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Should contests be age-grouped?

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Should BZPower's contests have age-groups? It seems rather unfair for a 13-year old to go up against a 20-year-old in a building competition. Should there be different age-groups in the competitions so younger builders (like myself) can compete against builders our own age? Looking at the BFTGM (which was an official Lego contest, so there was no changing it), there were lots of great MOCs, but did any of the younger builders ever stand a chance against all the older builders who had had years of building experience? IT seems like every competition that has no age groups results in 18+ year olds winning. Tell me one time when someone under 15 has won a large competition where such a wide range of ages was allowed. Young builders can be very good for their age, but rarely can they compete with experts who are much older than them. So what do you think?

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I would vote yes to this, although the only problems might be how many people there are in each category; BZPower's member base is mostly (I think, judging from the today's birthdays thingy) in their twenties, so if, for example, I entered, then there wouldn't be as much competition in my category (I'm 13) as there might be in the older categories, and there would also need to be more prizes for the winners, as if there was one grand prize for the best out of all of the categories, then it would most likely go to someone from an older category.

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It's especially drastic when you realize some of those 20+ year olds have spent the last decade building Bionicle MOCs. :P

 

BZPower is a kid friendly site, but we also cater to an audience that grew up with Bionicle and who are now older than the target audience. As such, I don't foresee a split between ages in contests. (I mean, how would you even moderate that? It's fairly easy to lie about your age here, or not tell it at all.) I'm sure there are other reasons that I'm not thinking of at the moment as well.

 

Additionally, the BFTGM contest was actually pretty unique for Lego, as far as I know, and most of their official contests either have age groups or are age restricted.

 

Yes, older members have distinct advantages over younger members, in terms of experience, larger parts collections, ext, but the BBC Contest rules don't allow for "this is unfair" postings, and this seems like it would fall under that category. :shrugs: But, full disclosure, I am not contest staff so this is just based off my experiences.

 

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One issue with separating by age group is that you have to have equivalent prizes for each category. It wouldn't be fair to offer a lesser prize to the younger builders, and if you had the winners of the various age divisions go up against each other for the grand prize the result would hardly be different from if those divisions didn't exist.

In general, I just think it's more trouble than it's worth. Back when I myself was a younger builder, I had no issue with entering BBC contests, even though I knew even back then that a more experienced builder was most likely going to take home the prize. Building is no less fun when there's nothing at stake, so I don't think there's much real incentive to try and put up walls between builders of different ages.

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Yeah I am on the fence with this idea as well. While there are pros and cons for either option. One that comes to mind is possible skill level. One would think the older they are not only would they have more experience in building, but also they had a longer time to collect pieces for MOCing. Me I fell out of legos to a certain extent due to having gone from being a child with no responsibilities to an adult with bills. That's one reason I don't have a lot of Bionicle knowledge short of the first wave and movies. This leads me to a disadvantage. Age does not automatically equal skill. While I can work with parts and build... something... my MOCing skill may only be on par with somebody in the beginner category even though I am 27.

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The main issue with this is that there's no way to know if someone is being truthful about their age. Some members aren't even comfortable disclosing it, and it would be unfair to ban them from entry because of that.

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I say no to this. Even though older members may have more experience with building MOCs in some cases, that doesn't mean younger members won't make great MOCs either. And like Sumiki said, some people here don't want to reveal how old they are on the site. They shouldn't have to reveal their age if they want to enter a contest.  

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I know this kid who's 13 whose MOC's absolutely eclipse my best ones. Kid's got skills, s'what I'm saying.

 

So no, age brackets don't make much sense.

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Look, i'm old and wise, but I don't have the parts and money to produce huge MOCs. So I don't think it should be differenced by age, but by how you get parts. Ratio of taking apart sets : ordering 2 pounds off Bricklink. 

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That would 'cause even more problems, 'cause then an exceptionally gifted youngster is gonna be cranking out gorgeous MOCs with half as much competition, and exceptionally average MOCers of all ages are gonna be separated by groups for no good reason. Seems kinda pointless, with the potential to make things worse.

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Tell me one time when someone under 15 has won a large competition where such a wide range of ages was allowed.

oh I was actually 14 when BBC 60 was on, and my entry ended up getting first place. anecdotal perhaps, but it does happen. and I mean, there are some good intentions behind this idea, but there's no way of seeing whether the respective group requirements would be followed correctly. in practice, we'd have a contest that's harder to moderate - there would most likely be an influx of cheaters, and with that the point of age groups would already be defeated.

 

(also on a side note, having a job does not always equal having the financial security to buy toys)

Edited by VampireBohrok
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Yes. 

Adults also have jobs which allow them to get access to more parts than younger people. 

 

Not all adults have jobs, and not all jobs pay enough money to live off of, let alone to buy extras like LEGO.

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No, because not everyone tells or shows their actual age, though I do agree that it's somewhat unfair when you're up against adults with a lot of pieces and practice. Also, having contests the way they are now, without age groups, makes planning the contests not as much of a hassle as it could be.

Edited by Rooster Nui
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Yes.

Adults also have jobs which allow them to get access to more parts than younger people.

Not all adults have jobs, and not all jobs pay enough money to live off of, let alone to buy extras like LEGO.

Also, having a job entails spending time at said job, so less time to build In most cases.

 

Anyway, I'd say definitely not. Building ability is hardly related to age; I follow many people on Flickr who are amazing MOCists and are years younger than me.

 

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Well, I can see the general consensus here. So be it. It would be more trouble than its worth. Oh well. This topic may be closed now. :shrugs:

 

It's good discussion, though. I wouldn't recommend having the topic closed just because there has been disagreement.

If you really want it, well, just report the first post. But I would reconsider!

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Perhaps it might be best to open this up as a suggestion ticket in the Tracker?


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I mean, this was a long time ago, but my first several BBC contest wins were when I was like 15 and 16, and several of the competitors were adults with kids themselves. It was earlier in the community's history, but still.

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A very interesting thought to consider. I would like to add to the discussion that in the case of older builders, I think their primary advantage would be, as you mentioned, greater experience. Not age, though the two typically are linked together. Compare an adult and child with the same amount of building experience, and they would likely be (more or less) equals. It would follow that a child with more experience would be better than an adult with less experience. But since most adults, I think, were fans of LEGO since they themselves were kids, their experience as builders is usually greater.

 

It probably does not work perfectly that way. But there are definitely some outstanding young MOCists out there that are better than many adults. And it is likely because they spend more time building. You could argue that it would be better to split contests by experience, because some kids are capable of competing in the big leagues and some adults need to stay in the little league. Just like anything else, nobody is going to get better by simply getting older, but by continuously practicing.

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It's not possible. If we're going to give any consideration to dividing our MoCcers by age we also have to divide them up by all sorts of other things. What about those with no money? Those with fewer parts? How about that guy who only has one thumb? (yeah I just made him up by the way, no silly questions please :P

 

All of these things separate one group from another if we allow it to, division is generally a VERY bad thing though and leads to far more disagreements and conflict that unity ever could. Far better we stick together and keep running events and contests for the entire community than begin creating unnecessary divides which will inevitably cause more problems than they will solve...

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I mean, this was a long time ago, but my first several BBC contest wins were when I was like 15 and 16, and several of the competitors were adults with kids themselves. It was earlier in the community's history, b coulnut still.

 

I was 15 when I won BBCC 68 last summer, if that has any significance.

 

Anyway, I disagree with age brackets. More than anything, I think it would patronize younger children by making them think they couldn't match up to adults. Children are not inherently worse than adults at MOCing, and excellent quality does not need years of experience. It is quite possible to go from very poor to excellent in MOCing within the span of one to two years, regardless of one's age. 

Edited by Mr. Tea
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I thought about this as a kid, and my answer is the same now as it was then: No, as it is completely unfair and too tedious.

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I think the deciding factor is number of pieces you have at your disposal more than age. But that's kind of hard to measure, since people could easily lie about how many parts they have. 

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Should there age-based groups for contests? No. Just because some is older, doesn't make them a good MOCist--I'm 18 and I suck at creating my own things, so I'd probably get stomped by someone of a lesser age but with a lot of skill.

 

I think there should be skill-based groups, though. 

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...How would one determine skill groups?

 

A contest?

So there's not just a top X, but a rough you placed in range N, so for the next contest you will be compared against others in that group, and if someone wants to join in a contest then they go in an unranked tournament (which is worth less?) which will determine the next contest~tournaments standing..?

 

I'm sure it could work, but I'd like to see more on how it would :)


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...How would one determine skill groups?

 

A contest?

So there's not just a top X, but a rough you placed in range N, so for the next contest you will be compared against others in that group, and if someone wants to join in a contest then they go in an unranked tournament (which is worth less?) which will determine the next contest~tournaments standing..?

 

I'm sure it could work, but I'd like to see more on how it would :)

I can't remember who exactly said this, but it was after the Battle for the Golden Mask competition; there would be three different branches of the contest: small, medium, and large MOCs, and a winner could be chosen from each corresponding branch.  This way, more people can participate in said contest without having amazing building skillz. . :)

 

Though, there would be a definite need for more prizes.   

 

Edit: Eh...I dunno if this answers your question or not. Sorry if it doesn't. I tend to ramble when I'm sick. T-T

Edited by The Bone-Snatcher

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Should there age-based groups for contests? No. Just because some is older, doesn't make them a good MOCist--I'm 18 and I suck at creating my own things, so I'd probably get stomped by someone of a lesser age but with a lot of skill.

 

I think there should be skill-based groups, though. 

 

The problem with that idea would be that an excellent MOC that lost in a high-skill group would be considered lower than a poorer MOC that won a low-skill group. Additionally, it would share the problem of age-grouping; namely, it would imply that people in low-skill groups should make no effort to improve themselves. Rewarding mediocrity would provide only mediocre results. 

Edited by Mr. Tea
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BZPower's member base is mostly (I think, judging from the today's birthdays thingy) in their twenties, 

 

Are you aware that the majority of them are completely inactive and so obviously not going to participate in contests?

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That's a good point, Kohran.

 

Just because all the guys from the old days have grown up doesn't mean that they're active on this board or interested in messing around with Legos anymore.

 

With the new wave of Bionicle there are going to be a bunch of younger kids who'll want to be in the building contests. The majority of them will probably be terrible at MOCing, especially compared to the older, still-active members here. But the only way they'll get better is to lose those contests, and in the process learn how to better build appealing MOCs based on who the winner is. They'll see the level of detail and effort and though put in, and they'll take note.

 

Then in several years when they're the oldest ones on the board, they'll have lots of MOCing experience and expertise thanks to having had proper opportunities to learn to be a better builder.

Edited by TheSkeletonMan939
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Nice idea in general but between people not wanting to reveal their age/not showing their real age and the other issues mentioned - I feel it'd be more trouble than its worth. Perhaps an optional "casual" and "serious" catagorisation instead? Give the serious category a better prize, but make the casual one easier to win/have the rules set up that its more friendly to a younger audience specifically? Making it optional would allow people to judge what skill level they're at regardless of age and compete with others similar to themselves? (I can think of some issues but can also think of work arounds for those - for example if someone who's reeeaaally good decides to go into the casual/easier one maybe mods could suggest they try for the harder/competitive one?)

 

Just my initial thoughts. :P

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Yes. Children are limited by the parts that their parents buy for them. Adults have the freedom to go to the store and buy certain parts themselves.

 

Nice idea in general but between people not wanting to reveal their age/not showing their real age and the other issues mentioned - I feel it'd be more trouble than its worth.

Why not have a "youth", "junior" and "senior" category? Like youth being 0-12, 12-17 and seniors being 18+? It allows some ambiguity of age.


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Yes. Children are limited by the parts that their parents buy for them. Adults have the freedom to go to the store and buy certain parts themselves.

 

 

Humans are contrained by virtue of being human, more relevantly though some adults would be able to buy thousands more LEGO sets than another, if they where so inclined, whether or not that would be financially viable in the long term doesn't really matter because either way there would be rather large differences in what they could~~~would spend on LEGO sets. (Not too mention time constraints & experience...)

 

There are even a few <17 that are 'given'~~'earn'~~whatever/etc. more than $100 USD a week, & many that might only get 1 or 2 LEGO sets a year, & still be just as interested; obviously some people are going to be much more limited than others, & even cutting off all the extremes, 18+ is an obnoxiously huge window compared to 12-17, & 12-17 doesn't really give me any idea of how many sets they could have, 10 sets? 50 sets?

 

Sure age is a limitation, but how are any of the proposed age-categories going to be even remotely useful?

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~ Sophistry: A way to be antidisuncorrect. ~


 


 


In a decade you might convince maybe a small tribe of people.


In a decade you might also conquer one million km2 of land,


& in over a thousand years you might have over a billion followers.


 


I like building things. Please don't break the big ones.


& evidential philosophies that dare to extrapolate beyond


an individual's direct experience aren't easily built.

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Yes. Children are limited by the parts that their parents buy for them. Adults have the freedom to go to the store and buy certain parts themselves.

 

Nice idea in general but between people not wanting to reveal their age/not showing their real age and the other issues mentioned - I feel it'd be more trouble than its worth.

Why not have a "youth", "junior" and "senior" category? Like youth being 0-12, 12-17 and seniors being 18+? It allows some ambiguity of age.

 

 My point is more that since age is, if you want it to be, arbitrary on this site, you might as well make the categories not so closely linked by age? Tbh though I don't think would make an enormous difference either way, but I do think having skill based categories of some type might be nice for the newer/less skilled MOCers.


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I'm not really sure even that would work (or is necessary) One possibility that might be encouraging for those new to MOCcing or with any paricular 'handicap' be it age, money or part availability may be to simply creat a 'professional MOCcist' tag or something and award that to members who consistently place in the top spots or otherwise produce the incredible creations we see from time to time.

 

This would stop theincredibly talented builders (regardless of their age, budget or anything else) from constantly blocking the more casual, limited or otherwise less able builders and could even encourage them to take part more readily in such contests.

 

I would STILL suggest against dividing up builders though, instead using the tag as a reward to previous winners or a mark of recognition for consistently excellent MOCs in the BBS forums (whether part of a competition or not) Then when a competition like this comes arund we could vote as normal but consider the highest badged AND non badged entry as winners in their own right. It could be that a non-badged entry takes first place or it could be they're down around 6th place but whatever their position overall they would still be the 'normal' winner with the highest badged entry being the 'professional' winner.

 

That might work :)

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Nice idea in general but between people not wanting to reveal their age/not showing their real age and the other issues mentioned - I feel it'd be more trouble than its worth. Perhaps an optional "casual" and "serious" catagorisation instead? Give the serious category a better prize, but make the casual one easier to win/have the rules set up that its more friendly to a younger audience specifically? Making it optional would allow people to judge what skill level they're at regardless of age and compete with others similar to themselves? (I can think of some issues but can also think of work arounds for those - for example if someone who's reeeaaally good decides to go into the casual/easier one maybe mods could suggest they try for the harder/competitive one?)

 

Just my initial thoughts. :P

This^^ good idea, IMO,

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