should be prepared for.

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No suggestions about how to immediately handle this? It's kind of stressing me out. There is already one entry which is in the wrong genre which will need to be dealt with. I won't be able to change the judging criteria after the jam ends in a little over a day, so it's getting urgent to make a decision.

One way I can deal with it is putting 5 criteria that are all called "followed the rules" and the judges will vote all of them as 1 if the game did not follow the rules, or all of them as 5 if it did. the only problem with that is that there are 5 otherwise useless criteria crowding up the judging results.

Moderator (1 edit)

Until a technical solution is available, try talking to the offending entrant. Point out they're in violation of the rules and you might have to disqualify their entry. If they're acting in good faith, they may withdraw by themselves, or else work out a compromise. And if they react rudely, well, then you can go ahead and disqualify them with an easy conscience.